Author Topic: Smart phone . . . how to?  (Read 4628 times)

MrsPete

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Smart phone . . . how to?
« on: October 09, 2014, 05:47:49 PM »
My daughters have expressed an interest -- multiple times -- in "upgrading" their dumb phones to smart phones.  I'm willing and able to do this as their Christmas present . . . and I'm looking into HOW to do it.  I did some reading about the Republic Wireless, Consumer Cellular and Ting programs, and I thought those options sounded great -- I thought I was in the home stretch, simply choosing which was the best option for me -- and I was kind of liking Consumer Cellular, though I'm not their senior citizen demographic . . . 'til we ran into THE PROBLEM:

My oldest daughter is a college student in a mountainous area.  She tells me that pretty much NO cell phone service works in her area except for Verizon (which is what we have now).  She tells me that all of her college friends who came to school with Sprint or AT&T phones switched fast.  Today I went to the Verizon store, and I asked them a couple questions; in my mind, the most important being, "I've been reading about these budget carriers.  Why should I stay with you instead of going with them?"  And their answer was, in a word, COVERAGE.  Then they showed me maps of the country, and -- sure enough -- my daughter's college area is NOT covered by the other guys.

So -- unless y'all realize something I don't -- I think I am forced to stay with Verizon.  After all, I'm not going to go with a phone carrier that won't allow me to call my daughter.  That would be poor value. 

My real question:  With these circumstances, do I have options other than going with Verizon's full-priced plan? 




Elle 8

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Re: Smart phone . . . how to?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014, 06:02:34 PM »
Hi - First check out I.P. Daley's two sticky threads at the top of the Share Your Badassity section:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/

I use Page Plus Cellular which runs on Verizon's network.

blub

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Re: Smart phone . . . how to?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014, 06:03:39 PM »
There are budget carriers ("MVNOs") on the Verizon network, with the same (or very close to the same) coverage. I was with Page Plus, on the Verizon network, for a few years until recently: https://www.pagepluscellular.com/.

windypig

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Re: Smart phone . . . how to?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 08:11:10 PM »
MVNO operators on Verizon: via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_mobile_virtual_network_operators

Affinity Cellular    Verizon    CDMA    affinitycellular.com    No    Markets exclusively to members of the American Automobile Association.
BYO Wireless    Verizon    CDMA    byowireless.com    CDMA only (no SIM cards)    
FamilyTalk Wireless    Verizon    CDMA    familytalkwireless.com    CDMA only (no SIM cards)    
Flash Wireless    Verizon    CDMA    flashwireless.com    CDMA only (no SIM cards)    This is Verizon's generic bandwidth; Verizon in all but name, billed at discounts in the name of Flash Wireless, with proceeds apportioned towards the charity of Will-Play-for-Food.
NET10 Wireless    Verizon    CDMA    net10wireless.com    CDMA only (no SIM cards)    Allows activation of 3G Verizon devices.
Page Plus Cellular    Verizon    CDMA,
LTE band 13/4    pagepluscellular.com    YES[8]    Subsidiary of TracFone Wireless/América Móvil. Allows activations of most 3G and 4G Verizon phones including iPhones 4/4S and Blackberry. Limited to 3G speeds. iPhones now officially supported.
Proven Wireless    Verizon    CDMA    provenwireless.com    CDMA only (LTE SIM cards)    
Ready Mobile    Verizon    CDMA    readymobile.com    No    Owned by MVNA, Ready Wireless
Red Pocket Mobile    Verizon    CDMA    goredpocket.com    CDMA only (no SIM cards)    
Selectel Wireless    Verizon    CDMA    selectelwireless.com    CDMA only (no SIM cards)    Activates Verizon 3G devices (excluding BlackBerry). Coverage includes Verizon and its roaming partners.
Straight Talk    Verizon    CDMA    straighttalk.com    CDMA only (no SIM cards)    Subsidiary of TracFone Wireless/América Móvil. Phones using Verizon's network are labeled "CDMA-V" on the packaging. Limited BYOP available at straighttalkbyop.com.
Telcel América    Verizon    CDMA,
850/1900MHZ    telcelamerica.com    No    Subsidiary of TracFone Wireless/América Móvil. Marketed to Hispanic consumers.
TracFone

gimp

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Re: Smart phone . . . how to?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 08:11:50 PM »
RW roams on verizon just fine. Which is great for emergencies. Terrible for anything else.

