Author Topic: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1  (Read 140785 times)

I.P. Daley

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #150 on: October 03, 2014, 02:36:46 PM »
I've been trying to port my number from Airvoice to Google since Tuesday.  I'm not getting much traction.  It doesn't help that it appears google doesn't have any tech support whatsoever for voice.

Is there another way I can 'park' my number somewhere so I don't lose it?

Not without paying for it. For the price, you might as just shift over to Airvoice's PAYG plan. $3 isn't far off from nearly anywhere else, and you won't have to pay for porting that way, either.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #151 on: October 21, 2014, 05:15:09 PM »
Just found this web site/forum and so far I like it. I hope no one minds this as a first post.

I very much enjoyed the guide but had one note/question: I don't know when it changed by now TracPhone has a BYOP option. I was wondering if anybody had tried it, does it change the outlook on using them, does this make tracphone move up a notch because of the option...?

I'm actually just curious, probably won't be changing anytime soon myself (since my verizon contract expired I'm month-to-month with an unlimited data plan for relatively cheap :-) )
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #152 on: October 22, 2014, 01:28:30 PM »
Just found this web site/forum and so far I like it. I hope no one minds this as a first post.

I very much enjoyed the guide but had one note/question: I don't know when it changed by now TracPhone has a BYOP option. I was wondering if anybody had tried it, does it change the outlook on using them, does this make tracphone move up a notch because of the option...?

I'm actually just curious, probably won't be changing anytime soon myself (since my verizon contract expired I'm month-to-month with an unlimited data plan for relatively cheap :-) )

Great to have you, and I noticed your intro post over in the other thread. I'm humbled to have been the guy to bring you here, and I hope what you learn while here is valuable and uplifting.

Regarding your Tracfone question: BYOD changes nothing in my book, as I make a point to try and avoid recommending America Movil properties under general principle. Their prices aren't that competitive and their customer service is dreadful, I know first hand as my experience with them is one of the many reasons why I created the guide that I had in the first place. There's always a hidden cost when you shop uninformed or focus far too intently on getting the cheapest price possible. As such, what better way to help other people then to show them how to avoid the mistakes I made early on?

Page Plus is currently only on the list out of virtue of being the only established and financially stable Verizon MVNO, not because of their current parent company. The day Selectel (or Red Pocket) has proven themselves to be up to snuff, or at least as "good" a bet as Page Plus is for Verizon refugees...
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #153 on: October 24, 2014, 06:06:44 PM »
Ha! Something I had long suspected but lacked the scientific knowledge to connect the dots:

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/10/t-mobile-our-network-has-trouble-with-building-walls-and-long-distances/

That explains why we've always had trouble within certain buildings, even surrounded by towers.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #154 on: October 25, 2014, 09:03:36 PM »
Ha! Something I had long suspected but lacked the scientific knowledge to connect the dots:

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/10/t-mobile-our-network-has-trouble-with-building-walls-and-long-distances/

That explains why we've always had trouble within certain buildings, even surrounded by towers.

Funny you should mention this. From a few days ago in another thread:

For the record, Verizon and AT&T both use 850MHz and 1900MHz frequency bands for voice service. Sprint uses 800MHz and 1900Mhz. T-Mobile uses 1700MHz, 1900MHz and 2100MHz. Technically, the lower the frequency, the better the signal penetration, but the difference between the frequencies are negligible with cellular services, and you get into other things like reflection and propagation that make up for the deficiency with the higher bands. The point being, YMMV, and there's a lot of factors that contribute to reception issues between providers, including the antenna designs in the handsets themselves.

Wave propagation with signals over 1GHz in the UHF band gets interesting. They don't have quite the penetration, but they bounce better in areas where the signal gets in. T-Mo may not have any sub-1GHz voice spectrum currently (except through AT&T roaming agreements), but the difference is negligible for the most part, IMHO. It cuts both ways, and sometimes it can even be beneficial. I've been in basements where I've gotten T-Mo reception where AT&T and Sprint wouldn't work, and I know it's because of the signal bounce.

Most people aren't going to notice the difference as it'll either work or it won't most places. If there's reception issues in a building that are caused specifically by the architecture and wiring, there's usually going to be some sort of quirky reception issues on all bands with all providers. That's why I typically won't address spectrum in the guide unless people are having specific problems. :)
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #155 on: November 02, 2014, 09:57:14 AM »
I really don't understand the hate on Republic Wireless. I switched my whole family from paying $170 a month on Verizon with limited minutes and a laughable amount of data to $50 a month for unlimited talk/txt. We can't use the data because we are constantly roaming and there is a 25mb limit on data.

It's by far the cheapest MVNO out there. Unless you could just survive off megabytes and had no will to use data outside of Wi-fi networks. There's no other MVNO that allows unlimited calling/texting for $10/mo or less. And please show me another MVNO that offers 5GB of 3G and unl txt/call for $25/mo or under. Granted, I have no use for this plan, but if I lived in an area where this was feasible, It's a solid option.

The only restrictive and negative part is the phone ecosystem. Of course we are limited to the phones they flash with their proprietary software. I don't see this as a huge downside, though, as you still can buy used and the phones themselves are excellent. So you can BYOD in a sense which makes things more fair.

I think your post needs to be updated because I have not felt that Republic's execution is lacking or that their pricing can be easily replicated. I feel its the best bang for the buck out there having used it for the past few weeks. Elaborating on execution, their customer service is getting better, their responses to issues are incredibly detailed and accurate. They list new known problems on their site and they actively correct existing issues in a timely matter if its something remotely within their power. Wi-fi to cell handoff and vice-versa works incredibly well and is basically non-noticeable. Call quality is great on cell and even better on Wi-fi. There is signal everywhere with Sprint since Sprint has MANY roaming agreements.

They also no longer tie you to their phones per se. You can eBay any of their phones now.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 10:12:25 AM by Ricky »

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #156 on: November 02, 2014, 12:59:43 PM »
I really don't understand the hate on Republic Wireless. I switched my whole family from paying $170 a month on Verizon with limited minutes and a laughable amount of data to $50 a month for unlimited talk/txt. We can't use the data because we are constantly roaming and there is a 25mb limit on data.

It's by far the cheapest MVNO out there. Unless you could just survive off megabytes and had no will to use data outside of Wi-fi networks. There's no other MVNO that allows unlimited calling/texting for $10/mo or less. And please show me another MVNO that offers 5GB of 3G and unl txt/call for $25/mo or under. Granted, I have no use for this plan, but if I lived in an area where this was feasible, It's a solid option.

The only restrictive and negative part is the phone ecosystem. Of course we are limited to the phones they flash with their proprietary software. I don't see this as a huge downside, though, as you still can buy used and the phones themselves are excellent. So you can BYOD in a sense which makes things more fair.

