Author Topic: Cell Phone Options  (Read 6487 times)

specialkayme

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Cell Phone Options
« on: July 11, 2017, 01:21:22 PM »
I'm getting hammered on cell phone bills between my wife and I, currently at $175 per month. We financed both of our phone purchases through Verizon (in hind sight very dumb, but at the time it actually saved us money per month). Mine is up in a month, hers is up in 6 months. We both use our phones in our professional lives (responding to work email, navigation to client meetings, for me legal research when in a complete pinch) so we still need some form of a smart phone (but I see no need for the latest and greatest). Combined, we both use about 2 to 2.5 GB per month (and no our phones aren't reimbursed by work). Once I eventually make it to FIRE (quite a bit aways for me) I don't mind dropping down to a significantly cheaper basic phone/text plan, but for now we both need the smartphone capability.

So what are the cheaper options that you guys are using, that still fits within a professional setting, gives decent data useage and coverage, without costing an arm and a leg? Google fi? Any others I should be looking into?

ChpBstrd

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2017, 01:28:04 PM »
DW and I pay $70/mo for Cricket. We purchased our own GSM phones though. There are cheaper options, but for a cell phone data plan using 2.5-3GB / mo this is pretty good. If you go over your limit, the speed just slows.

ketchup

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 01:31:50 PM »
As long as your phones are compatible and the network suits your usage, Ting is probably the way to go.  You can plug in your usage on their site to see what your bill would look like.

marielle

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2017, 01:35:59 PM »
As long as your phones are compatible and the network suits your usage, Ting is probably the way to go.  You can plug in your usage on their site to see what your bill would look like.

At 2+ GB a month I would not recommend Ting. Ting is cost effective for very low usage, like <500 minutes, <1000 texts, <500 MB. I think Verizon has a $45 unlimited prepaid plan which would be cheaper than Ting with that usage. Or any other company with an unlimited prepaid plan, should be around $30-$40.

Lady SA

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2017, 02:16:39 PM »
DH and I have used both Ting and Google Fi. We are on Google Fi right now and its a bit more expensive than Ting at ~$55 per month for both of us. It runs on both sprint and At&t networks, I believe, so a bit better coverage in the areas we travel to to visit family and such. We are each on the 1 GB/mo plan (for a total of 2 GB) and use MUCH less than that so get the reimbursement for unused data each month. For example, I only used 0.2 GB out of my 1 GB. DH uses a bit more data than I do. Google fi only works on certain google android phones, so if you want iphones, google fi does not work. We bought 2 Google Nexus 5Xs outright from them when our phones conveniently both died within the same month. Very happy with the Nexus, its a very well made phone.

Ting was great because the majority of areas we went to had wifi. Home, work, even the bus I commute on, have wifi, so our data usage is minimal. It was bring your own phone and we used phones we paid off from sprint and just moved to them.
Both ting and google fi are contract free which I really like, so every year or so we check and see if there are any better options out there and are ready and able to jump ship without a contract holding us there.

The only thing we really use data for is google maps, but even then we try to bring up the route when we are at home/work/wherever over wifi and then shut off data while actually driving.

Coffee shops and most office buildings likely have guest wifi you can use during client meetings. I found that when I was on verizon, I just got used to using data everywhere, but when I started consciously trying to use the least amount of data possible, I found a bajillion free wifi areas to use in the areas I spent the most time. I'm sure there are ways to bring down your data usage with just a little extra work. I consider data a backup in an emergency/tight spot, not my primary mode of using the internet.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 02:21:57 PM by Lady Smartass »

marielle

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2017, 02:26:22 PM »
The only thing we really use data for is google maps, but even then we try to bring up the route when we are at home/work/wherever over wifi and then shut off data while actually driving.

You can download offline maps to your phone too! Not very helpful if you're trying to see traffic, but can help save a little more data with almost no effort. Plus I like how the maps instantly load versus having to wait.

Chris @ Saturday Financial

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2017, 02:26:36 PM »
Page Plus Cellular uses Verizon towers. They offer virtually unlimited calls/texts with 1GB of data per month for approximately $30/line.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 02:29:22 PM by SlowAndSteady »

YummyRaisins

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2017, 02:35:23 PM »
So and I were a similar story when we decided to switch from Sprint. Spending $160/mo for unlimited everything on 2 smartphones and using multiple Gbs of data because it was unlimited.

We were concerned our usage was going to lead to a large bill with another carrier, but decided to migrate our phones over to Ting once our contract ended. We have, for the most part, had no trouble keeping our data usage under 0.1 Gb since then. As Lady Smartass already pointed out, WiFi is everywhere (home, work, shops, etc.). Google Maps for nav and in the car are the only places we need it, and that's only occasionally.

