Author Topic: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1  (Read 164746 times)

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #50 on: April 15, 2014, 10:21:40 PM »
For those of you paying attention, Republic Wireless did something reasonable last week. This news of being able to re-activate phones is a laudable act by Republic... which does make them a less risky gamble than in the past. However, this does not soften my stance on them as the terms of service and acceptable use policy are still incredibly questionable documents to agree to, and it still does not address my concerns over mobile call quality.

So, kudos for being less bastardly to the environment and the customers... but sorry kids, not there yet.
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.

snareman1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #51 on: April 16, 2014, 05:55:27 PM »
Because of this, I just bought a used Motorola DEFY-XT off ebay today for $35.63 including free shipping. I'll have it in 2 days, in time to test it out and cancel my $70/mo sprint plan if all is good and before my next billing cycle. I've read the boards and re-activation seems like a pretty smooth process. I will opt for the $25/mo plan, so with taxes, etc, I imagine I'll be saving around $40 per month =)

Here is what I bought http://www.ebay.com/itm/251505306728


ritchie70

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 271
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #52 on: April 18, 2014, 08:20:03 AM »
Do you know anything about "BYO Wireless"? They're apparently a startup out of Alabama.
...
I guess they're risky - only opened the doors October 2013.

Familiar with them, and actually they've only been operational as an MVNO since December 2013, if I recall correctly. The biggest gamble with new Verizon MVNOs is that they have a deadline with a minimum subscriber count to remain operational. Verizon MVNOs are a revolving door of flash-in-the-pan providers who come and go with a predictable nine month cycle. As it stands, Selectel may be the first to survive the initial hump in a long, long time. Search the forums for "Talk4Good" for a bit more info.

This isn't to say that I don't want to see BYO Wireless survive... I really do. Verizon needs more MVNOs other than Page Plus, but Verizon tries really hard not to let that happen.

If I port a number to them and they don't survive - and don't shut down gracefully - do you know if my number is irretrievably lost at that point? I've had the same phone number for 14 years so I'm a bit attached.

adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SC
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #53 on: April 18, 2014, 08:51:44 AM »
Tell me I'm not crazy. I just went to put some more money on the wife's pageplus account and saw this:
Order Summary
Subtotal:   $10.00
Shipping:   $0.00
Sales Tax1:   $0.85
Federal Universal Service3:   $0.15
Regulatory Cost Recovery4:   $0.02
E911 Fee:   $0.63
911 CHARGE
Total:   $11.65

Items
$10 Standard PIN
Qty: 1
$10.00

When did they start charging all those fees?  I don't remember paying any additional fees back in February when I last filled up.  In fact, I just checked mint, and I paid a flat $25.  What caused this change?  One of the things I liked telling people about going to an MVNO is that you don't have to pay all those fees and when they tell you a plan is $12, its actually $12, not $15+.

Son of a bitch.

edit: did a live chat and was told due to new regulations they started charging these taxes and fees about 3 weeks ago, at the end of March.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 08:57:39 AM by adam »

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #54 on: April 18, 2014, 09:19:04 AM »
If I port a number to them and they don't survive - and don't shut down gracefully - do you know if my number is irretrievably lost at that point? I've had the same phone number for 14 years so I'm a bit attached.

It's a gamble. Sometimes folks can port out if they act early enough during death throws, sometimes they can't. Look into the fiasco when PrepaYd went under. Granted, you're dealing with vindictive dirtbags blaming Sprint for their own failure on that one, but it's a good example of worst case scenario with a dying MVNO. It's also a recent example of why I'm so careful about the MVNOs I select and recommend for the guide here.



When did they start charging all those fees?  I don't remember paying any additional fees back in February when I last filled up.  In fact, I just checked mint, and I paid a flat $25.  What caused this change?  One of the things I liked telling people about going to an MVNO is that you don't have to pay all those fees and when they tell you a plan is $12, its actually $12, not $15+.

Yup. America Movil is now tacking it on top instead of including it in the monthly price... any way possible to increase revenue while maintaining the appearance of savings, just like Republic does. All the other MVNOs keep it simple and roll those fees into the package price so it's just sales tax for your region. There's still ways around these taxes with PP and refills, but a) I'm unsure how long those loopholes will last, and b) render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. If Carlos won't pay it anymore as part of the base price, somebody needs to pay it. On the bright side, at least per MB data is reasonable now.

Keep an eye on Selectel, I'm starting to think that they just may make it yet.
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.

adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SC
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #55 on: April 18, 2014, 10:17:41 AM »
Since its the wife on Pageplus still, there's no need for data.  I've even asked her if she'd like one of the ~$30 plans and she said it was unnecessary.

This selectel, its a verizon network?

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #56 on: April 19, 2014, 10:38:17 PM »
This selectel, its a verizon network?

Correct. I'd probably give them at least until their one year mark (July) before I'd consider recommending them, however... and currently, they're still sorting out billing issues. I don't want to repeat the T4G situation.

Keep tabs on Selectel here.
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.

annann

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 303
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2014, 08:52:33 PM »
DH and I are not using very many minutes.  I am going to wait a few more month just to be sure we are OK but then I am going to keep one of the $10/month phones with rollover so we will have it for traveling or if the internet goes out and the VOIP phone is not available.  Airvoice also has a $10 pay as you go that gives you 100 minutes for 90 days.  That is 33 minutes a month for $3.33.  We are not using even 33 minutes a month so that will cost us $40 a year versus $120 a year or an $80 savings.

I told my nephew about out new phone plans and he did 2 things.  First he cancelled his home phone because he really did not use it at all--savings=$30 a month.  Then he ported his AT&T cell phone number to Airvoice on the $30 per month unlimited plan.  As he uses no text or data--it is more than enough.  His old plan was $50 a month=savings $20 a month.



Just a note on that PAYG plan with Airvoice: There is a $1 per month maintenance fee, so you're technically only getting 23 minutes a month for that $3.33 (effectively 14.3/minute/text). When you do the math, there's only a $1.67/month difference between $3.33 and $5 (a true 10/minute with 3.3/text rates), which brings us back to my PureTalk suggestion. If you're spending the money, you might as well get the most bang for the buck. Use the $5 PureTalk plan on the one line you want to switch to Airvoice PAYG, and switch to the Airvoice PAYG plan on the phone you're wanting to do the Airvoice $10/month plan on to build minutes with. If each phone is using less than 33 minutes, you could probably shift most mobile minute usage onto the single PureTalk 50 minute plan and just let the balance build with the other phone and/or only change Airvoice plans to the larger package as needed.

