Author Topic: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)  (Read 5814 times)

EconDiva

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Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« on: March 02, 2016, 12:51:11 PM »
....but I see they only offer 2 phone options.  Their moto G is $229 and their moto E is $129.  I was going to go for the moto G but it seems so high.  Kinda bummed about the camera on the moto E.  I typically have over 3,000 photos in my phone and take tons of pictures, print out albums from my phone's photos, etc.

Any suggestions?  If I go with Republic Wireless do I have to go with one of these 2 phones through them?

neo von retorch

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2016, 12:55:46 PM »
A while back, I bought a "this phone is forever tied to Republic Wireless" Moto G, and I really did not like the RW experience. So I sold the Moto G for a loss, and found a good AT&T MVNO. That would be my recommendation, and you can get a Moto (or other phone) on eBay that will work for you.

EconDiva

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2016, 01:01:26 PM »
A while back, I bought a "this phone is forever tied to Republic Wireless" Moto G, and I really did not like the RW experience. So I sold the Moto G for a loss, and found a good AT&T MVNO. That would be my recommendation, and you can get a Moto (or other phone) on eBay that will work for you.

Do you mind elaborating on why you didn't like them?

Seems so many advocate for going the RW route...and the phone plans look amazingly cheap.  I pretty much only use my personal phone for photos because I have a work phone with a data plan.  Currently with AT&T on an old iphone (4) that barely works and ready to stop wasting $65ish a month for basically nothing.

neo von retorch

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2016, 01:11:13 PM »
Sure - call quality was awful. It sounded digitized (robotic), but much more importantly, there was voice lag in both directions, which resulted in a lot of "talking over each other." It also dropped several times (during the ~one month that I had the service.) As hinted at earlier, the hardware is also tied to one company, forever. I like to buy phone hardware based on phone hardware credentials, and then pay for phone service based on their deals and quality, rather than do both at the same time. For me, I'd rather pay $30/month for Air Voice Wireless (unlimited talk/text, 1GB data) than $25 with Republic Wireless. Air Voice would be almost exactly what you have now but $35 cheaper. Same high quality AT&T signal. Of course, you can replace your "barely working" iPhone 4 in the process.

Here's an excellent 2nd Gen Moto G for $140 - (for example)

ETA: I see you said you don't need (much) data... $20 on Air Voice will get you the unlimited talk/text with 100MB of data.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 03:11:53 PM by neogodless »

MillenialMustache

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2016, 01:52:38 PM »
A while back, I bought a "this phone is forever tied to Republic Wireless" Moto G, and I really did not like the RW experience. So I sold the Moto G for a loss, and found a good AT&T MVNO. That would be my recommendation, and you can get a Moto (or other phone) on eBay that will work for you.

Do you mind elaborating on why you didn't like them?

Seems so many advocate for going the RW route...and the phone plans look amazingly cheap.  I pretty much only use my personal phone for photos because I have a work phone with a data plan.  Currently with AT&T on an old iphone (4) that barely works and ready to stop wasting $65ish a month for basically nothing.

Could you elaborate on why you need a personal phone if you "pretty much only use my personal phone for photos"? Why not get a camera and dump the monthly plan? I ask that question really wanting the answer, as that would I think guide the discussion. I personally used the Defy XT for the first year I had Republic Wireless. You cannot buy a new one but the old ones still work. I sold mine for like $29.99 on Ebay. The only reason I upgraded is because I use data a lot for my side business and wanted a better phone for that.

katsiki

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2016, 03:01:57 PM »
Consumer Cellular and other ATT MVNOs might be worth a look.  CC is great for low usage users.

EconDiva

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2016, 08:19:39 PM »
A while back, I bought a "this phone is forever tied to Republic Wireless" Moto G, and I really did not like the RW experience. So I sold the Moto G for a loss, and found a good AT&T MVNO. That would be my recommendation, and you can get a Moto (or other phone) on eBay that will work for you.

Do you mind elaborating on why you didn't like them?

Seems so many advocate for going the RW route...and the phone plans look amazingly cheap.  I pretty much only use my personal phone for photos because I have a work phone with a data plan.  Currently with AT&T on an old iphone (4) that barely works and ready to stop wasting $65ish a month for basically nothing.

