How is Consumer Cellular

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How is Consumer Cellular

Postby hsfan92 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:37 pm

I am done with my contract at Verizon and I am very seriously considering switching to Consumer Cellular. Does anyone have any experience with this provider? Any Pros and Cons?
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby rotorhead » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:10 pm

The service quality is very good; and our dealings with them to date have been nothing but excellent. They use the AT&T network, so pretty good coverage all around the country. However, you will need a new phone; your Verizon CDMA phone won't work on their network - you'll need a SIM card phone. Easy enough to buy an unlocked phone. My wife uses an iPhone 4S, and I'm still using a Blackberry. Both work fine on CC, but I will probably change to iPhone later this year (the smaller screen getting harder to read!).

In Boglehead fashion I did a study of low cost providers late last year; and settled on Consumer Cellular for a trial. Started a new number with them, and did a trial the month of December. Was very satisfied, so ported both our old numbers over to CC in January, and cancelled the newly started number. Haven't looked back since. We were long time AT&T customers, and are saving a bunch with CC. However, our cell usage requirements are not that great - 350 minutes, 500 texts, 50 MB data plan is working well for us. With tax, the cost is $44.14 per month for two phones. Go to their website, and read through all the info there. If you can manage with the plans offered, then go for it. I think you will not be disappointed.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Rob5TCP » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:28 pm

Can you send/receive texts to Canada with their plans?
Their website doesn't say - one way or the other.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby FrugalInvestor » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:40 pm

If you currently have a Verizon phone that you're happy with you may want to take a look at Page Plus. You can port any (non-prepaid) Verizon phone to their service and they use the Verizon network). I highly recommend their service through Kitty Wireless. Page Plus is not known for their customer service but Page Plus resells their service and does a great job as long as you're willing to deal online.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby rotorhead » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:43 am

Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Post by Rob5TCP » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:28 pm
Can you send/receive texts to Canada with their plans?
Their website doesn't say - one way or the other.


Yes, you can text anywhere; but CC charge $0.20 per text for international. I think you have to dig a bit deeper into their website to find that. Call them up and ask about their service. We found their customer service reps without exception to be very helpful. We have a lot of family and friends outside the US; and use WhatsApp for virtually all our texting. It's a nice little application that uses WiFi, so there is no cost for texting. Take a look: http://www.whatsapp.com/
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Browser » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:17 am

Explain to me why Consumer Cellular isn't a massive ripoff. Don't they charge 25 cents per minute plus a $10/month? I have a simple talk plan with Sprint that costs $30 per month for 200 minutes, and I have free night and weekend minutes. Verizon has a similar plan for seniors. If I talked for just the 200 minutes every month, my Consumer Cellular bill would be $60. No free evening and weekend minutes. If my figures are correct, who in their right mind would use Consumer Cellular?
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Wolkenspiel » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:38 am

Browser wrote:Explain to me why Consumer Cellular isn't a massive ripoff. Don't they charge 25 cents per minute plus a $10/month? I have a simple talk plan with Sprint that costs $30 per month for 200 minutes, and I have free night and weekend minutes. Verizon has a similar plan for seniors. If I talked for just the 200 minutes every month, my Consumer Cellular bill would be $60. No free evening and weekend minutes. If my figures are correct, who in their right mind would use Consumer Cellular?


This is obviously wrong, as you can see here:
https://www.consumercellular.com/Info/Plans

My wife and I are using two old iPhones (one obtained for free and the other for $150) on Consumer Cellular. We pay a total of $42.18 per month, for 150min and 100MB data shared between the two lines, which is ok for our needs. Obviously we use wifi if we need more data and Skype or our OOma home phone for long calls.

Consumer Cellular customer service was friendly and competent the one time I needed to call them, and coverage is as for AT&T (but only 3G data). One should consider whether their offerings are matched to one's needs, but please based on correct information (see above). Our choices were constrained by the total lack of T-mobile coverage at both home and work, and the wish to use the phones elsewhere in the world (i.e. GSM, not CDMA), and I'm happy with Consumer Cellular so far.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby blu9535 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:45 am

If you dislike signing a 2 year contract, but you still want a good smartphone with email, web, unlimited minutes and texts, you might look into Boost Mobile which uses the Sprint network. Their plans do not require a contract and they start at $55/month for Android phones or $60/month for Blackberry phones.

http://www.boostmobile.com/shop/
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Browser » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:54 am

Wolkenspiel wrote:
Browser wrote:Explain to me why Consumer Cellular isn't a massive ripoff. Don't they charge 25 cents per minute plus a $10/month? I have a simple talk plan with Sprint that costs $30 per month for 200 minutes, and I have free night and weekend minutes. Verizon has a similar plan for seniors. If I talked for just the 200 minutes every month, my Consumer Cellular bill would be $60. No free evening and weekend minutes. If my figures are correct, who in their right mind would use Consumer Cellular?


