Phone Follies

I’ve been kind of playing musical chairs over the past couple of months when it comes to cell phones.  The past week or so has been particularly frustrating and also somewhat comical.  The whole story starts back in February, during my birthday.  Let me see if I can tell you what all happened during that time.

My old cellphone was over 3 years old, and was quite outdated in the technology, so I really wanted a new phone.  Not only did I want one, but I needed one.  I could do a few things, Internet-wise, with my old phone, but very limited.  Because my businesses are Internet based, the Internet is a major part of my life, and I really wanted to have better access to the net than what I was able to do with my old phone.  One of the things I loved with my old Phone was that it was a dual-sim model, in other words that single cellular phone had two phone lines.  I had one line from Sun Cellular, which I primarily used for family and close friends.  For business, I used Globe Telecommunications.  Both lines were on the same phone, and could be used simultaneously.  It really gave me a lot of flexibility.

I'm loving my new connectivity!
I'm loving my new connectivity!

Back in February, a friend had shown me his Smartphone, a Samsung Model, which I really liked.  He showed me how he had full Internet Access and lots of cool features.  I decided right away that I wanted one.  Problem was, all of the Samsung Smartphones were single-sim only models.  I was disappointed, but my desire to have a Smartphone overrode my desire for two sims, so I broke down and told Feyma I wanted a Samsung Galaxy Y Smartphone for my birthday, which she bought me.  I fell in love with it immediately.  The absence of the second sim did cause me frustration, but I did my best to adjust.

Just a few weeks after I got the new Galaxy model, something happened… Samsung came out with a Dual SIM model of the same phone!  That was it, I had to have it!  I felt a bit bad that I had a brand new phone and was going to change again, but I gave the “old” new phone to my son, Aaron, and I got the new Samsung Galaxy Y Duos, Dual SIM phone.  I loved the old Galaxy Y so much, and was surprised when I found that the Dual SIM model had new features, and was frankly, much better than the old one.  I was even more in love.

My new Phone - Samsung Galaxy Y Duos
My new Phone - Samsung Galaxy Y Duos

One of the nice things that this phone has that my “old, old” phone did not have was WiFi coverage, so if I was around the house, or out in a coffee shop or somewhere with WiFi Internet, I could get on the Net, take care of my e-mail and such, and not have a single problem.  But, if I was away from WiFi, I still wanted Internet.  That is where the comedy of errors started, I suppose.

My first inclination was to try Sun Cellular for Internet Service on my phone.  When I went to their office I was told I had two choices:

  1. I could get fast broadband Internet on my phone, but could not call or text.  Huh?  It was a cellphone, and I certainly wanted to use it as a phone, so this just was not an option for me.
  2. If I wanted to call and text on my phone using Sun, I could only get what they called “slow Internet.”

Well, I decided to test the “slow internet” and see what I thought.  I subscribed to it for just 3 days to try it out.  After 3 minutes I already knew that I had no interest.  Not only was it slow, it was like pouring molasses on a cold winter day!  It was terrible.  Frankly, it was unusable.  Scratch that.

Next, I decided to try out the Internet on Globe, which I already had a SIM card for.  I subscribed to it for a few days to test it out.  After a minute or two, I found out that it did not work.  Nope, not a single byte or bit.  I could see that my phone was sending data out, but never receiving any data.  I thought it might be a bad SIM card, so I bought a new SIM card.  Did I get Internet on the new SIM?  Nope.. not a lick.  No Internet!  Scratch Globe.  I went to the Globe Center at the mall, and they were unable to help me at all, so I decided that it might be time to move on.

There was basically only one other Cellular choice left… Smart Communications.

So, I pulled out a Smart SIM that I already had, from a USB dongle that I used to use for temporary Internet access when needed.  Frustration went to a max.  Whenever I would issue commands to Smart to subscribe, or to do this that or the other… I would never get a reply.  I was really getting frustrated, and frankly I was getting pissed.  But, guess what happened…. I did nothing, and suddenly my Smart Mobile Internet just started working!  Oh, the joy I felt when I saw data start streaming in on my phone!  And, because I had done nothing, I’m not sure exactly why or how it started working, but I only know that it made me very happy when that data started trickling in!  To be honest, I should not say that data was trickling in, because it was actually quite fast!  Not quite as fast as if I had used my WiFi DSL network at home, but close to that speed, and plenty fast enough to give me a positive Internet experience.