Could you elaborate on why you need a personal phone if you "pretty much only use my personal phone for photos"? Why not get a camera and dump the monthly plan? I ask that question really wanting the answer, as that would I think guide the discussion. I personally used the Defy XT for the first year I had Republic Wireless. You cannot buy a new one but the old ones still work. I sold mine for like $29.99 on Ebay. The only reason I upgraded is because I use data a lot for my side business and wanted a better phone for that.

Well if I ever change jobs (I've had like 8 different positions across 3 companies in 15 years) I may not have a phone.  This is the only job I've had that provided one and it's not 100% certain I'll be there and have a phone provided by them forever.  So I've honestly never considered "not" having my own personal phone. 

Every now and then I do use my personal phone...if I know it's going to be a 2 hour conversation with someone I'm close to and haven't talked to in forever I may my personal phone instead as I tend to avoid having long personal conversations on my work phone.

Logichronox

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2016, 10:44:19 PM »
I just switched to US Mobile from T-Mobile, and moved my mom's plan from Consumer Cellular. I can't comment on the phone service, since I just switched (but it seems fine), but US Mobile's customer service is the best I've ever had. Some trouble getting my mom's number ported from Consumer Cellular, their hold times for customer service are *atrocious*, though the staff was nice. Had to call Consumer Cellular 5 times during this process, spent a total of at least 2 1/2 hours on hold. Would not recommend for that reason alone.  Check out US Mobile, they might have a plan that works for you, and there are more phone options than Republic.

CCCA

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2016, 12:40:18 AM »
if AT&T coverage works for you, and you don't use the phone much, then go with Airvoice or H2Owireless.  They have PAYG (pay as you go) plans that are about $3.33/month and you only pay for minutes, texts and data that you use (i.e. if you don't use anything one month, the unused balance will roll-over to the next month, assuming you add a new refill card). 


Just buy an AT&T compatible phone on Ebay.  A decent used iPhone 5 will run you about $100-150 on eBay.

ohana

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2016, 02:37:27 AM »
We've had RW for 2 years, and I can tell you we're sick of it.  Texts and calls come through great -- just 2 hours after the caller sends them.  Everyone knows they can call me and leave a message, but never get an immediate answer. 

We are looking to leave RW, and when we do the phones will go on Ebay.  Buy a used phone and see if you like RW before investing.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2016, 04:52:44 AM »
Yeah, it makes MUCH more sense to buy an unlocked phone and use it with the carrier/MVNO of your choice. Vendor lock-in isn't Mustachian :)

Alternatively, you could reset your iPhone 4 and put an AT&T MVNO's SIM card in it (although the iPhone 4 still is stuck on iOS 7, so updating is worthwhile).

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/11/our-new-10-00-per-month-iphone-plans/

miniwrite

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2016, 09:15:13 AM »
We've been on RW for 2 years and love it. I believe they will be adding another higher-end phone soon, if you can hold out. The only reason you're seeing 2 phone choices is because it takes them a bit of time to engineer a phone to work on RW's network.

In our family, 3 of us have Moto X on RW and it works great. Our younger daughter has a MotoG with Consumer Cellular (just because it was a hand-me-down phone that wouldn't work on RW). It's quite a bit scaled-down from the MotoX so I wouldn't buy one myself. (Maybe it's because her phone is old but it doesn't offer voice commands, hand-free options and the features like "read my texts to me while I drive").

You can try RW for 30 days, I believe, and return it if you don't like it. So you could check out call quality in your area and see if texts are delayed. I get my texts right away and the call quality is better than my friend on an iPhone with Verizon.

charis

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2016, 09:20:57 AM »
We've been on RW for 2 years and love it. I believe they will be adding another higher-end phone soon, if you can hold out. The only reason you're seeing 2 phone choices is because it takes them a bit of time to engineer a phone to work on RW's network.

