On Friday I got an e-mail from one of the mobile network companies that will have the new iPhone 3GS when it FINALLY goes on sale here in Sweden on July 31. Regular readers of this blog have been tolerating missives about my lust to own this particular gadget for a two years now, so it's fair to say that I won't be the only one relieved when I finally get my hands on one.
In this e-mail they invited me (along with a thousands of other people, I'm sure) to purchase the phone in advance online…which sounded very promising until I surfed by their site and realized there was only ONE contract option on offer from the half-dozen or so normally available. Still, it was a chance to avoid a long line on release day, making it very tempting regardless.
Over the course of the day I got some additional information from a couple of the Apple Fanbois I follow on Twitter, one of whom said he'd pre-ordered and would be receiving his new 3GS three weeks AFTER July 31. WTF? If this is standard operating procedure for this company, I don't think they quite understand the whole pre-ordering concept.
In the meantime, there are two other mobile network companies here that have also announced that they will be selling the iPhone 3GS starting July 31, but neither of them have been forthcoming with any details about their prices and/or service contracts so far…leaving me no opportunity to compare plans.
So this afternoon, in desperation for any kind of reliable information for what would be the best way to insure that I have the new iPhone in my hands on July 31, I called the customer service line of the company offering pre-orders online. Now keep in mind that "customer service" in this country means something entirely different than it does in the U.S., but even Swedes who don't know any better dread dealing with this particular firm's maze of automated voicemail system menus.
Miraculously, I managed to be connected to a real person (who was also willing to speak English with me) in under 10 minutes. He did confirm that I would have several choices of service plans if I bought the phone in one of their retail stores once it's available for sale at the end of the month. He also said that because I do not currently have a contract with them (only a pay-as-you-go refill card), I will have to physically sign for the purchase of the iPhone…so even if I did pre-order online, I'd have to wait for them to send the paperwork to me, sign it and then return it to them…a process that increased the possiblity of screw-ups and delays exponentially.
In the end, his best advice was to camp out in front of a retail store so I could be one of the first people in the queue I was hoping to avoid on July 31. But that will require taking the morning off work, something that can probably be arranged if necessary.
I've since learned from my pal Nicole that you can also pre-order the phone at a retail store, choose from among several different service plans, and then just pick your new baby up on the 31st, something that neither the website nor the service rep bothered to mention. (I wasn't kidding about the crappy customer service.)
Of course I'd still like to know what the other two companies are offering before I sign on the dotted line…but it's starting to feel like I'm going to end up standing in a line somewhere at some point either this week or next.