Over the last 10 years, we've had 2 year family plan contracts from Sprint, ATT (Cingular), T-Mobile, ATT, & T-Mobile. We've probably averaged under 200 minutes and under one text each month. For the last 2 years, I've had a smart phone and averaged under 10 MB/month with 100 MB at most.
Our last contract ended a week ago or so.
I'm looking at Virgin, Net10, Straight Talk/Walmart, for a smartphone and no-contract service from T-Mobile or ATT or Tracfone or Virgin for W's basic texting phone.
I've seen reviews, but I don't know if I can trust tem. I trust SIers, anonymous though we are.
Thanks in advance.
It. Happened. Every. Month.
After 5 months, I gave up and went to AT&T.
In retrospect, I think I had a defective phone. BUT, if your phone is defective, they expect you to send it to them for service, and be without a phone for 3-4 WEEKS.
Nothing about this service (except the price) worked for me. Yes, I'm paying AT&T double for less service, but my phone works every day without fail. I need something cheaper, and will be watching this thread as others weigh in.
I really wish Straight Talk had some kind of decent customer service and/or reliability, as the plan was perfect for me at a reasonable cost. But, it's not perfect when you pay for service and every stinkin' month, they cut it off.
I did the $35/mo 4G plan, bought the phones, and now per month, it's cheaper for the 3 of us (me and my kids) to all have smart phones than it was with AT&T with just me having a data plan and the kids having dumb phones.
I will tell you, it does usually switch to 3G in the office where I work. I don't know if it matters, I'm on the 6th floor, and in the center (reception area) of the office. And I'm not supposed to be using my phone while I'm at work anyway. When I'm in the lobby area of the building, I get 4G, without fail. Most places I go, I have full bars for signal and 4G.
The plan I'm on gives me 300 minutes plus unlimited text and data. If you're used to sharing minutes though, be aware that with Virgin, there is no sharing. Each phone has its own account. But, for only $10 more a month, you can go up to the next level, which gives you I think 1000 or 1200 minutes. It was way more than any of us needed, so I didn't pay attention to the particulars. It's all spelled out on their website though.
I've had Sprint for 18 years with ZERO problems so I'm sticking with them. I have iPhone and a set plan of $99 per month including unlimited data and texts. Maybe that's because -- when I go in the store I tell the customer service people I've had Sprint before some of them were born.
The toughest part for smart phone users is buying the phone up front - full price! They run sales on Black Friday/cyber Monday every year, and if you google for a coupon code you can usually find 10-20% off codes to buy online though.
What I like is that they automatically put you in the proper package each month. We've had great service from them
The people you do your life with shape the life you live
We both got iPhones and got the lowest Beyond Talk plan, and it is great for us because we don't use many minutes but do text and use a lot of data. So if you average out the cost of the phone and $30/mo over a year, it is still way cheaper than what we paid for our contracts for the past five years. Even less if we make it two years with the same phone, which has been the case with us in the past.
However, we recently got a super cheap non-smart phone and put it on one of their PayLo plans for one of the kids, and it was not as good as an experience. Took forever to set up, phone is not especially easy to use, etc so I would not recommend it for anything but a phone for a kid you want to make internet use and picture taking difficult for and wouldn't stress if they lost or broke the phone.
I haven't had any troubles. If your phone breaks you can by a cheap one to get you through until your phone is fixed (if it is under warranty).
I do believe you get what you pay for. There is hardly any customer service at all with ST but I am not willing to pay nearly double to another contract company because they have a store at the mall.
They are no-contract, buy your own cell phone, but they are inexpensive and are constantly upping what you get for the money. They have a few different plans based on how much data or cell time you want. We still pay the same $30/month for my & DS plan that we have for years, but in that time our data has been bumped from 20MB to 500MB, and I think the talk and texts have doubled in that time as well for the same money. DH is a more data heavy user and we pay $55 for his, and he gets I think 2.5G of data (and unlimited everything else).
At the moment you can only use 3G phones with it, but we all use the iphone 4 or 4s very happily on it, and have never had a glitch. We also have it set up so that our accounts are renewed automatically each month so besides the email that pops up saying "your plans have been renewed" we just never think about it.
We buy all our cell phones through cowboom or from ebay. I think we spent about $120 each on our iphones-4 a year ago (hard to pluralize that without making it seem like 4S!) - some corporate phone sell-off on ebay, two of ours were sold as "used" but were still sealed in the original packaging, and one was not sealed but had a screen protector and didn't have a scratch. We lucked out. They are perfect. DH upgraded to a 4S and gave our daughter his 4, and that's worked fine as well.
I tried to get along without a cell phone for six months - sort of a "test", if you will - but no go, I desperately need one to stay in touch (especially at work). I looked around a bit, used Solavei for a couple of months, then decided to go with Virgin when my phone finally died.
I've been happy ever since.
I will recommend Solavei if you have a phone that will work specifically with their service - I used to have a Galaxy II and I know that one is one of them, but it finally gave up the ghost last month. I took that opportunity to buy a new phone and Virgin seemed the best way to go for that.
ETA: The only downside seems to be that my office building has ZERO service with Virgin. The minute I step outside, it works. Solavei only had a bar or two, though, and AT&T never worked at all, either. It must be these thick walls in here, that's all.
[This message edited by Fireball72 at 10:19 AM, December 26th (Thursday)]
Anyway, I share this all because I don't think of Virgin (here anyway) and a sketchy little start up. Check what towers they use where you are, but if it's like here, you'll have great service.
[This message edited by SI Staff at 11:10 AM, December 26th (Thursday)]
The Ting deal is terrific for us - we make only a few calls and fewer texts (but that will increase because I've finally understood how useful they are), and not a lot of data.
I bought some Sprint phones on e-bay. Sprint is OK here, with a tower about a mile away from home, and I know a number of Sprint users in this area who are very happy. Besides, our son's on Sprint, and he's happy with the service when he visits this area. Still, my fingers are crossed.
My usage is similar to yours. I think you'll be pleased with your decision. We've been with Ting for about 8 months now and we LOVE them! We've saved a ton of money - for two smart phones we've paid far less every month than I was paying another company for one dumb phone.
I think that their customer service is superb. None of that "answer fifty routine questions before we tell you you'll have to ring another number" rubbish. Whenever my husband has phoned Ting, he's talked to a real, live person with a real, live brain and ears that actually worked We've even received non-standard follow-up emails from them! Amazing. I didn't think that phone companies like this even existed any more.
[This message edited by Cally60 at 1:53 PM, December 27th (Friday)]