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Old February 10th, 2013, 05:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Frawg, T-Mobile or Straight Talk

My girlfriend is finally ready for a smart phone but doesn't want a contract. The little bit I've read on here so far looks like T-Mobile may be the best choice for her. This will be her first experience with Android so I want it to be a good one. Also, I don't want her to get a crap phone. I'd prefer the SG3 or a good HTC. She lives in Roanoke VA.
Any help would be appreciated.

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Old February 10th, 2013, 06:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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well, if you can, go with virgin mobile... 35$ a month, and the best phones out there.. Tmobile is something ive heard is good, its not carried in my area though... straight talk........ i sell their phones every day... and theyre good for most people, but with people that really do care about their phones and KNOW them as the computers that they are.... dont go to straight talk... dont do it... lol
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Old February 10th, 2013, 06:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I forgot to mention that she will be using it for the basic smartphone stuff. Nothing fancy.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 06:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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ok, well either way virgin mobile is 10$ cheaper, if you can take the sprint network, you should go with VM.. most of straight talks phones run on the sprint network anyways... i suggest getting her the kyocera rise from virgin mobile.. runs android 4.0, under 100$ slider keyboard (first time android users LOVE the sliders) 3.5 inch touchscreen.. i really suggest it...

straight talk is owned by tracfone... tracfone owns straight talk, net ten, and tracfone, HOWEVER, even tracfone is a company from "telefono movil" based out of miami florida, but any call center you call to is going to be located in central america.if you or your wife have trouble understanding the foreign accents, you will not understand a single word they say. plus their words will be garbled because of how far away they are located.. PLUS (yes theirs more lol) straight talks customer service line's hold time is on average of a half hour.. and ive had customers extremely mad while trying to work with them when at 59:59 (59 minutes, 59 seconds) of hold time, the system tells me "we are experiencing high call volume and cannot take your call at this time. if you need further assistence please..." blah blah blah.. and the customer walks away unhappy..

so please, do yourself a favor, and dont choose straight talk :P
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Old February 16th, 2013, 08:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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ok, well either way virgin mobile is 10$ cheaper, if you can take the sprint network, you should go with VM.. most of straight talks phones run on the sprint network anyways... i suggest getting her the kyocera rise from virgin mobile.. runs android 4.0, under 100$ slider keyboard (first time android users LOVE the sliders) 3.5 inch touchscreen.. i really suggest it...

straight talk is owned by tracfone... tracfone owns straight talk, net ten, and tracfone, HOWEVER, even tracfone is a company from "telefono movil" based out of miami florida, but any call center you call to is going to be located in central america. i dont mean to sound anti latino, but if you or your wife have trouble understanding the latino accent, you will not understand a single word they say. plus their words will be garbled because of how far away they are located.. PLUS (yes theirs more lol) straight talks customer service line's hold time is on average of a half hour.. and ive had customers extremely mad while trying to work with them when at 59:59 (59 minutes, 59 seconds) of hold time, the system tells me "we are experiencing high call volume and cannot take your call at this time. if you need further assistence please..." blah blah blah.. and the customer walks away unhappy..

so please, do yourself a favor, and dont choose straight talk :P
Actually, only a few of Straight Talk's phones are on Sprint's network, and I don't believe any of their Android phones. The majority of Straight Talk's Android phones are on AT&T or T-Mobile, with a few on Verizon.

T-Mobile has a $30/month plan. The huge disadvantage is that it only offers 100 minutes of talk a month. The big plus is that it offers 5 GB of data at 4G speeds -- after 5 GB it is throttled to 2G speeds. Other than this plan, T-Mobile's prices tend to be a bit higher than the other prepaid carriers, though they do have a $70/month plan that is completely unlimited (talk, text, and 4G data). Another advantage, any GSM phone can be used -- personally I'd recommend the Nexus 4 (if you are willing to pay $300 or $350). They also have voice (but not data) roaming. T-Mobile support is typically ranked as being one of the better ones for mobile phones, with people who actually speak English answering the phones.