Your method - baseline $160/year for two cellphones ($10/mo. + $3.33/mo. Airvoice)
My proposed method - baseline $100/year for two cellphones ($5/mo. PureTalk, $3.33/mo. Airvoice)
Added savings of $5/month or $60/year.

...or you could switch both Airvoice phones to their PAYG plan, and just bank the extra minutes buying the $30 top-up first, and either add $30, $20 or $10 top-ups after that point until you have the rolling cushion you're after, or just switch between plans as needed when you travel. Buying a $30, a $20 and $10 credit would give you a year of service for $60 with 510 minutes (11.8/minute). Even with 30 min/mo. usage, that still gives you an extra 2.5 hours of talk time banked a year per phone.

Of course, you're truly hitting diminishing returns at this point. There is such a thing as over-optimization, just as there is wasting money on something you don't actually need. Your cell usage is straddling that fine line of need versus want. I mention it again only as a point of consideration to ponder on and present some additional lateral thinking on the subject.

Anyway, fantastic news about the nephew! Thanks for the update.

Thank you for all you do for all of us.

I am now 67 and DH is soon to be 79 and we are active.  DH rides his bike 300-600 miles a month and I play pickleball (tennis light) 3 or 4 times a week and walk 2-3 miles most days.  We have been known to have accidents including a broken wrist for me and a broken ankle for DH.  So our cells phones have long been needs because we feel we need to be able to call for help if we run into trouble.  Fortunately we heal well and quickly.  Whatever I do in the future, this entire change in phone service for our family has been very beneficial.

TheDude

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 467
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #58 on: April 23, 2014, 09:18:30 PM »
Ive been using page plus for a few years. I recently saw somewhere else that they started adding that crap on. You can still buy from third party dealers and not pay that crap I think through some of them like Kitty you can even sign up for autopay every month. I tend to buy from callingmart as i can usually can find a discount code.

FireYourJob

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 110
    • Get Rich or Die Trying!
Aio while in Cancun
« Reply #59 on: May 02, 2014, 04:44:15 PM »
I may be in Cancun for a couple of days and in looking at the Aio website, it looks like my phone can't be used.  What other options might one have?
Check out my new financial blog - http://www.getrichodt.com

The latest post is a review of people that live paycheck to paycheck and how to get out of that rat race!

Catbird

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #60 on: May 03, 2014, 01:27:52 PM »
Not so long ago, folks traveled the world without needing to have a telephone on their person at all times. Perhaps this brief trip would be a chance for you to experiment with how that might feel?

Realistically though, here is an article with tips on Cancun phone options:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g150807-c99218/Cancun:Mexico:Cancun.Faq.And.Forum.Tips.html

1. Cheapest: bring a laptop or tablet and use Skype over public wifi (hotel, cafe).

2. Rent a cell phone. "Cancun is unique in that it has two cell phone rental companies dedicated to low cost / high quality service in Cancun - cancuncalet.com and mexitel.net, with the former being postpaid (charged to your credit card) and the latter being prepaid (pay as you go). Calls to your country of choice can be made from anywhere in Cancun for as low as 11 pesos ($1USD) per phone call and phones can be delivered to your place of residence before you leave, or delivered to you upon arrival in the Hotel Zone."


I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Aio while in Cancun
« Reply #61 on: May 05, 2014, 03:11:57 PM »
Not so long ago, folks traveled the world without needing to have a telephone on their person at all times. Perhaps this brief trip would be a chance for you to experiment with how that might feel?

Realistically though, here is an article with tips on Cancun phone options:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g150807-c99218/Cancun:Mexico:Cancun.Faq.And.Forum.Tips.html

1. Cheapest: bring a laptop or tablet and use Skype over public wifi (hotel, cafe).

2. Rent a cell phone. "Cancun is unique in that it has two cell phone rental companies dedicated to low cost / high quality service in Cancun - cancuncalet.com and mexitel.net, with the former being postpaid (charged to your credit card) and the latter being prepaid (pay as you go). Calls to your country of choice can be made from anywhere in Cancun for as low as 11 pesos ($1USD) per phone call and phones can be delivered to your place of residence before you leave, or delivered to you upon arrival in the Hotel Zone."

Thank you, Catbird. Excellent first post, and pretty much what I would have said.

What other options might one have?

Unplug and enjoy Cancun.
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.

Nords

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3008
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Oahu
    • Military Retirement & Financial Independence blog
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #62 on: May 05, 2014, 11:50:00 PM »
Not so long ago, folks traveled the world without needing to have a telephone on their person at all times.
Yes, but pay phones were a lot easier to find five years ago.

After one weekend at our daughter's college campus, we realized that we'd need a cell phone.
Author of "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement".   All royalties (and writing revenue) donated to military charities.
I don't read every post, so please PM or e-mail me to get my attention...

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3584
  • Age: 9
  • Location: WA
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #63 on: May 07, 2014, 06:27:23 AM »
For those of you who rely on Google Maps to get around: Google has just pushed a big update which now allows you to save  and manage offline maps individually... except they now expire automatically after 30 days. Or maybe they already did before? It was never very clear.

Anyhoo, I now have a mental note to redownload my city's map once a month. Life is so hard.

Scandium

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1998
  • Location: EastCoast
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #64 on: May 12, 2014, 01:04:53 PM »
I switched to Aio from AT&T with my unlocked Galaxy nexus few months ago and is pretty happy with it. It pretty much works, not much more to say.. While not quite as cheap as some of the other MVNOs it does come with a hefty 2.5 GB, rather than 300 MB which I would burn through quickly or have severe "data-axiety".

And AIO plans just got a bit cheaper too with family discount
Basic smartphone plan (unlimited/2.5 GB) is $45, and a $10 discount for 2 lines = $40 per line for two.
Four lines is $37.5 each which looks to be the cheapest. Five lines is actually more per line
https://www.aiowireless.com/shop/plans.html

Note; Before switching the "must have latest/fastest phone" crowd had two complaints against AIO
Limited to 8mbps
Higher latency

I don't have LTE so can't comment on #1, but 8mbps sounds fast enough to me..
I have no really noticed any worse latency, but my phone is a bit a old and slow so maybe I'm just used to a wait before websites load.

GutsGloryRam

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #65 on: May 15, 2014, 09:31:04 AM »
Hi IP,
Thanks for all the great work you are doing. Its been about 6 months since I switched from ATT to Airvoice. For my limited usage, am quite happy with the service.
Now the current question is on the entertainment system. I have gone through your post on that and appreciate the info you are sharing. Great work. My question is whats your thought on Raspberry Pi? what are the pros & cons of it in your view?
Appreciate all your efforts.

« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 11:04:13 AM by GutsGloryRam »

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #66 on: May 15, 2014, 01:53:24 PM »
Glad to be of service and assistance!

