Author Topic: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone  (Read 7313 times)

ChrisM

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Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« on: October 17, 2013, 12:17:30 PM »
Hello fellow Mustachians!

I'm new here and working on my 'stache.  First I'm killing my cell phone plan with AT&T which is costing me around $65/month.  I'm going to leave my wife on the plan since she needs it for work and they pay for her portion. 

I've already setup Google Voice to a home phone with an Obi100 and cheap wireless phone I had hanging around. 

Next up is the actual cellphone service.  I've decided to try Airvoice, but I need a new phone.  I'm currently rocking a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which I plan to sell.  I'm looking to go with just a "dumbphone". 

Most of the time I'm at home and can make my calls from the GV home phone.  I think I can get away with less than $10/month pay as you go with Airvoice.  It's an experiment I hope to win.

I'm currently looking at Nokia e71, Nokia Asha 302 as dumbphone options.  I could potentially get a cheaper android smartphone as well. 

So the questions is, do you have something that you recommend?  I'll allow a budget up to $150.  Thanks for reading!

Eric

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2013, 12:39:01 PM »
Have you seen the Communications Superguide thread?

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-isps-voip-cell/

It's a little long, but most of the relevant info is right up front.

ChrisM

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2013, 12:51:15 PM »
Have you seen the Communications Superguide thread?

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-isps-voip-cell/

It's a little long, but most of the relevant info is right up front.

Yes!  This is how I got started with my cellphone quest.  That's a really great guide and I'm so glad it exists.  I understand the different carriers etc.  I didn't dig through for cellphone recommendations, but I did use the site to search.  I came across a few like the Nokia C3-00, e71.  I'm curious what hardware people are using now and can recommend specifically with Airvoice.

dadof4

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2013, 01:47:28 PM »
Here's what I use.
Pantech Burst - unlocked gsm smartphone. Has very decent hardware (1.5ghz dual core, 1gb RAM, 16gb memory + microSD card slot, GPS, 4g LTE, etc). The only downside is a weak battery, just recharge every night and you're good.
You get it from Ebay, just search for "pantech burst unlocked". For some reason, prices have gone up since I bought last year, but it's still the best bang for your buck. I recommend getting a "mint condition" one for $95 from one of the two powersellers who provide them, I bought a new one for the Mrs. and a mint one for myself, but couldn't tell them apart. I bought 6 more mint ones for family members, and they're extremely happy.

As for a plan, I use Lyca mobile prepaid. It comes to 2 cents a minute. If you don't talk a lot (ie under 1000 minutes a month), this is a great plan. Minutes don't expire as long as you talk once every three months. For me, I barely scratch 50 minutes a month, so it works out very well.


Daley

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2013, 05:14:30 PM »
Yes!  This is how I got started with my cellphone quest.  That's a really great guide and I'm so glad it exists.  I understand the different carriers etc.  I didn't dig through for cellphone recommendations, but I did use the site to search.  I came across a few like the Nokia C3-00, e71.  I'm curious what hardware people are using now and can recommend specifically with Airvoice.

I'm still rocking the C3. The wife loves the e63. Good phones. If you're on the GSM end, pretty much any halfway decent Nokia will probably be bulletproof from full-on dumbphones to the pseudo blackberry smartphone featurephone territory.

ChrisM

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2013, 06:34:33 PM »
Here's what I use.
Pantech Burst - unlocked gsm smartphone. Has very decent hardware (1.5ghz dual core, 1gb RAM, 16gb memory + microSD card slot, GPS, 4g LTE, etc). The only downside is a weak battery, just recharge every night and you're good.
You get it from Ebay, just search for "pantech burst unlocked". For some reason, prices have gone up since I bought last year, but it's still the best bang for your buck. I recommend getting a "mint condition" one for $95 from one of the two powersellers who provide them, I bought a new one for the Mrs. and a mint one for myself, but couldn't tell them apart. I bought 6 more mint ones for family members, and they're extremely happy.

As for a plan, I use Lyca mobile prepaid. It comes to 2 cents a minute. If you don't talk a lot (ie under 1000 minutes a month), this is a great plan. Minutes don't expire as long as you talk once every three months. For me, I barely scratch 50 minutes a month, so it works out very well.

I'll have a look at the Pantech and thanks for adding your input.

Yes!  This is how I got started with my cellphone quest.  That's a really great guide and I'm so glad it exists.  I understand the different carriers etc.  I didn't dig through for cellphone recommendations, but I did use the site to search.  I came across a few like the Nokia C3-00, e71.  I'm curious what hardware people are using now and can recommend specifically with Airvoice.

I'm still rocking the C3. The wife loves the e63. Good phones. If you're on the GSM end, pretty much any halfway decent Nokia will probably be bulletproof from full-on dumbphones to the pseudo blackberry smartphone featurephone territory.

