Phone Choices - Bro

Some of the links in this article are referral links. These do not increase your price but possibly provide me (and sometimes you) some kind of kick back.

My Phones

Cell phones are something that seem to have quickly gone from a “want” to a “need”. To add insult to injury if you have a child it is considered child abuse (by them) to not have their own phone by the age of 6. I unfortunately have taken this to to the next level. I have 5 cell phone numbers just for me. Yes you read that right if you wanted to get ahold of me you could try 5 different numbers.* I am not going to try to convince you to get multiple cell phone numbers but I can pass on what I have learned from my cell phone gluttony.

Google Voice or Google Hangouts (free): Google makes a great online phone service. With google you can get a phone number from them to use. Once you have a number you can text or call using the internet. This works on smartphones and computers. This service is especially nice because you can text or call anywhere in the world that has internet. When I go overseas this is how I make calls to my bank or credit cards if needed. I also use this service as grand central terminal for all my other phones. As long as I have data I can text from my “main” number using any of my other phones.

Freedompop (Free but limited): Freedompop is based on the “freemium” model. This means you get very limited service for free but if you want more you will have to pay for it. The basic free service gets you 200 minutes of talk time, 500 text messages, and 200MB of data (and when you use WIFI you are not charged for data). This service is perfect for a kids first phone. They can send you a text message that they are done at their friends house or give you a quick call to let you know they forgot their lunch in your car. Another good use of this service is as a home phone or as a backup phone. The best part is you can use almost any old phone for this service. All you have to do is pop a sim card into any unlocked phone. One word of warning! Freedompop is notorious for billing you for services you really don’t need.** Be sure to be very careful where you click when you sign up. An example of this is the “free 1GB” of data they try to give you at sign up. This actually signs you up for a data plan that costs $23 a month for 1 GB (a terrible deal). The network that they use is based on Sprint or AT&T depending on the device.

Xfinity Mobility ($3/month): Xfinity Mobile requires you to be a Comcast customer. Lucky for me I have someone I can mooch from. For $3 per month you get unlimited talk and text.*** This is a screaming deal if you can live with WIFI only. As an added bonus you can connect to any Xfinity hotspot for free. Data can be purchased for a fairly reasonable $12 per GB or $45 for unlimited data. Xfinity mobile uses the Verizon network which happens to be the only network that works at our cabin. This biggest downside to this service is in general you must purchase a new phone through them (select newish apple devices can be transferred). My wife typically uses about 1GB per month (with 99% of it being stupid facebook). With this plan it would cost us $15 a month to get her all set up.

Republic Wireless ($15/month): This is the service that started it all. For $15/month you get unlimited talk and text. Data costs $5 per GB. This is the service my wife uses. For her standard 1 GB of usage (plus talk and text) it costs us $20 per month. Republic wireless will allow you to bring certain android phones or buy certain android phones from them. The selection is not great but not bad either. If you do want to go with their service I advise going on amazon and buying the phone you want instead of using their store as it will save you a few bucks. The network that they use is either Sprint or T-Mobile. Where we live we have not had any issues with coverage or service but your mileage may vary.

Project Fi ($20/month): Project Fi is Google’s cell phone service. It is a combination of Sprint’s, T-Mobile’s, and US Cellular’s service. Due to this the coverage area is fairly good. In addition to that the service has international data coverage in 140 countries for no additional cost. This phone is my travel phone. The cost of the service is $20 for voice and text. Data is $10 per GB. The major downside to this service is you must use one of only a few Android phones. The cheapest option is $250. If my wife were to use this service it would cost us about $30 per month.

Work Phone (Free): My last phone is an AT&T phone that my work provides. If I were to try to keep things simple this would be my only phone. If you work somewhere you need to be connected it is very common that work provide a phone. If so there is typically no reason to pay for personal service. If you are worried about losing your old cell phone number then your number can be transferred to google voice for a small fee.


I admit that I have a bit of a phone problem. At this moment I have about 7 different ways I could make a call not including using my computer and google voice. This includes a pay as you go phone not listed above that is intended to be a backup cabin phone.**** If I were to need to cut down my phone budget I would keep my wife on republic wireless and I would move over to Xfinity (and not use any data). Either way it is clear to me that phone service does not need to be expensive. The next time you see an advertisement for phone service at “only” $50 a month for one line remember that you could have many phones for that price.


If one of these cell phone services does not work for you feel free to leave a comment below. I am always happy to help find a service that fits your situation.


*In reality I only answer two phone numbers. A work number and a main google voice number.

** They have gotten me a few times but every time I contacted customer support they reversed the charge and refunded me. Just be sure to keep an eye on your credit card.
*** Xfinity actually quotes this as free service and the $3 as government fees. Either way $3 for phone service is a steal.
**** Pay as you go is exactly as it sounds. I pay 10 cents a minute and 10 cents a text every time I use this phone. As a backup phone only used to send out the “we made it to the cabin” text message once a month it works great.

Comments

  1. Good post! I would add on a suggestion for Cricket Wireless. My husband and I pay $52/month total for talk, text, and 4 GB of data per month. It's pretty great! Also, it is owned by AT&T so uses their towers, so we get really good coverage.

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    1. Thank you for your reply Keli! It sounds like you got a good deal with Cricket. From what I can tell new customers can get a phone plan with 2GB of data for $30 or 5GB of data for $35 (with auto pay). For two lines it appears to be $70 for 5GB per phone. Is there a better deal that you know of? That being said Cricket sounds competitive with Freedompop (and less tricky) for an iPhone if that is your phone of choice. Xfinity would still be my number one choice if it is available.

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