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Verizon's New Plan - no contract. Ouch $$$


sheryl
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DH has a smartphone.  Actually he had a flip and his boss noticed and offered to partially pay for dh to upgrade to a smartphone 3-4 years ago.  That phone burned out and he replaced it with a Samsung galaxy s3 summer 2013.   I upgraded from my flip to a Samsung galaxy s4 on Black Friday 2013.

 

Additionally, our dd received her first phone (smartphone - Apple 4s or 5s (don't remember which). 

 

I went to Verizon today to find out about me upgrading to the newest Samsung galaxy s7 that came out this past weekend.   Just days after my birthday last Wed! Ha.  I thought maybe a belated birthday gift.  :)

 

They changed their plan.  We would have to pay an EXTRA $28 PER MONTH for 2 years just to switch and have the s7!   We're in essence buying the phone on a monthly basis over the course of 2 years.  OUCH! 

 

The rep said he could work a deal and offer it to me for an extra $18/month for 2 years.  But, if dh and dd also upgraded (making that 3 of us) it would nearly cost $1500 over 2 years.

 

FYI....

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But you can purchase the phone outtright, can you not?

 

When we got DD a phone for Christmas - added to our Verizon plan, we had the option to pay monthly or buy it flat out. The price of the phone remained the same either way.

 

The high end smart phones will cost you $1500 to buy 3 of them, any way you slice it.

Edited by fraidycat
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We pay $10 a month for two smart phones. I don't know why the other plans cost so much. We are thrilled with our phones-and the price!

Right. DD's smartphone is only $5 or $8/month. I can't remember for sure. It's a Samsung, but it's not high end. It's the basic model. DH has one of the bigger/expensive Samsungs and I (reluctantly) have an iPhone 6 - bigger than I wanted, but my 4s went for a swim in the toilet :( and Lol, but at an unfortunate time, so no time to shop around for replacement or learn a new UI - I literally knocked it in the toilet as we were picking up the moving truck to move across country.

 

They don't have to be super-spendy, but some are. The ones with all the fancy bells and whistles are more.

 

Oh, I just realized you said plan. Do you mean you only pay $10 total for calling, internet, texting, and cost of phones for two phones? That's a great deal!

Edited by fraidycat
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Oh, I just realized you said plan. Do you mean you only pay $10 total for calling, internet, texting, and cost of phones for two phones? That's a great deal!

 

Yes. But it is not unlimited. We each get 180 minutes, 180 texts, and 180 megabytes of data a month. It rolls over, so if I don't use it all, I don't lose it. Sometimes I run out of data (not texts because I use a free texting app) and can get another 180 of everything for $20. I only run out  about 3 times a year.

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don't know about buying outright. so we didn't buy the phone before?

You did. It was just rolled in to the price and contract. I think now that smart phones are so ubiquitous, there are not as many "hooks" to draw customers in as before. There were back-room deals between the phone companies and phone manufacturers that are no longer necessary to build the market. They already have most of us hooked on smart-phone usage and people didn't like contracts. So a new pricing model was born.

Edited by fraidycat
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you can buy your phone somewhere else - and it's not as bad if you add everything up.

 

if your contract isn't active - ting.com is an option.  we aboslutely have to have reliable service because it's dh's business line, so we pay.  (t-mobile had blank spots  IN HIS OFFICE.  they lasted all of one weekend.)

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They changed their plan. We would have to pay an EXTRA $28 PER MONTH for 2 years just to switch and have the s7! We're in essence buying the phone on a monthly basis over the course of 2 years. OUCH!

 

The rep said he could work a deal and offer it to me for an extra $18/month for 2 years. But, if dh and dd also upgraded (making that 3 of us) it would nearly cost $1500 over 2 years.

 

FYI....

Like a PP said, new smartphones cost $500+. The new plans are more transparent and a la carte. In the past, I would pay $200 for the newest iPhone and re-up my contract for two years when I wanted, and they allowed, to upgrade. The other $400 or so of the phone cost was just hidden in the contract. Alternatively I could have paid $99, or $1, or whatever their deal was for a phone that wasn't the latest model.

