Let's talk Cell Phones

It’s been a while since I’ve shopped for a cell phone plan. What kind of plan do you have and how much do you pay per month? I’m looking for an alternative to the big 4 that’s considered a great value without getting a crappy throttled data plan.

I really like the concept of Project Fi, I just can’t understand why you can’t bring any device to the plan.

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The deal is always in the family plan so need at least 4 phones to get best deal. For several years I was on my brother’s T-Mobile plan as it was $10 to add an extra line (plus taxes). I was paying $60 so just paid him $60 a month so he could make the extra money. Then they combined with his wife’s sister so had too many and I got cast away. The best plan I found for 2 phones was T-Mobile 55+ plan which is 2 phones for $60 all in. I think it’s 1 GB high speed data (per phone) before slowing down but we never hit that. I’m a few years young so I just had my dad sign up for the account but transferred over my phone number along with wife and it’s been fine so far.

While T-Mobile is somewhat limited in coverage area one major benefit is that you get free low speed data in 200+ countries around the world. We travel international a few times a year so it comes in very handy to have this feature. We’re doing a Baltic cruise next month and will have free data in every port which is really nice. We’ve never had any issues with the “slow” speed but we’re not streaming Netflix or anything.

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We now use Red Pocket plans. It’s still the big 4 but you pick the network that works best for your location and needs and it’s (mostly) the same price regardless. We actually have different networks (Verizon + AT&T) to make sure we have coverage in most areas. It’s just one network per phone unlike Project Fi but you actually pick your network.

You also pick your annual plan depending on your needs. If you need just emergency phone, you can get a $4/month ($49/yr) plan with 500 MB LTE data, 100 talk minutes/100 text. 5GB LTE data(then unlimited throttled data) + unlimited talk/text is $16.7/month ($199/yr) and various other plans in between. Our high-schooler loves that 5GB plan (AT&T) ($16.7/month). The rest of us have the 1GB LTE data, 1000 min/unlimited text (2 Verizon + 1 AT&T) ($12.5/month). Could spring for the 5GB plan since it’s not much more but we don’t use much data.

And I like that each line is independent so there’s no issue removing or adding a line if we need. And we don’t share data so I’m not out of data because someone else on the family plan streamed hours of videos.

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There is no comparison to this right now:

See this thread for discussion:


Sprint unlimited for $0 a month is tough to beat…evwn includes international data.

Mint mobile is another decent one. $15 a month plus tax for unlimited everything and 2gb 4g data. Tmlbole mvno.

Alot is going to depend on your needs. How much data do you plan to use?

Project Fi is good (had it for a couple years) especially if you go out of the country any, however their data pricing isn’t that good.

I’m currently on Total Wireless with 2 phones, it runs about $65/month with taxes, and includes 15GB of 4g LTE and Verizon’s network.

The reason Project Fi supports very few phones is because it’s using multiple carriers simultaneously. Only those specific phones support this.

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You can’t bring any device to Google Fi, because it relies on phones that can interactively switch between different types of networks- TDMA/Verizon and GSM/ATT TMO. There are just a handful of phones that can do it, mostly google ones.

I do believe you can activate a Sim in a qualifying phone, and then move it to another phone. You’ll get reduced coverage in the US, but most people only do it for international roaming. A colleague of mine does this, but he still has a regular US cell phone account for use at home.

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Other than the current sprint promotion, the best deal generally is to be the additional lines on someone else’s plan. Lines 2-6 are much cheaper per line than 1-2.

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Almost right: CDMA/Sprint + U.S. Cellular, GSM/T-Mobile.

Thanks! I kind of guessed on the not-GSM part of it :slight_smile:

I really want to stress that Sprint does not support simultaneous voice and data except on a small number of handsets. It is almost enough of a deal breaker to make me leave the free plan.

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Are there any charges on the free plan? Do they charge a termination fee if you cancel before the free year is up? Is there a hard pull?

Even if you only use it for data, it seems like it’s worth it.

Yes. You have to pay tax. My bill is approx. $2.80 a month.

No, you are free to leave whenever you want.

Yes, this is post-paid service so there is a HP to start.

That’s true, but they’ve said in the past if ‘real’ usage isn’t there they might disconnect.

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I have Republic Wireless. You can bring your own phone. $20/month + $5/GB LTE data. They use the T-Mobile network now.


I’ve had Sprint as long as I’ve had a smart phone (2006) and while I’ve found this annoying a handful of times, I’ve never really been that upset about it. Out of curiosity, why is this so important to you?

While this isn’t free, it isn’t going to expire in a year and leave you holding the bag trying to figure out how to replace it:
When they say “limited time,” they mean it. I got the $15 Kickstart plan last time they offered it. It was available for about a week. If you want unlimited everything and can deal with throttled video, this is the best long term plan out there at $25/month.

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If you’re near a wifi signal it won’t matter much.

Imagine being on hold for a long time, finally getting someone to pick up, and then they ask you to look something up in your email. Can’t do it on sprint. Has happened to me two times. both times I drove to the closest starbucks and had to use their wifi.

Also if you’re using navigation and on a call your phone will not update in real time to traffic conditions. That means you could be driving into a new accident vs. having Google Maps warn you and re-route you.

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Yeah, those are probably the exact situations that it has bothered me. But they are so rare that I’ve come to consider data-during-phone-calls to be a feature that I would need in such very rare instances that it’s never something I would be willing to pay extra for. I rarely make long calls to tech support, and if I do, I’m probably at home or I have my computer in front of me; and I don’t drive in areas with a lot of traffic.