Author Topic: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?  (Read 11958 times)

C. K.

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1)Did any of you test your cheaper, no-contract phone plan before you switched phone companies?
2)If yes, how did you do it?

Before jumping ship from AT&T and porting my number to a different company, I want to buy another phone to test with, say, AirVoice Wireless, comparing the quality of everything between what I have now and what I'll have with the cheaper company, including whether their billing system flows with what I'd like to endure.

FAQs answer a few questions but it's nothing like incorporating a new system into your life.

How did you test it?



« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 05:26:31 PM by C. K. »

Emilyngh

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2014, 05:30:11 PM »
Yes.   I got my phone ($50) and $10 worth of minutes before canceling the old plan.   I kept the old phone overlapping until I was confident that the new plan worked well in our house.

The only issue with this is that one has to get a new number for the second phone.   I didn't have a problem with this, but if one wanted to port their old number over, I imagine they could have their new phone disactivated after testing and reactivated with the number.

merrell33

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2014, 05:34:57 PM »
Nope.  Honestly, I went balls-to-the-wall with Ting.  Switched and haven't looked back.  I haven't looked to see where you are located, but in NC I haven't seen a dramatic change in service that I would consider negative.  I have seen a HUGE change in my bill though; $300 / month to $40 / month.

geekette

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2014, 05:46:36 PM »
I tested on other people's phones ;-).  I switched my husband's barely used phone to their $10 every three months plan, then my mother's barely used one to the same plan, and then, when I finally got out from under the contract, switched my $65/month AT&T plan to Airvoice's $10/month plan. 

Since Airvoice uses AT&T towers, that's not a problem.  Their customer service has been excellent.  Their website is not so hot (but I didn't find AT&T's all that great either).  I'm very happy with the way they count data (seems like I use a lot less than AT&T claimed I was using).

I have an iPhone 4S, and there are some drawbacks.  Some find the notification screen after each call and text annoying.  Since I use mostly data and iMessage, I don't see many of those, but yeah, if I did a lot of texting it would be a pain.  The big one to me is the complete lack of voicemail notification.  If I don't pick up a call, I have no way of knowing if they left a message or not.  On one occasion I missed an important call because I was in a (rural) dead spot, and got no missed call or message notification.


Elderwood17

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2014, 06:00:29 PM »
My concern is reception in our house.  We live in a semi mountainous area and reception is very spotty outside of town.  We moved here with a Sprint plan and had zero reception in the house until we got a Sprint booster (had to schlep uphill to the mailbox to get a text to go out).  I am hoping since some of the cheaper providers work off the others networks a booster would still be effective?

Gin1984

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2014, 06:08:02 PM »
I am.  My husband finished his contract before me and he ported his number over to ting to test it.  Given my number is still under my husband's name, we keep the benefits from verizon if we don't like ting.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2014, 08:00:10 PM »
I didn't test no nuthin. It's one of the joys of prepaid, if there's something you don't like, just eat up the first month of first prepaid card's cost and switch until you find something you like. Just don't screw up the number porting!

My concern is reception in our house.  We live in a semi mountainous area and reception is very spotty outside of town.  We moved here with a Sprint plan and had zero reception in the house until we got a Sprint booster (had to schlep uphill to the mailbox to get a text to go out).  I am hoping since some of the cheaper providers work off the others networks a booster would still be effective?
I don't know about the boosters, but you should invite friends with the major networks to your house, see which one works best, and then take your pick among the MVNOs on that network. Hint: in your part of the state, it probably won't be T-Mobile. I'm on a T-Mobile MVNO and had my significant other switch to an AT&T MVNO specifically so we wouldn't be both stuck with crappy rural coverage when we leave the Triangle to go camping out in the boonies.

DecD

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2014, 08:05:27 PM »
No, we just jumped to the new carrier.

TreeTired

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2014, 09:13:05 PM »
Yes!  Because Tmobile has a 1 week free "test drive" of an Iphone.  They mail it to your house and you have to return it in person at a Tmobile store (for obvious reasons - this lets them sell you face to face).   But for me, it was perfect because I was leaning towards Tmobile anyway and there is a store very near my house, actually walking distance.   And there was a very very low hurdle to beat:  Our current  ATT wireless reception was so bad we could barely make or receive cellphone calls in the house.  I was paying $210 per month for 3 stupid phones and 1 smart phone.

