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Thinking About a Smart Phone; But,...
Old 08-07-2019, 09:02 AM   #1
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Thinking About a Smart Phone; But,...

Maybe "Smart Phone" isn't the correct terminology; but, thinking about finally getting one of those fancy phones that gives you internet services. For background, I have one of those pre-paid flip phones. A little antiquated, I know; but, I like that it only costs me about $100.00 a year for my minutes. What I like most is no need for an account where I have to give up my personal information to the provider.

Is there a cell phone services provider out there that does not require one to provide a SSN to set up an account?
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:11 AM   #2
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I use a smart phone with my tracfone account which runs me about $120 a year with 1.2 gb data, 1200 texts and 1200 minutes talk. I don't recall having to give them my SS # when setting up the account.
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:39 AM   #3
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I don't recall ever having give a SSN to a cellphone provider. I'm sure I would remember as I would not do it... they have no need for my SSN.

We bought Motorola G4 phones that were "unlocked" and can work with any US network (GSM or CDMA)... costs about $150 a few years ago on Amazon... I suspect newer and better models are available today but ours are still suiting us fine.

Then we set up accounts with airvoicewireless.... you have to buy a SIM card that goes into the phone for $5... then unlimited talk/text and 2GB of data/month for $18/month with autorenew. AT&T network.
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:40 AM   #4
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I was slow to adapt to a smart phone and really didn't want another "computer" having to learn how to use. Though must admit when around others who had a smart phone, the thought was neat to do a quick and dirty get on the internet to look something up then sign off.

If all you really need is a phone to make phone calls in emergencies, a flip phone is fine. Otherwise, if you get a smart phone, then looks like you'll be assimilated as part of the collective also as I was .

With a smart phone, more than just going on the internet, you may find some apps that end up really handy that you can't do on a flip phone. For me, I have a couple of remote plugs that when away, I can use an app to remotely switch on. One is to turn my computer on for remote access to my PC as I never could got more technical Wake on Lan (WOL) set up working correctly. That's one example of a handy app. Another is a unit conversion app to convert measurements (data, distance, speed, temp, volume, weight). Really comes in handy when needed and once again, can't do with a flip phone.
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:58 AM   #5
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Maybe "Smart Phone" isn't the correct terminology; but, thinking about finally getting one of those fancy phones that gives you internet services. For background, I have one of those pre-paid flip phones. A little antiquated, I know; but, I like that it only costs me about $100.00 a year for my minutes. What I like most is no need for an account where I have to give up my personal information to the provider.

Is there a cell phone services provider out there that does not require one to provide a SSN to set up an account?
I don't recall ever giving an SSN to my cell phone carrier, and I have Verizon with unlimited and a bunch of lines.

I know that people with their faces planted in their cell phones while walking into traffic makes us all look like a bunch of brain dead idiot zombies... But I encourage everyone to get a smart phone with internet. It'll make you smart! I love having the world's information at my fingertips no matter where I'm at (well if I have reception). I have conversations all the time where a question about something comes up. Before cell phones, we'd say I don't know and move on, and maybe look it up later. Now, I just pull out my phone, do a quick Google search, and now I have a new piece of information I've just learned, keeping my brain sharp. If someone says something that doesn't sound right, I can do an instant fact check. Keeps people honest.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:08 AM   #6
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+1 or we'll be having a conversation and wonder how old some celeberity is I'll whip out my phone, click on it and say "ok Goolgle, how old is [so-and-so]" and I get the result almost instantly.... or some other fact... but we just ask Alexa if we are home.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:35 AM   #7
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For some reason, I was under the impression (apparently incorrect based on responses above) that the SSN was required by many providers for a credit check. Pleased that this does not appear to be the case. Gonna go shopping for cells phone providers. Thanks for the responses.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:39 AM   #8
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I seem to recall carriers doing a credit check back in the days of traditional 2-year contracts with the cost of the phone "financed" over that period. If you had poor credit, they either required a deposit or put you on a prepaid plan. They would need the SSN to do a credit check. I never remember providing my SSN, but the last time I signed up for a traditional 2-year plan was probably 2007-ish.

