Author Topic: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)  (Read 2140 times)

oraclesimo

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Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« on: October 15, 2016, 12:54:29 PM »
Hello all. Going to switch up our cell phone plan now that we're out of contract with Verizon. Should we:

1. Sell our two iPhone 6 phones and buy two Nexus 5x phones (more or less a wash) and get on the Google Fi plan -- $20 (me) plus $15 (her) plus 1 gb data @ $10 = $45

2. Keep the iPhones that we already own outright and get on a cheaper plan that allows us to use the iPhones? Possible to get similar data for a similar price while using our current Verizon-bought devices?

We are indifferent to which device we use, just want the lowest price for the amount we use them, which is about 1 gb combined/month. We are in the D.C. area, if anyone has experience with service here.

Thanks so much for any input!

lhamo

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Re: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2016, 02:24:44 PM »
I'm not in DC (in Seattle) but I have been really happy with my Google Fi plan, both the phone and the service.  I recently discovered that I get access to comcast xfinity wifi hotspots since I am paying for high speed internet service, so my data usage has dropped to nearly nothing. I am going to move my DS over to the Google FI group plan as he needs a new phone anyway.

Not sure if your iphones will work on Tmobile or not.  They have a plan where if you buy a SIM card through walmart you can pay $30/month for unlimited data and text (high speed data only goes up to 3 or 4gb/month and then throttles down) and 100 minutes of talk, or you can get unlimited talk and text and add on data for I think $10/month.  For my kids the first plan worked well since they rarely have voice calls.  But if you use that much data you are probably better off with one of their simple plans at $40/month -- that covers unlimited talk and text and I think 4gb of data.

oraclesimo

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Re: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2016, 09:21:26 PM »
Thank you. Really appreciate your input.

oldtoyota

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Re: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2016, 10:00:02 PM »
In case this helps, we have AirVoiceWireless. It's a MVNO using AT&T lines. We used to have T-Mobile and transferred over, which T-Mobile made as difficult as possible.

We paid $10 a mo for a long time. Eventually, we increased it to $20 a mo so we could get a little internet access when free wifi is not available.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2016, 10:48:24 PM »
I've seen IP Daley recommend Consumer Cellular, who use the AT&T towers. Could that work for you? Are your iPhones compatible with AT&T and is there AT&T service where you go?

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Daley

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Re: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2016, 07:33:59 AM »
Same advice for you as I give everyone with iPhones coming off of Verizon towers (and sometimes lately also considering Google Fi). Don't throw good money after bad. You wasted the money on the iPhones, use them up and wear them out.

The Verizon iPhone handsets from the 5 on are magic ticket handsets that you can use with any carrier and are unlocked. That said, their antenna design is notoriously sub-par for a smartphone. (This isn't a Verizon branded issue, this is an every Apple handset made issue.)

Verizon MVNOs are some of the most expensive available.

The iPhone is unfortunately one of the most expensive mobile phones to get service for because Apple only has a limited "blessed" provider list and vendor lock-in designed to surgically extract as much money from you as possible, where they cripple features with many carriers, and non-approved AT&T MVNOs are the worst of the lot as you'll lose MMS functionality, which makes iMessage damn near worthless frequently with non-Apple users with group, oversized and multimedia messaging (people use MMS a lot more than they realize).

AT&T with roaming is the only network that's nearly analogous to coverage to Verizon with roaming (though you're in a dense urban environment, nearly everyone should work - but we're assuaging fears here to make it easier to switch), which really only gives you four choices: AT&T's "boutique" in-house MVNO brand that has financially exploitative terms of service and poor taxes, along with customer service that makes AT&T under-contract postpaid customer service look pleasant and data pricing that screams for mobile industry regulation and equal wholesale pricing access; Carlos Slim's MVNOs who no longer offer roaming with their plans, have punitive terms of service, and lousy customer support; Consumer Cellular which offers either AT&T or T-Mobile SIM cards and is blessed by Apple and on the approved guide list of providers, but is really only a deal for multi-line accounts; and Selectel which is the only remaining Verizon MVNO with roaming, is the only remaining recommended Verizon MVNO in the guide at all, and is expensive.

That said, Ting CDMA does offer roaming off Sprint onto Verizon and USCC and Verzion iPhones should activate on Ting CDMA, but then you're dealing with Sprint as your primary carrier which means Ting GSM would be a better choice... but again, like Consumer Cellular, Ting is cheaper for multi-line households, and honestly Consumer Cellular is a better deal for most people due to the difference in bucket usage structuring, especially for people who desperately need to go on a data diet but refuse to do so. iPhones should also work with all T-Mobile MVNOs including US Mobile (unlike with AT&T MVNOs) as the MMS settings screen isn't locked out (yet), but T-Mobile without roaming can be difficult for certain regions of the country (yours shouldn't be one of them unless you frequently travel to West Virginia or rural Virginia - but check maps anyway).

As for Google Fi specifically, when you factor the added electronic waste generation and demand along with the actual cost to switch versus staying put and going with another provider on your current phones, the math over the course of a couple three years doesn't frequently make sense to make the switch. Also, Fi has a bit of a quirky, schizophrenic quality to it when trying to connect to mobile networks and WiFi locations, which can lead to uneven call quality and potentially dropped calls due to too many mobile networks to connect to in some areas and their reliance on UMA network calling. UMA as a technology is fine, and having access to multiple GSM networks for roaming is nice, but execution on the combination and the signal algorithms for Fi leaves a little to be desired under real-world usage.

tl;dr: Keep your ridiculously expensive phones, use them up and wear them out, switch to Consumer Cellular and get their AT&T SIM cards, and ignore Google Fi.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2016, 03:24:07 PM by I.P. Daley »

tedkou

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Re: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2016, 03:12:23 PM »
Thank you Daley!  You helped me make up my mind on what to do when my Verizon contract is up in Dec.

Daley

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Re: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2016, 03:20:16 PM »
Thank you Daley!  You helped me make up my mind on what to do when my Verizon contract is up in Dec.

No problem, however it might be worth crunching numbers to see if it's worth bailing out of a contract and paying the ETF versus running the clock out. Frequently, it's cheaper to cut and run, but usually earlier in the contract.

http://www.techmeshugana.com/tools/wirelessroi.html

oraclesimo

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Re: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2016, 06:53:25 PM »
Thanks IP. Appreciate the very detailed suggestions.

Consumer Cellular sounds great price-wise for us since we'd have two lines on the same plan. And yes using our current phones with a cheaper carrier would make life much easier.

From FAQs on their site, it looks like no one gives a definitive YES on whether iPhones from Verizon would work with their SIM cards. You seem confident our phones would work, right?

Thanks again

 

Krolik

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Re: Google Fi or cheap iPhone plan (D.C. area)
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2016, 09:19:11 AM »
We switched 2 years ago from AT&T to H2O pay as you go. We kept our iphones. It is sufficient for our needs. With wifi access at work and home we use very little data. Monthly cost for both of us is ~$30