I had an $11 mobile phone plan that my mum never had to pay extra money for my bill each month except for the $5 caller-id charge. It was an old plan from M1 services.
Every month, I saw my friends or my elder brother having exploded bills, but I restricted myself so well that I maintained a clean sheet record; I never chatted long on the phone even with babes. It was my pride and certainly the certificate to my sensibility to show that I was a thinking person with good self control.
It was until my army life as a permanent staff in my unit after my driving course and ROC trip, I could never redress for my guilt. I was quite depressed over the extra charges for my overused amount of airtime. It was unfair for me because most of the calls were for the army’s matters and army was not paying for my excess charges. I was not even working outside as a businessman to earn big money and why would I need to use the phone so often other than SMSing with friends?
Maybe it would be a different story if I was not posted to my current unit – an institute; a combat unit would not require so many phone calls I supposed. So frequently, I was thinking how the army would function without mobile phones; life went on in the past till now and things were still going smooth.
So many shits had caused my phone bill explosion – “Clients” calling my phone directly instead of my office phone maybe because they knew I would do my best to serve; colleagues asking for my location when they obviously knew I did not like to hide around to “eat snake”; colleagues asking me to call others; colleagues borrowing phone from me as their batteries were low; and other ridiculous things.
Even if someone else was to pay for my bills, I would not take it low-lying as my own integrity for clean sheet was relegated.
After hesitating for so long, I had decided to sign up for a new plan. The problem was that I wanted to change my line only after I ORDed so that I would not be receiving any unwanted calls from the few mad people from my unit or my clients who did not know I was already released from hell; however, the recent phone bill explosion threatened me to do it immediately so that my mum needed not pay more than double for my bill each month.
The reason for choosing Starhub was that their outgoing calls were charged by seconds. Since I usually would use it for short enquiries, I could have saved a lot from it. I had considered Singtel for the less lagging and higher reception coverage but never for M1 because of the latency in SMSing and sometimes my friends did not even receive my SMSes.
Since Anqi was working at the Starhub Centre for corporate plans, I had decided to go to her directly. I had checked up with the telephone operators some weeks ago and that I could get Powervalue100 plan for around $20 with 100 minutes outgoing airtime and 1000 free SMSes. I had decided on Sony Ericsson’s 750I for its camera even though I would only need a phone mostly for calling and SMSing.
I went to find her on Thursday night and was greatly disappointed. Firstly, she told me I could only get 500 free SMSes for the plan unless I could produce a student card from anyone and that this batch’s 750Is were always giving problems. She could have told me earlier a week ago when we were out together.
Anyway, I decided to stick to the plan and maybe, tried to get help from my friends to get a student card. As for the phone, I changed to Nokia 6230I since N6230 was my previously targeted phone, even though now that the newer version N6230I was already out for quite long already. Nokia phones were not as good as other brands’ ones nowadays but the battery life was still one of the best and since I was used to all the navigation, and being cheaper, I supposed I had made a good choice.
I spent so much time to separate those more commonly used contact numbers between my SIM card and 3120 so that I could transfer them over to the new SIM card. My plan was to stick to 3120 first since I could not bring the 6230I to camp. Since the older line would be terminated soon, I left it on the new phone without the excess contacts.
Since today was a Saturday, the operating hours would be from 9am to 2pm but my mum had left home at 9 plus before I could wake up. I called the M1 line 68438333 to try to terminate the line but I could not do it without my mum by my side as it was under her name. Since I did not want to miss the outing with Peh and the rest at Marina Square KTV, I called my mum who reluctant to do it on her own due to poor communication skill, but she did it in the end.
In the meantime, I called Starhub to check for my plan. The lady told me I could not use the Student plan for another extra free 500 SMSes as I was using corporate plan. Then, after checking out, she told me I could even do it using my 11B instead of a student card. However, I had to wait on as my details were not in their system yet.
I waited for quite some time and called her to find out the status since she did not call me back. She told me she was on phone and was going to call soon. Then, she told me the operator had told her about auto-roaming stuffs.
So, I had to call them back and they could only tell me the status when I could provide them with my mum’s details, but not to amend anything. She told me we might have to cancel any auto-roaming with another service provider – Singtel or Starhub. I asked if my line could be only terminated at end of the day and she told me my mum had to do it personally herself again to get it done since it was already terminated. My mum called and she was told that it could not be done.
The reason for continuing with my old line till end of the day was to finish the excess SMSes to use them to inform my friends of the change of number. Out of the mess, I decided not to let myself be bothered with M1 anymore; so, I started mass SMSing my contacts with my new line – a waste of SMS.
I was not that lazy that I did not want to SMS my friends but some of them were at overseas, especially for the army friends who might be at Taiwan now for exercise. I spent the whole journey from Tanjong Pagar to Marina Square doing the SMSing as I was afraid my friends would contact me through the terminated line soon.