Since we live in a basement apartment (in the boonies) I don’t use my cell phone much at home. I really rely on it when I’m away from home though.
Losing My Phone
Last fall I lost my cell phone. Twice. Each time it was missing for over a week! I was pretty sure that it was somewhere at home, but I scoured the house and car many times without success.
For something like 8 years we have both had dumb phones on my parent’s family plan that cost us each $10 per month. We’ve replaced each phone maybe twice.
Looking For A New Phone
After two weeks without my phone, we started looking seriously at other options. We knew eventually we would need to upgrade our phones. Each of our phones has some quirks that come with age and use. If we just got another phone on my parent’s plan, it would renew the whole plan for a new two-year contract, which they are not interested in. We also knew we would eventually make the dumb phone to smartphone switch.
I know enough about what other people pay for their cell phone plans to know we would not be able to find anything comparable to what we were paying, especially if we decided to go the smartphone route.
I was so happy to be wrong! I was really excited about some of the options we discovered.
Option 1: Republic Wireless
Republic Wireless is different than other wireless providers. They use a hybrid calling system. When you’re around WiFi, your phone will use WiFi for talk, texting, and data. When you aren’t it uses cell coverage. It transfers seamlessly between WiFi and cell service.
Republic Wireless is also different in that there is no contract, no activation fees, no roaming charges. You can even call over WiFi when you’re traveling abroad. They have a 30 day money back guarantee.
UPDATE: I have since written a full review of Republic Wireless.
Republic Wireless Plans
I had heard many great things about the flexible, economical Republic Wireless plans, so I looked there first. The monthly plans are for $5, $10, $25, and $40. Also, they let you change your plan twice during the billing cycle.
For $10 a month per phone, I could have unlimited talk and text on their cell network plus unlimited data on WiFi. Right now I have just talk, so the texting would be a bonus, as well as the data on WiFi. I love that all the categories are “unlimited,” so I don’t have to be constantly worried about going over.
Republic Wireless Phones
If I wanted to move to Republic, I would have to get a new phone. That would be okay though, since my dumb phone has stopped ringing (it just vibrates) and the speakerphone doesn’t work anymore.
UPDATE: As of October 2014, they have a new phone, the Moto E which is only $99!
Option 2: Ting Mobile
Ting is another affordable cell phone option. Ting claims that 98% of people will save money by switching to Ting.
The Ting plan is different than any other that I’ve seen. It uses “buckets” for talk, text, and data. The pricing is tiered, so you pay for the size bucket that your usage falls into each month. If you don’t use texting, you don’t pay for texting.
What I think is great is that the whole family (who is on the same plan), has all their talk, text, and data going into family buckets. In addition to your talk, text, and data buckets, you will pay $6 per phone.
On Ting, we could get two phones for $21, but would have to watch our usage closely. To keep our phones at about $10 each, our combined usage could not exceed 100 minutes of talk time, 100 texts, or 100 MB.
Another cool thing about Ting is that they will pay for 25% of your cancellation fee for your old cell phone plan (up to $75). To sweeten the deal even more, you can get $25 off by signing up through this link.
With Ting, you need a Sprint device. If you already have a Sprint device, you can use it! Otherwise, you can buy one through Ting or on Ebay or Craigslist or anywhere else. Ting even works with iPhones.
The Drawback for Me
It’s comforting to know that when we are done using dumb phones on my parents’ family plan, there are inexpensive options in the world of smartphones. Between these two choices, I think Republic would be a better fit for us because of the unlimited aspect of their talk, text, and data. Since my husband has an hour commute each way, we talk on the phone often, especially on his way home. We would easily reach one of the larger Ting plans with our talk usage, making it not as cheap.
So what’s the problem? Remember how we live in the boonies? We are in an area that has no Sprint coverage. Both Ting and Republic Wireless use the Sprint network, though they both have free roaming for talk and text on Verizon’s network. We also didn’t pull the trigger because…
I Found My Phone
After praying about my phone situation, I received inspiration as to where I would find my phone. I had the thought to look in my balloon apron. I occasionally twist balloons for parties and events. I had done a gig a few weekends before, but was certain that I had used my phone since then, so looking in my balloon apron never crossed my mind. Sure enough, that’s exactly where my phone was!
UPDATE: We have since switched to Republic Wireless . Here’s my review!
What About You?
- What does your cell phone bill look like? Is it this cheap?
- If you’re paying more for your cell phone, what’s keeping you there?
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