So, now, I am really using the mobile connectivity!  Believe it or not, I probably handle at least 30% of my e-mails via my cellphone now, and I am enjoying the freedom that it gives me to take care of business on the go!

Mobile connectivity is liberating, especially for somebody like me who is really tethered to the net much of the day!  I feel like I’ve moved into the future!  And… I’m happy to be in the future!

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1354 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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  1. Cherly says

    My fiance bought me the Samsung Galaxy Y for my birthday in early February. I love this phone! I have had not issues with internet with this phone with Globe. I just buy a monthly data plan.

    For a smart phone that is supposed to be a “basic” android phone this phone has a lot of powerful features.

    • says

      Hi Cherly – Thanks for commenting. I really love that Samsung phone too, it’s my constant companion! Always gives me a link to the world. I agree, though it is labeled as a very basic smartphone.. it sure does everything I could want it to do!

  2. Mike Henebry says

    Yes, I prefer my smartphone (an Apple iphone) on si-fi to my laptop or netbook – both in the states and in Phils. In our Phils house, we have a Globe Superstick 3G plugged into our laptop which broadcasts wi-fi throughout our house. In the states I have ATT DSL and a wireless router. As I think that I had mentioned before, my smartphone also serves as an e-reader for Kindle, Nook and i-books, and as MP3 intertainment on trains, planes, etc. It is my constant companion and personal assistant.

    • says

      Hi Mike – I am not sure I could say that I prefer the smartphone to my computer, but it sure is a nice companion to the computer! It’s a great addition to my arsenal for operating my business!

  3. corjo says

    Hi Bob.
    Have you looked into a Tablet Smart are doing the Galaxy Tab at 2k a month for 15Gb,Oh God I should not have told you that your wife will have me banned.
    With the tab and a bluetooth you can make and recieve calls but Smart have disabled this so I use Skype and Fring.The bigger screen helps me with e-mail and its a great ebook reader as well.I find I rarley carry a laptop now.I have one of those little powerbank gizmos to charge from and am online 24/7. Not so much a cyber babe more a cyber Lolo.
    Only trouble is the kids they are putting up resonable arguments for having one each.Papa it would be so good for research and for taking notes in uni.I will proabley give in.But lesson learned I will never rave about my latest toy in fronth of the kids again.

    • says

      Hi corjo – Thanks for the tip, it sounds like you are really enjoying the tablet!

      For me, personally, I have no interest in a tablet, at least at this time. I am happy with my computer and phone combo. A table would be too big for me to carry around with me, would not fit in my pocket, etc. So, at least at this time, what I have fits my needs perfectly.

  4. John Miele says

    Bob: A couple of weeks ago, when I was down in Indonesia, my colleague had a Samsung Galaxy Note… Really cool little phone / tablet. Smaller than an Ipad, but bigger than an Iphone. I’m seriously thinking of getting one.

    I’ve had huge battery problems with the Iphone, though I love the software. I like the Blackberry email and easy roaming, but the rest was not so good. I have a Nokia smart phone I use now, but the software is absolute garbage (Most applications froze up with Globe, and now I’ve dropped it a few times, so it’s worse).

    Right now, I’m dragging around both the Iphone and Nokia, but I’m getting rid of them both soon… Probably in the next two months. I’ve found that Hong Kong is the cheapest place to buy, and will probably pick one up there (The note is running around $200 cheaper there… $500 give or take)

    I’d actually love to dump laptop, phone, and Ipod and just go with Ipad, and Ipad is great for most things, but I have applications that I use for work that simply do not work well on Ipad, so I will remain chained to my laptop for now, at least.

    • says

      Hi John – I have seen the Samsung Galaxy Note, and I like it a lot. It has a couple of downsides for me, though:

      1. I still feel that it’s a big large for my preference.
      2. No dual-sim model, which is important to me.

      Other than that, I’d probably get one.

      I really can’t stand Nokia phones. I used to use Nokia, but had some bad luck with them, and have sworn that I’d never buy one again! Ha ha…

  5. PapaDuck says

    Happy to see you got your internet situation straightened up. I will have a phone with a dual sim too with both US/Philippine number so will be able to use if i need to go to the US for any reason. Take care and have a nice day.