Our average bill for 2 phones is ~$45/mo. You buy phones from them directly, BYOD, or buy from someplace else (e.g. Swappa, ebay)

Check out the Official Ting Referral Thread and grab a code to save on your bill if you decide to give it a try. No contract, so you can always switch it up.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mustachian-marketplace/official-ting-referral-thread/

specialkayme

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2017, 07:38:28 PM »
My data usage, on average, ranges from 0.3-0.5 gb per month. About 40% of that is random internet web surfing, merely because I "can." Occasionally I get stranded in random places for work, but probably only about once or twice a year. My wife, however, averages between 1.5-2.5 gb per month. Sometimes more. She's a fan of browsing facebook while at work, which is somewhat of an issue for me, but that's another issue. Her family is all in europe and to keep in touch with them she likes to facetime with her. She's very close to her family, so its difficult for me to suggest she gives it up (or cuts back). Right now I've repeatedly ask that she do it on wifi, and most of the time she does, but not always. Hence the data useage. I've broached the subject of switching to fi about 6 months ago, but since they don't support iPhones she flipped as she'd no longer be able to use facetime. I got her to realize that she can make a mobile hotspot with her phone and facetime on an ipad if she really needs to and there is no wifi, and she's open to the idea.

But I'm mainly more interested in cutting my bill, not necessarily my data usage. I'd love it if she decreased, but there's only so much I can expect.

Anyway, if I switch I'll need to make sure there is no contract involved, in the event coverage isn't good. Google Fi and Ting appear to cover that area. 2 phones and 4 gigs of useage for Ting would run me about $66 a month, and Google Fi about $75 (but Fi I could get rebates for unused gigs). Ting I can bring an Iphone over (assuming its unlocked . . . how do I know if my phone is unlocked?), but Google Fi requires me to buy a new phone. I'm really not a fan of buying a new phone to move over, only because if it doesn't work out I'm stuck with an extra phone (even if its used, its what about $100?).

How have you found the coverage of Ting and Fi?

Seeing my additional points, anything else you can suggest for me?

YummyRaisins

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2017, 07:49:12 PM »
My data usage, on average, ranges from 0.3-0.5 gb per month. About 40% of that is random internet web surfing, merely because I "can." Occasionally I get stranded in random places for work, but probably only about once or twice a year. My wife, however, averages between 1.5-2.5 gb per month. Sometimes more. She's a fan of browsing facebook while at work, which is somewhat of an issue for me, but that's another issue. Her family is all in europe and to keep in touch with them she likes to facetime with her. She's very close to her family, so its difficult for me to suggest she gives it up (or cuts back). Right now I've repeatedly ask that she do it on wifi, and most of the time she does, but not always. Hence the data useage. I've broached the subject of switching to fi about 6 months ago, but since they don't support iPhones she flipped as she'd no longer be able to use facetime. I got her to realize that she can make a mobile hotspot with her phone and facetime on an ipad if she really needs to and there is no wifi, and she's open to the idea.

But I'm mainly more interested in cutting my bill, not necessarily my data usage. I'd love it if she decreased, but there's only so much I can expect.

Anyway, if I switch I'll need to make sure there is no contract involved, in the event coverage isn't good. Google Fi and Ting appear to cover that area. 2 phones and 4 gigs of useage for Ting would run me about $66 a month, and Google Fi about $75 (but Fi I could get rebates for unused gigs). Ting I can bring an Iphone over (assuming its unlocked . . . how do I know if my phone is unlocked?), but Google Fi requires me to buy a new phone. I'm really not a fan of buying a new phone to move over, only because if it doesn't work out I'm stuck with an extra phone (even if its used, its what about $100?).

How have you found the coverage of Ting and Fi?

Seeing my additional points, anything else you can suggest for me?

Using mobile data when WiFi is available? That makes very little sense. Still, if $20/mo will spare you marital issues, it's probably worth it. Also, using her cell phone as a hotspot will still use mobile data, assuming I understand mobile hotspots correctly.

Ting uses as combo on Sprint and T-mobile networks. I haven't noticed any issues in places I've lived (currently living North of Boston). I have no experience with Google Fi. You might want to check out this thread for more info: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-discussion-thread-1/

pbnj

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2017, 08:16:19 PM »
AT&T Go Phone plan ; unlimited text and minutes, 6 GB data per month $43 with tax.  That includes a $5/mo discount for auto pay.  The also offer a cheaper plan with 1 GB.

specialkayme

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2017, 07:29:23 AM »
Using mobile data when WiFi is available? That makes very little sense.

Usually not. Occasionally she'll facetime while as a passenger and I'm driving somewhere, or when we're out of the house and not at a wifi spot. With a 7 hour time difference, sometimes the opportunities to talk are limited. I've asked her to hold off on a phone call till we get to a wifi spot, and most of the time she does. Sometimes not (and when a phone call can last an hour, it eats up data fast).

Still, if $20/mo will spare you marital issues, it's probably worth it.

