I don't know if America's love of spending two weeks pay on a Cell Phone, and then spending two days pay to pay for the connections and fees, but I have. I own a year old one generation back cell phone that was closer to $1,000 than $500.00. I am with a major provider and spending $70.00 a month for a cell phone connection on a group plan.
As long as I am somewhere with free WiFi, everything works well. Go to a big box store or city side road and I may as well be in the middle of the desert. This has been very troublesome to me. What am I getting for all this money that wasn't available back in the days of wall mounted pay phones? I'm getting broke is all.
I went on the hunt for a cheap cell phone and provider. I had been hearing and seeing advertisements for a well awarded cell phone provider that almost no one has heard of. I wanted to check out their cell phone service. I also did not want to leave my old service unattended for a month as I do need to live in the real world.
After searching the web, I went to a store where this provider exists. They do not have their own stores as far as I am aware. They have a fairly no frills web page. To me this means they are working hard to keep costs down and sharing those savings with their customers. I did wonder if they are keeping costs down on the service they provide.
I purchased the cheapest Android phone they have, about $65.00. I also purchased a monthly service with three gigabytes shared data and unlimited voice and text for about another $28.00. My expectations were pretty low as the total cost for a cell phone and service is only a little more than my connection fees for my primary phone. The service alone, is less than one-third the cost.
This phone is not as fancy as my primary phone. It does however do everything I use my primary phone for, only barely noticeably little slower, like a second or less in the real world. Screen resolution and camera resolution aren't as high as my primary phone, but they are acceptable, to me at least. My few simple games play just fine on this bottom of the barrel phone.
I have spent a few days with one phone in each front pocket. What I am finding is surprising. In the big box stores there is no such thing as dead spots there are with my major carrier. On the road, there is little to no wait for maps to update. When group texts are sent, this cheap little phone and the other phones trade places as to which phone announces the message arriving first. These are high requirements for my cell phone service.
Phone calls connect a second or two seconds slower, and some of my calls when I ask, they say it's not quite the same as they are used to hearing, but, "not bad" either. The only real shortfall is Bluetooth connection to my vehicle. There is noticeable lag when making a call, and calls on my end sound more distant on the other end.
However for the difference in price is amazing. I have a phone costing one-tenth what I paid for my main phone, and a solid connection for one-third of my main provider with only hair splitting differences in service. Especially when what were problem area connections no longer exist with this "new to me" provider.
I have forty-five days to make up my mind or cancel. I will be canceling this service with my $65.00 smart phone. Unless something serious happens, I will create a new account with a sim card for my main phone. Oh, and it looks like I will be dropping my overly expensive lackluster provider. I will write an update in a few weeks about how my experience was.
In the moment, I feel angry, feeling like I have allowed myself to be robbed for a number of years of illusions, having quality of service go down as the price went up. I think in the cell phone provider industry as in other areas of life, major players have become too fat and lazy. As Bob Dylan sang, "The times, they are a changing".
I am now finding it is a good practice not to be blindly satisfied with the phone and service I have. I will save a lot of real world money over the next years that can go to something more important, like vacation. Paying a few months of paychecks for a cell phone and service provider that offers little or nothing over what is out there, if you are willing to do some research, is over. Take a chance, see what you can do with your cell phone costs.