It seemed like a good idea. My faithful BlackBerry Bold was nearly four years old, and while still functioning pretty well it was developing all sorts of strange quirks, like refusing to lock the keyboard sometimes, while at others abruptly turning itself off in mid-sentence.
Time for a new phone, and what else but the BlackBerry Q10. I know about the financial problems at the Canadian company, and the fierce commercial battle they are engaged in against Apple, Samsung et al, but surely they were still capable of producing a decent bit of telecoms kit?
The promotional literature from Etisalat was re-assuring. "Premium performance … effortless typing experience … built to keep you moving," it gushed.
Well, the only place I've been moving over the past few days, since I shelled out Dh2,699 for the phone, is back to the Etisalat shop, and to and fro to the charger. The Q10 is infuriating and frustrating.
The battery heats up at the slightest use, and runs out in just a couple of hours.
The email service, the mainstay of BlackBerry's reputation, spluttered into life for 30 minutes on day one, then died and cannot apparently be revived, at least without a visit to an Etisalat business centre.
To aggravate matters, because it uses a new micro-SIM, I cannot even go back to my old phone while the problems get ironed out. Why do they do this? Micro and nano-SIMs surely prove the adage that small may be beautiful, but is not necessarily user-friendly.
I don't claim to be the most tech-savvy person by any means. But with a bit of guidance I can generally master these things. The "guidance" in the case of the Q10 consists of one small sheet entitled "start here", and the address of the BlackBerry help site.
This is totally inadequate. Just to download my contacts took 48 hours, and the numbers and names then inexplicably cloned themselves, leaving me with two of everything. There is no link on the website labelled "totally frustrating random occurrences".
Worst of all is the feeling of utter loneliness and helplessness. For a long time I could make no calls, and still cannot receive emails. This is, surely, what life was like in the primitive, painful days before mobiles.
I'm quite willing to believe these are teething problems, and that in a few days or weeks I'll be enjoying an "effortless typing experience".
But in the meantime, BlackBerry, Etisalat or anybody: get me out of this hell!
My other brush with the telecoms world this past week promised to be more rewarding, but turned out just as frustrating.
I took a call on my (old) BlackBerry from a chap who claimed to be the "senior financial director" of Etisalat. It sounded unlikely, but he had good news: if my SIM card numbers matched the ones he read out to me, I was the winner of Dh200,000.
And, blow me, when I looked at the card, the numbers were indeed the same. "So the cheque's in the post," I asked?
Not quite. I had to go to the branch of a bank in Deira, ask for Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, present my ID, and … buy a Wasl recharge card for Dh2,000 to qualify.
At this stage I smelt a rat, though I'm still uncertain exactly where the scam made money for the hoax caller. With threats to notify the police if he ever made contact again, I hung up, determined to write about the experience to warn off potential victims. Or maybe I'd just blown Dh200,000?