This is obviously wrong, as you can see here:
https://www.consumercellular.com/Info/Plans

My wife and I are using two old iPhones (one obtained for free and the other for $150) on Consumer Cellular. We pay a total of $42.18 per month, for 150min and 100MB data shared between the two lines, which is ok for our needs. Obviously we use wifi if we need more data and Skype or our OOma home phone for long calls.

Consumer Cellular customer service was friendly and competent the one time I needed to call them, and coverage is as for AT&T (but only 3G data). One should consider whether their offerings are matched to one's needs, but please based on correct information (see above). Our choices were constrained by the total lack of T-mobile coverage at both home and work, and the wish to use the phones elsewhere in the world (i.e. GSM, not CDMA), and I'm happy with Consumer Cellular so far.

Thanks for correcting me. I see that it is the 0 minute plan that costs $10/month plus 25 cents per minute, but that there are other plans that include set minutes that don't charge 25 cents per minute unless you go over your limit. Looks better than I thought. For example, I see that there is a plan with 750 anytime minutes for $30/month, which is what I pay now. Including my night and weekend minutes that's about what I use per month, but only 200 minutes of that are anytime minutes. I'll have to look into this.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby CashIsKing » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:02 am

hsfan92 wrote:I am done with my contract at Verizon and I am very seriously considering switching to Consumer Cellular. Does anyone have any experience with this provider? Any Pros and Cons?

I had CC for a few years and everything about them was a positive experience. However, their choice of phones was limited (I know you can get unlocked phones etc but I got a headache just thinking about that stuff.) I ended up getting a phone from T-Mobil. A great phone, and no contract. I only pay $30/mo. Its unlimited texting & web. I don't use the phone a lot for talking, so it's 100 min/mo. If those parameters work for you, its a tough deal to beat. But you can't go wrong with CC
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby rotorhead » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:05 am


Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Unread postby Browser » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:17 am
Explain to me why Consumer Cellular isn't a massive ripoff. Don't they charge 25 cents per minute plus a $10/month? I have a simple talk plan with Sprint that costs $30 per month for 200 minutes, and I have free night and weekend minutes. Verizon has a similar plan for seniors. If I talked for just the 200 minutes every month, my Consumer Cellular bill would be $60. No free evening and weekend minutes. If my figures are correct, who in their right mind would use Consumer Cellular?


CC do not charge $25 per month plus $0.10 per minute. Here is link to the plans they provide: https://www.consumercellular.com/Info/Plans. We are on the 350 minutes for $20 + $10 for second phone; so our per minute cost is about 8.5 cents. We can live with that. If our usage trend for the month looks like we will run over, CC sends me an email advising such. I can then choose to add extra minutes for $10, or stop using the phone until my billing cycle is over. In 6 months, have had no problems.

CC are not a one size fits all; nor is any other provider.There are other lower cost, no contract plans out there. I looked at them all - TracFone, Net 10, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile prepaid, etc, etc. I talked at length with AT&T about converting to their pre-paid plan; but was told we could not because that was only for "new customers". Go figure! In the end, and after talking with CC reps on the phone directly, they appeared to be the best fit for us since we had SIM phones, and were accustomed to the AT&T network. it was almost a seamless transition.

If we had stayed with AT&T, with 2 smart phones our monthly rate was going to be on the order of $120 per month, for the lowest cost family plan (550 minutes per month which we simply didn't need) + data and text. Going with CC is saving us at least $80 per month for equivalent service.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby mudfud » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:24 pm

I'm planning to switch from my current T-mobile Family Plan to Consumer Cellular, because it appears to be a better fit for my usage pattern: 2 Nexus 4 GSM unlocked phones, around 400 minutes/month voice, about 50 texts, and usually no data (we use WiFi mostly).

