Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

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Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby Jay69 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:16 pm

We have CentryLink for our home phone and 12meg internet access @ $82.38 all in per month. Any other options I can look at?

On the cell side of things the wife and I both have prepaid T-Mobile phones and a 3rd prepaid T-Mobile plan that we can toss to one of the kids if needed. The prepaid cell phones have worked out just fine for the most part at a decent cost for a number of years.

One issue I see coming down the pipe now is the loss of Windows Messenger and moving to Skype. We have been using Windows Messenger a lot with friends who do texting from their phones; if sending a text from Skype to a phone is going to cost I think 5cents per text now. I get the feeling family and friends are getting a little tired of trying to get a hold of us as we use the house phone, cell phone, Windows Messenger, email etc. They all know we pay for each call and text to our cells phones so they try the other methods first. All this has just kind of morphed into what it is.

I get the feeling I'm going to need to hook up with some kind of phone plan at some point here, kicking and screaming perhaps.

I don't know if this exist but I could see 2-3 phones with talk/text with a hot spot for the house?

Edit: We have been streaming Netflix.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby WHL » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:24 pm

Ask around to see if using a texting app such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, or WhatsApp would be useful. Those programs use data (wifi or cellular), not texting, so you wouldn't get dinged for it.

I have all three apps as not all of my friends / family use the same programs.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby hoot929 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:54 pm

Have you tried Google phone? You can make outgoing calls and send texts for "free" to anyone in the US from your computer! All you need is a Google/gmail account and you are good to go. We had Century Link land line phone for $30/month and we ditched it in December. We now have our own Google phone number...so we can call/text out AND receive calls/texts in...all for "free". We use a Tracfone for any calls on the road!
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby Jay69 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:21 am

Hoot

I will give Google phone a whirl again, I had # some time ago.


Thannks
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby ilisira » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:14 am

Jay69 wrote:Hoot

I will give Google phone a whirl again, I had # some time ago.


Thannks


How about OBi for google talk (http://www.amazon.com/OBi100-Telephone- ... 004LO098O/). I bought it to ditch vonage, and can't be happier. It works like a home phone at home, but uses google service (so no 911, but with mobile phones, you should be OK). And you can use google talk for SMS/messaging needs.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby mike127 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:00 am

My family has recently switched providers for a lot of our telecom to cut unnecessary costs and we've been very happy. Here's where we've come out:

[*]Home phone. We're using Ooma, a VOIP provider that requires you to buy a box outright (can often get the old model online for about $100) and then gives you free service on an ongoing basis (you pay about $3.50/mo in taxes unless grandfathered in). I was worried about reliability if I am not paying a monthly fee, but uptime and call quality have been indistinguishable from traditional landline.

[*]Cell phone. We dropped a "cheap" ($80-90) smartphone plan with Verizon and moved to Straight Talk Wireless, which is owned by Tracfone but resells service on all four of the major carriers. You buy your phone outright without subsidy (we got an iPhone, which was expensive but much less over the course of two years than Verixon; but Android phones are a great value if you like them). We are paying $45/mo (actually I think $45.50 with taxes) for unlimited voice, unlimited text messages, and unlimited data (throttled after a certain point if you get to a high usage level, but we never do). We ported our old Verizon number within about 20 minutes (they quoted 3 hours but it was less) and continued to use Verizon's excellent network. Main drawback here is that telephone support is handled offshore and the few times I have called I have found them substantially less knowledgeable than Verizon's customer service team. So if you rely heavily on phone support, this may not be the right change for you. It's more of a Boglehead "do it yourself" strategy that requires you to manage your device yourself, but you save a lot (cost cut in half for me instantly) if you are willing to do it.

[*]Text messaging. As noted above, we don't worry about the cost of text messaging anymore. But we have increasingly been using Facebook Messenger for mobile text messaging. Pretty much everyone we text with is on Facebook, so this saves them money, plus the software allows more in the way of multiple images, video, audio, sharing location if you want to, etc., that you can't do as easily with normal SMS/MMS messaging. Also I like that I don't have to decide whether to send a message to someone's computer, email, phone, etc. It is just delivered in the place where they want to receive it. I like Facebook but there are other providers that offer similar services. My broader point is that text messaging is expensive if you don't have an unlimited plan and has limited features. Internet-based messaging solves both of those.

