Best Cell Plan?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Saving$
Posts: 1623
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 pm

Best Cell Plan?

Post by Saving$ » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:21 pm

For over 10 years TMobile had the best combination of cost and coverage for me but recently their coverage at my home (in a medium density urban area) has gotten terrible. They tried to alleviate it by providing me a free router over which calls are routed, but when the internet goes out I then have no cell coverage. My plan ($50 month + $7 in tax for unlimited talk, text & data) may not be the best deal because I use 200 - 700 mb of data/month, so I'm ready to switch to a service that either runs on the Verizon or AT&T network. Per the recent BH discussions on MVNO, people seem sold on them but the prepaid plans from the big 4 seem like a better deal.

1. I'm looking for a one phone plan with unlimited talk & text, and about 500mb to 1gb min data per month + unlimited wifi data.
Verizon has a $45/month (no added tax) prepaid plan with unlimited talk, text and 2 gb of data.
AT&T Go has $45/month (+ tax?) prepaid plan with unlimited talk,, text and 1.5gb of rollover data.
On Consumer Cellular, 1500 min of talk ($30) + unlimited text + 1.5 gb of data ($20) would cost me $50, so not the cheapest. Am I missing discounts or other deals?

2. Since Tmo and AT&T are both GSM, can I just buy a prepaid AT&T sim card, put it in my TMo phone and try it out to see what sort of reception I get?

3. People on this site seem sold on the MVNO's. But this thread indicates Cricket coverage is not as good as Consumer Cellular coverage, and indicates many MVNO's do not have data roaming:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=158214&p=2373973&h ... l#p2373973
How do I figure out if an MVNO has data roaming? Which other MVNO's offer the same service as the carrier whose network they use? ie will service with Consumer Cellular be as good as service with AT&T?

4. On a recent trip, Google maps would not work, because it could not determine my location. My phone's GPS was on. Do I need a data connection for GPS to work? Is this carrier and/or MVNO specific?

lightheir
Posts: 2302
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by lightheir » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:47 pm

Some of the MVNOs like Republic Wireless have a trial period. Republic Wireless's is 30 days to try, so if you find you've got a huge gap in coverage or hate the service, you can send the phone etc all back for a refund.

I pay $25 + $4 taxes a month now for solid 3G cell service (no data cap, but I think they'll throttle it if you go like 5GB+/month - I never get close) with them, and the Moto X 2nd gen phone I bought (you have to buy RW-compatible phones, unfortunately) is outstanding - blows away my old Iphone 4s and is def comparable with current-gen iphones.

My bill went from $110/month per phone to $29 per phone, and it works just as well.

It's not ATT coverage though - I forget which carrier is its preferred, but if you've got big cell coverage gaps in your area, it might not be for you. (I've had no coverage gaps while traveling yet.)

abner kravitz
Posts: 342
Joined: Tue May 05, 2015 7:42 am
Location: Beaufort County, SC

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by abner kravitz » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:58 pm

I know that Cricket is part of AT&T, so I assume they use their network. That would make sense, but I'm not 100% sure how it all works.

User avatar
dumbbunny
Posts: 840
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:00 pm
Location: Oregon coast

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by dumbbunny » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:01 pm

lightheir wrote:Some of the MVNOs like Republic Wireless have a trial period.
Consumer Cellular is one of those.
“It’s the curse of old men to realize that in the end we control nothing." "Homeland" episode, "Gerontion"

DSInvestor
Posts: 10891
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:42 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by DSInvestor » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:04 pm

I believe you'd need an unlocked phone in order to use a SIM card from another telco.

Google maps needs data to download the maps. Did you allow location services for the google maps app on your phone. iPhones have the option to enable or disable location services by app and I assume other phones have similar options.

BTW, is your phone LTE capable? In my area, I have no 4G service with T-Mobile but strong LTE signal. If I disable LTE on my phone, the phone goes down to 2G. If I am closer to town or in town, there is strong signal for LTE and 4G.
Last edited by DSInvestor on Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wiki

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 12971
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by abuss368 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:05 pm

No problems with AT&T.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

lightheir
Posts: 2302
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by lightheir » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:15 pm

DSInvestor wrote:I believe you'd need an unlocked phone in order to use a SIM card from another telco.

