Author Topic: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law  (Read 9721 times)

jeromedawg

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Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« on: March 15, 2016, 05:48:36 PM »
Hey all,

So we got a Moto G for my father in law maybe half a year ago, and lo-and-behold the charging port on it got jacked up somehow. I have my suspicions with this because he is very prone to messing up or losing every phone we've gotten him in the past. I'm guessing he did something to it, didn't realize it, and is now complaining that it no longer charges.

Anyway, I was wondering if there's any other decent 3G smartphones out there that I should consider getting as a replacement besides another Moto G.

The reason I'm looking for a 3G phone is because we have him on the prepaid/pay-as-you-go plan with PagePlus and just buy the $80 for him and my mother-in-law as needed. You can't use pay-as-you-go in conjunction with 4G/LTE devices, otherwise we would have just gotten him a Moto E or something.

Any ideas?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 06:00:02 PM by jplee3 »

MBot

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2016, 06:58:18 PM »
I still have my iPhone 4S on a Canadian 3G network. 3.5 years old and no complaints. Get an Otterbox or knockoff case for it

BikeFanatic

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2016, 08:49:05 PM »
another option may be just use a different charger, I have this anker universal charger and you remove the battery from the phone and charge it. i had two batteries and would alternate when my charge port broke, this thing is so simple even if yu plug the battery in backwards it will still charge.

they are cheap, I would sell you mine, but quicker to get one on amazon for ten dollars.

http://tinyurl.com/hjkyysn

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2016, 10:40:04 PM »
I should clarify a few points for JPLee if others want to chime in. What's being looked for is a Verizon CDMA smartphone, no LTE, on a Verizon MVNO. We are not talking about generic 3G GSM. This means the hardware focus of what is being asked for is Verizon CDMA only handsets that can be activated on Verizon MVNOs. There's not many options floating around anymore, especially of the more modern smartphone variety.

There's several hurdles that need to be addressed, and a few alternatives that need mentioned.

First... Verizon, as always, isn't that friendly to its MVNO wholesale partners and they do everything they can to make it hard on customers who use these providers. Keep this in mind moving forward.

Second, Page Plus/America Movil is using LTE to force customers into higher priced plans, but this actually isn't entirely Verizon's doing, it's more of an exploitative cash grab by Page Plus as the Verizon CDMA handset market dries up. That said, Verizon LTE network rates do run a tiny bit higher than CDMA network access for wholesalers; however, not all Verizon MVNOs who offer LTE activation restrict access to cheaper PAYGO and annual plans... just the crappy ones.

Third, given your FIL's habits, I'd stay away from phones without user replaceable batteries, minimum, and seriously consider going with ruggedized handsets as well. That means no Moto E/G/X, and no iPhone. You might want to also consider going back to a feature phone. I don't relish the idea of doing the parental-kid logic thing with parents, but perhaps if he can't take care of a nice phone, then he should only be allowed a reasonably rugged, cheap, feature phone.... especially if he's not the one buying these things. Also consider asking about what kind of handset he'd prefer (if you haven't already), if not ask if he actually wants to carry a phone at all. It's possible you're getting him handsets far more complex than he needs and something that he doesn't actually want.

Next, I'm inclined to ask how important Verizon coverage is for your in-laws. If AT&T coverage will work, I'm inclined to tell you to drop Verizon entirely and go over to either H2O Wireless or Truphone SIM. Cheaper phones with a far wider selection, and service as cheap as what you've been paying per minute and text (at least with H2O - Truphone could potentially be cheaper or more expensive depending on usage patterns).

If dropping Verizon isn't an option, ditch Page Plus and go to Selectel instead as they have 4G LTE annual plans that are technically a better deal than Page Plus (2000 minutes + 2000 SMS texts plus free roaming but no data, not 2000 minutes or texts or 1000MB of data) for $100/year, plus there's the option of buying $10 flex cards that provides additional access at 5/minute/SMS/MMS/MB and is non-expiring for overages and data access on the annual plan. Switching to Selectel also opens up a whole slew of more recent 4G LTE handset options.

It's also worth noting that Selectel's 3G CDMA only annual plan has the same 2000 minute + 2000 SMS text structure as the previously mentioned LTE plan, but only costs $75/year. The $10 flex cards can be used on this plan as well for overages and data access, and have the same 5 per minute/SMS/MMS/MB value.

Now back to the additional LTE handset options. Be forewarned shopping for Verizon LTE handsets. Verizon's prepaid LTE handsets now require activation with Verizon Prepaid before the handset ESN/IMEI is cleared for activation on Verizon postpaid accounts and MVNOs. It's just better and easier to shop used with a clean ESN when it comes to Verizon handsets for use with an MVNO, CDMA or LTE. This is part of the reason why I encourage people not to stay on Verizon if they can help it.

As for actual handset recommendations... it just depends. There's at least six broader options you can go from this point, and they'll be shaped by whether you're willing to leave Page Plus or not and whether you can switch from Verizon to AT&T coverage. New or used carrier unlocked GSM 3G feature phone, new or used carrier unlocked GSM 3G and/or LTE smartphone, used Verizon CDMA feature phone with clean ESN, used Verizon CDMA smartphone with clean ESN, used Verizon LTE feature phone, or used Verizon LTE smartphone. I can provide you links to phone search tools, but I don't want to spend time researching handset options for six plus potential ways to handle this. I'd rather wait to see how you respond before focusing on hypothetical hardware recommendations.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 11:07:32 PM by I.P. Daley »

tjthebest

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2016, 11:18:23 PM »
Get a nexus 5x and use Google fi. Very cheap plans.

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2016, 08:08:10 AM »
Wow, thanks for the detailed and thorough response, IPD!

Yes, it is true that in this case I would be looking for a 3G CDMA *Verizon* specific phone that is not a prepaid phone.

As far as rugged phones are concerned, we actually moved my inlaws from flip phones to ruggedized flip phones and then to smartphones at their request (they saw how all their friends owned smartphones so they craved them and felt left out... yep, they fell into the trap of consumerism and playing keep up with the Joneses). Anyway, now that they're on smartphones, it's pretty unlikely they'll want to go back to simple flip phones. We got them those ruggedized Samsung phones and my FIL somehow managed to lose his in Taiwan (which opened the floodgates for the smartphone when we agreed to get a Moto G for my MIL). He then took her Samsung flip phone and used it for a while before complaining that he too wanted a smartphone. BTW: while we're shopping/buying the phones for them, they are paying us back for everything, so ultimately it's their money. But it's annoying because it is our time... what is even *more* annoying is when he asked us if we could get him a newer/nicer/bigger phone this next time around!!!

As far as moving off PagePlus, that is something I've discussed with my wife and that I think we'd be open to. All my in-laws use their phones for is to make/receive calls and use Line (well, my MIL uses this to communicate with my wife and friends). My FIL doesn't even use 99% of the smartphone features, which boggles me as to why he would even want one. Anyway, I'll investigate the ATT MVNOs a bit more. That might be the way to go. It still leaves me with the conundrum of figuring out what phone would be best to get him though that would fit his ridiculous criteria. At the end of the day, I think if we told him he's out of options and also remind him how bad he is with taking care of his phones (and his track record), he might be more inclined to be OK with a basic [flip] phone or what not. The other thing I wanted to note is that neither of my in-laws need or use data (at least right now) - we intentionally disabled data on their PP plans with that in mind. We have even considered disabling SMS/MMS since they don't text. Literally, all they need/use their cellphones for is making and receiving calls. And of course now that my MIL has learned to use LINE, she uses that but only over wifi (both of them own and run a restaurant most of the day and are at home the other part... and at both locations they have wifi)

The other thing regarding PagePlus is that we just loaded an $80 refill on my FIL's account. If we were to switch him out, I'd imagine he'd just lose that money? Or is there any way to recover the funds or apply them on another account?
 

That all said, it seems like Selectel might be the cheapest option *if* we can find a suitable 3G CDMA Verizon device that is not prepaid? What I was also wondering is if I would be able to activate my *flashed* Boost Mobile Moto G (which is currently activated [grandfathered in] on Pageplus way back when you could still do that). If so, then I'm more inclined just to hand my Moto G off to my FIL and activate the Moto X I recently got and get a PP LTE SIM for myself.
I should clarify a few points for JPLee if others want to chime in. What's being looked for is a Verizon CDMA smartphone, no LTE, on a Verizon MVNO. We are not talking about generic 3G GSM. This means the hardware focus of what is being asked for is Verizon CDMA only handsets that can be activated on Verizon MVNOs. There's not many options floating around anymore, especially of the more modern smartphone variety.

There's several hurdles that need to be addressed, and a few alternatives that need mentioned.

First... Verizon, as always, isn't that friendly to its MVNO wholesale partners and they do everything they can to make it hard on customers who use these providers. Keep this in mind moving forward.

Second, Page Plus/America Movil is using LTE to force customers into higher priced plans, but this actually isn't entirely Verizon's doing, it's more of an exploitative cash grab by Page Plus as the Verizon CDMA handset market dries up. That said, Verizon LTE network rates do run a tiny bit higher than CDMA network access for wholesalers; however, not all Verizon MVNOs who offer LTE activation restrict access to cheaper PAYGO and annual plans... just the crappy ones.