[*]Cable/Internet. We actually got pretty far down the road of canceling Comcast in favor of a free over-the-air antenna, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and a Roku. This worked pretty well and I realized most of the TV I actually care about watching is available for free in HD over the air, as opposed to paying Comcast $10 a TV for that privilege. Even paying to subscribe to a few seasons of a non-broadcast show on Amazon was cheaper than what I was paying. I called Comcast to cancel and ended up with a plan where Internet was only $12 cheaper than Internet+video. Since I don't have another high-speed Internet option where I live, the $12 basically matched what I was paying for Hulu and Amazon. I guess what I figured out is that Comcast is incredibly good about figuring out the maximum they can get you today and then pricing your account at that point. So I am not sure whether I consider this a failure or not in the streamlining/cost cutting effort :)

Hope my experience helps others looking to make these same changes. In general, I've found that these "non-standard" providers have been quite good and in many cases offer equivalent service for much less.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby protagonist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:25 am

I have used Google Phone for quite awhile. When I was on a Verizon plan I used it for a lot of my outgoing calls from my computer at home to save on Verizon minutes. Since switching to prepaid cell service with unlimited minutes, I use it less domestically, but I use it almost exclusively for calling internationally when I am abroad (which is 4 months or so per year).

Comments:
- It's very useful and free, and integrates well with a gmail account, so get it and try it out.
- When I call back to the US from Venezuela (and recently from Israel), for some reason it recognizes these calls as "domestic" and only charges me $0.01/minute. So an hour long call back to the states runs 60 cents. Great.
- I usually have no problem with "call quality" on my end. But on the other end, people I call not infrequently complain about poor reception. I don't know if the issue is the VOIP service, or the quality of my laptop's built-in microphone. Come to think of it, maybe it would be worth investing in a higher quality external mic for this service. I would be interested in hearing others' experiences with this.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby protagonist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:31 am

mike127 wrote:[*]Cable/Internet. We actually got pretty far down the road of canceling Comcast in favor of a free over-the-air antenna, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and a Roku. This worked pretty well and I realized most of the TV I actually care about watching is available for free in HD over the air, as opposed to paying Comcast $10 a TV for that privilege. Even paying to subscribe to a few seasons of a non-broadcast show on Amazon was cheaper than what I was paying. I called Comcast to cancel and ended up with a plan where Internet was only $12 cheaper than Internet+video. Since I don't have another high-speed Internet option where I live, the $12 basically matched what I was paying for Hulu and Amazon. I guess what I figured out is that Comcast is incredibly good about figuring out the maximum they can get you today and then pricing your account at that point. So I am not sure whether I consider this a failure or not in the streamlining/cost cutting effort :)



I'm looking to cut my high-speed internet service (currently via Verizon, costing over $50/month). How much does Comcast charge for your straight high speed internet service? What is your plan called? What is the speed? How reliable is it? How well does it work for demanding tasks like downloading or streaming video?

And are there better alternatives?

Thanks.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby ieee488 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:39 am

protagonist wrote:
mike127 wrote:[*]Cable/Internet. We actually got pretty far down the road of canceling Comcast in favor of a free over-the-air antenna, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and a Roku. This worked pretty well and I realized most of the TV I actually care about watching is available for free in HD over the air, as opposed to paying Comcast $10 a TV for that privilege. Even paying to subscribe to a few seasons of a non-broadcast show on Amazon was cheaper than what I was paying. I called Comcast to cancel and ended up with a plan where Internet was only $12 cheaper than Internet+video. Since I don't have another high-speed Internet option where I live, the $12 basically matched what I was paying for Hulu and Amazon. I guess what I figured out is that Comcast is incredibly good about figuring out the maximum they can get you today and then pricing your account at that point. So I am not sure whether I consider this a failure or not in the streamlining/cost cutting effort :)



I'm looking to cut my high-speed internet service (currently via Verizon, costing over $50/month). How much does Comcast charge for your straight high speed internet service? What is your plan called? What is the speed? How reliable is it? How well does it work for demanding tasks like downloading or streaming video?

And are there better alternatives?

Thanks.


I can about predict you are not going to get much cheaper than $50/month for internet-only with Comcast.
Since you are with Verizon now Comast will offer you a deal good for 6 months, then who knows after that.

I have basic cable with Comast. It is about $16/month. Then I have the Economy Internet (slowest speed) for $30/month.

From what I have been able to tell, you might as well get both TV and internet because the price will be about the same whether it is just internet or internet + TV.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby mike127 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:48 am

protagonist wrote:
mike127 wrote:I'm looking to cut my high-speed internet service (currently via Verizon, costing over $50/month). How much does Comcast charge for your straight high speed internet service? What is your plan called? What is the speed? How reliable is it? How well does it work for demanding tasks like downloading or streaming video?

And are there better alternatives?

Thanks.


