Cell Phone Showdown

As I briefly mentioned here, I recently got a new cell phone.

Actually I got two new cell phones and I thought I’d tell you all why and what I thought of them, in the event that you’re in the market for a new service provider.

But wait – why did we have to switch service providers at all, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I really like to talk on the phone. Particularly while driving. ((Thank God it’s not illegal in NC. Yet.)) And ever since first my mom’s diagnosis and then her death, my phone usage has been through the roof. Call my dad twice a day? Check. Call my sister at least once every few days? Sure thing. Call my best friend Cris whom I have seen a mere 30 minutes ago at work to tell her something that simply cannot wait until tomorrow? I’m on it. But when DB and I “share” a plan that only has 700 anytime minutes and 300 texts, it’s all too easy to go over. And believe me – those last few cell phone bills were not pretty. ((I told DB, “I’ve been trying not to go over my minutes!” And he said, “Don’t try! Just hang up the damn phone!” Which is true… but I would much rather just get an unlimited plan, wouldn’t you?))

So DB and I thought we had found the perfect solution with Republic Wireless. It’s $250 for the phone (and yes, you have to buy their phone) but only $19/month for unlimited talk, text, and data. If you say you’ll keep the phone for two years, that spreads the cost out to $39/month for the phone and plan! That is SO cheap!!!

But, there’s a catch. The way that Republic is so cheap is that it’s a hybrid phone, meaning it uses WiFi when available and 3G the rest of the time. Here is a link that explains the idea in more detail. Sounds great in theory, but in practice it was a little cumbersome. For example, if I was making a phone call over WiFi and went out of range, it didn’t automatically switch to 3G. The phone would drop the call and then I would have to redial over cellular. Also, the call quality wasn’t very good, either on cellular or on wireless. Luckily, they have a 30-day money back guarantee, so I’m in the process of returning the phone and getting a refund. I will say that there are people out there who love Republic wireless and it has worked very well for them. I was simply not one of them.

So next I decided to give T-mobile’s GoSmart Mobile service a shot. It’s not quite as cheap as Republic, but it’s all on cellular networks, which is a huge plus. You can bring your own unlocked phone or buy one of theirs, which I did as I didn’t have an unlocked smart phone. The ZTE V768 I got was only $99 and is much nicer than the Motorola Defy I got from Republic. They have three plans: $30 for unlimited talk/text, $35 for unlimited talk/text/web, and $40 for unlimited talk/text/slightly faster web. I went with the $35 plan because, never having had a smart phone before, I figure I won’t know the difference between the slow web and the fast web.

I’ve been using the phone/service for about a week now and so far, I love it. Well, one thing I don’t love is getting used to an Android platform when I’ve used Apple devices forever and I have no idea how to work the damn thing, but other than that I love it. Call quality is good. Coverage is good. I assume the internet speed is good. (I can play Scramble just fine and that’s what really matters.)

I’ve told a couple people at work about GoSmart Mobile and I think they’re going to try it soon. Hopefully they’ll like it as much as I do. So if you’re in the market for a no-contract phone plan, I highly recommend giving it a shot.

*This is when the DreadBrewer will want me to put in something along the lines of: These are only my opinions regarding these phones and plans. I was certainly not paid to review either of these companies and other people may have better or worse experiences with them, etcetera etcetera.*



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