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Prepaid Smartphone

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Since we sometimes forget our phones at home, we need a phone to keep in the car in case of emergencies. I want a smartphone so I can actually use it like my regular phone (check email, some light web surfing), however, it seems most carriers require expensive, recurring monthly data packages if you choose a smartphone.

I've been trying to research cheap prepaid services that might be able to fit my needs and so far, the best option I've found (surprisingly) is the LG Thrive with AT&T GoPhone service.

I could load up $100 (good for 1 year) and select the $0.10/min plan. I just get a $25 for 500MB data package for the first month and get the $5 for 10MB every 25 days or so to roll over the data. Perhaps the occasional $25 when bandwidth's running low.

$100 - $25 - 11 reloads * $5 = $20

The remaining $20 would give me 200 minutes to use for the whole year which is more than plenty as I don't call much and most of my calls take less than 2 minutes (at most 10~20 minutes if I need to call AAA). For text, I could just use Google Voice and that would be covered by the data package.

I've looked at Virgin Mobile but that would require me to pay $25/mo or $300 minimum over the course of the year. T-Mobile appears to require a no annual contract Monthly4G plan ($15/mo min Talk/Text, $30/mo min with 30MB data) for smartphones and it doesn't appear as if you can add a data package to their Pay As You Go plans like you can do with AT&T. Verizon, forget it.

Virgin Mobile seems to be a great second option but I don't really need unlimited text and data, nor do I need 300 minutes per month. Looking at the annual cost, it looks to me AT&T is the least expensive option at an estimated $100~150/year given my expected usage.

What other prepaid services are there? Specifically, are there any that would allow me to just pay for what I use while still giving me the option to use a smartphone instead of being limited to feature phones?
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Garnet
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post #2 of 6
Virgin Mobile = pretty much your only other option
Although I think Verizon might have pre-paid phones now.
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilWrir View Post
Virgin Mobile = pretty much your only other option
Although I think Verizon might have pre-paid phones now.
*sigh* Figured that might be the case (which really sucks). Verizon does have prepaid phones but if you want a smartphone, minimum is $45/mo for 450 minutes and that doesn't even include text and data.
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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Update:
I just received my LG Thrive and so far so good. Loaded it with $100 which expires in one year. I'll just reload it again with $100 before the year is up or my balance dips down to ~$15 whichever comes first. I haven't added any data packages yet as I've had no need for it so far. It's great being able to add data packages at your discretion instead of being forced to pay for one even if you don't use it just because you have a smartphone.

I'm really, really liking Android. My only other experience with Android so far is with a Nook Color (CM7 on microSD) and I have to say, the LG Thrive is much more responsive. It's nice enough that I'm strongly considering replacing my iPhone (primary phone) with one based on Android. There are just some iOS only apps that I need to find replacements for before I can make the switch. Right now, I use Stanza as my ebook reader and unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any plans to port it to Android.

For folks who only use their cellphone's voice, messaging and data sparingly but still want the benefits of a smartphone, AT&T's Pay As You Go $0.10/minute or $2/day Unlimited plans are a pretty nice way to tone down the phone bill. With this, I expect to just spend $100~150/year instead of $300/year ($25/mo, 300 minutes, unlimited msg & data) on Virgin Mobile's lowest plan (set to increase to $35/mo or $420/year). Downside to this is if you use a lot of minutes, messages or megabytes (or a combination thereof), you can expect to see charges rack up quickly.

I'm hoping Verizon and T-Mobile will follow AT&T's lead and start allowing smartphones on their respective Pay As You Go plans instead of being forced into $30+ monthly plans.
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post #5 of 6
Well, Android is still catching up to Apple in terms of app selection, but it's getting there. I personally use Kobo/Amazon/Nook/Google Books for eBook reading, then Aldiko for books coming from outside sources.
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post #6 of 6
LG Thrive great phone got the father of that phone the Optimus One huge on modding and some great stuff that's come for it.
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