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What's the latest on inexpensive cell phone plans?
Old 06-01-2017, 05:41 AM   #1
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What's the latest on inexpensive cell phone plans?

I did a search, but the newest threads I could find are a few years old at least.
I have a couple of ideas.
First of all, let me explain that DW and I have Verizon Wireless, Unlimited Data plans, and we are now up to $220/ month. I really don't think we need to have unlimited plans.

We ditched the land lines, but frankly, with "bundling" plans from the internet providers, they just about give the phone service away, so we're really not saving much there.

We have iPhones, and we text and send photos occasionally. I wouldn't want to give up texting, but could live without the photos if it saves a bunch of money. The idea that I'm spending over 2600 bucks a year for our phones makes me want to barf.
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Old 06-01-2017, 05:49 AM   #2
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I'm using Ting, which was recommended here. My monthly bill for my purchased iPhone is $18. The huge difference in your case would be unlimited data; I keep mine under 100 mb per month. If I use 500 mb in a particular month the bill goes up by a whopping $7. Your actual monthly bill depends on what you actually use so you don't have to pick a plan in advance. I use WiFi when available and keep Cellular turned off when I'm not using it. Streaming videos will eat up data but I do that on Wi-Fi.

One big drawback for me now that I'm starting to travel out of the country on occasion again is that apparently getting the Data (Cellular) function to work outside the US is complicated- more than just swapping out a SIM card. Before my next trip I'll be looking for a cheap phone that accepts SIM cards from wherever I am. Wi-Fi, of course, works just fine anywhere.
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Old 06-01-2017, 05:56 AM   #3
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Europe, so probably useless for you. Unlimited calls and unlimited data in the whole eurozone: 35 Eur/month. T-Mobile.

Phone: I bought a new one, Lenovo K10. It does its stuff, cost me 140 EUR. higher specs than my previous phone, a samsung galaxy mini S4 and insane battery life. Also, replaceable battery, and dual sim (which I don't need).
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Old 06-01-2017, 06:25 AM   #4
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Not the cheapest but a very good value: Cricket Wireless. Uses the AT&T network, you need your own unlocked GSM phone, and monthly costs are as low as $30 per line - including all fees & taxes.
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Old 06-01-2017, 06:32 AM   #5
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$80 a month for two unlimited iPhones on T-Mobile. It would be $100 but we get $10 per phone rebated every month we don't go over 2 GB on that phone. We practically never do, so it's $80 flat (no taxes or fees added to that).

Plus the bonus of free roaming, still unlimited data, when overseas.
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Old 06-01-2017, 06:36 AM   #6
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$80 a month for two unlimited iPhones on T-Mobile. It would be $100 but we get $10 per phone rebated every month we don't go over 2 GB on that phone. We practically never do, so it's $80 flat (no taxes or fees added to that).

Plus the bonus of free roaming, still unlimited data, when overseas.
Is that $80 combined for the two phones?
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Old 06-01-2017, 06:40 AM   #7
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Is that $80 combined for the two phones?


Yes.
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:08 AM   #8
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What else in bundled for the $220/month?

For me, I have per month:

landling - $65 (att)
internet - $40 (slowest bandwidth from Comcast)
mobile - $25 (consumer cellular) (one phone, 250 mins, 2000 texts, 200 mb data)
TV - $0 (OTA, no cost after initial hardware purchase of antenna)
------
130 total month.

Broken down, for what you have, $220 may not be that much. Now if price was $220/month for mobile alone ...
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
I'm using Ting, which was recommended here. My monthly bill for my purchased iPhone is $18. The huge difference in your case would be unlimited data; I keep mine under 100 mb per month. If I use 500 mb in a particular month the bill goes up by a whopping $7. Your actual monthly bill depends on what you actually use so you don't have to pick a plan in advance. I use WiFi when available and keep Cellular turned off when I'm not using it. Streaming videos will eat up data but I do that on Wi-Fi. ...
Except for us using our own Android unlocked GSM phones, this is our experience with Ting as well.

The savings are even better if you have two lines on the account, and both are fairly low users (usage is shared). The second line adds only $6/month. DW and I have never exceeded the 100 MB bump, but even if we did a few months out of the year, the savings would still be great for what we get. Make sure you turn off all the apps ability to a get data from the cell network in the background, some apps will just gobble data while you are out and about. It's easy to check your data usage though.