Third, given your FIL's habits, I'd stay away from phones without user replaceable batteries, minimum, and seriously consider going with ruggedized handsets as well. That means no Moto E/G/X, and no iPhone. You might want to also consider going back to a feature phone. I don't relish the idea of doing the parental-kid logic thing with parents, but perhaps if he can't take care of a nice phone, then he should only be allowed a reasonably rugged, cheap, feature phone.... especially if he's not the one buying these things. Also consider asking about what kind of handset he'd prefer (if you haven't already), if not ask if he actually wants to carry a phone at all. It's possible you're getting him handsets far more complex than he needs and something that he doesn't actually want.

Next, I'm inclined to ask how important Verizon coverage is for your in-laws. If AT&T coverage will work, I'm inclined to tell you to drop Verizon entirely and go over to either H2O Wireless or Truphone SIM. Cheaper phones with a far wider selection, and service as cheap as what you've been paying per minute and text (at least with H2O - Truphone could potentially be cheaper or more expensive depending on usage patterns).

If dropping Verizon isn't an option, ditch Page Plus and go to Selectel instead as they have 4G LTE annual plans that are technically a better deal than Page Plus (2000 minutes + 2000 SMS texts plus free roaming but no data, not 2000 minutes or texts or 1000MB of data) for $100/year, plus there's the option of buying $10 flex cards that provides additional access at 5/minute/SMS/MMS/MB and is non-expiring for overages and data access on the annual plan. Switching to Selectel also opens up a whole slew of more recent 4G LTE handset options.

It's also worth noting that Selectel's 3G CDMA only annual plan has the same 2000 minute + 2000 SMS text structure as the previously mentioned LTE plan, but only costs $75/year. The $10 flex cards can be used on this plan as well for overages and data access, and have the same 5 per minute/SMS/MMS/MB value.

Now back to the additional LTE handset options. Be forewarned shopping for Verizon LTE handsets. Verizon's prepaid LTE handsets now require activation with Verizon Prepaid before the handset ESN/IMEI is cleared for activation on Verizon postpaid accounts and MVNOs. It's just better and easier to shop used with a clean ESN when it comes to Verizon handsets for use with an MVNO, CDMA or LTE. This is part of the reason why I encourage people not to stay on Verizon if they can help it.

As for actual handset recommendations... it just depends. There's at least six broader options you can go from this point, and they'll be shaped by whether you're willing to leave Page Plus or not and whether you can switch from Verizon to AT&T coverage. New or used carrier unlocked GSM 3G feature phone, new or used carrier unlocked GSM 3G and/or LTE smartphone, used Verizon CDMA feature phone with clean ESN, used Verizon CDMA smartphone with clean ESN, used Verizon LTE feature phone, or used Verizon LTE smartphone. I can provide you links to phone search tools, but I don't want to spend time researching handset options for six plus potential ways to handle this. I'd rather wait to see how you respond before focusing on hypothetical hardware recommendations.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 08:20:22 AM by jplee3 »

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2016, 08:39:19 AM »
Wow, thanks for the detailed and thorough response, IPD!

Not a problem. Someone needed to actually read your OP and respond with something both directly relevant and useful... might as well be me.

By the way, is it just me, or does the SNR on these forums seem pretty bad lately to you too?

The other thing regarding PagePlus is that we just loaded an $80 refill on my FIL's account. If we were to switch him out, I'd imagine he'd just lose that money? Or is there any way to recover the funds or apply them on another account?

Correct, any remaining balance is lost and gone forever if you port out. The only way to keep and use that balance under these circumstances is to find a unicorn handset that fits his current hedonic smartphone wants that's Verizon CDMA only. You might as well ask me to polish a turd while standing on my hands on the surface of the moon. Now if you can talk him into downgrading back to a feature phone, however...

The good news is, if you can do that? You could just port him over to Selectel the next time he starts running out of balance and you can keep using the same replacement handset between the two MVNOs until he breaks that one.

As for checking AT&T coverage for their area, coverage maps lie, but here's the H2O Wireless map, it's basically just the AT&T native network:
http://www.h2owirelessnow.com/mainControl.php?page=coverage

You might also want to look at coverage maps from Root Metrics, OpenSignal, Sensorly, DeadCellZones.com, and CellReception.com for slightly more accurate, real world AT&T network coverage.

Truphone SIM roams on both AT&T and T-Mobile networks, but the T-Mobile network footprint isn't really going to add more than a few dozen square miles over the AT&T footprint. T-Mobile can boast all they want about the massive increases to their LTE coverage maps, but when all you're doing is just refarming your own 2G spectrum out in the sticks to provide higher speed data access, it doesn't change your total coverage footprint. The third largest nationwide network is still the third smallest nationwide network.

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2016, 08:51:02 AM »
Just saw the update.

That all said, it seems like Selectel might be the cheapest option *if* we can find a suitable 3G CDMA Verizon device that is not prepaid? What I was also wondering is if I would be able to activate my *flashed* Boost Mobile Moto G (which is currently activated [grandfathered in] on Pageplus way back when you could still do that). If so, then I'm more inclined just to hand my Moto G off to my FIL and activate the Moto X I recently got and get a PP LTE SIM for myself.

Unfortunately, no. The grandfathering on that handset ends when the ESN gets removed from your account. You won't be able to switch it to a new account or re-activate the thing.

...but yes, Selectel is technically the cheaper option on the CDMA annual plan end, but keep in mind unused credit doesn't roll over at the end of the year and the SMS credits can't be applied to minutes. It's a slight of hand trick to deal with Verizon's more expensive wholesale rates and still look competitive in the general MVNO market. It's also worth noting that Selectel's rates are pretty competitive on the LTE monthly plan end as well. Not quite as much data as Page Plus, but not a bad deal for a Verizon MVNO with free roaming (though that roaming doesn't include data). They've finally crossed the three year mark and have LTE access as of later last year, so they're the Verizon MVNO that's supplanted Page Plus in the guide now.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 08:55:27 AM by I.P. Daley »

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2016, 08:53:58 AM »
Not a problem. Someone needed to actually read your OP and respond with something both directly relevant and useful... might as well be me.

By the way, is it just me, or does the SNR on these forums seem pretty bad lately to you too?

:) I'll have to plead guilty that I have not been too active in the forums as of late, so haven't really noticed. But I kinda see what you're saying. I'm sure we all have our moments - benefit of the doubt is that any one of us are fast on the trigger because we want to provide our input ASAP.

Correct, any remaining balance is lost and gone forever if you port out. The only way to keep and use that balance under these circumstances is to find a unicorn handset that fits his current hedonic smartphone wants that's Verizon CDMA only. You might as well ask me to polish a turd while standing on my hands on the surface of the moon. Now if you can talk him into downgrading back to a feature phone, however...

The good news is, if you can do that? You could just port him over to Selectel the next time he starts running out of balance and you can keep using the same replacement handset between the two MVNOs until he breaks that one.
He still has the ruggedized Samsung fliphone (though, I seem to recall him somehow even messing up the outer LCD screen on that one! I think it was discolored probably from him leaving it near or standing too close to a heat source like the stove, etc while in the kitchen). So maybe we can put the phone on that and shop for another phone/carrier/plan. I'll have to research whether or not I can bring my Boost Mobile flashed Moto G to Selectel. Seems like they've got the same restriction as PP and probably every other VZW MVNO where they just no longer allow this.
 
As for checking AT&T coverage for their area, coverage maps lie, but here's the H2O Wireless map, it's basically just the AT&T native network:
http://www.h2owirelessnow.com/mainControl.php?page=coverage

You might also want to look at coverage maps from Root Metrics, OpenSignal, Sensorly, DeadCellZones.com, and CellReception.com for slightly more accurate, real world AT&T network coverage.

Truphone SIM roams on both AT&T and T-Mobile networks, but the T-Mobile network footprint isn't really going to add more than a few dozen square miles over the AT&T footprint. T-Mobile can boast all they want about the massive increases to their LTE coverage maps, but when all you're doing is just refarming your own 2G spectrum out in the sticks to provide higher speed data access, it doesn't change your total coverage footprint. The third largest nationwide network is still the third smallest nationwide network.

My inlaws were on an expensive Tmobile plan I think before we moved them off and ported their numbers to PP. This was several years ago but I don't think they had any major issues on Tmobile, so I think moving them over to an MVNO on either carrier would be fine. Seems like H20 Wireless is generally cheaper for them if they're just going to be using voice, primarily. Besides that though, if I can get my Moto G activated on Selectel that seems like it would be the best option... at least, until he breaks the phone.

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2016, 08:57:36 AM »
Just saw the update.

Unfortunately, no. The grandfathering on that handset ends when the ESN gets removed from your account. You won't be able to switch it to a new account or re-activate the thing.

