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The Continuing Sprint PPC-6700 Tax April 17, 2008

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in PPC-6700.
Tags: ,

I promise to you, dear reader, to stop posting blog entries complaining about my crappy, less-than-desirable phone, the now infamous PPC-6700, manufactured by Audiovox, and sold through Sprint. I promise to do this soon.

No More Crappy Phones

Real soon now.

I promise.


How We Got Here
About 18 months ago, I purchased a brand-new PPC-6700 from a local retailer. The cost was $300, but I was able to use points from my credit card for the purchase. At the time, it seemed like a reasonable deal, because this phone had it all: Windows Mobile 5.0, all the Windows Mobile Pocket apps (Pocket IE, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Blue-Screen-of-Death…), a slide-out keyboard, a touch-screen, Wi-Fi, and 3G/EVDO connectivity. What else could you want in a phone?

I now know the answer. The “what else” you could desire from a phone is that, first and foremost, it be a decent phone. This phone excels at one thing: text messaging to other phones.

That’s it.

The Latest
Yesterday, I needed to go to the nearest Sprint store to see about getting service on my youngest son’s LG Rumor. This is the perfect phone for many teens, because it’s great for phone-to-phone messaging, has a decent built-in camera, is relatively small, and most importantly, it’s cheap.

Did I say “cheap”? Well, it is… if you’re a new customer, or if you’ve owned your current phone for a sufficient length of time.

You see, when you buy a phone, even a ridiculously overpriced silver turd device like the PPC-6700, you aren’t really paying for the entire cost of the phone. That’s right, Virginia, it’s not just the iPhone that’s expensive. All phones are expensive. Accordingly, when you buy a phone that’s “free” or maybe “cheap,” what’s really going on is that the company is subsidizing the actual cost of the phone with some of the profit that they’re get from you over the next two years.

As a result, if you want to upgrade to a newer phone before the “subsidy period” has elapsed, you’ll be charged a ridiculously high price to help defer the real cost of the phone you’re upgrading from. You’ll note that I said “from.” The cost of the phone you’re upgrading “to” is subsidized by the subsequent subscription after you activate the new phone.

Now, none of the information in the above paragraph is really news to anyone who’s bought a phone and paid any attention to the underlying revenue models of the companies involved. So why am I ranting, yet again, about my PPC-6700?

I’m ranting because, in addition to the $300 price of the phone when I bought it (which was already discounted down from $499), the continuing cost of that phone is some portion of my subscription fee for the past 18 months. How much? Well, for me to switch to even the cheapest phone that Sprint currently “sells,” I would have to pay $94, and that’s the cost now, 18 months into owning this phone.

The Final Cost
In other words, the real cost of my PPC-6700 is $499 + $94 + the-subsidized-cost-of-18.5-months-of-PPC-6700-hell. Given that my upgrade cycle ends on September 1, at $94 for five and a half months, the approximate cost of 18.5 months of owning this phone would be over $300.

All told, that approximates $900 for this phone, not including the portion of my plan that doesn’t subsidize this nightmare-in-plastic. For this price, I could upgrade to the LG Rumor that my son has, which I determined yesterday (by actually using it) is superior to the PPC-6700 as a phone and as a text-messaging device, and then go buy an iTouch as my ultra-mobile, WiFi-connected computer and portable media device.

Who knows? By September, I may be able to stop blogging about how horrible my phone is.



1. Tiffany Taylor - April 17, 2008

Divide your salary into an hourly rate. Now, calculate the value of the time you’ve spend blogging about your horrible phone, and add to that the value of the time you’ve spent complaining to friends and family about the phone, thinking nasty thoughts about the phone, and otherwise devoting your brain power to the phone. Also figure out how many more negative hours (and therefore, dollars) you’ll devote to the phone by September.

Is it worth it? I don’t think so. Why not buy yourself an LG Rumor (or some other equally good phone) now, donate your PPC-6700 to charity and take a tax deduction, and free up all those hours and brain cycles you’re currently devoting to unhappiness and irritation?