The best part appears to be their policy (https://www.consumercellular.com/Support/Knowledgebase/12/39/110) of allowing you to retroactively change your plan upto the last day of the billing cycle, so that if I do use additional voice or data (eg. when traveling), I can change my plan as needed. This way I don't need to get a plan with too many minutes (out of fear of overage charges).

Any additional experiences with Consumer Cellular? It is easy to port numbers over?

Thanks,
Mud
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby rotorhead » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:26 pm

Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Post by mudfud » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:24 pm
I'm planning to switch from my current T-mobile Family Plan to Consumer Cellular, because it appears to be a better fit for my usage pattern: 2 Nexus 4 GSM unlocked phones, around 400 minutes/month voice, about 50 texts, and usually no data (we use WiFi mostly).

The best part appears to be their policy (https://www.consumercellular.com/Suppor ... /12/39/110) of allowing you to retroactively change your plan upto the last day of the billing cycle, so that if I do use additional voice or data (eg. when traveling), I can change my plan as needed. This way I don't need to get a plan with too many minutes (out of fear of overage charges).

Any additional experiences with Consumer Cellular? It is easy to port numbers over?

Thanks,
Mud


mudfud, I think you will be very pleased with CC. We've been using them since Dec 2012; and couldn't be happier. See my earlier posts above. Some more good news; their 350 minute plan has increased to 500 minutes, with no additional charge. So for 500 minutes talk, 500 texts, and 50 MB of data the cost is $20 + 5 + $10 for the 2nd phone = $35 per month plus tax. Our total bill runs $45 / $46, dependent on whether we have done any international texts or calls. We've only come close to our limit once. You said you don't expect to use much data; but I would sign up for the 50 MB plan for $5, as insurance. We use about 25-30 MB per month when outside Wi-fi range.

Porting our AT&T numbers over was an absolutely seamless and painless exercise; the transfer was almost immediate. Be sure to talk to the CC rep about modifying your Nexus 4's to work on their system. We had to make minor mod to my wife's iphone 4S; and I was told my BB 8900 would not work with data on their system, but I was able to figure out a way to do it. Been working fine since.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby LadyGeek » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:07 pm

Great timing, my AT&T contract just ended. I'm paying $120 for 2 smart phones, which includes a 25% employer discount. What bugged me about AT&T was that my plan did not include texting - it was somewhat pricey.

I have minimal voice use (peak usage 75 minutes / month), but tend to do surfing and internet streaming (peak 680 MB). Since my smartphones are already on the AT&T network, I like that CC will send you a free SIM card.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby ieee488 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:34 pm

For that much data usage, the T-mobile $30 monthly 4G plan is better in my opinion.
100 minutes, unlimited text, "unlimited" data (first 5GB).

The Consumer Cellular is better if you use more minutes than data.
$15 for 200 minutes
$30 for 2GB of data or $20 for 500MB of data.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby mudfud » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:07 pm

rotorhead wrote:
Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Post by mudfud » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:24 pm
Any additional experiences with Consumer Cellular? It is easy to port numbers over?

Thanks,
Mud



Porting our AT&T numbers over was an absolutely seamless and painless exercise; the transfer was almost immediate. Be sure to talk to the CC rep about modifying your Nexus 4's to work on their system. We had to make minor mod to my wife's iphone 4S; and I was told my BB 8900 would not work with data on their system, but I was able to figure out a way to do it. Been working fine since.


Thanks for the input! I checked the Android forums and a couple of folks have used Nexus 4s on CC, so hopefully that should work.
Thanks again to all,
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby mapleosb » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:12 pm

rotorhead wrote:The service quality is very good; and our dealings with them to date have been nothing but excellent. They use the AT&T network, so pretty good coverage all around the country. However, you will need a new phone; your Verizon CDMA phone won't work on their network - you'll need a SIM card phone. Easy enough to buy an unlocked phone. My wife uses an iPhone 4S, and I'm still using a Blackberry. Both work fine on CC, but I will probably change to iPhone later this year (the smaller screen getting harder to read!).

In Boglehead fashion I did a study of low cost providers late last year; and settled on Consumer Cellular for a trial. Started a new number with them, and did a trial the month of December. Was very satisfied, so ported both our old numbers over to CC in January, and cancelled the newly started number. Haven't looked back since. We were long time AT&T customers, and are saving a bunch with CC. However, our cell usage requirements are not that great - 350 minutes, 500 texts, 50 MB data plan is working well for us. With tax, the cost is $44.14 per month for two phones. Go to their website, and read through all the info there. If you can manage with the plans offered, then go for it. I think you will not be disappointed.