Google maps needs data to download the maps. Did you allow location services for the google maps app on your phone. iPhones have the option to enable or disable location services by app and I assume other phones have similar options.

BTW, is your phone LTE capable? In my area, I have no 4G service with T-Mobile but strong LTE signal. If I disable LTE on my phone, the phone goes down to 2G. If I am closer to town or in town, there is strong signal for LTE and 4G.
Just as an aside as well - LTE/4G is great cell internet service, but I suspect it'll be overkill for the OP. If you're streaming video on the road regularly (like Netflix), you'll want that LTE/4G, as well as an amped up data plan since you'll eat GB FAST while streaming video. In that case, the lo-cost MVNO's (like Republic Wireless) would not be a good choice since they don't cater to big -data consumers.

However, since the OP gets <1GB (well under, actually) per month of service, odds are that he's not doing any video on cellular data, and in that case, a cheaper mVNO 3G plan would be fine (that's what I use - it's not blazing fast, but I wouldn't call it slow, either.)

anonforthis
Posts: 414
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:45 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by anonforthis » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:19 pm

lightheir wrote:Some of the MVNOs like Republic Wireless have a trial period. Republic Wireless's is 30 days to try, so if you find you've got a huge gap in coverage or hate the service, you can send the phone etc all back for a refund.

I pay $25 + $4 taxes a month now for solid 3G cell service (no data cap, but I think they'll throttle it if you go like 5GB+/month - I never get close) with them, and the Moto X 2nd gen phone I bought (you have to buy RW-compatible phones, unfortunately) is outstanding - blows away my old Iphone 4s and is def comparable with current-gen iphones.

My bill went from $110/month per phone to $29 per phone, and it works just as well.

It's not ATT coverage though - I forget which carrier is its preferred, but if you've got big cell coverage gaps in your area, it might not be for you. (I've had no coverage gaps while traveling yet.)
I agree. I am so glad I found republic wireless.

WhyNotUs
Posts: 1345
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by WhyNotUs » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:15 pm

Have a BBQ and invite a variety of friends over. ask them if you can use their phone and call your phone to leave a message with some blah blah and the name of their service, number of bars, level of data. That should give you site specific info for a variety of providers.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

jayjayc
Posts: 206
Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:38 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by jayjayc » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:21 pm

lightheir wrote:Some of the MVNOs like Republic Wireless have a trial period. Republic Wireless's is 30 days to try, so if you find you've got a huge gap in coverage or hate the service, you can send the phone etc all back for a refund.

I pay $25 + $4 taxes a month now for solid 3G cell service (no data cap, but I think they'll throttle it if you go like 5GB+/month - I never get close) with them, and the Moto X 2nd gen phone I bought (you have to buy RW-compatible phones, unfortunately) is outstanding - blows away my old Iphone 4s and is def comparable with current-gen iphones.

My bill went from $110/month per phone to $29 per phone, and it works just as well.

It's not ATT coverage though - I forget which carrier is its preferred, but if you've got big cell coverage gaps in your area, it might not be for you. (I've had no coverage gaps while traveling yet.)
Republic Wireless uses Sprint's network.

edit: https://republicwireless.com/faqs/

pochax
Posts: 1340
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:40 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by pochax » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:29 pm

i use cricket and was up in the Adirondacks area this past weekend. although my LTE service left me, i still had cell coverage for phone calls. since it's prepaid there is no contract so why not give it a go and see if it works for you? the $35 (with autopay) is all inclusive of taxes/fees. you may be out $10 for a cricket SIM card but if you are bringing your own GSM phone anyways, that is a small price to pay.