Tmobile has a great deal:  $100 for 4 smartphones.   We just happen to need 4 phones, so that is what we were doing.  When I priced up Ting and chose the comparable level of service it was like $85/month which is close enough to $100 for me to go with a national carrier with a nearby store.  (We get unlimited talk and text + 2.5 gigs data per phone, until dec 2016 when it drops to 1 gig per phone).   We bought relatively inexpensive phones and so far (1 week) have been very happy with them.  One of the best features is the phones use our wireless connection to make phone calls in the house.  The cellphone reception sucks just like ATT wireless, but we can use the cellphones to make calls because they use the wireless network.  Even the Iphone didn't have that feature but the Android phones do.

labrat

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2014, 09:29:53 PM »
Nope.  Honestly, I went balls-to-the-wall with Ting.  Switched and haven't looked back.  I haven't looked to see where you are located, but in NC I haven't seen a dramatic change in service that I would consider negative.  I have seen a HUGE change in my bill though; $300 / month to $40 / month.

Ditto.  Was with sprint anyways so no noticeable service changes.with Ting.  Was paying $55/mo and should be able to keep it under $25.  I figured I had nothing to lose since my contract was up.

C. K.

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2014, 01:31:54 PM »
Thanks for your replies, everyone. I'm more confident with my choice now.



I have an iPhone 4S, and there are some drawbacks.  Some find the notification screen after each call and text annoying.  Since I use mostly data and iMessage, I don't see many of those, but yeah, if I did a lot of texting it would be a pain.  The big one to me is the complete lack of voicemail notification.

geekette, would you know if the notifications are just for the $10 plan or for all of them? I notice they treat the $30+ plans as a separate service from the $10 one in their "Choose Your Plan" section.

neo von retorch

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2014, 01:39:31 PM »
I originally switched from T-Mobile to Straight Talk / T-Mobile, then Straight Talk AT&T. I just jumped and I was happy with my jump.

The only jump I regret was Republic Wireless - I paid for a brand new, Republic locked Moto G, was very unhappy with Sprint coverage and WiFi calling quality, and now I'm on Airvoice, very happy, but will have lost some money even after I sell this locked handset on ebay.

fields

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2014, 02:19:10 PM »
Neogodless, were you unable to return the phone to Republic Wireless under their 30 day guarantee?  I just ordered a phone from them to try it out and I'm counting on being able to return it if it doesn't work for me!

Daley

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2014, 02:19:50 PM »
geekette, would you know if the notifications are just for the $10 plan or for all of them? I notice they treat the $30+ plans as a separate service from the $10 one in their "Choose Your Plan" section.

It's only their PAYG plans (which includes the $10 plan) that sends usage cost notifications after calling, texts and data usage. Most people have no problem living with the notices after getting used to it.



Neogodless, were you unable to return the phone to Republic Wireless under their 30 day guarantee?  I just ordered a phone from them to try it out and I'm counting on being able to return it if it doesn't work for me!

I won't talk for him, but I will point out that even with the 30 day refund, if you read their terms and conditions, you could stand to lose $50 or more for something as small as a minor scuff. It's set up in such a way as to eliminate the possibility of a full refund for anyone who actually takes the phone out of the box and uses it.

That's also not counting the lost costs of shipping both ways.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 02:26:45 PM by I.P. Daley »

geekette

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2014, 03:53:57 PM »
Thanks for your replies, everyone. I'm more confident with my choice now.



I have an iPhone 4S, and there are some drawbacks.  Some find the notification screen after each call and text annoying.  Since I use mostly data and iMessage, I don't see many of those, but yeah, if I did a lot of texting it would be a pain.  The big one to me is the complete lack of voicemail notification.

geekette, would you know if the notifications are just for the $10 plan or for all of them? I notice they treat the $30+ plans as a separate service from the $10 one in their "Choose Your Plan" section.