My question is whats your thought on Raspberry Pi? what are the pros & cons of it in your view?

As to your questions, I like the idea, price and usefulness of the Pi for a lot of things. My problem with the Pi as an entertainment box comes down to the sticky issue of Flash with DRM support on an OS level, which hinders the availability of certain legal free streaming video services and the added cost of a container to place it in. If you don't mind these shortcomings, then the Pi can be quite the affordable XBMC media box. Otherwise, it might be more cost effective to approach a pre-assembled Android-based device. Yes, the Pi does have a couple Android builds that work, but not as well as actual native Android-targeted hardware, and there's the added issue of APK support and video acceleration.

This old post of mine might be good to give a read if you haven't seen it already:
Ask Daley: Entertainment on the Cheap
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.

GutsGloryRam

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #67 on: May 15, 2014, 03:59:42 PM »
Thanks a lot Daley for your reply. I don't know some how I missed that article. Thanks for sharing. Based on your writings, what i understand is that Pi doesn't support Netflix. Is my understanding correct? Because one of things i am looking forward is to stream Netflix. Pls correct me if am wrong.
Again, appreciate your support.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3584
  • Age: 9
  • Location: WA
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #68 on: May 15, 2014, 04:18:12 PM »
Yeah, unless you have a solid collection of already ripped video files, the PI isn't what you're looking for.

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 237
    • Mommy Won't Work
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #69 on: May 16, 2014, 04:53:57 AM »
Daley, I love your site and the abbreviated version you have here.  I stumbled across something this morning that made me laugh and thought, "I wonder if Daley has thought of this??"


http://twistedsifter.com/2014/05/words-with-no-direct-english-equivalent/
Blogging about mindset and making different choices at http://mommywontwork.blogspot.com/

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #70 on: May 16, 2014, 08:49:29 AM »
Daley, I love your site and the abbreviated version you have here.  I stumbled across something this morning that made me laugh and thought, "I wonder if Daley has thought of this??"

Hmmm.... prozvonit. Fascinating, but personally I'd like to find out what the equivalent would be for someone doing likewise not for the sake of initiating a callback, but for the express purpose of passing along a contextual message without words. I know we have a few folks from India lurking around the boards, do you guys have a specific word for this concept in Hindi, Bengali, or any other of the many languages spoken?

I also quite appreciated the word ilunga from that list, as it fits my character well and is quite reflective of a situation I'm currently wrestling with. Appreciate the link! :)
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.

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 237
    • Mommy Won't Work
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #71 on: May 16, 2014, 09:27:05 AM »
Daley, I love your site and the abbreviated version you have here.  I stumbled across something this morning that made me laugh and thought, "I wonder if Daley has thought of this??"

Hmmm.... prozvonit. Fascinating, but personally I'd like to find out what the equivalent would be for someone doing likewise not for the sake of initiating a callback, but for the express purpose of passing along a contextual message without words. I know we have a few folks from India lurking around the boards, do you guys have a specific word for this concept in Hindi, Bengali, or any other of the many languages spoken?

I also quite appreciated the word ilunga from that list, as it fits my character well and is quite reflective of a situation I'm currently wrestling with. Appreciate the link! :)

Fascinating link!  I wish they had given some specific examples of how people use the codes.  Is it "one ring for no, two for yes" or something like that?
Blogging about mindset and making different choices at http://mommywontwork.blogspot.com/

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #72 on: May 16, 2014, 10:38:44 AM »
Fascinating link!  I wish they had given some specific examples of how people use the codes.  Is it "one ring for no, two for yes" or something like that?

I think it's more along the lines of the following situations from what I gathered:
  • I have reached my destination.
  • I have arrived at the agreed upon location.
  • I am reminding you to do something at this time.
  • I am demonstrating my support for [cause], here is my contact info.
Stuff like that. The messages communicated are contextual to the circumstances in which the call is placed. It's kind of like the equivalent of using collect calls from payphones where the message is delivered in the name asking to accept charges, but in the era of ubiquitous personal cellphones and caller ID where you already know who's calling.
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.

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #73 on: May 17, 2014, 08:55:43 PM »
I posted this in another thread, but it deserves to be here too.

On the subject of iPhone 4/4s devices on Page Plus, many many moons ago I said I would never recommend porting an iPhone over to PP until the day Denny Scher of Page Plus corporate said it was safe.

I'm still getting conflicting info regarding iPhone support with Page Plus and Verizon, but I'll always tow the official line. The dealers I've talked with have said things consistent with what I've been saying regarding "official" iPhone support, and they all point to Denny Scher at Page Plus corporate and his official line. Plenty of evidence online from dealers saying the same thing, too. That official word is that iPhones are not permitted for activation on the Page Plus network. Have a couple:

http://www.phonenews.com/page-plus-to-increase-data-on-the-55-plan-to-2gb-on-june-6th-20465/#comment-58615
http://www.iphoneforums.net/forum/verizon-iphone-51/verizon-iphone-pageplus-cellular-8238/index2.html#post204038

There's also no information backing any claims of official support for any iPhones on Page Plus within the HoFo community, not from official channels and documentation, anyway. People will cite CSRs at Page Plus for "official" word on iPhone support, but they're wishy-washy and highly inconsistent. This is one of the reasons why I say what I do about the quality of customer support... most of the people there really don't know what they're doing or what official policy is. It's inconsistent at best.

As of May 15th, Denny Scher said it's safe.

http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2014/05/iphone-4-and-4s-are-now-officially.html

Hopefully Selectel will be able to follow closely behind, so people don't have to deal with America Movil just to do an iPhone on a Verizon MVNO.

It's a step in the right direction, though. *tosses confetti like a nihilist on lithium*
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.

adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SC
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #74 on: May 28, 2014, 08:52:54 AM »
So PTEL finally bit me.  I was up near the outer banks in NC for work for all of last week and had no/intermittent signal, no data at all.  It was a problem mainly because I was not working in a building, I was working in an airplane, so I really could have used it out on the tarmac.  I ended up having to use someone else's AT&T iPhone to do a lot of my communications.  Apparently Verizon had an excellent signal up there as well.

