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Old March 12th, 2013, 08:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Going off-contract: T-Mobile or another carrier?

My Verizon contract is up next month and I want to buy a Galaxy Note 2. I want to go off-contract because it works out so much cheaper that way (and I am a commitment phobe ). I'm overwhelmed by all the different options. Can anyone help?

I am not a heavy phone user. Verizon tells me that my average monthly iPhone usage is 120 voice minutes, 97 texts, and 471 MB data. Because of this I thought the T-Mobile prepaid plan, $30 for 100 minutes and unlimited text and data (throttled after 5GB), seemed perfect. But then some people are saying that T-Mobile's coverage is not great. I live in Chicago so should be fine for everyday, but sometimes I travel to smaller towns. I've heard that you don't get roaming on the monthly 4G plans. And I'm not clear if I can tether on this plan with a non-rooted phone. I don't need to tether often but occasionally I do.

Is this the best plan or are there others I should consider? I like the idea of being on GSM so I could use the same phone in Europe (I travel there maybe once, twice a year) but that is not a must-have.

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Old March 12th, 2013, 10:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If you can keep your voice minutes under that 100 minutes per month, that T-Mobile pre-paid plan is probably the best deal for what you want.

As for coverage concerns... just look at both AT&T's prepaid map and T-Mobile's prepaid map. That'll give you the closest apples to apples coverage information for the 2 primary GSM carriers here in the US.

Personally, if I were suddenly have an urge to go GSM (a Nexus 4 would be nice), I'd be on T-Mobile's network. Most reports I've read indicate that they are more generous with coverage and speed than AT&T. But of course, that can always change.
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Old March 12th, 2013, 06:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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One great thing about the T-Mobile plan is that minutes beyond the 100 included are only a dime apiece. So if I used 200 minutes in a month, it'd be $40 instead of $30. Still considerably cheaper than any other plan I have found, on average (considering that many months will only be $30).

I took a look at the coverage maps. It definitely looks like I'd be covered where I spend the most time, but coverage will be spotty or nonexistent in some favorite vacation spots. Maybe that's a good thing - forces me to unplug.
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Old March 12th, 2013, 07:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tonetwo View Post
One great thing about the T-Mobile plan is that minutes beyond the 100 included are only a dime apiece. So if I used 200 minutes in a month, it'd be $40 instead of $30. Still considerably cheaper than any other plan I have found, on average (considering that many months will only be $30).

I took a look at the coverage maps. It definitely looks like I'd be covered where I spend the most time, but coverage will be spotty or nonexistent in some favorite vacation spots. Maybe that's a good thing - forces me to unplug.
edit: nevermind, just realized what's going on

afaik, you're stuck with 100 minutes and can't add any

where did you read you can add a minute for 10c?

i'm on the $30 plan and i don't see this option anywhere, they simply shut my phone making/receiving ability down anytime i reach 100 minutes

kind of annoying, but i rarely use their minutes these days, using grooveip with google voice for unlimited minutes =)
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Old March 12th, 2013, 07:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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wait what?

i'm on the t-mobile $30 plan

how do you add more minutes after you reach 100??

i don't see this option on my account page, and when i reached 100, it simply wouldn't let me call or receive calls =(
Do you have a balance in your prepaid account (after they take out the $30 for the month)? It should take extra minutes from that balance.
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Old March 12th, 2013, 07:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Do you have a balance in your prepaid account (after they take out the $30 for the month)? It should take extra minutes from that balance.
are you actually on the $30 plan and saying this from experience? or why are you assuming this? where did you read/hear?

i'm pretty sure i had money when this last happened

a few dollars at least
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Old March 12th, 2013, 08:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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are you actually on the $30 plan and saying this from experience? or why are you assuming this? where did you read/hear?

i'm pretty sure i had money when this last happened

a few dollars at least
No, I am not on this plan and am not saying this from experience, but from many reports from users on this forum and others. You could take a look at the T-Mobile carrier subforum here to see what users have experienced on this plan, many will confirm the 10c/minute overage. Yours is the first story I have heard of phone service being completely cut off after the 100 minutes were reached, assuming there was a balance in the account.
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Old March 13th, 2013, 07:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Correct. Anything beyond your 100 minutes is charged at 10 cents per minute provided you have a balance on your account. Please see this T-Mobile support discussion:

How are additional minutes billed to Monthly 4G account Support | T-Mobile
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 12:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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For what your usage is, Ting looks pretty good. Based on your average usage you're looking at $25 a month. Use less, and your bill goes down. Use more, simply pay the difference between your expected usage and your actual usage.

Check them out here... thinking of jumping ship to them when some LTE devices I like hit the market at an affordable price. Looks like they also offer Sprint roaming coverage at no additional charge.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 08:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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For what your usage is, Ting looks pretty good. Based on your average usage you're looking at $25 a month. Use less, and your bill goes down. Use more, simply pay the difference between your expected usage and your actual usage.

Check them out here... thinking of jumping ship to them when some LTE devices I like hit the market at an affordable price. Looks like they also offer Sprint roaming coverage at no additional charge.
I looked into Ting, but to say you only pay for actual usage is a little misleading... you pay for the whole tier of usage. So 100 minutes, 100 texts and 500 MB would be $25, but 101 minutes, 101 texts and 501 MB would be $44. On average I would be paying more with them based on my usage. But price isn't the only thing, and I do like the roaming and tethering. I am anxious to see what TMobile officially announces for its new no contract plan.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 09:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Going off-contract: T-Mobile or another carrier?

I'm happy with TMobile in Chicago and the suburbs. There's one area I've seen that is kinda slow (Damen and Fullerton-ish) but everywhere else is fine.

Page Plus might be an option for your usage.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 09:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I was in your exact situation and I switched to Ting when they had a promotion to buy out my remaining contract if I switched.

I'm really enjoying Ting so far. I'm on wireless all day so I use that for data and just use VOIP instead of minutes. My bills come out to be $23 per month and I was paying $78 per month on Verizon before I switched (with a company discount). You have to buy your device outright and non-subsidized but you save month in the end, especially not being on contract.

I think Ting gives you a 5% grace of being over but don't quote me on that. I remember being at 103 minutes once and they didn't charge me extra for being over 100.
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