Post by Roy
The Wifi only phones look interesting. The article doesn't mention if
tethering is allowed on any of these services.
Another clueless article from PC World.
When you look at the MVNOs and prepaid services you need to consider a
lot of issues that they don't even mention. Do you know _anyone_ in the
Bay Area on Sprint or T-Mobile? Twice I've given presentations on
alternative carriers and both time when I ask which carrier people in
the audience are on, there have been _zero_ on Sprint or T-Mobile. It's
about 70/30 for Verizon/AT&T. Anyone in the Bay Area that has tried
Sprint or T-Mobile has quickly returned to AT&T or Verizon.
There are three important requirements for alternative carriers (and
regular carriers for that matter):
1. AT&T or Verizon network. Avoid Sprint and T-Mobile at all costs.
2. Off-network roaming, preferably including data roaming.
3. LTE support.
Actually number 2 has become a little less important as AT&T and Verizon
have bought out smaller carriers. But with AT&T, for example, without
roaming you have no coverage in a large part of Nebraska, and even a
small part of California.
On Consumer Cellular, which I have now, tethering is allowed. Full
roaming is included. Currently we're paying around $110 for four lines,
but that's with only 2.5GB of shared data so we are careful about data
usage (no streaming video). The big issue with data usage these days is
that many texts are being sent as MMS rather than SMS and data is
required for receiving MMS messages. It's stupid to send plain text
messages as MMS but some phones automatically do this for text messages
with multiple recipients.
If you can live without off-network roaming, AT&T's Cricket prepaid
service is a very good deal. They just upped the data on their smallest
plan to 2.5GB of LTE (throttled to 8Mb/s but still fast enough) then
unlimited data at low speed after that. No tethering allowed. Five lines
of service with 2.5GB each are $100, total ($40+30+20+10+0). One line is
$35 with auto-pay discount. If you can share a plan with five people
you're at $20 per line for 2.5GB of data on AT&T's network. I think AT&T
has declared war on Carlos Slim's company.