In our family, 3 of us have Moto X on RW and it works great. Our younger daughter has a MotoG with Consumer Cellular (just because it was a hand-me-down phone that wouldn't work on RW). It's quite a bit scaled-down from the MotoX so I wouldn't buy one myself. (Maybe it's because her phone is old but it doesn't offer voice commands, hand-free options and the features like "read my texts to me while I drive").

You can try RW for 30 days, I believe, and return it if you don't like it. So you could check out call quality in your area and see if texts are delayed. I get my texts right away and the call quality is better than my friend on an iPhone with Verizon.

I have RW and I can't get group or pic messages from most Iphone users.  This is common issue that I have yet to resolved anywhere or at least explained.  Any insight?

APowers

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2016, 09:28:11 AM »
I tend to agree that there are better options than Republic Wireless, but if you do want to go with RW, hit me up. I've got a very nice RW Moto G (2nd Gen, 16GB) that I'm not using, and then you'd only spend $100 instead of over $200.

VAR

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2016, 09:30:19 AM »
Just to chime in - I got my mother on RW. She has wifi in her house and mostly uses her phone at home so it seemed like a good match.
It's been a horrible experience for her. Lag time, robotic staticky calls. Dropped calls constantly, assuming she can even get a call in or out.
Texting is unreliable.
We had an emergency just yesterday - she called me and attempted to have me on speaker phone to hear the Dr. all I heard was clicking, static after about 15 seconds of the call. VERY frustrating when a loved one is sick and you have no idea what's going on.
I spent way too much money on the phone. I thought I had researched it - as there are SOOOOOO many recommendations online. But it's a HUGE regret.

She still has it right now while we figure out what to switch to (possibly combing our phone services) but I think she's pretty resentful I got her into RW.

Just my experience - YMMV

charis

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2016, 09:53:12 AM »
Just to chime in - I got my mother on RW. She has wifi in her house and mostly uses her phone at home so it seemed like a good match.
It's been a horrible experience for her. Lag time, robotic staticky calls. Dropped calls constantly, assuming she can even get a call in or out.
Texting is unreliable.
We had an emergency just yesterday - she called me and attempted to have me on speaker phone to hear the Dr. all I heard was clicking, static after about 15 seconds of the call. VERY frustrating when a loved one is sick and you have no idea what's going on.
I spent way too much money on the phone. I thought I had researched it - as there are SOOOOOO many recommendations online. But it's a HUGE regret.

She still has it right now while we figure out what to switch to (possibly combing our phone services) but I think she's pretty resentful I got her into RW.

Just my experience - YMMV

Until you can switch, have her turn her phone off and on again periodically/when it is acting up.  That has solved many a glitch for me.

Noahjoe

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2016, 11:52:42 AM »
I just switched to Google Fi a few weeks ago. 33/month per line for me and my wife, and a nice feature: full speed data for 10/month. If you don't use it, they actually refund you the difference on your next bill. Example:

I have a phone: 20/month
I sign up for 1 gig of data: 10/month
I don't use 700 MB of data: on my next bill I get a $7 refund.

I estimate that for 2 phones it will be about 50-60/month after fees/etc for my wife and I. I use my phone often for work, so it's worth it for me to have uncapped calls/texts. Wifi calling has thus far been splendid.

Caveat: It uses wifi calling/Sprint/T-Mobile towers. So far, I'm happy enough with it, but I haven't put it through the wringer yet. You must also use an LG Nexus 5X or 6. But a 32 gig 5x is only $349 on Amazon, and is IMO better than a Samsung Galaxy S5 (which I'm coming off of).
One more nice thing: International calls are .20/minute, data is the same 10/gig rate. You only pay for minutes you use, so you don't have to plan hop like you would with Verizon.

AZDude

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2016, 12:07:33 PM »
I have RW. I probably would not recommend it, but my experience has not been as bad as others have mentioned. My wife had plenty of trouble with them, and it almost seems to vary by the individual phone and what number you are using(RW uses a behind the scenes number and a regular number, causing some strange issues).

RW is not the worst company in the world since their plans are so cheap, but there are other just as cheap plans without the weird issues RW has.


FLBiker

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2016, 12:20:00 PM »
Consumer Cellular and other ATT MVNOs might be worth a look.  CC is great for low usage users.