Of course just before I left I was told to put in a request for a govt cell, so I may not need any personal phone for much longer.  Still unsure of the rules with that...

adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SC
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #75 on: May 29, 2014, 06:45:51 AM »
Airvoice question:
Their 3 unlimited plans show "Long Distance" with no check next to it.   I thought that was a thing of the past, landlines and such.  Or is that just talking international?  I mean, technically my wife's cell number would be long distance when we'd be sitting in the same room together.  That can't be right...

frugalman

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #76 on: May 29, 2014, 07:15:42 AM »
Adam, I have Airvoice. There is no long distance charge to any point in the US. International may be charged.
I have an iphone 5 on the $10/mo plan which covers voice at 4 cents per minute, texts at 2 cents, and data at 6.6 cents per megabyte. I use the data very sparingly, but it comes in handy sometimes. After a year on the plan, my balance is about $46 (unused dollars roll over month to month). So it fits me very well.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 07:17:49 AM by frugalman »

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1624
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #77 on: May 29, 2014, 09:53:13 AM »
Airvoice question:
Their 3 unlimited plans show "Long Distance" with no check next to it.   I thought that was a thing of the past, landlines and such.  Or is that just talking international?  I mean, technically my wife's cell number would be long distance when we'd be sitting in the same room together.  That can't be right...
What you're seeing is poor placement on the website...  The long distance is really part of the "$10 FREE International Long Distance".  Same with the next line down about International texting.

I'm another happy $10/month Airvoice customer (with an iPhone 4S).  Two other family members are on the $10 every three month plan. 

adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SC
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #78 on: May 29, 2014, 11:55:36 AM »
Depending on the rules with the new govt mobile I'm getting I'll likely be switching to the airvoice $10 plan for this phone.  Or I might have to pony up for the $30-$40 option, depends on how much personal use I'm allowed.

LiquidSapphire

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #79 on: May 29, 2014, 12:06:37 PM »
Hello
I signed up for Future Nine on Sunday but as of Noon Thursday have not heard a peep from them.  I think I've done everything I was supposed to... loaded up the Future 5 plan, ordered the adapter from them, loaded $100 onto the account via Paypal ($60 for the plan and $40 for the adapter), even "ordered" a phone number (and got charged $5 for it even though it was supposed to be free for Future 5, and yet, I still have no phone number in my account) and... crickets.  I've also sent a question to them via their online interface from my account dashboard screen as well as an email to support@future-nine.com and I have gotten no response what so ever.

How long does this normally take?  I expected at least a "Thanks for your order, we expect it to take us X days to get it all set up."  But... Nothing.  I knew they were bare bones and didn't expect much help but I feel like I just sent $100 into a black hole and I'm considering a charge back.

What is the normal course of events for signing up with them?

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #80 on: May 29, 2014, 01:27:03 PM »
How long does this normally take?  I expected at least a "Thanks for your order, we expect it to take us X days to get it all set up."  But... Nothing.  I knew they were bare bones and didn't expect much help but I feel like I just sent $100 into a black hole and I'm considering a charge back.

What is the normal course of events for signing up with them?

A new account with ATA order could take a bit of time. Be patient, and give them a little longer. :)
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.

frugalman

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #81 on: May 31, 2014, 09:06:03 AM »
Question for Mr. Daley:

From a business perspective, how do MVNO's exist? Is it mandated that discounted voice and data be made available to such entities for resale? Or is it by the good graces of the big companies that they are sharing?

I ask this because I wonder if my AirVoice $10/mo plans will ever be in danger should AT&T, for example, ever feel threatened by the growing market share of the MVNO's?

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #82 on: May 31, 2014, 11:23:31 PM »
Question for Mr. Daley:

From a business perspective, how do MVNO's exist? Is it mandated that discounted voice and data be made available to such entities for resale? Or is it by the good graces of the big companies that they are sharing?

I ask this because I wonder if my AirVoice $10/mo plans will ever be in danger should AT&T, for example, ever feel threatened by the growing market share of the MVNO's?

There is no mandate that the major carriers offer discounted voice and data service. That said, the major MNOs will likely always offer wholesale pricing for larger businesses looking to buy huge gobs of network traffic, because it makes financial sense to do so. The discount of volume business, and all that.

That said, you could technically say that the MVNOs only exist because the major carriers allow it due to the wholesale discount pricing model, the billing access, etc. There is an advantage to the model, however. MVNOs allow the major carriers to continue to extract further profits from a section of the population that they wouldn't otherwise choose to try and make money off of themselves due to the risk/reward factor or the profit margins. They want big, easy money. The MVNOs help get those of us too smart to spend colossal wads of money on wireless service to still spend colossal wads of money on wireless service for their networks; only now, it's some small rinky-dink middle-man chump company working for peanuts who has to support these people instead of AT&T or Verizon having to do it themselves.

As for the stickier specific question of "how" an MVNO exists, it's a cutthroat market. It's why I try to stick with providers who have proven themselves successful in the market over the longer term, because failed MVNO businesses... whoof. The churn is impressive, and the littered corpses of industry giant owned MVNOs is not insignificant. Disney, Comcast, 7-11, Circle K, ESPN and Cox have all tried and failed. Margins are thin, and it's one of the things that's got an eyebrow raised with me about the recent P'tel outage. Not that I don't trust Ahmad's ability to run a profitable ship, quite the contrary. They've survived for nearly 15 years at this point, and that's not by coincidence, but the subtext to the operations outage this past week due to extended catastrophic technical failure can get expensive for any business. If any MVNO could recover from a setback like that, it would be P'tel, but the real question longer term is will they. Well, I'm staying put. They have flourished thus far and I will do what I can to ensure they continue to flourish.

"Why?" I can hear you ask. Well, of all the MVNOs on the market, P'tel, Airvoice and Consumer Cellular are probably the three most important in the American market right now, in my humble opinion. Without them, all that's really left for the consumer after that point is a few smaller brands with negligible savings, a revolving tide of fly-by-nights, the MNOs with an even tighter pricing grip, and Carlos Slim. I don't say this out of disrespect to any of the other MVNOs on my recommended list, but P'tel and Airvoice are two of the oldest MVNOs on the market and Consumer Cellular is a newer 800lb. gorilla. Ting may be getting there, and I am quite fond of some of the other scrappers, but a loss of one of those three specifically would have repercussions that you wouldn't get with say Ultra, Republic or Lyca drying up and blowing away.

Truthfully, the American MVNO market is a little insane when you look at it and what's involved to actually save any real money on service when you factor the middle man issue, but if you're cautious and assess risk appropriately, it can be worth it. Also, it's worth noting that the MVNO model is so successful that even three of the big four carriers have their own boutique brands to cash in on the larger smaller spenders, such as with GoSmart Mobile and MetroPCS (T-Mobile), Cricket (AT&T now), Virgin and Boost Mobile (Sprint). About the only MNO that hasn't gotten into the game as such is Verizon, which is no coincidence as they're the largest carrier in the market, the least MVNO friendly carrier, has some of the strictest wholesale reseller contracts... and well... you get the idea. It's also only recently that AT&T has gotten more serious about competitive wholesale and MVNO pricing as well (it was only after the T-Mobile merger failure and T-Mo's recent push back into the MVNO market that they started pushing there), historically T-Mobile was just a mess with wholesale up until a couple years ago, and Sprint has been the only long term wholesale market scrapper due to market share (there have been periods where, IIRC, up to at least 30% of Sprint's revenues were exclusively from wholesale sales).