Now, they lay out the cost for each thing and you pick what you want. An older model will cost less.

There is no contract, but if you want to switch to another provider before the two years is up, you will have to pay off the phone, or give it back.

All that to say, yes you are paying for it monthly over two years. And you probably did that in 2013. Except your plan cost didn't go down after two years (in 2015) did it?

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Yup, the carriers have gone to s Device Financing (lease-to-own) model. You can either buy the phone outright or you can spread the cost out over a couple of years. If you switch carriers early, you still have to finish paying off the phone.

 

Refurb phones are usually a decent discount or you can buy phones used from people who are upgrading. DS20 just upgraded his phone and was able to sell his two year old one for $250 on Craigslist. That paid for half the cost of his new one, so it worked out.

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We (my wife, DD and me) are now on Virgin Mobile. A virtual provider. This is the URL of their USA web site.

https://www.virginmobileusa.com/#!/

 

My Stepson and his wife will probably move to Virgin Mobile ASAP because it is a better deal for them too.

I had Virgin Mobile "port" my phone number from my provider of many years. 

My wife bought a new (Unlocked)  Motorola phone in late January and then I went to the same store early in February and also bought an Unlocked  Motorola, after looking at that and at a much less expensive Samsung. Those were the only brands I was considering.  After purchasing the phones, we bought Virgin Mobile SIM cards and had their rep install and configure the new phones. That was FAR more relaxing than our last visit to the office of the largest service provider here, which was in November 2015.  We are done with the expensive plans where you sign up for a one or two year contract that includes a subsidized phone. I don't think the carriers subsidize the cost of the phones here in Colombia as they once did and probably not in the USA either.   Our "plan" with Virgin Mobile is not obligatory.  If we pay, we have service. If we do not pay, we do not have service.  If we want to change our plan, we can do that easily. I'm not sure how one changes their plan, possibly by paying a different amount, possibly it requires contacting Virgin Mobile.  Here in Colombia, Virgin Mobile uses the network of the carrier I believe is the 2nd largest provider here. They have a tower about one block from our house.  When we had a regular plan and my phone got WSOD (White Screen of Death) their Tech said it couldn't be fixed. I got it back and I fixed it with Firmware I bought from an Internet web site and used it for several years after that. My contract was about to expire. When I went to cancel my contract, that was the ONLY time they were interested in me. They put severe pressure on me not to cancel.  A few months later, when my wife's contract was going to expire, the same thing, severe pressure not to cancel.  We recommend doing as we do, going into a reputable store where they sell Unlocked phones with the Manufacturer warranty and then buying a SIM card for whichever carrier you want to use.  We have saved A LOT of money by doing that.  Last November, my wife and I went into the office of the largest provider here, she was interested in a top of the line phone, but when standing across the counter from the guy who was helping us, he had ALL the information about the phones and the plans (they must have hundreds of different plans?) and we were in the dark. I got the feeling that they push whichever phone and whichever plan they get "Push Money" for on that particular day.  My wife decided not to go for that. The phone was very expensive and the plan she wanted, with a lot (for here) of Data was not inexpensive.  Unless one uses a huge amount of minutes or messages, the plans we used for many years, where the phone was included in the monthly cost of a one year contract, just do not pan out. Every year, our plan went up in price, every year we received more minutes that we did not use and the only one doing well was the service provider. When we went to the office of that provider in November, we discovered that their "Unlimited" plans were extremely limited, with regard to Data, which was our biggest interest, because we wanted/needed an alternate path for Internet Access for DD, in case our ADSL goes down.   GL with whatever you decide to go with!

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Yes. But it is not unlimited. We each get 180 minutes, 180 texts, and 180 megabytes of data a month. It rolls over, so if I don't use it all, I don't lose it. Sometimes I run out of data (not texts because I use a free texting app) and can get another 180 of everything for $20. I only run out  about 3 times a year.

 

Gracious, I would go through that in a day!  Texting I might go through in half a day, data the same.

 

Now, there are indeed cheaper plans.  Republic Wireless is $10 for unlimited talk/text.  You can add data and pay $25/mo, which is really great.  But no iPhones.

