Author Topic: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!  (Read 6183 times)

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« on: November 04, 2014, 07:36:18 AM »
I need to make a frickin' decision and stop overthinking this.

I have a crappy android phone from Tracfone (ZTE Valet). The phone is lame, but I've always been relatively happy with Tracfone service (works well in my mountainous area). But I want a decent phone. They now have BYOP as an option, so here's what I'm considering. Caveat: apparently you can only activate phones with Tracfone's BYOP plan that have been used on the Verizon network for 6 months.

1. Buy a Verizon Moto G or maybe iPhone 4 or 4s and sign up for the Verizon prepaid plan for 6 months, but barely use it. Then get out of that and sign up with Tracfone and transfer my number. I know I could buy a used phone that has already been used on Verizon, but they seem almost as expensive as the new ones and it's hard to know what you're getting when you buy used. Once I transfer to Tracfone, spending $10/month with their value plan would give me plenty of data and talk/text.
2. Just go with Republic Wireless. But I'm afraid I won't get good coverage in the mountains with Sprint. Also, their $10 plan would leave me without data if there's no wireless around. And my home internet connection is meh, so RW might not serve me that well at home--I've heard folks have had issues with certain routers, internet speeds (mine is 2.5 mbps), etc.

I want a smart phone because I want a decent camera with me all the time, I want access to maps, and I want to be able to check email in a pinch. I don't anticipate being a heavy user otherwise.

Thoughts? I did do some forum searches but couldn't turn up this exact issue--apologies if I'm asking something that's already been hashed and rehashed on the forums. I guess what I'm wondering is whether any of you have activated an old Verizon phone on Tracfone--how did it go? I've also heard scary stuff about RW's TOS thingy you have to sign...not sure what the story is with that....

Thanks y'all.








skunkfunk

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2014, 07:39:44 AM »
Republic Wireless does free domestic roaming. They don't do data roaming, I think, but if you're on the $10 plan that's immaterial.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2014, 07:53:56 AM »
If you're already needing to buy a new device, Republic is probably your best bet.

The exception is if you plan on doing a lot of international traveling over the next few years, in which case I would get a used or new unlocked GSM phone and use it on either AirVoice or P'Tel. I am on AirVoice and I've been quite happy.

Daley

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2014, 08:02:12 AM »
Odds are, if you're in a mountainous region and opting for Verizon specific coverage, that places yet another mark against Republic. Besides, a little VoIP knowledge lets you save just as much money on your own using the same approach using any MVNO to fall back on that you like.

This said, you don't need to stick with Tracfone to get Verizon coverage as there are other more flexible Verizon MVNOs, including Page Plus which is (unfortunately) owned by the same parent company (I typically don't recommend America Movil products) and Selectel. Selectel only does non-LTE handset activation currently, but PP will on any $30/month or higher plans. If you want one of their cheaper plans, you're back to using a non-LTE CDMA handset. If you do go Page Plus, look into doing setup through their dealer Kitty Wireless.

Anyway, don't let the options overwhelm you, just educate and inform yourself first.

MrBuckBeard

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2014, 08:07:01 AM »
I'm going to tell you my story, and you can decide if it applies to you or not.

I had a Nexus 4 with T-Mobile.  I loved it, but one day it was lost.  I bought a Note 3 from T-Mobile.  Big screen.  Fancy features.  Really nice.  My price for the phone was $800.  That was added, interest free, into my T-Mobile bill.  I paid $112 per month.

I found MMM and started to make changes to my life.  But one thing I held onto was my T-Mobile service.  By that point, I still owed $400 on the Note 3.  So canceling service with T-Mobile would mean I had to pay off the phone immediately.  The fancy phone, combined with the cost of leaving T-Mobile, didn't make it seem worth leaving.  Even when faced with Republic Wireless, who's bill after taxes is around $30 or $50 per month for 3g/4g.  So for the longest time, I resisted.

Finally, I had an epiphany.  It was about the same time as my fancy phone's battery was dying (fancy phones eat batteries for breakfast, then want more by mid-afternoon).  $30 per month means that I could pay for 4 months of service by the time I paid for one month at T-Mobile.  Nothing about my phone was worth it.  But one last thing held me back: My girlfriend's old crappy Android phone, a Motorola Droid Razr (1st Gen).  Her phone sucked, in the same way it sounds like your phone sucks.  I didn't want that.

