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How to navigate the cellphone maze

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Today begins our week-long look at cellphones. Why so much attention to a seemingly innocuous gadget? Our senior producer Ian Johnson explains, but in a nutshell - we're on the cusp of a massive change. If you think the internet revolutionized our lives, recent moves by Google and Apple mean the mobile internet is finally starting to materialize - and it's going to change our world even more. Secondly, and more specific to Canada, with an upcoming auction of public airwaves our government is on the verge of deciding whether our cellphone industry is going to enjoy the status quo, or whether there's going to be a shakeup with new carriers entering the market.

We kicked off the series today with a story about how the industry has benefited from customers' confusion. Complex rate plans, service contracts with tons of fine print, and bewildering (and bewildered) customer service agents have all helped keep subscribers off balance and not really sure of what they paying. Josh Boulding, a 20-year-old Physics student at the University of Winnipeg, has come up with an innovative method of getting what he wants from customer service agents - keep calling them back until you get the answer you want, then record the call so you can "stick it to them." My tip if you're a Bell Canada customer - ask for a bilingual agent when you call, which assures you get somebody in Canada on the phone rather than an outsourced agent in a call centre in India.

We'd like to hear your tips for getting satisfaction from the phone companies. What kind of problems have you had, and how did you get them resolved? Or did you get them resolved?

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