Author Topic: Verizon Network Resellers in the Bay Area  (Read 2952 times)

Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5208
Verizon Network Resellers in the Bay Area
« on: December 12, 2014, 09:19:48 AM »
My contract with Verizon is up in three weeks.  The current phone is a Motorola Droid something.  The battery life has declined, but the phone is probably good for at least another year.  It looks like new converts get a 1 GB Verizon plan for $60 plus fees.  Possibly a new phone.  No info for current customers and no notice of contract end, of course.

The Verizon network is the best in my area and covers the places I usually travel.  Sprint has no coverage in my subdivision so that's not an option.  What are the options available in the area that use the Verizon network and would be easy switches?  Would I be able to use the existing phone?  Am I better off dialing for dollars with the Verizon customer retention department?

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4053
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Verizon Network Resellers in the Bay Area
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2014, 10:24:13 AM »
Right now, if your Verizon handset is LTE capable and you want to stick with Verizon, your only option is Page Plus/Straight Talk, both owned by Carlos Slim's America Movil. PP used to have reasonably good domestic customer support, but that will be ending in January 2015 as the call center gets borged into the general AM calling centers... which can be unpleasant to deal with.

Now, if you do have a Verizon LTE handset and it's got full US GSM band support (you'll need to give me the actual model number or look it up yourself), it should be carrier unlocked and if AT&T coverage is acceptable, that'll open up a whole mess of GSM MVNO options. AT&T GSM coverage is about on par with Verizon coverage (excuse some more desolate parts of Nebraska) as they're the two 800lb gorillas. You'll also have more phone flexibility, cheaper handset options, and cheaper calling package options going GSM (if it's an option with your current handset or with coverage in the areas you frequent, or in the future when it comes time to replace).

You most likely could also replace the battery, and there's a chance the handset is supported by CyanogenMod, which might permit you further and newer Android updates beyond the official update releases extending handset life that much further before obsolescence or hardware failure overtakes it.

As for other Verizon MVNO options, there's not many who have had their mettle tested as of yet that I'm keeping my eye on. There's Selectel, Red Pocket's new CDMA Verizon plans, and Page Plus Master Dealer Kitty Wireless' new Puppy Wireless venture (I've recommended Kitty as the preferred dealer for PP users for years), but none will have LTE support until at least Q1 '15. If your handset is a non-LTE CDMA device, you should be able to activate now without any problem, but if it is LTE and you want to go with one of them, you'll have to wait until LTE support is rolled out with them before you can switch. Selectel has been on the market long enough at this point that they're a marginally safe call now (they're past the hump and pushing two years), but they're still not anywhere near the established camp that the headline MVNOs of the guide are. Puppy is still really new as is Red Pocket's CDMA service, and unless Verizon has changed their MVNO policies (which is what did in TalkForGood with Big Red back in '13 - and countless other MVNOs over the years, and they haven't as far as I understand - but for all that I know, I know there's more out there that I don't), either could be a gamble for longer term service. That said, they're still both established and reputable companies... but so was TFG. Hypothetically, if either of the two newest Verizon MVNOs who were to fold up their service, I would trust Kitty to be the most likely to notify customers of a pending shutdown to permit their customers to port out.

That should get you started. Any other questions, give the guide a read, and don't be shy asking.

Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5208
Re: Verizon Network Resellers in the Bay Area
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2014, 11:48:49 AM »
Hi I.P.

I really don't have a clue when it comes to the tech stuff.  I'm from the era of black rotary dial phones and Ma Bell.  The phone is a Motorola Droid Razr M running Android 4.4.2.  Does that help? 

It sounds like the easiest choice is to hit up Verizon for more data at a much better price.  I'm way overpaying on the two year contract for 300mb of data.  Should I check out Page Plus as well?

Thanks!

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4053
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Verizon Network Resellers in the Bay Area
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2014, 01:32:31 PM »
Okeydokey, there's some good news here, and a little bad news as well. The good news is that the Moto Droid Razr M is a CDMA/LTE/GSM world phone. The bad news is, is that Verizon appears to have originally shipped it from the factory carrier locked against domestic GSM use in violation of the FCC legal mandate, but it might have been carrier unlocked since with a software update. There seems to be some discussion stating that it's still locked for domestic use, though it can be carrier unlocked on your own if need be. Easiest way to tell is to power down the phone, take out the Verizon SIM card, pop in a friend's AT&T or T-Mobile SIM, power it up and see if it connects to the new network (you may need to pop into settings on the phone and change network settings). If it can't do that, go down to a local Verizon corporate store and ask them politely to carrier unlock the GSM slot for domestic GSM use in accordance with 47 CFR 27.16 (e). (Might not hurt to print the law out and take it with.) Since this phone has been released, they've defaulted pretty much to leaving these world phones fully unlocked. Take the time to get this done even if you decide to go to Page Plus or even stay with Verizon, it will be worth the effort as it opens up carrier options further and helps improve the resale value of the phone.

I point this out and highly recommend getting the SIM slot carrier unlocked on your phone because you really need to check out AT&T's prepaid network coverage to see if it'll work for you instead of Verizon. $30/month on the AT&T MVNO end gets you 500MB of data and unlimited talk and text through Airvoice/Jolt or H2O Wireless. $35/month through Cricket (if you can stomach the customer service - though it's still better than America Movil) gets you 1GB of high speed data and "unlimited" throttled 2G/EDGE data after that point. You could make the switch to a GSM carrier with your current phone for free effectively so long as you make sure the SIM slot is unlocked. Overall, service is just cheaper on the GSM end of the market with MVNO wholesalers.

The OEM battery (Motorola EG30) can be had for under $20 off Amazon and Ebay, but teardown is painful. You might find a local phone repair shop that will do it for you for a reasonable price, but keep this point in mind for the future when it comes time to buy another handset, and get one that has a user replaceable battery.

Ignoring all this, however, Page Plus is going to be the "easiest" option immediately... though not the best or the cheapest one. $30 (plus taxes) gets you 1200 minutes, 3000 texts and 500MB of data. It might be worth waiting out for when Selectel gets LTE support in a couple months. Prices are about on par with Page Plus, but support will be better.

Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5208
Re: Verizon Network Resellers in the Bay Area
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2014, 09:19:38 AM »
Thank you, Mr. Daley!

I'm going to get the manual out, figure out how to remove the SIM card and give AT&T and Page Plus a closer look.  Then I will call Verizon and ask them what they can do, in light of the competitor prices.  Will report back the results.