Wednesday, January 09, 2013

How I Saved $900 on My Cell Phone Bill…and Stuck it to the Man

If you’re sick of feeling like you are overpaying for cell service and don’t like being beholden to wireless carriers, then this post is for you.

My 2 year Sprint contract ended last July and I was determined to not go under contract with anybody again..

I wanted flexibility in my plan. I wanted cutting-edge technology. And I didn’t want to spend through the nose for it.

Here’s how I managed to pull it off.

  • Bought an unlocked Google Nexus 4 for $300.
  • Signed up for a Straight Talk all-you-can-eat plan for $45 per month. It’s unlimited text/talk/data.

The Pros

  1. Cost Savings--I was paying $120 per month and now I’m paying $45
  2. Cutting-edge technology- Top of the line Google phone. ‘Nuff said.
  3. No contract. Total flexibility.

On the other points that you are sure to ask…

Call Quality
Straight Talk is an AT&T reseller and, so far, I have to say that the call/coverage quality has been fine. In fact, I used it all the way down/back to South Carolina and there was only a period of about 4 minutes the whole way when I didn’t have coverage.

, Straight Talk says they are “unlimited” data. Some research on line says that IF you go above 2GB, they will throttle you. Personally, I think I’ve gone over 2GB in one month maybe once in the past 3 years, so I am not super concerned about that. I do monitor usage and I do tend to switch off mobile data and turn on wi-fi when I am in the house.

Customer Service/Number Portability
Moving the number was very easy. Ridiculously easy. I did have a customer service issue and though I did have to wait about 10 mins, I found the agent to be extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.  She was in Guatemala. Issue resovled.

The Cons

There really aren’t too many. You can get your phone from StraightTalk, if you want, but if you bring your own, you have a DIY solution which means that the Operating System, the phone manufacturer, and the carrier are all divorced from each other.

Frankly, I think phones are pretty much at the maturation point where that doesn’t really matter, but some people may want a place to go (like a Verizon store) for service and questions.

Bottom Line

Do the math….if you are out of contract, you are better off buying an unlocked phone on eBay and getting a pre-paid plan than paying through the nose (and being locked in) to a wireless carrier. And, now, what Google has done, in my opinion, is going to open the floodgates in terms of having access to lower cost, top of the line phones.

And when you’ve saved all that money, you can feel free to make a donation to my coffee fund Winking smile

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