Author Topic: Shopping Cell Phone Plans  (Read 4555 times)

ascZend

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
  • Age: 31
Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« on: March 22, 2015, 12:33:23 PM »
I've been using Virgin Mobile for the past 2 plus years and I've been very pleased with their service.  I just recently upgraded my cell phone with them a few months ago, and I'm currently using their $35/month ($39.25 after taxes, fees and surcharges) Unlimited Data, Talk & Text plan (first 250MB of data is at 3G/4G speeds).  However, I'm trying to find ways to lower my monthly bill.  I'd like to find a comparable plan in the $30-$35 total range (or less) that is compatible with my current phone.  Honestly, I don't really need unlimited talk (probably 500 minutes would suffice) or data (300-500MB), but Virgin Mobile doesn't really have an intermediate plan for that usage range.

Here's what I've found thus far:
Page Plus Cellular: $29.95 (not including taxes, fees or surcharges?) for 1200 minutes, 3000 texts, and 500MB 4G LTE data.
Consumer Cellular: $30 (not including taxes, fees or surcharges?) for 750 minutes, 1500 texts, and 500MB data.
Ting: $32 "+ extras" for up to 500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 500 MB data.
Pure TalkUSA: $34.95 total (including taxes, fees, surcharges) for unlimited talk, text, and 500MB data.
P'tel: $35 (not including taxes, fees, or surcharges?) for unlimited talk, text, and data ("high speed" for the first 1GB up to 4G LTE speeds).

Current plan for comparison's sake:
Virgin Mobile: $35 (not including taxes, fees, or surcharges) for unlimited talk, text, and data (first 250MB at 3G/4G speeds).

Pure TalkUSA's plan appears to be the best value, but I'm not sure how their coverage/service is.  Does anyone have any experience with these providers, their service/plans, or plan costs (including fees or surcharges)? I'd appreciate any recommendations or advice.

fields

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2015, 01:04:45 PM »
Following

Indexer

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1367
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2015, 01:45:00 PM »
Republic Wireless.

Unlimited minutes:  $10/month.  No data, but if you are around wifi all the time(like I am) you won't even notice.
Unlimited minutes+ data: $25/month.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2015, 01:47:00 PM »
However, I'm trying to find ways to lower my monthly bill.  I'd like to find a comparable plan in the $30-$35 total range (or less) that is compatible with my current phone.

Unless your current cellphone is a CDMA/LTE/GSM world phone that Sprint has carrier unlocked and you've owned it for over one year, your only choice is Virgin Mobile.

Theoretically, phones activated on Virgin for over a year are now supposedly eligible for GSM slot unlocking (if the phone has it and supports the necessary AT&T and/or T-Mobile GSM bands for service - that's a big IF already beyond the iPhone) and porting over to other Sprint MVNOs for activation, but the FED check process is still a mess for activation with other Sprint wholesalers. If you read the link, you'll note BYOSD activation has been a cluster with the MVNOs since the beginning of the year, though it is arguably less so now. Odds are, when the time comes, you probably have a phone that can only be used on another Sprint MVNO anyway.

Regarding Puretalk USA, they're an AT&T MVNO (GSM, not Sprint CDMA), so expect AT&T native network coverage. However, the package you're looking at is $5/month cheaper at Airvoice and H2O Wireless. I don't recommend Puretalk for their Unlimited Plus plans, I recommend them for their Simple/Flex/Family plans.

Bottom line, you're already doing as well as you can expect for the money with the phone and network you're on. If you're happy with the service, and you're not expecting any significant savings switching anyway, just stay put.

As for anyone who's inevitably going to do the Republic Wireless dance... seriously, don't waste your money.

ascZend

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
  • Age: 31
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2015, 02:24:31 PM »
However, I'm trying to find ways to lower my monthly bill.  I'd like to find a comparable plan in the $30-$35 total range (or less) that is compatible with my current phone.