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Gracious, I would go through that in a day! Texting I might go through in half a day, data the same.

 

Now, there are indeed cheaper plans. Republic Wireless is $10 for unlimited talk/text. You can add data and pay $25/mo, which is really great. But no iPhones.

Can you not just shut off the mobile data to use your WiFi source, and use a texting app like a pp to save your plan services for when you really need mobile? Edited by Amy in NH
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don't know about buying outright.  so we didn't buy the phone before?

 

Unless you paid for them outright (and you'd probably remember if you did) then you were paying for them monthly.

 

 

We (my wife, DD and me) are now on Virgin Mobile. A virtual provider. This is the URL of their USA web site.

https://www.virginmobileusa.com/#!/

 

My Stepson and his wife will probably move to Virgin Mobile ASAP because it is a better deal for them too.

 

We had a Virgin Mobile hot spot years ago, before we went with Verizon and our iPhones.  Virgin Mobile's coverage was so horrible that it was essentially useless.  We wasted money on it, but thankfully it was a pay-as-you-go thing, so mostly we were just out the cost of the device.  Their coverage may have improved since then, though (I'm pretty sure it couldn't have gotten any worse).  Our experience was along the east coast of the U.S., where most carriers typically have at least decent coverage.

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Good Morning!  OK, I read the responses and it further confirms how "not" techy I am.   :lol:

 

 

We've always had a "monthly" service charge - right.  Now, when my dh's employer found out he didn't have one they must have thought he needed a phone (pre-smartphone).  It worked.  It performed the primary reason for having a phone and that was/is to "call".  Then he upgraded to a smartphone only b/c his flip ceased to work.  Now his employer would "contribute" to the plan: monthly service charge was lowered thanks to employer and "maybe" another little fee, but all together I think it was MAYBE 30%.  I could check with dh if anyone wants to know.  Then I got a phone and dd last May.

 

DH's employer still continues to pay for part of the monthly bill, every month!  This is an added benefit.

 

So, with Vz.  dh's and my smartphones were "free" (2-3 years ago).  We've been with Vz. for 15 years or so and they want to keep us as customers.  But, it was their special too, I think.   Maybe it was $10 or $25 but pretty much if not all free  - the ACTUAL PHYSICAL PHONE ITSELF. 

 

Our monthly bill with Vz. includes our 3 smartphones, unltd. talk/text and 3 gigs/data which more than enough for me (I'll explain how dh found a way to save on data usage) is around $125.   
 

I walked in to Vz. yesterday, Monday, and the rep said we're paying a lot less than most people.  Is this true? 

 

So, IF (we have no plans to do this now) if we all 3 "needed/wanted" new smartphones we'd be AUTOMATICALLY enrolled in their new plan of almost doubling that amount.  He said my monthly rate would jump by $28 but he could lower that (a great deal - lol) to $18.  Let's say he's wrong as they are many times and it ends up being $22 or so for one.  That would be $66 or so EXTRA per month.  So, I stand corrected. It's not double but to jump from approx. $125 to $190 - almost $200, is A BIG JUMP.

 

TAKE NOTE!
 

1 - I learned last year that there are "corporate" Vz. stores AND "authorized retail" stores.  You get your better deals (or used to at least before this new plan) through CORPORATE stores.

 

2 - Our dd was using too much data. Our ceiling is 3g and once or twice we hovered just under that!  Too close to worry about on a monthly basis.  My dh turned off something on her phone and we now barely use half of that on a regular month to month basis.   Maybe you all know that but if it's new to you - HTH!

 

 

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Can you not just shut off the mobile data to use your WiFi source, and use a texting app like a pp to save your plan services for when you really need mobile?

 

That is what I do. I only turn on the data plan when I am out and need to get online for some reason.

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Unless you paid for them outright (and you'd probably remember if you did) then you were paying for them monthly.