I don't doubt that there's essentially no coverage in most mountains, or if there is, it's only verizon. So a verizon reseller might be the best bet.

MrsPete

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Re: Smart phone . . . how to?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2014, 06:22:05 AM »
Okay, this Page Plus looks promising -- except that their phone choices are kind of crappy.  I will investigate the "bring your own device" idea and see what we could bring in.  I don't mind buying a nice phone upfront, if that'll allow for BOTH a good phone AND low price month-to-month. 

Thanks for the point in the right direction!

Left

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Re: Smart phone . . . how to?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2014, 07:32:34 AM »
you could get her a microcell/femtocell/etc (same thing/different things) that uses wifi to convert to cell signal so she'll get service in her room. won't work if she needs it around the campus though

ADK_Junkie

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Re: Smart phone . . . how to?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2014, 07:55:35 AM »
A couple of points to consider:

Remember that Republic Wireless primarily uses WiFi... which most colleges have completely covered their campuses with WiFi.

If she's off campus for an activity, RW still works with Verizon for voice (which is all you need in an emergency or sticky situation).

Also, instead of going to a Verizon store, you need to go to a Sprint store to get the truth.  The maps Verizon uses are dated and wrong (shameless self promotion).  Also, I'd be very surprised if the all the cell phone companies weren't covering the college area.  Just like everything else, cell phone companies probably have colleges "covered" before other areas since once you hook-em, they stay for a long time.

Finally, you need to be aware of the power of peer pressure (especially at the high school and college ages)... Maybe all the friends switched due more to the power of persuasion (of parents) than true needs.  It's very hard for most teenagers and young adults to not want status symbols (unless they are already outcasts).

MrsPete

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Re: Smart phone . . . how to?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 10:16:45 AM »
While I appreciate the idea about leaning heavily on WiFi, she lives off-campus.  She does have WiFi in her apartment, but she spends a portion of her day in the local hospitals (student nursing clinicals) and in her remaining three semesters will be traveling to other hospitals up to an hour away from her campus.  Also, I want her to have the ability to call from the road, if she should break down.  So, no, I don't see WiFi only as a reasonable option. 

No, I have verified from several sources that other carriers just don't work in this area.  The strongest evidence:  When they were freshmen, my daughter's roommate's phone flat-out wouldn't work . . . and she borrowed from my girl for a week or so, and then her parents got her a new phone and actually drove it up to her.  I can't remember her carrier.  And while I can see a spoiled teen saying, "I want the newest iPhone 6!", I don't see Verizon vs. Sprint as a status symbol.   

Elle 8

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Re: Smart phone . . . how to?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2014, 09:31:21 AM »
Okay, this Page Plus looks promising -- except that their phone choices are kind of crappy.  I will investigate the "bring your own device" idea and see what we could bring in.  I don't mind buying a nice phone upfront, if that'll allow for BOTH a good phone AND low price month-to-month. 

Thanks for the point in the right direction!

Hi MrsPete.  For a better selection of phones that will work on Page Plus, check out Kitty Wireless, a Page Plus dealer: http://kittywireless.com
Page Plus recently upgraded to 4G LTE so the selection of phones has opened up. If you were planning to go with a pay-as-you-go or the $12 plan, they will not be allowed on 4G LTE.  However, you can still get a 3G device and be on the lower priced plans.  Sounds like you would need one of the other plans anyway so you should be fine.

Getting rid of Verizon and going on Page Plus has been one of my best mustachian changes, saving me $89 a month for two lines!!