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Data/Phone Plan vs Post FIRE Locations?
Old 12-03-2016, 02:50 PM   #1
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Data/Phone Plan vs Post FIRE Locations?

We are almost on our way ... 20 Jan 17 is the designated FIRE date.

We sold our "big house" (kids, etc in Fairfax, VA) in Sep, temporarily located to the Smith Mountain Lake place we bought a few years ago and then bought a small house in Pensacola, FL to start the residency dance. We will probably summer in Virginia at the lake and end up wintering in south Florida - with travel in between.

While a nit, I will lose my "corporate" Windows phone (a good thing as it isn't a great smart phone), and will get an iPhone of some sort ... wife already has one so we will have commonality (also will be switching to Mac to be common with her Mac ... just easier with common OS, etc.)

We will be doing the usual travel thing ... last year in NL and FR was a hoot (way more fun than I thought it would be) ... maybe Germany to Italy this year. (ex: T-Mobile supposedly as better Euro coverage than other options)

BTW - we probably would use in the range of 4-8 GB per month, given travel, etc ...the Smith Mountain Lake has pretty poor options for ISPs, so we just live off my wife's iPhone and OTA (over the air) broadcast TV (which is actually not bad).

Given our locations and broad plan, I thought perhaps there are others who went through the same process recently and perhaps even the same general areas - who could comment on their experiences with the telecom companies?

Thanks!!
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Old 12-03-2016, 03:25 PM   #2
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I don't know about your area, but we are going to switch from Verizon to Metro PCS.
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Old 12-03-2016, 03:47 PM   #3
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Doc ....MetroPCS is apparently sub of T Mobile, but customers get lower priority on the same, shared T Mobile network ...lower cost, but very few smart phone choices ...no iPhones ... 😄


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Old 12-03-2016, 04:34 PM   #4
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For travel T-mobile gives you free unlimited international roaming data in most major countries. Also 20 cents a minute for roaming calls and free texts.

The only catch is that data is 128 kbps which is a fraction of the data speeds you get in e US. It's fast enough to download emails, do light surfing and use Google Maps but not stream video.

However, this year they've done two promos where they gave you full speeds in Europe.

You don't have to subscribe to some international add-on like you would have to on other carriers.

So if You can get good reception on T-Mobile in the areas you frequent, it's a great choice for people who plan to travel overseas.
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Old 12-03-2016, 05:10 PM   #5
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For your ISP question - is your lake house in Sprint territory?

Here is a good resource for researching data plans and some of the phone plans. You don't have to be an RVer to benefit.

https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/

DD read through one of their articles and found a source for a hotspot from a Sprint reseller that has unlimited data for $400 for 12 months (higher the first year due to the purchase of the hardware).

Kindest regards.
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Old 12-03-2016, 05:41 PM   #6
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I've been using Pre-Paid plans since my ER and love it. I currently use the AT&T GoPhone Prepaid service. They have a $60 / mo plan that gives you 8 Gig of data and free roaming for travel to Canada and Mexico. When I'm not going to either Canada or Mexico I use the $45 plan that provides 4G of data.

We took the family to Europe last spring and I just quit paying AT&T and bought a 'Three' mobile SIM in the UK. It was pretty cheap, around $30/month I think and it included free roaming in most of the other European countries we visited. We had to buy different SIM cards in Germany, but they were easy to get at the ubiquitous 'Aldi' and 'Lidl' grocery stores.

My suggestion would be to go with Pre-paid. That way you can get the best plan for your area, if you don't like it; just change it!
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Old 12-04-2016, 05:03 AM   #7
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Doc ....MetroPCS is apparently sub of T Mobile, but customers get lower priority on the same, shared T Mobile network ...lower cost, but very few smart phone choices ...no iPhones ... 😄
It gets good reviews by users, and has good rates. We were told that we can bring our iPhones and get a new sim card for $10.
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Old 12-04-2016, 11:49 AM   #8
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Doc ....MetroPCS is apparently sub of T Mobile, but customers get lower priority on the same, shared T Mobile network ...lower cost, but very few smart phone choices ...no iPhones ... ��
You can always bring your own phone and just get a SIM card from them (I just checked, yes, they offer this).

Buy an unlocked iPhone and you can insert the SIM card you need - be it Metro PCS or overseas.
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Old 12-04-2016, 12:06 PM   #9
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While I have been a customer of airvoice wireless (uses the AT&T network) for a few years, and have been on their $10/month plan. I recently upgraded to their $20/month plan (unlimited voice, text and 100MB data) and am happy with it. Since you use much more data that I do, you would probably need to upgrade to their $50/month plan (unlimited voice, unlimited text, 5GB data + unlimited international voice and text).

You need to bring your own phone. I recently bought a Moto G ($200 at Best Buy) and a $10 AT&T SIM card and am quite happy with it.
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Old 12-04-2016, 01:33 PM   #10
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Sheesh ... I am gonna have to study more ...

How does one buy an unlocked iPhone? I understand I would be the owner of the device and the service would simply be that ... service ... right?
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Old 12-04-2016, 02:25 PM   #11
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How does one buy an unlocked iPhone? I understand I would be the owner of the device and the service would simply be that ... service ... right?
Right. You buy the phone rather than get as part of the deal - and end up paying for it on a monthly basis.

The service is tied to the phone using the SIM card. They are little cards that slide into the phone and have the information needed to get onto a specific service.