 

 

 

We had a Virgin Mobile hot spot years ago, before we went with Verizon and our iPhones.  Virgin Mobile's coverage was so horrible that it was essentially useless.  We wasted money on it, but thankfully it was a pay-as-you-go thing, so mostly we were just out the cost of the device.  Their coverage may have improved since then, though (I'm pretty sure it couldn't have gotten any worse).  Our experience was along the east coast of the U.S., where most carriers typically have at least decent coverage.

 

 

I wonder which network(s) Virgin Mobile uses in the USA now? This is the URL for their Coverage Map for the USA:

https://www.virginmobileusa.com/#!/coveragemap/

 

Here, they use the Movistar/Telefonica network, which was the #2 provider for many years in Colombia and may still be #2.   They have an enormous infrastructure here.    The coverage here is excellent. You can drive from Cali to Bogota, over ranges of the Andes mountains and there is almost continuous coverage.  

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Possibly this article will be of interest to someone reading this thread.  I got to it after Googling for comparisons of Prepaid plans, since we will be in the USA for 7 days next month.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2375644,00.asp

 

I haven't read the article yet, but it is very recent (February 2016)

 

Since our trip is so short, I may discard my plan to buy a SIM card after we arrive in the USA.  We have a magicJack and I will take that, along with my older laptop (and a small phone) and we can use that in the Timeshare. I've installed the magicApp on my Android phone.  So I can place/receive calls, as long as we have WiFi access, using our magicJack phone number. The others in our party can install magicApp and we can communicate and they can place calls for free.  The only problem if I rely on magicApp is that if we have car trouble on a highway,  or an emergency, and there is no WiFi coverage  I can't call for aid.  That would be very problematic.  I'm going to read the article now.

 

 

 

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Can you not just shut off the mobile data to use your WiFi source, and use a texting app like a pp to save your plan services for when you really need mobile?

 

I guess I can tell people I can only be reached the few hours per day I have wifi, and they need a 2nd way to text me and they need to download the same app on their phone, etc......

 

But I honestly don't see any reason to do that.  We are fine with what we have.  I WANT unlimited texting and talk.  

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One thing people in the USA should consider, when selecting a phone and a provider, if they live where coverage is weak, is that a CDMA phone can hold a conversation with a weak signal ("in the noise") that would be impossible on a GSM phone. A GSM phone requires strong signal strength.   Since the CDMA technology is still available in the USA, CDMA is a "plus" for anyone who is in a weak signal area.  

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I wonder which network(s) Virgin Mobile uses in the USA now? This is the URL for their Coverage Map for the USA:

https://www.virginmobileusa.com/#!/coveragemap/

 

 

 

They use Sprint towers now, not sure how long they have. My son has Virgin Mobile and we live rurally and never had an issue. We had Sprint before, which is why we switched. I use Boost and also have good coverage. 

 

 

We both use no-contract plans and play $35/month for unlimited calls and texts with a cap on the data. We bought our phones outright (Walmart and Target carried them), less than $100 each, they did have much more expensive phones, but I'm fine with ours, they're both android smart phones. I also like the no-contract plans as we do not pay a huge amount of taxes like we did on Sprint. It's about $2.75 in taxes each month. 

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I've used Republic Wireless here in TX for over a year - completely happy. I paid $300 for my phone, but the monthly bill was $25 ($32 w/taxes, of course!) unlimited calling, texting, data. Now they offer a plan where you can get so much data but still unlimited calls and texts for (I think) $15/month. If you use less than the data amount, you get a refund. Since I mostly use WiFi, I chose that option, and added another smart phone for my oldest (no data, just unlimited calls/texts but she has data anywhere there is WiFi), and come in less every month than I used to.

 

Coverage throughout TX has been just been pretty much the same as when I had AT&T coverage. I'll pay $300/year for smart phone usage, but I'm much too cheap to pay much more.  

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I have republic wireless. My plan is 15/month unlimited talk and text, with .5GB of data. They give you a rebate if you don't use all your data. So far, I've only used wifi so my bill has been 11.50/month. You have to buy a phone but I saved on that by using a used one for 70 on ebay

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If I want decent coverage where I work, I'm pretty much stuck with Verizon. But boy has that bill climbed! Of course, we have 5 smartphones, two tablets, and a hotspot...

