Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

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davebo
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Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by davebo » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:10 pm

From my understanding, the only reason you'd avoid taking the smartphone subsidy would be to avoid signing a contract. Do you get discounted monthly service? I imagine some do give discounted service rates, but it doesn't look like Verizon does.

I have verizon wireless and have been happy with their service. Seems like there are better deals to be had with other carriers, but I've been with Verizon for 15 years so I'm a little hesitant to jump ship and deal with inferior service.

I REALLY want to test out TING and see how the service is. It says I could save almost $100/month based on my usage.

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Toons
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by Toons » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:14 pm

I am sure you are going to get a lot of replies to this thread :happy ,so I will be the first.
I have used straight talk for years,Verizon is the carrier,unlimited(3g ,throttled back until the next cycle)
45 a month. :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

nordlead
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by nordlead » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:18 pm

Ting is either Sprint or T-mobile. If you don't want to leave Verizon, then I suggest a Verizon MVNO, like Straight Talk or Page Plus (both of which offer LTE on Verizon). I'm now running both a Sprint and a T-mobile (wife's) cell phone on Ting. I love their service.

Anyways, as for not taking the cell phone subsidy, there are lots of reasons not to. Mostly being in a contract and the higher costs (look into Verizon Edge http://www.verizonwireless.com/landingp ... w-it-works ). Edge saves you $15-25/month depending on your data plan. If you already own your phone and don't intend to upgrade, switching to Edge will save you money immediately. Of course, switching to an MVNO will save even more and provide most of the services the big 4 provide. You can always pick a specific MVNO that provides all of the services you need.

EDIT: I switched from AT&T (dumb phones) to Ting (smart phones) and to test out Ting I started with 2 Google Nexus S 4G's for $50 each. Once those broke (sadly they died really early) I upgraded to a Nexus 5 and a LG G2 and couldn't be happier. So all in, my Ting experiment cost me ~$100 upfront, but since I'm happy with it and it is saving me money it paid off. You could do the same on any MVNO really.
Last edited by nordlead on Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

mptfan
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by mptfan » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:19 pm

davebo wrote:From my understanding, the only reason you'd avoid taking the smartphone subsidy would be to avoid signing a contract. Do you get discounted monthly service?
It would depend on the carrier, but I think you do with ATT, I think they call it the "Next plan."

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I Palindrome I
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by I Palindrome I » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:54 pm

Balance the monthly savings against the amount you'd spend buying the phone you'd use with Ting. At $100/month savings, though, you're going to come out ahead pretty quickly.

I've been quite happy with Ting for the past 2 years. My wife and I both got Galaxy S3's off eBay and have been fairly satisfied with them. We have Sprint-based coverage and that's worked out well enough. Nice feature: we can roam (for voice only) on the Verizon network, so we're pretty well covered on that front. We're pretty light on data, messages, and calls so we average about $25/month combined. It took us about 20 months to recover the cost of our phones based on the monthly savings from our old T-Mo voice+text plan ($50/month). If I were moving over now, I'd pick up Nexus or Moto E/G phones and have even less hardware costs to recover.

edit: referral link removed per amd2135's suggestion
edit 2: mild rules gripe moved to keep things pleasant
Last edited by I Palindrome I on Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

amd2135
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by amd2135 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:56 pm

Verizon also has their own prepaid plans starting at $45/month. As I recall they're unusual in the prepaid world in that they charge taxes/fees on top of that $45- at least in some cases. Page Plus and Selectel roll these into the advertised monthly cost so you don't have to worry about them.

I pay $26.95/month via a US based dealer named Prepay Refill for Page Plus' $30 plan. Current autorenew rates are a bit higher. And as mentioned by another poster, you DO get Verizon service.

Selectel includes US roaming (Verizon's "Extended Network") whereas Page Plus requires you to keep a cash balance for roaming. Selectel has some draconian restrictions in their Terms & Conditions regarding sending/receiving international calls though.

The main advantage that I see with Verizon's own prepaid service is that data speeds aren't capped to 5mbps down/3mbps up like they are with the MVNOs. This doesn't make a real-world difference that I can see though.

lightheir
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by lightheir » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:38 pm

I hate the cell subsidy. It might seem like a decent deal if you're already planning to upgrade to the latest and greatest every 2 years or so,but you'll still be forced to pay a premium ($200ish) for the newest, best phones even with the subsidy. The subsidies tend to only completely cover phones that are not in the newest cycle.

Plus, you're losing money for every month you pay the subsidy and don't upgrade. I was caught a few months before an iphone upgrade cycle, and ended up waiting 6 months just to get the iphone upgrade - ATT made good free money off me during those 6 months since I was locked into a subsidy plan.

I've since wisened up, gone Republic Wireless, and my cellphone bill went from $210 for 2 phones to $50 for 2 phones, with essentially identical service. (ATT has better cell coverage than Republic's carrier, but I'm in an area where I'm good to go.) I did have to pay for a new phone to go Republic, but it was a worthwhile investment, and you can choose to either go big with the $400 new flagship phone (I did!) or go cheap and select excellent but not as current-gen phones from $100-200. No forced upgrades, and no lockin contracts. Great.

I seriously hope that these little guys force the big carriers to change their game - it's refreshing to get a bill that is exactly what you expected, and service that is exactly what you expect, rather than a constantly changing sea of strange rules and opaque billing.

bloom2708
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:45 pm

There are many good "non contract/non subsidized phone" plans. I have vowed to never sign another 2 year contract again. Not matter how they spin it or color the plans.

If you like Verizon, check out Page Plus.

I would check out Cricket Wireless. AT&T 4G LTE coverage. Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2.5GB of 4G LTE data (unlimited 3G data) for $35/month with auto-pay. They have a really good selection of very reasonable smartphones. Also no contract.