...but yes, Selectel is technically the cheaper option on the CDMA annual plan end, but keep in mind unused credit doesn't roll over at the end of the year and the SMS credits can't be applied to minutes. It's a slight of hand trick to deal with Verizon's more expensive wholesale rates and still look competitive in the general MVNO market. It's also worth noting that Selectel's rates are pretty competitive on the LTE monthly plan end as well. Not quite as much data as Page Plus, but not a bad deal for a Verizon MVNO with free roaming. They've finally crossed the three year mark and have LTE access as of later last year, so they're the Verizon MVNO that's supplanted Page Plus in the guide now.

Ah, thanks for clarifying. So my Moto G is basically useless once I move away from it. I guess the only way to do it would be to actually give my FIL my phone and let him use it (with my cellphone #). That doesn't seem like it would go over very well, so I'll just count that option out. Hmm, maybe we'll consider switching over to Selectel soon. I dunno, all this stuff is gonna drive me crazy.

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2016, 09:03:48 AM »
:) I'll have to plead guilty that I have not been too active in the forums as of late, so haven't really noticed. But I kinda see what you're saying. I'm sure we all have our moments - benefit of the doubt is that any one of us are fast on the trigger because we want to provide our input ASAP.

Eh, I'd rather be informed and useful than fast. ;)

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the enthusiasm to help from these folks, but informed relevance matters. That requires reading and a bit of patience, otherwise attempts to "help" are just noise.

Ah, thanks for clarifying.

No problem, and pretty much. Phone service is becoming a minefield when looking for replacement handsets on the Sprint and Verizon ends.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 09:05:43 AM by I.P. Daley »

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2016, 09:06:07 AM »
BTW: I just noticed the H20 wireless $25 plan has lower per minute rates compared to all others here - https://www.h2owirelessnow.com/mainControl.php?page=planMin

Is there any particular reason why this would be the case?

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2016, 09:19:05 AM »
BTW: I just noticed the H20 wireless $25 plan has lower per minute rates compared to all others here - https://www.h2owirelessnow.com/mainControl.php?page=planMin

Is there any particular reason why this would be the case?

30 day airtime with rollover, which guarantees you're spending $25/month. Volume discount. It's actually a pretty raw deal compared to their own $20 EasyGo "unlimited" talk and text w/100MB a month plan or Airvoice's similar $20 plan.

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2016, 09:54:49 AM »
BTW: I just noticed the H20 wireless $25 plan has lower per minute rates compared to all others here - https://www.h2owirelessnow.com/mainControl.php?page=planMin

Is there any particular reason why this would be the case?

30 day airtime with rollover, which guarantees you're spending $25/month. Volume discount. It's actually a pretty raw deal compared to their own $20 EasyGo "unlimited" talk and text w/100MB a month plan or Airvoice's similar $20 plan.

Nice... that $20 EasyGo Unlimited seems like it would be the easiest and where we wouldn't have to keep worrying about refilling him all the time (especially because one time he somehow accidentally dialed my MIL or vice-versa and they ended up keeping the line open for hundreds of minutes, subsequently burning through half their prepaid minutes - we were really irritated by this).

Any recommendations on a ruggedized and dumb-proof smartphone? I've seen some by Casio. There's also the Samsung S* Active series... hmm my mom has one but she often complains about how it doesn't work very well and how she misses incoming calls, etc. I wonder if that's just user-error or something. Maybe I'll see if they want to get rid of it and take it from them. It was a pass-me-down from my SIL to my mom and she's been complaining about it ever since hahaha

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2016, 01:58:23 PM »
Nice... that $20 EasyGo Unlimited seems like it would be the easiest and where we wouldn't have to keep worrying about refilling him all the time (especially because one time he somehow accidentally dialed my MIL or vice-versa and they ended up keeping the line open for hundreds of minutes, subsequently burning through half their prepaid minutes - we were really irritated by this).

A few points to consider:

1) How frequently are you dumping $80 into each account on average? Even with the random $40 phone calls, it might still be cheaper overall to stay PAYGO/annual/limited monthly versus an "unlimited" monthly plan. I'd recommend putting the monthly PAYGO threshold at around $15-17/month. If it's at or below that, it'd probably be worth it to stay on similar limited minute and PAYGO plans. If it's at or above, it might be worth considering the benefits of going up to a $20 unlimited plan, especially if it means they don't need a smartphone to run Line to keep costs lower.

2) Even if you're at a $15-17/month average threshold on Page Plus, that's still only 300-340 minutes a month. Given the possibility of switching to an AT&T MVNO, it's still not that many minutes, especially for people who don't text or use data. This opens up the option of Puretalk USA's Senior AddVantage Plans. The AddVantage 600 is 600 minutes for $15/month (no roll-over), plus an additional 10% in bonus minutes per month up to five months. By month six, the AddVantage 600 plan is providing 900 minutes a month of airtime. The $10/month AddVantage 250 goes from 250 minutes to 375, and the $5/month AddVantage 80 goes from 80 minutes to 120. They also offer auto-billing. Worth running numbers and considering as well. If they're already in the $15/month range, the $10 plan might be squeezing things tight for usage spikes, but they're worth mentioning all the same. As I get a better feel for what you're dealing with, it's worth considering as an alternative to H2O's PAYGO, and might even be a superior option depending on average monthly call volume for each of them.

3) If you're considering a $20 "unlimited" talk and text plan, I'd actually recommend going Airvoice over H2O Wireless/EasyGo/Locus as the customer support is better. Fortunately, both providers have auto-billing which can simplify things considerably. However, if you do this for both lines, you're at $40/month. That's high enough to consider going Consumer Cellular instead, as most months would probably be far less than that.

(What I'm saying is, it'd probably really help knowing each line's average monthly call use. I might be able to recommend some options that could still save money and make your life easier.)

Any recommendations on a ruggedized and dumb-proof smartphone? I've seen some by Casio. There's also the Samsung S* Active series... hmm my mom has one but she often complains about how it doesn't work very well and how she misses incoming calls, etc. I wonder if that's just user-error or something. Maybe I'll see if they want to get rid of it and take it from them. It was a pass-me-down from my SIL to my mom and she's been complaining about it ever since hahaha

"dumb-proof smartphone" is a bit of an oxymoron, like "military intelligence". When you throw out a half-century of UI research, that happens. Ruggedized smartphones, however? Yeah, I usually recommend the Galaxy Active series, excluding the S3 - terrible antenna design in the entire S3 line, IIRC. They're reasonably well built, user replaceable batteries, and well supported by Cyanogen if Samsung abandons software updates.

Seriously, your in-laws sound like perfect candidates for feature phones. I know they use Line, but it might be worth weighing it's use against paying for more mobile minutes or going VoIP home phone.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 02:18:49 PM by I.P. Daley »

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2016, 04:36:21 PM »
A few points to consider:

1) How frequently are you dumping $80 into each account on average? Even with the random $40 phone calls, it might still be cheaper overall to stay PAYGO/annual/limited monthly versus an "unlimited" monthly plan. I'd recommend putting the monthly PAYGO threshold at around $15-17/month. If it's at or below that, it'd probably be worth it to stay on similar limited minute and PAYGO plans. If it's at or above, it might be worth considering the benefits of going up to a $20 unlimited plan, especially if it means they don't need a smartphone to run Line to keep costs lower.

Thanks for bringing up usage. Besides them making erratic calls during Chinese New Year (to individually wish hundreds of their friends "Happy Chinese New Year" in Chinese), they're not phone hogs. I would say, on average, they probably burn through 3-4 $80 PP pay-per cards on a yearly basis at most (that's a liberal estimate). If they're good about not mistakenly calling each other, etc, make that 2-3 of those.

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2) Even if you're at a $15-17/month average threshold on Page Plus, that's still only 300-340 minutes a month. Given the possibility of switching to an AT&T MVNO, it's still not that many minutes, especially for people who don't text or use data. This opens up the option of Puretalk USA's Senior AddVantage Plans. The AddVantage 600 is 600 minutes for $15/month (no roll-over), plus an additional 10% in bonus minutes per month up to five months. By month six, the AddVantage 600 plan is providing 900 minutes a month of airtime. The $10/month AddVantage 250 goes from 250 minutes to 375, and the $5/month AddVantage 80 goes from 80 minutes to 120. They also offer auto-billing. Worth running numbers and considering as well. If they're already in the $15/month range, the $10 plan might be squeezing things tight for usage spikes, but they're worth mentioning all the same. As I get a better feel for what you're dealing with, it's worth considering as an alternative to H2O's PAYGO, and might even be a superior option depending on average monthly call volume for each of them.
I'm going to have to dig into their call records and also look at how many $80 PINs I've bought them in the past few years of having them on PP. They've definitely saved much more than being on that horrid Tmobile contract. Will have to investigate those Senior plans - had no clue about those until you mentioned it. I think the 600 minute plan may actually meet their needs at the end of the day.

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3) If you're considering a $20 "unlimited" talk and text plan, I'd actually recommend going Airvoice over H2O Wireless/EasyGo/Locus as the customer support is better. Fortunately, both providers have auto-billing which can simplify things considerably. However, if you do this for both lines, you're at $40/month. That's high enough to consider going Consumer Cellular instead, as most months would probably be far less than that.

(What I'm saying is, it'd probably really help knowing each line's average monthly call use. I might be able to recommend some options that could still save money and make your life easier.)
Let me see if I can do some digging/analytics/reporting to come up with a good average number LOL. I'll report back when/if I get to it. But you've definitely given me quite a bit to think about.