Yes, exactly!  I think the bill has skyrocketed too!

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Our two-year contract is up in August.  I would never pay the money for a new phone with an early upgrade - I think the cheapest iph*ne I could get would be a refurbished one for about $350.  Does anyone know if I wait til August that I won't have to pay so much, or am I stuck either way?  

 

I've looked at retail stores, craigsl*st, and private sellers - the cost is just outrageous!  

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DH has a smartphone. Actually he had a flip and his boss noticed and offered to partially pay for dh to upgrade to a smartphone 3-4 years ago. That phone burned out and he replaced it with a Samsung galaxy s3 summer 2013. I upgraded from my flip to a Samsung galaxy s4 on Black Friday 2013.

 

Additionally, our dd received her first phone (smartphone - Apple 4s or 5s (don't remember which).

 

I went to Verizon today to find out about me upgrading to the newest Samsung galaxy s7 that came out this past weekend. Just days after my birthday last Wed! Ha. I thought maybe a belated birthday gift. :)

 

They changed their plan. We would have to pay an EXTRA $28 PER MONTH for 2 years just to switch and have the s7! We're in essence buying the phone on a monthly basis over the course of 2 years. OUCH!

 

The rep said he could work a deal and offer it to me for an extra $18/month for 2 years. But, if dh and dd also upgraded (making that 3 of us) it would nearly cost $1500 over 2 years.

 

FYI....

Yes. However since you are all out of your previous contract Verizon should give you a discount on the line usage for each line that you don't up grade.

 

I think it is like

Old contract 40 per line.

New contract 25 per line

New contract with new phone $25 per line plus new phone monthly charge.

 

I may not have that exactly right but you should get a discount for not upgrading.

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Our two-year contract is up in August. I would never pay the money for a new phone with an early upgrade - I think the cheapest iph*ne I could get would be a refurbished one for about $350. Does anyone know if I wait til August that I won't have to pay so much, or am I stuck either way?

 

I've looked at retail stores, craigsl*st, and private sellers - the cost is just outrageous!

The going rate for a refurb 5s on Amazon unlocked is about $250. The 5s is a good solid phone.

 

Things don't get cheaper when your contract runs out, but they don't necessarily get more expensive either. Most carriers will roll you over to a new plan for free in the last three months of your contract - so starting in June. You might also find a deal from another carrier where they offer to "pay off" your contract if you switch to them.

 

Fair disclosure... I work in the wireless industry. I don't recommend contracts to anyone these days for wireless. The "deal" you get for signing a commitment really isn't much of a deal and the hassle of getting out if you are unhappy is major. If you shop around and get an unlocked phone, you can then choose which carrier has the best value for you with the best covage. For the most part, the major carriers have very similar plans and prices (no surprise there). If you don't travel a lot, then maybe something like Republic or Virgin Mobile would be a good choice if available in your area.

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Unfortunately Ver*zon is the carrier that works best for our area.  We have been with them for over 12 years & haven't really been disappointed or felt ripped off.  BUT, we used to get free upgrades every 2 years - now the prices of phones is CRAZY!!  I still have an iph*ne 4S - it is fine, but I would love a little more storage.  I'd like to stick with an iph*ne, so I will definitely be hunting for a cheaper one on my own.  Thank you!

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Lanny,  How do you know?

 

 

We have a friend who is an Electronic Engineer. He has worked for one of the major cell phone providers in Colombia for about 15+ years.  

 

I've read the article I linked to earlier and I assume that Verizon is a CDMA operator.  We switched from CDMA to GSM, years ago, after our provider made that switch. At the time, we didn't want to switch to GSM, but now, we would never go back to CDMA, assuming that CDMA was available here, which it is not.    

 

If the GSM network is solid where you are in the USA, I would go with GSM.  If not, far from the towers,  if CDMA is available, I would go with CDMA.  

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The going rate for a refurb 5s on Amazon unlocked is about $250. The 5s is a good solid phone.