Sorry, I should have been more specific. As IP noted, it's just for the $10/month and $10 for up to 3 month plans, and it's only for voice/text.  Since the others have unlimited talk/text, there's no point in a notification screen. If I turn off cellular data (and at occasional random times for no reason) I'll get a screen showing the charge for data usage and remaining dollar amount (I don't know if the $30 and up plans get that or not). It's not a big deal, but it's weird to get the screen noting the text charge just before I get a text (from the VERY few non-iMessage texts I get).

I do wish there was some way of getting voicemail notifications, though.

neo von retorch

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2014, 03:59:05 PM »
Neogodless, were you unable to return the phone to Republic Wireless under their 30 day guarantee?  I just ordered a phone from them to try it out and I'm counting on being able to return it if it doesn't work for me!

I also wasn't that smart! I got the phone in mid to late June and didn't decide to switch until early August. Plus, I did drop the phone *before* buying a case for it. So it does have some minor scuffs on it. You may have better luck with proper planning, but watch out for any deductions and shipping costs as I.P. Daley pointed out.

4alpacas

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2014, 04:30:51 PM »
Nope.  Honestly, I went balls-to-the-wall with Ting.  Switched and haven't looked back.  I haven't looked to see where you are located, but in NC I haven't seen a dramatic change in service that I would consider negative.  I have seen a HUGE change in my bill though; $300 / month to $40 / month.

Ditto.  Was with sprint anyways so no noticeable service changes.with Ting.  Was paying $55/mo and should be able to keep it under $25.  I figured I had nothing to lose since my contract was up.
Yep!  I don't love the Sprint coverage in my area, but I am weighing my decision.  When my iPhone craps out (probably a few years away), I'll evaluate other options. 

sheepstache

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2014, 05:13:58 PM »
I do wish there was some way of getting voicemail notifications, though.

Wow thanks for the info.  That's a dealbreaker for me and I hadn't seen anything about it anywhere.

Daley

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2014, 05:35:08 PM »
I do wish there was some way of getting voicemail notifications, though.

Wow thanks for the info.  That's a dealbreaker for me and I hadn't seen anything about it anywhere.

I've never run into this problem with Airvoice, as they do provide voicemail notification. I suspect Geekette is dealing with an iPhone specific bug which does crop up time to time and may be linked to the visual voicemail settings... much like many other iPhone on AT&T MVNO specific bugs.

geekette

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2014, 05:36:36 PM »
Assuming you don't get a call in a dead zone, you will get a missed call notification.  There's just no "visual voicemail" (you have to call to get voicemail) or on screen notification of a voicemail, at least on my old AT&T iPhone. 
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 05:41:01 PM by geekette »

C. K.

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2014, 06:08:18 PM »
It's only their PAYG plans (which includes the $10 plan) that sends usage cost notifications after calling, texts and data usage. Most people have no problem living with the notices after getting used to it.

As IP noted, it's just for the $10/month and $10 for up to 3 month plans, and it's only for voice/text.

Thanks for the responses.

threelittlebirds

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2014, 07:39:11 AM »
Yes, I bought a used defy on eBay to try the republic wireless network at my house before switching. Phone was $30 plan was $19 but is prorated if you cancel early. When I was sure it worked I ported over my number and canceled my service. I also bought a moto x on eBay and switched my number again

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2014, 07:58:52 AM »
I do wish there was some way of getting voicemail notifications, though.

Wow thanks for the info.  That's a dealbreaker for me and I hadn't seen anything about it anywhere.

I've never run into this problem with Airvoice, as they do provide voicemail notification. I suspect Geekette is dealing with an iPhone specific bug which does crop up time to time and may be linked to the visual voicemail settings... much like many other iPhone on AT&T MVNO specific bugs.

I have the $30 Airvoice plan and an iPhone 4S. I get voicemail notifications, but I have to listen to it to see who called.  (Or look at my recent missed calls).  It isn't a problem. 

I did test out Airvoice by giving my 13-yr old a $10 plan before switching the whole family.  With automatic billing, unused minutes roll over. She's a very light user, so she's got $80 of credit right now which she can use when she starts texting more.  My son just left on a two year church mission.  I put his phone on the $10 every three months with auto billing so they will roll over.  When he comes home, he'll have $80 of credit and will have the same phone number.

geekette

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2014, 10:26:38 AM »
You get voicemail notifications?  Odd - when I called Airvoice, I was told I couldn't/wouldn't.  I also have a 4s (former AT&T phone).