There you have it. It's not pretty, but it is what it is. It's also another snapshot into why I'm so picky about my recommendations and I just don't go flailing about with my recommendations for anyone that might catch my fancy like others have in the past and still do today.

As for your final question: the MVNOs really don't pose any real threats to the major carriers. After all, the MVNOs have to buy their service from someone. If attitudes were to change, expect the major carriers to choke the resellers with rising prices instead of just terminating contracts. Keep tabs on the "discounted" monthly package prices of the MNO internal prepaid boutique brands for the network you're on. When the primary carrier starts undercutting their MVNO resellers in the prepaid market, start paying attention. What I'm saying is, you should be watching with a wary eye what AT&T is doing with their new toy Cricket Wireless.
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.

frugalman

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #83 on: June 01, 2014, 06:53:07 AM »
You write so well, Mr. Daley, thank you for your thoughts.

I guess it is similar to the reasons big car manufacturers can sell new, shiny $35,000 vehicles, even though used, $6,000 vehicles would do quite nicely. We Mustachians tend to forget we are a very small percentage of the population, and the rest of the Consumer Suckas are alive, well and even thriving. I so appreciate my $10/mo Airvoice plans. My coworkers to a man and woman all have Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or TMobile plans. They are constantly thumbing up and down their phones, burning expensive data, in an attempt to escape the disquieting thought that on their present trajectories, they will work as cubicle slaves forever, and still have debt when they are done.

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #84 on: June 01, 2014, 07:25:08 AM »
You write so well, Mr. Daley, thank you for your thoughts.

Usually I feel like a chimp pounding on a keyboard, so I will take and appreciate the compliment. Thank you. :)

I guess it is similar to the reasons big car manufacturers can sell new, shiny $35,000 vehicles, even though used, $6,000 vehicles would do quite nicely. We Mustachians tend to forget we are a very small percentage of the population, and the rest of the Consumer Suckas are alive, well and even thriving. I so appreciate my $10/mo Airvoice plans. My coworkers to a man and woman all have Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or TMobile plans. They are constantly thumbing up and down their phones, burning expensive data, in an attempt to escape the disquieting thought that on their present trajectories, they will work as cubicle slaves forever, and still have debt when they are done.

That's one way to look at and approach it. From a bigger picture perspective, however, frugal and FIRE folks are still a minority even within the prepaid MVNO market segment. The real money there comes mostly from the poor and marginalized of the population who can't otherwise afford or pass the credit check for a cellphone from a major operator, or choose to opt out of the credit system due to religious reasons.  This is yet another reason why I'm particular about the MVNOs I select, as some of these businesses can be just as exploitative of the financial arrangements and weak math of the general population as much as big four carriers are.
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.

adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SC
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #85 on: June 03, 2014, 08:39:21 AM »
I got worried enough at the recent PTEL outage (after the last, actual service outage, which was worse) that I went ahead and ordered an airvoice SIM that arrived yesterday.  Combine that with the phone I just picked up at work and it looks like I'm about to go back to being a $10 plan customer, only this time on an AT&T MVNO instead of a Verizon one.

adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SC
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #86 on: June 03, 2014, 12:48:47 PM »
So now the question for me is if there is any reason why I should not port my well known cell number to Google voice prior to giving air voice a try?

I would get a new number from air voice and just forward my old number (now a Google voice #) to the new number. Would i need to make all outgoing calls through Google voice in order to have my known number shown in the caller id? Will that affect call quality at all? Tell me what I'm missing here...

edit: Just was reminded of texting, specifically MMS doesn't work, also, it appears that I'll need a data connection to receive the texts (just the SMS kind).  That defeats the purpose of switching to the $10 plan.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 01:37:45 PM by adam »

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #87 on: June 03, 2014, 02:38:18 PM »
So now the question for me is if there is any reason why I should not port my well known cell number to Google voice prior to giving air voice a try?

Well, I'm looking to port my numbers out of GV, so how does that answer your question?

Would i need to make all outgoing calls through Google voice in order to have my known number shown in the caller id? Will that affect call quality at all? Tell me what I'm missing here...

Yes. Most definitely. You're ignoring the fact that GV is terrible.

edit: Just was reminded of texting, specifically MMS doesn't work, also, it appears that I'll need a data connection to receive the texts (just the SMS kind).  That defeats the purpose of switching to the $10 plan.

Pretty much. You'd get more efficient data usage out of something like Kik or XMS than GV, though it would require both ends using the same chat client instead of getting that nice smooth SMS/POTS network integration. Hooray for the balkanization of chat protocols!
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.

Shivan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #88 on: June 03, 2014, 06:07:33 PM »
I'm confused by how MMM recommends Republic Wireless, this guide trashes it, and neither author appears to acknowledge the other. Can they reconcile their opinions?

Similar question, the guide says that TextNow is better than Republic. Has MMM mentioned TextNow anywhere?

Also about Republic, the guide says "you can replicate it on your own likely for less using any cheap carrier, Android phone, Google Voice and Talkatone", with a link to this page: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-isps-voip-cell/msg21151/#msg21151

I click that link and it redirects me to: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/

So I don't see how to do it.

adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SC
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #89 on: June 04, 2014, 06:03:09 AM »
Point taken. I switched straight over to airvoice, skipping gv. And of course, their APN settings don't work at all on my Nexus 4. It's not an problem right now since I'm only doing the $10 plan but it is becoming a real pain in the ass on mvnos in general to have to keep correcting this.

edit: Correction, it just became a problem because my wife sent me the first MMS in like 6 months just this morning.  Of course...

edit2: Called customer service and they kinda straightened it out.  Since I only opted for the $10 they didn't even turn on my data.  I told them I just wanted to "test drive" the $10 plan to make sure I'd successfully port my number and actually get decent signals around here before considering bumping to the $30 or $40.  I was able to hit a google web page after working with them for about 15 minutes, then I just turned data back off because my signal sucks at work.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 11:51:59 AM by adam »

little stache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #90 on: June 04, 2014, 07:50:53 PM »
I.P Daley. I did it. (well almost its coming in the mail). I will be porting my number and going VOIP with a low cost solution for those that are not so tech savvy, saving well over $30 bucks a month. It will also break me free of the dreaded "bundle" and I will loose cable as soon as the port happens on the phone number. That is another easy $40 in cable and another $10 i was paying for HBO. So, I.P. Daley your sage advice (and a punch to the head :L) !) got me to jump over the barriers and save some cash! Thanks man.