I think this is what I'm looking for.  I don't see a lot locally on Craigslist.  I was trying to find some information about the e71 from Straight Talk.  It seems like they don't work on other carriers even though they are unlocked.  Unfortunately that's the only local model available here right now.  I'll keep checking eBay though. 

Thanks.  I'd welcome anymore suggestions.

Daley

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2013, 10:49:29 PM »
Glad to help Chris, and don't forget about this lovely little tool for helping find what you need:

http://www.gsmarena.com/search.php3

ChrisM

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2013, 06:11:46 AM »
Glad to help Chris, and don't forget about this lovely little tool for helping find what you need:

http://www.gsmarena.com/search.php3

Thanks!

I've been thinking about this a little further and digging through more of the extra pages in the Communications guide.  At the moment, I'm using Google Voice and am committed to stay and try it a bit for my home usage.  I've been impressed with the call quality so far.  I think it sounds better than my cell phone. 

In the next couple of weeks as I get things situated, I plan to port my cellphone number with AT&T to GV.  I would like to use GV to route my calls to my new Airvoice number when I get that setup (which is easy).  The part I don't understand much is how the forwarding of SMS works.  With Airvoice talk/text are 10c and data is 6c/MB, so it makes more sense to receive SMS over a data connection rather than through the SMS of the phone. 

So the question is, how would I get my setup to forward SMS through data instead of using my 10c/text with Airvoice? 

I'm thinking this would be impossible with with one of the older Nokia phones, but possible with an Android phone using an app?

Given that information does anyone have any more thoughts?  Maybe I should take this post to the Communications thread?

Thanks!

Daley

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2013, 07:26:25 AM »
So the question is, how would I get my setup to forward SMS through data instead of using my 10c/text with Airvoice? 

I'm thinking this would be impossible with with one of the older Nokia phones, but possible with an Android phone using an app?

Given that information does anyone have any more thoughts?  Maybe I should take this post to the Communications thread?

Airvoice is only 10 a text when you do their wholly PAYG option. Their better deal is their $10/month package which runs 2 a text. If you don't use enough mobile minutes to justify dropping $10/month, then you should consider an alternate carrier with better rates than 10 a minute, 10 a text and a $1.00/month maintenance fee. If T-Mobile carriers are a good option in your area, look into P'tel.

GV doesn't integrate well into the Nokia Symbian platform, but there is a J2ME GV app available. Chews up battery, doesn't notify of incoming messages, and doesn't integrate with your phone's address book, but it works.

Only remaining thoughts are as follows:

I'll just quote myself on some relevant bits discussed with Bray in the Superguide recently towards your GV idea:

As for my point about paying for what you need, I'm not sure you're quite grasping what I'm aiming at. I know you think you know what you're getting into, caveats and all, with pulling Google Voice into the mix... but let me be brutally honest here as someone who personally uses it and keeps having to help other people untangle from their own decision to drag Google into the mix just to try and save a few pennies. Don't do it. Pay for what you need. It's not going to be that much more expensive at your usage levels. Normally, I'm all over doing the whole home VoIP phone line thing for several reasons, but I'm not sure it's the right fit for you due to total price point and usage levels. It doesn't mean I don't think leveraging a paid VoIP solution couldn't be beneficial, but I'm not sure if the price difference could justify the added inconvenience for the setup you're desiring. I do understand the value of $10 saved, but I also understand the value of paying for what you need. A poor man can't afford to buy garbage, and a rich man doesn't remain rich buying garbage either.

[snip]

Finally, take it from a long time Google Voice user: I regret the decision to drag Grand Central into my business setup daily. The only thing keeping my number with Google at this point is momentum and an unwillingness to give Google a CC number. I don't rely on their texting service anymore, and if anyone calls on the number, I let it go to voicemail and call back without it, which does hurt my responsiveness with clients, but it's better than the call quality suffered otherwise.

You get what you pay for, and GV is free. It's unreliable at best. Be frugal, but don't be cheap. Pay for what you need.

ChrisM

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2013, 07:46:34 AM »
So the question is, how would I get my setup to forward SMS through data instead of using my 10c/text with Airvoice? 

I'm thinking this would be impossible with with one of the older Nokia phones, but possible with an Android phone using an app?

Given that information does anyone have any more thoughts?  Maybe I should take this post to the Communications thread?

Airvoice is only 10 a text when you do their wholly PAYG option. Their better deal is their $10/month package which runs 2 a text. If you don't use enough mobile minutes to justify dropping $10/month, then you should consider an alternate carrier with better rates than 10 a minute, 10 a text and a $1.00/month maintenance fee. If T-Mobile carriers are a good option in your area, look into P'tel.

