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Smartphone + plan for college senior
Old 11-08-2011, 11:51 AM   #1
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Smartphone + plan for college senior

Background: Am considering helping DS to get a smartphone. He is an advertising major in his senior year. He's done one internship in our home town and will do another down in San Diego. They need to be up on the latest mobile gadgets and be connected -- I think. This would be an Xmas gift that I'll research with his knowledge and assistance.

Info so far: When I visited Best Buy and talked to a salesperson they gave me a buyers guide. DS has a PagePlus phone (uses Verizon network) now and uses lots of minutes. So looking at the 2 year contract with unlimited text+talk time with a 2GB data plan it works out to $90(talk) + $30(data) +$5(tax) = $125/month. Wow! Ouch!

I don't know about other networks like Sprint or ATT. DS may have to move to another town for a job and so network coverage in just one area like San Diego is probably not good enough if we're talking about a 2 year plan.

Question: Any good suggestions on how to get good smartphone functionality on a decent network at lower cost?
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:17 PM   #2
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From my recent research into getting a smart phone for myself, I found t-mobile to be the least expensive of the 4 major companies. Their coverage, on the other hand is not as good as Verizon once you leave the major urban areas, and their future is still in doubt.

I chose T-mobile because of their lower fees and their almost seamless integration with Wifi. In the house (or any place where you can access wi-fi), all our calls (in & out) go over Wi-fi, so in-house coverage is not an issue. Data automatically goes over Wifi when possible, so it doesn't count towards your data allocation. They have value plans where you purchase the phone for full cost, but pay less for monthly fees. I did not find that cost effective because I plan to keep the service for at least 2 years.

Family plans are cheaper than individual plans, so see if you can put him on yours.

Look at the smaller players like Virgin, Cricket etc. They lease capacity from the big players, but are less expensive. You may have to buy the phone outright (as opposed to the subsidized prices the majors charge), but you will not have any contracts to sign.
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:03 PM   #3
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Those are interesting points Walkinwood. T-Mobile might work for DS. He'd be on an individual plan because we just use Tracphones.

What do you have to do to get a smartphone (Android or Iphone) to work over WiFi instead of over the T-Mobile network? Probably a dumb question.

Buying the phone outright and having a lower cost monthly plus no 2 year contract might be attractive. Do you know if the latest Android or Iphones will be full function over network service providers other then Verizon, Sprint or ATT? DS has PagePlus and likes it. I'm not sure he'd get full functionality with PagePlus services even though they use the Verizon network. Maybe I'm way off on this though.
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Old 11-08-2011, 04:40 PM   #4
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So looking at the 2 year contract with unlimited text+talk time with a 2GB data plan it works out to $90(talk) + $30(data) +$5(tax) = $125/month. Wow! Ouch!
Ouch indeed! If he didn't spend so much time blabbing on his phone, you could get a normal Verizon plan like I got last summer for my iPhone:
$40(talk) + $30(data) +$5(tax etc) = $75/month.

This includes 450 minutes/month of talk time.

Does a young person just starting out in life have to talk that much on the phone? Oh well. I'm sure the younger generation would say "YES!"
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:22 PM   #5
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...(snip)...
Does a young person just starting out in life have to talk that much on the phone? Oh well. I'm sure the younger generation would say "YES!"
When DS was younger and living at home he'd go out on the porch with the cell phone and yack for an hour. Meanwhile the land line sat around looking rather sad about the situation. Now that I think about it, he was probably using caller ID to screen other incoming calls. Our land line didn't have caller ID and didn't have his speed dial numbers.

Nowadays he still is using a lot of minutes. So a $30 unlimited plan at PagePlus has worked for him, plus he pays the bills now.
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:27 PM   #6
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Another thing to keep in mind is the type of minutes being used. Many of the major carriers have significanlty higher or unlimited minutes for mobile to moble and nights/weekends than just the "anytime" minutes.

I'd expect that a large number of the minutes used by a college student are mobile to mobile.
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:35 PM   #7
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Sometimes I wonder what kids talk about for so long.... oh well, I guess I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fuddy-duddy about that issue. Their lives just involve so much more of that than mine ever did. And don't get me started about the way kids always have a cell phone pasted to their ear when walking down the street, shopping, driving, shopping again, or whatever.

"I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled." -- T.S. Eliot, 1919

But I *DO* have an iPhone. So I'm making progress.
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:36 PM   #8
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Find out what carrier his friends use. Mobile to mobile on the same carrier are often unlimited.
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:44 PM   #9
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Sometimes I wonder what kids talk about for so long....
Says the person with 18460 posts...
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:59 PM   #10
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Says the person with 18460 posts...
Is this pick on W2R day?
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:05 PM   #11
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Is this pick on W2R day?
Aw, he's just teasin'. At least I think so.