I think your post needs to be updated because I have not felt that Republic's execution is lacking or that their pricing can be easily replicated. I feel its the best bang for the buck out there having used it for the past few weeks. Elaborating on execution, their customer service is getting better, their responses to issues are incredibly detailed and accurate. They list new known problems on their site and they actively correct existing issues in a timely matter if its something remotely within their power. Wi-fi to cell handoff and vice-versa works incredibly well and is basically non-noticeable. Call quality is great on cell and even better on Wi-fi. There is signal everywhere with Sprint since Sprint has MANY roaming agreements.

They also no longer tie you to their phones per se. You can eBay any of their phones now.
(Emphasis added.)

I find it humorous that people who have wholly swallowed the Republic advertising always claim I'm "hating" on them. Reality is, I'm just pointing out how impractical they actually are for nearly everyone once a little effort and research is put into investigating what they're providing for the money versus the competition. My primary point is that you can do far better for the money, and you almost always can, especially when you factor replacement handset costs versus keeping your own on a cheaper plan that actually fits your needs. The ROI usually winds up breaking the 24+ month barrier, and that's contract level commitment.

I'm sorry Ricky, but you clearly still haven't run the math. Your comment about spending $50/month basically for feature phone service where you can't even use any data highlights this irrational disconnect. It's the illusion of value, which isn't the same thing as real value.

Say it with me now: NOBODY NEEDS UNLIMITED ANYTHING.

I've already gone over this repeatedly and even recently... have the three most relevant posts refuting the very talking points you're attempting:

The Math of Unlimited
Ask Daley: The End of Google Voice & Republic Wireless
TruLocalPhone Magic, or how to beat Republic Wireless at their own game

The only thing I might add is that anyone trying to actually extract 5GB of data off of Sprint's 3G network in under a month is going to be a hero, especially over an MVNO. The idea of 3G data access on this plan is closer to everyone else's 2G/EDGE and throttled speeds. Factoring that consideration, there is an "unlimited" everything plan for $25/month from P'tel. The only thing I might say about this plan is the same wish of good luck trying to actually extract 5GB of data in a month as well. On the bright side though, if P'tel considers you to be abusing their network, they'll just kill your account. If you do that with Republic, you're going to get socked for a $500+ fee and nobody to call and talk to.

Simply put, there is and there will always be better for the money spent. Republic isn't the deal that they try to claim they are. I'm sorry that apparently pointing out this reality somehow makes me a hater in your book.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #157 on: November 02, 2014, 02:52:11 PM »
You're missing the point. For me, Republic is an excellent option since i live in a rural area where there are very few GSM towers. Data is horribly slow near my house so relying on Google Hangouts isn't an option. My point is that you're doing others a disservice by automatically saying Republic is a bad option for anyone since you can do better elsewhere.

The fact is that I really can't do better elsewhere. Most of the MVNOs that you recommend are GSM reliant. I can't go with Ting for pure megabytes because I use more data than that and I can't rely on Hangouts as said before. Your all inclusive guide isn't all that inclusive is all I'm saying. And you're right, using 5GB is probably shooting for the stars but even if I used 3GB, and I do quite regularly, I still would come out much better. On top of that, my 3G speeds on Republic have been excellent in areas where Im not roaming.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 02:55:25 PM by Ricky »

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #158 on: November 02, 2014, 04:04:19 PM »
You're missing the point. For me, Republic is an excellent option since i live in a rural area where there are very few GSM towers. Data is horribly slow near my house so relying on Google Hangouts isn't an option. My point is that you're doing others a disservice by automatically saying Republic is a bad option for anyone since you can do better elsewhere.

The fact is that I really can't do better elsewhere. Most of the MVNOs that you recommend are GSM reliant. I can't go with Ting for pure megabytes because I use more data than that and I can't rely on Hangouts as said before. Your all inclusive guide isn't all that inclusive is all I'm saying. And you're right, using 5GB is probably shooting for the stars but even if I used 3GB, and I do quite regularly, I still would come out much better.

And you clearly don't actually understand how Republic or the alternatives actually work, which makes you believe that my advice is somehow a disservice because I won't recommend the single third tier mVoIP provider that you like in a huge ocean of MVNOs.

First, we'll address your whole "Republic is a great option because of a lack of GSM" statement. Republic primarily uses Sprint and roams onto Verizon, and the fact that you can't do data because of the Verizon roaming in your area bodes ominously for your future use when they start sticking limits on all roaming services due to customers like yourself not primarily on WiFi or Sprint coverage. Their model isn't sustainable, and the recent changes show this. What you actually need is an MVNO that deals primarily with Verizon coverage where you live, not Sprint coverage, not WiFi coverage.

Next, we'll deal with your claim that Hangouts isn't somehow an option because "data is slow". Google Voice and Hangouts both can initiate calls that ring back to your mobile line, barely any data is needed for this function. If you don't care about having two phone numbers, this is a moot point. Incoming can be set to automatically ring to your mobile line or can be used in VoIP mode over WiFi, and if you can't initiate outbound over mobile via Hangouts, there's nothing preventing you from direct dialing. I never advocate using VoIP over a mobile data connection.

Finally, unless it's specifically for work data access that can't be pre-loaded onto your phone for offline use, your mobile data habit is absurd.

But you know what? If you're that happy with Republic, good on you. It doesn't change what I have to say, what I know, or what I will recommend, but I'm genuinely glad that you think you got a good deal and are making it work.

Your all inclusive guide isn't all that inclusive is all I'm saying.

I have options for all four major mobile networks and for nearly every reasonable usage scenario, and I focus on quality over quantity. You can't get much more inclusive than that, and I have enough positive feedback at this point and time to feel confident that my advice well serves its audience. I don't recommend Republic for the same reasons why I don't generally recommend America Movil products or a majority of the other MVNOs out there, and it's because I strive to hold high standards. Apparently you think this is unreasonable, and I'm sorry you think as much... but there is very little Republic can do to meet the standards I strive to adhere to with the free advice that I provide and maintain that's built on years of personal knowledge and research.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #159 on: November 02, 2014, 06:31:56 PM »

First, we'll address your whole "Republic is a great option because of a lack of GSM" statement. Republic primarily uses Sprint and roams onto Verizon, and the fact that you can't do data because of the Verizon roaming in your area bodes ominously for your future use when they start sticking limits on all roaming services due to customers like yourself not primarily on WiFi or Sprint coverage. Their model isn't sustainable, and the recent changes show this. What you actually need is an MVNO that deals primarily with Verizon coverage where you live, not Sprint coverage, not WiFi coverage.

Next, we'll deal with your claim that Hangouts isn't somehow an option because "data is slow". Google Voice and Hangouts both can initiate calls that ring back to your mobile line, barely any data is needed for this function. If you don't care about having two phone numbers, this is a moot point. Incoming can be set to automatically ring to your mobile line or can be used in VoIP mode over WiFi, and if you can't initiate outbound over mobile via Hangouts, there's nothing preventing you from direct dialing. I never advocate using VoIP over a mobile data connection.


