Verizon's Voyager is a Sinking Ship

It might be wise to preface this post by saying that it's a doozy. It's long, it's a huge rant, and it's nerdy. For that I blame a considerable amount of frustration, as well as an affinity to reading a lot of tech-related blogs lately. You've been warned. Technology doesn't seem to be working in my favor at the moment. In addition to my aforementioned shitty internet connection, I've pretty much declared war on my cell phone. I remember when I got my LG Voyager last July that Jenn asked if I would do a review of the thing. I said sure, but never ended up writing it, in part because I didn't know how to do a review at the time, and also in part because I suspected that a better review would be done after a solid amount of time spent with said phone. I made that second reason up, but who could blame me since I've now had the thing for over a year?

A year ago, my review would have gone something like this: The LG Voyager is a lot like my previous phone, the original LG "The V", but with cheaper quality plastic, a touch screen, and a higher-resolution camera. It's otherwise unremarkable.

And today, my review goes something like this: The Voyager is an okay phone whose MSRP is inflated well beyond its actual worth. It is mediocre in every possible way, and the only reason to really use it is for its qwerty keyboard, which is actually quite comfortable for typing. It has a number of known bugs that never seem to be remedied, including--but not limited to--powering off when clicking 'send' on a text message, powering off for no apparent reason, an unresponsive touch screen, a responsive touch screen that clicks in places a centimeter or four away from where your finger actually touches the screen, and for repeatedly pocket dialing and not logging the calls in the phone's memory. For all the hype initially surrounding this phone, it's a profound disappointment.

What has become an even more profound disappointment for me is Verizon. Up to now, I've been content with their service because my phone gets reception just about everywhere. My initial reason for using Verizon was that my whole family used them as well, so it only made sense to use the same network.

I've never been terribly impressed by their customer service, however, and I'm not a huge fan of their phone software, which only ever ends up making the interface look uglier with each subsequent change. However, I'm still under contract with them and also, unfortunately at this point, like that I get such strong service everywhere I go.

I've made no secret about my desire to get an iPhone, and despite all the current drama surrounding them, I still want one. Of course, if there's anyone I like less than Verizon right now, it's AT&T. The feelings I harbor against AT&T are a combination of both their current lousy reputation for having actually fewer bars in more places as well as their history of being a giant blood-sucking monopoly. Then again, considering currently do business with the largest cell phone company in the country, perhaps that last point is moot.

I went to the Verizon store today to voice my complaints regarding my phone, and while the guy behind the counter was checking everything out, I was informed that if I shelled out $50.00, I could get the exact same phone I have as a replacement (thanks to it being more than a year old now and despite my point that the problems I've had with my phone are not unheard of), which I quickly shot down by noting that paying money only to eventually end up having the same problems a few months down the line wasn't exactly an ideal solution. I also learned that I could extend my contract for another two years and "upgrade" to a new phone for $20.00, a notion I also shot down because I've become really suspicious of contracts at this point and hate being forced to do business with only one company.

During this exchange, I decided I'd inform the representative that what I really want is an iPhone, and had the man heard if Verizon would be carrying it come 2010. He proceeded to talk about the much-rumored Apple Tablet, and also expounded on why Verizon hadn't initially snagged the iPhone for its own line. He gave me the following reasons:

  • Apple refused to let Verizon put their own label on the phone
  • Apple uses its own iTunes, so Verizon's own music download center would see a loss in profits
  • Verizon wasn't keen on the data plan proposed by Apple
  • Verizon didn't like that troubleshooting could only be done at the Apple store, and not at any Verizon store locations

The only thing I could think was, WOW, what a huge, huge, mistake for Verizon. The fact that the iPhone does not have AT&T's symbol on it has done nothing to lessen the sheer volume of sales on the device. Also, I've been a Verizon customer for more than three years now (amazingly, I've only been a cell phone user for that long) and I have never once, and never will, download any music from Verizon. Why? Because I download songs to my computer (via iTUnes and Amazon) and I don't need separate copies for my phone. And frankly, I don't even use my phone for an mp3 player in part because it really isn't that great a phone to do so and also in part because it doesn't have a standard headphone jack. Also, I believe that all data plans should be a flat rate for unlimited usage, an aspect I'm sure Verizon completely disagrees with me on.

In sum, I'm currently of the opinion that all cell phones should be open to any carrier of choice. Second, all cell phones should be free of contracts, which would serve to increase competition, demand consistently better service, and reduce the outrageous cost of the devices. I wouldn't mind paying full price for a device if it meant I got to use it how I saw fit instead of being forced to use it the way a carrier wants me to. Here's hoping!