Author Topic: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2  (Read 713 times)

Daley

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Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2
« on: January 15, 2018, 10:47:06 AM »
Welcome to the current discussion of the Son of the Communications Superguide.

For the sake of thread sanity, I've learned that it might be best to keep commentary separate from the core guide itself... which is why this is here. If you've got questions, comments, suggestions, or anything else related to the guide? Post it in this thread.

Previous discussion thread can be found here (locked).

Index

Introduction
Internet Service Providers
Cell Phone Providers
Home Telephone Providers
Home Entertainment
Closing & FAQ

The original Superguide (locked)
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.

tj

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2018, 06:32:46 PM »
There seems to be a new player, Lunar Wireless, which gives you free inbound calls and texts, and charged $0.25 per day for outbound usage or app usage. I don't know how what they are offering is sustainable.

https://lunarwireless.com/how-lunar-works
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With This Herring

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2018, 08:21:21 PM »
Would you be bothered by their device requirements?
https://lunarwireless.com/shop
Quote
Can I use my existing phone with Lunar?
No. Lunar’s Pay What You Want service relies on proprietary technology, and only works with phones purchased from our shop page.

It looks like this means you must purchase the phone directly from them as well, as opposed to just owning a specific model:
https://lunarwireless.com/terms-and-conditions/
Quote
14. 60 Day Limited Warranty.

a. Phones may be in new or refurbished condition upon delivery. The Phone has been adapted by Lunar to include; the App and the corresponding software technology.  Regardless of whether it contains a logo or other trademark of a third party, the Phone has been altered by Lunar through the removal of certain original technology and the installation of the App. Lunar, and not any other party, is responsible for the performance of the Phone, the App, and any corresponding software technology.

b. Lunar warrants for a period of 60 days from your date of purchase of the Phone, that the Phone, the App and the corresponding software technology will be fit for their particular purpose. In the event that the Phone, the App and the corresponding software technology do not perform as described within the 60 day warranty period, Lunar will, at its expense and in its sole discretion, do one of the following: (1) replace the defective Phone; (2) perform bug fixes on the App or the corresponding software technology; (3) use commercially reasonable efforts to correct any nonconformity of the Services; or (4) terminate these Terms and provide you up to a full refund for the Phone and any charges paid by you, less the charges for calls, text messages and other features of the App used by you.

And no tethering is permitted:
https://lunarwireless.com/terms-and-conditions/
Quote
7. Content and Your Use. You are solely responsible for your use of the Phone, the App, and the Services, and any other individual for which you purchase Phones and Services. Your telecommunications access may be affected by actions of Lunar based upon a customer’s usage threshold (sometimes called “congestion management” or “speed throttling”), and by Lunar in terms of the size of the messages or data that you can send or receive, and the space your Account is allotted. You may not allow anyone else to use the Phone or the App (whether to make a call, send or receive a voice or text message, upload or download content, or whether connected to a computer): (a) for any unlawful purpose, (b) in any way which is, or is intended to be, malicious, fraudulent or hoax (including to the emergency services), (c) to breach the rights of any third party (for example, copyright), (d) to use the Phone as a modem to connect other devices to the Internet, including tethering (e) in any way which may damage or affect the operation or quality of Lunar, the Internet or any other telecommunications system. If you do not comply with any provision of this paragraph or the AUP, you shall be liable to Lunar for all liabilities, claims, and damages, losses and costs (including attorneys’ fees and legal costs) which we may suffer as a result. You must tell us immediately if anyone makes or threatens to make any claim against you because of your use of the Phone and/or the Services.

What happens if Lunar changes their set of phones?  Would they require you to purchase a new one?  Would your old one, modified by Lunar, be easily resold?  I'm thinking they might be able to keep this sustainable by requiring you to buy a new Lunar-refurbished phone every few years.

I know little about these things, but this doesn't sound like such a good deal.
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tj

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2018, 08:26:17 PM »
Wow, I read the T&C and didn't even notice some of those.

I guess it would only really be a cost efficient option for foreigners studying abroad here for a few months.
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alsoknownasDean

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2018, 06:06:02 AM »
Yeah it looks like they charge you on a per-app basis. Looks like they want to nickel and dime you 0.25 a time with each app (0.25 each for Facebook, a web browser, Spotify, Google Maps and a messaging app would add up, then add your bank's app or a news app). It wouldn't be so cheap once you add everything up.

The phones are designed exclusively for use on one carrier and can't be taken to another carrier. That level of vendor lock-in is antimustachian. If the carrier changes their prices or the service no longer suits your needs, rather than just putting in another SIM and continuing on your way, you're required to replace the phone. A significantly better option is for an phone that's either unlocked (or easily able to be unlocked), and can be used on multiple carriers.