I should have clarified. I don't even roam off Verizon. I roam off a rural regional carrier that Sprint has agreements with. Verizon also has agreements with them but no Verizon prepaid service works here and I would assume the same is true with PagePlus, thus PagePlus isn't an option for me. Apparently Sprint just isn't as restrictive. But even if I could get PagePlus, show me where they beat a $10/mo plan?  I'm obviously hooked up to Wi-fi while at home but its still a good drive until  I hit a Verizon tower, so I'm assuming PagePlus wouldn't even work where I live.

How is Republic's model not sustainable? They've only came out with better phones and better plans. I'd love proof. You seem adamant that Republic is out to screw over their customers but I haven't seen this yet.

Can you explain what you're talking about with two phone numbers and Google Voice? I thought you were advocating using your data for text/calls since you're using very few megabytes to do so.  When you say replicate what Republic does for less elsewhere, again, I assume you are talking about relying solely on low megabyte usage. Otherwise the rate per call/txt is outrageous. If I relied on per minute rates I'd have to pay a minimum of $9 per line with Ting (100-500 min) and Id probably be looking at $10 with 200 minutes of usage on PTel. Still the same as Republic price wise, except Republic is unlimited and also includes text. That's just based on my usage. Sure I could use the phone less, but this is based on my needs. I'm sure others have similar needs. That's why I don't see your logic.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 06:50:01 PM by Ricky »

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #160 on: November 02, 2014, 08:18:50 PM »
That's why I don't see your logic.

You don't see the logic because you don't understand many of the competition's pricing models or how any of the technology works, nor are you working with any proper numbers. That's the heart of your problem - you're skimming and assuming, not reading and researching. As for myself, all I can do is work with what people give me if they want custom help, and that requires honesty and details.

You're asking questions and making ill-formed assumptions on basic stuff that I've already gone over in considerable detail within the unabridged guide and the site itself (many points addressed and explained in the very articles I already linked you). Plenty of other people get it when they take the time to actually read the guide instead of just skimming it, and when they don't, they usually ask nicely and I gladly help them anyway. If you can't make heads or tails out of it, fine. You already chose an alternate carrier and you're happy with it, stick with what works for you. In the mean time, please stop assuming things that simply aren't true and then coming in here half-cocked and telling me how to best help people when you yourself can't work out Ting's multi-line pricing or be bothered consulting coverage maps with Page Plus and Selectel.

So far, all you've mostly done is throw around accusations and question my integrity and experience. I can tell a part of you wants to learn, but I can't teach you anything until you've at least picked up the basics. Please do me the favor of actually taking the time to read the materials I've created and linked before you post again.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 08:20:29 PM by I.P. Daley »
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #161 on: November 02, 2014, 11:16:19 PM »
I've actually mentioned several numbers. I've already proved that Republic is as cheap as anything else I coild get for my situation. I am not coming here to brag on or endorse Republic in any way. Pim saying that in my situation I guarantee you couldn't find a cheaper solution for me that is feasible.

I've read your posts. Your posts do a lot of math but they never acknowledge the fact that you're comparing apples to oranges. You're trying to beat the Republic plan with the thought that no one should use greater than several megabytes of data a month. Again, your TruVoiceLocal "knockout punch" is  a GSM provider that wouldn't work for me. I just mentioned that even if PagePlus did work, there isn't a plan they offer better than Republic.

I'm expressing my situation in detail to outline the fact that there are others out there like myself and you steering people away from a company that's obviously doing well is a little misguiding. You keep referring to their bad customer service. You keep talking about their TOS that NO one has had an issue with otherwise it would be well propagated on the Internet by now. You keep saying they have an unsustainable business model when they seem to be doing just fine and have improved dramatically just over the past year.

All I'm saying is please find a better solution for me because I've read all of your stuff and there is nothing in there any more feasible or cost effective than Republic in my situation.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #162 on: November 03, 2014, 07:10:38 AM »
All I'm saying is please find a better solution for me because I've read all of your stuff and there is nothing in there any more feasible or cost effective than Republic in my situation.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

That's why I don't see your logic.

You don't see the logic because you don't understand many of the competition's pricing models or how any of the technology works, nor are you working with any proper numbers. That's the heart of your problem - you're skimming and assuming, not reading and researching. As for myself, all I can do is work with what people give me if they want custom help, and that requires honesty and details.

You're asking questions and making ill-formed assumptions on basic stuff that I've already gone over in considerable detail within the unabridged guide and the site itself (many points addressed and explained in the very articles I already linked you). Plenty of other people get it when they take the time to actually read the guide instead of just skimming it, and when they don't, they usually ask nicely and I gladly help them anyway. If you can't make heads or tails out of it, fine. You already chose an alternate carrier and you're happy with it, stick with what works for you. In the mean time, please stop assuming things that simply aren't true and then coming in here half-cocked and telling me how to best help people when you yourself can't work out Ting's multi-line pricing or be bothered consulting coverage maps with Page Plus and Selectel.

So far, all you've mostly done is throw around accusations and question my integrity and experience. I can tell a part of you wants to learn, but I can't teach you anything until you've at least picked up the basics. Please do me the favor of actually taking the time to read the materials I've created and linked before you post again.

You have demonstrated repeatedly that you have not actually read the guide or any of the linked articles sufficiently to demonstrate understanding of what was presented. Further, you have not actually asked for help, you have demanded and repeatedly insulted my efforts. I have tried to help you understand three times now, but apparently you don't actually want to know why and how, you just want to try and prove you're right and I'm wrong.

I'm not going to waste any more time or space in this thread trying to convince a mule not to walk off a cliff. You've made your point and I've made mine. You want to continue on with this conversation, I suggest you take it to PM.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #163 on: November 03, 2014, 05:27:46 PM »
Hey Daley,

I'd just like to say, although I don't understand everything in the Superguide, that I still am saving tons of money on Airvoice and it's working out great!  Don't worry about the haters, there are plenty of us that are appreciative that you helped us save $.  My savings are >$100/mo over AT&T.  I'm sure there are many others that could say the same.  Have a great day!
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #164 on: November 03, 2014, 09:09:37 PM »
Oh yes, the savings - my extended family of 6 are loving Airvoice and Page Plus (3 and 3), and I've talked up the superguide and the MVNOs to a couple friends.  They're still on the fence, but I had one ask me just last night how I was liking my Airvoice plan, so I know she's interested.  It's hard to trust that you can get a decent plan for so little money.  I had the advantage of seeing how well it's worked for so many on this site.  They just have one person's experience to go by.   

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #165 on: November 04, 2014, 07:22:35 AM »
Now that I've replayed the same broken "Republic Wireless" record for yet another person (and this rather important update for some users got buried within it), let's get on with an actual useful update (by reposting it)!