 

Things don't get cheaper when your contract runs out, but they don't necessarily get more expensive either. Most carriers will roll you over to a new plan for free in the last three months of your contract - so starting in June. You might also find a deal from another carrier where they offer to "pay off" your contract if you switch to them.

 

Fair disclosure... I work in the wireless industry. I don't recommend contracts to anyone these days for wireless. The "deal" you get for signing a commitment really isn't much of a deal and the hassle of getting out if you are unhappy is major. If you shop around and get an unlocked phone, you can then choose which carrier has the best value for you with the best covage. For the most part, the major carriers have very similar plans and prices (no surprise there). If you don't travel a lot, then maybe something like Republic or Virgin Mobile would be a good choice if available in your area.

what is an unlocked phone.  I feel so clueless - lol!

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Unfortunately Ver*zon is the carrier that works best for our area.  We have been with them for over 12 years & haven't really been disappointed or felt ripped off.  BUT, we used to get free upgrades every 2 years - now the prices of phones is CRAZY!!  I still have an iph*ne 4S - it is fine, but I would love a little more storage.  I'd like to stick with an iph*ne, so I will definitely be hunting for a cheaper one on my own.  Thank you!

We've been with Vz. for about the same amount of time.....maybe less, maybe more.  We're very satisfied just surprised that the monthly rate will go up. 

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We have a friend who is an Electronic Engineer. He has worked for one of the major cell phone providers in Colombia for about 15+ years.  

 

I've read the article I linked to earlier and I assume that Verizon is a CDMA operator.  We switched from CDMA to GSM, years ago, after our provider made that switch. At the time, we didn't want to switch to GSM, but now, we would never go back to CDMA, assuming that CDMA was available here, which it is not.    

 

If the GSM network is solid where you are in the USA, I would go with GSM.  If not, far from the towers,  if CDMA is available, I would go with CDMA.  

thanks, lanny!

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If you buy a phone from a carrier, they usually load it with special programming that "locks" it so it can only be used on that carriers network.

 

an unlocked phone doesn't have that special programming and can be used with any carrier that supports that phone.

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The going rate for a refurb 5s on Amazon unlocked is about $250. The 5s is a good solid phone.

 

Things don't get cheaper when your contract runs out, but they don't necessarily get more expensive either. Most carriers will roll you over to a new plan for free in the last three months of your contract - so starting in June. You might also find a deal from another carrier where they offer to "pay off" your contract if you switch to them.

 

Fair disclosure... I work in the wireless industry. I don't recommend contracts to anyone these days for wireless. The "deal" you get for signing a commitment really isn't much of a deal and the hassle of getting out if you are unhappy is major. If you shop around and get an unlocked phone, you can then choose which carrier has the best value for you with the best covage. For the most part, the major carriers have very similar plans and prices (no surprise there). If you don't travel a lot, then maybe something like Republic or Virgin Mobile would be a good choice if available in your area.

 

 

+1    Another risk of buying a phone from a provider and being tied into a 1 or 2 year contract for service and to pay for the phone, is what happens, if the phone is lost, damaged or stolen?  That happened, years ago, to a friend of ours in Bogota. He'd recently signed up for a new contract (I think years ago the contracts here were for 12 months) gotten a new (very expensive) phone and shortly after that there was a disaster.  I don't remember if it was lost, damaged or stolen, but he had to continue paying, until the end of the contract, for a phone he no longer had.  Looking back, I assume that he got another SIM card and put it into another  phone, because he had the service contract.  

 

One of our (former) neighbors is a huge consumer of cell phone minutes.  She changes phones every year or so.  She bought insurance from her provider (at that time and possibly today the largest provider here) that covered for all risks.  That would be *very* nice to have, if one has an expensive phone.