I do get missed call notifications, but not if I'm in a dead zone.

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2014, 10:35:28 AM »
I switched our phones 1 at a time.  We have 2.  So our first switch was to Net 10 with free phones and a plan that took us to around $70.00/month.  We had been paying $130/month for two phones one being a dumb phone with no text or data.  With the new phones we both got text, data, and unlimited calling. 

I started reading this blog and read about the Republic Wireless phones and once again switched my phone then my wife's once I felt it worked well enough.  That took our bill to $50.00/month.  We are currently at $34.00/month as I upgraded to the new moto x and have no data on my phone.  I still have the cellular service.  My wife hasn't updated yet and when she does it will cost us an extra $5.00/month.

Other options seem to exist that I was not aware of at the time we switched.  I am currently happy with what we have.  Neither one of us are heavy data users, for me that's easy because I don't have it included for my phone.  Wifi only for data.  I have been happy with Republic Wireless but you do need to make sure it works in your area.  The other options seem worth looking into and I am going to start looking into them to see if they make sense for me.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2014, 09:31:03 PM »
You get voicemail notifications?  Odd - when I called Airvoice, I was told I couldn't/wouldn't.  I also have a 4s (former AT&T phone).

I do get missed call notifications, but not if I'm in a dead zone.

I get a number by the phone icon, then when I go into that app, I have a number by voicemail. When I click that, it dials my voicemail and I hear the message. The numbers don't go away until I hear it.  I haven't upgraded to iOS 7, so I don't know if that's why it works?

geekette

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2014, 04:33:20 PM »
I do have iOS 7, but I can't remember if I updated before or after switching. 

C. K.

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2014, 04:18:46 PM »
Thanks again for the responses.

UPDATE

My sim card from AIR VOICE WIRELESS arrived today. I placed it in a new test phone that I will sell later. It is an android.

Everythingís fine so far.

NO CONTRACT
This Air Voice Wireless plan is a refill/ no contract system. Iíve only ever had an AT&T contract plan or an expired contract  Ė not a Go Phone Plan, even - so this is new territory for me.  It seems slightly inconvenient at first. However,  you can arrange to have your monthly refill automatically deducted.

DATA
I have the $30/month plan which is unlimited talk and text and 500MB of data.

The surprising thing (and this is not in the Frequently Asked Questions section) is that you may use only 250 MB at a time. Once youíve used it up, then you call Support to have the remainder added to your phone. I donít know whether the plans with more data have the same limitations.

COVERAGE
I checked the coverage map before purchasing. Air Voice has the same service coverage as AT&T. Still, in the next few weeks Iíll test out everything with my test phone on an upcoming trip. I might come across questions or limitations I havenít thought of yet.

SUPPORT
Support is always professional, so far, but itís not a 24-hour service.  That matters little, since itís not as if I spent hours calling AT&T.

They patiently walked me through the programing of my test phone so that I could use my data. If I had purchased one of the AIRVOICE phones, I probably could have avoided that 20-minute conversation.

MY ACCOUNT ONLINE
The fact that they do not have a 24-hour support system becomes slightly inconvenient since their FAQ is not extensive and there is no way to check your account online. You can create a profile, but all you do is set up your  billing address and email. You do not check data online or even payment history.

There seems to be no reason to register for an account online with AIRVOICE, except they will send  your receipt via email once  you purchase monthly minutes.


SUMMARY
After you become accustomed to AIRVOICE WIRELESSí differences from your old contract phone service, itíll do nicely for basic phone use.

Thanks again for the reassurance, everyone.

Now, let's see how difficult (or easy) it is to port my number over to Air VoiceÖ
How easy was it for you?
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 05:10:55 PM by C. K. »

neo von retorch

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2014, 11:57:51 AM »
I found it easy to port to Airvoice, and I found they were quick to respond to e-mail and allocate the second 250MB each month when I needed it. Sometimes when you port, picture messages don't work for the first day or two, even if your settings are correct.