Unless your current cellphone is a CDMA/LTE/GSM world phone that Sprint has carrier unlocked and you've owned it for over one year, your only choice is Virgin Mobile.

Theoretically, phones activated on Virgin for over a year are now supposedly eligible for GSM slot unlocking (if the phone has it and supports the necessary AT&T and/or T-Mobile GSM bands for service - that's a big IF already beyond the iPhone) and porting over to other Sprint MVNOs for activation, but the FED check process is still a mess for activation with other Sprint wholesalers. If you read the link, you'll note BYOSD activation has been a cluster with the MVNOs since the beginning of the year, though it is arguably less so now. Odds are, when the time comes, you probably have a phone that can only be used on another Sprint MVNO anyway.

Regarding Puretalk USA, they're an AT&T MVNO (GSM, not Sprint CDMA), so expect AT&T native network coverage. However, the package you're looking at is $5/month cheaper at Airvoice and H2O Wireless. I don't recommend Puretalk for their Unlimited Plus plans, I recommend them for their Simple/Flex/Family plans.

Bottom line, you're already doing as well as you can expect for the money with the phone and network you're on. If you're happy with the service, and you're not expecting any significant savings switching anyway, just stay put.

Thanks for the reply and information, Daley!

It's an LG Volt (which is a great phone by the way) that I purchased for only $118.14.  I'm not sure if Sprint has carrier unlocked that device or not, but either way, I've only had it since December and it obviously wouldn't be very cost-effective to purchase a new phone with a different provider just to save a few bucks per month on my phone bill (as my current plan is still pretty reasonable).  I'm definitely happy with the service I'm currently getting too, so I guess I'll be sticking with Virgin Mobile for the foreseeable future!

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2015, 03:13:42 PM »
Not a problem.

It's an LG Volt

CDMA only, which means that by the time you've had it long enough on Virgin, maybe Sprint will finally have the FED issue sorted. Even then, you're probably not going to be able to do much better price wise on the Sprint end with another Sprint MVNO. The real good deals are on the GSM end of the market.

kpd905

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1717
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2015, 03:36:17 PM »
Anyone have experience buying a phone for Page Plus through their partner site "Quality One Wireless"?  The phones are cheaper on there, $250 for a Galaxy S4 vs. $280 for the S3 on the main Page Plus site.

The whole lease program they offer makes the site look like a scam, but I assume if it is directly linked to on Page Plus's site it is legit?

This is the site: http://www.pageplusphonestore.com/Phones/

Indexer

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1367
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2015, 04:21:47 PM »
As for anyone who's inevitably going to do the Republic Wireless dance... seriously, don't waste your money.


Most of the reviews are 5s out of 5 stars, and their YELP review is 4 stars which is better than the other phone companies.  Your link goes straight to the 1 stars...  Specifically the 1 stars that were removed by Yelp.  At least one person admits they have multiple extra accounts they use for trashing companies which might be an indicator 'why' yelp removed them.  Way to present information in an unbiased way!

I use Republic Wireless, and its better than any other company I've ever had(Verizon, AT&T, Virgin(Sprint), and T Mobile).  It works everywhere Verizon use to work at a lower price than T Mobile or Virgin.  Switching from wifi to the network is normally seamless.  My previous phone was a Nexus 4, and the Moto X is basically a copy of the Nexus 4 so no complaints there. 

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2015, 05:17:21 PM »
As for anyone who's inevitably going to do the Republic Wireless dance... seriously, don't waste your money.


Most of the reviews are 5s out of 5 stars, and their YELP review is 4 stars which is better than the other phone companies.  Your link goes straight to the 1 stars...  Specifically the 1 stars that were removed by Yelp.  At least one person admits they have multiple extra accounts they use for trashing companies which might be an indicator 'why' yelp removed them.  Way to present information in an unbiased way!

