And the results aren’t pretty for the U.S. Consumerist just posted a great letter from his mother, who after using a simple pay-as-you-go Vodaphone cell phone plan in Ireland tried to find a similar arrangement in the U.S. and was floored by our complex and unfriendly plans. I had the same experience after spending time in New Zealand in 2000, using a dead-simple pay-as-you-go plan, and then being surprised that there was no comparable service in the states when I returned. It doesn’t sound like much has changed in six years.
Yesterday, I trotted off to the Mall to “buy” a USA cell phone. My son had told me the closest I would find to Vodaphone was either T-Mobile, or Virgin mobile. There were at least 2 kiosk for every vendor, and that didn’t count the sections at Best Buy, Walmart, and Targets. I took a brief glance at Cingular, but minute charges, daily access fees, unlimited calls to other cingular mobiles, I was confused before I even talked to someone. Verizon was even worse, although affiliated with Vodaphone, the plans, and charges were nothing like what I had experienced in Ireland, and having worked for multiple incarnations of this company for 30 years I was not about to additionally line their pockets when they were delining mine with raised retiree copays, and decreased benefits.