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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Quest for the Right Mobile Phone Provider

I am telling you, this whole project is giving me a headache!

We have three mobile phones that have been broken for over a month and one that works, but is not reliable.

We have to decide whether to fix or replace our phones and we have to decide whether to stick with our service provider or switch to a new one.

We have been Cellcom customers for years. But recently, I have been very disappointed in their customer service. A few months back, I discovered that they have been charging me more than they promised for YEARS and I just have not noticed, because I did not check the bills thoroughly. Of course, there is no record of the promise, so there is nothing I can do.

Then, a month or two ago, someone from Cellcom called to offer us better rates. They offered us two different plans for two different numbers. I wanted the same plan for both numbers, but they would not give it to me. They insisted that I could only take the plans that were offered for each phone. There was no way to get the cheaper plan for both phones.

Around the same time, we were contacted again, and agreed to have a representative come to our home to show us new phone models and discuss different payment plans. The representative never showed up, never called to cancel, and no one called to apologize.

You might ask: why would I even consider staying with this service provider?

The answer is simple: Their reception is good, all over Israel.

But, is that enough?

I am not sure.

Which is why I spent all afternoon, with a friend (really, an angel), going to all three mobile phone providers (Pelephone, Orange & Cellcom), and trying to figure out which will offer me the best deal for my family.

I have to check out one other provider (Meers/Motorola), consult with two friends who really know mobile phones, and then Moshe and I will review the information and make a decision.

It might be worth our while to order new phones in the States, which only further complicates the situation.

Neither of us has a head for this stuff.

I really wanted to take care of this before we leave for the US, but we might just have to wait.

I came home so completely fried from the effort of garnering information that I just got straight into bed.

Just writing about it, makes my head hurt....

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...

I'm going through a similar dilemma now. I recently discovered that Cellcom had put us on these very expensive plans starting back in April which greatly inflated our bills. I called to change that and they said we committed to 18 months on those plans! No way! They're looking now for documentation that we actually signed up so I still don't know how this will be resolved.

We need to buy a new cell phone also and I found everything Cellcom offered was much more than I want to pay. I also may want to bring in an unlocked phone from the U.S., but like you don't understand the technicalities.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide to go with.


Anonymous said...

How much do you use your cell phone, RivkA? I don't know about in Israel but in the USA we can pay for minutes "as you go" on some phones. We don't have that kind but I'm always tempted. We have one cell phone for the family... whoever goes out at night or is traveling out-of-town or whatever... takes the phone with them in case of an emergency. But that's all we use our phone for, so as you can see I'm so conneseur (sp?) on the subject. I guess it would matter on how much you use your phone. If you use it alot, you would want a good phone & very good reception. If you don't use it alot, then perhaps less quality & not-so-hot reception wouldn't be such a pain in the rear. Good luck with whatever you decide. Love ya~ Andrea

Anonymous said...

RivkA, our family uses ORANGE, and the reception in our area is much better compared with most others, currently.
i can't tell you about deals b/c
*the kids and i are infrequent users
*our deal was negotiated through NDS.

good luck, and whoever you choose - make sure you get their promises in writing ;-) !!!


arnie draiman said...

we switched from pelephone to orange after having been with pelephone for 7 years. so far, orange is good. (three months).

who knows.... if you want, i can give you the number of the orange guy who is most helpful.

michele said...

Arnie, we, too, must reassess our cell provider. pls. give me the name of the friendly guy at orange. thanks very much. michele

Anonymous said...

We had Meers a number of years ago and the reception was so bad we just stopped using that phone.

CV Katamon

Marion said...

Cellcom has always been the least customer friendly. Even my office moved from Cellcom to Orange! Pay as you go (Talkman) is not worth it; over a shekel a minute. Right now we have a semi-decent plan on our phones (Orange), though even those recently went up. And yes, there too they will tell you that even though it's the "same" plan it's a different price or terms because of when you got the phone/signed up. Sigh. I wish I could just buy x # of minutes per month like I had in Toronto...

Ilana said...

We also have Orange through NDS. Reception is fine, no problems at all. We get better service than average because it's a company plan. But in general, I bet their service is no worse than the others. They have also overcharged us, but I get the impression that's par for the course and you have to watch all the companies.

Leah Goodman said...

funny, I'm waiting for my Pelephone contract to run out so I can join my husband's Orange plan at NDS...

I feel so much like one of the crowd.

tafka pp said...

I've been "Trapped" by Cellcom for almost a decade now. In fact- I might even start a "Kacha Ze Kshe Lo Ohavim" blog- you're welcome to be a guest contributor!

I was thinking about moving to Pelephone, simply because I really love their new commercials with the cute sheep :-)

But the truth is, I, like you, don't fancy the hassle and headaches. And the companies rely on our apathy in the knowledge that they can keep screwing us...

Anonymous said...

If you are anyway going to the US, it is cheaper to bring unlocked phones from there. Very much cheaper, if you buy them second hand on eBay.

The downside is that most models you buy in the US will not come with Hebrew language support. If you SMS here with the natives (in my case, including my kids) that can be a problem.

mikimi said...

for most of my dealings with Cellcom, I ask my daughter's help.
Boruch HaShem she does help.

Anonymous said...

I'm an orange user for about 5 years. when i first signed up I bought new basic nokia unlocked 900/1800 gsm phones on ebay and to my pleasant surprise I can receive hebrew texts on my phone, but I can't send hebrew texts.

I have found that my plan with orange has risen steadily almost every year. we are very VERY light users and just have 2 phones for me and DH to communicate with each other. 5 yrs ago we started with a family shabbat plan that cost 13 shekel per phone per month which included 100 free minutes to each other and 60 night minutes to any orange phone. we never went over our alloted 100 minutes and would use the orange night minutes to check voice mail. so we were basically paying 26 shek/month for our phones. making other calls was like 63 agurot a minute.

Anyway, our prices have steadily increased so now we pay 24 shekel/month per phone for the same 100 minutes in the family plan but i think they raised it to 100 free night orange minutes. other calls now cost 78 agurot a minute i think. i'm not complaining since i know its still bupkis - our bill is about 50 shek/month but still - our plan has doubled in cost over the past 5 years with little improvements.

i heard that cellcom offers a cheap plan to orange "defectors" so i may look into that.

Ahuva said...

We switched recently from Orange to Pelephone. I can't put my finger on why but for some reason, I liked Orange better. Their service was excellent and their prices were great (we had a great plan then) and I really had no complaints. I have no complaints about Pelephone either but for some reason, it doesn't give me the warm fuzzy feeling that Orange does.

Does this whole country work in NDS? My SIL does and she got phones for the whole family.

Batya said...

Don't buy phones from the states, added complications.
Ask each Israeli company to come up with the best family deal for transfer of contract. Don't get super fancy phones. I don't use all the stuff; it was a total and utter waste of money.
Let the companies run after you.