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Old 07-31-2013, 01:52 PM   #101
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Last year we bought two used Motorola Droid smart phones on eBay for $60 each and signed on to a monthly agreement with PagePlus Cellular for $29.95 month for each phone. Service includes 1200 talk minutes, 3000 texts and 500 MB data. Goodbye to a $200/month Verizon contract!

This year when the kid's contracts are up, they are doing the same.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:05 PM   #102
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Last year we bought two used Motorola Droid smart phones on eBay for $60 each and signed on to a monthly agreement with PagePlus Cellular for $29.95 month for each phone. Service includes 1200 talk minutes, 3000 texts and 500 MB data. Goodbye to a $200/month Verizon contract!

This year when the kid's contracts are up, they are doing the same.
Sounds like that was a great plan. Was it hard to get them set up with your carrier? I just have the basic phone as I would never use the other features. I can use those on my iPad and slate tablet I have. I did go the Ziggy way and bought my GF a lower end smartphone last week, a Samsung Centura for $100. Reviewers said if you never have had a smartphone you will love it. Well she fit that bill and they were right. I saved hundreds for her little surprise gift. For all she knows it is an IPhone 10, compared to what she previously had.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:15 PM   #103
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Reviewers said if you never have had a smartphone you will love it. Well she fit that bill and they were right.
And if you don't use data -- if you only connect with wifi -- smartphone plans can be very cheap, too.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:55 PM   #104
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Sounds like that was a great plan. Was it hard to get them set up with your carrier?
No, for PagePlus, they use the Verizon network and all you need is a phone that was previously on a Verizon contract (not prepaid). If the phone has a "clean ESN" (off contract and not black listed for non-payment), you can activate the phone online with PagePlus or just call them for activation. It's very simple and painless, but requires a CDMA phone. Here is a link to their website:

https://www.pagepluscellular.com/

You can also buy a new phone from PagePlus's limited selection of offerings.

For AT&T product phones (GSM), people are using Straight Talk from Walmart as a monthly service similar to PagPlus.

Here's the difference between the two services:

StraightTalk vs Page Plus Cellular
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:04 PM   #105
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For AT&T product phones (GSM), people are using Straight Talk from Walmart as a monthly service similar to PagPlus.
For the more or less "unlimited" plans (with limits, LOL), Net10 also is in that space for AT&T, and both are $45 per month (Net10 requires autopay for that, or else it's $50). AT&T is more miserly on its data with its partner MVNOs than T-Mobile where plans with ST and Net10 (among others), so there are nuances. Straight Talk can "throttle" you on data without warning when you've hit some unpublished thresholds (most say about 2 GB in a month or more than 100 MB a day), and Net10 recently announced a 1.5 GB monthly cap if you are on AT&T's GSM network (but not applicable if you are using a phone using T-Mo's network).

I actually would prefer Net10's policy if I needed that much of a plan, since there is no arbitrary and unknown cutoff point. But in reality, the $10 monthly plan with H2O is more than enough for me, using maybe 30 minutes of calling and 50 texts a month. I could use data at 30 cents per MB with that plan, but I don't use data unless it's wifi (or maybe in an emergency if I needed data in the middle of nowhere). And the good thing about this plan is that what I don't use rolls over if I refresh before expiration, so if I need 3G data I'll have "banked" enough in reserve to do so.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:22 PM   #106
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You evidently do forgot sometimes, as I am not "demonstrating" any "hate rhetoric" at all. It is understandable though. If I was busy wearing out the pages of my thesaurus trying to find a $5 word when a nickel word would suffice just fine, I would forget the main purpose of the the other posters comment was too. I simply was explaining why consumers feel the way they do, and no amount of contracts or apples to apples comparison is going to change that.

Truth! You took the words right out of my mouth.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:24 PM   #107
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PagePlus has the pay as you go plans also from $10 to $80. The plans are good for 120 days except the $80 one which gives you 2000 minutes for $80 for a year. That's $0.04 minute and is a popular plan for just talk.

I had the 12 plan for a while (250/250/10MB) for $12/month. When I quit work, I'm going back to it as I don't care about data.

Seems like there are more and more of these plans and services popping up, which is a good thing.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:31 PM   #108
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I had the 12 plan for a while (250/250/10MB) for $12/month. When I quit work, I'm going back to it as I don't care about data.
And even if you sometimes used data, if you had a low-end smartphone that could use wifi, you'd still be fine.