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"dumb-proof smartphone" is a bit of an oxymoron, like "military intelligence". When you throw out a half-century of UI research, that happens. Ruggedized smartphones, however? Yeah, I usually recommend the Galaxy Active series, excluding the S3 - terrible antenna design in the entire S3 line, IIRC. They're reasonably well built, user replaceable batteries, and well supported by Cyanogen if Samsung abandons software updates.

Seriously, your in-laws sound like perfect candidates for feature phones. I know they use Line, but it might be worth weighing it's use against paying for more mobile minutes or going VoIP home phone.
For the time being, we're going to tell him that he's going to have to settle with downgrading to the Samsung Convoy flipphone that he was previously on (before complaining that he wanted a smartphone because all his friends have one). This is mainly for him to use up the rest of his minutes. That will also buy us some time to research a plan that would be better suited for him... as far as a phone, that's still gonna be a PITA trying to find one that he likes (so he doesn't feel left out) but won't end up destroying. Or maybe we can compromise and give him a 'toy' phone that doesn't have service and tell him "sorry you have to carry around your old Samsung and this other phone for watching your Korean dramas on" - it would be like those people who give their old smartphones to kids so they'll have something to play with that's not a kid's toy! LOL....

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2016, 04:42:58 PM »
Holy carp, I just searched my email for past purchases from Callingmart for $80.00 and I've counted 8 purchases (4 each) for this year. Last year I think we bought 6 pins. Usage seems to have increased with them getting smartphones. Maybe it's a psychological thing - "ooo, now that I have a cool smartphone, I'm going to call all my friends!"

In reality though, if it wasn't for that one conundrum of them burning up their minutes by accidentally calling each other, I think they probably would have been at 6 PINs this year. So my initial estimate was just about right then. Seems to be 3x $80 PINs each on average. And 4x for a bad year I suppose.

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2016, 06:54:46 PM »
Yup, definitely room for considerable improvement. Even at the 6x a year, that averages out to $20/month per line at only 400 minutes a month of usage each line. Certainly better than any T-Mobile plan, but at a price point that's a bit too high for PAYGO, and at a price point that would have provided "unlimited" talk and text on the GSM end the past year or so.

At that rough usage level if they continue using Line either on smartphones or on a tablet to supplement, Puretalk's Senior AddVantage 600 really does look like the sweet spot at $15/month/line. 50+% available overhead for heavy call months over regular call patterns that can still absorb the 4*year $80 PIN usage levels even before the bonus minutes (excuse, perhaps, the twelve hour pocket dials), and you still get between $10-23/month savings between the two lines over what Page Plus ran you/them. Bonus good news! These are monthly plans and Puretalk USA has autopay, so no more monitored hand-holding to re-up their service. This should make your life considerably easier.

As for phones? If you go GSM feature phone, find a decent used Nokia candybar. Nigh indestructible so long as you don't take it swimming. If you want to go GSM feature phone that's IP67+ or MIL-STD-810x, here's a short list. Here's a list of similarly configured Android handsets, but some won't have user replaceable batteries, and GSMArena's search feature doesn't have that criteria listed. PhoneScoop does, however.

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2016, 01:38:23 AM »
Yup, definitely room for considerable improvement. Even at the 6x a year, that averages out to $20/month per line at only 400 minutes a month of usage each line. Certainly better than any T-Mobile plan, but at a price point that's a bit too high for PAYGO, and at a price point that would have provided "unlimited" talk and text on the GSM end the past year or so.

At that rough usage level if they continue using Line either on smartphones or on a tablet to supplement, Puretalk's Senior AddVantage 600 really does look like the sweet spot at $15/month/line. 50+% available overhead for heavy call months over regular call patterns that can still absorb the 4*year $80 PIN usage levels even before the bonus minutes (excuse, perhaps, the twelve hour pocket dials), and you still get between $10-23/month savings between the two lines over what Page Plus ran you/them. Bonus good news! These are monthly plans and Puretalk USA has autopay, so no more monitored hand-holding to re-up their service. This should make your life considerably easier.

As for phones? If you go GSM feature phone, find a decent used Nokia candybar. Nigh indestructible so long as you don't take it swimming. If you want to go GSM feature phone that's IP67+ or MIL-STD-810x, here's a short list. Here's a list of similarly configured Android handsets, but some won't have user replaceable batteries, and GSMArena's search feature doesn't have that criteria listed. PhoneScoop does, however.

Nice! For the PureTalk senior plan, do you have to send them proof of age, etc to verify that he's a senior or whatever? Will need to look into that. I think this plan would work out for him. We were considering just having him get on the PP $12 plan but my wife felt that's not enough minutes for him.

As far as phones, that's still up in the air. I feel like once we got him a smartphone (at his request), it opened a can of worms, and now he won't settle with anything less. Maybe we'll just watch Fatwallet/Slickdeals for cheap and unlockable ATT smartphones (there's a current very YMMV deal on the Lumia 640 for $5.99 at Walgreens... it's $29.99 at my nearest Walgreens which isn't too bad). I doubt he'd be OK with having to carry around a smartphone for movies/Line/etc + a flip phone. My wife says having a smartphone is a status symbol for him. They're in their 70s and have this issue - I don't think they'll let go of it just like you can't teach an old dog new tricks. It's so ridiculous because he's the most tech-illiterate person I know. If we get him a new phone, unless it's another Moto G, he'll have no idea how to use it (heck, he could barely even use the Moto G to begin with!). And then if something goes wrong with it, we automatically become the tech support for it. Pretty bad... 
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 01:40:10 AM by jplee3 »

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2016, 08:27:11 AM »
Nice! For the PureTalk senior plan, do you have to send them proof of age, etc to verify that he's a senior or whatever? Will need to look into that. I think this plan would work out for him.

That's actually a pretty good question. IIRC, they only ask for a birthdate and aren't too hardnose about it. Basically, if you're over 55, you qualify.

And then if something goes wrong with it, we automatically become the tech support for it. Pretty bad...

I know your pain. Maybe you could break out the gold spraypaint and a bedazzler on one of those Nokias?

In all seriousness, though... maybe sit down and talk with him honestly, if you haven't already. Mention the possibility and consideration of things like cultural signifiers and status symbols, but how they're not as important as well suited tools and personal freedom and inner satisfaction. Relate the ideas to your own life and how you've made your own life easier by not always keeping up with others and trends, something I know you can draw from - even if you can't entirely use a mobile phone specifically as an example. Kind of talk around the subject without pinning the tail on his donkey directly. But after doing so, ask him hypothetically but don't let him answer immediately - have him ruminate on the question: "Ignoring all outside reasons to do so, do you believe that your smartphone has made it physically and mentally easier for you to keep in contact with the people who matter the most to you in your life?"

Who knows, it might just click.

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2016, 10:18:32 AM »
That's actually a pretty good question. IIRC, they only ask for a birthdate and aren't too hardnose about it. Basically, if you're over 55, you qualify.

Guess we'll just read up on it more and cross that bridge when/if we get there.


I know your pain. Maybe you could break out the gold spraypaint and a bedazzler on one of those Nokias?

In all seriousness, though... maybe sit down and talk with him honestly, if you haven't already. Mention the possibility and consideration of things like cultural signifiers and status symbols, but how they're not as important as well suited tools and personal freedom and inner satisfaction. Relate the ideas to your own life and how you've made your own life easier by not always keeping up with others and trends, something I know you can draw from - even if you can't entirely use a mobile phone specifically as an example. Kind of talk around the subject without pinning the tail on his donkey directly. But after doing so, ask him hypothetically but don't let him answer immediately - have him ruminate on the question: "Ignoring all outside reasons to do so, do you believe that your smartphone has made it physically and mentally easier for you to keep in contact with the people who matter the most to you in your life?"

Who knows, it might just click.
He's pretty stubborn. My wife just gets frustrated talking to him (they pretty much have their conversations full-on in Chinese). I think what will happen is if she tells him these things he'll try to cut the conversation short or ignore and say "yea yea yea yea yea yea yea" without actually contemplating anything lol.

But maybe she can change her approach and try to have a sit-down conversation with him. Normally when she tries to convey her point it's over the phone. If she does it when we're all together and sitting down, he has nowhere to go and can only listen. So she may be able to convince him after all. He does and says things that will surprise you - I could see him doing a 180 from his dumb smartphone ways and going back to what is simple and useful haha.

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2016, 02:58:11 PM »
Also, my wife told me that if he doesn't get his way through us, he'll just go get the phone on his own and probably sign up for some stupid expensive plan in doing so. That's fine I guess, but I'm gonna tell her that we're not helping him when he has tech support issues... but then in the big picture that sounds petty and awful of us doesn't it? Hahahaha... damned if you do damned if you don't.

