Author Topic: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month  (Read 4572 times)

MrSal

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How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« on: January 06, 2015, 07:27:05 PM »
Hello everyone,

Recent forum user but I've been following the blog for almost a year now! I am also new to this land of US of A, coming all the way from Europe.

I share a tip of how to pretty much have 0$ cell phone bill!

Coming from Europe, I was astounded to find extremely expensive plans to what I was used to. Everything I looked for was 50-80 dollares a month for not so good service it seemed. Additionally, it seems I'm stuck in a universe where people just buy phones from operators instead of buying them directly from the manufacturer, which means if they're unhappy with their carrier usually they can't use that phone in their carriers.

It didn't make sense! I already had my phone from Europe wwhich was an unlocked phone already with all the GSM bands available.

Finally after much research I was able to devise the following plan:

- Sign up for H20 Wireless and used their PAYG plan of 10 dollars which comes with 300 minutes of voice and data and texting is charged as well. I'm usually within an area where I have WiFi much like MMM and sure 300 minutes may not be enough. Actually I use more than that during a 3 month period. This 10 dollar plan has 90 day expiration and is what allows it to be so cheap. Usually even Straight Talk or Cellular Wireless have expiration periods small than that. It means you are paying 40 bucks a year for a phone number with 1200 minutes in it.

Now... here's where having a smartphone (unlike those crappy StraightTalk plans with straighttalk phones) comes handy:

Setup a Google Voice account and setup your own phone number. Forward everything to your SIM card from H20 phone number, so that in case you're out of a Wifi area people can still reach you.

In the end result... I have unlimited minutes of voice + 300 minutes in case of emergency or when you're out of WIFI area... and unlimited texting.

Plus the benefits of having an unlocked phone. Whenever I want, I can just switch carrier and don't even have to port my phone number -  my phone number which I give people is my GVoice number so I can just go to the dashboard and forward it to a new number.

All in all, I am now paying 3.33 USD per month.

If I ever am in need of more I can just change it with H20 for that specific month.

You can get yourself a good smartphone unlocked from Huawei or others for around 50-99 bucks... you can have a TOP OF THE LINE smartphone totally unlocked from any carrier for about 200-300 USD especially from the very recent chineses techological companies such as OPPO (a luxurious blue ray company that spinned off with smartphones now), Xiaomi (the latest flagship killer) where it's considered the best Android phone for -50-70% of what a normla flagship costs ... or 1+ One.

With this setup I can call whoever and my Google voice number will always show up as the ID instead of the carrier one. The same for texting, which is what you want.

This is in opinion much better than Republic Wireless, where you have to buy their specific phone. And it ends up being cheaper and probably less buggy as well since most Android ROMs that are tinkered by carriers are just pure garbage.

If you don't care about technology just buy a cheap smartphone like 50 usd or so and you're set. If you want something better, go to the top of chinese brands which are top of the line phones but they cost around 299 USD - which is still cheaper than what most people pay.

(For badassity's sake!! my father in law is paying 260 dollars for a 4 line plan with Verizon... with phones that after the contract expires are tough to make them work with other carriers - unless they use the same CDMA technology)
« Last Edit: January 06, 2015, 09:04:43 PM by MrSal »

Exflyboy

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2015, 07:45:07 PM »
Wait till you start paying for healthcare.. your phone will be the least of your worries!

Frank
Ex pat Brit

Hey It's Me

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2015, 08:44:53 PM »
Saving for later. Thanks, MrSal :)

MrSal

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2015, 09:00:58 PM »
Wait till you start paying for healthcare.. your phone will be the least of your worries!

Frank
Ex pat Brit

True... I have very good coverage thru my wife's employer though. She's a teacher and is one of the benefits, our whole family is covered thru her plan.

But if something really bad arises and I wouldn't have coverage, I'd just go to my home country and be treated there.

Same for school... my kids won't go to a University college most likely. I am not paying 20-30k a year for tuition when they have TOP world class schools in my country for free...although much can still happen until then so who knows...

Exflyboy

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2015, 09:43:55 PM »
Yup I thought that 17 years ago. After a certain time apparently you lose your right to free HC in the UK.. I think you have to live back there for 6 months or something.

My Wife is a teacher too, but we have a $750 deductable.. and funnily enough our HC costs are a little over $750 each per year.. funny that. As we have gotten a little older there are things we just need now.. I have a daily prescription, well thats $8 a month plus blood tests every year.. Yup about $750..:)

The "problem" there is more money here.. no way would we be millionairs back in the UK, engineers are just not paid that much.. So eventually the idea of moving back evaporates.

We are thinking of retiring properly somewhere else, maybe Brazil perhaps.. low COL, cheap HC.. We'll see..:)

Well done on the cell.. I'm at $5 a month myself although not as inventive as yourself..:)

Frank

MrSal

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2015, 10:21:21 PM »
Brazil?

That's expensive usually... it's gotten very expensive lately... You're from Britain ... there are a lot of expats in Portugal, namely in the South.

Life is cheap there.

I have no idea what the deductible in ours is... but I actually think it's very very low because we rarely pay out of pocket expenses. We just pay 20 dollars for a consult or specialist and last month my wife had a minor surgery and she wasn't even charged but I'll have to check into that.