Bottom line, our bills have been ~ $26 per month for two phones, so ~ $13 per phone per month ($27 includes 2-line total of ~ $5 in E911, taxes and other fees) . Also remember that group texts and picture texts use data (but not much per text).

https://ting.com/rates

Quote:
One big drawback for me now that I'm starting to travel out of the country on occasion again is that apparently getting the Data (Cellular) function to work outside the US is complicated- more than just swapping out a SIM card. Before my next trip I'll be looking for a cheap phone that accepts SIM cards from wherever I am. Wi-Fi, of course, works just fine anywhere.
Have not had these phones out of the country, but since I brought an unlocked 'world'-GSM to Ting, it should accept any SIM card in another country. Not sure why you can't just swap SIM, unless maybe if you got the phone through Ting, they lock it to Ting? I recommend BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), regardless.

But from what I hear, the T-Mobile plan is the thing for people who regularly travel outside the US.

-ERD50
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:11 AM   #10
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Leasing a phone through Verizon (or any major carrier) adds a lot to the expense. I purchased an unlocked phone (Motorola Pure Edition) and DW has an older iPhone and that reduces the monthly charges dramatically.
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:18 AM   #11
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We spend $40 every three months for two phones using Trafone. Our cellphone usage is low, so it won't work for everybody.

A good source of information is Prepaid Phone News . Every Sunday the site posts a list of deals on cellphones, and periodically reviews usage plans.
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:35 AM   #12
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Have not had these phones out of the country, but since I brought an unlocked 'world'-GSM to Ting, it should accept any SIM card in another country. Not sure why you can't just swap SIM, unless maybe if you got the phone through Ting, they lock it to Ting? I recommend BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), regardless.
Not locked- I brought an iPhone I had purchased from Verizon to Ting. It may have something to do with the technology- CDMA vs. something else- but the instructions included backing it up, resetting it to factory settings, then inserting the new SIM card and restoring from the backup. Too much to go wrong there. I think the cleaner solution will be a separate phone with a pay-as-you-go option.
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:48 AM   #13
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I am sure you can find something cheaper than verizon but even if you stuck with verizon you likely can do better. I own my phone, have unlimited voice and text and limited data. 55 dollars a month. I was nervous about the limited data but I dealt with it by turning off cellular data most of the time and also checking apps that would use cellular data in the background when cellular was on. Wifi is everywhere so the times I need cellular on are rare and I have never approached my data limit. I suspect you can get some kind of family plan at less than twice what I pay. I also have no landline so I have been hesitant to leave what has been so far reliable service and excellent coverage when traveling
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
I'm using Ting, which was recommended here. My monthly bill for my purchased iPhone is $18. The huge difference in your case would be unlimited data; I keep mine under 100 mb per month. If I use 500 mb in a particular month the bill goes up by a whopping $7. Your actual monthly bill depends on what you actually use so you don't have to pick a plan in advance. I use WiFi when available and keep Cellular turned off when I'm not using it. Streaming videos will eat up data but I do that on Wi-Fi.

One big drawback for me now that I'm starting to travel out of the country on occasion again is that apparently getting the Data (Cellular) function to work outside the US is complicated- more than just swapping out a SIM card. Before my next trip I'll be looking for a cheap phone that accepts SIM cards from wherever I am. Wi-Fi, of course, works just fine anywhere.
DW and I have Ting also - normal bill is $25 (for both phones) as Ting allows sharing of the minutes/texts/data. We alone still never exceed the 100min/100text/100mB base level and if we do, as Athena says, it costs a relatively small increase. Now, this plan may not work for "data guzzlers" - if you use 3GB it'll cost $30 ( actually, maybe that's not THAT expensive either?) but we never get into that territory. We use WiFi when we can, as well as iMessage to keep the texts low.
As far as international, Ting have agreements with many countries, some are very reasonable, but some are totally ridiculous. For example, for Switzerland, you'd pay several dollars PER MEGABYTE of data (which is insane), so be careful. As Athena says, it's relatively tedious to enable international roaming, and I view that as a good thing because it forces you think about whether it is worthwhile.
However, I always buy local SIMMs that work for the specific country or group of countries. That is inexpensive and easy (never had a problem)
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:53 AM   #15
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Not the cheapest but a very good value: Cricket Wireless. Uses the AT&T network, you need your own unlocked GSM phone, and monthly costs are as low as $30 per line - including all fees & taxes.
The cost to convert to another carrier may depend on the capability of your IPhones. Verizon uses CDMA technology, many other carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Consumer Cellular) use GSM phones. And if you phones can be unlocked (fully paid for).