To illustrate how painful it can be, we're currently on the phone with them trying to get him to activate the old Samsung Convoy that he had previously used. We were on the phone with them a good 10 minutes trying to get them to find the speakerphone button so we could hear the activation menu to tell them what button(s) to press for completing activation. And we still have not resolved it....EDIT: sounds like it might be good to go now... after 20 minutes of dealing with them LOL
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 03:01:20 PM by jplee3 »

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2016, 03:31:57 PM »
When you talk with him, don't make it an ultimatum or anything. Just help. Even if he doesn't see the wisdom in going back to a feature phone, you can save face as the kids supporting him and at least constrain the overindulgence and have better control over what you'll inevitably support.

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2016, 04:20:06 PM »
When you talk with him, don't make it an ultimatum or anything. Just help. Even if he doesn't see the wisdom in going back to a feature phone, you can save face as the kids supporting him and at least constrain the overindulgence and have better control over what you'll inevitably support.

Yea... ultimately he's going to get whatever phone he wants and we'll just have to support it whether or not we're the ones who bought it (he's going to pay us back regardless). I think I may just look for a GSM Moto G for him assuming those are still relatively 'cheap' - with the flip phone finally activated, he asked my wife "so how much do I have left that I need spend?" as if he was asking so he could purposely burn the minutes up faster.  :(

I wonder... would this work on PureTalk? http://www.walmart.com/ip/40712746?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227029946528&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=49961414192&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=102077597072&veh=sem

Supposedly the Nokia Lumia 640 is on sale at some Walgreens for $5.99. Where I'm currently at it's $30 I've heard... maybe we'll just get that for him.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 04:56:01 PM by jplee3 »

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2016, 06:13:37 PM »
I wonder... would this work on PureTalk?

Not out of the gate.

Supposedly the Nokia Lumia 640 is on sale at some Walgreens for $5.99. Where I'm currently at it's $30 I've heard... maybe we'll just get that for him.

$30 is the going rate at Walmart and Best Buy currently, and yes, Walgreens is clearing them out of inventory. I saw some earlier today in our area for $21 a pop. Although AT&T can and will carrier unlock the GoPhones without even being opened, it requires that you lie to them about the six month service period being complete to do so. Despite the inconsistency between what they say and what they do, the onus of integrity falls to the buyer. Some people are okay with selling their integrity out for a $20 phone. As much as I'd love to take advantage of the situation, I can't sacrifice my integrity by sinking to AT&T's level and playing their games... not to say that I wasn't tempted myself. However, I value a good night's sleep and doing right in the eyes of my maker a little bit more. YMMV.

That said, technically the GoPhone will work for calls and texts carrier locked to AT&T on Puretalk, but no data. I used to buy GoPhones for my main handsets when I was with AT&T postpaid because I was still doing direct business with AT&T, but personally never did so for any AT&T MVNOs as the subsidy pricing still bristles against some personal ethical boundaries... even if we are talking about AT&T. Two wrongs, etcetera. Again, YMMV... but I'll always try to encourage those I help to do the right thing.

Edit: If you're looking to buy new and affordable GSM smartphones that are already carrier unlocked, look into Blu.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 06:57:05 PM by I.P. Daley »

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2016, 10:47:02 PM »
$30 is the going rate at Walmart and Best Buy currently, and yes, Walgreens is clearing them out of inventory. I saw some earlier today in our area for $21 a pop. Although AT&T can and will carrier unlock the GoPhones without even being opened, it requires that you lie to them about the six month service period being complete to do so. Despite the inconsistency between what they say and what they do, the onus of integrity falls to the buyer. Some people are okay with selling their integrity out for a $20 phone. As much as I'd love to take advantage of the situation, I can't sacrifice my integrity by sinking to AT&T's level and playing their games... not to say that I wasn't tempted myself. However, I value a good night's sleep and doing right in the eyes of my maker a little bit more. YMMV.

That said, technically the GoPhone will work for calls and texts carrier locked to AT&T on Puretalk, but no data. I used to buy GoPhones for my main handsets when I was with AT&T postpaid because I was still doing direct business with AT&T, but personally never did so for any AT&T MVNOs as the subsidy pricing still bristles against some personal ethical boundaries... even if we are talking about AT&T. Two wrongs, etcetera. Again, YMMV... but I'll always try to encourage those I help to do the right thing.

Edit: If you're looking to buy new and affordable GSM smartphones that are already carrier unlocked, look into Blu.

Ah, I see... yea I just read the T&C of unlocking prepaid and it's 6mos. I guess they haven't been checking and have just been taking peoples' words for it because it seems there are a ton of ppl in those forums who are unlocking these GoPhones upon purchasing them. Pretty crazy... not sure why they wouldn't check this.

Those Blu phones seem pretty neat. Maybe we'll go for the lowest end one... on that note, my wife just told me that she spoke with my MIL and that she was guilt tripping her about how my FIL is 70 and all his friends have super nice phones and even if he doesn't know how to use it we should still find the nicest phone we can for him so he can "live a little"... plus, they're paying us back for it anyway blah blah blah. I just hate the thought of buying something like an iphone for him to come back a month or two later and find it either disgusting/grimy (from him handling it with dirty hands) with a cracked screen and banged up all over. And if that happen then it will have been something else, like he broke this or that or something else is wrong with the phone. While all their friends are likely keeping their phones in pristine condition while showing theirs off to him and making him feel "behind" ... and yet they still don't get why it's not a good idea for them to drop a ton of money on nice phones. The funny thing is, before all this he said he didn't care about owning a smartphone. So I have no idea what caused him to change his mind...

I'll have to try to narrow my search down to a smartphone that has the appearance of being super nice and high-end while actually being quite cheap. The Blu *may* actually just fulfill that need! Looks like the Moto G 2nd gen might also fit the bill - there are a number of them going for around $80 or so on ebay and they're sold as "mint" or "excellent" condition.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 11:33:39 PM by jplee3 »

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2016, 09:06:15 AM »
If I may... you already danced around the idea of a Windows phone and you like the look of the Blu products, so why not throw this idea out there.

Blu has been trying to get on board the whole software update thing, but has floundered a bit with doing so on their Android phones, and CyanogenMod hasn't done any sort of official support for Blu's handsets either. However, Microsoft handles OS updates for their Windows Phones, not Blu, and the Blu Win HD LTE (X150Q) is available through the Windows Store and guaranteed Microsoft software updates including Windows 10 (started rolling out yesterday). It's carrier unlocked, has a 5" IPS screen with quad core processor, most of the reviews and durability doesn't seem terrible, the platform runs the Line app, it looks more expensive (at least in pictures) than it is, it fits the "bigger" criteria that your FIL wants, and costs $20 cheaper on Amazon (affiliate link, but only if you feel generous and promise not to blame me if your run with the idea and it backfires terribly).

Additionally, Blu offers repair parts for most of their phones, including the Win HD LTE. We're talking touchscreens, LCD panels, cases, batteries, button replacements, and even the core PCB (though it's cheaper to replace the phone with that last part than repair).

Looks good on paper, but one little thing I might ask/suggest first. If the inlaws are already using a computer that's running Windows 8/8.1/10... this is probably a slam dunk and it might actually be a bit easier for your FIL to use. If they're using Windows 7/MacOS/*nix, it might be easier instead to leave him using Android and on another Moto G for continuity sake.

I'm also not entirely confident on the durability of the handset as I've never seen/held it first hand, so that might be a concern, though I can guarantee it won't be as robust as a Nokia - very few things are, even post Microsoft buyout. That said, the similarly priced Blu Android handsets aren't much more fragile than many of their counterparts on this end of the price spectrum; and their cheap feature phones, despite looking and feeling cheap, can take more abuse than I would have expected. Just an idea that could either be brilliant or terrible.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 09:45:00 AM by I.P. Daley »

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2016, 09:19:17 AM »
on that note, my wife just told me that she spoke with my MIL and that she was guilt tripping her about how my FIL is 70 and all his friends have super nice phones and even if he doesn't know how to use it we should still find the nicest phone we can for him so he can "live a little"... plus, they're paying us back for it anyway blah blah blah. I just hate the thought of buying something like an iphone for him to come back a month or two later and find it either disgusting/grimy (from him handling it with dirty hands) with a cracked screen and banged up all over. And if that happen then it will have been something else, like he broke this or that or something else is wrong with the phone. While all their friends are likely keeping their phones in pristine condition while showing theirs off to him and making him feel "behind" ... and yet they still don't get why it's not a good idea for them to drop a ton of money on nice phones. The funny thing is, before all this he said he didn't care about owning a smartphone. So I have no idea what caused him to change his mind...

Final little thought on this point I should add. I know it sucks, and the idea even hurts my own heart knowing the cost in human lives and misery sourcing the core minerals along with the sweatshop assembly lines to build these fool things, and dropping the equivalent cash to some third-world lifetime family debts on one handset makes my heart weep and my synapses scream...

...but sometimes, people just have to learn first hand. Maybe let him just pick out the phone that he wants, tell you what it is so you can buy it new and carrier unlocked (if possible), and just let that likely luxurious little $500+ handset break on him in a couple months.