As for health care I've read that my country accepts everyone even when it's not legally to do so. It's in the constitution that no one should never be rejected treatment no matter their condition (foreigner, illegal immigrant, etc) ... but we'll see.

Regarding your 5 USD plan.. care to share? :)

Daley

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2015, 10:32:32 PM »
It's a good start, MrSal. It's also possible to go even lower (and more flexible) with a different provider, and this approach has been covered (loosely) both in the guide and in greater detail here.

If you go with Truphone instead, although outbound minutes and texts run 9 a pop along with data by the MB, incoming minutes and texts are free, and Truphone doesn't expire minutes or have a minimum monthly charge so long as the account stays active. Bonus advantage with Truphone, they have roaming on both AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the US and the same rates in seven other countries. It can also be done on the Sprint CDMA end using RingPlus on their $2/month Kate plan.

Sign up for H20 Wireless and used their PAYG plan of 10 dollars which comes with 300 minutes of voice and data and texting is charged as well. I'm usually within an area where I have WiFi much like MMM and sure 300 minutes may not be enough. Actually I use more than that during a 3 month period. This 10 dollar plan has 90 day expiration and is what allows it to be so cheap. Usually even Straight Talk or Cellular Wireless have expiration periods small than that. It means you are paying 40 bucks a year for a phone number with 1200 minutes in it.

I would like to point out a correction to your post, however. It's 200 minutes or texts or 100MB of data. Otherwise, you're quite correct. Better options do exist out there than Tracfone and Republic. Just takes a little bit of effort and education.

MrSal

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2015, 10:50:31 PM »
wow truphone seems better than even my solution. Do they have GSM plans?

I don't think i ever came across them before.

I'm gonna look them up!! and if it interests me ... ill change! the benefits of unlocked phone and a google number :)

thanks for sharing
« Last Edit: January 06, 2015, 11:01:41 PM by MrSal »

Daley

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2015, 11:09:30 PM »
wow truphone seems better than even my solution. Do they have GSM plans?

They use AT&T and T-Mobile here stateside, so yes, it's GSM.

All I ask if you switch to them is to not abuse it by freeloading too heavily (lots of incoming calls but not an equal amount of outgoing, that sort of thing). It's a great deal, but it only takes a couple people crapping in the well to poison the potable water for everyone. So please be frugal (and consequently respectful of the company's bottom line), not cheap.

MrSal

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2015, 11:37:36 PM »
thanks for sharing ill look into them ... don't worry im not much of a voice caller anyhow but it's good to know.

I've only been in the country for 6 weeks or so... so absorbing all this has been a challenge. I miss my prepaid 10 dollar plan with 2 GB of 4G data and unlimited texts and calling in my country through Vodafone!

Daley

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 12:02:43 AM »
Not a problem, I mostly just said what I did because I know there's a lot of stingy chuckleheads around the forums these days who would burn the world to save a nickel, and wouldn't think twice about abusing anything provided for "free" with zero regard to the company in question. Truphone's a decent enough outfit, and free incoming calls and texts with mobile service is a blessed rarity in this country.

Unfortunately, I also know that less than 2% of any userbase abuse frequently shapes and defines policy for the other 98%... I certainly know that's what shapes Republic's usage and legal policies and one of the reasons why I still believe it's not a maintainable model long term.

I miss my prepaid 10 dollar plan with 2 GB of 4G data and unlimited texts and calling in my country through Vodafone!

Welcome to the United States, please enjoy our deregulation and monopolies! Now gimme your wallet.

MrSal

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2015, 12:56:25 AM »
And I also miss my triple play Fiber internet+TV+phone package of 100 Mbps internet speed for 24.90 !!! :D

Noawadays i'm paying 55 usd just for crappy 24 Mbps internet ONLY!

cakie

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2015, 01:57:52 AM »
free incoming calls and texts with mobile service is a blessed rarity in this country.

Is charging for incoming calls/texts a common thing in the US? I have only heard about it in the context of receiving calls while roaming overseas (on another carrier's network). How interesting...

shadowmoss

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Re: How to pay very little for cellphone !!! 3USD Month
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2015, 05:47:52 AM »
Something to be aware of when using unlocked phones bought outside of the US is that AT&T data for 3G/4G uses different frequencies than phones usually have if not bought here.  I just went though this.  I use Consumer Cellular as my phone service, and I was using a phone I bought out of China.  I am not a big data user so just figured that the fact that the maps/GPS function not working and only getting Edge (2G) speeds was something I just needed to research and change a setting on my phone.  I dropped that phone and broke it, so needed a new one (ok, didn't need a NEW one, but a different one) and went back to Chinavasion.com again.  Fell in love with one of their phones but started reading the fine print this time to verify that it would work.  Nope, nothing on that site would work with the frequencies that the independents using AT&T towers use.  Especially 4G.  I figured if I'm buying a new phone, I want it to work right, so ended up with a Huawei Consumer Cellular branded phone.  It has almost everything the one I originally wanted, a bit less cost ($250) and works on the towers here in the US.