high cost cell phone data plans

jasper60103November 30, 2012

Currently, we have just basic phones with 700 anytime minutes and unlimited text plan. This plan has served us (my family of 4) very well for the past several years. We don't use that many minutes and kids mostly text.
The problem I have now is my 15yr old daughter needs a new phone, and there are very few choices of basic phones available through my carrier. I guess because data plans and smart phones are where the real money is, LOL.

So I shopped for a new plan and to my surprise the lowest cost family data plan would be $210/month plus tax/fees! My current plan cost us $116/month, so we're talking about a $100/month increase to my cell phone bill.

I know my age is showing, and some would say just fork over the dough. But does anyone else find these high cost plans a little difficult to swallow? My co-worker told me they are paying $240/month.

So that's my rant. Thanks for listening.

-jasper

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

You might check out the link below. Family unlimited on everything for $150.

But does anyone else find these high cost plans a little difficult to swallow?
I think they are that high because the unlimited part probably leads the provider to believe that you will be a 'high-user'. If something less will meet your needs, the price could be more reasonable.

Family of 5 is $185, That sure a lot of 'staying in touch' though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Talk, Text and Web Unlimited

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:10PM
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john_wc

I have a $20.00 Nokia phone that is five years old. It looks and works like new. Never been dropped or left in a bucket of water. My unlimited voice plan with T-Mobile is $49.99 monthly. Have no need for data, music, camera, etc.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:39PM
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sushipup1

Check the brand new Consumer Reports, which looks at service plans. You can always shop for the cheapest plan but you also have to consider coverage where you commonly use your phones. My friend with one company doesn't have coverage at her home and there are many weak spots in our area, and I have much better coverage with my plan. Some plans don't even cover this area at all.

So be sure that your coverage is what you need before you shop for just price.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:41PM
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jasper60103

chemocurl, thanks for the link.
I'll keep it mind. I have about 6 months remaining on my contract. For now, I'll buy my daughter another basic phone and save myself the extra $100/month :)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 3:17PM
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emma

I won't pay it, I won't even pay $38. a month for a land line. I have a pay as you go for around $8. a month, no contract. Most people could not get by with a 1,000 minutes a year but suits me just fine.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:59AM
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barbcollins

You might want to check out Republic Wireless.

We have been with them for a year now. There have been some bumps in the road (they are a new company and in "Beta").

But I forgive them for some of their issues at $19/mo ($25 after taxes).

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 2:35PM
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dreamgarden

"I have a $20.00 Nokia phone that is five years old. It looks and works like new."

I had a Nokia phone that worked great. I had to stop using it when I switched companies. I found it one day and tried turning it on (1 yr later). It powered right up.

I wish my newer cell phone had battery life this good.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 6:16PM
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graywings123

When your plan expires, you might want to look at Straight Talk. It uses your choice of ATT or T-Mobile. It's a BYOP, bring your own phone, system. I have had it for about six months and so far, so good. I previously had Cricket, and this is much better.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 6:19PM
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raee_gw

I've been happy with Net10. It has worked well everywhere I've been across the country, although in my own house the reception can be poor! I don't use my cell much, it is for emergencies basically (I don't WANT everyone to be able to reach me wherever I am) so I am good with the $15/month, rollover minutes; but they do have $45/month unlimited text and minute, $25/month for 750 minutes and unlimited text-- so you could get more minutes for cheaper (however on this plan minutes don't roll over). Not exactly a "family plan", you'd have to refill each phone's minutes monthly but I do think there is an auto-refill option.
My daughter uses the sister company, Tracphone, which offers longer service per refill (ie 150 minutes for 2 months vs my 150 minutes for 1 month)

I am still using my basic Nokia "candybar" phone -- it was free (a refurbished unit that I've had for 5 years now) but looking at upgrading to an LG 800G which is web-enabled among some other features that I likely won't use. That phone will cost me $30 but won't cost me any more to use.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 7:09AM
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RooseveltL

If you have a choice - pay full retail for the phone and keep the lowest cost data/phone plan possible.
Most companies bundle a cheap phone with 2 yr contract on an expensive data plan. This is exclusively the US and most other countries do it the smart way - here is an example of an iPhone:
Iphone sales for $199 discounted and new 2 yr plan
iPhone retails for $599 and you keep your cheap monthly data plan.

Here is the math after 2 yrs:
iPhone $199
Monthly cost $110 with data, text, etc.
2 yr total = 2839

iPhone $699
Monthly cost of $50 with data, text, etc.
2 yr total = 1899

The first question I would ask is whether you can keep the same plan and just buy the phone at retail prices. The numbers above don't lie!

This post was edited by rooseveltl on Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 16:46

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 4:44PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

The unfortunate reality is that cell phones are an expensive luxury and there doesn't seem to be a lot of ways to avoid a high bill. As others have mentioned, there are a number of second tier companies that have lower rates but their biggest drawback is the selection of phones.

T-Mobile has a $30 month-to-month plan that gives you 100 minutes of talk time but unlimited text and data. The drawback is the phone selection and you're paying for the phone up front. Unfortunately, because T-Mobile, uses a different frequency for it's 3G service, you can't use just any old phone.