User avatar
SpringMan
Posts: 5361
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:32 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by SpringMan » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:11 pm

jayjayc wrote: Republic Wireless uses Sprint's network.

edit: https://republicwireless.com/faqs/
Yes but fortunately domestic roaming is free. This is different than say Virgin Mobile which uses Sprint but with no roaming. Sprint coverage is poor.
Best Wishes, SpringMan

jlawrence01
Posts: 1412
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:34 am
Location: Southern AZ

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by jlawrence01 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:21 pm

I have Cricket and would greatly endorse it. While there are some gaps in coverage out in the mountain regions and the like, service has been excellent.

I dropped Republic Wireless. No customer service (unless your thing is waiting for a response to a message board) and very poor coverage on the Sprint Network. If you have a problem, you are on your own.

User avatar
Hexdump
Posts: 1615
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:28 am
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Hexdump » Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:07 am

WhyNotUs wrote:Have a BBQ and invite a variety of friends over. ask them if you can use their phone and call your phone to leave a message with some blah blah and the name of their service, number of bars, level of data. That should give you site specific info for a variety of providers.
What a great idea !

davidkw
Posts: 803
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:39 pm
Location: Northern VA

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by davidkw » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:05 am

I used the Walmart Straighttalk plan. Runs on the Verizon network for $46 month and I have an Android smartphone.
David | | From Jack Brennan's "Straight Talk on Investing", page 23 "Living below your means is the ultimate financial strategy"

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 12971
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by abuss368 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:18 am

I would consider building a cell tower in your back yard. That should correct any coverages issues.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

rooms222
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:12 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by rooms222 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:21 am

If you get your phone unlocked, or it is already, H2O wireless is probably the best AT&T MVNO for you. It has an unlimited talk and text plan with 500 MB of 4g data for $30/month, $27 with autopay. Cricket's plan at a similar price point is $40/month, $35 with autopay. The Cricket plan has more data, but it sounds like you dont need it right now. If you run out of data on the H20 plan, you add data by buying a prepaid feature card.

SIM cards for H20 are available for a dollar on ebay and amazon.

Should you not get auto pay, service cards are available on callingmart.com. They often have discount codes (on their facebook page) and always have a 3% discount code. Google callingmart discount code to find it or hunt on their facebook page.

Saving$
Posts: 1623
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Saving$ » Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:28 pm

rooms222 wrote:If you get your phone unlocked, or it is already, H2O wireless is probably the best AT&T MVNO for you. It has an unlimited talk and text plan with 500 MB of 4g data for $30/month, $27 with autopay. Cricket's plan at a similar price point is $40/month, $35 with autopay. The Cricket plan has more data, but it sounds like you dont need it right now. If you run out of data on the H20 plan, you add data by buying a prepaid feature card.

SIM cards for H20 are available for a dollar on ebay and amazon.

Should you not get auto pay, service cards are available on callingmart.com. They often have discount codes (on their facebook page) and always have a 3% discount code. Google callingmart discount code to find it or hunt on their facebook page.
Does H20 wireless have data roaming? A previous post on another thread linked above indicated that Cricket does not have data roaming.

takeshi
Posts: 1175
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by takeshi » Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:56 am

Saving$ wrote:Per the recent BH discussions on MVNO, people seem sold on them but the prepaid plans from the big 4 seem like a better deal.
You definitely have to run the numbers. Everyone's needs/wants are not identical and the specifics may favor one over the other.
Saving$ wrote:unlimited wifi data
WiFi data isn't provided by the carrier and limits will depend on whoever is providing the WiFi.
Saving$ wrote: On a recent trip, Google maps would not work, because it could not determine my location. My phone's GPS was on. Do I need a data connection for GPS to work? Is this carrier and/or MVNO specific?
You don't need data for the GPS receiver to work. It can determine your location without data. However, the receiver only provides latitude, longitude, altitude and time, IIRC. To plot that on a map with Google Maps you need data coverage or you need to have precached the map data. Otherwise you just get a blue dot on a white screen which isn't all that useful.