Attention Nokia Symbian S40 and Asha Users:

If you haven't noticed already, Microsoft has announced that they're pulling the plug on Nokia Messaging Service (NMS) later this month. What does this mean? No more push email, or native email support of any stripe on these handsets. You Nokia Symbian S60 users are still fine, but you'll need to reconfigure your mail clients. That's the bad news.

Now, here's the good news in a nutshell: mujMail works beautifully on these S40 handsets, and is really lean on the data. I've already made the switch, and outside of losing push notifications which is excessive at best (and can still be worked around if need be), I haven't missed a beat. Once again, we demonstrate that nearly nobody needs a modern smartphone and there's no need to replace these still perfectly serviceable and frugal handsets.

Greater details on the service loss and this viable alternative can be found here: Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!

Happy reading, folks!



Also, thanks for the kind words, ladies.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #166 on: November 14, 2014, 10:54:39 AM »
Hi Daley, thanks for the posts, they are really helpful.

I saw you posted the rumor back in July about Page Plus supporting 4G LTE, did you know they are officially supporting it now? Details are up on their site now. Unfortunately it's only supported for the $29.95 and up plans (not the 12 and not PAYG), but at least the SIM is only $5.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #167 on: November 17, 2014, 10:24:09 AM »
Hi Daley, thanks for the posts, they are really helpful.

I saw you posted the rumor back in July about Page Plus supporting 4G LTE, did you know they are officially supporting it now? Details are up on their site now. Unfortunately it's only supported for the $29.95 and up plans (not the 12 and not PAYG), but at least the SIM is only $5.

Yup, I was aware. They've also unofficially been supporting it since last month through their dealers. I've mentioned it around a few threads here the past few weeks, but held off on the official announcement here. Appreciate the mention all the same.

Unfortunately, according to the grapevine, America Movil may be shutting down Page Plus' Ohio call center in January of next year.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #168 on: November 19, 2014, 09:42:54 AM »
Ok I need some advice. I recently upgraded my internet from 20 Mbps to 1 Gbps At the same time I also decreased my cost from $62 to $50 and got centurylink and comcast out of my life. Now I need to get a new wireless router. My previous router was an all in one century link model and doesn't seem to have an option to put a  input an Ethernet cable only phone. I know i want a router that is 10/100/1000. For cost reasons I probably want 802.11n vs 802.11ac (plus of all the connected devices in our house only 1 supports ac). Dual band with 5 GHz might be nice. And maybe dd-wrt or tomato might be nice (although I have no experience with either one). So any good suggestions?

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #169 on: November 19, 2014, 11:45:45 AM »
Ok I need some advice. I recently upgraded my internet from 20 Mbps to 1 Gbps At the same time I also decreased my cost from $62 to $50 and got centurylink and comcast out of my life. Now I need to get a new wireless router. My previous router was an all in one century link model and doesn't seem to have an option to put a  input an Ethernet cable only phone. I know i want a router that is 10/100/1000. For cost reasons I probably want 802.11n vs 802.11ac (plus of all the connected devices in our house only 1 supports ac). Dual band with 5 GHz might be nice. And maybe dd-wrt or tomato might be nice (although I have no experience with either one). So any good suggestions?

Depends on how much you're looking to spend, how much effort you want to put into potentially loading DD-WRT/Tomato onto the hardware, and how important external gain antennas are to your location.

Have a short list of models to compare that hit or exceed all the minimum major points (gigabit ethernet, 802.11abgn, good third party firmware support, under a hunnerd clams on Amazon or Newegg with open box deals - new prices listed only, features only beyond this baseline are detailed out):

Asus RT-N16 ($78) - 2x USB 2.0 ports, external antennas, max 300Mbps WiFi, 2 year warranty
Asus RT-N66U ($127) - 2x USB 2.0 ports, external antennas, max 900Mbps WiFi, 2 year warranty
Buffalo WZR-600DHP2D ($80) - 1x USB 3.0 port, internal antennas, max 600Mbps WiFi, 1 year warranty, DD-WRT preloaded
TP-Link TL-WDR3600 ($60) - 2x USB 2.0 ports, external antennas, max 600Mbps WiFi, 2 year warranty
TP-Link TL-WDR4300 ($70) - 2x USB 2.0 ports, external antennas, max 750Mbps WiFi, 2 year warranty

If you go Amazon, check out the Amazon Warehouse Deals on the used listings, check for open-box over at Newegg, etc., etc.

There's AC routers in the price range, but they're not well supported by DD-WRT/Tomato/OpenWRT, etc., as of yet. There's been implementation issues with the Atheros chipsets on some of these devices.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #170 on: November 19, 2014, 02:38:32 PM »
Thanks IP

I think i am leaning towards the Asus RT-N66U as newegg has refurbed ones for 80. I really want to the Buffalo AC 1750 but I think I probably need external antennas.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #171 on: November 21, 2014, 01:56:14 PM »
IP, you are providing an incredibly valuable service here, so big thank you!

I am trying to figure out the best option for my daughter's cell phone.  I will be cancelling our Verizon contract.  We have 2 lines: mine is iPhone 4s out of contract now and I am planning to move over to Page Plus $12 per month plan.  My daughter has a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a year left under contract.  She is at university abroad and uses her phone there with a local SIM card.  She is at home about a month in the winter and 2-3 months in the summer (I suspend her service when she's not here but that extends the contract time).  I am having difficulty figuring out what would be the best option for her (preferably keeping her Verizon Galaxy phone).  She has typical young person's usage: lots of texting and some data, minimal voice.  Some type of pay as you go plan would probably work best but what and where??

Thanks in advance for any help!



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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #172 on: November 21, 2014, 04:07:43 PM »
Thanks in advance for any help!

Zizi, appreciate the kind words and let's see what we can turn up for you.

The first thing I want to ask is how critical Verizon coverage is at your home. Are you with Verizon because you actually need Verizon CDMA coverage, or are you just with Verizon because... well... because? This is an important question to ask, as you'll see when I get to the S3 topic.

If you want to take the iPhone over to Page Plus or Selectel, you shouldn't have any problems, just be sure you pick a package that falls in line with your actual monthly usage expectations. If you don't make many calls and you've gotten the SIM slot unlocked for international use and you have good AT&T and T-Mobile coverage, you could also price TruPhone's PAYGO option against your usage needs on the iPhone. It's free incoming texts and calls, and 9˘/minute/text/MB outbound.

Regarding your daughter's S3... as it's a Verizon LTE device, IIRC, this specific Samsung device is also capable of being used as a global GSM handset as well, including domestically. No carrier unlock required as I'm sure you've noticed, just pop in a SIM, make the adjustment in the settings and you're good to go. If you have good AT&T or T-Mobile coverage in your area, this really opens up the options beyond just Verizon or a Verizon MVNO like Page Plus that will actually activate LTE handsets. However, that only addresses the physical options, and does nothing for the real-world usage wrinkles in this setup... and that is where things can get complicated or costly.

