Two years ago, my wife and I signed a contract for cellular phones. It was a basic contract with the only extra being a small texting plan for each of us that added $10 a month to our bill. It soon became overwhelmingly apparent how much we (the US) doesn’t realize how much it is overcharged for cellular telephone service. We were paying $75 a month for 2 phones that we didn’t use tremendously. We didn’t feel like we were getting a good value.
We decided a few months into the contract that once it was over we would re-evaluate the situation, and decide to make a change.
My phone was a smart phone (Samsung Blackjack II), and I soon came to love all the bells and whistles having that phone provided me. I didn’t want to lose the “non phone” functionality I had with this device to save money.
Because of my chosen line of work, I have been privileged to just about every kind of mobile device you can think of. I’ve seen all Apple “i” devices, Google Android devices of all shapes and sizes, Amazon Kindles, Barnes & Noble Nook’s, and even some devices from overseas that aren’t sold in the states.
While I enjoy what technology has to bring us, I don’t enjoy the trend of being “connected” all the time. What really boggles my mind about this trend are the costs. Instead of just paying for cellular phone service, now for smart devices there are required data plans, and sometimes required texting plans. The costs of these plans can be equal to or even more than just the basic calling service.
What I have done that has differentiated myself from the masses is by combining the capabilities of a smart phone, with the affordable qualities of a pre-paid cell phone, utilizing an Apple iPhone 3g.
There are many guides online, explaining how to do such a feat with the iPhone. I found many to be informative and factual. They all have at least 1 step incorrect however. Many will tell you to purchase a SIM card and then activate it via AT&T’s website, which is impossible. I found this out the hard way, but a SIM card is only a couple of bucks, so it wasn’t a huge deal. Others tell you to purchase a “Go-Phone” and move the SIM card. This isn’t a good idea either, as this option actually locks the SIM card to that Go-Phone for a period of 6 months.
I ended up going to an AT&T store with my old phone after our contract had expired, and requested to switch to pre-paid. It was that simple. I then just moved the SIM card to the iPhone and voila!
While I can’t access data services when most iPhone users can, that doesn’t bother me. What makes me happy is knowing that I’m paying 8 times less for basically the same service as they are!
It’s been a little bit over a month since I went pre-paid, and I’ve only spent $11.30! With VOIP options such as Skype and TextFree, I only need to use my “paid” minutes when I don’t have a wireless connection.
And that, my friends, is how you have your cake and eat it too!