I began my experiment in simplifying and lowering the cost of our cell phone plan this weekend. The tentative switch (at least for me) is from AT&T to StraighTalk. Everyone is familiar with AT&T. StraightTalk is not yet mainstream by may soon be, except for the smartphone addicts.
StraighTalk is an inexpensive, no-contract phone service run by TracFone. Service and phones are available on both the AT&T (GSM) and Verizon (CDMA) networks so coverage is not a problem. One of the reasons for my tentative switch is that only Verizon has coverage at our new condo. For a flat monthly fee of $30, I get 1000 minutes of talk time, 1000 text messages, and 30 MB of data usage. (I have never used more than 30MB of data, even on my full-blown smart phones.) For another $15, you can increase those limits to unlimited. You can purchase phones and time online or at Walmart.
The phone selections are limited and will not impress the gadget lovers. I bought my phone at Walmart for $39.00. It is an LG flip phone with Bluetooth capability, voice commands, and a basic browser. I am giving up direct access to work email but I don’t care. I no longer feel the need to look at email the second it arrives. For the three days I have used this simpler phone, it has been a very liberating experience.
For a few clients, I have set up rules on our office system that will forward their urgent emails to me as text messages and to my gmail account, which I can access on the new phone. Those rules will be activated only when I am traveling.
As a long time smart phone user (and early adopter) I am also enjoying the simplicity of the phone, including that I can hold it and operate all of its features using one hand.
Although StraightTalk allows you to port over an existing cell or land line number, I didn’t bother because I use my Google Voice number anyway, which forwards to any phone number I select.
Not being tied to a cell phone contract, a cell phone number, and absurdly high fees is the way things should be.
My plan to lower monthly expenses and simplify aspects of my life continues. So far, so good with my new cell phone service.
Do any of you use a no-contract service?