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beginning of the end for cellphone voice service
Old 03-30-2016, 06:59 AM   #1
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beginning of the end for cellphone voice service

Finally, a phone plan for people who hate making phone calls

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What's the point of a phone without phone service? you might ask. Well, while cellphone service can certainly be a lifeline during emergency situations, such as when your car breaks down on the side of the road, most of us spend our time in more mundane environments, such as our homes or offices. In these places, WiFi is king. More than half of all mobile Internet traffic in 2015 actually traveled over WiFi, according to Cisco, not cellular networks.
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Old 03-30-2016, 07:12 AM   #2
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What's the point of a phone without phone service? you might ask. Well, while cellphone service can certainly be a lifeline during emergency situations, such as when your car breaks down on the side of the road, most of us spend our time in more mundane environments, such as our homes or offices. In these places, WiFi is king. More than half of all mobile Internet traffic in 2015 actually traveled over WiFi, according to Cisco, not cellular networks.
We do that already. We have a vintage iPhone that works perfectly in every respect except we can't swap out the SIM card. It doesn't have a cell signal but we still use it as a second phone. It does 90% of everything our primary phone does the only difference is that we have to be connected to WIFI to make calls.

I'll add that the apps we rely on most (maps, translate, tripadvisor, etc) all have "offline" versions that have full functionality without needing an internet connection at all. Google Translate actually works faster when not connected to the web so I'm constantly turning on airplane mode to use it anyways.

There's lots of places we've traveled for a month or more where we didn't bother to get a SIM card. It's really not necessary anymore.
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Old 03-30-2016, 07:36 AM   #3
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My experience with wifi phone calls have not been good. Good quality connection at first, but the line always dropped. A neighbor of mine dropped his regular cell service and replaced with a wifi phone. His line connection would only stay up for a couple of minutes. Perhaps these are just a couple of odd cases.
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Old 03-30-2016, 07:46 AM   #4
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My experience with wifi phone calls have not been good. Good quality connection at first, but the line always dropped. A neighbor of mine dropped his regular cell service and replaced with a wifi phone. His line connection would only stay up for a couple of minutes. Perhaps these are just a couple of odd cases.
We've used Skype as our primary phone service for the past two years and have generally been happy with it.

The quality of service we get greatly depends on the quality of WIFI we have - no different than a cell signal. But even relying exclusively on hotel WIFI in some 100 odd different locations all over the world we've had far more hits than misses.
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beginning of the end for cellphone voice service
Old 03-30-2016, 08:31 AM   #5
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beginning of the end for cellphone voice service

I switched to Ting after reading recommendations here. I'm always way under the lowest data category because I use Wi-Fi anywhere I can; this month's usage will be about 115 mb and my bill will be $18. The times I actually use Cellular data are when we're on the road (literally-DH is driving) and no Wi-Fi available. It's especially handy when booking a room for the night. Skype wouldn't help there!
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Old 03-30-2016, 08:33 AM   #6
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We live in a location with lousy cell coverage, and were (sort of) given a wifi microcell device by AT&T that routes our phone calls over the web. It's been great inside the house, but any time we get a certain distance away out in the yard, or we are on the phone as we get in the car to go somewhere, the call drops. It would be nice if there was a smooth handoff between the wifi call and the cell system. But other than that mild annoyance it's worked great for us.
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Old 03-30-2016, 08:46 AM   #7
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Wind mobile offers a really cheap tourist package that includes data in Italy. We find that we no longer need to use WiFi except in the hotel.
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:28 AM   #8
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Wind mobile offers a really cheap tourist package that includes data in Italy. We find that we no longer need to use WiFi except in the hotel.
Cell service outside the U.S. is generally less expensive than domestic plans. I'd say we spent an average of about $20 US for a monthly cell plan with 1GB of data.

The reason we don't always go that route is just to avoid the hassle of getting set up with a new SIM card in every country we visit.
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:31 AM   #9
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It should be noted that more and more cars come equipped with with services like On-Star or equivalent that allow one to call for help from the car. (Indeed you can actually make the car a cell phone by buying minutes if desired). With On-Star I don't take my cell phone around town, since if the car breaks down in most cases I can use on-star to summon help. (Others besides GM have equivalent services according to the ads I see)
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:39 AM   #10
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I had an eye-opening experience a couple of years ago. We were driving to meet old friends at a restaurant. They called to verify the location right as we were pulling into the parking lot. The phone rang with some strange, unrecognizable ringtone. I managed to answer the call, but the voice on the other end was so strong and clear I was truly puzzled. When the call ended, I looked down to discover that he had called me with the Facebook Messenger app's voice feature. We were both in our cars on mobile data. That really got my attention!
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Old 03-30-2016, 02:22 PM   #11
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Wait a minute! You can use those things for phone calls? I thought they were just cameras!

Seriously, there's a half-dozen really great VOIP options. Google Hangouts, Skype, FB etc.

We have Vonage and when travelling overseas use the free Vonage "Extension" app instead of a local carrier.

With Wifi becoming more and more ubiquitous, I wonder how much longer we'll need carriers.

Xfinity has a nearly ubiquitous Wifi available in most cities just by having each household's modem available to anyone with an Xfinity account.
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Old 03-30-2016, 02:27 PM   #12
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I have been using Republic Wireless for about 5 or 6 months so far and my most expensive bill has been $15.01 (I use the Waze app when I am out and about). The Wifi calling is spotty and so if I have to make an important call, I switch the Wifi off and use the cell signal (no additional charges, all calls are unlimited whether over Wifi or cell). I was a big fan of Ting, but so far, I am liking Republic better.
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