For example: go to the Apple store, buy an unlocked iPhone, go the Metro PCS store, sign up for service, show them the phone and they'll give you a SIM card for it and probably insert it for you.
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Old 12-04-2016, 06:35 PM   #12
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Another option that we use whenever in Europe is to put our phones on airplane mode and make calls whenever we're in range of free wifi.

Most hotels, restaurants have free wifi and it saves a bundle not to mention the hassle of buying a sim card etc.

All you need is something like Google Hangouts or other VOIP dialer (we have Vonage at home and they have an 'extention' app) and you're good to go.
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Old 12-04-2016, 06:49 PM   #13
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Sheesh ... I am gonna have to study more ...

How does one buy an unlocked iPhone? I understand I would be the owner of the device and the service would simply be that ... service ... right?
You can generally unlock most phones. I bought WalMart phones and unlocked them to work on T-Mobile. It is a menu item on the phone itself.

I have T-Mobile. Whenever I am in a place I cannot get reception, Verizon people still have 5 bars.

If you want coverage, Verizon. I have been with Sprint, Virgin Mobile, WalMart family mobile and no T-Mobile. Each change was for the better, and each change cost more.
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Old 12-05-2016, 12:05 PM   #14
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DW and I both have iPhones and SIM cards for Canada, Mexico and Europe. All pay as you go. With wifi and on-the-go apps for Google Maps and TA, we can navigate around Europe no problem.
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Old 12-08-2016, 01:46 PM   #15
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If you're visiting Montana, Sprint (and any other carriers using their network) simply won't work. Verizon has the best coverage here. AT&T is OK - coverage in the boonies is nowhere near as good as Verizon's.

If you're going overseas, based on friend's experiences, T-Mobile is the most convenient. With my Verizon phone, when I go overseas I buy a local SIM card and minutes, but I was having trouble with the data functionality (i.e. connecting to the internet). I didn't find anybody who could figure out what that happened, so I'm thinking about getting a different phone to use overseas.
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:15 PM   #16
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Hi.

We've been doing research on this, and we've narrowed it down to:

TMobile - best international plan - but higher overall cost.
GoogleFI - good plans at a good price, but no iPhones. Android Only.

Our current plan: Use a budget USA Carrier (Cricket or similar) with an unlocked iPhone, then buy SIM cards when we travel overseas. Use a Google Voice number so there is a consistent # for people to call you on, even if your # changes due to different SIM cards.

Depending upon how many months out of the year you need international coverage, using SIMs that you buy while you travel can be cheaper than paying full freight for TMobile all year. And Local SIMs (example: Vodaphone in Spain) can provide faster/better coverage than a TMobile plan depending on the country.

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Old 12-08-2016, 10:32 PM   #17
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I've been using the T-Mobile Simple Plan and I love it. I travel about 40% of the time, mostly internationally, and it's great to have unlimited texts and data in virtually every country in the world. Phone calls cost .20 per minute with roaming overseas but I don't make calls much and if I do they have a wifi calling feature so I just find a wifi signal at my hotel or hostel to make the call for free. Meanwhile back in the states there is also unlimited calls and texts and while 4G data is limited I don't notice much difference when I exceed the monthly limit and they drop me to the slower network.

Total costs including taxes is only about $60 month. It's so worth it not to have to mess with SIM cards. I use my iphone overseas the same way I do at home, seamlessly.

The T Mobile plan works in almost every country. The only place I've had trouble was Gibraltar, where they don't provide service at all, and Ecuador where it just didn't work even though it was supposed to be included. It was not a big deal though, as it was not difficult to find a wifi signal at my hotel or random coffee shops, and I just downloaded my emails and texts whenever I got around to it, and as for Internet if there was a map or article I needed I just added it to my reading list and read it offline as needed.

I highly recommend T-Mobile if you do much global travel.
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Old 12-08-2016, 11:07 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by ShortInSeattle View Post
Hi.

We've been doing research on this, and we've narrowed it down to:

TMobile - best international plan - but higher overall cost.
GoogleFI - good plans at a good price, but no iPhones. Android Only.

Our current plan: Use a budget USA Carrier (Cricket or similar) with an unlocked iPhone, then buy SIM cards when we travel overseas. Use a Google Voice number so there is a consistent # for people to call you on, even if your # changes due to different SIM cards.

Depending upon how many months out of the year you need international coverage, using SIMs that you buy while you travel can be cheaper than paying full freight for TMobile all year. And Local SIMs (example: Vodaphone in Spain) can provide faster/better coverage than a TMobile plan depending on the country.

SIS
Theoretically Google Fi offers 3g speed internationally whereas T Mob only offers 2g. Given that I would suggest that Google might be a better international one.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:08 AM   #19
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Recently was in UK with Sprint iphones (5s & 6) and their service worked just as described above for TMobile. $0.20 per call, unlimited text and unlimited data at 2G, but we got 3G everywhere in UK. Also used wifi in hotels and hotspots. Bill for trip month was exactly same as month before trip.
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Old 12-22-2016, 05:07 PM   #20
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Ran into a friend while visiting Florida ... he went to Walmart and bought the Total Wireless $60/mo for he and his wife ... says works great everywhere he has been ...reportedly 8 GB between the two lines and they are transferrable between and between periods ...


Anyone use this?
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