I don't know of any MVNOs that really suspend accounts to save phone numbers (P'tel is one of the most generous with a 120 day inactivity threshold on their Real PayGo account, so long as a $30+ top-up was applied first - most are only 60 days or less), as this is one of the benefits of staying with one of the big four carriers. There's ways around this such as porting the number out to Google Voice or another VoIP provider that does SMS messaging or whathaveyou to keep the number and just have it forward elsewhere, but then you're dealing with new account creation and phone activation for mobile service every time she comes back into the country, which if she switches to a GSM provider, means new SIM cards to purchase (on top of new phone numbers) every time she comes home.

Now, that said... this doesn't mean something like TruPhone couldn't be leveraged to her advantage as well depending on what country she's in, and what her own average usage numbers look like in contrast to the cost with Verizon. The neat thing with TruPhone is that there's an eight country calling area for those prepaid rates, and TruPhone's a bit more forgiving about service inactivity (so long as a text or something comes in once every 30 days or so). It's not likely to be a bargain, but honestly I'm not sure there's much greater financial benefit to be had with her setup until she's finished with school and back stateside for the long haul.

For her (and you both), it'll come down to cost versus convenience. If porting the number over to Google Voice or Ring.to or some other low-quality, zero support, heavily datamining free VoIP service and pairing it with something like P'tel's $20 unlimited talk/text and 150MB data package for four months a year plus the cost of a new SIM with every activation (which you can buy a 10 pack of P'tel SIMs off Ebay for $4) makes financial sense to you both and doesn't sound like a huge hassle (especially if you have good T-Mobile coverage in your area), I say do it. If you don't want to deal with it, leave her line with Verizon and have her tough it out with the higher bills until the extended periods of account suspension are no longer necessary, and then look into alternatives for her own service at that point. Of course if she doesn't give a hoot and holler about keeping her number between visits home, that simplifies things drastically... then whatever is the best financial and usage fit is the best available option amongst the standard namechecked providers, be it P'tel, Airvoice, Page Plus, or whatever. Sky's nearly the limit on carrier options with the phone itself, excuse the Sprint MVNOs. Just note that GSM data speeds on the Verizon S3 aren't going to be anything approaching 4G LTE expectations, but it'll be plenty for anything but heavy multimedia use.

In the mean time, it doesn't mean you can't save a hunk of money now getting yourself ported out. Your daughter's the wrinkle, but it isn't impossible. It just depends on what the savings is truly worth versus her staying put with Verizon for the time left until she finishes school.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 04:24:11 PM by I.P. Daley »
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #173 on: November 23, 2014, 04:49:59 AM »
IP, thank you very much.  You have opened up a lot of possibilities for us.  We have good T-Mobile coverage in this area (I used to have a work issued BB that was on T-Mobile and it worked great).  So that is a possibility.  And I need to talk to my daughter to see if she cares about keeping her phone number.  We have reached the allowed suspension limit with Verizon so I don't think it makes sense for her to stay with them and pay for the months when she is not here.  She will be home before the holidays so we'll make our move then.  She is in the UK and uses her phone there with a local SIM-only plan (and it is amazing how many inexpensive options she has for cell service there!)

I am a very low usage person overall, so I will explore some pay as you go options for myself with my iPhone.  I just have to remember to call Verizon to unlock my SIM slot before I cancel the contract ;-)

Thank you again for all this info!!!



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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #174 on: November 23, 2014, 09:08:39 AM »
Thank you again for all this info!!!

Not a problem, glad to help!

Given your daughter is in the UK and depending on her actual ongoing usage in general (both incoming and outgoing), it might be worth re-emphasizing pricing out Truphone SIM for her as well. One of the other neat things about Truphone that I hadn't mentioned is that you can pay an extra $8/month per additional number to have multiple numbers attached to your SIM (up to three). In her case, she could port her US number over and potentially port her UK number over onto the same account/SIM, and use it both in the US and UK for the same rates I quoted for you, plus $8/month for the UK number. If she's not a data hog and willing to offload much of her SMS messaging to something like Kik or XMS, it could be very cost effective and simplify her mobile roaming habits.

Truphone may be your only GSM MVNO option for your iPhone, but it might also be an excellent option for your daughter depending on her actual usage and willingness/ability to rely on WiFi for data. It'd also let folks back home call her across the pond for the cost of a domestic call, so you might perhaps factor that cost into the bigger picture as well. Even hucking $50 a month at TruPhone would let her keep her US number (and use it to receive calls in the UK), give her a UK number, give her unmetered (effectively free) incoming texts and minutes, and some combination of ~467 available outbound minutes, texts and MB of data. It's still in the Verizon monthly gut-punch price territory for her mobile services, but that could still eliminate the need for maintaining two separate mobile accounts in two countries, eliminate additional international calling costs (both ways), and just simplify life and travel in general for your daughter.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #175 on: November 24, 2014, 07:12:29 AM »
Actually, TruePhone sounds like it may be a worthwhile option for both of us!  I have never heard of it before but given our needs that may work really well.  It looks like Poland is included in the countries within the calling area.  We have lots of relatives in Poland and travel to Poland at least once a year.  And I travel to the UK to visit her pretty regularly as well.  I actually have an older GSM phone that I use with a local prepaid SIM when I'm in Poland and the UK.  I definitely will look into this further and see if it would make sense for both of us.  In terms of texting, we use Viber quite a lot and also rely on iMessaging and Facetime (she is Mac girl who strayed from the norm by getting the Galaxy phone but still has an Apple laptop and an iPad ;-)

Thank you again!



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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #176 on: December 01, 2014, 03:05:31 PM »
I just noticed an email from VoIPo about their Cyber Monday sale for existing customers - 2 more years added on to the end of your prepaid time for the new customer price of $185 (all fees included), supposedly half the regular renewal rate.

This is a good price, but do I really want to prepay all the way into the fall of 2017?!?  Are their renewal rates really double the original rate? I.P. Daley, have you heard any problems with VoIPo's finances that would warrant staying away from this promotion?


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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #177 on: December 01, 2014, 04:46:53 PM »
I just noticed an email from VoIPo about their Cyber Monday sale for existing customers - 2 more years added on to the end of your prepaid time for the new customer price of $185 (all fees included), supposedly half the regular renewal rate.

This is a good price, but do I really want to prepay all the way into the fall of 2017?!?  Are their renewal rates really double the original rate? I.P. Daley, have you heard any problems with VoIPo's finances that would warrant staying away from this promotion?

They're still profitable, solvent and stable as far as I know (and have been for years), and their regular base price per year is at the rate you quoted. The introductory two year and this promo both are of the two years-for-one price point. If you're happy with the service thus-far and you have the money, it's your call. Keeping the overall aggregate price point at below $8/month for four solid years with the same carrier and the services provided isn't too shabby, though.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #178 on: December 09, 2014, 01:53:09 PM »
I'm looking at switching to an MVNO early next year.  We're currently T-Mobile users and together use on average 500mins/2000 texts/500MB per month.  I just saw an ad that Ting is accepting GSM users starting in February and appears to use T-Mobile at AT&T as roaming partners.  I checked my phone IMEI and it appears compatible with their service (Galaxy S3).  My wife has a Galaxy Light.  Have you had a chance to check this out?