Rotorhead,

I just want to say "Thanks for the tip" about Consumer Cellular. Our contract was just up with AT&T and I had both iPhones factory unlocked. I had been seeing the ad in the magazine but didn't know anyone who had it. What a great savings from the $120+ a month we were paying. We don't use hardly any call time and low data so this is a bargain and just what we were looking for. Sim cards are on the way. Thinking too late, I should have had you PM you number so we could get you the $10 refer fee, sorry for the oversight, I didn't see that until I had already ordered.

Thanks again,
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby rotorhead » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:03 pm

Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Post by mapleosb » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:12 pm

rotorhead wrote:The service quality is very good; and our dealings with them to date have been nothing but excellent. They use the AT&T network, so pretty good coverage all around the country. However, you will need a new phone; your Verizon CDMA phone won't work on their network - you'll need a SIM card phone. Easy enough to buy an unlocked phone. My wife uses an iPhone 4S, and I'm still using a Blackberry. Both work fine on CC, but I will probably change to iPhone later this year (the smaller screen getting harder to read!).

In Boglehead fashion I did a study of low cost providers late last year; and settled on Consumer Cellular for a trial. Started a new number with them, and did a trial the month of December. Was very satisfied, so ported both our old numbers over to CC in January, and cancelled the newly started number. Haven't looked back since. We were long time AT&T customers, and are saving a bunch with CC. However, our cell usage requirements are not that great - 350 minutes, 500 texts, 50 MB data plan is working well for us. With tax, the cost is $44.14 per month for two phones. Go to their website, and read through all the info there. If you can manage with the plans offered, then go for it. I think you will not be disappointed.



Rotorhead,

I just want to say "Thanks for the tip" about Consumer Cellular. Our contract was just up with AT&T and I had both iPhones factory unlocked. I had been seeing the ad in the magazine but didn't know anyone who had it. What a great savings from the $120+ a month we were paying. We don't use hardly any call time and low data so this is a bargain and just what we were looking for. Sim cards are on the way. Thinking too late, I should have had you PM you number so we could get you the $10 refer fee, sorry for the oversight, I didn't see that until I had already ordered.

Thanks again,


Not to worry, mapleosb . I'll put your marker in my file; and call on you to buy the drinks if we ever meet up at a Bogleheads forum! Is this a great website, or what?!

I have been helped immensely by other Bogleheads posts in my personal investing; and it gives me great pleasure to know that I was able to help someone else, albeit ever so slight.

Happy calling / texting / dataing(?).
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby hsfan92 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:42 pm

We also switched to CC. We went from paying $120 without a smartphone to around $60 for more service. thanks for the advice!
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Browser » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:01 pm

Be interested in user experience with CC when travelling. My experience with AirVoice Wireless, which also uses the AT&T network, is that voice and data coverage are spotty when travelling, even on the beaten path of interstates and major highways in less populated areas. You don't have roaming with these secondary providers, so you are at the mercy of AT&T towers (or lack thereof). Frankly, I'm thinking of going back to a major carrier because the spotty coverage sucks.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby hsfan92 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:31 pm

Haven't done much travelling with CC. Majority of my time is in midsize cities with solid coverage, but I have only had the service for a couple months. I will try to keep the forum updated.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby mudfud » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:57 pm

Browser wrote:Be interested in user experience with CC when travelling. My experience with AirVoice Wireless, which also uses the AT&T network, is that voice and data coverage are spotty when travelling, even on the beaten path of interstates and major highways in less populated areas. You don't have roaming with these secondary providers, so you are at the mercy of AT&T towers (or lack thereof). Frankly, I'm thinking of going back to a major carrier because the spotty coverage sucks.


My understanding is that many MVNOs don't include roaming but some do. Looking at Consumer Cellular's coverage map, it is identical to ATT's regular (post-paid) service map. ATT's own pre-paid Go service has lesser coverage (you can see big holes in Nebraska even along I-80), presumably because the prepaid service does not include roaming. In any case, some real user experience would be welcome.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby BL » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:19 pm

Can you use these phones by changing Sim cards for travel in Scandinavia or other parts of Europe?
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby DaleMaley » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:26 am

I have used consumer cellular for about 4 years now. I don't use the cell phone that much, and I still have a Nokia dumb phone......that everyone makes fun of.

