Instead of paying $125 for a week of renting a pre-setup "Orange" subscribed cell phone as I have done in the past when I left the US, I decided to try doing the local thing this time. Once arriving in Germany, it took me a few hours but I was able to find an unlocked Nokia phone (a very very cheapo one without bluetooth or anything else) for 40 Euros -- I think it may have been used as a demo, but its hard to know with the language barrier and to be honest I didn't care a bit.
Then I puchased a SIM -- badly, since the one I bought connected me to a company that of course only speaks German so I had no idea how to top it up. I swapped it for one from O2 -- their "loop" card, but the rates are insane. Travelling across Europe and UK is is still roaming in the way the US was in the early 1990's. The cost of using this is crazy and any payments you make won't hold more than 30 days.
Top that off within T-Mobile, who provide good service I guess, but who are the biggest rip-off provider of wireless ever. I purchased a Wireless "30 Day" account in Germany for a decent price thinking I'd also have it in the UK. Nope. It won't work in the UK. Same company, but I have to pay for an entirely different set of access if I want to use it here.
It isn't that they don't have the account data -- they've kept my credit card handy for me to easily charge this new fee, they just aren't interested in carrying over the credit.
T-Mobile has lost me as a potential customer even as they're trying to increase presence in the US. A shame, because I was interested in their new Android based phone.
The more I try to do business here, the more I remember reading Kafka.
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