As my obsession with mobile continues – the new frontier – I’ve made the decision to take out a second mobile phone contract. But with a twist. I don’t plan to make (or receive) a single call on handset number two. Instead, it will be used for data only (Web browsing, third-party Internet-connected apps and email).
Handset and contract number one will remain my trusty Nokia E71, with its fantastic physical QWERTY keyboard, superb voice call quality and reception, and huge battery life (3-4 days at a stretch). This will be my all rounder: voice, sms, email, BBC iPlayer, live radio streaming and occasional web.
Contract number two will power my shiny new HTC Magic, which runs Google’s Android OS. The phone is a Vodafone exclusive here in the UK but I picked one up on eBay – somebody’s unwanted upgrade – and the great thing about most Vodafone contract phones, as I’ve discovered, is that they come unlocked so that you can use them on any compatible network. In this case, I’ve signed up to a second contract with UK carrier 3.
Why choose 3?
The answer lies in their new “SIM Zero”, SIM-only 30 day rolling contract. Basically, it costs nothing per-month with no inclusive calls or texts – these are charged separately at fixed rates – but does allow you to pick from any of the available add-ons, in this case 1GB of mobile Internet (data) for just £5 per month. It will also be the SIM card that I’ll use most often when I’m sent a new phone to review.
The end result is that my all rounder, the Nokia E71 is costing me about £20 per month to run with an inclusive bundle of voice minutes, texts, free skype-to-skype, and 1GB of data. And my second handset – let’s call it my touch screen mini Internet tablet, the Android-powered HTC Magic – is costing me £5 per month to keep the lights on.
I know what you’re thinking, why not just carry one handset and save some money in the process. It comes down, in part, to the compromises of both devices. The Nokia E71 is super reliable – battery wise and reception – and has a keyboard I much prefer. The HTC Magic on the other hand has a superior web browser and much better over-the-air syncing with Google’s apps. And there’s the growing library of really cool third-party Internet-enabled applications and my general interest in Android as an up and coming mobile OS.
Besides, two or more mobile devices is just how I like to roll.