Google Maps and other nav app reliant on data are very popular but if you're frequently in areas without data or want to ensure that this is never an issue then you might want to look into apps that used locally stored map data. Some apps rely on data coverage not just for map data but for routing as well. It doesn't happen often to me but I rely on nav when traveling and prefer having such an app (I have 2, actually).

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Browser » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:58 am

rooms222 wrote:If you get your phone unlocked, or it is already, H2O wireless is probably the best AT&T MVNO for you. It has an unlimited talk and text plan with 500 MB of 4g data for $30/month, $27 with autopay. Cricket's plan at a similar price point is $40/month, $35 with autopay. The Cricket plan has more data, but it sounds like you dont need it right now. If you run out of data on the H20 plan, you add data by buying a prepaid feature card.

SIM cards for H20 are available for a dollar on ebay and amazon.

Should you not get auto pay, service cards are available on callingmart.com. They often have discount codes (on their facebook page) and always have a 3% discount code. Google callingmart discount code to find it or hunt on their facebook page.
I second H2O. Now has LTE service. Easy to get a practically free SIM on Amazon and to set up your phone entirely on the net w/o messing with customer service. Don't go autopay until you've tried it for a month. If you don't like it, just don't pay your monthly charge and you are automatically dropped -- though your number will still be good for 2-3 months in case you change your mind. I use Consumer Cellular because it has roaming and my voice and data needs are met for under $30/month. Even though you have 30 days, you have to give them a credit card number and if you want to quit you have to call them or write them (can't do it on the net), which is more of a hassle than H2O.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

protagonist
Posts: 5435
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by protagonist » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:35 am

Saving$ wrote:


3. People on this site seem sold on the MVNO's. But this thread indicates Cricket coverage is not as good as Consumer Cellular coverage, and indicates many MVNO's do not have data roaming:
I've used Verizon, AT+T, and 4 different MVNO's. So far I am happiest with Cricket. Roaming is not much of an issue at all where I live (Northeast)....AT+T towers have most all areas covered and I have no more trouble with that than I did when I was with AT+T, even in fairly rural parts of VT (there are parts where I would lose coverage on AT+T or Verizon as well).

You don't need to obsess over your MVNO choice since you can always switch companies without penalty any month (or go back to a major carrier if you wish). Just pick one.

Oliver
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:49 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Oliver » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:33 pm

T-Mobile will unlock your phone for free, since you have had an account with them for awhile. (Just say you are going overseas.). You should verify that your phone supports att LTE bands before you switch to an att mvno. You might be restricted to 3g speeds.

PS You should also check compatibility with Verizon, while you are at it.

stlutz
Posts: 4784
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by stlutz » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:06 pm

How do I figure out if an MVNO has data roaming? Which other MVNO's offer the same service as the carrier whose network they use? ie will service with Consumer Cellular be as good as service with AT&T?
The only AT&T-based prepaid service that offers roaming is Consumer Cellular. Note: (AT&T GoPhone does not). If you need roaming and you want to use AT&T, then you need to use CC or AT&T postpaid.

However--do you need roaming? Do you live/travel in areas marked "3rd Party" on this map (mostly in NE and the West)? https://www.consumercellular.com/Map

The MVNOs will basically offer the same service. I believe LTE data speed is throttled on Cricket, but I don't think you'd notice/care with your data usage.

With Verizon, if you want to use a new smartphone, the best bet is to go with Verizon directly. With Verizon MVNOs, you have to either use a phone that has been on VZ post paid or buy a crappy phone from the MVNO. The AT&T-world is much more flexible in this area. But if you live the West, Verizon's coverage is generally better.

Cheyenne
Posts: 422
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:46 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Cheyenne » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:33 am

1. I'm looking for a one phone plan with unlimited talk & text, and about 500mb to 1gb min data per month + unlimited wifi data.
Verizon has a $45/month (no added tax) prepaid plan with unlimited talk, text and 2 gb of data.
AT&T Go has $45/month (+ tax?) prepaid plan with unlimited talk,, text and 1.5gb of rollover data.
On Consumer Cellular, 1500 min of talk ($30) + unlimited text + 1.5 gb of data ($20) would cost me $50, so not the cheapest. Am I missing discounts or other deals?