 

It was so much more relaxing, for me to study the phones they had available on their web site and then go into the store to check them out.  I had narrowed it down to a Motorola or a Samsung and was only interested in those 2 brands, which made it much less confusing.  And I really limited my interest to 2 phones. A Samsung, which was much less expensive, but with older technology and harder to use, because of the changes Samsung makes to the Android OS,  and the Motorola.  And then, after I paid for the phone, I  bought a SIM card for Virgin Mobile and paid for the first month of the "non plan" I was going to use (approximately USD $6,45 a month at the current exchange rate) and the Virgin Mobile person installed the SIM in my phone and set it up, because I needed them to "port" my old cell phone number from my previous provider.  2 days ago, DD was in a store with her Android phone and she is now on Virgin Mobile with my wife and me. She has the same "non plan" that I have. My wife has a more expensive "non plan", which is approximately USD $11.29 a month.

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If you buy a phone from a carrier, they usually load it with special programming that "locks" it so it can only be used on that carriers network.

 

an unlocked phone doesn't have that special programming and can be used with any carrier that supports that phone.

oh my word! I had no idea.  but, don't the manufacturers make phones with specs according to a carrier?  so, att asks for an iPhone and they get a model which is different than what vz. gets.   not all phones/models are created equal are they?  maybe they are.

 

so Samsung gal s7 just came out. is it the same with att as it is with vz, etc?

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what is an unlocked phone.  I feel so clueless - lol!

 

It is a GSM phone that is not "Locked" by the manufacturer or the carrier (service provider), so that it will only work with a SIM card from a particular service provider. You can use an "Unlocked" GSM phone with the SIM card from any service provider, as long as the phone has radios for the GSM bands that the service provider uses.    A phone that is "Unlocked" when it leaves the factory also has no "Branding" from the service provider. Frequently, the carriers add a lot of stuff that most of their customers do not want ot see or use, to the Software/Firmware on the phone.

 

Years ago, we had one GSM phone that was so LOCKED that it would not even operate with another SIM card from the  same provider.  It was locked to that particular SIM card and that particular phone number.

 

I believe that all phones sold here in Colombia now are unlocked. Possibly there is a law requiring that.   The idea is that one can change providers, if one wants to do so.  

 

If you travel overseas, in the majority of the world, they use the GSM technology.  However, they may not use the same GSM bands that a phone sold in The Americas can use.  If the phone has the GSM bands in use by a  provider in another country, one can buy a SIM card and have a local phone number there.   If the GSM bands are different, it would be like taking a CDMA phone overseas. Useless.

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I might have missed this in the posts - but are you saying that even though your old phone is over 2 years old (your then 2 year contract would be up), you CAN NOT just resign up for a two year contract and get a free phone? We always do that... I do not want to start paying for phones! lol

 

On a side note, I wish Verizon did not control this area... we have no coverage otherwise :(

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+1    Another risk of buying a phone from a provider and being tied into a 1 or 2 year contract for service and to pay for the phone, is what happens, if the phone is lost, damaged or stolen?  That happened, years ago, to a friend of ours in Bogota. He'd recently signed up for a new contract (I think years ago the contracts here were for 12 months) gotten a new (very expensive) phone and shortly after that there was a disaster.  I don't remember if it was lost, damaged or stolen, but he had to continue paying, until the end of the contract, for a phone he no longer had.  Looking back, I assume that he got another SIM card and put it into another  phone, because he had the service contract.  

 

One of our (former) neighbors is a huge consumer of cell phone minutes.  She changes phones every year or so.  She bought insurance from her provider (at that time and possibly today the largest provider here) that covered for all risks.  That would be *very* nice to have, if one has an expensive phone.

 

It was so much more relaxing, for me to study the phones they had available on their web site and then go into the store to check them out.  I had narrowed it down to a Motorola or a Samsung and was only interested in those 2 brands, which made it much less confusing.  And I really limited my interest to 2 phones. A Samsung, which was much less expensive, but with older technology and harder to use, because of the changes Samsung makes to the Android OS,  and the Motorola.  And then, after I paid for the phone, I  bought a SIM card for Virgin Mobile and paid for the first month of the "non plan" I was going to use (approximately USD $6,45 a month at the current exchange rate) and the Virgin Mobile person installed the SIM in my phone and set it up, because I needed them to "port" my old cell phone number from my previous provider.  2 days ago, DD was in a store with her Android phone and she is now on Virgin Mobile with my wife and me. She has the same "non plan" that I have. My wife has a more expensive "non plan", which is approximately USD $11.29 a month.

