Post by poldy Post by sms Post by poldy
Well beyond the cost, smart phones offer a lot of utility. Simple
things like, having a decent camera always at hand. Not just for Kodak
moments but like you drop off a package at UPS and you don't want to
write down the stupid tracking number so you take a snap of it and you
can track it later.
If you get any utility out of the Internet, you will get use out of a
smart phone which gives you access to the Internet outside the home.
I have an iPad Mini with cellular radio. I often take it out of the
home but not always.
Smart phones are like the digital swiss army knife.
That's how I feel. I had a dumb phone, on Verizon, like David when I
switched to Page Plus. I roamed rarely, and the huge savings meant that
paying for an occasional roaming minute on Golden State Cellular or U.S.
Cellular was lost in the noise. Then Verizon began buying up the smaller
CDMA carriers that I had been roaming on the most, like Golden State
The big attraction to me of Page Plus over Verizon was that I could have
a smart phone without a data plan, something that Verizon does not
permit. I was only using a little cellular data, but when I needed it it
was very nice to have. Most of the time I was on Wi-Fi.
There's a bunch of people I know that were on Verizon with dumb phones
who switched to Page Plus with smart phones because they did not want to
give up the Verizon network, but they did not want to sign up for an
expensive data plan.
I just listened to a piece on KQED today about people who willingly pay
more for the same product, and its for emotional reasons that facts and
logic are not able to counter.
Alas, Page Plus was bought out by Carlos Slim a couple of years ago.
There have been some improvements as a result, but also some negatives,
such as customer service and no more +1 international calling at low rates.
I switched my family over to AT&T's network (Consumer Cellular) because
a) I wanted a family plan with shared minutes, texts, and data, and b) I
wanted phones that we could take to Europe and Asia and just stick in a
prepaid SIM card. But I kept one Page Plus line active for $2.50 per
month minimum just to have a phone that works where AT&T lacks a network.
Well there are no more contracts now. I think they all list the phone
lease price, amortized over 24 months, as the line item in the bill.
I think they all have BYOD plans so you could switch carriers more easily.
The thing is that on the carrier's own plans the cost of single lines,
with a smart phone and data, tend to be more expensive and give you more
data than you need unless you're doing a lot of mapping and video
watching. Many of the MVNOs don't allow roaming, paid or not. Page Plus
and Consumer Cellular (AT&T) do allow roaming, as does Selectel (Verizon).
Verizon's prepaid service offers unlimited voice and text and 3GB of
data for $45 per month, or just unlimited voice and text for $30 per
month, and you can bring a smart phone whether you buy data or not.
Taxes not included. The $30 per month is less than David is paying
Verizon now. With autopay, the differences between postpaid and prepaid
are very small (actually, according to their map, prepaid actually gets
slightly more coverage which is odd).
PagePlus is one of the few MVNOs that allows off-network CDMA roaming
for voice and text (text included, voice 20¢/minute) though it's rarely
needed. For $30 you get 1GB of data, 1500 minutes, and unlimited text
for $29.95, actually $28.15 with a 6% discount from resellers, and no
tax is collected (but you have to pay the sales tax to the state directly).
One other thing I really like about my smart phone is that I don't need
a separate GPS, and I have a GPS with me even when not in the car (like
walking in San Francisco or foreign cities). I bought the CoPilot App (I
think it was $8 for the U.S. at the time, now it is $10). I bought the
European maps last year, and they were $30 (on sale) for most of Europe.
Unlike Google Maps it does not use any cellular data, though you give up
active traffic. Map updates are free. Also works on tablets at no extra
cost for multiple devices with the same Google Play account.
The bottom line is that it really doesn't cost more to have a smart
phone versus a dumb phone, at least in terms of monthly cost, with
essentially the same coverage, at least on Verizon.
As David pointed out, battery life of dumb phones is greater, but that's
about the only plus.