Cricket (AT&T network with no roaming and data somewhat throttled but usable for most tasks) is now popular due to its data pricing. Also, no taxes with prepayment (that add up). You might not need roaming. Check their coverage map. I might be wrong but think there are Cricket retail stores.

Consumer Cellular operates on AT&T with roaming. It's the same coverage as native AT&T (except their phones do not operate outside the U.S., or so they say). They sell cheap smartphones as well as new iPhones for $25.mo. interest-free. You can also activate a used unlocked AT&T phone with them. Consumer Cellular is unique in that they are "postpaid" without a contract. You pay your bill at the end of the month and can leave anytime. They also have a feature that allows you to change your plan anytime your usage exceeds your current plan (or vice versa). They even email you when you when your usage pattern changes to allow you to change plans and to avoid overage charges. I have an account with them now (in addition to Verizon, T-Mobile and Pageplus). It's a good company with native U.S. speakers manning the help desk. They market to seniors (like me) (5% AARP discount) but they don't discriminate based upon age.

If you want to buy a used phone buy one from either eBay or swappa, and buy from a dealer with a track record and good reviews. That will insure that the phone has a clean ESN and has not been reported stolen (or will be reported stolen after you pay for it which is a common Craigslist scam), and in the the case of iPhones is not linked to a locked iCloud account.

2. Since Tmo and AT&T are both GSM, can I just buy a prepaid AT&T sim card, put it in my TMo phone and try it out to see what sort of reception I get?

A T-mobile phone needs to be "unlocked" by T-Mobile in order to operate on AT&Ts network. I believe it must have been active on T-Mobile for 6 mos. to qualify for unlocking (You might also be able to find someone who has the unlocking code and will do that for you.). While a T-Mobile phone will work on the AT&T network because it is also GSM, it probably won't operate at 4G LTE speeds because T-Mobile phones lack the frequency that AT&T uses for 4G LTE. You should be able to get 3G and slower.

3. People on this site seem sold on the MVNO's. But this thread indicates Cricket coverage is not as good as Consumer Cellular coverage, and indicates many MVNO's do not have data roaming:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=158214&p=2373973&hilit=cell#p2373973
How do I figure out if an MVNO has data roaming? Which other MVNO's offer the same service as the carrier whose network they use? ie will service with Consumer Cellular be as good as service with AT&T?

Consumer Cellular has roaming and the coverage is as good as AT&T (except no no foreign operation, so that say).

4. On a recent trip, Google maps would not work, because it could not determine my location. My phone's GPS was on. Do I need a data connection for GPS to work? Is this carrier and/or MVNO specific?

I believe you need data for Google Maps to work.

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Browser » Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:54 am

stlutz wrote:
How do I figure out if an MVNO has data roaming? Which other MVNO's offer the same service as the carrier whose network they use? ie will service with Consumer Cellular be as good as service with AT&T?
The only AT&T-based prepaid service that offers roaming is Consumer Cellular. Note: (AT&T GoPhone does not). If you need roaming and you want to use AT&T, then you need to use CC or AT&T postpaid.

However--do you need roaming? Do you live/travel in areas marked "3rd Party" on this map (mostly in NE and the West)? https://www.consumercellular.com/Map

The MVNOs will basically offer the same service. I believe LTE data speed is throttled on Cricket, but I don't think you'd notice/care with your data usage.