Good to hear.  My wife and I just decided to switch to CC.  We thought about RW, but the negative reviews on here (combined with the proprietary phones) were a real turnoff.  With CC, my wife is getting a Moto G and I get to keep my flip phone. :)

Inaya

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2016, 12:28:44 PM »
I've heard good things about Ting, and you may not need to buy a new phone if you like the one you're using. If this is the case, definitely check with them to see if your phone will port over BEFORE you sign up with them.

They're on Sprint and T-Mobile towers I believe.

I'm planning on switching over "soon." Change is uncomfortable for me, but I WILL do it this month. Really.

superone!

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2016, 12:19:16 AM »
I recently switched to Cricket--I love it!

JimLahey

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2016, 02:40:57 AM »
I recently switched to Cricket--I love it!

I second Cricket. Some people have an ethical issue with the fact that you're still paying AT&T money but i'm fine with it. $35/month with 2.5GB of data and AT&T coverage.

VAR

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2016, 07:09:33 AM »
Just to chime in - I got my mother on RW. She has wifi in her house and mostly uses her phone at home so it seemed like a good match.
It's been a horrible experience for her. Lag time, robotic staticky calls. Dropped calls constantly, assuming she can even get a call in or out.
Texting is unreliable.
We had an emergency just yesterday - she called me and attempted to have me on speaker phone to hear the Dr. all I heard was clicking, static after about 15 seconds of the call. VERY frustrating when a loved one is sick and you have no idea what's going on.
I spent way too much money on the phone. I thought I had researched it - as there are SOOOOOO many recommendations online. But it's a HUGE regret.

She still has it right now while we figure out what to switch to (possibly combing our phone services) but I think she's pretty resentful I got her into RW.

Just my experience - YMMV

Until you can switch, have her turn her phone off and on again periodically/when it is acting up.  That has solved many a glitch for me.

Have tried that - with no real success.

Another super irritating RW thing - because of the weird phone number thing mother gets CONSTANT calls to some random other number (I assume the hidden RW #) She's had her cell # for many many years. but since the switch she gets calls and texts throughout the day = EVERY day. She's not techie at all and I can't seem to get her to understand that scammers do not have her cell number that she's had forever, but it's a side effect of RW. Course if she really understood it had to do with RW she'd probably be even more irritated at me over encouraging her to switch. {{{{{ooops}}}}}

EconDiva

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2016, 07:25:51 AM »
OP here.

Lots of good advice in this thread...I really appreciate all of the responses.

I was set on switching to RW...now I will not.  Since I really like AT&T I'll probably go with a plan that uses their coverage.  Now since my phone options have opened up, I just need to figure out what kind of phone I want to buy.  I think I'll set a limit around $100 and go with Ebay come purchase time. 

Meowmalade

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2016, 07:28:30 AM »
Another super irritating RW thing - because of the weird phone number thing mother gets CONSTANT calls to some random other number (I assume the hidden RW #) She's had her cell # for many many years. but since the switch she gets calls and texts throughout the day = EVERY day. She's not techie at all and I can't seem to get her to understand that scammers do not have her cell number that she's had forever, but it's a side effect of RW. Course if she really understood it had to do with RW she'd probably be even more irritated at me over encouraging her to switch. {{{{{ooops}}}}}

I had that issue and they changed the underlying hidden number for me, which solved a lot of the problems.  Hopefully you'd get a number that isn't already getting scam calls!

Mikila

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2016, 08:15:22 AM »
RW satisfies my expectations of it. Although I have some minor issues, for the price I do not expect perfection. I pay $13 a month  and some change MOST months . That said, I have excellent service in town and rarely have dropped calls. The only time I have suffered a lack of service and delayed messages and calls was when I was in a no service area or an area with minimal service. For those times, I bought a mobile hotspot. This followed an extended  trip  where I learned to my dismay that I had  practically no service  and no ability to call anyone or even message . When I travel into the boonies, now I have service. The hotspot works off of Verizon's network which covers most of the country. So far is the camera, the quality is so low that I rarely use it. Instead I carry my compact real camera with me anytime I expect to take pictures. It takes better pictures than any cell phone could anyway. We to read about the problems republic Wireless users sometimes suffer. We looked at our old cell phone bill and decided that it would take only 3 months on republic Wireless network to break even with the new phone purchase. DH did it first with few downsides. At that point I followed and have no regrets. However, if I were a heavy phone user making many calls, and especially some phone calls for business, then I would probably be using Ting.  Voice quality is mediocre.