Virgin Mobile has a $35/month plan for 300 minutes and 2.5 GB of 3G/4G data, after that it is throttled to 2.5 GB. They have a $45 plan with more minutes and a $55 unlimited talk plan, though data is still throttled at 2.5 GB. The downside is that Sprint's 3G in many metro areas is very slow, and their 4G (WiMax) will only scheduled to be operational until 2015. While they are said to be adding LTE later this year, they do not currently sell any LTE capable phones. Additionally, you are limited to the phones Virgin Mobile sells and they tend to be older and lower end. Virgin does not offer any roaming. I suppose that I should also mention that Virgin/Sprints call centers are in India, with all the normal complaints about being difficult to understand, etc.

Boost (and also Virgin Mobile) are fully owned by Sprint, so both are similar in terms of the service you get. The difference is that Boost doesn't offer the range of plans, they only offer an Unlimited plan for smartphones. The plan starts at $50 a month, though they will drop the plan cost by $5 every six months if all your payments are on time, down to where you only pay $35/month after 18 months.

Straight Talk is $45/month for "Unlimited" talk and text and data, though they limit their data to around 2.5 GB (there is no published limit, but people get warnings typically around 2.5 GB or excessive usage in one day). The network the phone is on depends on the phone (Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile); you can also use any GSM phone and just get a Straight Talk SIM card for the AT&T or T-Mobile networks. Straight Talk has voice (and again, no data) roaming. As was mentioned, Straight Talk is owned by TracFone, and many of the other prepaid providers such as Simple Mobile and Net 10 are also part of this conglomerate.

Last, I'll mention Solavei. While technically is is a mobile phone version of an MLM, they do appear to have a good phone service. They operate on T-Mobile's network and offer Unlimited data, text and voice (though the data is throttled down to 2G after 4 GB) for $49/month. They also have voice and data roaming.

Ultimately the best plan will depend on 1) what provider's network is best in the area where she will use the phone and 2) how she actually uses her phone (amount of time spent talking and how much data she uses). To help get an idea of what networks are good in your area, you might check PC Mag's Fastest Mobile Networks article. Though it is worth pointing out that network coverage can vary by neighborhood -- a company might provide great coverage in your city but that doesn't help if it doesn't cover the area where you live and work.

Of course, that is the advantage of prepaid, she can switch if she starts a plan and finds out it isn't working for her, which is also why I'd recommend a GSM phone if T-Mobile and/or AT&T have good coverage in your area. GSM phones are easy to switch between carriers (just change the SIM), most allow you to bring your own phone, whereas CDMA carriers typically require you to purchase a phone from them.
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Old February 16th, 2013, 01:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you going to Straight talk, you probably can try sprint since they now have pay as you go. They have a samsung galaxy victory 4g lte on the sprint network. If you get you 4g lte you will in your area, you should try sprint. I don't know how much there prepaid plan cost though.
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Old February 16th, 2013, 05:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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After further investigation I believe the T-Mobile $30 plan will be her best option but she can't afford the N4 or the SGIII. I think her best option would be the SGII at $299 from Walmart.
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Old February 16th, 2013, 07:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I did so investigation on the Sprint pay as you go it is $50 for unlimited basic, and $70 for unlimited smartphone. Witch you mike like include roaming. I am not sure if the rest do. I know for sure VM, and boost doesn't offer off network roaming. Like I said I am not sure about T-mobile or Straight talk. Make sure you talk to more then then one sales rep and other people that has that service in your area.
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Old February 16th, 2013, 08:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Frawg, T-Mobile or Straight Talk

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Originally Posted by siggy1964 View Post
After further investigation I believe the T-Mobile $30 plan will be her best option but she can't afford the N4 or the SGIII. I think her best option would be the SGII at $299 from Walmart.
The N4 is 299 also....thought I point that out.
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Old February 16th, 2013, 11:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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After further investigation I believe the T-Mobile $30 plan will be her best option but she can't afford the N4 or the SGIII. I think her best option would be the SGII at $299 from Walmart.