But finally I decided to test out Republic.  I even went with the Moto G, instead of the latest and greatest Moto X.  That meant I only needed the 3g plan.  The phone arrived, and I was prepared to ship it back with at "well I tried" attitude. 

The thing is, the phone is snappy.  I'm a Sys Admin, so I care a bit about technology.  But the Moto G is fantastic.  I can't imagine a phone that only cost $179 off contract working this well.  The menu has no lag.  There is no determinable difference between how well the apps run.  I am satisfied with my G. 

Now the one week side is the phone's camera.  It's not the best in the world, but it's not bad either.  If cameras are your thing, I hear the X does slightly better with them, so you might be justified in spending the $300 for that phone.  But either way, 3g is fast enough to stream Youtube and Pandora without any lag for me.  You can probably get the $25 ($30ish with taxes) plan and be just fine.

This phone is decent.  It's beyond decent.  And like you, years ago I had a crappy Net10 phone which sucked.  It would run out of memory.  It wouldn't install apps.  GPS would tell me more about where I came from then where I was going.  But Republic has the frugal market covered with an affordable phone which ROCKS. 

So my vote is for RW.  I know you're worried about coverage in the mountains.  They have a generous return policy.  Pick one up, and see if it works for you.  Keep your current phone while you test the RW one out.  If your old phone is still active, you can port that number right over to RW, so keeping it live makes sense, regardless if your test goes well or badly.

Cheers!

Exflyboy

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2014, 11:34:41 AM »
Our home internet is 1.4Mbs.. RW works great, even when surfing the web at the same time.

Frank

surfhb

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2014, 11:47:51 AM »
Going slightly off topic but studies have been conducted recently and have shown the avg user will spend around 4 years of their life glued to a smart phone for whatever reason.   Simple things like looking up direction, reading restaurant reviews (at the restaurant your freakin eating at!) Facebook, ect 

4 years!!

I just bought a used dumb phone off CL and going to a family plan with my parents for $27 a month....it's not the money but the time wasting.    I find myself looking at my iphone for no reason what so ever.   

It's my opinion only, but I think the pervasiveness of smart phones is becoming a problem.   Next time you're in public keep a special eye on how many people are looking at their phones....especially in social groups of 2 or more.    It's odd sometimes to watch
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 11:53:45 AM by surfhb »

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2014, 12:03:39 PM »
The exception is if you plan on doing a lot of international traveling over the next few years, in which case I would get a used or new unlocked GSM phone and use it on either AirVoice or P'Tel. I am on AirVoice and I've been quite happy.

T-Mobile offers free text, and data roaming now and voice at a discounted rate.  My ex took hers to China and the Philippines and sure enough, no text or data charges and the voice call was whatever the advertized rate was.  No need to change SIM or anything, it just worked automatically in whatever country she was in.

themagicman

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2014, 12:09:22 PM »
I have republic now and love it but if you are not wanting to go with them (Do not like their phones or the service doesn't work well for you) then I would suggest going with straight talk, I had them for a couple of years

Their customer service is terrible but other than that it is a good deal! It was 42.50 a month after auto pay and it included unlimited talk, text, and data (throttled after 2.5 gb) You were able to bring any unlocked phone without stipulations of where it was activated before. I would suggest the nexus if you are needing a new one. You can choose to have straight talk with ATT service or Tmobile depending on the service in your area.

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2014, 12:30:54 PM »
Thanks for all the replies!

I want to keep this monthly expense low--like $10 to $15--so that rules out a lot of companies. I've looked at Straight Talk many times, for example, but no way I'm spending that much on the cell phone every month. Hence the idea of buying the $90 Verizon Moto G on Amazon and doing their prepaid plan for the requisite 6 months (but barely using it) and then switching to Tracfone via their BYOP plan and doing their $10/month value plan. I'm surprised nobody out there has tried this! I'm a bit scared that it won't work for some reason.

I totally agree that people spend too much time on their phones. That's the one benefit of having a lame smart phone--it sure isn't worth fooling around with. But at times I do want the data to access email or maps. If I have limited data, I think that should keep me from overindulging. I'm not a rabid texter or talker either.

