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Smartphone rookie in need of device/carrier advice

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by CyclingBear, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. CyclingBear

    CyclingBear Lurker
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    First, a confession: I'm not a mobile phone person. I live in the 'burbs north of Washington DC, I make 8-10 short calls a week, I don't text (ever), and so for the past five years I've relied on a tiny, nearly free, pay-as-you-go Virgin Mobile flip phone. (Go ahead, laugh.)
    I take a lot of crap from my friends and coworkers about my POS mobile device, but, hey, it works for me. (Did I also mention I'm a cheapskate?)

    I just changed jobs and will be traveling to Iowa and Nebraska once or twice a month. On my first trip there I had no cell service on the road. This is a serious problem, as I need to reach coworkers, managers and the g/f on a regular basis. Some locals told me Verizon is the only carrier in Iowa with reliable service throughout the state. So it looks like I'm going to need a new phone.

    I want to resolve this dilemma in the most inexpensive way possible. No $50-60/month data plans, as the job won't pay even a portion of the cost (Ugh!) and, again, I don't use the phone more than absolutely necessary. But I need internet connectivity to look up addresses and directions, receive email, etc. And I want something small enough to carry in my pants pocket, without looking like a deformed porn star.

    So what I'm asking you kind and knowledgeable folks is this: How can I best handle this phone and service upgrade on the cheap? Do I buy my own Verizon-compatible phone? Do I opt for prepaid, pay-as-you-go or contract service? I've also heard StraightTalk uses the Verizon towers and is less expensive, though some folks told me they had bad experiences with the company. Are there any other third-party carriers using Verizon towers that you'd personally recommend?

    Please take pity on a smartphone noob (cuz everyone's a rookie in the beginning). Help a bear out. Give me the benefit of your wisdom and experience, and I will repay your kindness by not making off with your pic-a-nic basket. Sincere thanks.
     

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  2. breadnatty08

    breadnatty08 pain rustique
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    Welcome to the forums, Cyclingbear!
    DC resident here, but only experience with Verizon (which is solid, granted LTE isn't the fastest anymore).
    You're going to be hard up trying a Verizon plan less than $50 a month. Their pre-paid plans START there. The Moto G is now available for them. I have one, the GSM version, and love it. It's a fantastic device for the price. I'm not sure of Straight Talk prices, but imagine it's a little cheaper. If you can get T-Mo service, it'll be a little less and you can pick up a Moto G as well for it.
    Best of luck. I hope if you rely on your phone that much for work, perhaps they can subsidize your plan?

    Also, going to move this to the Device Comparison forum. :)
     
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  3. dasanman69

    dasanman69 Well-Known Member
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    What's your budget? You could get a Moto G for $99 and then use Verizon prepaid service which the cheapest plan is $60 or pick a MVNO from this list.

    http://www.prepaidmvno.com/2011/09/10/us-mvno-providers-that-use-verizons-network/
     
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  4. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ...eschew obfuscation...
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    Welcome to Android Forums CyclingBear. First off, I spun your post into its own thread here in Device and Carrier Comparisons to get you some better answers.:)

    I am a longtime Verizon customer and have found there coverage to be the best and most reliable, especially with the most critical part, getting enough signal to make or receive a phone call. I live in Massachusetts and still needed to walk around my house waving my arms like I was singing we are the world when my work tries switching me to AT&T. Verizon is full 4 bars. Also, based on your expected usage patters, you should be fine on a 2GB tiered plan (their smallest). You may also do fine on a prepaid, but I don't know how those plans work as I have no experience.

    For comparison, I use my phone pretty much like you propose, maybe a bit more. I don't care how much data I use as I have a grandfathers unlimited plan. That being said, I rarely go over 1GB of data. Occasionally on a longer road trip I'll let my son watch something on Netflix but I'll still be well under 2GB for the month.

    As far as phones go, the Moto X is a good device that will serve you well for the duration of the contract. If you are going to use it for navigation, it has a very large screen in a very small form factor. It is roughly the same size as a S3 with a slightly larger screen. It also has a lot of other nice features and is $49 with contract at VZW. I haven't checked Amazon Wireless yet as sometimes they have super deals like phones for $0.01.

    I hope that some information to get you started.
     
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  5. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid.
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    Page Plus uses Verizon so they are an option for you.

    Their "Talk n Text 1200" plan should work if you don't need over 500MB of data. When you're around WiFi you can use that instead of your data.
     
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  6. timelord65

    timelord65 Android Enthusiast
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    Well if you only want a phone to make calls on. I'd suggest getting a simply flip type phone and use Verizon prepaid. If you want to use an older Verizon branded 3g smartphone phone, I strongly recommend going with pageplus.

    Pageplus is prepaid but uses Verizon's network.
     
  7. DarkJedi

    DarkJedi Android Enthusiast
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    I'd worry that using Verizon pre-paid, you'll end up in the SW part of Iowa where you won't be covered. That part requires Verizon roaming.

    Take a good look at Republic Wireless. The phone is great (Moto X), but expensive ($299). However, there is no contract and the savings is with the plan. Just use the $10 a month unlimited talk and text plan. It uses ALL the Sprint AND Verizon towers. Then, as you stop for gas or food or wherever, let it connect via WiFi and get you all caught up on emails and directions, etc. Don't bother with a data plan since there is a McDonalds, Starbucks, Lowe's, etc in every town.

    If you want data without looking for free WiFi, then that will cost $15/month more ($25 total). And depending on where you are, that will give you between 100 MB of data a month (when on Verizon's towers) to 5 GB of data a month (when on Sprint's towers).

    Best part, you can change plans twice a month FROM THE PHONE (no calling in or using a website). So just turn on data for when you need it for that once a month road trip to Iowa/Nebraska and when you get back, turn it off. Your bill will be pro-rated based on the number of days you used each plan.

    If you aren't sure... think this is just some evil black magic... or don't want to commit without being 100% confident it'll work for you in Iowa/Nebraska... then order the phone and try it on a trip. You have 30 days to return the phone for a full refund minus the $10 shipping fee. So for $10... can't hurt to test it out.

    PS: I just did a road trip on side roads (some interstate, but not much) that cut from the Gulf coast to Minnesota (including right down the middle of Iowa) and back. We never had a problem with getting service, both voice and data. Was visiting friends and family for Thanksgiving.
     
  8. Slug

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    Duplicate topics merged.
     
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  9. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast
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    +1. Mind, I'm planning on getting the Moto G and trying to use it on Verizon Pay As You Go. Apparently, there's fine print on Verizon's TOS that if you have load on your account but don't have enough funds for the prepaid monthly plan, you can use your smartphone on PAYG rates (25c/min, 20c/text, 5c/MB). This might be a good fit for the OP if he only has low usage. At $170-200 for the GSM model, the Moto G is a great deal. At just $100? It's practically a steal. Caveat, no LTE, CDMA only but that may be good on PAYG since you go through data much slower.
     

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