Author Topic: Help by suggesting alternative cellular solutions  (Read 1827 times)

growingstaches

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Help by suggesting alternative cellular solutions
« on: December 01, 2013, 08:37:47 PM »
I need help making the switch to a lower cost cellular provider.  Here is my current situation based on analyzing 6 months of data.

Current Plan Details
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Contract Expiration May 2015
FamilyTalk Nation 550 with Rollover
Grandfathered unlimited Data for each phone $30 * 2
200 SMS for each phone $5 * 2

Total Bill ranges between $120 - $130 / month ( Includes a 17% national discount because of my employer )

Here is the consumption averaged over 6 months.

ME
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iPhone 5
Data - 735 MB / month
Text - 170 / month
Voice - 550 minutes / month  ( most minutes are between ME and DW which don't count toward plan. )

DW
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iPhone 5
Data - 280 MB / month
Text - 93 text messages / month
Voice - 320 minutes / month

We live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota.   I would like to break free of such a large phone bill.  I need help evaluating my options for early termination, and I need recommendations for alternative service options in my area.

Thanks in advance for any help you may provide.

Greg

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Re: Help by suggesting alternative cellular solutions
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2013, 09:57:43 AM »
I'd look into the Republic Wireless plans if I were you.  The initial buy-in is substantial, but the on-going costs are super low.  My DW and I have switched, and will save over $100/month by doing so.  Plus, smartphones.  We didn't even have them prior to this.

baniak

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Re: Help by suggesting alternative cellular solutions
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2013, 10:08:25 AM »
I posted a similar question a few weeks ago: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/early-termination-of-phone-contract-vs-sucking-it-up/msg165686/#msg165686. The first reply by I.P. Daley has a bunch of useful links to consider.

You should read those links in depth, but here are a few things you should consider:

1. What device are you using? Will you want to continue to use this device? Or will you have to buy a new device?
2. What will you have to pay to terminate your contract early?
3. What plan do you want to replace your current plan with?

Looks like you are on AT&T, like me:

1. If you want to continue using your device, it will limit the number of low cost carriers (MVNOs) you can use.
2. AT&T has an early termination fee of $325 per device (minus $10 per device for each month of your contract that you have fulfilled).
3. Look up MVNOs that are compatible with AT&T phones if you want to keep your device (you will have to ensure that AT&T unlocks the device when you pay off your contract).

Doing the math, let's assume you both go to a $40/month unlimited plan on Airvoice Wireless https://www.airvoicewireless.com/PlansA.aspx:

Costs:
New Phone service: $40*2*18 = $1440
Early Termination Fee: ($325*2) - (6*$10*2) = $530
Total = $1970

Savings:
Old Phone service: 18*$125 = $2250

Total Savings: $280

It might be worth it to change plans now, but you won't actually see any savings for a while, since you will have to come up with $530 up front for early termination fees. You can save more money by getting a cheaper plan (i.e. cutting back on your data usage).

Daley

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Re: Help by suggesting alternative cellular solutions
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 02:40:02 PM »
The only real way you're going to save any money is by gutting your data habit.

The link Baniak provided covers pretty much all I have to add to this discussion. The information is already here on the forums for the best options you have.



I'd look into the Republic Wireless plans if I were you.

Once again, Republic Wireless is one of those providers that doesn't stand up to scrutiny and the math... just like Ooma. Details are in the already linked Superguide. It's wasteful and it's the very worst sort of hardware and vendor lock-in, all because your greedy "unlimited" buttons are being pushed in the advertising copy. Far better service can be had for less.

A perfectly good phone has already been purchased, and the ETF payoff will let you unlock it accordingly and reuse it if you insist on sticking with the smartphone hedonic adaptation treadmill. iPhones are horribly wasteful, but so is discarding a perfectly good phone because you can't take it with you to another carrier is even worse.