I’m not a big cell phone person. I’m tethered to a computer most of the day and I have an iPad that use all the time so I mostly use those two things to communicate with people. I still have my first pay-as-you-go Nokia phone from 2008 and that was my only cell phone for many years. It wasn’t until 2014 that I got a smart phone and even then I didn’t set it up as a phone for years.

That 2014 phone was an Amazon Fire phone. For a brief year or two Amazon got into the phone business with their own Android based operating system. I bought my Fire phone in December of 2014 and I only bought it because it went on sale and I wanted to use it as a music player and camera. I was already a user of Amazon Prime and when I bought the phone for $250 it also added on a year of Prime which cost about $100. For me that was like getting a $150 camera and music player.

After Amazon left the phone business in 2015 I couldn’t find any new apps for my phone. That was okay though as I continues to take photos with it and use it as my primary portable music player. Though it still had no SIM card in it and wasn’t a phone. There were a couple of occasions when I tried to get one of those newer pay-as-you-go services that would sell me a SIM card and service but none of them were compatible.

It wasn’t until 2019 when I found a company called Ting that worked with my phone. It was a little annoying in that I had to pay for calls and texts but since I didn’t make many my bill was usually around $15 a month. It would get up to $25 a month on occasion. It was really an in case of emergency phone.

Cut to the beginning of September of 2021 and I get an e-mail from Ting that tells me my phone will no longer be able to get on the network. It won’t work come October of 2021. I had to get a new phone. Having just spent around $1800 on a new computer just the week before this news could have come at a better time.

The first thing I did was look at the phones Ting had for sale on their website. Since my computer and tablet are both made by Apple I wanted some sort of iPhone but I certainly didn’t have $1000 to drop on one. No thank you. But it turns out Apple has a budget phone. It’s the iPhoneSE. It’s not the latest and greatest but I don’t need that anyway. Instead of being $1000 it’s $400.

I was also a little tired of my monthly bill varying every month. Recently I have been getting a lot of spam texts. Someone else obviously used my phone number when she signed up for something so that she wouldn’t get the spam. The idea that I had to pay money for those was bothering me.

My father and sister both use TracPhone and said their iPhoneSEs were cheaper than $400 so I decided to check them out. Turns out they were selling the phone for $200 as long as you got a plan with them. I picked the $200 12 month plan of 12gigs of data a month plus unlimited calls and texts. Spam wouldn’t bother me then. That break down to $16.66 a month with no $25 month surprises. I don’t plan to use much data.

I ordered the phone and it got here in a couple of days. My main concern was transferring my old number to my new phone. I went to the activate tab on TracPhone’s website as they said and started the transfer process. I ran into a wall right away as I had to pick my carrier and they didn’t have Ting on their list. I had to call their number and get a human.

I got woman and she asked me if I set up my phone already. Since transferring the number was step one on the website I didn’t. I took a few minutes and set it up as I was on the land line with the women. Then she asked if I had the Ting account number and I was able to find that on an e-mail. Next she asked me for the pin number. I had no idea I even had a pin number for that phone. I looked in my book where I write down such things and I could find one.

That made woman number one have to pass me onto woman number two. When she got on the line she said that we were going to have to call Ting to verify that I was me. So she got woman number three, from Ting, on the phone. Eventually woman number three sent me an e-mail with a number that I could verify.

The woman form Ting also asked me why I was leaving. I said, “My phone will no longer work on your network and they have cheaper phones and plans.” She said, “Oh” in response. Clearly that was a fine reason. Woman number two told me that the switchover should happen by 5:33 and they’ll give me a confirmation call at 6:00. But I could try the phone before then because the switch could happen early. It didn’t.

When woman number four called at 6:00 my phone still couldn’t make or receive calls. After about ten minutes of her doing stuff on her end and me testing things out on mine everything worked. I could make and receive calls and texts and log onto the internet. Everything was good to go.

Overall the process was fairly painless. I had to spend an hour or so on the phone that I didn’t really want to but all four women were nice and helpful. I’ve got a new phone now and even though I don’t think it’ll make a huge impact on my life I don’t feel like I’m frozen in time anymore. Having a smart phone for over five years that I couldn’t add any new apps to is a weird experience in this day and age. A day and age that I’ve just joined.