Saving money on Smarphones

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Clearly_Irrational
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Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Clearly_Irrational » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:53 pm

Currently we're paying about $195 a month for three phones. Maybe I'm just getting old, but that seems really expensive just for phone service. Here are our user profiles if that matters:

User 1: Needs a big data plan because the phone is used for virtually everything, moderate amount of minutes plus text.
User 2: Needs plenty of minutes plus text, lots of email, and only light web access.
User 3: Needs a small amount of minutes plus text, web access optional.

Currently we have Verizon which has good coverage and decent service. All three are Android phones.

Anyone have some thoughts on how to do this for less?

Oh, as a side note I just lowered my internet bill by $36 a month just by contacting them and asking to pay less. Apparently they had me in an older plan that was revamped after they acquired the unit I was originally subscribed with.

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Kernschatten
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Kernschatten » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:03 pm

You aren't just getting old. That's insanely high. We had a similar bill and finally I said "no" and ditched the iPhones for PrePay smartphones:
http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-pho ... /overview/
Based on the user profiles you provided, maybe looking at $45, $45, $35 -- a savings of $70/month. Catch is, it's probably not on a carrier that you love.

Now that we've left the US, we've ditched smartphones completely and I'm paying no more than €20/month. That's an option too. :wink:

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Clearly_Irrational
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Clearly_Irrational » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:08 pm

You can pry my Fiance's smartphone out of her cold dead fingers so that's probably out. Frankly I wouldn't want to live without text nowadays myself, it's just so convenient.

Switching carriers is an option, I'd need to do some checking to see how good VirginMobile coverage is around here. We're on the edge of town and often head into the boondocks to do horseback riding so adequate rural coverage is an issue.
Last edited by Clearly_Irrational on Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

zotty
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by zotty » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:09 pm

I'm in the same boat. Practically everyone i talk to gives me "phone bill envy", yet i suspect (and have some proof) that they are simply not paying attention. It runs 60+ per phone and it doesn't seem possible to get away from it.

Worse for me. My iPhone has a dead zone (AT&T + equipment trouble, donno) in my office. I can text, but calls drop.

It's very frustrating.
Nadie Sabe Nada

Confused
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Confused » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:18 pm

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Kernschatten
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Kernschatten » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:30 pm

Clearly_Irrational wrote:We're on the edge of town and often head into the boondocks to do horseback riding so adequate rural coverage is an issue.
Virgin uses the Sprint network. In rural areas (where I was anyways), I was able to get a signal, just not 3G.

ao0680
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by ao0680 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:37 pm

republic wireless. They are still beta. Cost is $19+tax/month everything unlimited. You must pay for their special phone(they only offer one phone for now), which is $249 or $99. I have been using it for about one month now and so far I like it. I am under contract with Sprint which will be finish in May and will port number after that.

corruptmonkey
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by corruptmonkey » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:59 pm

If your uses treat your phones well (keep them for a while), I would recommend T-mobile. They have plans with high up-front costs (you buy your own phone) but lower monthly costs that over the long run.

We have 4 phones, two of which are smart phones for $105 per month. Includes 1000 minutes, unlimited texting, 2gb of high speed data (throttled to lower speed after that) for 2 lines. We buy our own phones (you can buy prepaid smartphones for $30 for non-smart phone users). We bought two Nexus 4 phones from Google Play (just google it) ($300) but you could buy prepaid Android phones from t-mobile for $200 (LG Optimus L9 has relatively recent software).

Without smartphones, limited texting, and fewer minutes, we were paying $120 at sprint. We were looking at roughly $170 for a comparable services at Sprint to what we now have at T-mobile. Our monthly savings ($65+) will pay for the phones in about less than 10 months.

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Jerilynn
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Jerilynn » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:04 pm

Are you wanting to save money on the smartphone itself or the service?
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Drain
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Drain » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:11 pm

Clearly_Irrational wrote:Currently we're paying about $195 a month for three phones. Maybe I'm just getting old, but that seems really expensive just for phone service. Here are our user profiles if that matters:

User 1: Needs a big data plan because the phone is used for virtually everything, moderate amount of minutes plus text.
User 2: Needs plenty of minutes plus text, lots of email, and only light web access.
User 3: Needs a small amount of minutes plus text, web access optional.