  6. Jim Hannah says

    Ha, nothing’s ever easy is it? While we were there I found this Smart Buddy thing to be quite effective, though if you have data switched on it ripped through a couple of hundred pesos of load in just a few hours. Then I found that you can text “unli 50” to a number (212 I think) and you get unimited data for 24 hours for fifty pesos. I’m sure there’s also other packages available that would give you longer periods too. Only thing was, you had to remember to text the unli 50 again by the expiry time, or your load would all be ripped through again. As long as you were in 3G coverage, the data transfer speeds were quite good, and I watched a lot of youtube very successfully. We also got one of those Smart Bro dongle things to use with the iBook, but that was so frustratingly slow, 3G or not, that we just gave up on it after a while.

    Some of the places that sell sim cards don’t seem to know what a micro sim is yet though (iphone 4s uses those), and a couple of them even offered to scissor down a standard sim for us. I didn’t let them try that since the contacts seemed to be in different places and I don’t think it would work. Goodness knows what will happen when nano sims come in the next year or so.

    Dual Sim sounds really useful actually, I remember you talking about that some time ago. Pity it’s so rare. It was interesting to see that Nokia phones are still quite popular in the Philippines…here in Oz I don’t know anyone who has one of those now.

    Anyway, glad to hear that you have a setup that works for you right now; I tend to stick with what I’ve got when it does what I want, because changing equipment is always ten times more frustrating than you think it will be. (Just bought a new top of the range mac desktop, only to find that there are no drivers for my quite expensive scanner or printer just three years old that will work with it).

    • says

      Hi Jim – That is very true that Smart (and the other companies too) will eat up your load quickly if you don’t take a subscription to the “all in” data plans. You can actually buy those packages from one hour up to 30 days! 30 days with unlimited data is P999 if you buy the package. Or, you can get 30 days for as low as P300, but with only 250 Mb of data, once you use the 250 Mb your plan is over. They have a P500 plan too, I think it has 500 Mb or so of data. They do offer some good plans, I consider P999 for unlimited data for 30 days to be a good deal. And, you’re right, the 3G speeds are very fast too, I am quite happy with the mobile speeds.

  7. Bob New York says

    Good luck with your new cell phone Bob. I realize that for anyone that needs one for business it is kind of a necessity. For me it still remains an option I can easily do without. On my last visit to Philippines, I bought my very first Cell Phone and had friends there show me how to use it while I was there. At least from that experience I can easily understand what is being discussed in articles like this one Bob. Really amazing all of the things Cell Phones can do now.

    • says

      Hi Bob – Yep, I don’t know how I’d make it without my cellphone. Imagine.. both the Internet and the Cellphone are big parts of my daily life, I can’t imaging being able to live without either of them. Yet, both are only about 20 years old, they’ve been around longer, but not really in “general use” by the “regular people.” Life has sure changed in the past couple of decades!

  8. Mark G. says

    I love Samsung phones Bob and my last three phones have been Samsung; a Blackjack, Blackjack ll and now a Jack. I used a Palm Treo750 for a couple of years and before that I had an HP ipaq. Because I use the phones for business these have all been Windows OS phones (even the Treo). Seamless compatibility with my PCs and laptops, familiar programs and full internet access. It makes me laugh to see Apple and Google toot their own horns like they invented touchscreens and internet access. I had full online access in 2002 with the touchscreen ipaq, with lots of secondary programs available from other publishers. If Microsoft had been more savvy they would have brought out a consumer version years ago. When I’m in the Phils I use a little dual sim Nokia I picked up cheap just for texting and calls. I use my Samsung on wifi for everything else. (Why is it the 3rd world has more free wifi spots than the US? Rhetorical question cha-ching $$) Enjoy your new Samsung you’ll never go back to just an ordinary phone again.

    • says

      Hi Mark – My last 3 cellphones (except for a one month mistake) have been Samsung too, and it will take a lot for me to switch to a different brand. They really make a nice phone.

      I tried a Windows Phone one time, and didn’t like it. It was a Palm Pilot, but I don’t remember the model number on that one. I’m pretty happy with Android.

  9. says

    I use an android phone as well. I have three different email accounts (for the various parts of my work and home life). It has really changed the way that I work. Much of what I do would be so much more challenging if I did not have it.

    • says

      Hi Tom nice to hear from you. I really know what you mean having the android phone has really liberated me from my computer. It’s really a great feeling!

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