Dish sucks, but porting your number doesn't (who knew)

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It's funny how complacent we can be when things are going well. That doesn't mean things are great, or even all that good. We spend our lives in pursuit of comfort, stability, familiarity... and even if where we land isn't perfect, it can be tough to move off dead center. I've worked with people who didn't feel challenged or empowered, but they were comfortable - and willing to coast until something was forced on them. I've also been in that position, but that's a story for another time.

When I heard that Dish was buying out Republic Wireless, the phone provider I've been using for nearly a decade, it came with a mix of dread and cautious optimism. The dread was my past experience as a Dish customer, and the optimism was my blind hope in keeping the familiar and comfortable, for awhile at least. Surely Dish would want to keep the customer base they just bought?

Apparently not. I don't know what Dish wanted out of the deal - technology, intellectual property, engineers - but it doesn't appear to be the customers.

The thing that's got me really puzzled is account management. They made the decision to limit plans to 1 or 2 numbers only. Annoying since I had 3 numbers, but okay. Then they decided to enforce it by making customers register for separate accounts, using separate email addresses, and porting their additional lines to the other accounts as if they're signing up with a new provider! If you have 8 numbers, you need 4 email addresses and 4 separate accounts. If it sounds insane, that's because it is.

Clearly, instead of properly understanding and redesigning the system to support their new business plan, they put a band-aid in place and made it their customers' problem. In the end though it's totally worth the pain, because if you have two numbers on your account, you save exactly.. nothing. That's right. It's a buy one, get one for the same price deal. I can't even imagine what the thought process was here.

Then there's the phenomenal documentation they've been churning out telling you to call support, which I've had to do more than once and wait 20-30 minutes each time. Is it just me, or is it a little suspicious that the two items you need in order to port your phone number to another service (account number and PIN) require calling support first? ๐Ÿค”

The login page is borked too - half the time I get one login prompt, half the time another. Again, someone's making changes to the system without understanding it first. Move fast and break things!

There's more, like the abysmal reception I started getting because Dish uses AT&T instead of Sprint/T-Mobile, but this post is negative enough. Going back to my original point though, most people will put up with a lot to stay in their bubble of comfort and familiarity, and not have to make more decisions. But Dish has managed to screw up so many things so quickly that staying was less appealing than researching alternatives, learning how to port numbers, waiting on support, and wondering if I was going to mess something up and lose my number.

Judging by their financial statements, I don't think I'm alone. During a time period when more people were home than ever before, using online services more than ever before, Dish has managed to consistently lose customers and money quarter after quarter. It'll be mildly interesting to check out future statements.

You're still here? Guessing you're a Republic Wireless customer too and are equally annoyed. I'll leave you with 3 thoughts then, for getting this far.

First, shame on Dish for being impatient and greedy. They wasted no time at all taking something simple and valuable, and turning it into a complicated, broken, expensive mess. That "value" price for a gig of data, up above? The one that requires using other Dish services to get the best deal? That's what Republic charged everyone before. The "retail" price is twice that. Ugh.

Second, porting your phone number to a new provider isn't complicated. If I had known that, maybe I would've shopped around ages ago. You need an account number and PIN (something Republic can help you with) and your name and address (something Republic probably shouldn't need to help you with). Providers like Tello (and I'm sure others too) provide a web interface where you plug that info in and they port the number for you. Only took a few minutes for each number. Easy-peasy.

Thirdly, here's some pics of veggies, because our garden's starting to take off, and photos of nature helps me forget about aggravating companies. Or aggravation in general.


Grant Winney

I write when I've got something to share - a personal project, a solution to a difficult problem, or just an idea. We learn by doing and sharing. We've all got something to contribute.

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