(Note: I won’t be using any company names here because I don’t want to just out and out bad mouth anyone or hand out free advertising for that matter. It shouldn’t be too hard for anyone to figure out who I’m talking about from the photo.)
For the last few years, I’ve been stuck in a cell phone plan that could easily be the very worst out there right now. I was paying over $100 each month for 450 minutes, unlimited text, picture and video messaging…that’s all! No internet, no email, no bells or whistles. Just the bare basics on a four year old analog phone. It seemed like the more I cut the plan to lower the bill, the more “fees” were added. If making a change didn’t cost money, it would add a couple of years to my contract. I’d had enough!!
So, I started investigating other carriers, plans and phones. I was sticking to the big name carriers because I live in a rural area and there really aren’t many options. I quickly found that all three of the big carriers that are dominant in my area, essentially cost the same. I was frustrated and ready to give up when I heard about those prepaid phones from the big box stores. I had decided that with my tiny package of minutes and texting on that old analog phone, I really wouldn’t be cutting myself short on services as long as the signal was strong enough. I thought I may be able to save at least a little money each month.
So, I started reading anything I could find concerning signal strength particularly in my area. One article lead to another and one subject lead to another and I was amazed to find that I could get a prepaid android smartphone, complete with unlimited minutes and texting as well as internet, email and more apps than I could ever figure out while more than cutting my bill in half!! (It turned out to be about $75.00 less each month) With NO contract and the signal strength is exactly the same as with my big carrier!!
I spent the next two months looking at phones. It wasn’t hard to settle on which phone I needed. By this time, I was furious with this big name cell company who had raped my pocket book for so long and I was determined to find a phone that used their towers for a lot less money. I wanted to stick it to ’em!
After I had researched the phone and read all the reviews, both good and bad, I decided the next step would be to call my current cell company and find out how much it would cost to buy my way out of my contract. It turns out, I had 13 months left on the contract and after one more month, the “buy out” cost would drop significantly. From there, I formed a plan!
I would buy the new phone and set it up with a new phone number and just try it for a month. If I didn’t like it, I’d send it back and keep my old phone while doing more research on my next move. The new phone used the same towers so the signal should be the same but the new cell company said that this particular phone would not work in my area. They wouldn’t even ship it to my home address because they said it wouldn’t work. So, I had it shipped to my office in the next town and tried it anyway.
I spent the next month, driving around to all the areas that I normally travel through. I’d watch the signal bars on both phones to see what the difference was. I made calls from these areas on both phones, sent text messages and used the internet on the new phone all over town. The signal was identical! Not once did I look at the signal strength and see any difference between the two phones. It even worked at my house where the new carrier said it wouldn’t!
Woo Hoo!!! I rock!!
After a month, I transferred my phone number to the new phone, closed the old account and began trying to figure out the wonderful world of apps and clouds and streaming music using wi-fi instead of 3G. (Because we live in the sticks and don’t have 4G here) I’m 4 months into my new setup and I am still THRILLED with my phone and just as happy with the bill. I’m even happier that I’m essentially getting a signal off that big cell company at a fraction of the price!
I wonder how long they will let that go on….
UPDATE: I’m 6 months into the new phone and new plan and still Thrilled!!! Woo Hoo!!! If you want to know more, send me a message and I’ll spill the company names to you privately!