I think you're paying less than we are but probably we have a faster connection. They quoted $63 for Internet only or $80 for Internet + video. (Interesting that in my head the gap was $12 but in reality it's actually a bit more :) .) In terms of speed, right now I'm getting 14 Mbps download and just over 11 Mbps upload. The download speed tends to be variable -- sometimes I get in the ran of 20 Mbps -- but I virtually never have speed problems, even though I do a lot of HD streaming. In contrast, friends who use Verizon have said lagging in streaming is sometimes an issue.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby protagonist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:59 am

mike127 wrote:
protagonist wrote:
mike127 wrote:I'm looking to cut my high-speed internet service (currently via Verizon, costing over $50/month). How much does Comcast charge for your straight high speed internet service? What is your plan called? What is the speed? How reliable is it? How well does it work for demanding tasks like downloading or streaming video?

And are there better alternatives?

Thanks.


I think you're paying less than we are but probably we have a faster connection. They quoted $63 for Internet only or $80 for Internet + video. (Interesting that in my head the gap was $12 but in reality it's actually a bit more :) .) In terms of speed, right now I'm getting 14 Mbps download and just over 11 Mbps upload. The download speed tends to be variable -- sometimes I get in the ran of 20 Mbps -- but I virtually never have speed problems, even though I do a lot of HD streaming. In contrast, friends who use Verizon have said lagging in streaming is sometimes an issue.


Thanks, Mike.

I read somewhere that above a certain speed the basic user (including streaming and downloading video) will not notice a difference and is paying for fluff...I forget what that number was- recollection is somewhere around 5 Mbps. Your service is definitely faster than mine. I recall reading (I think in this forum at some point) that Comcast offered very good promo deals, and if you call at the end of your promo period and threaten to jump ship they will renew it. Any comments on this? Any problems with renewing the promo?
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby stevep001 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:28 am

I had a similar experience with Comcast pricing when I went to DirecTV for video service -- it was cheaper to buy a bundle consisting of the very cheapest video plan plus internet service than internet alone.

A couple options not yet mentioned in the thread.

Verizon and ATT offer a home base station that connects your wired phones at home to their wireless network. The ATT one is $20/mo - here's a link: http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/device ... 6Itbx6Dbr9. I was not able to find a similar offer from TMO. You probably need to have a plan to get it, though.

As a Microsoft employee, I'd be remiss in not mentioning Skype as an option for internet phone. It's by far the most popular internet calling option, has very strong device support, and operates as a real, profitable business, not as an experiment subject to cancellation.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby mike127 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:39 am

protagonist wrote: I recall reading (I think in this forum at some point) that Comcast offered very good promo deals, and if you call at the end of your promo period and threaten to jump ship they will renew it. Any comments on this? Any problems with renewing the promo?


Comcast has promotions that typically last 6 or 12 months. Some are pretty good and they will renew them if you have been off a promotion entirely for longer than 3 months (sometimes more frequently if you threaten to leave). The deal that I have is a bit more expensive than some promotions they offer but it is permanent (or as permanent as any Comcast deal is; they keep trying to add new fees that I have to complain about). The reason I did this is that calling every 9 months to renegotiate started to get on my nerves. No problem getting them to do this, but I just didn't like that I constantly had to manage this relationship rather than just using the Internet and watching tv.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby jeffyscott » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:07 pm

Jay69 wrote:I get the feeling I'm going to need to hook up with some kind of phone plan at some point here, kicking and screaming perhaps.


Unless pay as you go starts costing more than $30 per month per line, I doubt you will save with a "plan". That would be 300 texts/minutes per line or 10 minutes per day per line.

T-mobile has plans at $30 per month: http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-plans

or 3 lines for $90, here: http://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans

They all know we pay for each call and text to our cells phones so they try the other methods first.


Why not just tell them not to worry and see what happens?

If you will text much more than talk, tracfone may work out better as texts are 30% of the cost of a minute with them.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby protagonist » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:37 pm

mike127 wrote:
protagonist wrote: I recall reading (I think in this forum at some point) that Comcast offered very good promo deals, and if you call at the end of your promo period and threaten to jump ship they will renew it. Any comments on this? Any problems with renewing the promo?


Comcast has promotions that typically last 6 or 12 months. Some are pretty good and they will renew them if you have been off a promotion entirely for longer than 3 months (sometimes more frequently if you threaten to leave). The deal that I have is a bit more expensive than some promotions they offer but it is permanent (or as permanent as any Comcast deal is; they keep trying to add new fees that I have to complain about). The reason I did this is that calling every 9 months to renegotiate started to get on my nerves. No problem getting them to do this, but I just didn't like that I constantly had to manage this relationship rather than just using the Internet and watching tv.