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #179 on: December 09, 2014, 02:59:54 PM »
I'm looking at switching to an MVNO early next year.  We're currently T-Mobile users and together use on average 500mins/2000 texts/500MB per month.  I just saw an ad that Ting is accepting GSM users starting in February and appears to use T-Mobile at AT&T as roaming partners.  I checked my phone IMEI and it appears compatible with their service (Galaxy S3).  My wife has a Galaxy Light.  Have you had a chance to check this out?

I'm not sure where you're sourcing your information, but it's a bit different that the information I've seen on it, and I'm only dealing with facts from Ting directly. Knowing what I do of the GSM network maps with all the providers, unless there's a last minute Hail Mary deal with AT&T before February, it's T-Mobile plus a mess of regional GSM providers according to Ting's new map (what really gives it away are the dead zones West of the Rockies and Montana). There's also no mention of roaming agreements with AT&T in their official announcement today, though granted, they don't disclose who their primary GSM carrier is either (T-Mobile), but that's easy to figure out from the map page. Granted, it's still better coverage that T-Mobile only MVNOs, but there's still non-emergency coverage gaps if you're concerned about that sort of thing with T-Mo MVNOs.

Ting's got great customer service, but their prices really only shine with multiple lines, and typically three or more at that. They're also entering into Consumer Cellular's turf, who does have roaming agreements with both T-Mobile and AT&T and aren't too much more per line and bucket than Ting, though they don't keep texting and data separate. It looks like if they keep their current pricing wholly intact come February, you're looking at around $48+taxes with them.

As for your texting, I'm guessing the bulk of those messages are between you and your wife? If so, and given you're both using Android handsets, there's no reason why you couldn't offload most of those texts to something like XMS which uses far less data than it would cost to pay for the texts to do the same thing (no matter which carrier you used, unless you had an "unlimited" texting plan). Lastly, if you went on a data diet and got your monthly usage under 150MB and you were fine with straight-up T-Mobile coverage without the smaller roaming partners, you could each do the P'tel $20 plan, which would be at least $10/month lower than Ting and you could switch right now. The added roaming coverage for an extra $10/month isn't a bad deal if you need it, but it's still not AT&T coverage and it's conditional on if you need it in the first place.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #180 on: December 09, 2014, 03:32:30 PM »
They didn't come right out and say AT&T, but that was a guess on my part from the coverage map.

Quote
you could switch right now.

I'm deployed to the Middle East for another month, and I'll have orders for my next assignment the end of January so I'll know for sure what part of the country I'll end up in next around that time.  I think a data diet is easily doable since we fluctuate wildly on monthly data usage when I'm home. One month it's the normal 9 to 5 and we use 300MB while another month we do some traveling and consume close to 1GB.  The texting is equal parts wife and close friends back home.  I use Kik to text with my soldiers here in the region since we're all either using T-Mobile international roaming or using Kuwaiti sim cards.  I see that XMS is offered on Android and IPhone. Are they compatible to talk to each other?

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #181 on: December 09, 2014, 06:00:13 PM »
I'm deployed to the Middle East for another month, and I'll have orders for my next assignment the end of January so I'll know for sure what part of the country I'll end up in next around that time.  I think a data diet is easily doable since we fluctuate wildly on monthly data usage when I'm home. One month it's the normal 9 to 5 and we use 300MB while another month we do some traveling and consume close to 1GB.  The texting is equal parts wife and close friends back home.  I use Kik to text with my soldiers here in the region since we're all either using T-Mobile international roaming or using Kuwaiti sim cards.  I see that XMS is offered on Android and IPhone. Are they compatible to talk to each other?

Well, stay safe finishing out your tour and congrats on coming back stateside.

The data diet is easy, it's just planning ahead. That includes pre-loading maps for GPS use.

XMS and Kik aren't compatible, but Kik's another on my list of recommended messengers that's light on data use and not horrifying on the terms of service. Stick with what you're using, no sense adding another one into the mix.

It might be worth your time to price on the AT&T MVNO end as well, you'll still be able to use your handsets. Puretalk USA might be a good choice for the usage levels you're looking at if you can cut down on your data and text use with Kik.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #182 on: December 13, 2014, 04:58:31 PM »
I've been running several scenarios between P'Tel, Airvoice, and Ting and if I'm doing the math right Ting comes out far ahead only if I bump up against the maximum of that particular bucket. The lower I go it becomes a lot less competitive than a PayGo situation with P'Tel or Airvoice.  The part I'm having a difficult time reconciling is Ting offers a wide buffer in case you do have a heavy-use month.  The threshold I'm looking at with Ting is the 101-500 range for each service.  If I only used 101 mins/texts/MB x 2 phones on Airvoice it would be a total of $28 and $34 for P'Tel.  If I used anywhere in that range on Ting it would be $38.  If I used the maximum that Ting allows in those buckets on Airvoice and P'Tel the bill jumps to over $60 per phone while Ting is still $38.  I know you don't like Unlimited plans, but in that scenario it makes them look attractive.  The key seems to be drastically lowering my data usage.

While I've been gone my wife has used 200-400 minutes a month talk, 200-300MB of data, and the vast majority of her texts have been to me (she installed Kik tonight).  Since I'm international roaming T-Mobile doesn't record my data usage at all and I don't use it to talk.  I'm going to have us both download the data monitor you listed a while back.  I figure a month of monitoring should tell us exactly where our data problem is and go from there.

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #183 on: December 13, 2014, 10:19:34 PM »
I've been running several scenarios between P'Tel, Airvoice, and Ting and if I'm doing the math right Ting comes out far ahead only if I bump up against the maximum of that particular bucket. The lower I go it becomes a lot less competitive than a PayGo situation with P'Tel or Airvoice.  The part I'm having a difficult time reconciling is Ting offers a wide buffer in case you do have a heavy-use month.  The threshold I'm looking at with Ting is the 101-500 range for each service.  If I only used 101 mins/texts/MB x 2 phones on Airvoice it would be a total of $28 and $34 for P'Tel.  If I used anywhere in that range on Ting it would be $38.  If I used the maximum that Ting allows in those buckets on Airvoice and P'Tel the bill jumps to over $60 per phone while Ting is still $38.  I know you don't like Unlimited plans, but in that scenario it makes them look attractive.  The key seems to be drastically lowering my data usage.

While I've been gone my wife has used 200-400 minutes a month talk, 200-300MB of data, and the vast majority of her texts have been to me (she installed Kik tonight).  Since I'm international roaming T-Mobile doesn't record my data usage at all and I don't use it to talk.  I'm going to have us both download the data monitor you listed a while back.  I figure a month of monitoring should tell us exactly where our data problem is and go from there.