Our family of 5 has 5 smartphones. With the Group Save we pay $100 (including taxes and fees) for 5 lines. That is pretty hard to beat for very solid AT&T coverage.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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batpot
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by batpot » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:52 pm

It depends on your needs. Speaking of which, you should also evaluate whether you really need the newest smart phone; there are many carrier-neutral budget phones hitting the market that are more than capable for most users.

You'll see lots of people replying with various MVNOs, but many MVNOs use inferior networks (e.g. Sprint or T-Mobile), or otherwise limit your data capacity (either in terms of total bandwidth, speed caps, or slowed pings due to routing), so they may or may not work for you.

All that being said, my wife and I saved a lot of money switching to Consumer Cellular. They use AT&T, but have data and minute caps that are more than sufficient for our uses.

Workinghard
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by Workinghard » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:36 pm

bloom2708 wrote: I would check out Cricket Wireless. AT&T 4G LTE coverage. Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2.5GB of 4G LTE data (unlimited 3G data) for $35/month with auto-pay. They have a really good selection of very reasonable smartphones. Also no contract.

Our family of 5 has 5 smartphones. With the Group Save we pay $100 (including taxes and fees) for 5 lines. That is pretty hard to beat for very solid AT&T coverage.
We recently went to Cricket and we're very happy with it. I got a cheap phone and I'm thrilled that it does everything I need it to do. My dh went with a more expensive phone because he likes to synch it with his iPod and iPad. No contract ever again and only unlocked phones in our future.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by Spirit Rider » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:53 pm

With Verizon and the More Everything Plan you can get a discount on smartphone line access if you do not have a contract.

It is $15/month discount <= 4GB data and $25/month discount >= 6GB data. These discounts are per line that does not have a contract.

You must request it. It is not automatic nor widely advertised. They are the same discounts that apply to the Edge Plan, but you do not need to be on that plan to receive them.
Last edited by Spirit Rider on Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NightFall
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by NightFall » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:56 pm

You might not want the subsidy after you compute the cost. We switched to Ting about a half year ago. We save a little more than $100/month with no change to usage or difference in quality of service. Previously we got a $600 subsidy (2 phones) with a two year contract. We make the subsidy back in half a year. I ordered a used phone through Ting recently, and it was extremely easy to set up. Everything is online from activating the new phone to tracking your usage. We pay less now with smart phones than we did when we had flip phones (that was some time ago). I don't see us ever going back.

takeshi
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by takeshi » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:34 am

davebo wrote:Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?
There can be. Run the numbers and consider your preferences/priorities. For us the prepaid services are nonstarters due to our needs but they do work for many.
davebo wrote:I have verizon wireless and have been happy with their service. Seems like there are better deals to be had with other carriers, but I've been with Verizon for 15 years so I'm a little hesitant to jump ship and deal with inferior service.
If you mean coverage when you say service then find a Verizon MVNO. I have no idea how accurate or up-to-date this is so definitely validate on your own:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U ... _operators

For the MVNO's the ride on multiple carriers you'll need to confirm what network is used in your area.

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davebo
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by davebo » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:45 am

NightFall wrote:You might not want the subsidy after you compute the cost. We switched to Ting about a half year ago. We save a little more than $100/month with no change to usage or difference in quality of service. Previously we got a $600 subsidy (2 phones) with a two year contract. We make the subsidy back in half a year. I ordered a used phone through Ting recently, and it was extremely easy to set up. Everything is online from activating the new phone to tracking your usage. We pay less now with smart phones than we did when we had flip phones (that was some time ago). I don't see us ever going back.
I just worry about the service if I switch. I might actually buy a phone specifically to test out on the TING network and compare it to what I have on verizon. I am on contract with verizon for a little while longer.

I take it you're happy with the TING coverage?

bloom2708
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Re: Any reason not to take the cellphone subsidy?

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:01 pm

Ting has two services. CDMA using Sprint towers and GSM using T-Mobile coverage.

If you are in a large metro area, chances are you have good Sprint and T-Mobile coverage. However they do not have the rural coverage that AT&T and Verizon do. If you vacation or travel to visit friends/relatives, then triple check there will be data coverage where you will be.

If you go with Ting CDMA, they have a neat deal where talk/text will roam on Verizon. So you will mostly always have talk/text. You may not have data depending where you are off the beaten path.

We had ting for 18 months before changing to Cricket. Ting lowered our bills and has good customer service. At Ting you will be rewarded for not using your phone. It is a plan where scarcity rewards you with lower bills. This can wear on you after a while because there are times you don't want to have to worry about usage. Say you are on hold for customer service. On Ting you will feel the pressure for those 20-30 minute hold calls. You are plowing through your precious minutes. Or say you want to use your GPS for 2 hours. Data, data, data. Sprint has also put pressure on Ting with making newer phones "financially ineligible" until they are 2 years old. Therefore Ting is pushing GSM/T-Mobile.

Cricket has unlimited talk and text. 2.5 GB of 4G LTE data and unlimited 3G if you use the first 2.5. It also used AT&T coverage which is far superior to both Sprint and CDMA.

If you have to choose between a $25-$30 bill on Ting or a $35 all inclusive bill on Cricket, go with Cricket every time! :sharebeer

If you have multiple lines, the Group Save plan is pretty awesome. Line 1: $40, Line 2: $30, Line 3: $20, Line 4: $10, Line 5: $0 = $100. Line 6 is $40 again.

The $100 includes all taxes and fees. It works out great for us as we have 5 phones.
"People want confirmation, not advice" Unknown | "We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you" Unknown | Four words: Whole food, plant based

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