Republic Wireless at $20 per month sounds interesting but you're paying $250 for a pretty mediocre phone and the service has some limitations. Most notably is the inability to switch between WiFi and cellular. So if you start a call on WiFi, you need to say on WiFi until the call is completed.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 12:44AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Another option would be to go with Prepaid Plus and load their individual phones, and what is loaded is good for up to 120 days. Any minutes that remain when the phone is reloaded (before the 120 days are up) will automatically be rolled over. This would curb their use (and possibly abuse) and be very affordable for you.

From the link below:

100 minutes for $10 or 250 texts at 5 cents per text
416 minutes for $25 or 10,400 texts at 5 cents a minute
1,000 minutes for $50 or 25,000 texts at 5 cents a minute
2,000 minutes for $80* or 50,000 texts at 5 cents a minute

*While the $10, $25 and $50 denominations of the Standard plan last 120 days, the $80 denomination lasts for a full year.

I've used Page Plus for years and have had no problems. The phone is not used for my entertainment, but for occasional use for my convenience when I am away from home.
Longer calls, phone visits with loved ones, are made from land line at home. My phone doesn't take and send pics, but then that is why I have a camera and a computer.

Good luck in your search for a good, reasonably priced solution for your family staying in touch as needed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Prepaid Cell Phone Plans: Standard Plan

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:26AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Though they don't have Customer Service via phone 24/7, they do usually answer quickly and are pleasant and helpful. Their office hours start at 9AM EST and at about 9:01 this AM I had a real person on the line ready to assist me.

I had let my minutes expire, and they are 'usually lost' if you don't add minutes at before the 120th day is up. My (approx $24 worth of) minutes had been expired for a month or so, but the representative was able to and nice enough to retrieve them for me if I added just $10 (or more) to my account. I'm all set for another 120 days, with a balance of about $35.

Sue

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 10:57AM
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jasper60103

With a family of 4 (4-lines), a data plan is just too expensive for me.
I'm so annoyed with all the phone commercials advertising $50 or $100 for a 4G phone.

I'm going to stick with basic phones and my $116/month phone bill. Its still much cheaper than others I compared.

This post was edited by jasper60103 on Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 17:06

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 4:29PM
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andrelaplume2

RE:

You might check out the link below. Family unlimited on everything for $150.
But does anyone else find these high cost plans a little difficult to swallow?
I think they are that high because the unlimited part probably leads the provider to believe that you will be a 'high-user'. If something less will meet your needs, the price could be more reasonable.

Family of 5 is $185, That sure a lot of 'staying in touch' though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Talk, Text and Web Unlimited

I do not think this is a data plan...someone let me know if I am wrong. In other words i do not believe an IPHONE works here. I think this is just a simple cell phone that talks, texts and allows you to send pictures over the web....

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 12:11PM
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kaismom

jasper,
Data plans are expensive. We have 3 data phones (4G) and 1 non-data phone(for the 10 year old) on our plan and pay around $190/month including tax. We have T mobile with group discount.

Kids want data with their phones because it is fun. My teenager son watches movies, Youtube, reads books on Kindle app, plays games etc. They don't need the data. It's all luxury, IMHO.

If you cannot afford to pay for it, I suggest that you give your daughter the option of getting data phone that she pays for if she really wants it. She should be able to babysit or cut grass or what not at this age and be able to pay for the difference. If the data phone is important enough for her, she can make it happen. These are good opportunities for young adults, how to set goals for what they want. i suppse you need to have a plan in place in case she cannot make her portion of the "payment".

In the past, I have bought used phones on Craigslist but I do not do that any more because the companies cannot guarantee that they are NOT stolen on unlocked phones by looking up the serial numbers. Some companies can look up the phone if the phone is still locked.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 3:09PM
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gibby2015

I have an AT&T data plan for my iPhone and it's $30/month. To me that's a great value because I use this hand held computer to manage my life and it's well worth $1 per day for the data plan required to do that.

When it starts to sound prohibitively expensive is when you are funding a plan for an entire family. If individual family members really want a data plan they should each earn the money to pay for it. That is unless money is no object for someone and they want to foot the bill for the entire family.

Nothing wrong with kids earning money to buy the luxuries they want in life.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:26PM
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jasper60103

I agree, nothing wrong with kids working for what they want.

Again, I'll just keep my current family plan and $116/month bill. I'm not poor, just cheap! LOL.

You guys enjoy your fancy phones.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 3:04PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I'm not poor, just cheap!
No! You are an intelligent frugal parent.

Not meaning to highjack, but the link below explains the difference quite well.

Sue...another frugal person and proud of it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Frugal vs. Cheap: Which is Better and Where Do You Stand?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:49AM
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nancyinmich

I can't help myself...

Does anyone else remember a time when having a lot of "bars" near your house was a bad thing and you could get arrested for "swiping" a card at the corner Wallgreen's?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:03PM
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xeres

In addition to pre-paid phone service, I bought our phones used from Swappa. People who must have the latest new toy often need to sell the old toy. You can get a reasonable deal for data capable phones, depending on condition. http://swappa.com/faq.

And, don't forget most (all?) BYOP plans require data plans.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 2:33AM
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