Lanny,

 

You're always so kind and helpful!   In a nutshell (because I don't want to hog your time - lol) what towers would virgin use?  is it the same premise of a tracfone. 

 

I would be interested in that but, while we're not big travelers, we need good coverage for when we do.  One bad encounter of not having a tower when one is needed might have disastrous results.   I know pre-vz. (about 16 - 19 years ago) we had att and the coverage was so bad!  I was driving in the city past our church and the call dropped?!?!!?!?!  Now OS/technology has come a long way but that's out of my comfort zone.  If there is an emergency only 1 time and there is no coverage, that would concern me. 

 

That's why we didn't go with Tracfones.  As we learned (maybe even here on another thread a few years ago), the major carriers' customers have "1st" priority with tower use and tracfone/knock-offs get the leftover.  Don't know how else to word it. 

 

Insight?

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We have a friend who is an Electronic Engineer. He has worked for one of the major cell phone providers in Colombia for about 15+ years.  

 

I've read the article I linked to earlier and I assume that Verizon is a CDMA operator.  We switched from CDMA to GSM, years ago, after our provider made that switch. At the time, we didn't want to switch to GSM, but now, we would never go back to CDMA, assuming that CDMA was available here, which it is not.    

 

If the GSM network is solid where you are in the USA, I would go with GSM.  If not, far from the towers,  if CDMA is available, I would go with CDMA.  

 

Yes but please keep in mind that using prepaid or no contract phones with this method (SmartTalk, Tracphone) might not work if you live or travel in rural areas. They are ONLY using 3G towers. To use Verizons 4G towers they require that you go through them... we would not get coverage in our home without the 4G tower and we live 7 miles out of town...

 

Edited by mamaofgirls
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I might have missed this in the posts - but are you saying that even though your old phone is over 2 years old (your then 2 year contract would be up), you CAN NOT just resign up for a two year contract and get a free phone? We always do that... I do not want to start paying for phones! lol

 

On a side note, I wish Verizon did not control this area... we have no coverage otherwise :(

yes, our contract is up - over 2 years.  however, dd's phone started last May.  we own our phones.  to UPGRADE we would pay the higher premium price.  or, we can stay with our phone and stay at our current rate.  It's just to upgrade that the plan changes - I think that's right!

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oh my word! I had no idea.  but, don't the manufacturers make phones with specs according to a carrier?  so, att asks for an iPhone and they get a model which is different than what vz. gets.   not all phones/models are created equal are they?  maybe they are.

 

so Samsung gal s7 just came out. is it the same with att as it is with vz, etc?

 

Yes, if a carrier (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) buys a bunch of a model from a manufacturer, the manufacturer may install Software/Firmware on the AT&T phones that is different than the Software/Firmware on the Verizon phone.  The manufacturers want to sell phones. The providers want to sell phones and new phone lines.  Both are happy.  The Consumer, with a Branded phone, may have some issues that someone with the same phone,  shipped "Unlocked" when it left the factory, may not have.   I remember when my Sony Ericcson W300i got WSOD (White Screen of Death) in 2007 and the providers Tech said it couldn't be fixed,  that I paid about USD $7 and downloaded new GENERIC  Software/Firmware for it from a web site. After it rebooted, the appearance was quite different.  And about 15 months ago, I installed GENERIC Software/Firmware on a Samsung Android my wife "bricked" when she installed "WhatsApp on it. Actually, it wasn't bricked. Everything works perfectly, but it cannot make/receive phone calls or SMS messages, because the IMEI was changed.  We have "WhatsApp" on our other phones and there are no issues, so I don't know how that happened. She was out of town at the time.  

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yes, our contract is up - over 2 years.  however, dd's phone started last May.  we own our phones.  to UPGRADE we would pay the higher premium price.  or, we can stay with our phone and stay at our current rate.  It's just to upgrade that the plan changes - I think that's right!

 

Oh - thank you!!! I am soooo used to things always being done this way but our only coverage option is verizon. I did not realize that other companies did things differently.

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