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #91 on: June 04, 2014, 11:26:16 PM »
Thanks man.

Glad to have helped. Enjoy the savings!



edit2: Called customer service and they kinda straightened it out.  Since I only opted for the $10 they didn't even turn on my data.  I told them I just wanted to "test drive" the $10 plan to make sure I'd successfully port my number and actually get decent signals around here before considering bumping to the $30 or $40.  I was able to hit a google web page after working with them for about 15 minutes, then I just turned data back off because my signal sucks at work.

By default, the Airvoice $10 plan has data turned off and you have to call into support to enable it, but when you know what's going on it only takes a couple minutes to do. I've discussed this point with others, but I don't think I ever worked it into the core guide. The biggest issue is most people don't realize how data hungry their phones are, and since data has the capacity to rapidly eat the entire $10 balance in a couple days with some oblivious folks, it's just easier to default to the initially off by default status for most people's general good.



I'm confused by how MMM recommends Republic Wireless, this guide trashes it, and neither author appears to acknowledge the other. Can they reconcile their opinions?

What's wrong with differing perspectives? He's entitled to his position as I am to mine. In the case of Republic, I think it's healthy to have a skeptical counterpoint to MMM's unbridled "one size fits all" enthusiasm.

Similar question, the guide says that TextNow is better than Republic. Has MMM mentioned TextNow anywhere?

Better than is a strong statement, TextNow is simply less terrible IMHO... and it's still not on my recommended list. It's just offered as an alternative for those who want a cheap and lazy solution that sounds better than it is.

Anyway, why does MMM have to have an opinion on every MVNO carrier? He paints in broad strokes, I do detail work. Speaking of...

Also about Republic, the guide says "you can replicate it on your own likely for less using any cheap carrier, Android phone, Google Voice and Talkatone", with a link to this page: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-isps-voip-cell/msg21151/#msg21151

I click that link and it redirects me to: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/

The forums have been migrated since then, and some of the links don't redirect properly anymore. I need to sit down and try to fix the major ones in the guide, but I've not had the time to do so. As for the link you're wanting specifically:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-the-isp-voip-and-cellphone-superguide/msg21151/#msg21151

That should get you.

Ultimately though, what it boils down to is a philosophy on data and leaving VoIP services out of mobile data communications for a whole slew of reasons from quality to reliability and paying for what you need, and avoiding the pitfall of "free" or cheap services that you pay for dearly in other ways. The price difference isn't that much higher month-to-month in the greater picture between Republic's "unlimited" mobile talk and text plan and other providers offering "unlimited" mobile talk and text plans. We're talking $15-20 a month at most (and that includes competitively sized data service plans as well), and it doesn't require you to sign away your rights and submit to an unreasonable terms of service agreement, there's no trying to connect to WiFi all the time, you get proper customer and technical support, and there's no need for a proprietary and fragile handset without a user-replaceable battery that you have to buy to get those rates.

The biggest thing people ignore when number crunching is handset costs. All they see is the monthly rate, and they're usually so conditioned to buy a new handset when they switch service that they don't ever think about it, even if their current handset works just fine. In reality however, when you factor the handset as part of the ROI, most people actually start hitting 12-24+ month break even points on switching out just to go to Republic versus an appropriately sized mobile package from another MVNO that works with their existing phone and is likely on the same network they're already used to. Those are numbers that dance along the same lines of a two-year contract, though in Republic's defense it's not as bad a situation now that you can finally sell and reactivate used handsets. All things considered, why subject yourself to a situation like that just so you can waive around the "unlimited" word to your friends?

Do you know what true unlimited is during any one given month, assuming you're glued to your device 24/7/365?
  • 720 hours of talk time
  • 566,000 text messages (that's the world's record for sent in a month)
  • 31GB of data at 2G EDGE speeds
  • 116TB of data at 4G LTE speeds
Those are the theoretical hard limits of what any mobile phone service could provide during a 30 day period. For perspective on the data end, the size of offline GPS road maps for every last blessed street and alleyway in the entire United States only averages 2.5GB.

Show me a mobile provider that would give you anything remotely approaching any of those numbers without sending you an astronomical bill or terminating service when they tell you you're paying for "unlimited" service, let alone give you that for under $50 a month, and I'll eat my hat. Those are insane numbers, and nobody needs them... and on the off-chance that you do need anything approaching those numbers? There's going to be a premium necessary to pay, because those volumes need a level of reliability and coverage that an MVNO simply is not going to provide. This is also why there's weasel words about throttling and termination in the legal boilerplate of phone providers who offer these "unlimited" packages in the first place.

Never forget the value of $10, but also don't be afraid of paying for what you need. $20 a month is not an unreasonable price difference between getting a half-baked solution with no support versus a more reliable alternative if you actually need the amount of mobile minutes to conduct business that "unlimited" might imply.
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.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3584
  • Age: 9
  • Location: WA
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #92 on: June 05, 2014, 11:59:29 AM »
Soooooo, how many of the bazillion T-mobile MVNOs are having emergency meetings trying to figure out what the proposed acqui-merger with Sprint?

In other news, the Asha 303 recommended in the guide is out of stock, so I had to go with the newer Asha 302 as my lady friend's 2008 BlackBerry decided to go for a last and fatal midnight swim in a pint of beer the other day. Excited to see what the beast is like when it arrives.

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #93 on: June 05, 2014, 12:16:41 PM »
Soooooo, how many of the bazillion T-mobile MVNOs are having emergency meetings trying to figure out what the proposed acqui-merger with Sprint?

I doubt there's much panic... yet. The thing is, Softbank didn't really retool Sprint's wholesale division after acquisition, so I suspect similar will remain for the time if this merger is approved by the FTC and FCC. Consolidation is never good for the market, however.

In other news, the Asha 303 recommended in the guide is out of stock, so I had to go with the newer Asha 302 as my lady friend's 2008 BlackBerry decided to go for a last and fatal midnight swim in a pint of beer the other day. Excited to see what the beast is like when it arrives.

*sigh* It's the last of a dying breed. Nobody wants to make phones with keyboards anymore because people are UI idiots. Hope the Asha treats your lady friend as well as the C3 has treated me.
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.

Shivan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #94 on: June 05, 2014, 01:26:45 PM »
What's wrong with differing perspectives? He's entitled to his position as I am to mine. In the case of Republic, I think it's healthy to have a skeptical counterpoint to MMM's unbridled "one size fits all" enthusiasm.

Well, you're both champions of personal finance, experts on what is good and cheap! MMM says RW is a top choice. You say it's a pretender and a gimmick. Surely one of you has to be mistaken about how good or bad it is?