With Verizon, if you want to use a new smartphone, the best bet is to go with Verizon directly. With Verizon MVNOs, you have to either use a phone that has been on VZ post paid or buy a crappy phone from the MVNO. The AT&T-world is much more flexible in this area. But if you live the West, Verizon's coverage is generally better.
I now use Consumer Cellular and have used other non-roaming MVNOs such as AirVoice and H2O. Since I regularly travel through one of the areas without AT&T tower coverage in NE New Mexico, I can testify that CC does provide voice coverage in that area while the others did not, which implies that CC does offer partner roaming. However, I found that I didn't always have data coverage in this area even though I had voice coverage. So there might not be data roaming in some areas and you wouldn't be able to run Maps or music streaming for example. As far as I know, all the AT&T MVNOs except Consumer Cellular and StraightTalk use the same prepaid AT&T network as GoPhone, with no partner roaming. Cricket, of course, is owned by AT&T so it's basically the same thing as GoPhone. In addition to the larger dead zones there are also pockets that won't have coverage. Even though these typically aren't large areas, it could be problematic if you're in one of those. All of the prepaid MVNOs except the two I mentioned will have the same coverage so you can try any of them to see if they work OK for you. If not, you'll have to try Consumer Cellular or Straightalk.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

hicabob
Posts: 2716
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 5:35 pm
Location: cruz

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by hicabob » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:00 am

Project fi seems really interesting.
https://fi.google.com/about/faq/

I'm waiting for my invitation.
Downside is that you need a nexus 6 phone, which is a nice phone but pricey

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Browser » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:07 am

hicabob wrote:Project fi seems really interesting.
https://fi.google.com/about/faq/

I'm waiting for my invitation.
Downside is that you need a nexus 6 phone, which is a nice phone but pricey
Google "nexus problems with Android 5.1" and you'll find that the latest android version is a mess with Nexus. I'm having problems with my Moto-X since I upgraded to 5.1. I wouldn't touch a Nexus with a pole of any length unless you want to run KitKat and not upgrade.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

rooms222
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:12 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by rooms222 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:39 am

Browser wrote:
hicabob wrote:Project fi seems really interesting.
https://fi.google.com/about/faq/

I'm waiting for my invitation.
Downside is that you need a nexus 6 phone, which is a nice phone but pricey
Google "nexus problems with Android 5.1" and you'll find that the latest android version is a mess with Nexus. I'm having problems with my Moto-X since I upgraded to 5.1. I wouldn't touch a Nexus with a pole of any length unless you want to run KitKat and not upgrade.

I agree. My Nexus 4 became very unusable with Android 5.1. I declined to update on my replacement LG G2. I use Google Voice a lot, and its attempts to push everything to Hangouts were unbearable. I have people that I call with Google Voice (and pay Google for the international call), but text them through the phone company, as GV won't do international texts. It was maddening to try to find a solution, as Lollipop made it almost impossible to do so without going in and toggling things in the settings.

Also, battery life dropped precipitously.

Clip8
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:36 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Clip8 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:15 pm

My wife and I have cell phones but are bucking the trend by continueing to use a AT&T land line for most of of our talking. Our home has 4 wireless phones (which require power) and one phone directly connected (for when the power goes out). In an emergency I believe the cell towers would be overwhelmed and the land line will be the most secure method of communication. We also have our security system tied to our phone line.

For several years we both used flip phones tied to our daughter's multiple line family contract with Verizon. It was not until she persuaded my wife to get a smart phone (Galaxy S5) that I realized how much each line was costing each month ($40). When my contract came up for renewal I dropped it. I first tried Consumer Cellular, but their AT&T tower signal was very weak at our home, so I returned it. Than I tried Tracfone, which I am very happy with. The LG flip phone cost only about $15 and I got a model that uses the Verizon towers and the signal reception has been very good. I bought a one year card for about $85 on eBay which gives me 1050 minutes over the next 365 days. I also bought my wife a similar Tracfone, which she likes better than the smart phone for everything but texting. The cancellation penalty is so high that we decided to keep the smart phone until the contract expires, but she will than probably drop it.

We only have local calling on our land line, and use Onesuite.com for our long distance. LD costs about 2.9c per minute and you can buy time in prepaid increments of %5 to $50. We find it much more convenient than calling cards.

User avatar
babington
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 2:54 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by babington » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:17 pm

I just moved from Verizon to PagePlus (which uses the Verizon network, IMO the best coverage). PagePlus customer service is an absolute nightmare, but not enough to justify paying Verizon 3x time more.

