|New phone plan?
||[Feb. 19th, 2008|03:54 pm]
As many people may have heard, my cell phone died during boskone. paradoox loaned me a temp cell phone in case someone needed to call me (or for me to make occasional calls.) I got into my old cell's setup menu and created an extended "away" message with the new number...
But now I have several decisions to make...
1) Stick with ATT and see what sort of phone they will offer me for getting another 2-year contract?
2) Switch to another carrier, get a contract (or not?) and a new phone?
3) Find a cheap phone online, and see about getting my sim card transferred to that?
Some researched I've already done discovered that both ATT & Verizon have basic voice plans for $40. My only extra expense has been for the occasional text messages sent/received. I've never had enough to warrant paying $5 or $10 for unlimited text.
T-Mobile has a plan for $30, plus IIRC, T-Mobile is AAA's current partner so that should mean a 5-10% discount, though looking at the AAA website it seems all they are offering is a waiver on the activation fee. I don't know if I "renew" my contract at an ATT store, if that will continue the "Cingular/AAA" discount I currently have.
So my question is advise as to whether I should switch plans (and to what), and what phone people recommend that I get (or stay away from.)
My only real requirement is that I don't pay for roaming charges.
(please don't send me "replacement" cell numbers yet. I'll create another posting with screened comments if I need to do that.)
3) is workable -- but do be aware that there are four commonly used GSM frequencies. In North America you want 850MHz and 1900MHz bands. In the rest of the GSM world, you want 900MHz and 1800MHz. So watch out if you're buying a cheap dual or tri-band phone, my grey market triband is missing 850MHz, and doesn't work in between cities.
So, watch that if you're buying a cheap phone online -- a 900/1800 phone may not work at all, and a 900/1800/1900 phone will only work in US cities (but would work great in the UK.)
The obvious answer here is a quad band phone, but those tend to be pricier. Since your current plan would be in effect, you know what the running costs are.
Another Advantage: No need to extend your contract.
I've had T-Mobile for a couple of years now, and I love them. Their customer service is always good, and when I call CS, they actually sound like they *like* their jobs and *want* to help you!
If you do decide to go with T-Mobile, I can hook you up with a friend in Boston who's a sales critter for them. He gave me a REALLY sweet deal for my Sidekick (I ended up paying tax for my phone), and I'm sure he'd be able to work out a good deal for you.
You won't get a cheap phone (or actually any phone) out of ATT without extending your contact pretty much.
Personally, I use T-mobile and have been very happy with them for about 12 years now. I do have the hot-spot@home service since we live in a bit of a fringy area. Their customer service is superb even if they are a bit behind the curve on 3G, but that's kind of not their fault even.
Steer clear of VZ, their customer service blows chunks.
FWIW, I've been very very happy with Virgin Mobile's pay-as-you-go plan, which is definitely NOT a contract, and competitively priced, if, like me, you tend to talk less than 100 minutes a month even at its bargain basement price. And you can switch to a higher-priced but more generous time-wise plan at a moment's notice.
Virgin Mobile is a virtual network operator which uses Sprint's network. Actually, if you're not of the the international roaming flavor, and aren't religious about GSM, then Sprint has good coverage, and decent pricing.
FWIW, I have both T-mobile and Sprint phones, T-mobile is mine, Sprint is company issue.
Now you know how to find me to do "the food thing" next year at Boskone.
As per phones, Verizon has good coverage and is the only carrier that works in my building.
My gut feeling is that you are going to get the best deal from T-Mobile. For example I got my BB Pearl for about -$10 (yes, the paid me $10) last year about this time and now Verizon is advertising them for $99. I've been very happy with the T-Mobile customer service. The drawbacks are that the service isn't as ubiquitous and the data speeds (which you probably won't use anyway) are slower.