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icemodeled

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2016, 08:19:42 AM »
We read about many reviews saying the service is sketchy and dropped calls happen a lot (not everyone im sure, but we seen a lot of reviews saying so). We own 2 businesses and need good service. We switched from at&t ($70/mo) total wireless and now paying $54 a month. Have had it for 4 months and not one issue! Plus, they have a good selection of phones.

forestj

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2016, 08:40:41 AM »
My advice -- Look at what you need the phone for. It sounds to me like you don't really need a reliable, mobile phone that can be used a lot, since you said:

Quote
I pretty much only use my personal phone for photos because I have a work phone with a data plan.

Personally I don't think its worth it to tie yourself to republic wireless. I wanted a Republic Wireless style solution, but wanted the freedom to keep my old phone and change carriers at will.

So I decided to get a google voice account and use it with google hangouts on my phone. It's my favorite setup that I've ever had -- since I work on a computer most of the day when I'm at work, I can get all my SMS in google Hangouts. If someone leaves me a voicemail, it Transcribes what they said and sends it to my email. I love it. And the best part is, its free!!! And even if I change my phone or carrier, I get to keep the same number.  Just for clarification I am talking about real SMS and phone calls on the PSTN, not a walled garden like WhatsApp or Facebook Chat.

Initially I thought, hmm, maybe I can get a tablet plan with data-only and just use Google Voice for phone calls over the data connection. Not a good idea. Google voice works well when the Wifi is good and strong and the ISP connection has a low ping (latency).  At the request of my housemates, we upgraded from our cheap netgear Wifi router to an enterprise-grade wireless access point.  The difference was staggering. It vastly reduced packet loss and improved call quality.

But even on an ideal wifi connection, VOIP is not as stable and reliable as good old voice over GSM or similar.

So my strategy is this -- for all mission critical communication, plus data  (and google hangouts sms) on the go, I purchased an H2O Wireless pay as you go plan. They are an ATT MVNO. It costs 5 cents a minute, 5 cents a text, and 10 cents a megabyte I think.  This plan has a different number than my Google Voice number -- I didn't link the two. I love this because i can give my h2o number to business contacts for critical phone calls that I need to receive.   But when I am just keeping in touch with friends via SMS, I use google voice. Even if im not in wifi its pretty dang reliable, and the data usage is minimal. I barely ever need to use the pay as you go plan, but whenever i need it, its there and its reliable.

So really its like having two phones, one that is free, and works pretty well in wifi, but only sends texts, slowly loads web pages, and does GPS when you are outdoors,  plus another phone thats 5 cents a minute and works flawlessly anywhere. I love the flexibility, and it was way easier to set up than I thought it would be.  It's been a month since I got the h2o plan, and I've only used about $4 out of my $10. I'm pretty happy with $4 as a monthly phone bill :D

My only gripe is that the google hangouts app doesn't work perfectly offline -- sometimes it will wait to connect before showing your text history. But that has never been a big problem for me.

« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 09:12:39 AM by forestj »

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: Cheap phone options? (Ready to switch to Republic Wireless)
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2016, 09:20:49 AM »
I decided to go with Google Fi over RW. The phone (Nexus 6) was pricey ($350 on sale), but it's a very good phone. I leave data off 99% of the time, so my bill runs about $20-24/month. It uses wi-fi to make calls when that is available (like RW does), but the phone isn't tied forever to Google Fi. I'm fairly happy with GF, although I don't get good coverage in rural areas. The Nexus 6 has a really good camera, too, although I've barely explored what it can do. I really don't need such a good phone, and I got better coverage with Tracfone, but it is nice to have a phone that is large enough to read on and that I can use for navigation or weather checking when I travel.