Cell Phones, Cell Phones, Who To Use?
Hello for 7-2002
By: Mike Lipshultz

Cell Phones, Cell Phones, Who To Use?

Recently a local business went cell phone shopping, and BizNet tagged along (without the cell phone companies knowing) to see what the experience was like.

It demonstrated that shopping for the right cell phone service provider is not an easy thing.  Not even when you know what you want and what you need.

The Problem:

This company had just relocated to the Tri State area (California, Nevada, Arizona).  They had the phones with them that they used in Los Angeles.  But the phones were a Los Angeles number, so calling them from the new office was a long distance call. The service provider, AT&T, could not provide phones with a local number.  Also the phones were always in ROAM mode so they did not function at their best.

What Was Wanted:

The company wanted to supplement (as in add to) their current cell phones.  They liked the AT&T service and planned on keeping the local L.A. numbers for friends and family to call on.  They needed other phones with local numbers.  And that would work where the AT&T phones would not.

The Local Players:

The companies offering service in the general area were:

Thinning the list down....


And others had great rate plans.  Tons of minutes for only $40.00 per month, but no roaming, or roaming at $0.50 per minute or more, and Roaming at No charge was needed, in addition to no long distance charges.


No local number and the service was not great in the bulk of the area that the phones would be used.  (this was determined by talking to local folks using Sprint)


Basically the same as Sprint.  But the radio part was said to work great.  It is known that Nextel is starting to gear-up for a push into the area but service is still lacking.


It was a possibility

Citizens Mohave Cellular.

It was also in the running.

Cellular One.

This was another contender.

How it worked out.

We can't really say that it has worked out.  As of this date no decision has been made, but those companies in the running, don't always run a good race.

What happened?

We will start with Cellular One, because they are winning the race....

The local sales rep stopped by the office and with a small amount of paperwork, and no fuss or muss gave out a loaner phone.  Now AT&T and Cellular One are basically the same company, in the fact that for roaming they share the same network.  So the companyís current phones were already running on the Cellular One Network.  But, a Cellular One phone would have a local phone number, solving the long distance problem.  Also the local rep felt that their phone would not have the roaming problems the AT&T phones were having.   It should be noted that the local rep's efforts to get us as customers was showing.

Next we move to Cingular.

They are stuck in the starting blocks... Or, more like they ran the wrong way as they could not locate a credit report on the company (The perspective customer); they ended it there.  The company was told that a deposit would be needed to open an account (fair enough, but the company did not want to open an account without testing the service).  Cingular was given a list of local trade references etc, but did not pursue the matter.  In fact, the sales person just let the whole thing fade away.  As the perspective customer did not want to sign a contract and put out a deposit, just to try the phone for a day or so...then get stuck if the service was not right for them, Cingular was now out of the running.

Citizens Mohave Cellular.

Now this looked like a good contender.  The company just started to offer plans with no roaming charges, and a local phone number would be given out.  The sales rep worked hard to get a test phone into the customerís hands, but... Bingo, that credit thing.   Again, deposit and signing a contract, just to try the service for a day or so.  And again, no one willing to call the local trade references, or try getting a credit report using the companies tax ID number.  Just a total failure to understand this company was new in this State, so there would be little reference in credit files on them in this State (if anything).  That is why local trade references were provided.  So, Citizens Mohave Cellular was dead in the water.  Simply because the powers that be did not have the ability to work with the idea of letting the customer see if the service worked for them, before signing a contract and putting up a deposit.  The customer offered a credit card to secure the test phone, but was told a service contract would have to be signed.

The winner is?????????

By default it looks like Cellular One will get the account.  But we will see.  BizNet will be contacting Citizens Mohave Cellular and Cingular to see if things change.

A closing note:

Remember, no one cell company is better then the rest.  The one that works for you is the best one for you.  You need to look at your usage, and how that company meets your needs.  In the above case, who knows, maybe Citizens Mohave Cellular or Cingular, would have performed better then Cellular One, but we may never know.

We will let you know the outcome next month.

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Last modified: November 08, 2002