Wow, I read the T&C and didn't even notice some of those.

I guess it would only really be a cost efficient option for foreigners studying abroad here for a few months.


I don't even think it'd be a great option for foreigners studying in the US. I know if I went to the US for a few months, I'd be wanting a US SIM to use in my existing phone, not spending hundreds of bucks on a new device (and if I did buy a new device, I'd want to be able to use it back home too).

Daley

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2018, 02:55:59 PM »
There seems to be a new player, Lunar Wireless, which gives you free inbound calls and texts, and charged $0.25 per day for outbound usage or app usage. I don't know how what they are offering is sustainable.

Herring and Dean already nailed it. It's pretty ugly no matter how you slice the service... especially when you consider their "flat data rate" per app per day. Why in the blue blazes would I spend money on a proprietary smartphone, and then spend up to $7.50 a month per app for email, IM client, web browser, GPS maps, etc., especially when I already get all those things for $2 and under 100MB in a month with my own phone now?

They're clearly exploiting the ability to prioritize data and restrict internet access now with this service. Thanks FCC. Forget that noise.

Wow, I read the T&C and didn't even notice some of those.

And, yes... when a deal sounds too good to be true, read the legal boilerplate. This is why I'm so discriminating on what providers get into the guide.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 02:58:32 PM by 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.

geekette

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2018, 11:15:27 AM »
Quote from: geekette on January 11, 2018 (previous thread)
Speaking of Red Pocket, I bought their $10 sim plus 3 months package in December. Yes, it took several frustrating hours and lots of misinformation and corrections to get it started on their Verizon network, but eventually we got it working. 

A couple days later I noticed, though, that my online account said I was paid through 1/11, so I initiated a chat and was told that’s normal and it would automatically renew.

A week ago I got a text urging me to renew, so I chatted and was told again that it would automatically renew, and they would turn off the automatic texts.

Yesterday I got a text urging me to renew. Busy and tired of being reassured, I ignored it. This morning, of course, no service. Yet another chat quickly fixed it, but sheesh!  Anyway, it now says my month of service ends 2/11 (free bonus day - W00t), and I’m paid through 3/13, so I think it’s working now.

I tell you, 500 minutes, 500 texts, and 500 meg for $10 is a bargain, as long as renewals go smoothly. Let’s hope!

Aaaand a month later, I check online just to make sure I won't be disconnected in the morning, and my ending date has been reset to 2/21, lopping 3 weeks off my 3 month plan.  What the...

After 30+ minutes, a disconnect, reconnect, I'm told they will manually reset my plan tomorrow.  It really shouldn't be this hard.

Mongoose

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2018, 01:33:49 PM »
I've read the Superguide several times but am nearly tech illiterate so hopefully this isn't too dumb a question.

I use Verizon for my flip phone on a grandfathered plan with very little data (250 MB). I can't get a plan with no data. I text and call a fair bit but have 2 issues. We are in the boondocks and the service is spotty. As far as I know, I can't use my flip phone on wifi. And some of my kids activities only use fancy text messages that come through blank.

I think it might be helpful to have a smart phone that could get fancy texts while out and about and be used over wifi as a phone and maybe on the Internet while at home. I still don't think I need data unless txt messages are data as long as I can use wifi. Ditto for voice minutes. I have good wifi at home. I would be ok with getting this as a second number if the price was good. Am I searching for a unicorn?

Daley

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Re: Communications & Tech Discussion Thread #2
« Reply #8 on: Today at 08:27:05 AM »
Am I searching for a unicorn?

On prepaid with Verizon? Yup. Verizon postpaid is the only Verizon network based plan that offers WiFi calling support for customers, which would require one of the short list of expensive smartphone handsets that supported the feature.

As for the "fancy text messages", those are MMS messages, which does require mobile data to use.

This said? Given you're on a feature phone with a grandfathered plan, I suspect it may be old enough that you're using a pre-LTE, CDMA only handset. The only way to be sure is to know the make and model number of the phone you're currently using. That means that your current representation of reception isn't consistent with what Verizon is actually currently offering. It also may not be as bad on other carriers as you used to remember, either, as AT&T and T-Mobile have been growing out their coverage maps with 4G LTE as well, which might open up some alternatives. I'm happy to check coverage maps for you if you supply a ZIP code in a private message.



It really shouldn't be this hard.

No, it shouldn't. Unfortunate to hear. Also why I caution against multi-month plan purchases.
« Last Edit: Today at 08:28:56 AM by 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.