Yes....especially annoying if you have to spend 6 months on promotion, then find other coverage for three months, then apply again....sounds very annoying. I thought you could just call every 6 months, threaten to bolt and they would renew it. That is annoying enough, but might be worth it dep. on the savings if it works reliably.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby FedGuy » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:22 pm

protagonist wrote:Yes....especially annoying if you have to spend 6 months on promotion, then find other coverage for three months, then apply again....sounds very annoying. I thought you could just call every 6 months, threaten to bolt and they would renew it. That is annoying enough, but might be worth it dep. on the savings if it works reliably.


I once called Comcast to see if I could get them to give me a new promotion after the previous one expired. The apparently unhappy employee told me that they had a department that handled those requests and added that he'd transfer me. And he did transfer me...to DirectTV.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby Jay69 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:11 pm

Thanks for all the post, I think the kicker for me is just getting internet only access, I see CenturyLink now has something called Pure Internet, will look into that. It maybe time to have Comcast Lined up then call my current provider and see what they offer. That has worked in the past!
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby protagonist » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:18 am

Jay69 wrote:Thanks for all the post, I think the kicker for me is just getting internet only access, I see CenturyLink now has something called Pure Internet, will look into that. It maybe time to have Comcast Lined up then call my current provider and see what they offer. That has worked in the past!


Internet only works fine for me, too. But I do want something fast enough and of high enough quality to be assured of being able to stream video flawlessly and not have to worry about service interruptions. I'm satisfied with Verizon service, but it's somewhere between $50-60/month, and I know there are faster services out there. If you find something you like at a good price point, Jay, please send me a PM.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby Jay69 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:09 pm

protagonist wrote:
Jay69 wrote:Thanks for all the post, I think the kicker for me is just getting internet only access, I see CenturyLink now has something called Pure Internet, will look into that. It maybe time to have Comcast Lined up then call my current provider and see what they offer. That has worked in the past!


Internet only works fine for me, too. But I do want something fast enough and of high enough quality to be assured of being able to stream video flawlessly and not have to worry about service interruptions. I'm satisfied with Verizon service, but it's somewhere between $50-60/month, and I know there are faster services out there. If you find something you like at a good price point, Jay, please send me a PM.



When you talk about Verizon are you talking about a hot spot?
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby ThatGuy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:44 pm

ieee488 wrote:I can about predict you are not going to get much cheaper than $50/month for internet-only with Comcast.


Comcast gave me a teaser rate of $29.99 per month for a period of 6 months for internet only. It goes up to around $45 a month for the second set of 6 months, terminating in a 'standard' price of about $65 a month thereafter.

After my teaser ended, I called up to cancel, and they extended my $29.99 rate for an additional 12 months. After 18 months, if they won't extend the price, I'll simply cancel and reinstate under ThatGal's name. Comcast only checks that you have not had service in that location under your own name in the prior 12 months before giving a promotional rate. By alternating names, I circumvent this restriction and maintain, what I consider to be, a reasonable service cost.

Comcast sucks as a service provider, but there really isn't a viable high speed alternative in my area.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby protagonist » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:53 pm

Jay69 wrote:
protagonist wrote:
Jay69 wrote:Thanks for all the post, I think the kicker for me is just getting internet only access, I see CenturyLink now has something called Pure Internet, will look into that. It maybe time to have Comcast Lined up then call my current provider and see what they offer. That has worked in the past!


Internet only works fine for me, too. But I do want something fast enough and of high enough quality to be assured of being able to stream video flawlessly and not have to worry about service interruptions. I'm satisfied with Verizon service, but it's somewhere between $50-60/month, and I know there are faster services out there. If you find something you like at a good price point, Jay, please send me a PM.



When you talk about Verizon are you talking about a hot spot?


No, Verizon offers DSL service, at least where I live.
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Re: Home phone/Internet options/Cell Phones?

Postby protagonist » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:54 pm

Jay69 wrote:
protagonist wrote:
Jay69 wrote:Thanks for all the post, I think the kicker for me is just getting internet only access, I see CenturyLink now has something called Pure Internet, will look into that. It maybe time to have Comcast Lined up then call my current provider and see what they offer. That has worked in the past!


Internet only works fine for me, too. But I do want something fast enough and of high enough quality to be assured of being able to stream video flawlessly and not have to worry about service interruptions. I'm satisfied with Verizon service, but it's somewhere between $50-60/month, and I know there are faster services out there. If you find something you like at a good price point, Jay, please send me a PM.



When you talk about Verizon are you talking about a hot spot?


No, Verizon offers DSL service, at least where I live.
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