As was pointed out, the Nexus 4 is also $299, although that's for the 8 GB version. I wouldn't get the SGII from walmart...If you mean the T-Mobile one, its $329, more than its worth imho. Unless youre talking about getting the straight talk one and switching the sim? It has downgraded specs and only comes with gingerbread. If you wanna save more money, the T-Mobile lg optimus L9 is only $199 at best buy, and already comes with a T-Mobile sim. You just take it home and activate it online for the $30 a month plan.

It's every bit as good as the SGSII from walmart. And it has ICS and you will actually get T-Mobiles 4G HSPA speeds.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 10:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I must not be looking in the right place to get the N4 for $299 with the $30 plan then. Anyone have a link?
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Old February 17th, 2013, 11:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Frawg, T-Mobile or Straight Talk

Go to google, type "Google nexus 4" and it should bring you there.
Then go to tmobile and order a sim card
Then wait till you get them
** last I looked N4 has a 2-3 week shipping period
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Old February 17th, 2013, 12:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I must not be looking in the right place to get the N4 for $299 with the $30 plan then. Anyone have a link?
Here is a link to the $299 version of the Nexus 4. You buy the phone direct from Google, rather than from T-Mobile. The downside, since I seem to recall you wanted insurance, is that I don't believe T-Mobile will insure the phone (though you could check at a T-Mobile store). Instead, you'd likely want to get insurance through a third party, such as SquareTrade. You then would just need to order a SIM card from T-Mobile Monthly, which costs 99 cents (no shipping charges).

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As was pointed out, the Nexus 4 is also $299, although that's for the 8 GB version. I wouldn't get the SGII from walmart...If you mean the T-Mobile one, its $329, more than its worth imho. Unless youre talking about getting the straight talk one and switching the sim? It has downgraded specs and only comes with gingerbread. If you wanna save more money, the T-Mobile lg optimus L9 is only $199 at best buy, and already comes with a T-Mobile sim. You just take it home and activate it online for the $30 a month plan.

It's every bit as good as the SGSII from walmart. And it has ICS and you will actually get T-Mobiles 4G HSPA speeds.
Actually, the Walmart T-Mobile SGII is $299, just that it is typically bundled with a $30 T-Mobile prepaid card. I've heard that in stores it can be purchased without the card for $299. I also can't see what is "downgraded" about it, unless you are talking in comparison to the Nexus 4 -- it appears to be the same as the S II T-Mobile sells under contract (which is one of the better versions of the S II).

Also, while the L9 is a nice enough phone, it does not compare to the SII. While the L9 has a slightly larger display (4.7 to 4.5 inches), it has a slower processor, (1.0 Ghz dual core to 1.5 Ghz dual core), less internal memory (the L9 has 4 GB, the GS II has 16 GB), and the camera is not as good (5 MP vs. 8 MP). And the L9 does ship with Ice Cream Sandwich but there is a T-Mobile upgrade to ICS for the S II, and there is hope it will have a Jellybean update in the next couple of months (Samsung has released Jellybean updates for the S II already) -- much like it is also expected for the L9 (but also not yet available).

Last, and perhaps most importantly, the L9 has an HSPA+ 21 antenna, and the S II (as well as the Nexus 4)has an HSPA+ 42 antenna, meaning data speeds will be considerably faster on the S II.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 12:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I don't think she'll want insurance. She takes good care of her stuff.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 02:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Here is a link to the $299 version of the Nexus 4. You buy the phone direct from Google, rather than from T-Mobile. The downside, since I seem to recall you wanted insurance, is that I don't believe T-Mobile will insure the phone (though you could check at a T-Mobile store). Instead, you'd likely want to get insurance through a third party, such as SquareTrade. You then would just need to order a SIM card from T-Mobile Monthly, which costs 99 cents (no shipping charges).