GV doesn't integrate well into the Nokia Symbian platform, but there is a J2ME GV app available. Chews up battery, doesn't notify of incoming messages, and doesn't integrate with your phone's address book, but it works.

Only remaining thoughts are as follows:

I'll just quote myself on some relevant bits discussed with Bray in the Superguide recently towards your GV idea:

As for my point about paying for what you need, I'm not sure you're quite grasping what I'm aiming at. I know you think you know what you're getting into, caveats and all, with pulling Google Voice into the mix... but let me be brutally honest here as someone who personally uses it and keeps having to help other people untangle from their own decision to drag Google into the mix just to try and save a few pennies. Don't do it. Pay for what you need. It's not going to be that much more expensive at your usage levels. Normally, I'm all over doing the whole home VoIP phone line thing for several reasons, but I'm not sure it's the right fit for you due to total price point and usage levels. It doesn't mean I don't think leveraging a paid VoIP solution couldn't be beneficial, but I'm not sure if the price difference could justify the added inconvenience for the setup you're desiring. I do understand the value of $10 saved, but I also understand the value of paying for what you need. A poor man can't afford to buy garbage, and a rich man doesn't remain rich buying garbage either.

[snip]

Finally, take it from a long time Google Voice user: I regret the decision to drag Grand Central into my business setup daily. The only thing keeping my number with Google at this point is momentum and an unwillingness to give Google a CC number. I don't rely on their texting service anymore, and if anyone calls on the number, I let it go to voicemail and call back without it, which does hurt my responsiveness with clients, but it's better than the call quality suffered otherwise.

You get what you pay for, and GV is free. It's unreliable at best. Be frugal, but don't be cheap. Pay for what you need.

Thanks I.P. Daley.  I did read that conversation with Bray.  I don't have a lot of experience with GV, but for the 5 days I've used it for calls so far it's worked fine.  Maybe I'm missing your point?  You think I should just use the cell phone for everything instead of using the combo of Airvoice and GV?

I do agree that the $10/month airvoice plan is a better deal, but I thought I might get away with less than $10/month with the PAYG option and GV and that's why I was considering it. 

I'm not particularly locked into any carrier.  I live north west of Boston and coverage is good with most carriers from what I understand. 

I'm just trying to find a reasonable solution in the $10-15 range that gives me 150minutes, 200texts and some data when I need it.  I'm happy to try some home phone type stuff to offset those numbers which is by I setup the Obi100 and GV.  Am I missing something?

Daley

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2013, 08:26:45 AM »
I'm just trying to find a reasonable solution in the $10-15 range that gives me 150minutes, 200texts and some data when I need it.  I'm happy to try some home phone type stuff to offset those numbers which is by I setup the Obi100 and GV.  Am I missing something?

Yes.

https://www.spotmobile.com/plans/rateplan/monthly-savings

$13 should cover everything.

If most of your calling is done at home, then perhaps yes, you could reduce costs further with a VoIP solution similar to a proposed solution to Bray using outbound VoIP on your cell (if you went Nokia, do Symbian S60 for VoIP softphone support and ensure you have WiFi with the device - otherwise, go Android). You appear to be in a similar boat to Bray in usage level, though, with overall potential benefit of VoIP usage versus monthly cost being minimal.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 08:28:35 AM by I.P. Daley »

ChrisM

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2013, 09:27:57 AM »
I'm just trying to find a reasonable solution in the $10-15 range that gives me 150minutes, 200texts and some data when I need it.  I'm happy to try some home phone type stuff to offset those numbers which is by I setup the Obi100 and GV.  Am I missing something?

Yes.

https://www.spotmobile.com/plans/rateplan/monthly-savings

$13 should cover everything.

If most of your calling is done at home, then perhaps yes, you could reduce costs further with a VoIP solution similar to a proposed solution to Bray using outbound VoIP on your cell (if you went Nokia, do Symbian S60 for VoIP softphone support and ensure you have WiFi with the device - otherwise, go Android). You appear to be in a similar boat to Bray in usage level, though, with overall potential benefit of VoIP usage versus monthly cost being minimal.

I'll clarify some more (and thanks so much for the help working through this), my phone line isn't a business.  I'm currently a "retired" stay-at-home-dad who needs to make some outbound calls (taking care of family needs like calling doctors, school, talking to family, etc).  I also take some incoming calls.  Honestly, I could probably do 90% of my usage at home right now.  That percentage might even be higher.  We don't go out a lot and when we do, it's pretty rare that I need to make or get a call.  Same with texts, sometimes I get them a lot while out, but because I'm home most of the time, I could receive say 90% of them while at home.

I just read through all your conversation with Bray and it was very informative.  Honestly, I don't NEED a smartphone.  I need a mobile phone for emergency and random calls/sms while I'm out of the house and that's it.  I could completely confine my data usage to in my house (or hotspots at times) if I wanted. 