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Browser » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:10 pm

babington wrote:I just moved from Verizon to PagePlus (which uses the Verizon network, IMO the best coverage). PagePlus customer service is an absolute nightmare, but not enough to justify paying Verizon 3x time more.
http://www.walmart.com/cp/Total-Wireless/1229576
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

Cheyenne
Posts: 422
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:46 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Cheyenne » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:18 am

"Total Wireless" and "PagePlus" are both owned by América Móvil which is a Carlos Slim company that also owns "TracFone", "NET10 Wireless", "Straight Talk", "SIMPLE Mobile", and others with over 289 million wireless subscribers worldwide. I know that PagePlus customer service (which had been based in Ohio before it was sold) was transferred to Mexico and I think "Total Wireless" uses the same customer service operation.

Silence Dogood
Posts: 715
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:22 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Silence Dogood » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:44 am

I'm on the $10/month Republic Wireless plan. Very happy with this. It helps that I have WiFi at home, work, and most other places I go.

ShiftF5
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:59 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by ShiftF5 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:21 pm

I'll cast another vote for Republic Wireless.

I switched from ATT about 1 year ago and am very happy.

It just depends on your needs.

bondsr4me
Posts: 927
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:08 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by bondsr4me » Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:33 pm

We've been using Consumer Cellular for about 8 months and are very happy with the service.

Just bought 2 new iPhone Plus' from them too.

All is well so far.

Don

acegolfer
Posts: 1092
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:40 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by acegolfer » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:49 pm

Lots of good suggestions. Adding another.

Pay $10 for a $30 preloaded h2o wireless gsm sim card on att network.

Look at eBay. You get 1 month unlimited voice/text and 500mb lte. After 1 month, you can extend for $30, or quit. If you use Google voice, then you can do it again with a new mobile number.

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Browser » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:03 am

acegolfer wrote:Lots of good suggestions. Adding another.

Pay $10 for a $30 preloaded h2o wireless gsm sim card on att network.

Look at eBay. You get 1 month unlimited voice/text and 500mb lte. After 1 month, you can extend for $30, or quit. If you use Google voice, then you can do it again with a new mobile number.
There's cheap and then there's PITA cheap. :P
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

mikep
Posts: 3697
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:27 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by mikep » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:13 am

Another suggestion for cricket is to stay with autopay, but buy the PINs anyway from walmart online. You can go through portals for cash back and use discounted walmart gift cards bought through the secondhand sites to shave another ~5-6% off. You will still get the autopay $5 discount.

protagonist
Posts: 5435
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by protagonist » Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:11 pm

The advantages I have experienced with Cricket over the other MVNOs I have tried (H2O Wireless, Airvoice, Straight Talk):
1. An actual storefront about 10 blocks from my gf's apt. in NYC with intelligent and personable geeks who remember my name and rarely keep me waiting (no "taking a number" like at AT+T). They can't always help me, but that alone is way better than the awful customer service one receives on the phone from all of the MVNOs (including Cricket) that I have tried, from people who often seem to know less about their product than I do and are just reading from a script.
2. It is the only one I have used so far via which I seem to be able to send and receive MMSs flawlessly without tweaking my APNs.

Small stuff, but it works for me. For the most part, they are all nearly the same.

User avatar
kellyfj
Posts: 259
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:41 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by kellyfj » Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:34 pm

Another vote for Consumer Cellular - the one's on the Sprint Network e.g. Cricket, Republic Wireless and Virgin Mobile are terrible in the Boston area.
Consumer cellular is on AT&T - second only to Verizon in terms of nationwide coverage.

-Frank

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 13016
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Toons » Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:08 pm

Satisfied customer using Samsung Galaxy S5 with Straight Talk,Verizon carrier,4G,45 month unlimited(throttle after 3 gig but never approach it.) :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

NerdGirl
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:07 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by NerdGirl » Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:09 pm

Hope I'm not too late! Another tmobile customer here. Go into a tmobile store and ask for the cell booster that is NOT tied to wifi. It was free (though you must return if you leave tmobile or be billed for some outrageous fee) and it immediately gave me 5 bars throughout my house.