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Seems like there are more and more of these plans and services popping up, which is a good thing.
No doubt. This market is one where we are clearly seeing business models adapting to consumer demand and desire. It doesn't always happen for various reasons, but *this* market is surely adapting to what the people are asking for. We don't all spend enough time tethered to our phones to justify spending $50-$100 per month. And to get back to the thread's topic, the pay TV industry has had a lot more time to mature than the cell phone industry, but they can't pull off the same kind of wide variety of options to service a wide variety of consumer needs. Some of that is systemic industry-specific, but some of it is just that they can't (or won't) adapt their business model.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:48 PM   #109
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The interesting thing with these TV channel packages that they tout as "so many choices" is that you really get a handful or real content channels and 250+ others, many of which are repeated. I think our Uverse package has 300 channels and I probably actually watch 5 or so. The subscribed movie channel extra like HBO must be on the way out with the advent of Netflix.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:51 PM   #110
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The interesting thing with these TV channel packages that they tout as "so many choices" is that you really get a handful or real content channels and 250+ others, many of which are repeated. I think our Uverse package has 300 channels and I probably actually watch 5 or so. The subscribed movie channel extra like HBO must be on the way out with the advent of Netflix.
A lot of people complain about the prices and say, "let me OUT of these religious and home shopping channels!" Not realizing that these "objectionable" (to them) channels actually PAY to be carried and thus subsidize the rest of their programming.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 07-31-2013, 06:39 PM   #111
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That describes my feelings pretty well. It's a pita to change phone, internet and TV providers, but that's what you have to do to get the best deals. It would be so much nicer if longevity and loyalty on the part of the customer yielded the best deals, but clearly not so. It means constantly staying on top of what contractual period you're in the midst of and which providers will provide the best "newbie" deals when you switch.

In terms of competition, I find that towns that give an exclusive distributorship to a cable company are doing their residents a disservice. In suburban Chicago, some smart towns have two active cable companies. Around here, those are commonly Comcast and WOW. I'm familiar with three cases that have that situation and in all three prices are lower and offerings more generous than we have in our "Comcast monopoly" town.

It's disgusting doing business with Comcast. I've let the town fathers hear that on numerous occasions.
Comcast went downhill when they centralized all their customer service in a few locations. It's probably different in the Chicago area, but in a small town, Comcast used to have a couple of girls in an office and maybe a dozen guys roaming the streets. A customer could get things done with a local office visit, or maybe even hailing a truck down in the neighborhood. Now they have one toll free number, 300 miles away, with $9 an hour CSR's that are as dumb as the day is long. They are the gatekeepers to getting anything done with your cable or internet. Still have a local office you can swap boxes out at, but all service calls are directed to the distant call center.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:50 PM   #112
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I have Dish at home and Fairpoint cable at work. They both keep me supplied with many wasted channels, and few I actually watch. For me a must watch is FSU men's basketball. When we are playing Duke or UNC, it will always be on a major network. But when the GT's and WF's roll around, you will be searching. ESPN3 ends up with many of those games, and Homey don't play that. There is always a link to a free streaming site on the game thread, and I clicked it one time. I spend two days cleaning all the malware of my work laptop, then found out it had got my home PC and laptop too, because I use Chrome. Well after that, I listened to a lot of games on the radio.
If prices keep escalating to watch sports on TV, there's going to be a lot of people listening to games on the radio. As soon as baseball season is over, I'm shutting off cable until next spring. Partly due to cost, and partly because the programming has become so bad.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:19 PM   #113
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Comcast went downhill when they centralized all their customer service in a few locations. It's probably different in the Chicago area, but in a small town, Comcast used to have a couple of girls in an office and maybe a dozen guys roaming the streets. A customer could get things done with a local office visit, or maybe even hailing a truck down in the neighborhood. Now they have one toll free number, 300 miles away, with $9 an hour CSR's that are as dumb as the day is long. They are the gatekeepers to getting anything done with your cable or internet. Still have a local office you can swap boxes out at, but all service calls are directed to the distant call center.
When I was working for the company they outsource through, I didn't know anyone working in a call center. I think they still had some, but at least for us, we were all at home, spread throughout the states, and my boss would always scold me a bit if she was listening to our calls and she heard me tell them where I lived :P I guess it's a big no-no for some reason.
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:51 AM   #114
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I don't think it is bias.
That's often part of the nature of bias.