I'm not too concerned over costs, but I think I could use $10 or less a month so I don't see the NEED to spend more than that.  Again, maybe I'm not getting it or being dense, I'm not sure.  The reason Airvoice is on my radar is because I've been an AT&T user for 5-6 years and have had good cell reception.  I do have friends that use Sprint and that's ok for them.  I don't know about T-mobile though. 

When I started this cell phone project, I was seriously considering getting something like Republic Wireless's Moto X with the $10 plan.  Just because it built in all the things I NEED and seems like a simple solution except I don't NEED the smartphone.  I'm looking for a simple, reliable and cheap way to do these things. 

You're allowed to facepunch me if NEEDED.

Daley

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2013, 02:45:00 PM »
You're allowed to facepunch me if NEEDED.

There's nothing to punch.

If 90% or more of your talk time is at home, pay for a dedicated home VoIP line... but only so long as your combined bill between home VoIP and mobile either doesn't exceed what it would cost to simply use just one solution or is enough of a savings to justify splitting them apart (at least $10/month savings between the two).

ChrisM

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2013, 07:53:57 AM »
Update:  I got a Nokia E72 from eBay to use with Airvoice for now.

I'm going to try the combination of Airvoice and GV to see how it goes.  If GV is awful, then I'll reevaluate.  Thanks for the help.

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2013, 11:24:11 AM »
It's probably a bit late, but my advice is to get the cheapest nokia possible. You shouldn't pay more than $29.

I am 29, but I can't see that it is critical to be able to access the internet AT ALL TIMES.

I prefer not having to charge my phone every day. I have a standard Nokia X100, and I only have to charge it about every 3 weeks. This suits me. It's packed with features and was pretty cheap.

If you spend very little buying a phone, you won't be upset when it breaks. They only last about 2 years at the most, so it's a waste of money buying an iPhone or something. I just wait and use a proper computer if I want to do some computing.

Cripes, I remember about 10-12 years ago and I didn't even have a phone at all! I managed to get along just fine.

ChrisM

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2013, 04:01:05 AM »
Update: Got my Nokia E72 and the Airvoice sim works fine in it, as it should.  Unfortunately, the phone seems to be faulty, so I'm back on the lookout for a phone. 

In the meantime I just going to end my AT&T and cut down the sim to use my current GNote 2 until I can get something else.

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2013, 06:56:25 AM »
Update: Got my Nokia E72 and the Airvoice sim works fine in it, as it should.  Unfortunately, the phone seems to be faulty, so I'm back on the lookout for a phone. 

In the meantime I just going to end my AT&T and cut down the sim to use my current GNote 2 until I can get something else.

Before you cut that SIM down, have you checked the firmware revision to ensure it's running 91.004 (dial *#0000#) and done a hard reset to the e72?

Some regions (read not N.A. hardware models - mostly Asiatic) also had a buggy final release of the 91.xxx firmware. If this is the root cause of your problems, there is a way to downgrade, but I'm not about to get into the process in a one-off post to a forum... especially if there's no certainty that this is the problem in the first place.

ChrisM

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2013, 10:07:27 AM »
Update: Got my Nokia E72 and the Airvoice sim works fine in it, as it should.  Unfortunately, the phone seems to be faulty, so I'm back on the lookout for a phone. 

In the meantime I just going to end my AT&T and cut down the sim to use my current GNote 2 until I can get something else.

Before you cut that SIM down, have you checked the firmware revision to ensure it's running 91.004 (dial *#0000#) and done a hard reset to the e72?

Some regions (read not N.A. hardware models - mostly Asiatic) also had a buggy final release of the 91.xxx firmware. If this is the root cause of your problems, there is a way to downgrade, but I'm not about to get into the process in a one-off post to a forum... especially if there's no certainty that this is the problem in the first place.

The version # is 081.003.  The phone says it's up to date, so maybe 91.004 doesn't work on it.

Either way, I think the issue is something else.  The device just randomly powers down.

I've got a feeler out on a C3-00 right now.  See if that comes through ;) Thanks!

Daley

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2013, 11:44:19 AM »
The version # is 081.003.  The phone says it's up to date, so maybe 91.004 doesn't work on it.

Either way, I think the issue is something else.  The device just randomly powers down.

I've got a feeler out on a C3-00 right now.  See if that comes through ;) Thanks!

Might be battery/connectors, or elsewise. Never hurts to do a hard reset on these things when you first get 'em, though.

powersln

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Re: Cellphone recommendations for Airvoice/GSM - dumb/smartphone
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2013, 01:26:50 PM »
I'm also switching to Airvoice from AT&T.   One thing I read is that AT&T does not prorate it's final bill.   Make sure you port your number towards the end of your billing cycle.