For $25 per month, I get 500 minutes of usage.

I have used the phone many places in the US on business, and I have always got reception ok.

My old Nokia is about worn out.........and I might have to upgrade to an older smart phone.

I like that they text you when you are approaching a monthly limit.........then you just go online and upgrade your plan for a few days to avoid the heavy extra charges for exceeding the limit. On the next month I switch back to normal plan.

I found the cell phone business model of locking you into 2 or 3 year contracts to be ridiculous. I want to be able to switch my plan or phone whenever I want to.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby ieee488 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:39 am

BL wrote:Can you use these phones by changing Sim cards for travel in Scandinavia or other parts of Europe?


It is not just a matter of changing SIM cards.

Your phone needs to be unlocked.
Your phone needs to work on the 900/1800 bands. Most phones in the USA are not capable of using these bands unless you specifically buy a quad-band phone.
http://www.worldtimezone.com/gsm.html
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Browser » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:01 am

mudfud wrote:
Browser wrote:Be interested in user experience with CC when travelling. My experience with AirVoice Wireless, which also uses the AT&T network, is that voice and data coverage are spotty when travelling, even on the beaten path of interstates and major highways in less populated areas. You don't have roaming with these secondary providers, so you are at the mercy of AT&T towers (or lack thereof). Frankly, I'm thinking of going back to a major carrier because the spotty coverage sucks.


My understanding is that many MVNOs don't include roaming but some do. Looking at Consumer Cellular's coverage map, it is identical to ATT's regular (post-paid) service map. ATT's own pre-paid Go service has lesser coverage (you can see big holes in Nebraska even along I-80), presumably because the prepaid service does not include roaming. In any case, some real user experience would be welcome.

Thanks for directing me to the coverage maps. I can sure see the hole in Northern New Mexico that I drove through and spotty coverage in NE Iowa as well. I don't see any difference between AT&T's coverage map and either CC or AirVoice. Those maps show AT&T coverage without roaming, I believe. Based on my own experience the coverage maps don't tell the whole story. In many shaded regions, you can have a weak or unreliable signal. I see some areas with apparent coverage where I was dropping the voice signal like crazy. Also, the coverage map doesn't tell you if you have slow or fast data -- you don't get 4G LTE on prepaid. When travelling I very often have 2G Edge speed and that's not so hot. The data signal gets dropped and updates are so slow that you can forget about using it for navigation or anything requiring streaming data. I was trying to use my phone with the Radar Plus! app on Edge speed to see where some storms were that I was driving into and the app choked, so I finally had to give it up.

From what I can see, CC and AirVoice are probably identical. I used Sprint for years without roaming and always had a voice signal on interstate and major highways, since they do have coverage on major roads when travelling. Not so hot when you get off into the countryside away from major roads and towns. On balance, I think I'd rather have Sprint's coverage at least for voice. I never was blacked out while travelling on interstates and major highways. To use AirVoice you need an unlocked GSM phone and you use a SIM. My current plan provides unlimited talk, text, and messaging with 100MB data for $30 month.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby LadyGeek » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:35 am

LadyGeek wrote:Great timing, my AT&T contract just ended. I'm paying $120 for 2 smart phones, which includes a 25% employer discount. What bugged me about AT&T was that my plan did not include texting - it was somewhat pricey.

I have minimal voice use (peak usage 75 minutes / month), but tend to do surfing and internet streaming (peak 680 MB). Since my smartphones are already on the AT&T network, I like that CC will send you a free SIM card.
ieee488 wrote:For that much data usage, the T-mobile $30 monthly 4G plan is better in my opinion.
100 minutes, unlimited text, "unlimited" data (first 5GB).

The Consumer Cellular is better if you use more minutes than data.
$15 for 200 minutes
$30 for 2GB of data or $20 for 500MB of data.

I intend to do some due diligence before committing. This is helpful, thanks.

BTW, I couldn't find any info about Tethering on the Consumer Cellular site. AT&T only permits tethering if you add it to your plan (more $$$), so I never used this feature.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby BL » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:02 am

ieee488 wrote:
BL wrote:Can you use these phones by changing Sim cards for travel in Scandinavia or other parts of Europe?


