Vaio UX180P: Cingular EDGE woes

When I decided to sign up with Cingular to access its EDGE network on my UX180P, I was already well aware of the cost advantages of unlocking the UX and using my exisiting T-Mobile SIM card. But since Cingular offers a 30-day free trial and the UX ships with a SIM already loaded, I assumed the integrated process would be quick and easy. I was leaving for New York the next morning, too, so I didn’t have time (not to mention the patience or interest) to waste on calls to Sony Tech Support. I’ve had some experience with Sony’s representatives in the past and have since vowed to take alternate routes to avoid them whenever possible.

The preinstalled SmartWi Connection Utility is one such route.

1activatecingular

Clicking on "Activate Cingular Account" cues up the application process.

2activatecingular

In order to take advantage of the free trial, you need to go through the motions of signing up for a data plan first. I chose the overpriced $80/month 2-year contract with the intention of cancelling before the trial period was up. So the "free trial" isn’t really free. It’s free if you remember to keep track of time, and  Cingular obviously hopes you won’t (otherwise it would offer the 30 days without making you sign up for anything first).

3rateplans

The terms and conditions come up next, followed by the subscription form that asks for your Social Security but not your credit card number.

4termsconditions

5subscriptionform

All that’s left to do after filling out the form is to wait. Cingular will review your application and activate your account within 2 business days.

6requestsubmitted

You can check to see when your account has been activated through the SmartWi Connection Utility. (You could also just turn on the WWAN radio and try to get online.)

7checkactivation

Now, I admit that when I got to this point, my hopes were high. The activation process had been quick and easy and I didn’t have to talk to any of those friendly customer service representatives. It was everything I wanted.

8checkconnection

Well, almost. Don’t ask me how or why, but my activation request was rejected. Rejected! The "Click here for an explanation of possible statuses" elucidated that a "rejected" status meant that an activation request had been successfully submitted but rejected. How helpful.

9activationrejected

And that’s where things stand right now.

My trip to New York came and went (the hotel had wi-fi), and I still haven’t conceded that I need to call Cingular and/or Sony to sort everything out. I occasionally flip the WWAN switch on with naive hopes that I’ll be able to connect, but to no avail.

10connectionmanager

Searching for network indeed!

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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