Cellphone plans for texting rather than talking?
September 22, 2008 6:12 PM   Subscribe

I love my Treo (smartphone), and I use it for everything - except for making phone calls. Are there any plans out there that privilege texting over speech?

I'm currently with Verizon and paying about $70-$80 a month, but I don't even come close to using up my minutes. I think I have 450 minutes and I maybe use 20-30 a month. The money all goes to text messaging, which I use far more than I ever use the phone service.

Are there any cellphone plans out there which have flat fees for texting that aren't on top of the fee for phone minutes? And if there aren't, does anyone have a suggestion of how I might lower my monthly costs without giving up texting?
posted by tzikeh to Technology (15 answers total)
Sounds like you need a Blackberry.
posted by Class Goat at 6:18 PM on September 22, 2008

Verizon's data plan SUCKS.

Sprint's is $15/month.
posted by k8t at 6:39 PM on September 22, 2008

Response by poster: I need to keep the "phone" part of the cellphone (I do occasionally have to make or take a call on it), so a Blackberry is out. k8t, does Sprint have a plan where the data is $15 a month and you can have minimal call minutes? Or is that $15/mo on top of a calling plan?
posted by tzikeh at 6:53 PM on September 22, 2008

You mentioned Verizon, which basically means you're stuck with Verizon forever if you want to use the same phone. They run on the CDMA network and are not portable anywhere.

Prepaid plans are designed for what you want. I know that AT&T GoPhone, which isn't particularly cheap, is $20/mo for unlimited data and $20/mo for unlimited texting. I don't know if they work in PDA-type phones though.

As for other options, maybe you can find a friend on Verizon who uses 450-700 minutes and convince them to join a family plan with you, thus splitting the cost up so they're using (and paying for) the minutes and you're paying for your data/text usage?
posted by meowzilla at 6:54 PM on September 22, 2008

Looks like Sprint's cheapest plan is $49.99/month for 450 minutes, unlimited text and then you pay $15 on top of that for internet and then there is a $29.99 plan for 250 minutes without text and internet.
posted by k8t at 7:09 PM on September 22, 2008

Response by poster: meow - There has to be a way to crack the phone and use it on another provider's plan--I know too many tech gods not to be able to get that set up....
posted by tzikeh at 7:27 PM on September 22, 2008

meow is right, CDMA phones are notoriously hard to impossible to unlock. I've never heard of it working completely. Basically your Treo has Verizon hard-wired into it's firmware.
posted by heavenstobetsy at 7:41 PM on September 22, 2008

But, on the upside, you can switch to a different company, keep your number, and get a new Treo (or Centro or Quattro).
posted by k8t at 7:46 PM on September 22, 2008

Verizon/Sprint don't use SIM cards, to activate a phone on their network you basically have to ask them and send them your phone's identifying number. Neither company will activate a phone that they did not sell through their own distributors and pass their own internal testing.

The term "unlock" has no meaning here.
posted by meowzilla at 7:52 PM on September 22, 2008

I believe T-Mobile had data-only plans. Very popular with the deaf kids at Gallaudet, from what I understand.
posted by meta_eli at 8:32 PM on September 22, 2008

Response by poster: meta_eli - thanks re: T-Mobile, but as I said, I need to keep *some* of the phone ability. I just don't use it all that much.

Maybe I'll call Verizon and see what they can offer me if I tell them I'm going to switch to T-Mobile.
posted by tzikeh at 8:43 PM on September 22, 2008

Best answer: Ask Verizon about the loyalty incentive program. It's $25 a month for the voice part of the plan which includes 100 anytime minutes and 500 night and weekend minutes. Sounds like that'll be more than what you need, but it should cut at least $15 off your bill. This program is unadvertised, and I've had a rep tell me it doesn't exist. If they won't offer it to you, hang up and try again.
posted by samph at 7:00 AM on September 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, samph, thanks - I'll do that today!
posted by tzikeh at 8:55 AM on September 23, 2008

I need to keep the "phone" part of the cellphone (I do occasionally have to make or take a call on it), so a Blackberry is out.

Blackberries have built-in phones. Where's the problem?
posted by ostranenie at 5:38 AM on September 24, 2008

Not sure about using your existing Treo, but Sprint has a not-well-known plan called SERO. You basically have to call them and ask for it. It used to be you had to be referred by a Sprint employee to be eligible, but they may of dropped that requirement.
In any case, it costs $30/month and you get unlimited email, Internet, texting and 500 anytime minutes. I've been on this plan for about a year, and so far it's been great.

Google Sprint SERO
posted by fisheatingbagel at 1:28 PM on September 25, 2008

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