It is not just a matter of changing SIM cards.

Your phone needs to be unlocked.
Your phone needs to work on the 900/1800 bands. Most phones in the USA are not capable of using these bands unless you specifically buy a quad-band phone.
http://www.worldtimezone.com/gsm.html


Thanks. I didn't think it was that simple, so glad I asked. I have been able to borrow a simple phone there so far and just buy time.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby ieee488 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:36 am

LadyGeek wrote:
LadyGeek wrote:Great timing, my AT&T contract just ended. I'm paying $120 for 2 smart phones, which includes a 25% employer discount. What bugged me about AT&T was that my plan did not include texting - it was somewhat pricey.

I have minimal voice use (peak usage 75 minutes / month), but tend to do surfing and internet streaming (peak 680 MB). Since my smartphones are already on the AT&T network, I like that CC will send you a free SIM card.
ieee488 wrote:For that much data usage, the T-mobile $30 monthly 4G plan is better in my opinion.
100 minutes, unlimited text, "unlimited" data (first 5GB).

The Consumer Cellular is better if you use more minutes than data.
$15 for 200 minutes
$30 for 2GB of data or $20 for 500MB of data.

I intend to do some due diligence before committing. This is helpful, thanks.

BTW, I couldn't find any info about Tethering on the Consumer Cellular site. AT&T only permits tethering if you add it to your plan (more $$$), so I never used this feature.


I have had the T-mobile $30/month plan since April 2012.
It has worked very well for me. Haven't tried tethering with it.

No experience with Consumer Cellular though its price for data and text does not impress.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Browser » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:03 am

Tethering works fine for me with my AirVoice Wireless plan (uses AT&T network).
If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine. – Jim Barksdale
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby slbnoob » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:47 pm

My ATT contract should have got over today. I am going to call tomorrow and unlock the phones. I thought I'd better get started with Consumer Cellular.

How does the number porting thing work? Are they going to contact ATT to stop service immediately?

Thanks.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Austintatious » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:14 pm

DW and I have used CC for 3 years or so and we've found that the basic package works very well for us, at about 40% of the costs of similar service from AT&T. I'd expect these phones to work in any area where AT&T is functional. We have the basic Motorala unit and the fee is $20 per phone per month. We've also signed up for 500 texts per month for fee of $2.50, so total monthly bill is $42.50. We live in a rural part of North Central Texas and went to AT&T after moving here because Verizon service just didn't work. Then we heard about CC and switched on a recommendation from a neighbor. We recently traveled to the Pacific NW and found that the phones worked anywhere AT&T service was available. Obviously, the phones we use are not for those wanting smart phone capabilities and I cannot offer anything regarding CC's smart phones or their data plans.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby curmudgeon » Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:24 am

slbnoob wrote:How does the number porting thing work? Are they going to contact ATT to stop service immediately?
Thanks.


Your new carrier has to contact your old carrier to get them to release your number. This generally means you need to give your new carrier the account password to your old account. We've been slowly moving numbers out of our Verizon family plan over the years, and it has always been a bit of a PITA with them (don't start the process unless you've got an hour to spare; you may or may not need it). Your new provider customer service rep should walk through it, but they may need to do a three-way call between you, them, and the old provider.

I'm planning to go to CC in a few months. I wanted a different phone from what CC carries, so I got a Nokia from the AT&T "Go Phone" prepaid service at Target. Since it's an AT&T phone, I *think* I could just move it straight to CC if I want, but I'd like to have it unlocked (to allow use with a local sim card overseas), and I have to keep it on the GoPhone service for six months before they will unlock.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Browser » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:06 am

curmudgeon wrote:
slbnoob wrote:How does the number porting thing work? Are they going to contact ATT to stop service immediately?
Thanks.


Your new carrier has to contact your old carrier to get them to release your number. This generally means you need to give your new carrier the account password to your old account. We've been slowly moving numbers out of our Verizon family plan over the years, and it has always been a bit of a PITA with them (don't start the process unless you've got an hour to spare; you may or may not need it). Your new provider customer service rep should walk through it, but they may need to do a three-way call between you, them, and the old provider.

