September 4, 2013 11:19 AM Subscribe
I need a phone plan (US). All the options seem bad. Can anyone think of an option I've missed? Special snowflake details inside.
posted by carolr to technology (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
So I'm feeling quite sorry for myself as I'm about to lose the free phone plan I've had for the past two years. Here's my special case:
- I live in California. There is no cell reception at my house (sometimes texts arrive a day late or the phone will ring but conversations are almost always impossible: success rate 2 calls/2 years).
- I call Canada during my commute for 3-4 hours per month.
- I would like to be able to text with my Canadian sister.
- Otherwise, maybe 30 minutes of domestic calls per month.
- I don't currently have a smartphone but having some sort of app that would tell me about accidents/mudslides on my route home sounds really handy.
- My Canadian family are all on iThings, so I use imessage with them when I have wifi. I like my iPod and am thinking of an iPhone (I know not to buy one this week), but I'm not too invested.
I've thought of calling cards for calling Canada and using data instead of texting, which may make things cheaper since the international aspect is complicating things.
Here are the options I've thought of:
- Ting: I think this sounds great, except they won't sell me a plan because they don't have coverage at my house. I think I could use a friend's address or my work, though. International texting included, calling Canada is $0.15/min. I have access to an old phone I could test this out with first.
- AT&T: I get a 21% discount through my work, which still ends up being ~$100/month. Seriously, $20/month to add texting to your phone?
-Verizon: 7% discount through work, still really expensive. Their website makes it sound like you can get the same 2 gig data plan either prepaid or on a plan, but you'll pay $40 extra per month for the privilege of having a contract. I don't understand. They do seem to have the best coverage around home though.
- T-Mobile: possible although I'm concerned about coverage. They have $10 International Talk & Text plan, except calls have to originate from their network and there are two gaps on my drive home.
-Straighttalk: international texting is not even possible. Concerned about the fact that they are currently being sued for their unlimited data claims.
- Other MVNOs: Some of these sound great on their websites but every single one seems to have terrible reviews online. Ignoring the reviews, promising sounding ones are Airvoice Wireless, Boost, Simple Mobile, Redpocket, net10, ptel. Is anyone happy with any of those? I am also concerned about coverage being not good enough. But I guess these don't come with contracts so I could experiment.
- The "I give up" option: get a PAYG plan for emergencies, save many hundreds of dollars per year, tell my family I'll call them via Skype at less convenient times, and listen to even more podcasts while driving.
And a bonus question: if the coverage maps show 2G for most of the way home, is that good enough for phone calls?
I feel like I have enough information here to make some sort of decision but nothing here seems very good. Anyone just want to make a decision for me?