Agreed. :)

AT&T Go Phone plan ; unlimited text and minutes, 6 GB data per month $43 with tax.  That includes a $5/mo discount for auto pay.  The also offer a cheaper plan with 1 GB.

That appears to be for a single phone. For two lines (one at 6 GB and the other at 1 GB [likely to be hers and his, respectively]) it would be about $65 /m pre tax. It appears to be inline with Ting (@ 4 gb shared $66/m) and Google Fi (@ 4 gb shared $75/m - with the possibility of getting a credit back for unused data).

Chris @ Saturday Financial

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2017, 04:32:47 PM »
Page Plus Cellular also has a $55/month plan your wife could use that offers unlimited data. (8GB at regular speed, then throttled speed.) They're also compatible with most iPhones and you can BYOD. I've been very happy with them, and I really like being on Verizon towers in my particular area.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2017, 05:35:26 PM »
My wife recently switched from Verizon post-paid, over to Total Wireless pre-paid.  She is currently using a Motorola G4 phone.  She's using the 5gb/mo individual plan, which comes to about $33/month (if you agree to automatic monthly renewal on your credit card).  It uses Verizon's network.

The switch was seamless and phone coverage, voice quality, 4G data, etc., appears identical to what she had on Verizon.  No drawbacks that I can tell thus far.

Total Wireless also offers a family plan that's a bit cheaper per person.  Check out their website.  If you want to sign up, you'll need to get a Total Wireless SIM card, which you can buy at Walmart for $5.  My understanding is that on TW, you get your allotted data, and cannot exceed that amount in a given month -- it just plain stops.  (You can buy more if you need.)  In a way, that's kind of nice, since you won't get any surprise excess charges.

I am currently using Google Fi, with a Nexus 5X, and like the international roaming + data.  I'm mostly near wifi, so my monthly data usage is like .4 to .6 gb in most months, which costs me around $25/mo.  The Total Wireless cost for data is so ridiculously cheap, however, that I might switch to it.  The international aspect of Google Fi probably doesn't outweigh the vastly greater data provided by TW for not much more $.

RK1451

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2017, 09:37:37 AM »
I used Page Plus for a while and was pretty happy with it (they use Verizon towers, but are generally cheaper than Verizon).  You can bring your old Verizon phones as long as you're out of contract. 

I recently switched to Tracfone.  For my usage, Tracfone ended up being even cheaper than Page Plus.  As long as you use a CDMA phone on Tracfone, it will use the Verizon towers.  They have all kinds of weird deals that make it a little difficult to figure out (a triple minutes/data/text offer that's available on some plans/phones and not others, plus they offer plans for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 1 year, etc., so you have to remember to divide cost and what's offered by # of days).  I found the website Tracfone Reviewer really helpful in figuring out what made the most sense for me.  I ended up buying a new Galaxy Sky, bundled with 1.3 GB, 1300 min., and 1300 texts, and one year of service time.  As soon as you run out of either service time or min/gb/texts, you just buy a new amount, whatever you need. I paid $120 for the whole bundle (phone and plan) on QVC, and I still haven't used up everything (so for my usage that $120 got me at least 5 months of usage and a decent phone).  Once I use up the bundle, I'll start buying their 60-day smart phone plan that costs $23.75 on auto-refill (so $11.88/month). 

For you, since you use .3-.5 GB per month, check out the Tracfone smartphone plan that is $45 for 90 service Days and 1.5 GB of data, 750 min and 1,000 texts.  In monthly terms, that's $15/month for .5 GB, 250 min, and 333 texts. 
For your wife, you could do the same plan, and add on two additional $10 data cards to get 2.5GB per month, 250 min, 333 texts for a total of $35.  That would be $50/month to cover both of you at your existing data usage, with the same Verizon tower coverage you're getting.   Tracfone does allow you to BYOD as long as it's paid off and out of contract, so when your Verizon contract expires you can probably just bring your current phones (the Tracfone Reviewer site has a lot more info on how to do that).

Before trying Page Plus and Tracfone, I also tried Republic Wireless (at the MMM recommendation) - unfortunately the Sprint coverage in our rural area is terrible, so it didn't work well for me.   


Holyoak

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Re: Cell Phone Options
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2017, 10:03:35 AM »
AT&T Go Phone plan ; unlimited text and minutes, 6 GB data per month $43 with tax.  That includes a $5/mo discount for auto pay.  The also offer a cheaper plan with 1 GB.

I have used this $40/mo with auto-pay service going on four years, with nary a complaint.  I'm NOT a cell phoneophile, so perhaps I'm missing something, but I love my Nokia/Microsoft 640 Windows phone.  Paid $29, and it far exceeds any need I have.  I hate that MS stopped making these reliable, good performing Windows phones.  Had the Nokia 520 prior, and found the OS to be easy to use, and reliable.