If an "unlimited" plan on the GSM end makes sense, use it. I warn against "unlimited" plans because they're not actually unlimited, but I never said not to use them if they made financial sense to do so with your usage profile. In the case of P'tel, you could do their $20/month plan which does unmetered talk and text with 150MB of 3G data, or $25 which does unmetered 2G data. I would never go that high month to month on any PAYGO plan. The threshold is going to be around $20. You spend $20 or more a month on PAYGO, you need to spend the money necessary to actually get a package you need. That said, most of that cost is data. Once you work out the data leaks, that'll probably take care of it for you. PAYGO may work if you get the data habit in check, otherwise... you know my answer. There's worse deals out there than the P'tel $20 and $25 plans.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 10:21:43 PM by I.P. Daley »
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #184 on: January 06, 2015, 03:10:01 PM »
I have a very different use case than a lot of the advice in the guide. I'm currently with Ting for 2 lines and perfectly happy with that (thanks for the advice) but I'm curious about mobile internet.

My wife and I are planning on buying an RV and full timing in the medium term but I'll still be working remotely. I currently use about 200 MB/work day (work related non-negotiable but probably work reimbursed). So I'm looking for a data plan on AT&T or Verizon's network (sprint and t-mobile don't have the coverage I need for RVing around the Western US) with at least 5GB/month (though I'd pay a fair bit more for 10 for personal use). I could theoretically do a communal plan with the phone lines (2 lines, ~200 min, 200 texts and 1.5GB of Data per month total for the two of them) but I'm not crazy about buying new phones as we would have to switch networks (nexus 5 could go to AT&T not Verizon, iPhone 4s maybe could go to Verizon, but not AT&T)

For speeds, 3g is totally fine all the time but, the 100kbps many carriers drop down to probably wont cut it as I have to do skype video calls for work about 1x per week. The rest of the time that would probably be fine though. I'd like to get LTE hardware mostly to future proof my setup as some of the networks seem to be dropping 2G and soon 3G support.

So far the best I've found is the Red Pocket Mobile Internet Plan $50/month for 5GB but I'm wondering if anyone else is out there or if there is a better plan if I went to a family style plan.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #185 on: January 06, 2015, 11:02:18 PM »
So far the best I've found is the Red Pocket Mobile Internet Plan $50/month for 5GB but I'm wondering if anyone else is out there or if there is a better plan if I went to a family style plan.

Sorry Nawhite, mobile data is just plain darned expensive. Like roughly $10/GB expensive, especially if you want to tether with it. You also cannot take Sprint CDMA phones to Verizon and vice versa, and the Red Pocket data plan is on T-Mobile. If you don't want to replace handsets and given the data requirement, you might want to consider pricing plans with Sprint proper just to see what they have to say, but if reliable data access and large amounts of it are critical while wandering the earth and solving crimes, Sprint 'aint your network (or T-Mobile for that matter). If you're fine leaving the phones on Ting (and if it makes financial sense), given the roaming around bit and the high data usage, I'd recommend a Verizon data plan with a hotspot. Their prepaid Jetpack service does 10GB of data for $90+tax. Second best coverage is going to be AT&T, and though they're cheaper than Verizon at the 3-5GB mark, they're more expensive at the 10GB point.

The data's going to be the real gut kicker, and with the reliability needs and the tethering and the glavin... you might want to price multi-line postpaid accounts with phone tethering with both AT&T and Verizon as well if there's the need for replacing a handset. It's just not going to be cheap, but you will probably get everything cheaper at this point through the two 800lb. gorillas at this usage level. Sorry.
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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #186 on: January 10, 2015, 09:09:33 AM »

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #187 on: January 12, 2015, 10:35:19 AM »
Arumph.

http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/01/got-an-asus-router-someone-on-your-network-can-probably-hack-it/

Time to actually switch to DD-WRT or tomato...

Gotta love sloppy security vulnerabilities that hardware manufacturers are slow to patch!

I know you already know this Paul, but for the others, this is exactly why I refuse to own or recommend a router that has no third party firmware support.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

SCUBAstache

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #188 on: January 17, 2015, 12:51:09 PM »
Hi I.P. - thanks for all the great information you've provided here. My phone and internet charges are a major budget issue I need to address, but I've been procrastinating. I think I have "analysis paralysis" out of fear of choosing the wrong carrier, but of course staying with my current set up is definitely the bigger wrong!  I'd greatly appreciate any insight you can provide.

I've been with Verizon for years and currently have a 450 min talk/500 text/ 6GB data plan which runs be $90/months including taxes and fees.  The data I do use most of, the minutes and texts I use about half.  I could get my data habit down to less than 2GB, I've been eating through it lately because I already pay for it and I don't have wifi at home.

Speaking of the lack of wifi, I live on Northern Virginia and Comcast seems to have a monopoly in my area. I got sick of their antics and canceled both cable and internet after they refused to give me a reasonable deal for internet only and kept pushing "bundles"... I don't miss the cable, I do miss the wifi a bit!  Instead I went with a no contract 4GB month to month data plan, also with Verizon.  While I can't stream long videos, using this data on my iPad does the job.

I see the phone plan as the biggest problem.  After all the initial rave reviews of Republic Wireless I was heavily considering them, but my lack of home wifi gave me pause, as well as no BYOD option. Ting also seems okay, but I can't bring my Verizon iPhone 5S.  Some of the other MVNOs seem promising but I'd really have to be careful of my data usage.

There's also the issue of my ETF, my contract expires this November so I think they would charge me ~$280 to cancel with their new structure. This makes me think T-Mobile might be a decent option?  At least  for a few months to get my ETF paid back, then I could either stay with them or switch again. It looks like my Verizon iPhone would work on their network, so I could buy the cheapest phone they offer but hopefully continue using my iPhone.

As for my home internet/no wifi, I'm not sure I can do much better  than the 4GB for $40.

Sorry for the long post!  Any thoughts?

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #189 on: January 17, 2015, 08:37:31 PM »
SCUBAstache, I might elaborate a bit more sometime tomorrow, but I will at least tag a couple major points for you to chew on.

1) Your Verizon iPhone 5S has a carrier unlocked SIM slot, this means you can take it to any AT&T or T-Mobile MVNO you like.

2) Don't waste your time with T-Mobile postpaid, read the fine print on their "pay off your ETF" gimmick. It's a gimmick, and it's designed to put you in further debt, create more electronic waste, and lock you in for a couple years with them. Just pay off the ETF. You can run numbers here. This said, if T-Mobile coverage will work for you and you can get by with 100kbps 2G EDGE data (and don't rely on it heavily, P'tel has an "unlimited" talk, text and data plan for $25/month.