Actually, the Walmart T-Mobile SGII is $299, just that it is typically bundled with a $30 T-Mobile prepaid card. I've heard that in stores it can be purchased without the card for $299. I also can't see what is "downgraded" about it, unless you are talking in comparison to the Nexus 4 -- it appears to be the same as the S II T-Mobile sells under contract (which is one of the better versions of the S II).

Also, while the L9 is a nice enough phone, it does not compare to the SII. While the L9 has a slightly larger display (4.7 to 4.5 inches), it has a slower processor, (1.0 Ghz dual core to 1.5 Ghz dual core), less internal memory (the L9 has 4 GB, the GS II has 16 GB), and the camera is not as good (5 MP vs. 8 MP). And the L9 does ship with Ice Cream Sandwich but there is a T-Mobile upgrade to ICS for the S II, and there is hope it will have a Jellybean update in the next couple of months (Samsung has released Jellybean updates for the S II already) -- much like it is also expected for the L9 (but also not yet available).

Last, and perhaps most importantly, the L9 has an HSPA+ 21 antenna, and the S II (as well as the Nexus 4)has an HSPA+ 42 antenna, meaning data speeds will be considerably faster on the S II.
I was talking about the straight talk SII. That one is downgraded. The T-Mobile one is better, you're correct. Also, the L9 you're talking about is the international version. The T-Mobile version only has a 4.5 inch screen. Also, the HSPA 21, 42 difference is not going to make THAT big of a difference. Since it's a theoretical ceiling, you're not going to get 42mbps downloads. So all in all yes the T-Mobile SII is better, but if a person didn't want to spend $300+ dollars, the L9 is a great choice. Although the processor is only 1ghz dual core, the devices performance is flawless. I've had phones, like an HTC evo 3d, with supposedly faster processors that had much more lag. But anyways, the Nexus 4 is actually by far the best choice at $300.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 03:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Fwiw, the TMobile L9 has a 4.5" screen.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 10:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I was talking about the straight talk SII. That one is downgraded. The T-Mobile one is better, you're correct. Also, the L9 you're talking about is the international version. The T-Mobile version only has a 4.5 inch screen. Also, the HSPA 21, 42 difference is not going to make THAT big of a difference. Since it's a theoretical ceiling, you're not going to get 42mbps downloads. So all in all yes the T-Mobile SII is better, but if a person didn't want to spend $300+ dollars, the L9 is a great choice. Although the processor is only 1ghz dual core, the devices performance is flawless. I've had phones, like an HTC evo 3d, with supposedly faster processors that had much more lag. But anyways, the Nexus 4 is actually by far the best choice at $300.
The HSPA+ 21 vs. 42 makes a fair amount of difference. You are right, you are not going to get 42 Mbps, just like with HSPA+ 21 won't get you 21 Mbps. OTOH, even when not running at maximum speeds, HSPA+ 42 can be significantly faster than HSPA+ 21. The examples shown in this article are fairly typical, with HSPA+ 42 typically being 50-100% faster then HSPA+ 21.

And thanks for the correction on the L9.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 11:30 PM   #18 (permalink)
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The HSPA+ 21 vs. 42 makes a fair amount of difference. You are right, you are not going to get 42 Mbps, just like with HSPA+ 21 won't get you 21 Mbps. OTOH, even when not running at maximum speeds, HSPA+ 42 can be significantly faster than HSPA+ 21. The examples shown in this article are fairly typical, with HSPA+ 42 typically being 50-100% faster then HSPA+ 21.

And thanks for the correction on the L9.

Hmm, interesting article. His speeds seemed a bit slow on both phones to me. I hear people in these forums getting 14 to 15 Mbps average with HSPA+ 42. I get 6 to 9 average on +21 in my area with the L9. That's about the same as my home wifi... much faster than some people's WiFi who I know. I wonder what I'd get with +42? Seems like I have pretty good coverage here.
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