Cell phone plan

Pay as you go plans make sense because they don't do the hardware subsidy thing. My phone (Samung Galaxy S 3) is good except that it (a) doesn't have a SIM card, and (b) has Sprint branding that actually makes it not run properly at times. My carrier (Credo) is good but quite expensive-- its ~ $110/mo now.

Here's my usage for the last 6 months:

Month Reg n&w tot data
July 139 61 200 770MB
Aug 210 70 280 930MB
Sep 250 73 323 680MB
Oct 261 93 354 844MB
Nov 377 92 469 383MB
Dec 298 170 468 444MB

I can get the bill down $20/mo by switching to a plan that's limited to 700 minutes/mo. That's plenty of minutes. But I have to check if that will have side effects.

But there are plans (Boost mobile, for example) that are $55/mo unlimited.

From a tech standpoint I'd like to have an unlocked phone and use prepaid.

So, for the short term: Call Credo and ask
  1. where am I in the contract?
  2. do they have a prepaid plan?
  3. if I drop to 700 min/mo., is data & text still unlimited? any other side effects?

My phone will work on Sprint (presumably) so either Sprint prepaid or Boost are probably options if I leave Credo.

Dropping from $110/mo to $55/mo means an annual savings of $660, which would cover a new phone.

I'm looking at the Google Nexus 5:
  • $350, unlocked
  • 16G but no SD card slot
  • works with GSM and CDMA (so very flexible about carriers)
  • battery not replaceable (but maybe it will be: its not that hard to get at)

With this phone I could probably get a prepaid plan for $50-60 /mo, so it would pay for itself in half a year.

I think Boost Mobile will work with my phone with no changes for $55/mo, unlimited voice & data. And it will drop in price over time. The only negative to this is that it'll still be a Sprint-only phone. But in six months or a year I can get a fancy new phone that is more portable between carriers.

Wait: it looks like Boost won't do roaming. That's why the coverage map is tighter. Very interesting!

-- BenDugan - 09 Jan 2014

After a little more digging I decide to try Ting. I have signed up and the switch should happen today, or sometime soon. Its still sprint, but its a variable plan and should be a lot cheaper. If I don't like it, I can switch easily. I couldn't see a need to buy a new phone now, but I do like the Nexus 5 so I might buy that at some point.

ok: 2 pm and the switch is done & seems to work fine. Sorry to leave Credo, but not $60/month sorry.

-- BenDugan - 10 Jan 2014

I'm surprised I never updated this after switching to StraightTalk, which I did around June of 2014. Ting was great, and I hated to leave: I loved watching my usage and trying to stay under each price point. But I left because they didn't have a GSM option and I wanted a GSM phone since I was going to Hamburg for a conference.

StraightTalk has been good ($45/mo + $5 taxes = $50/mo total) and the only thing I'd change if I could is it'd be nice if they were set up like Ting was to only charge for what you use.

-- BenDugan - 04 Mar 2015

I switched back to Ting about a week ago because they now offer GSM. They've had GSM for a while but my Note3 wasn't well suited for it for some reason. Their compatibility thing said it would use the slowest data path, not sure why. But when the Note3 went belly up (temporarily, for the 10th ? time) I was happy to see that it's replacement (a Moto 3) was a better match. I'll write some notes here after I see the first few monthly bills, if I remember...

-- BenDugan - 22 Sep 2016
Topic revision: r6 - 22 Sep 2016, BenDugan
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