I prefer tmobile's unlimited data so I don't have to worry! With this booster all of a sudden my reception is perfect inside my house and I am finally getting rid of my landline!

Tico_75
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:36 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by Tico_75 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:45 pm

I had T-Mobile for years, and switched to Cricket a few months ago. It runs on ATT, so that's what you get, and it's better than T-Mobile.
Cricket
Unlimited calls, text, 2.5 gb 4g data, unlimited 2G, $35 p month.

PC Metro runs on T-Mobile.
Unlimited calls, text, 1 gb 4G data, unlimited 3G, $30 p month (I think)

I use Cricket and it works great. WIFI is included on both. There are referals options.

There are other plans out there, but Cricket offered me plenty of internet service, so I went that route.

I called T-mobile and got my phone unlocked for free. Then, switched to Cricket.
"Check ID" is my actual signature.

workingstiff
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by workingstiff » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:38 am

lightheir wrote:Some of the MVNOs like Republic Wireless have a trial period. Republic Wireless's is 30 days to try, so if you find you've got a huge gap in coverage or hate the service, you can send the phone etc all back for a refund.

I pay $25 + $4 taxes a month now for solid 3G cell service (no data cap, but I think they'll throttle it if you go like 5GB+/month - I never get close) with them, and the Moto X 2nd gen phone I bought (you have to buy RW-compatible phones, unfortunately) is outstanding - blows away my old Iphone 4s and is def comparable with current-gen iphones.

My bill went from $110/month per phone to $29 per phone, and it works just as well.

It's not ATT coverage though - I forget which carrier is its preferred, but if you've got big cell coverage gaps in your area, it might not be for you. (I've had no coverage gaps while traveling yet.)
I'll add another vote for Republic Wireless, though they aren't for everyone and it depends on your wants, needs, and situation. We've been with them for a year, and my only serious gripe is that I didn't switch sooner (I tend to research stuff to death :) ). For us, they are great and have saved us a lot of money compared to T-Mobile (and AT&T before that). We have three Moto Gs all on the $10 unlimited talk/text plan plus internet via wifi. I highly recommend them and if you want you can read more on why we love Republic Wireless. Especially for your kids and teenagers, I can't think of a better economical option that the Moto G on the Republic Wireless $10 monthly plan. But... I have read legitimate comments from others who they didn't work out for so well. For some it's a problem with how much wifi they have access, for others it's the local sprint coverage, and some people just seem to have bad luck with them (but I think that happens with ALL providers for some folks). Republic Wireless also just changed from "unlimited data" (actually 5 GB) to "pay per GB but get a refund for what you don't use". This will benefit low cellular data users but might make Republic Wireless less of an option for higher cellular data users (some people have to use lots of cellular data, some people chose to use lots of cellular data). I would research this change before doing anything. As mentioned above, if you do your research and think they will be a good option, you can try them for up to 30 days and get a refund if they don't work out for you. I don't think many other cell companies offer that.
Last edited by workingstiff on Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

jacksprat
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 3:33 pm

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by jacksprat » Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:32 am

"Best" is a moving target.

For me, this article helped. http://bestmvno.com/sprint-mvnos.html

FreedomPop is interesting .

According to RootMetricshttp://www.rootmetrics.com/us, Sprint has/is improving coverage in most areas.
While Verizon and AT&T top the charts, all networks are getting better. We saw improvements across the board in data speed and data reliability, which are fast becoming keys to everyday mobile experience. The biggest improvement stories belong to T-Mobile and, especially, Sprint with its marked call improvement.
I had TMO, but had too many dead spots in my local area. WAY too many dead spots. Price was right though... YMMV.
.

User avatar
wander
Posts: 2555
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 am

Re: Best Cell Plan?

Post by wander » Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:40 am

I see nobody mentions Scratch Wireless yet. Here is the link to its web site.
And Google Fi project.

Post Reply