Author Topic: Cell Phone Plan  (Read 7619 times)

Mr. Moneymustcash

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Cell Phone Plan
« on: October 29, 2012, 01:20:04 PM »
Hello Fuzzy $taches!

I am looking to tackle my cell phone plan! Here is what I am using:

Sprint Unlimited Plan $69 per month +$7 phone coverage per month on a 2 year plan. (expires Jan 2014)

Currently, I use about 700mb per month in data each month, 500 minutes, and about 400 text messages. (These are slightly above average numbers for me)

I need the data plan because one of my jobs (delivery driver) requires fast delivery and the use of a maps application. My other job, at Apple, would benefit from having an iPhone, since I work technical support and could use it to help my job performance.

I am interested in using the iPhone for my plan. I will likely need to buy a new phone or CL one for this, but I am interested to see what others are doing for a similar situation. I'm already in good shape, for the most part, but I'm really looking to trim up some of the fat, and supercharge my debt reduction.

Thanks for your insight. :{D


Daley

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 02:04:50 PM »
With those numbers and requirements, you're not gonna find much. Best option is going to be Virgin Mobile because of your iPhone and usage requirements.

$45 a month will get you 1200 minutes and "unlimited" text and data on a $550 iPhone 4, or $650 iPhone 4S. Given the iPhone requirement and a likely $300 ETF, the ROI numbers aren't pretty and you'll be upside down for the next two years plus unless you can pick one up used for cheap (which is unlikely as Virgin iPhones have only been on the market for about four months). http://www.techmeshugana.com/tools/wirelessroi.html

I'm not even going to bother crunching GSM usage numbers, as the cheapest package you'll find for that usage level is with T-Mobile at $50 a month, and you're still out a couple three hundred for a used and unlocked GSM iPhone in good shape.

I suggest you give the Superguide a read.

madage

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 02:41:15 PM »
The $45/month (actually about $42-43 if you use some discounts) StraightTalk plan would also work for you. Just find a cheap T-Mobile or AT&T smartphone. Last I looked, iPhone 3GS models were going for about $100 on Craigslist.

http://www.straighttalksim.com/

Daley

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 05:00:24 PM »
The $45/month (actually about $42-43 if you use some discounts) StraightTalk plan would also work for you. Just find a cheap T-Mobile or AT&T smartphone. Last I looked, iPhone 3GS models were going for about $100 on Craigslist.

http://www.straighttalksim.com/

I've been over this a few times in the past, but people really need to read their Terms of Service. They offer that price point because they oversubscribe their services and put so many usage restrictions on their "unlimited" data that you're likely going to get your account sacked long before you hit their undisclosed 2GB soft cap that'll sack your account anyway. This is a known issue with them, and a terrible idea if someone needs to depend on actual significant data usage on a wireless plan, and is still a terrible idea if someone needs a giant block of just minutes and texts on AT&T as Airvoice is cheaper. Combine that with their shoddy support, it's a pretty raw deal for the money. I have a good idea of what the going wholesale rates are with AT&T and their MVNOs, and there's a reason why everyone else is running around the $60-70 price point for "unlimited talk and text" with 1-2GB of data, and why I never bring up StraightTalk. People needing real data access with GSM service are going to get better deals and treatment on T-Mo.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 05:02:28 PM by I.P. Daley »

Z

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2012, 10:49:31 PM »
you're likely going to get your account sacked long before you hit their undisclosed 2GB soft cap that'll sack your account anyway.

They don't "sack" your account long before you hit 2gb...just speaking from experience.

madage

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 10:26:49 AM »
Thank you, I.P. Daley. I obviously have not made it all the way through the Superguide (my apologies). StraightTalk works for my wife's occasional mobile data usage, but I will definitely need to investigate what may be better options.

Z

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 11:25:46 AM »
StraightTalk works for my wife's occasional mobile data usage, but I will definitely need to investigate what may be better options.

If you use less than 1gb, you should be fine with Straight Talk.  Issues tend to arise with heavy users (over 2gb) and even then you'd get throttled to 2g speeds based on common user experience.

If 2gb isn't enough, and you're ok with Sprint coverage, mobile hotspots might be a better option.  http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2012/10/new-plans-from-walmarts-internet-on-go.html
You'd have to purchase a hotspot, but at your usage levels (700mb) your total cost (hotspot plus data) spread over 2 years works out to around to around $11/month.  It's certainly more inconvenient than having one unit, but the price point is tough to beat.

Daley

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 12:43:32 PM »
If the dude's gonna have to invest over $100 on yet another device on top of an iPhone, he'd be better off investing in an offline car GPS, then he can avoid the data usage costs altogether. Probably the best solution anyway, financially.