I'm not even sure if carriers still offer 2-year contracts with the cost of the phone paid over the 2 years. But if they do, they probably still want to run a credit check.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:45 AM   #9
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We've been with a few different providers, always prepaid plans, as we're not heavy phone users. We've switched to Tello. They have a good selection of monthly plans, if prepaid doesn't meet your needs. My daughter had positive experiences with Ting and Google Fi also. I don't recommend Virgin Mobile or Page Plus. Higher pricing and bad customer service.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:57 AM   #10
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Maybe "Smart Phone" isn't the correct terminology; but, thinking about finally getting one of those fancy phones that gives you internet services. For background, I have one of those pre-paid flip phones. A little antiquated, I know; but, I like that it only costs me about $100.00 a year for my minutes. What I like most is no need for an account where I have to give up my personal information to the provider.

Is there a cell phone services provider out there that does not require one to provide a SSN to set up an account?
Why do you want a smart phone? What about your current phone is lacking?

I've never provided by SSN to set up an account.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:01 AM   #11
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IME, smart phones are very handy for looking up an address or phone number while on the go... or directions, or the price of an item for comparison shopping... shopping and to-do lists... checking the weather forecast.. a wide multitude of handy things. I would never in a million years go back to a flip phone.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:14 AM   #12
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IME, smart phones are very handy for looking up an address or phone number while on the go... or directions, or the price of an item for comparison shopping... shopping and to-do lists... checking the weather forecast.. a wide multitude of handy things. I would never in a million years go back to a flip phone.
Same here.

And, BTW OP, your "personal information" is already spread out all over the web unless you have never had a credit card, bank account, health insurance, retail store account, etc, etc.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:19 AM   #13
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...Then we set up accounts with airvoicewireless.... you have to buy a SIM card that goes into the phone for $5... then unlimited talk/text and 2GB of data/month for $18/month with autorenew. AT&T network.
That sounds like a decent deal for access to the AT&T network. I went to their website and it seems to indicate that 2GB of data on the $18 plan is a promo. Normal is 140MB.

I called for clarification on that and the answer was "fuzzy" at best. He basically said it's "permanent for now" and he wasn't aware of what date it would go back to 140MB.

I also asked what happens if I exceed 2GB. He said all data stops unless you want to start a new 30-day data cycle.

I also found this head-scratcher in the terms of service:

Quote:
When using Wi-Fi, you will need to turn OFF your Cellular Data Network Setting on your handset. If you do not turn off the cellular data network setting on your handset, you will be charged for internet usage even if you are using Wi-Fi because it will still be considered Cellular Data Usage.
Huh?
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:40 AM   #14
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That sounds like a decent deal for access to the AT&T network. I went to their website and it seems to indicate that 2GB of data on the $18 plan is a promo. Normal is 140MB.

I called for clarification on that and the answer was "fuzzy" at best. He basically said it's "permanent for now" and he wasn't aware of what date it would go back to 140MB.

I also asked what happens if I exceed 2GB. He said all data stops unless you want to start a new 30-day data cycle.

I also found this head-scratcher in the terms of service:



Huh?
You misread their website.... the $18/month plan with autopay is for 1GB of data... not 140mb... plus an additional 1GB on the promo for a total of 2GB... I was told the same thing that the additional 1GB was permanent... since were only had 1GB under our prior $30 plan with them and 1GB more than met our needs except when traveling and additonal 1GB was gravy.

I dunno about the headscratcher... I never change my settings and my phone indicates that I used 274mb of cellular data from Jun 19 to Jul 18 and 5.6 GB of wi-fi data from Jun 12- Jul 10 so perhaps that warning is obsolete. If data is critical to you then you could always go with the next higher plan with unlimited talk/text and 6GB of data for $27/month on autopay.... still a great deal.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:33 PM   #15
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You misread their website.... the $18/month plan with autopay is for 1GB of data... not 140mb... plus an additional 1GB on the promo for a total of 2GB... I was told the same thing that the additional 1GB was permanent... since were only had 1GB under our prior $30 plan with them and 1GB more than met our needs except when traveling and additonal 1GB was gravy.

