Thanks, I really appreciate the advice.
Not a problem. As for the new questions/talk points, I may need to take things a bit paragraph by paragraph.
Roaming is definitely something I'd like. Basically the scenario which I face Well, Sprint and Verizon both have had a history of blacklisting new premium phones for 12-24 months from activation on their MVNOs. Sprint has gotten much better about this, but Verizon is still being picky about this as far as I know... but it is a topic that may have changed a bit with the newer introduction of LTE support with the independent Verizon MVNOs the past couple months. I can't answer this one with authority as there's not much info floating around about it yet. If you want to use a new iPhone, try calling up Selectel's customer support and ask if you can potentially activate an iPhone 6 right now, or possibly an iPhone 6s after it drops.with regularity is: if my car breaks down, it might be over a hundred miles to the closest town or gas station, so first and foremost I need to be able to make a call if there's ANY cell service whatsoever; and ideally I'd like to be able to google my problem (data). Similarly, even if there is no service wherever the hell I am, the closest town might have it, and I might need to contact someone ("stuck in BFE").
To address this one, I need to mention something specifically about CDMA network service and then something about all network based mobile services.
First, with proper CDMA services on Sprint/Verizon/US Cellular handsets, even if you have no roaming service with your carrier or MVNO, you should still potentially have access to place calls through ARN
. This isn't universal, and the best way to guarantee access to ARN nationwide is to have a deactivated CDMA handset from Verizon, but it's an option as you can pay roughly $0.25/minute or place a collect call. The only downside is the human factor and people unwilling to answer calls when they have caller ID and don't recognize the number or the number comes up unknown.
Second, any handset, active service on a network or not - if there's a frequency compatible tower within range of any handset, whether it's native network or not and even if you can't place a regular call, it will handle a 911 emergency call. This applies to CDMA and GSM both. Even though I'm on P'tel myself, and P'tel only uses T-Mobile's native network... if I need to call 911 from the middle of a Nebraska cornfield, I'll still have service to do so as that call will route over any of the closest active GSM towers in the area. If you can't flag down anyone and you're stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to get the car going again, that would constitute enough of an emergency to warrant dialing 911. I cover this stuff with a bit more depth on the unabridged guide on my site, it's about 4/5ths of the way down the cell phone providers page here
under "Unique Alternatives".
Just be aware that even if you can't place a direct dial call, it doesn't mean you can't place any
Lastly on this point, now that Verizon uses SIM cards with LTE and has to carrier unlock their handsets for GSM use, even if you're restricted to Verizon only network coverage? You can now leverage stuff like a KnowRoaming
sticker to give you additional access to the AT&T network for these sorts of occasions, and AT&T frequently fills in gaps that Verizon leaves and vice versa.
I might be willing to sacrifice data in trade for good, solid roaming. I use wifi at home and work and therefore sincerely doubt I'd hit 5 gigs. With that said, with 1) faster internet and 2) a modern browser, I'd probably consume more data (bigger files and be able to play files I currently can't.)
If you're convinced that you need Verizon coverage with good solid roaming, then your best bet (minding customer support is important as well) is either Selectel
(which is a Verizon MVNO that has supports LTE handsets and has voice/SMS partner roaming with Sprint, US Cellular and a few other smaller regional providers), or Verizon postpaid. Verizon Prepaid is Verizon native network only, and doesn't permit roaming except through ARN.
As to the data usage point, try using a browser that allows you to turn off image loading completely or provides an image compression proxy such as Opera Mini or Dolphin browser. Since I retired the Nokia C3 in April, I've used Opera Mini on my BB Bold 9900 with images set to low quality. I don't do anything with it that I don't want passed through a third party proxy, but of the 139.6MB of internet browsing I've done with it since April, I've only actually used 9.8MB of billable data ($0.98 of data on P'tel). The internet's still pretty useful with images turned off.
I don't know if you're familiar with it or not, but maybe give my post "What is mobile media costing you?
" a read as well to help keep some perspective on phone data storage capabilities and mobile data usage. I think even without WiFi, you could probably get by with less than 1GB of data a month with just a bit of lateral thinking, pre-planning, and avoiding a bit of hedonic adaptation.
Would you possibly recommend the basic 1 gig prepaid plan from verizon? It's $45... I think. I would want a plan that allows me to go over the data (even better if I can toggle this option on and off), even if it absolutely destroys me with fees for doing so, because I'd only imagine going over in case of an emergency.
Given what you've stated thus-far and what I've responded with, I'm sure you already know the answer to this.
Now, I will say this about Selectel: In addition to their monthly packages, they have $10 Flex cards that covers minutes/SMS/MMS/MB of data at a rate of $0.05 a pop for any plan overages, and the unused balance rolls over. So given Selectel offers LTE service, voice roaming, has optional prepaid overage billing at $0.05/MB, and their 1GB "unlimited" talk and text plan is $40...
Can you elaborate on handset blacklist activations? I definitely plan to buy the phone outright from apple, as soon as it becomes available on discount for me.
Well, Sprint and Verizon both have had a history of blacklisting new premium phones for 12-24 months from activation on their MVNOs. It was an act done specifically to keep people with deep pockets wanting shiny phones stuck on high margin, expensive postpaid plans under contract. Sprint has gotten much better about this, but Verizon is still being picky about this as far as I know... but it is a topic that may have changed a bit with the newer introduction of LTE support with the independent Verizon MVNOs the past couple months. I can't answer this one with authority as there's not much info floating around about it yet. If you want to use a new iPhone, try calling up Selectel's customer support and ask if you can potentially activate an iPhone 6 right now, or possibly an iPhone 6s after it drops.
For the record, you don't have this sort of premium handset blacklist activation problem over on the GSM end... this is a purely CDMA problem.
Overall, it's kind of a shitty decision: I will need the flexibility and good service for about 3% of my yearly usage, but if I need it during that week or two, I need it.
Which brings me to ask the following question: Are your BFE reception experiences limited solely to your past experiences on CDMA networks/through Republic Wireless, and when was the last time you checked for GSM coverage in your little slice of Egypt?
I only ask because going GSM might be a better alternative for your core services. Consumer Cellular has AT&T coverage with partner roaming on T-Mobile and elsewhere, and they're one of the only good AT&T MVNOs that can properly handle the AT&T SIM based data auto-configuration issue with iOS. The footprint would be near close to Verizon, you could unquestionably use an iPhone 6s without possible activation issues, and $50/month+tax would give you 1500 minutes, unlimited texting, and 1.5GB of data, and the less you use, the cheaper it'll get.
I know there's not much definitive in my answers, but I'm trying to get you to think a bit more creatively and laterally about that two week window, your carrier, and even your potential phone choice. Hopefully it all helps.
Any other questions, you know where to find me.