I'm planning to go to CC in a few months. I wanted a different phone from what CC carries, so I got a Nokia from the AT&T "Go Phone" prepaid service at Target. Since it's an AT&T phone, I *think* I could just move it straight to CC if I want, but I'd like to have it unlocked (to allow use with a local sim card overseas), and I have to keep it on the GoPhone service for six months before they will unlock.

Like to hear from you if you are successful using the GoPhone. I thought I'd heard that you are unable to use those phones with MVNOs, although you can use contract phones that are "locked" to AT&T without unlocking them. Even so, I think I'd prefer to have a phone unlocked.
If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine. – Jim Barksdale
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby curmudgeon » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:44 am

Browser wrote:
curmudgeon wrote:
I'm planning to go to CC in a few months. I wanted a different phone from what CC carries, so I got a Nokia from the AT&T "Go Phone" prepaid service at Target. Since it's an AT&T phone, I *think* I could just move it straight to CC if I want, but I'd like to have it unlocked (to allow use with a local sim card overseas), and I have to keep it on the GoPhone service for six months before they will unlock.

Like to hear from you if you are successful using the GoPhone. I thought I'd heard that you are unable to use those phones with MVNOs, although you can use contract phones that are "locked" to AT&T without unlocking them. Even so, I think I'd prefer to have a phone unlocked.


I'll try to remember to post back. If I'm reading AT&T's policy correctly, there are a few general requirements (no more than 5 unlocks per customer per year, phone must be paid for, off contract, etc), and then there is a specific requirement for GoPhone that the phone must have been active on your AT&T account for the past six months. It's possible to parse the phrasing a couple of ways, so we'll see. The GoPhone rates aren't too bad if you keep the data usage down, but CC will be a notch cheaper if my wife and I share a plan.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Browser » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:06 am

It's possible to parse the phrasing a couple of ways, so we'll see. The GoPhone rates aren't too bad if you keep the data usage down, but CC will be a notch cheaper if my wife and I share a plan.

Plus you'll get better coverage than GoPhone, because CC uses the full AT&T postpaid network which includes partner roaming. GoPhone uses the prepaid network with no partner roaming.
If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine. – Jim Barksdale
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby vkfu » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:25 am

slbnoob wrote:My ATT contract should have got over today. I am going to call tomorrow and unlock the phones. I thought I'd better get started with Consumer Cellular.

How does the number porting thing work? Are they going to contact ATT to stop service immediately?

Thanks.


I ported two lines from AT&T to Consumer Cellular. I first ordered the SIM cards from CC. When they arrived I called them to port the numbers. I actually used one of the numbers I was porting to make the call. This call dropped during the porting process, but I called again using another means to complete the transaction. The lesson is to use a line other than the one you are porting to call CC to port your number.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby slbnoob » Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:23 am

Just a follow-up to my post above.

I got my phones unlocked by ATT. Then I put in an order with CC. Sim arrived 3 days later. I put sim in one phone and called from the other to activate (I also activated online but I still called since WTH). My Galaxy S3 probably had 4G LTE right from the beginning but I still called them and asked them to push the correct APN settings. They noted down my IMEI and did something.

Same with the other phone (iPhone 4S) while calling from the first one. Then verified if calls, voicemails, SMS, MMS, data work. They seemed to.

As an aside I got reminded (again) that the iPhone 4S (strictly speaking) has a 3G radio and hence is only 3G capable. AT&T and others sell their 3G HSPA+ disguised as 4G. My wife felt she got downgraded when she saw 3G on her phone instead of 4G. iPhone 4S never was capable for 4G LTE.
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Louis Winthorpe III » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:07 pm

Is Consumer Cellular's network slower than AT&T's, or is it exactly the same speed?
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Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Postby Rob5TCP » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:12 pm

rotorhead wrote:
Re: How is Consumer Cellular

Post by Rob5TCP » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:28 pm
Can you send/receive texts to Canada with their plans?
Their website doesn't say - one way or the other.


Yes, you can text anywhere; but CC charge $0.20 per text for international. I think you have to dig a bit deeper into their website to find that. Call them up and ask about their service. We found their customer service reps without exception to be very helpful. We have a lot of family and friends outside the US; and use WhatsApp for virtually all our texting. It's a nice little application that uses WiFi, so there is no cost for texting. Take a look: http://www.whatsapp.com/



Rotorhead - whatsapp is great - stayed with Virgin Mobile. Main reason to look around was cost of texting to Canada.
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