Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shopping For A Cheap(er) Phone

Sprint has been my cell phone provider for about ten years, and I kind of hate them.  Unfortunately, my hatred for them was only outweighed by my hatred for talking to cell phone salespeople and shopping around for what will likely be an equally shitty deal.  So, I've done nothing, for a long time.  Occasionally, I log onto Sprint's website and try to find a cheaper plan, but for what I want, it doesn't seem like there really is one.  See, I hate talking on the phone, but I like to text.  It seems that Sprint has figured this out, and there is no way to reduce the number of voice minutes I'm paying for, without reducing the texting or switching to a pay-per-text model (hell no).

So, I've been doing a little exploring to see if I can come up with a completely different plan that might better suit my unique cell phone needs.

Contender #1: Ting
Ting is actually powered by Sprint, but it is a pay-as-you-go model and is significantly cheaper.  It also lets you select your own kind of plan based on how you use your phone.  According to the website, you select your plan for the first month, and then after that, they just bill you for what you actually use.

So, if my above calculations are correct, I should be paying about half what I'm currently paying. Double bonus, since this is still the Sprint network, I may be able to keep my existing phone.  If not, a new phone would cost $98.

Contender #2 Republic Wireless
The way this phone works is that it hops back and forth between wi-fi and cell networks.  If a wi-fi network is available, it connects to that, if not, it uses Sprint's network.  According to their website, I'll end up paying $19/month plus applicable fees (vary by location) after paying the initial start-up fee of $10 and the $249 for the hybrid phone that can toggle back and forth between wi-fi and cellular.
The drawback to this one is obviously the initial cost of the phone, and the fact that I don't really want a smart phone, but for $19/a month, I might reconsider.  They do have a 30-day guarantee where you can return everything and cancel with no questions asked.

Has anyone out there had any experience with either of these companies?  The deals do seem to good to be true, but it may also just be that I've been hurt for too long by stupid cell phone contracts.


  1. We recently eliminated our family plan for a pay as you go plan from AT&T (for the mister) plus the lowest tier regular cell phone plan (for me) plus a Google Voice number that rings to a "landline" at our house (for both of us). The pay as you go phone from AT&T is as low as $100 a year plus now I can text from my Google Voice number, using my computer. After the cost of hardware (about $60), we're now saving more than $30/month.

  2. If you're hopping back and forth between wireless and 3G/4G all the time, you may need to bring a phone charger with you everywhere you go because of all the searching for networks. I have a Thunderbolt from Verizon and if I turn on the wireless, it uses that as long as it's available and then uses the 4G when it's not. It runs down the battery faster if I do that.
    I wonder if the Republic phone is set so that you can't toggle manually--it would toggle for you and force you to use the wireless most of the time. Otherwise I can't see what would be stopping you from just keeping it on the Sprint network all the time, which they want to avoid.

  3. I have been looking at ting. When they let me bring my own device I may go. They are working on it for Sprint devices.

    I currently use iWireless ( it is prepay monthly. You can get phones (including halfway decent smartphones) for good prices. They are sold through Kroger and related stores. What I like it that for every $100 I spend at Kroger (including new cards for the phone), I get 20 minutes free talk time.

    Using this I pay $27 a month (25 plus tax & fees), I get 200 Minutes, Unlimited texts, and 200MB of data. I normally get 40 to 60 extra minutes a month with my kroger rewards car and it is enough. Plus, as long as you don't miss paying each month, it all rolls over. I purchased the unlimited one month over 7 months ago as I needed the extra data for travelling, and I still have over 1gb of data available, even though I use the 200MB plan now.

    The phones run on Sprints network, so coverage is typically good where I am, unless you go outin the countryside.