We pay $100 per month for four lines with Cricket, unlimited voice and text, 4Gig data each line. A family plan where the first line is $40, second is $30, third is $20, fourth is $10.

Used to be Consumer Cellular was a good choice, but my college kids are heavy data users and their pricing was not data friendly.
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:00 AM   #16
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Not locked- I brought an iPhone I had purchased from Verizon to Ting. It may have something to do with the technology- CDMA vs. something else- but the instructions included backing it up, resetting it to factory settings, then inserting the new SIM card and restoring from the backup. Too much to go wrong there. I think the cleaner solution will be a separate phone with a pay-as-you-go option.
The newer iPhones (after 4S, I think) all can handle both technologies, so unless your iPhone is quite old, it should be fine. I have used Local SIMs many times and never done more than popping in the card and rebooting the phone. I actually do use the CDMA technology with Ting because it is superior for my particular location/needs here in the US, but that doesn't impact swapping out the SIM abroad in any way. When I get back to the US, I just pop the TING SIM back in, reboot and off we go.
Those instructions may be way overcomplicating the process. At least for my iPhone 6 and my old iPhone 4S this is/was no issue
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:01 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
Not locked- I brought an iPhone I had purchased from Verizon to Ting. It may have something to do with the technology- CDMA vs. something else- but the instructions included backing it up, resetting it to factory settings, then inserting the new SIM card and restoring from the backup. Too much to go wrong there. I think the cleaner solution will be a separate phone with a pay-as-you-go option.
Ahhh, that's it. Europe is using GSM. Here is what Verizon says:

https://www.verizonwireless.com/supp...l-travel-faqs/

Quote:
Can I use my device outside the US?

It depends on your device.

World Devices: These devices can be used in the US and in more than 220 other countries. In addition to CDMA, they’re built with 1 or more of the following technologies:
4G LTE
Dual Band GSM
Quad Band GSM
UMTS capabilities
Visit our World Devices page to find a device that works internationally.

Non-World (CDMA only) devices: These devices are designed to use network technology available only in the US, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. They won’t work in other countries.
-ERD50
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:08 AM   #18
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Another enthusiastic endorsement for Ting. DW and I share the usage and our bill is usually in the $30-40 range for 2 Android smartphones. We are low-to-moderate users; we usually hit the 500MB threshold for data. If you maximize WiFi usage, it's very easy to keep the monthly charges very low.

When we travel internationally, we just use WiFi for voice and text using Hangouts. WhatsApp is great option as well. Another trick we've learned is to download Google Maps data for the areas we'll be in. Then you don't need any internet connection at all to use GPS navigation. We walked around Rome for 4 days using this method.

Ting uses the Sprint and T-Mobile networks, which work fine for us. But coverage is not quite as comprehensive as AT&T and Verizon, so that may be a factor for some people. MVNOs that access AT&T and Verizon are available but they cost more.
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:13 AM   #19
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Ahhh, that's it. Europe is using GSM. Here is what Verizon says:

https://www.verizonwireless.com/supp...l-travel-faqs/



-ERD50
Yep- I have CDMA although my phone is 5g. Looks like I need to get a GSM pay-as-you-go phone.
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:18 AM   #20
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I did a search, but the newest threads I could find are a few years old at least.
I have a couple of ideas.
First of all, let me explain that DW and I have Verizon Wireless, Unlimited Data plans, and we are now up to $220/ month. I really don't think we need to have unlimited plans.

We ditched the land lines, but frankly, with "bundling" plans from the internet providers, they just about give the phone service away, so we're really not saving much there.

We have iPhones, and we text and send photos occasionally. I wouldn't want to give up texting, but could live without the photos if it saves a bunch of money. The idea that I'm spending over 2600 bucks a year for our phones makes me want to barf.
I have 5 lines on a Sprint plan, all unlimited, and I'm paying $240.00 a month for everything. I've been told by many people that Verizon is the most expensive carrier.

Mike
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