After all, you said it. It's their money.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 09:29:16 AM by I.P. Daley »

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2016, 01:46:02 PM »
on that note, my wife just told me that she spoke with my MIL and that she was guilt tripping her about how my FIL is 70 and all his friends have super nice phones and even if he doesn't know how to use it we should still find the nicest phone we can for him so he can "live a little"... plus, they're paying us back for it anyway blah blah blah. I just hate the thought of buying something like an iphone for him to come back a month or two later and find it either disgusting/grimy (from him handling it with dirty hands) with a cracked screen and banged up all over. And if that happen then it will have been something else, like he broke this or that or something else is wrong with the phone. While all their friends are likely keeping their phones in pristine condition while showing theirs off to him and making him feel "behind" ... and yet they still don't get why it's not a good idea for them to drop a ton of money on nice phones. The funny thing is, before all this he said he didn't care about owning a smartphone. So I have no idea what caused him to change his mind...

Final little thought on this point I should add. I know it sucks, and the idea even hurts my own heart knowing the cost in human lives and misery sourcing the core minerals along with the sweatshop assembly lines to build these fool things, and dropping the equivalent cash to some third-world lifetime family debts on one handset makes my heart weep and my synapses scream...

...but sometimes, people just have to learn first hand. Maybe let him just pick out the phone that he wants, tell you what it is so you can buy it new and carrier unlocked (if possible), and just let that likely luxurious little $500+ handset break on him in a couple months.

After all, you said it. It's their money.

This is an idea for sure - I was toying with it in the back of my mind and I'm sure he's gonna say "new Iphone" which will in turn cause somewhat of a chain-reaction resulting in my MIL also wanting one. Then they'd have to re-learn how to use the phones all over and we'd have to teach them. And if something goes wrong, we'd have to troubleshoot it (which will be harder on my wife since she doesn't have an Iphone). I have one so I guess over the phone troubleshooting could work. So I'd cross my fingers that they wouldn't say that... perhaps we can choose a few phones we *think* he might be interested in and let him choose, thereby narrowing things down. We'll see - we should have some time to figure this out now that he's back on the old flip phone for the time being.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 01:53:53 PM by jplee3 »

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2016, 01:53:02 PM »
If I may... you already danced around the idea of a Windows phone and you like the look of the Blu products, so why not throw this idea out there.

Blu has been trying to get on board the whole software update thing, but has floundered a bit with doing so on their Android phones, and CyanogenMod hasn't done any sort of official support for Blu's handsets either. However, Microsoft handles OS updates for their Windows Phones, not Blu, and the Blu Win HD LTE (X150Q) is available through the Windows Store and guaranteed Microsoft software updates including Windows 10 (started rolling out yesterday). It's carrier unlocked, has a 5" IPS screen with quad core processor, most of the reviews and durability doesn't seem terrible, the platform runs the Line app, it looks more expensive (at least in pictures) than it is, it fits the "bigger" criteria that your FIL wants, and costs $20 cheaper on Amazon (affiliate link, but only if you feel generous and promise not to blame me if your run with the idea and it backfires terribly).

Additionally, Blu offers repair parts for most of their phones, including the Win HD LTE. We're talking touchscreens, LCD panels, cases, batteries, button replacements, and even the core PCB (though it's cheaper to replace the phone with that last part than repair).

Looks good on paper, but one little thing I might ask/suggest first. If the inlaws are already using a computer that's running Windows 8/8.1/10... this is probably a slam dunk and it might actually be a bit easier for your FIL to use. If they're using Windows 7/MacOS/*nix, it might be easier instead to leave him using Android and on another Moto G for continuity sake.

I'm also not entirely confident on the durability of the handset as I've never seen/held it first hand, so that might be a concern, though I can guarantee it won't be as robust as a Nokia - very few things are, even post Microsoft buyout. That said, the similarly priced Blu Android handsets aren't much more fragile than many of their counterparts on this end of the price spectrum; and their cheap feature phones, despite looking and feeling cheap, can take more abuse than I would have expected. Just an idea that could either be brilliant or terrible.

He has Windows 7 on his laptop (which is also something he has been complaining about upgrading lol). He only uses the laptop to surf the web so I think regardless of whether it were Win 7, Win 8 or Win 10, he'd pretty much be clueless in every aspect. He only knows like two things: email and watching Korean dramas, both of which are bookmark shortcuts on Chrome....lol

The Blu phone actually sounds like something I myself would want to pick up and tinker with, after all the information you've given on it.

Anyway, I think if we go through with the idea of letting him choose a phone, we'll add the Moto G 2nd gen to that list. My wife just hates the idea of having to buy a new expensive phone for them every year because they either break it, lose it, or want something with a bigger screen... to her, it translates to "screw it - even though we don't have much money, we're going to spend it on frivolous things and when we're older and unable to care for ourselves, you guys will have to pay for us because we spent all our money on nice phones" - because there is a big assumption on my wife's part that we may very well have to spend money out of our own pockets to care for them as a worst-case scenario. But knowing that, she wants to do everything in her power to get them to save and think ahead so they're taking care of themselves. Because of this, I don't want to end up getting a phone that sets their standard or bar so high that the next phone after that has to be better (e.g. get them an Iphone now and all they'll want in the future is the latest and greatest Iphone... it's a dangerous game).

Maybe we'll just keep "Moto G" as the "status quo" - all his friends have nice phones because they all have funny money or their rich kids get the phones for them. The problem with my in-laws is that they think they have funny money when they actually don't. This is just one avenue in which that false belief is perpetuated.... ughh so. much. FACEPUNCH!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 01:58:49 PM by jplee3 »

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2016, 02:34:51 PM »
We'll see - we should have some time to figure this out now that he's back on the old flip phone for the time being.

I didn't entirely put it in words, but the underlying idea I was putting forward was to make it as financially painful as possible. They've done the mid-range older mainstream phone service, they've gotten a taste of cheaper service, but now they're wanting to keep up and play in the big leagues. Of course, that means they have to get support from their provider and not you as well. I was thinking maybe a nice AT&T or Verizon postpaid account with some ridiculous data amount without contract averaging around $130/month and a couple $800 phones bought in full without subsidy or credit (for the sake of being able to get out easily without contract issues). Basically give them exactly what they want. Don't even mention things like otterboxes and screen protectors. Show them the real, unlacquered price of what they're wanting.

"Wanna run with the big dogs? Okay. Let's run with the big dogs. It'll be nearly $2000 for the phones, and you'll have to pay AT&T/Verizon/whoever $130+ A MONTH to use them. This is out of our depth and pay grade, by the way, and since you're paying AT&T/Verizon/whoever so much danged money and you're dealing with phones we can't even afford or justify purchasing, you can just get support for the things you want to spoil yourselves with directly from them. We'll help set it up for you, but you're on your own after that. Good luck! If you change your mind and see some wisdom in our approach, we'll be happy to recommend some sub-$100 handsets that we can help support you with and a couple plans that'll run under $40 a month combined for you both."

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2016, 02:52:39 PM »
We'll see - we should have some time to figure this out now that he's back on the old flip phone for the time being.

I didn't entirely put it in words, but the underlying idea I was putting forward was to make it as financially painful as possible. They've done the mid-range older mainstream phone service, they've gotten a taste of cheaper service, but now they're wanting to keep up and play in the big leagues. Of course, that means they have to get support from their provider and not you as well. I was thinking maybe a nice AT&T or Verizon postpaid account with some ridiculous data amount without contract averaging around $130/month and a couple $800 phones bought in full without subsidy or credit (for the sake of being able to get out easily without contract issues). Basically give them exactly what they want. Don't even mention things like otterboxes and screen protectors. Show them the real, unlacquered price of what they're wanting.

"Wanna run with the big dogs? Okay. Let's run with the big dogs. It'll be nearly $2000 for the phones, and you'll have to pay AT&T/Verizon/whoever $130+ A MONTH to use them. This is out of our depth and pay grade, by the way, and since you're paying AT&T/Verizon/whoever so much danged money and you're dealing with phones we can't even afford or justify purchasing, you can just get support for the things you want to spoil yourselves with directly from them. We'll help set it up for you, but you're on your own after that. Good luck! If you change your mind and see some wisdom in our approach, we'll be happy to recommend some sub-$100 handsets that we can help support you with and a couple plans that'll run under $40 a month combined for you both."

I see what you mean... that's a dangerous proposition because they may not even care at the end of the day! The problem with them is that they are extremely naive and worst than that, they *let* people take advantage of them. My FIL will just say "ok ok ok" to everything and never learns when he makes a mistake. This is exactly what happened with their restaurant rental space - my wife told me that back around 15-20 years ago they signed an extended contract that explicitly stated they have to stay in the same space for another 15-20 years. Without even really reading the contract or taking time to have someone else review it, like a lawyer, he just went and signed the contract - "ok ok ok" - the prospect of saving money sounds great to them but then they want all of it, and naively think they can get it all. And when they find out they're paying too much they come up with some excuse like "oh, well, it's ok - we're so old now - can't we just live a little?"

That said, I don't think my wife would be onboard with this plan hahaha. I can see how it certainly would work for some people who need a rude awakening. Maybe I don't give enough credit to my in-laws and underestimate them... though I'm pretty sure my wife would say that I'm not LOL!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 02:54:14 PM by jplee3 »

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2016, 03:52:32 PM »
Well, it was an idea. Obviously not an approach that would work for everyone, but sticker shock can still be a valuable tool - which is why the major phone carriers do everything in their power to obfuscate the bottom-line. The problem is, you're walking a fine line trying to help protect people you love from being exploited or ripped off for their own best interests without having them lose face to you, and it only makes it harder if they're the sorts who don't learn from mistakes and are naive enough to be suckered by the same scam twice. It also sounds like the peer group they're running with these days aren't a great influence.