Thanks for the correct link. Are you saying that I'd have to use a carrier, a VoIP company, and then four different apps for me to replicate the "cheap cell phone over the internet" concept? That sounds like a lot of dependencies that could go wrong.

My wife and I have 2-year old Verizon phones, so I think we're going to have to buy a new phone no matter what MVNO we go to. Our house has bad signal for every carrier but Verizon, so calling over the internet sounds nice. Page Plus is the only Verizon MVNO that I see recommended and their phone lineup looks pretty bad. (My wife insists on using her phone as her main camera and I don't want crappy pictures of my newborn babies.) If we go to Ting, I'm afraid we'd have to walk outside to get a good Sprint signal. I don't see why getting a separate home line would be an improvement over using Republic. I don't understand most of your statements against its reliability. I have two friends in real life and dozens on the MMM site who say it works fine. I don't need "unlimited" stuff, just less than 500 each of minutes, texts, and MB.

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #95 on: June 05, 2014, 07:49:38 PM »
What's wrong with differing perspectives? He's entitled to his position as I am to mine. In the case of Republic, I think it's healthy to have a skeptical counterpoint to MMM's unbridled "one size fits all" enthusiasm.

Well, you're both champions of personal finance, experts on what is good and cheap! MMM says RW is a top choice. You say it's a pretender and a gimmick. Surely one of you has to be mistaken about how good or bad it is?

The difference is in each of our approaches to the Iron Triangle, which alters who is right based on what is more important to the person taking the advice. MMM's advice is EASY and CHEAP, my advice is GOOD and CHEAP.

I choose this approach because I treat the advice I give out as SRS BSNS (as the internet basement dwellers might say). If I'm going to help guide people to a better and cheaper solution, that requires building and preserving trust. That also means my quality bar has to be higher than most others out of necessity. I could just echo the worn paths laced with big referral payouts like everyone else, but if my advice inspires other people to make changes to their life, I am fundamentally accountable for that change. It is something I take seriously, because this advice touches and changes people and their budgets in a very fundamental manner. Helping others matters more to me than my bottom line, and as a servant to their needs, this means I have to provide and consider information that may involve points of data that they might not have otherwise considered.

As such, I err on the side of higher quality service and support, hardware freedom, and less draconian legal boilerplate... even if it might cost a bit more to get it. I know those recommendations will serve people better in the event that something might go sideways, because something eventually always goes sideways.

I don't say any of this out of disrespect to our gracious host here. His advice has the capacity to do good and help others as well, and I will concede that he has done so far more than me. I'm just saying my approach and philosophy is different; as such, it generates a repository of information that presents greatly differing conclusions.

Embrace that difference. :)

Thanks for the correct link. Are you saying that I'd have to use a carrier, a VoIP company, and then four different apps for me to replicate the "cheap cell phone over the internet" concept? That sounds like a lot of dependencies that could go wrong.

Technically, I think you only need about two apps at this point... but you are not wrong. More moving parts, greater opportunity of failure. I do actually subscribe to the KISS School of Engineering, even if my general technical advice does not necessarily steer into the most simple of initial execution territories at times due to the learning curve. As for a good examination of why I'm not a big mVoIP guy, you might want to give this a read.

There's stupid VoIP tricks you could do where you can change the outbound caller ID, and take advantage of conditional call forwarding with the MVNOs that support it, but that increases the cost. It's only mentioned for the sake of academic curiosity.

My wife and I have 2-year old Verizon phones, so I think we're going to have to buy a new phone no matter what MVNO we go to. Our house has bad signal for every carrier but Verizon, so calling over the internet sounds nice. Page Plus is the only Verizon MVNO that I see recommended and their phone lineup looks pretty bad. (My wife insists on using her phone as her main camera and I don't want crappy pictures of my newborn babies.) If we go to Ting, I'm afraid we'd have to walk outside to get a good Sprint signal. I don't see why getting a separate home line would be an improvement over using Republic. I don't understand most of your statements against its reliability. I have two friends in real life and dozens on the MMM site who say it works fine. I don't need "unlimited" stuff, just less than 500 each of minutes, texts, and MB.

A couple of things to remember with both Ting and Republic is that they're Sprint MVNOs first and foremost, not Verizon. They both claim to allow Verizon roaming, but your experience going from Verizon as your primary network to Sprint is not going to be as silky smooth as you might anticipate.

Second, something to remember with Ting. So long as it's been on the market for longer than a year, you can bring any Sprint phone you like to Ting for activation. You are not restricted only to the selection they provide or even "officially" support. They also carry femtocells, though they are pricey.

Thirdly, the rumors have been heating up again since the America Movil acquisition of Page Plus went live that LTE handset activation may finally be coming to Verizon MVNOs. This doesn't mean that there will be 4G LTE data support, just that you wouldn't be limited to only activating non-LTE handsets (without stupid baseband flashing tricks). This would impact both Page Plus and Selectel if true, but these sorts of rumors have also been circulating in general for years, so don't get too enthusiastic. That said, if you can't activate your current Verizon handsets with PP or Selectel due to 4G LTE support (if it has a SIM card), it doesn't hurt to look at the options available phone-wise from Kitty Wireless (PP Master Dealer) and Selectel directly. It's not a rich assortment, but they're functional, and they're not too different from what PP offers directly. That doesn't mean that there aren't other possible handsets available as well. Check Ebay.

As to the remaining statements towards Republic and reliability, they've already been loosely covered in the previous section.

Finally, if you genuinely think that an all-in-one hybrid wireless VoIP solution is a viable approach to your needs, do remember that in addition to TextNow, there's also FreedomPop... and both of them will let you bring your own Sprint Android device on top of selling you handsets as well.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 07:57:48 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.

adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 37
  • Location: SC
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #96 on: June 06, 2014, 07:59:57 AM »
Speaking of legal boilerplate, I actually read the fine print when I got my Airvoice SIM card in the mail.

Does anyone here have the $30-$60 "Unlimited" plans?  Do you actually have to call the support desk to activate the second half of your data?  I don't have the paperwork in front of me any more, but I think it said (for example):
"If you are on the $40 plan with 1GB data, you can use 500MB data and then you will have to call the support desk to activate your second 500MB for the 30 day period"

They claim it is to avoid fraud, but I imagine it doesn't hurt their bottom line when people don't A) track their usage and/or B) read the fine print and never actually call for the rest of their data.

edit: Found it
Quote
To prevent fraudulent activity on the $60 plan, you will receive 1.5 GB of data at the time that you add your refill card. Once you complete your 1.5 GB of data, you must contact customer service at 1-888-944-2355 to apply the other 1.5 GB to your account. To prevent fraudulent activity on the $50 plan, you will recieve 1GB of data at the time that you add your refill card. Once you complete your 1GB of data, you must contact customer service at 1-888-944-2355 to apply the other 1GB to your account. To prevent fraudulent activity on the $40 plan, you will receive 500 MB of data at the time that you add your refill card. Once you complete your 500 MB of data, you must contact customer service at 1-888-944-2355 to apply the other 500 MB to your account. To prevent fraudulent activity on the $30 plan, you will receive 250 MB of data at the time that you add your refill card. Once you complete your 250 MB of data, you must contact customer service at 1-888-944-2355 to apply the other 250 MB to your account
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 08:11:17 AM by adam »

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #97 on: June 06, 2014, 08:36:02 AM »
Speaking of legal boilerplate, I actually read the fine print when I got my Airvoice SIM card in the mail.

