I’ll be back very soon with “For Sale” parts 3 and 4. Right now we are very busy doing things to drastically reduce our phone bill because, well, we can. What we are in the process of doing is switching to a pay-as-you-go plan and we are going to break our contract with Sprint. The savings are going to be remarkable and my head is full of all the facts and figures so forgive me if I concretize my thinking here today. You might be astounded.
My wife and I are with Sprint and we have the deluxe plan: unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited data. We are on a shared plan and are paying $140 per month. Our contract is for two years including the purchase of two iPhone 4S smart phones. Some would think that is a good deal. My functional OCD comes to the rescue here as I am happiest when I am tracking something numerically. Here is our highest usage month on our shared “unlimited” plan totaled between us:
- 180 minutes
- 6 texts
- 62 Meg data
If we were using a couple thousand minutes, thousands of texts, and a few gig of data then the $140 per month would be justified. But we are not. Indeed, we don’t need that data at all since there are plenty of places that have free WiFi. A savvy smartphone user could cut down on their minutes and chat by using said WiFi to best advantage but that begins to be work. Bottom line, most months we can squeak by with a hundred minutes and a few texts.
Let’s look at what it would cost us to break our contract with Sprint now. We have 9 months to go on our contract:
I edited the above chart which continues on upward increasing by $20 each additional month up to 23 months. From the nine month mark where we are right now we can scan down to months five and below and see that the termination fee no longer reduces. We have a situation of diminishing returns with cancellation; in other words, the sooner the better if that is what we are going to do.
We are first going to migrate my wife onto the new plan that I am about to describe. We want to see how it goes before moving myself as well. What is most likely to happen is that first Cathy cancels at the nine month tier and then I will follow at the eight month cutoff. That will cost us $340 to get out of a ridiculous situation.
But where are we going to?
The plan I am about to show you is not something we can endorse today. It is incredibly cheap and all the complaints about this company are related to people buying phones directly from them. Apparently they sell refurbished phones and at least some people are having big problems with them. Not to worry, Cathy has an unlocked GSM phone and I am willing to purchase one given that her test case first works out. Let’s look at that company and their plan.
The above chart is for one person. Cathy is not going to use 130 minutes in any normal month by herself. What she doesn’t use rolls over into the next month so there should be a growing pool of minutes which would be good for a very unusual month. A single text message costs 3.3 cents and is not an additional charge but taken from your pool of minutes.
But what about me?
If we add a second person it is an additional $5 and you get an added 60 minutes. So for a grand total of $15 we get 190 minutes per month. And that, dear reader, is exactly what our highest usage month was with the fancy unlimited plan. We give up a tiny bit of data and save a whopping $125 per month on our phone bill. Per year that is $1,500. With that savings we can buy two of the most expensive smart phones of any brand every year and get them unlocked up front to begin with.
So that is where we are headed with our phones. I have ordered a free SIM with free shipping for Cathy and once it arrives we’ll see how the process of moving her phone number to it goes. I might or might not write a follow-up article but if you are curious you can ask me any time how it is going.
I will buy what I’m calling a “bridge phone” to use temporarily until I decide what phone I ultimately want to get longer term. While waiting to experiment with Cathy’s success in moving over to Pure Talk USA, I’ll be researching unlocked GSM phones. From what I’ve read comparing price and reviews, I’m going to need to spend at least $200 for solid voice quality to my ear. I am very open to suggestions but I can’t promise I will do more than research them.
I do feel that the whole laptop/tablet/smart-phone situation is in a tremendous state of flux right now and the best thing to do is wait and see for a year to let the dust settle. It is a very exciting time for technology right now and we intend to save money and be patient until the perfect little device catches our eye.
If I were not caught up in the Apple eco-system I would probably buy a Galaxy Note 2 right now. It is big but it looks to hit the sweet spot between phone and tablet and I want more of a toy than a phone when I’m out and about. I’m willing to wait and see what Apple does with its next phone and for that matter how Apple responds to all this touch-screen laptop/tablet hybrid activity. As I said, the dust will settle and too much is in a state of flux so we are backing off, saving our money, and waiting for something truly exciting to emerge.