3) Mobile data is always more expensive than wired. I know Comcast is terrible... like AT&T terrible... and I'm on the record somewhere as stating that if I had to choose between those two options, that would be the day that I did without... but if you want to reduce your mobile bill in any meaningful way, you'll need wired internet and to go on a major data diet. Otherwise, expect to pay for about $10/GB anywhere you go, with a minimum outlay of $30/month (and that usually only comes with 1GB of data and gets slapped on with "unlimited" talk and text. Also, most MVNOs don't permit tethering, so there's that to consider as well. So no, you can't really do better than $40/month for 4GB of mobile data. This leaves me asking, is DSL an option for you? It won't likely be much cheaper per month, but at least you won't be capped at 4GB of usage. Have a crash course on rethinking how you use your mobile data here.

That pretty much covers it. Also, your instincts are right on Republic, don't waste your time. Same with Ting unless you go multi-line, otherwise there's cheaper Sprint MVNO options.

If I think of anything else, I'll post more later. If you have any additional questions, just let me know!
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

SCUBAstache

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #190 on: January 17, 2015, 09:16:37 PM »
Thanks very much for your response!  I'm not sure what my plan is yet, but you've given me lots to think about. I looked into ISPs in my neighborhood - no DSL, sadly. Comcast is IT!  Terrible. They are running a $40/month for a year promo right now which is tempting, I may give them a call but I'm always nervous about ridiculous fees being tacked on. 

The phone is still a tough one, but thanks for confirming that I can at least use it on both GSM and CDMA networks, good to have options.

If I were really mustachian I'd probably sell the iPhone, and use the profits to pay the ETF. Hmmm.

geekette

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #191 on: January 18, 2015, 12:05:12 PM »
My 4s went into constant reboot mode this morning - is that 5s for sale yet?  Heh.

I would have been happy to keep my 4s for a good while longer, but it looks like I'm going to have to buy an off contract phone.  And sorry, I.P., it's going to be an Apple product.   

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #192 on: January 18, 2015, 02:12:07 PM »
And sorry, I.P., it's going to be an Apple product.

NOOOOOOOOOOO!
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

Simple Abundant Living

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Don't take your organs to heaven.  Heaven knows we need them here!!!

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #194 on: January 18, 2015, 07:24:05 PM »
And sorry, I.P., it's going to be an Apple product.

NOOOOOOOOOOO!

LOL!  Sometimes being FI means doing whatever you want.  iPhone 6 acquired. 

Now back to playing with my new toy...

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #195 on: January 24, 2015, 04:52:53 PM »
I just cut the cord with Comcast.  Except for being on hold for 20 minutes at the start they didn't give me any hassle for dropping the cable and keeping the internet.  I called back an hour later and they gave me a discount on my current bandwidth though it's probably more pipe than I need. Is there a way to measure bandwidth usage on Netflix or Roku channels?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2015, 06:17:24 PM by Travis »

I.P. Daley

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #196 on: January 25, 2015, 08:46:58 AM »
Is there a way to measure bandwidth usage on Netflix or Roku channels?

Not accurately without a router that does that sort of thing. Unfortunately, as far as I know, Netflix doesn't have more granular control or feedback for under Roku for this sort of thing like it does on other platforms.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

ash7962

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #197 on: February 12, 2015, 02:22:28 PM »
I did a *brief* search to see if this had come up and didn't see anything right away.  For those of you who are with Verizon and looking to switch out, Ting will be able to accommodate Verizon iphones (and other GSM compatible phones) very soon.  Their website says they will have GSM support starting February 2015.  I only looked for my iphone 5s, but if Ting said your phone wasn't compatible in the past it might be worth checking again.

Per their FAQ:
Quote
Can I bring my Verizon device?
Most Verizon devices that meet the following criteria will work on the Ting GSM network:

smartphone
LTE-capable
released on or after September 2012
Smartphones from Verizon that meet these criteria will likely be automatically unlocked for domestic use on other carriers and should be ready to go for use on the Ting GSM network. However, the level of compatibility will vary pretty widely.

That means some devices, like the iPhone 5 for example, will be mostly compatible with Ting but won't get LTE service on our GSM network. On the other hand, Verizon iPhone 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus should have full compatibility with the Ting GSM network.

To know for sure which services you'll have, you'll want to check your device's IMEI in our compatibility checker.
Source: https://help.ting.com/entries/105240696-Can-I-Bring-My-GSM-Device-to-Ting-Compatibility-and-Unlocking-Guide

I.P. Daley

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #198 on: February 13, 2015, 12:34:46 PM »
I did a *brief* search to see if this had come up and didn't see anything right away.  For those of you who are with Verizon and looking to switch out, Ting will be able to accommodate Verizon iphones (and other GSM compatible phones) very soon.  Their website says they will have GSM support starting February 2015.  I only looked for my iphone 5s, but if Ting said your phone wasn't compatible in the past it might be worth checking again.

Per their FAQ:
Quote
Can I bring my Verizon device?
Most Verizon devices that meet the following criteria will work on the Ting GSM network:

smartphone
LTE-capable
released on or after September 2012
Smartphones from Verizon that meet these criteria will likely be automatically unlocked for domestic use on other carriers and should be ready to go for use on the Ting GSM network. However, the level of compatibility will vary pretty widely.

That means some devices, like the iPhone 5 for example, will be mostly compatible with Ting but won't get LTE service on our GSM network. On the other hand, Verizon iPhone 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus should have full compatibility with the Ting GSM network.

To know for sure which services you'll have, you'll want to check your device's IMEI in our compatibility checker.
Source: https://help.ting.com/entries/105240696-Can-I-Bring-My-GSM-Device-to-Ting-Compatibility-and-Unlocking-Guide

Yup, not really officially commented (until now), but I've made multiple references around that many Verizon LTE handsets may have the option to migrate to either an AT&T or T-Mobile MVNO. I'm not head-over-heels about Ting's GSM service, partly due to the price of competition in the T-Mobile MVNO marketplace and the availability of a $20 "unlimited" talk and text plus 150MB data package from P'tel, but if you're doing the multi-line handset thing and you want to use both Sprint CDMA and T-Mobile GSM coverage with one billing plan, it's not terrible either.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

geekette

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #199 on: February 13, 2015, 01:42:10 PM »
And sorry, I.P., it's going to be an Apple product.

NOOOOOOOOOOO!

LOL!  Sometimes being FI means doing whatever you want.  iPhone 6 acquired. 

Now back to playing with my new toy...

Good news and bad news. 

The "error 29" on my old iPhone 4s seemed to indicate a battery problem, so I paid a whopping $7 to get a battery and tools off ebay and installed it (30 minutes, tops).  Good news - it works! 

The bad news is that while I'm still within the 30 day return window for the iPhone 6, I'm quite enamored with the bigger screen, fingerprint thingie, and the SPEED.

I cut down my airvoice SIM to fit the 6, so it can't be swapped back, of course.  I've ordered another SIM which may or may not get here before Tuesday, which is when my 30 days runs out.  I also don't know if my Airvoice account (and credit) can be transferred to a new SIM. 

Hedonic adaptation...