Currently we have Verizon which has good coverage and decent service. All three are Android phones.

Anyone have some thoughts on how to do this for less?
You're not necessarily doing all that badly. Be aware that if your phone was "subsidized" by the carrier, part of that monthly fee is an installment on the handset, not service.

We have three people on a Share Everything plan with 2 GB of data. It''s around the same price as what you're paying, but I'm not sure of the exact amount, since we haven't gotten a full bill yet. Let's just say it's the same. Then of that $195, about $65 is for handsets, so the service for three phones is only $130, including taxes and fees. That is quite competitive with the prepaids, and we get full-blown Verizon coverage and service. Even if it costs a little more than the prepaids, I'd stick with it.
Darin

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Clearly_Irrational
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Clearly_Irrational » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:13 pm

Jerilynn wrote:Are you wanting to save money on the smartphone itself or the service?
The total monthly bill. Currently we get subsidized phones as part of our agreement. Basically I'm trying to lower total cost of ownership on a yearly basis. Given our feature requirements that may not be possible, but then again you never know till you ask and there are a bunch of very frugal people on this forum.

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Skinut
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Skinut » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:23 pm

Straight Talk through Walmart (yeah yeah, it took me a while to get over this).

You can use a variety of phones (read up on the website or forums first). It is $45/month for unlimited everything per phone, you can also pay for 3,6, or 12 month periods and the rate is reduced. My phone runs on AT&Ts network, I've never had any issues. It's worth checking out.

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snodog
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by snodog » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:53 pm

A few months ago I bought a new droidx for $120 on ebay and activated it on page plus with the $29.95/month plan and trashed my dumb phone.

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jeffyscott
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by jeffyscott » Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:06 pm

If you are not stuck in a contract, page plus (uses Verizon network) may be an option to look at, according to this:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-574835 ... discounts/
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

mikep
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by mikep » Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:14 pm

jeffyscott wrote:If you are not stuck in a contract, page plus (uses Verizon network) may be an option to look at, according to this:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-574835 ... discounts/
Another vote for page plus. I love my $2.50/mo verizon phone with wifi and no data.

GeauxBR
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by GeauxBR » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:55 pm

google nexus 4 + straight talk unlimited plan.

edit: just noticed verizon, i guess page plus is their pre-paid option

jimmyrules712
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by jimmyrules712 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:31 pm

Your best 2 options are Straighttalk or Pageplus.

Straightalk:
Using an unlocked GSM phone you can opt to either use AT&T or tmobile's network.
If you buy one or two certain phone models you can alternatively use Verizon's network.
Regardless of the network it'sa flat $45 per month per line for unlimited talk, text, and data.
The best way to implement it is to buy the Google Nexus 4 (unlocked for $299).

PagePlus:
Uses Verizon's network.
Almost any Verizon phone can be used with it (the phone does not need to be unlocked). Notably though, they do not allow iphones.
Cost is a flat $55 per month per line for unlimited talk and text and 2 GB of data.

They both have cheaper plans if a line doesn't need internet.

To sum it up, if you're willing to buy new phones then your better off with Straighttalk. If you want to use old Verizon phones you already have then check out PagePlus.

Saving$
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Saving$ » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:44 pm

Another vote for T Mobile. I have service when all others don't because most Tmobile phones have wi-fi calling. The phone connects to any open wireless network and it uses the internet to receive and make regular cell calls (using the regular calling interface, not any sort of skype type thing.)

My cell automatically switches from the cell signal to my own secured wireless network when I pull into my driveway, so calls from my house are crystal clear and don't use minutes. The only drawback is that calls are dropped when going FROM the internet connection for cell calls to the cellular network. My old Blackberry seamlessly handed them over, but the Android does not have that functionality.