I dunno about the headscratcher... I never change my settings and my phone indicates that I used 274mb of cellular data from Jun 19 to Jul 18 and 5.6 GB of wi-fi data from Jun 12- Jul 10 so perhaps that warning is obsolete. If data is critical to you then you could always go with the next higher plan with unlimited talk/text and 6GB of data for $27/month on autopay.... still a great deal.
Thanks for clarification on the 1GB promo. That is definitely a good deal, especially for the AT&T network, which is usually priced higher than MVNOs using Sprint and T-Mobile. If you don't mind me asking, what's your monthly total for 2 lines with tax and fees?

We use Ting (T-Mobile network) and our total bill was averaging around $37-40/mo for 2 lines. But we recently bought a new car with Android Auto. We're traveling more and using a lot more mobile data for navigation. So now, the bill has crept up into the $50-60 range, with a shared data usage of typically 2 to 3GB. Also, the T-Mobile network tends to get sketchy outside major cities and highways. So I've been thinking about AT&T.

With our data usage (1 to 1.5GB each), we should be OK with the $18 airvoicewireless plan as long as it stays at 2GB. If we have to go to the $27 plan, then it's really same price as Ting for our usage. But we still might be better off with the AT&T network for our travel.

Really would be nice if I could get a crystal clear answer whether the 1GB promo is permanent. The fact that they haven't changed the website sort-of indicates that they're keeping their options open.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:39 PM   #16
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.... If you don't mind me asking, what's your monthly total for 2 lines with tax and fees?....
$36... each phone is a separate account with its separate 2GB of data... so $18 each.

I suspect that even if they changed the data it would likely be for new customers only and existing customers would likely be grandfathered. We've been with them since May 2015 on various plans and have been very happy with their service.

Worst case just change again.

For traveling, I prefer a separate GPS... our Garmin nuvi was $135 back in Feb 2015 and is much more reliable than smartphone GPS.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:55 PM   #17
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I was on a $100/yr flip phone for years. I seldom used the $100 yr but I would come close. Finally got a smartphone (iphone) a few years ago and converted to AT&T's $35 mo plan. I'm sure I can get it cheaper but I really just don't care! Allows access anywhere to my email, stock quotes, news, and a couple of special apps I wanted. Heck, I even make phone calls sometimes.

Nice to have some of the other "things" on the phone too on occasions, Very good camera quality (pics and videos) calculator, flashlight, stopwatch, etc.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:12 PM   #18
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One option is to buy an unlocked smart phone, and just activate the telephone portion. My wife does this, and we spend less than $100 per year with a T-Mobile pre-paid plan.

Then, for internet access, she uses home or public wi-fi, or uses the Spectrum 'free' wi-fi that's included with our cable modem internet account (where available). Or, if your spouse has data, you can connect to their phone as a 'hot spot'.

That said, having data, Google Maps, Yelp restaurant reviews, online everything...I'd never give it up. Right now, I pay $55 per month including taxes.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:20 PM   #19
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$36... each phone is a separate account with its separate 2GB of data... so $18 each.

I suspect that even if they changed the data it would likely be for new customers only and existing customers would likely be grandfathered. We've been with them since May 2015 on various plans and have been very happy with their service.

Worst case just change again.

For traveling, I prefer a separate GPS... our Garmin nuvi was $135 back in Feb 2015 and is much more reliable than smartphone GPS.
Thanks. I realize it's $36. I was trying to get a sense of tax and fees. Ting is fairly minimal. Are you saying the $18 includes all tax and fees?

We have a separate GPS as well that we take when traveling. But we rarely use it. Google Maps seems to buffer map data between you and your destination. So even when we lose cellular for 5-10 minutes, the navigation keeps going. We prefer Google Maps and Waze for the real-time traffic, gas prices, and other user-supplied data. Plus with the new Android Auto head unit on the new car, we like having the much larger display.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:02 PM   #20
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I use a smart phone with my tracfone account which runs me about $120 a year with 1.2 gb data, 1200 texts and 1200 minutes talk. I don't recall having to give them my SS # when setting up the account.

I am also with TracFone. I upgraded from a flip phone when I got tired of "press 3 times for C".
I bought us Alcatal Pixie Glory smartphones for $100 each. They have Internet connectivity, and will use any WiFi instead of phone to decrease your usage.
They have Bluetooth, and DW uses her in the car paired with the Bose entertainment system to listen to Pandora.
For travel, DW bought me a folding keyboard with Bluetooth capability. I have it pared with my phone and my Kindle.
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