Even ignoring this extreme end of the money management spectrum, talking finances are just difficult for people to do in general. People can be very short sighted, and the world exploits that. It's also a rough transition sometimes to go from the protected to the protector and vice-versa in parent-child dynamics. I don't envy your position, and it makes me thankful for the openness in the relationship I have with my own parents and my in-laws (though there's room for improvement on the latter). If you can somehow find terms and ideas they can easily grasp, it might be easier to help communicate what you're trying to achieve - which I think is probably the most important part that needs to be communicated and shared in this situation.

This isn't about FIRE, it isn't even about money, it's about stewardship. Doing the right thing for the right reasons... not just for yourself, but for the sake of your loved ones, for strangers, and even your enemies. Living with that love in your heart, and recognizing that it's not something you can do on your own. It's a struggle, and it can even be a fight sometimes with yourself. I'll own it, there are days I want to be selfish and those days can frequently be more common than the selfless ones, but thankfully common sense - slightly more often than not - wins out in the end. I want to be involved with the restoration part of tikkun olam, and not be a root cause for it's need - even if I know that I need far more grace and forgiveness in this world than respect for trying to do the right thing. It's a life that should ultimately uplift others, but not everyone will get that... and sometimes it's family that doesn't, and that can be hard.

I hope and pray that you two will be able to say or do something that helps them get it. You gotta pick your fights wisely, and this one in particular is going to be hard to navigate. Hopefully all I've shared, the additional philosophy, and the multiple directions we've taken the scenario might help as well... but if it doesn't, I've still enjoyed the public exchange we've had.

If you need any other ideas, suggestions or thoughts to bounce on the topic, just let me know. I'd also love to know how everything shakes out and what you eventually decide to do. Good luck!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 04:00:49 PM by I.P. Daley »

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2016, 04:01:19 PM »
Well, it was an idea. Obviously not an approach that would work for everyone, but sticker shock can still be a valuable tool - which is why the major phone carriers do everything in their power to obfuscate the bottom-line. The problem is, you're walking a fine line trying to help protect people you love from being exploited or ripped off for their own best interests without having them lose face to you, and it only makes it harder if they're the sorts who don't learn from mistakes and are naive enough to be suckered by the same scam twice. It also sounds like the peer group they're running with these days aren't a great influence.

Even ignoring this extreme end of the money management spectrum, talking finances are just difficult for people to do in general. People can be very short sighted, and the world exploits that. It's also a rough transition sometimes to go from the protected to the protector and vice-versa in parent-child dynamics. I don't envy your position, and it makes me thankful for the openness in the relationship I have with my own parents and my in-laws (though there's room for improvement on the latter). If you can somehow find terms and ideas they can easily grasp, it might be easier to help communicate what you're trying to achieve - which I think is probably the most important part that needs to be communicated and shared in this situation.

This isn't about FIRE, it isn't even about money, it's about stewardship. Doing the right thing for the right reasons... not just for yourself, but for the sake of your loved ones, for strangers, and even your enemies. Living with that love in your heart, and recognizing that it's not something you can do on your own. It's a struggle, and it can even be a fight sometimes with yourself. I'll own it, there are days I want to be selfish and those days can frequently be more common than the selfless ones, but thankfully common sense - more often than not - wins out in the end. I want to be involved with the restoration part of tikkun olam, and not be a root cause for it's need - even if I know that I need far more grace and forgiveness in this world than respect for trying to do the right thing. It's a life that should ultimately uplift others, but not everyone will get that... and sometimes it's family that doesn't.

I hope and pray that you two will be able to say or do something that helps them get it. You gotta pick your fights wisely, and this one in particular is going to be hard to navigate. Hopefully all I've shared, the additional philosophy, and the multiple directions we've taken the scenario might help as well... but if it doesn't, I've still enjoyed the public exchange we've had.

Good luck. If you need any other ideas, suggestions or thoughts to bounce on the topic, just let me know.

I definitely appreciate all the sound advice you've given. Tons of things to think about and think through, that's for sure. At the end of the day, love always conquers when it comes down to these 'love-hate' relationships...right? The fact that none of us are perfect makes it so much harder.

In any case, we hope to make some progress with this... my wife and I tend not to give benefit of the doubt when it comes down to my in-laws and sometimes they surprise us. It's entirely possible that they'll be happy with whatever we get them while they're on the senior plan, and that they'll never ever complain about anything again :)

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2016, 01:46:08 AM »
Just a quick update but I finally got to check the phone out for myself as our in-laws visited the other night. Turns out the few cellphone repair shops my dad went to had absolutely no clue what they were doing - unbelievable... I was able to get the phone turned back on and charging. Turns out if you leave it to discharge it gets into some weird and funky state where the standard charger that comes with it won't actually charge it. You have to charge it initially with a 2.1A charger at least, and then use the power/vol-down bootloader trick to initially get it turned back on. Once I did that it came back to life and I was able to get into the phone again. Ended up applying a ton of updates, including upgrading to Lollipop. Anyway, now it's just a matter of reactivating the phone so he's happy again. He mentioned he's OK not having a fancier phone now that the Moto G is good....LOL we'll see how long that sentiment lasts :P

The thing is, I still want to get them off PP and onto the cheaper plan, which would require getting a new phone either way. Hmmm, at least this will buy us a TON more time. When we thought the Moto G was dead and he was just on the flip phone, my MIL kept pestering my wife asking when we were going to buy him a new phone and guilt-tripping her. At least we have that part resolved for now...

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2016, 07:26:30 AM »
I was able to get the phone turned back on and charging.

Great to hear! Like you said, at least this buys you some more time to make a more financially prudent move, and helps keep another phone out of the landfill. :)

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2016, 12:56:45 PM »
So we got a Moto G for my father in law maybe half a year ago, and lo-and-behold the charging port on it got jacked up somehow. I have my suspicions with this because he is very prone to messing up or losing every phone we've gotten him in the past. I'm guessing he did something to it, didn't realize it, and is now complaining that it no longer charges.

Just commenting to commiserate because my dad insists that every three or four months, his charger cord stops working.  So every three or four months, he goes into the AT&T store, puts his name on the list to speak with a customer rep, waits for like an hour, and then asks for a free replacement charger.  He always gets the free cord out of it, but what the hell?  He used to have an iPhone and claimed this same problem, and now has a Samsung something-or-another and still has it.  Methinks this is some sort of user-caused error!

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #37 on: April 03, 2016, 11:56:53 PM »
So we got a Moto G for my father in law maybe half a year ago, and lo-and-behold the charging port on it got jacked up somehow. I have my suspicions with this because he is very prone to messing up or losing every phone we've gotten him in the past. I'm guessing he did something to it, didn't realize it, and is now complaining that it no longer charges.

Just commenting to commiserate because my dad insists that every three or four months, his charger cord stops working.  So every three or four months, he goes into the AT&T store, puts his name on the list to speak with a customer rep, waits for like an hour, and then asks for a free replacement charger.  He always gets the free cord out of it, but what the hell?  He used to have an iPhone and claimed this same problem, and now has a Samsung something-or-another and still has it.  Methinks this is some sort of user-caused error!

LOL this is great. This seems to be a commonly recurring pattern with both in-laws and immediate parents for some odd reason ;) My dad keeps bothering my brothers and I about how my mom "needs" the new Iphone SE. When asked directly about this, her response is "What's an Iphone SE? What? I don't care what kind of phone you guys get me" - he has a Nexus 5P and Nexus 6 and is paying for service on both; one being Google Fi and the other AT&T (I have no clue as to why other than he's addicted to gadgets...I sort of have this same issue but I don't pay for extra service/subscriptions). My mom has an older Samsung Active S4 pass-me-down that she claims acts "weird" - I don't know why my dad doesn't just give her one of his Nexus phones. Ridiculous... he claims they need a phone with Facetime on it yet he has like 3 Ipads and a Macbook and we already Facetime with them on those. Supposedly my brother is going to give him one of his old Iphone 5s so they can decide if they really want an Iphone. LOL... so ridiculous. I don't know how many times I have to say that.

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2016, 05:38:03 PM »
I was able to get the phone turned back on and charging.

Great to hear! Like you said, at least this buys you some more time to make a more financially prudent move, and helps keep another phone out of the landfill. :)

Hey IP, a couple questions about Puretalk

1) What's the difference between the Senior Advantage 600 Plan and the Simple 600 Plan? It doesn't really seem like there is a difference.... am I missing something?

2) I'm a bit fuzzy on the porting process so I called and asked and they described it. Does this sound remotely correct: First, I would place an order for whatever plan I want, then upon receiving the SIM card, I would contact Puretalk and tell them I want to being the porting process. I would then install the SIM card into whatever compatible device at which there would be a waiting period of 1-3 days before the port is complete. In the meantime, the old device should continue working until the process is complete. At the point that the port has completed, Puretalk will ring the new device and it will be all set (no need for additional activation or dialing of anything).