I bought a phone on Amazon for $190, and my monthly service with TMobile small business is $45/m + tax which works out to $53 total. Unlimited calls, texting and 5gb of data before being throttled. I've never even gotten close to 5gb. Since I agreed to sign up for a 2 year contract (no subsidized phone on the Small Business plan) they gave me a $250 bonus credit to my account, which made the first five months almost free. If I include the cost of my phone, my monthly cost over 2 years is $50.50/month for virtually unlimited everything.

Diogenes
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by Diogenes » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:20 am

Skinut wrote:Straight Talk through Walmart (yeah yeah, it took me a while to get over this).

You can use a variety of phones (read up on the website or forums first). It is $45/month for unlimited everything per phone, you can also pay for 3,6, or 12 month periods and the rate is reduced. My phone runs on AT&Ts network, I've never had any issues. It's worth checking out.
+1 ST recommended

I have Straight Talk with my iphone5, no contract. I bought the unlocked phone from ST and it well runs on the Verizon network, no sim needed. Came preconfigure and all iPhone features (i.e. visual VM) work fine. My sim slot is reserved for when I am traveling. Only downside so far is ST will not freeze your account if you are out of the States for a month or two. You must pay anyway or lose your number. Oh well, it is fantastic not to have a contract and pay half what Verizon wants! ST also kicks another couple of bucks off if you use auto-refill. Comes to $47 with taxes included.

_D_
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sjb19
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by sjb19 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:57 am

Good advice so far. I agree probably least risky to find a MVNO that uses Verizon network in your area. You may even be able to keep your old phones with new sim cards.

swaption
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by swaption » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:03 am

Clearly_Irrational wrote:Currently we're paying about $195 a month for three phones. Maybe I'm just getting old, but that seems really expensive just for phone service. Here are our user profiles if that matters:

User 1: Needs a big data plan because the phone is used for virtually everything, moderate amount of minutes plus text.
User 2: Needs plenty of minutes plus text, lots of email, and only light web access.
User 3: Needs a small amount of minutes plus text, web access optional.

Currently we have Verizon which has good coverage and decent service. All three are Android phones.

Anyone have some thoughts on how to do this for less?

Oh, as a side note I just lowered my internet bill by $36 a month just by contacting them and asking to pay less. Apparently they had me in an older plan that was revamped after they acquired the unit I was originally subscribed with.
Concur with the comments pointing toward Page Plus or Straight Talk, but in your case being on Verizon with presumably existing CDMA phone, Page Plus is a home run. While the $55/onth plan has been mentioned, you could probably do much better.

User 1: $55 plan Unlimited texts and minutes, 2 GB data
User 2: $30 plan may work, 1200 minutes, 3000 texts, 250 MB data, which may be enough for e-mails, particularly if you use wi-fi when possible
User 3: $12 plan 250 minutes/250 texts/10 MB data

This gets you to $97 and you are still on the Verizon network. If User 2 needs more, even $55 plan brings it to only $122.

momo54
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Re: Saving money on Smarphones

Post by momo54 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:57 am

I have a nexus 4 on Straight Talk. First off the Nexus 4 is a fantastic phone for the money. I paid 349 for the 16gb version. It's a steal for this price. Easily worth $600.Google Now feature is great. As far as Straight talk...I pay $45 for unlimited voice ,text and net. Well actually around 47 with tax. There customer support is still not that great ,but it is getting better. How often do you call cs support anyway? Rumor has it that there is actually a 2gb cap on the data plan , but i went over once and they never contacted me . I think there issue is with people tethering their phones with other devices. They will shut the door quickly if they catch you doing this.

One caveat the Nexus 4 phone does not have LTE capability! It will work on HSPA+ which is plenty fast for me. I don't plan on downloading Argo on my phone. The Nexus 4 will also run on other GSM carriers such as T Mobile ,Simple mobile etc.

Also you might want to take a look at Tracfone. My wife just purchased a phone from them and she gets triple minutes for life with it. The phone is nothing to rave about. It has a camera , text etc. It's not a smartphone ,but it suits her needs and the price is right.

Hope this helps :happy

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