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You are probably too young to remember Lilly Tomlin's telephone operator character's line (from the days before the Bell break-up) "Sir, we are the telephone company. We don't care. We don't have to."
I not only remember Tomlin's sketch, but I worked for the "telephone company" while we were regulated, with profits being a function of expenses. The history you're outlining helps explain the genesis of that specific set of biases.

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One large company with generally outstanding customer service is Apple. Will success spoil them?
What Apple sells is the experience. You can get everything you can get from Apple from lesser sellers, if you're willing to be treated worse.

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You evidently do forgot sometimes, as I am not "demonstrating" any "hate rhetoric" at all. It is understandable though. If I was busy wearing out the pages of my thesaurus trying to find a $5 word when a nickel word would suffice just fine, I would forget the main purpose of the the other posters comment was too.
I've evidently touched a nerve. I'm sorry that you got upset.

Regardless, if consumers sincerely felt the way you imply, they'd have government do something about it. As it is, inert and impotent, it's just hot air.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:32 AM   #115
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We use T-Mobile Pay as you go. We get data via wifi when we can and honestly it costs about $100 per year. Why do we need permanent data? That is what we asked ourselves. NAV in the car, Email when we connect. It is OK.

Cable is another thing, we Love and use Comcast on demand all the time. They have even started disabling FF to force the commercials on you on there too. (HATE Commercials) We have NO USE for a DVR, our life is not that Jam Packed.

It is expensive, we pay over $170pm for cable and internet. But what other choice is there? We cannot get ANY other internet where we live. We like HBO, Starz etc.

Overall it is relatively economical entertainment compared with going out all the time. We also have a media center that plays anything so it works out well. I get tons of content from the web at little to no cost.

Would we like it cheaper? Yes, but honestly there are a lot more things to worry about that saving $50 PM on cable & internet for inferior service. We would have Direct TV for TV if they has On Demand but then it would cost the same or more.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:23 AM   #116
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A new TV alternative is the $35 ChromeCast device from Google. With it you can display web pages on your TV. However, there are some problems and limitations with it including reports of the video and audio being 'out of sync' which can be very annoying. Still for $35, if you have internet service and wifi already, it might be worth a shot.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:51 AM   #117
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For those who may not know - if you have that T-Mobile 'Gold Status' pre-pay plan, you can also get data very cheaply if you only need it on occasion. With the Gold plan, once you have added $100, you can 'top off' for just $10, which extends the period for a year, and minutes roll over. It is great for DW and me, as we only use 5-10 minutes a month. I've got several years of minutes 'banked', unless my usage changes. So I now pay ~ 83 cents per month for each.

So DW wanted a 'smart phone', so I got a $200 Samsung at Walmart (T679 Exhibit). Just moved the SIM from her old dumb phone (which I keep as a back up) into the samsung. She uses all the 'smart' features while on wifi at home, so no extra costs, and she's happy (so I'm happy!) Now, if we need data away from wifi, like we are travelling, we can pay for it by the day. Just $2/day for unlimited text/talk, and slow data, or $3/day for unlimited on all (check those, I may have them mixed up a little - but close). So for occasional use, this is very cheap. And you can turn it on/off from your phone, and go right back to Gold status rates w/o any problem. You just need to have those dollars in your account.

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Old 08-01-2013, 02:10 PM   #118
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I don't think it is bias.
That's often part of the nature of bias.
Well that is a convenient, universal reply to claims of bias!

It reminds me of those statements that denial is the first sign of a problem. Doesn't really allow for an out, does it? Or "Is this the first time you beat your wife?".

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Old 08-01-2013, 02:46 PM   #119
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I have little doubt that all the Comcast-bashing is true. DW's nephew works for Comcast (hey, go easy on the guy - jobs are hard to find!) and the stories he tells! He started as a line tech but since it quickly became apparent he has more sense than a box of rocks and showed up on time for work he's now a regional manager.

But the stories are sort of like the best of Dear Abby and Dilbert combined.
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:21 PM   #120
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When I was working for the company they outsource through, I didn't know anyone working in a call center. I think they still had some, but at least for us, we were all at home, spread throughout the states, and my boss would always scold me a bit if she was listening to our calls and she heard me tell them where I lived :P I guess it's a big no-no for some reason.
Maybe they are spread out geographically, working from home, I don't know. I've been told that for my location, Paducah KY, that the call center is in Huntsville AL. Or maybe just the person I dealt with was in Huntsville. At any rate, it's difficult getting anything done.
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