However, I did have some sporadic issues with data being unavailable / not working even when I had 5 bars HSPA+ AT&T signal.

C. K.

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2014, 12:08:16 PM »
I found it easy to port to Airvoice, and I found they were quick to respond to e-mail and allocate the second 250MB each month when I needed it. Sometimes when you port, picture messages don't work for the first day or two, even if your settings are correct.

However, I did have some sporadic issues with data being unavailable / not working even when I had 5 bars HSPA+ AT&T signal.

Thanks for that information.

C. K.

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2014, 06:11:54 PM »
According to terms of service, you are allowed half of your data for all plans $30 and up. You must call to have the other half. They do not have 24 hour customer service, so you're up a creek for replenishing  data on nights and weekends. This might be an issue in a weak or nonexistent WiFi area.

With ATT, you'll always have data, you'll just overpay for it. I'm on the fence about switching. I did take both the Airvoice phone and the ATT phone with me on an extended trip. They behaved mostly the same with Airvoice not having data access in some heavily wooded areas.


alsoknownasDean

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2014, 02:39:58 AM »
Not quite the same plan, but I had a prepaid SIM of another MVNO using the same network which I tried in another phone. It worked well, so off I went and ported as soon as my contract ended. I managed to get my phone bill from $107 a month down to $26, and I actually get better signal at work!

C. K.

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2014, 12:03:45 PM »
Thanks for the story, alsoknownasdean.

Mortgage Free Mike

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2014, 02:56:44 PM »
I ditched Verizon for Republic Wireless in January, but I didn't do a trial period. I suppose I could have... and then switched my phone number over to Republic at a later date. It ended up working out. I did check to see the power of Sprint's network (Republic relies on it when not on Wi-Fi) before I signed up. Paid off. I highly recommend them. I've been paying $25 a month for a cell phone. That's amazing.

southern granny

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2014, 09:00:40 PM »
Didn't test it (TING), but I did buy inexpensive phones on ebay in case it didn't work.  8 months in and the only regret is not being able to roam for data.  But I am saving over 100 a month, so no regrets.

forummm

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2014, 10:00:19 AM »
I went with Republic Wireless. They had a 30-day money-back trial at that time (don't know if it's still available). But they just use the Sprint network and wifi, so it's fine. I loved making free calls to the US from South America on the hostel wifi.

Exflyboy

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #36 on: November 12, 2014, 10:47:08 AM »
If your going AT&T to Airvoice then there really is no difference as its the same network.

You can buy a cheap GSM phone from Walmart for $13 that you can keep as a spare, then set it up on the AV $10 plan for a month.

My Wife and I were both on AVW $10 plans.. she has now gone to republic as she is a heavy phone user.. so she uses the wifi from home.

I am a very low user so am going to Ptel, (also on AT&T).. slightly higher rate per minute but has 60 day refill plans at $10 a month.. So my cost will drop to $5 a month based on current usage.

Frank

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2014, 05:32:27 PM »
I am a very low user so am going to Ptel, (also on AT&T).. slightly higher rate per minute but has 60 day refill plans at $10 a month.. So my cost will drop to $5 a month based on current usage.
This was the key selling point for me too. For very occasional users, ptel is the best deal out there.

geekette

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #38 on: November 12, 2014, 09:24:46 PM »
For low use, Airvoice also has a $10 plan (.10/minute) that lasts for 3 months, and the unused carries over.

Exflyboy

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2014, 11:23:35 PM »
For low use, Airvoice also has a $10 plan (.10/minute) that lasts for 3 months, and the unused carries over.

yes at 10c a min though that would have to be very low use indeed. H2o also has a 3 month plan at a lower rate, but I can't remember what it is.

Frank

Exflyboy

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Re: Did You Test Your Cheap Phone Plan Before Switching Companies? How?
« Reply #40 on: November 12, 2014, 11:30:46 PM »
here we go,

H2O wireless has a 90 day refill plan (for $10) which costs 5c a min (same as Ptel) but the text cost 5c each, whereas they are 2c on both Airvoice and Ptel.

As I happen to be a mostly text user I think Ptel will work out best for me.

Frank