I use Republic Wireless, and its better than any other company I've ever had(Verizon, AT&T, Virgin(Sprint), and T Mobile).  It works everywhere Verizon use to work at a lower price than T Mobile or Virgin.  Switching from wifi to the network is normally seamless.  My previous phone was a Nexus 4, and the Moto X is basically a copy of the Nexus 4 so no complaints there.

Yelp has this thing where they massage the ratings system and negative reviews for clients who pay them and make them public when they stop. This isn't new news... and the seven pages of negative "buried" reviews are far more detailed and useful than nearly all of the positive "approved" and "buried" reviews combined. We even have fellow mustachians experiencing this effect. I only linked Yelp this time around because it's probably one of the single most concentrated sources online of all the known problems with the service from multiple people without having to do hours of digging through places like Howard Forums. All reviews online should be taken with a grain of salt, but the detailed reviews, good and bad, should be weighed and considered whether Yelp thinks they're okay for one of their paying clients or not... especially detailed negative reviews, because the best thing to know is what can potentially happen when things do eventually go sideways.

Anyway, the point is that the service isn't great for the money, full stop. I've gone over the reasons multiple times in these forums for years. Countless people have had problems with the service, even here, more than any other MVNO that gets namechecked around these parts. There's technical and quality issues, contract issues, support issues, and there's simply better for the money. I have demonstrated these points in depth repeatedly. Republic simply isn't a good choice for the money when you're actually an informed shopper and measure it against the competition.



Anyone have experience buying a phone for Page Plus through their partner site "Quality One Wireless"?  The phones are cheaper on there, $250 for a Galaxy S4 vs. $280 for the S3 on the main Page Plus site.

The whole lease program they offer makes the site look like a scam, but I assume if it is directly linked to on Page Plus's site it is legit?

This is the site: http://www.pageplusphonestore.com/Phones/

Q1W is a third party phone seller that basically allows MVNOs to "sell" compatible phones without keeping stock on hand. Think of it like a store front, the MVNO gets a small referral slice and none of the logistics or inventory hassles of dealing with their own phone stock. Unfortunately, the outfit can be a bit of a mixed bag at times (I prefer to recommend people towards Amazon, Ebay and Craigslist and simply equip them on how to shop used) and people often mistake Q1W as being the MVNO itself they're buying from. I know of one person on these forums who's partly got a beef against Airvoice because they bought their phone through Airvoice's Q1W store front... they went so far as to file a BBB complaint, and still insists that their problem was Airvoice's fault despite Airvoice bending over backwards to try and fix a phone they didn't even sell, and even the BBB filed the complaint against Q1W instead.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 05:19:23 PM by I.P. Daley »

m_m

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2015, 09:58:47 AM »
Cricket has a $35 unlimited plan and it runs on AT&T's network.  Not sure about your phone's compatibility.

After reading about yelp I consider it an extortion scam and don't use their ratings anymore.

neo von retorch

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3328
  • Location: SE PA
    • Fi@retorch - personal finance tracking
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2015, 10:10:49 AM »
I had Republic Wireless for about a month. I paid $150 for a phone that I sold for maybe $110. So I lost money there. The call quality was very bad - a little robotic and some sort of voice lag in both directions which caused a lot of "talking over each other." I also had a few dropped calls. I do not recommend them to anyone.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Shopping Cell Phone Plans
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2015, 10:23:46 AM »
Cricket has a $35 unlimited plan and it runs on AT&T's network.  Not sure about your phone's compatibility.

After reading about yelp I consider it an extortion scam and don't use their ratings anymore.

I've discussed on this before, but I don't recommend Cricket or any other mobile network operator owned boutique MVNO brand anymore due to the nature of what is now going on with data prices with these brands versus the wholesale data prices being provided to their competition.

As for your Yelp statement, I sympathize. Their ratings system appears worthless, but the hidden reviews (especially for businesses who pay Yelp) frequently have great value.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 10:26:09 AM by I.P. Daley »