Dedicated car GPS (<$100), refurbished and unlocked iPhone 3GS with a new battery ($150-200), T-Mobile's $30 1500 Talk & Text or H2O's $25 1000 minute or text package might be a good combo. The extra $5 a month would probably be well worth the better customer support and extra cushion going with TMo, and should work plenty fine if data usage without the GPS stays under 30MB a month.

The TMo plan and the lower equipment cost almost makes breaking contract with Sprint cost effective. Almost. Of course, the 3GS will likely get left out in the cold next major iOS revision update. That's the price of using Apple products, though: Planned obsolescence, hefty prices and no CRU parts.

Thank you, I.P. Daley. I obviously have not made it all the way through the Superguide (my apologies). StraightTalk works for my wife's occasional mobile data usage, but I will definitely need to investigate what may be better options.

No worries, and yeah, that'd be a pretty good idea. As you can tell, the Walmart set loves America Movil's products and will frequently make excuses for their shortcomings... but you branch out into the wider world of MVNOs and prepaid and price for what you actually need instead of getting suckered by the "unlimited" marketing tactics, there's far better service and support to be had for the money. You'll also find that most of the competition doesn't need ridiculous 20,000 word Terms of Service contracts to define acceptable service usage or as a means to justify their business practices.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 12:45:27 PM by I.P. Daley »

Mr. Moneymustcash

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 12:56:29 PM »
I like the idea of getting a gps, so long as I can update the maps application, so the next step would then be to determine which GPS maps company stays the most up to date and could provide traffic reports to the GPS effectively. I like this route and could live without the smartphone plan altogether. I dont need to check email, or social media when I am out on the town. Im out to GET AWAY from all that in the first place. Even still, a hotspot at a coffee shop could provide this to me for free, so no biggie there.

So step 1, locate a GPS unit with killer maps and traffic updates (could use some help here)
step 2, end unlimited plan with Sprint, go with a cheap prepaid option with my phone number ported. (no data, 500+ text 500 minutes of talk time per month)
step 3...
step 4- profit :)

Daley

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2012, 01:22:49 PM »
Oh hey, Sygic has North America maps available now! $30 gets you the app and free updates of it and their US maps, or $40 for all of North America. May not need a dedicated offline GPS after all. Don't know how good their map data is, though.

If you want real-time traffic updates, you're going to need data service whether you have a stand-alone GPS or not (and Sygic doesn't appear to support traffic updates for North America). The stand-alones will need a Bluetooth data connection with your phone, and I can't tell you what sort of data usage that'd entail. Sorry. Anyway... you whippersnappers! Back in my day, I only had fold-up maps from Rand McNally, my knowledge of the area, the local newsradio station, and my wits to navigate around a city and traffic congestion! *shakes fist*

Z

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2012, 01:32:07 PM »
you're likely going to get your account sacked long before you hit their undisclosed 2GB soft cap that'll sack your account anyway.

They don't "sack" your account long before you hit 2gb...just speaking from experience.

As you can tell, the Walmart set loves America Movil's products

Just suggesting an option IP.  I understand you're opposed to anyone using straight talk, but it doesn't improve the conversation to spread blatant misinformation about a product.

grantmeaname

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 07:18:46 PM »
Since he's cited himself the other six times I've seen him have this argument with somebody, maybe there's a chance it's not blatant misinformation and your experience just isn't typical?

Mr. Moneymustcash

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2012, 09:57:42 PM »
I will do some reading on sygic and update this when I find a solution. Thanks for the help everyone. It makes this so much easier having a community of helpful individuals in a sea of sharks out there.

Z

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 10:31:05 PM »
maybe there's a chance it's not blatant misinformation and your experience just isn't typical?

To clarify, my experience is based on interacting with others who use the straight talk $45 plan (~$40 after discounts). 

It's not for everyone, but could be considered by someone who:

Would like around 1gb of data per month and makes frequent calls
Doesn't need high quality customer service
Wants AT&T coverage
Wants the ability to bring their own GSM phone

Check out mobile forums like Howard Forums.  http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1733397-45-Unlocked-SIM-Data-Limit

The consensus is that straight talk has poor customer service and currently throttles data speeds to 2g after 2gb per month or 70mb in a day.  There are better options for users with different requirements, but spreading incorrect information about a company hardly makes for an informed MMM community.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 06:21:09 PM by Z »

CanuckStache

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2012, 08:31:36 AM »
I'm on straight talk - I order it for 6 months at a time via walmart.com and it works out to around $40 per month. I've had no trouble with them, except they're a bit of a pain to setup an iphone with..that took a little research.

But don't ever call customer service - it's awful.

Daley

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Re: Cell Phone Plan
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2012, 10:30:34 AM »
I'm just going to leave this link here instead of disrespecting OP's productive thread further: Some details about Straight Talk.