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #39 on: July 07, 2016, 06:05:59 PM »
1) The Senior AddVantage plan (for folks 55 and older) gives you a 10% minute boost for each additional continuous month of service until the sixth month. The $10/300 minute plan will have 330 minutes available on the second month, 360 on the third, 390 on the fourth, 420 on the fifth, and 450 on the sixth, at which point every month going forward from there the $10 plan provides 450 minutes. The $15/600 minute plan will have 660 on the second, 720 on the third, 780 on the fourth, 840 on the fifth, and 900 from the sixth on. The Simple plan just has a fixed 300 or 600 minutes every month depending on the plan picked.

If you're 55 or older, the Senior AddVantage plan is the far better deal for the money versus the Simple plan.

2) Sounds about right.

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2016, 08:55:41 PM »
1) The Senior AddVantage plan (for folks 55 and older) gives you a 10% minute boost for each additional continuous month of service until the sixth month. The $10/300 minute plan will have 330 minutes available on the second month, 360 on the third, 390 on the fourth, 420 on the fifth, and 450 on the sixth, at which point every month going forward from there the $10 plan provides 450 minutes. The $15/600 minute plan will have 660 on the second, 720 on the third, 780 on the fourth, 840 on the fifth, and 900 from the sixth on. The Simple plan just has a fixed 300 or 600 minutes every month depending on the plan picked.

If you're 55 or older, the Senior AddVantage plan is the far better deal for the money versus the Simple plan.

2) Sounds about right.

Thanks! I was also thinking about porting their numbers to Google Voice to avoid the headache of having to port in the future. While this sounds like a good idea up front, I just realized the caveat of outbound calls from the forwarded phone number (e.g. whatever number Puretalk assigns - that number will show when I call out or call back...). That said, is there any [seamless] way to get outbound calls from a forwarded-GV number to show as the actual GV number on the recipient's caller ID?

EDIT: I think I found out after reading around - looks like you need to install the Google Voice app - I just tested it with my own number and dialed my wife using "call with Google Voice" and she confirmed that my GV number was showing up in caller ID. I'm curious though - is this considered a VOIP call? Or is it purely a voice call but just masquerading behind the GV number?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 09:05:13 PM by jplee3 »

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #41 on: July 07, 2016, 10:00:13 PM »
EDIT: I think I found out after reading around - looks like you need to install the Google Voice app - I just tested it with my own number and dialed my wife using "call with Google Voice" and she confirmed that my GV number was showing up in caller ID. I'm curious though - is this considered a VOIP call? Or is it purely a voice call but just masquerading behind the GV number?

Depends on how it's routed. If it is routed over data, then yes, it's a VoIP call. If it is placing routed calls over the cell phone, then it's using minutes.

Google also has something called a "Direct Access Number" for each contact. If someone texts you on your GV number and you have text forwarding set up to your phone, the number the text appears to come from is the DAN. You can actually call and text that number directly without having GV/Hangouts installed, and the person on the other side will only see your GV number in their caller ID.

This said, don't complicate things for 'em. KISS. Throwing Google Voice into the mix isn't going to make phone usage or support easier for anyone who's technically illiterate, and all you're doing is lining up Google to further datamine the two.

Porting really isn't that difficult or that big a deal once you've actually done it. Odds are, it'll go through in less than an hour.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 10:01:49 PM by I.P. Daley »

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2016, 11:38:36 PM »
EDIT: I think I found out after reading around - looks like you need to install the Google Voice app - I just tested it with my own number and dialed my wife using "call with Google Voice" and she confirmed that my GV number was showing up in caller ID. I'm curious though - is this considered a VOIP call? Or is it purely a voice call but just masquerading behind the GV number?

Depends on how it's routed. If it is routed over data, then yes, it's a VoIP call. If it is placing routed calls over the cell phone, then it's using minutes.

Google also has something called a "Direct Access Number" for each contact. If someone texts you on your GV number and you have text forwarding set up to your phone, the number the text appears to come from is the DAN. You can actually call and text that number directly without having GV/Hangouts installed, and the person on the other side will only see your GV number in their caller ID.

This said, don't complicate things for 'em. KISS. Throwing Google Voice into the mix isn't going to make phone usage or support easier for anyone who's technically illiterate, and all you're doing is lining up Google to further datamine the two.

Porting really isn't that difficult or that big a deal once you've actually done it. Odds are, it'll go through in less than an hour.

I'm curious about that - I guess the only real way to find out would be to track how calls show up in my service provider's call logs.
EDIT: interesting... so I'm reviewing my call logs from earlier and I see the two calls I made to my wife and to our home phone as outbound calls to Google Voice numbers. What's even more interesting is that I can direct-dial these GV-owned numbers (972 area code) from my phone and it'll bypass the prompt to choose Google Voice to dial and will ring my wife's phone or our home GV/Obi phone. Either way, it looks like these are counting as voice calls on my call records - this could be potentially problematic if I ever fully depend on the GV in the future in the case that I might want or need to reconcile call logs, etc since all the GV-specific numbers show up in the service provider's call log history.

In any case, I guess we'll stick with regular old porting then. That would be $40 less anyway (for not having to port to Google Voice). As far as datamining them, I'm not as concerned with that - they really have no concept of using their smartphones to browse the web. All they do is watch Korean dramas on Korean sites all day. They don't email and just use Line to video call with friends and family. And of course they use their phones to take pictures of everything.


« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 11:56:50 PM by jplee3 »

LeRainDrop

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #43 on: July 08, 2016, 12:17:23 AM »
Quickly scrolling through the topics list, I misread this one as "Need a reliable replacement for my father-in-law." :-D

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2016, 07:56:35 AM »
interesting... so I'm reviewing my call logs from earlier and I see the two calls I made to my wife and to our home phone as outbound calls to Google Voice numbers. What's even more interesting is that I can direct-dial these GV-owned numbers (972 area code) from my phone and it'll bypass the prompt to choose Google Voice to dial and will ring my wife's phone or our home GV/Obi phone. Either way, it looks like these are counting as voice calls on my call records - this could be potentially problematic if I ever fully depend on the GV in the future in the case that I might want or need to reconcile call logs, etc since all the GV-specific numbers show up in the service provider's call log history.

Yeah, it can be confusing until you realize that Google dedicates one DAN to each contact. I still haven't ported my main GV number out of the Googleplex after all these years (mostly due to inertia and not wanting to give them a credit card number), and I haven't had a phone that has been supported by Google with an app for years, but I still use the service with my phone. I just save the DANs to my contacts as secondary mobile numbers, and just call and text people who I don't want to give my real mobile number to using the DANs.

The only downside to this is that I have to forward a text message from them to my phone to get that number first, otherwise I can only text them from my desktop and call out to them from the mobile phone using a calling card dialer if I want to hide behind the GV number.

jeromedawg

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #45 on: July 08, 2016, 11:00:26 AM »
interesting... so I'm reviewing my call logs from earlier and I see the two calls I made to my wife and to our home phone as outbound calls to Google Voice numbers. What's even more interesting is that I can direct-dial these GV-owned numbers (972 area code) from my phone and it'll bypass the prompt to choose Google Voice to dial and will ring my wife's phone or our home GV/Obi phone. Either way, it looks like these are counting as voice calls on my call records - this could be potentially problematic if I ever fully depend on the GV in the future in the case that I might want or need to reconcile call logs, etc since all the GV-specific numbers show up in the service provider's call log history.

Yeah, it can be confusing until you realize that Google dedicates one DAN to each contact. I still haven't ported my main GV number out of the Googleplex after all these years (mostly due to inertia and not wanting to give them a credit card number), and I haven't had a phone that has been supported by Google with an app for years, but I still use the service with my phone. I just save the DANs to my contacts as secondary mobile numbers, and just call and text people who I don't want to give my real mobile number to using the DANs.

The only downside to this is that I have to forward a text message from them to my phone to get that number first, otherwise I can only text them from my desktop and call out to them from the mobile phone using a calling card dialer if I want to hide behind the GV number.

Wow, that's pretty confusing!

BTW, regarding your earlier explanation: "The $15/600 minute plan will have 660 on the second, 720 on the third, 780 on the fourth, 840 on the fifth, and 900 from the sixth on. The Simple plan just has a fixed 300 or 600 minutes every month depending on the plan picked." - does this mean that at 7 months and beyond, they'll always get 900 minutes? And it's just for minutes that applies to, not data and text right?

Daley

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Re: Need a reliable replacement 3G phone for my father-in-law
« Reply #46 on: July 08, 2016, 12:13:02 PM »
Wow, that's pretty confusing!

It can be, but I'm wired a bit different than most, so it all makes sense in my head.

does this mean that at 7 months and beyond, they'll always get 900 minutes? And it's just for minutes that applies to, not data and text right?

Correct on the first part. As for texts, they're a function of minute credits and get deducted as such with three texts equaling one minute billed, so it becomes 900 minutes or 2700 SMS messages in your example. Correct on the data part. The data/MMS quantity (100MB or 100 MMS messages with the $15 plan) remains a fixed amount.