He's got a point. I may not talk on the phone that much, but I do post a lot and I had 20,000 work-related e-mails to cull through just before I retired. So it's not like i'm not communicating... I still think those young people who talk so much on cell phones must have sore throats, though
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:13 PM   #12
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Aw, he's just teasin'. At least I think so.
Of course I was. Who could resist an opening like that? REWahoo is starting to rub off on me. Looks like I better start using emoticons, though, just to be safe.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:33 PM   #13
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Sometimes I wonder what kids talk about for so long.... oh well, I guess I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fuddy-duddy about that issue.
Actually, what surprises me is how much they don't talk on the phone and, for that matter, don't use email. My older son for awhile was was sending/receiving over 3000 texts a month. My daughter does more written chatting and video chatting than she uses her phone to actually talk on the phone. My younger friends tell me that talking on the phone and email are too slow and that texting is much faster and less intrusive.
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$19/month?
Old 11-08-2011, 07:18 PM   #14
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$19/month?

Just saw this $19/month smartphone offer

New wifi-minded carrier offers unbelievable $19 unlimited phone plan | Technology News Blog - Yahoo! News

omni
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:27 PM   #15
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What do you have to do to get a smartphone (Android or Iphone) to work over WiFi instead of over the T-Mobile network? Probably a dumb question.
You have to configure the phone to work over your wi-fi just like you would a computer, and then there is a setting to prefer wi-fi over cell-network for calls. It is easy.

Quote:
Do you know if the latest Android or Iphones will be full function over network service providers other then Verizon, Sprint or ATT? DS has PagePlus and likes it. I'm not sure he'd get full functionality with PagePlus services even though they use the Verizon network. Maybe I'm way off on this though.
T-mobile & AT&T use gsm technology, while Sprint & Verizon use CDMA, so phones (at least most) are not interchangeable. I don't know anything about Pageplus.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:03 AM   #16
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I am currently researching and leaning towards a Samsung Exhibit 4G on t-mobile prepaid (android). $200 for phone (amazon.com or walmart) and $50 per month on tmobile prepaid network for unlimited talk, text, data with no contract.
The $50 monthly prepaid refill cards can often be had on ebay for 5-10% less.
Amazon.com: Samsung Exhibit II 4G Prepaid Android Phone (T-Mobile): Cell Phones & Accessories

Since this phone was recently released, I am awaiting adequate customer feedback before jumping in with the phone purchase. I am already a satisfied long time tmobile prepaid customer.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:21 AM   #17
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Background: Am considering helping DS to get a smartphone. He is an advertising major in his senior year. He's done one internship in our home town and will do another down in San Diego. They need to be up on the latest mobile gadgets and be connected -- I think. This would be an Xmas gift that I'll research with his knowledge and assistance.

Info so far: When I visited Best Buy and talked to a salesperson they gave me a buyers guide. DS has a PagePlus phone (uses Verizon network) now and uses lots of minutes. So looking at the 2 year contract with unlimited text+talk time with a 2GB data plan it works out to $90(talk) + $30(data) +$5(tax) = $125/month. Wow! Ouch!

I don't know about other networks like Sprint or ATT. DS may have to move to another town for a job and so network coverage in just one area like San Diego is probably not good enough if we're talking about a 2 year plan.

Question: Any good suggestions on how to get good smartphone functionality on a decent network at lower cost?
Every time I visit Best Buy they manage to piss me off. I don't know how the store stays in business.

Our daughter's iPhone 3GS contract is up. She was paying $90/month to AT&T for unlimited minutes, texts, & Web access, which is a big help on a college campus.

She's decided to cash in some of her chips on an iPhone 4S and she's going with Verizon's military discount. I think it's going to work out to about $80/month for some cap on Internet access, but she does a lot of WiFi surfing too.

In two years with an iPhone she's only managed to use about 16GB of its memory.

I hardly ever see her talk on it. Text and surf, you bet. Talk... not so much.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:36 AM   #18
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You can look around for much better deals. My iPhone 4S is $50/mo for unlimited data and texts and some amount of voice more than I will use.

The wife's smartphone is $30/mo. We use Sprint.

You should be able to get a smartphone for $40-50 or so, no problem.

IMO though, now is the time to help your son by putting him on his own. Senior year of college and paying for a new phone, plan, etc? If that's important to him, he'll trim his spending elsewhere to afford it..

To each his own.

EDIT: Read closer and saw the phone will be a Christmas gift, with it unclear who's paying the monthly contract, I think that's a good idea, talk to DS about what phone he wants and have him paying, under his name, but pay for the phone as a present. I may have misinterpreted, but can't tell.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:23 AM   #19
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You can look around for much better deals. My iPhone 4S is $50/mo for unlimited data and texts and some amount of voice more than I will use.
You could also tell us what company offered you this much better deal, which might save us a lot of looking around...
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:34 AM   #20
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I have my college kid on ATT family plan. Basically rides on my account. Roughly $10 for line, $5 for 400 texts, $25 for data. He doesn't talk or text a whole lot. Never had an issue with talk minutes or text usage.
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