Does anyone here have the $30-$60 "Unlimited" plans?  Do you actually have to call the support desk to activate the second half of your data?  I don't have the paperwork in front of me any more, but I think it said (for example):
"If you are on the $40 plan with 1GB data, you can use 500MB data and then you will have to call the support desk to activate your second 500MB for the 30 day period"

They claim it is to avoid fraud, but I imagine it doesn't hurt their bottom line when people don't A) track their usage and/or B) read the fine print and never actually call for the rest of their data.

That is correct, and it's about the size of it. Not a great arrangement, but it only takes a couple minutes. Yet another reason why not being greatly reliant on data is to your benefit. In the case of Airvoice, less hassle.
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.

Shivan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #98 on: June 06, 2014, 01:21:54 PM »
The difference is in each of our approaches to the Iron Triangle, which alters who is right based on what is more important to the person taking the advice. MMM's advice is EASY and CHEAP, my advice is GOOD and CHEAP.

Fair enough.

As for a good examination of why I'm not a big mVoIP guy, you might want to give this a read.

Maybe I'm still ignorant about how everythink works. I thought that Republic uses your internet at home and regular Sprint/Verizon voice/text/data service when you're away from the internet. Is that not accurate? Are you saying that it's always "data" everywhere, which is the first thing to go in an emergency? It doesn't even dial 911 like a typical cell phone?

A couple of things to remember with both Ting and Republic is that they're Sprint MVNOs first and foremost, not Verizon. They both claim to allow Verizon roaming, but your experience going from Verizon as your primary network to Sprint is not going to be as silky smooth as you might anticipate.

I don't expect Sprint to be as good as Verizon. But I do like the concept of using Wi-Fi, which covers my whole house, over using either network, which can be hit or miss. Is that wrong?

I.P. Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3603
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
    • Technical Meshugana
Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #1
« Reply #99 on: June 08, 2014, 10:27:22 AM »
Maybe I'm still ignorant about how everythink works. I thought that Republic uses your internet at home and regular Sprint/Verizon voice/text/data service when you're away from the internet. Is that not accurate? Are you saying that it's always "data" everywhere, which is the first thing to go in an emergency? It doesn't even dial 911 like a typical cell phone?

Examining the latest maps and legal boilerplate and comparing to the Sprint and Verizon maps, it does appear that they are now using CDMA voice services as a fallback, but they're very tight-lipped about how their service works and they use locked-down proprietary handsets with proprietary dialers and clearly VoIP-based SMS gateway messaging services.

You should look at the bigger picture, though. Republic is owned by a VoIP wholesaler. The service acts like VoIP service even off the home WiFi network. Call quality sounds like cheap VoIP service with higher data compression. It has all the usage and reliability quirkiness of VoIP over a wireless network. Since the Moto X transition, they're most likely using UMA/GAN-style network hand-off now to achieve transitioning calls between WiFi and the CDMA network, which would explain the coverage map footprint change to include "voice" service areas now instead of the older service footprint that looked like 3G data coverage only. The thing is though, even with UMA, it's still lower-priority data services with a wholesaler. It still impacts reception and quality greater than if you were using the native network's voice services. Your calls are a lower priority than first tier users. You also need to pay attention to the terms of service. They've been a bit more honest now about mobile data usage levels before socking you with their heinous fines and service termination, but there's no disclosure about where those thresholds are for voice. They just really really want you to not talk on their service off your home WiFi network.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck...

It's probably safe to call Republic an mVoIP provider that uses a lot of moving parts to deliver service with no actual customer support, not a traditional MVNO. Set expectations accordingly.

I don't expect Sprint to be as good as Verizon. But I do like the concept of using Wi-Fi, which covers my whole house, over using either network, which can be hit or miss. Is that wrong?

Not especially, but adding wireless network latency with VoIP doesn't add any favors, and some routers handle and shape the traffic better than others. The public WiFi spectrum is saturated and there's a lot of noise. This is one of the reasons why I recommend keeping the important part of the VoIP network traffic 100% wired by using an ATA and going cordless via 1.9GHz DECT if you want cordless in the house. There's less interference on that band due to the dying nature of landline phone service, and even if there is (I've never encountered any), it's only noise and doesn't introduce problematic packet latency and jitter issues within the call itself.

I'm not going to tell you to not get a Republic handset and service. There are elements of what they provide given your attachment to doing all calls through a single mobile phone even at home that their service caters to. Just understand that you are trading quality for convenience, and if you can wrap your head around the greater picture of how everything actually operates and is set up, you might find that that convenience isn't much cheaper than the more reliable alternatives that requires learning a bit about the technology used, exercising a little self-discipline, and sacrificing a little convenience.

I ultimately want you to pick whatever solution you pick to fit your needs because you've weighed all the options first and chosen it as the best solution, not because someone getting huge financial and service kickbacks told you it's your best option. It's why I don't have a one-size fits all recommendation for this stuff, and I list out best of the breed companies spanning a range of service options. Each person has different needs. If you find that solution is actually Republic Wireless and can explain why without regurgitating ad copy to do so, then good on you. Great in fact! You'll be one of maybe five Republic users that I can genuinely respect in this place.

Let me close with a final perspective point. Just remember that these are all first world problems and conveniences/inconveniences. It's why I approach things from the minimalistic angle, strip everything down to their most basic of components, examine what is needed, and then find the highest quality provider for those needs at the cheapest prices available. I try to teach people to re-familiarize themselves with technology as a tool instead of a convenience and shift how they interact with those technologies. This is amazing stuff we're capable of using, but it costs money to do so, and the preponderance of it is used for gossip, noise, and laziness. If you feel inclined to spend the money, it's wisest to get the best quality you can for the cheapest price you have to pay... but that takes a perspective shift towards usage for most people to understand and accomplish.

I've quite enjoyed our exchange, Shivan. You've asked questions that most haven't, and it's given me an opportunity to help others have a better understanding of the underpinnings to my guide. Thank you.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 10:29:26 AM 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.