It's good to hear positive feedback about RW and the Moto G. Since I can change my mind within 30 days, maybe I should try them first. I wonder if they'll have any holiday deals coming up soon.....

I.P. Daley--I looked for more info in your tech threads about your concerns about RW's terms of service--can you say more about that or point me towards something you've already written about it?

Much thanks!



Daley

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2014, 12:52:22 PM »
I.P. Daley--I looked for more info in your tech threads about your concerns about RW's terms of service--can you say more about that or point me towards something you've already written about it?

Regarding this particular point, all I can recommend is that you take the time to read all of their legal contracts yourself, and remember that any terms and conditions presented are there solely to be used, then consider if these are terms you actually want to agree to.... especially after you compare them to the legal agreements from the core providers that I recommend. If you're going to consider entering into a service contract with them (or anyone else), you might as well know what that contract says. The biggest highlights are a $500+ termination fee for undefined service "abuse" and a privacy policy that allows them to track and datamine you for their profit. Also keep in mind that less than ~2% of their user base is responsible for the new roaming policy. Expect the same percentage to keep adding more asterisks to the actual mobile end of their service over the coming months and years.

All this aside, however, it's only one third of my total argument. The other two thirds consists of call and support quality, and actual services rendered for the prices paid. Combined in total and armed with a little knowledge, the "deal" rapidly loses its appeal when measured against the competition by an educated consumer.

My best advice to you is to not fall into the unlimited weasel word trap and to simply pay for what you actually need...

...and remember, there's nothing keeping you from using VoIP at home to keep your calling costs low through other providers, either.

Daley

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2014, 01:01:46 PM »
I'm going to tell you my story, and you can decide if it applies to you or not.

Just a brief observation: A T-Mobile MVNO and a new battery on your schmancy $800 handset (or even a carrier unlocked GSM Moto G after selling off that other phone) instead of your Republic switch likely would have placed you into a ROI price differential of three plus years before you even broke even going with Republic versus going with say, P'tel or GoSmart, when you factor taxes as well. Using what you already have instead of generating further electronic waste and fulelling the consumerist treadmill is also far more frugal than running out and buying a new phone just to try and save a couple bucks over the competition.

Bob W

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2014, 01:22:10 PM »
I had my daughter try a RW MOTOX for 4 months.   $10 plan.  I just ordered me up the $99 MOTOE for me on the $10 plan.   

You will be fine checking your email only when near wifi IMHO.   I lived for 40 years without a cell phone, so having a portable working phone is a damn miracle in itself!

Try the RW route.  If you don't like it return it. 

By the way, my cell phone bill is slowly going down from $160 to $30 per month for an annual savings of $1,560.  That is real money!   

themagicman

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2014, 01:29:43 PM »
I have always been a big user of my cell phone data. I use to think there wasn't any way I could be fine without it. I decided to try RW $10 plan for a month and it wasn't as big of a problem as I thought! I can find wifi pretty much anywhere and I download podcasts and youtube videos in the morning on my phone to listen to on the way to work each day. I also downloaded a gps app that does not require data (it saved portions of the maps to your phone)

FarmerPete

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2014, 09:10:28 AM »
Been using RW since April.  I really want to ditch the smart phone, but I haven't found a way to replace the features on a dumb phone.  My wife and I use Google Calendar to keep our own and combined schedules in sync.  I love having good to-do lists and whatnot available.  I don't want to go back to the T9 entry crap that dumb phones require.  I went two weeks on RW's $10 plan last month, and I plan on trying to beat that record as often as possible.  It's easy to get rid of data on regular days, as my work and home have accessible WiFi.  It's when I travel that I really want the data.  That's part of what I like about RW.

Really though, if it existed around here before, I would have gone with Cricket wireless.  Five people on a share plan can get great ATT service for $20 a month.  I'm already sick of Sprints network, and that's even with VZ roaming.

Ricky

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Re: Thinking way too damn much about cell phones!
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2014, 04:43:41 PM »
Republic works nearly everywhere because Sprint has roaming agreements with Verizon and many other rural providers. I don't know which "mountains" you live in, but like I said coverage should be a non issue. They do allow data roaming but only 25mb worth.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 04:51:50 PM by Ricky »