Yes, it will cost you money right now. But the new phone would immediately pay for itself, looking at the larger picture of your daily satisfaction. In this case, it seems to me that the intangible benefits will hugely outweigh the dollars spent.

2. Tim - April 17, 2008

As my youngest son would say, “SNAP!” You have me there, game… set… match.

Wow… now I really feel like a dork! – Tim

3. Allison - April 17, 2008

Wow, Tiffany is good.

If I may, I’d like to add that the stress of this phone is probably negatively impacting your health too. As I type this, and as you brew about your phone, your heart is probably working a little too hard, your blood pressure is probably a little too high, and who knows what else is happening in there. I’m with Tiffany, buy yourself a new phone and save yourself from a stroke or a heart attack.

I am extremely frugal, so I can understand why this would be a difficult step to take. Maybe it would help to know that for months when people do research before buying this phone, they might stumble upon this post and think twice before doing so. Basically, you have done a good public service.

4. Kevin - April 17, 2008

If you have insurance on it, is there any chance your 6700 could break? I had a 6700 which broke and was replaced by the superior (read: slightly less sucky) 6800 from HTC. Perhaps that could ease your pain until September without blowing as much cash. Plus you’ll actually get to USE that normally useless insurance. Of course I have a different carrier, so you may want to check up on all that first…

5. Tim - April 17, 2008


Actually, my stress-o-meter stays pretty low. I’m about to head over to the gym, which is one of my mechanisms for dealing with such things.

Public service? Are you suggesting that I have “fallen on the grenade” for someone? 😀


There isn’t insurance on this phone. Even so, I have, on many occasions, considered that it would make a much better weapon than a phone. I’m laughing about “slightly less sucky” WRT the 6800.

For me, the most telling moments with my son’s LG Rumor were: a) sitting in the sunlight, realizing I could easily read the screen on his phone and wasn’t able to read anything on mine; and b) creating a text message from his phone, and immediately seeing the option for “Email Address” right below “Cell Phone Number.” I confirmed that I could send text messages to email addresses (thereby using Sprint’s SMS/Email gateway) transparently, in sharp contrast to the 6700. From what I have seen, this is a WM artifact, and likely to be present in those devices regardless of who makes the phone or which carrier you use. 😦 – Tim

6. tiffanytaylor - April 17, 2008

I wasn’t trying to make you feel like a dork; I only meant to provide some reasoning that might help you get past the mental hurdle of spending the money for a new phone sooner rather than later. I was trying to help and didn’t mean to sound critical.

7. Tim - April 17, 2008


I definitely wasn’t offended. You simply pointed out how my own actions bear witness to my own dorkiness! 😀

The larger issue, as you’ve perceived, is me getting past what Allison describes as “frugality,” and justifying the added cost. Your comment highlighted the costs that my little analysis hadn’t accounted for, so I may move in that direction, even if it means putting the “I’m a Dork, Get Over It” sign on my forehead.

Now I just have to figure out how to work this into the budget, in between the college tuition and teenage-football-player grocery bills. Your recommendation of Sam’s Club or Costco is looking more and more attractive all the time. (If only they had flat-iron steak…) – Tim

8. Mia - April 22, 2008

Life-line or Luxury

I agree with Tiffany and Allison. My own two-cents “You’re worth it!”

After all it isn’t as if your cellphone is something you just have and never actually use.

All the positive points made above justify the expense, which in reality takes the hard work out of fitting it into the budget. I have a great suggestion….figure out how many Starbucky coffee’s you’d have to for-go for a little while.

Gee I hope that made you laugh.

9. Tim - April 22, 2008


Laugh? I am absolutely HORRIFIED! 😀

Given that my standard order at Starbucks rings up at $2.81, it would take awhile. It would be easier for me to do without a cell phone. 😉 – Tim

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