working offshore: phone/carrier/no-contract plan advice?


  1. caspian915

    caspian915 Well-Known Member

    Short explanation:

    I'm about to start work on a drill rig offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, and I'm looking for ideas/advice/suggestions about the best phone(s), carrier and (preferably no contract) plan for my needs.

    Details:

    I currently have Virgin Mobile's $35/month plan with an LG Optimus Elite. I was looking into upgrading to the Samsung GS2, but now circumstances are different.

    My schedule will start as 28 days offshore / 14 back home (my newly transplanted home, that is, New Orleans)... [exception, first cycle will be 28 / 7 / 28 days]. Even at $35 a month, it seems like a waste of money to hold onto that when I'll only use it for 1 or 2 weeks at a time. However, I will be eventually changing schedules to either: 14 out/7 home, 14/14, or 21/21. When that happens, a monthly might be worth it again.

    They provide wifi (not sure of the strength, though it seems like other people do use voip) and I have a Google # + GrooveIP for out there, but while here (I think) I'll need some sort of solution that lets me change between a monthly option like VM and a day to day option (for the various times I'm home 10 days or less).

    The day to day options on all the carriers look like they have really crappy phone options, and it doesn't look like I can use a Samsung GS2 on VM's $35 plan AND day to day plan. I was looking into a completely unlocked phone, especially the Google Nexus 4, but I don't know if that'll do what I want with any of the carriers (I do like Virgin Mobile, but I'm willing to look into Verizon, ATT, Tmobile, Metro/Boost, etc etc, though the first two are better in this part of country when I get out of New Orleans proper).

    Will something like a Nexus 4 do what I need?
    Will I need, instead, to get a cheap flip phone for day-to-day contract needs, and another phone for monthly and offshore VoIP needs?
    What else should I consider?

    (Sorry about the long post. I couldn't find other threads on this topic, so I figured I'd try to be as detailed as possible so it could be a long, developed conversation/resource on the topic so that others searching for this info could find it in the future)

    - sps

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  2. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Well-Known Member

    Pay per use prepaid plans on AT&T, T-Mobile and other MVNOs piggybacking on AT&T's or T-Mobile's networks would probably work for you. The minimum you'd spend is $100 per year. I'm not aware of other GSM carriers in the US. If you don't need cellular data and are not a heavy caller (1000 minutes or less per year), it's not even worth it switching to a monthly plan. Nice thing about this is if you don't like the carrier's service, you can just switch SIM cards. No need to buy another phone.

    CDMA carriers are a bit difficult since on those, you're usually stuck with a crappy flip phone on a daily plan or a smartphone on a minimum $30 monthly plan.
  3. caspian915

    caspian915 Well-Known Member

    I should have added that I definitely use mobile data and text a lot. And I'll prefer a smartphone for VoIP out on the ship. When I'm home, I am not entirely sure how many minutes I'll use, but it'll be more than 1000 minutes/year.
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