Still Cutting Phone Expenses

If you have been reading here for a while, you know that I am constantly looking for ways to cut recurring expenses. This particularly includes phone expenses. Wireless data charges and contracts are pet peeves of mine.

Over two years ago, we dumped our AT&T phones, contracts and ridiculous data plans for Straight Talk phones and service at $30/month. We subsequently eliminated our land line telephone.  The Straight Talk service has been excellent.

I was also anxious to get rid of my “smart” phone and replace it with a simple flip phone. There were several reasons for this. The most important reason was that a smart phone is a major impediment to living one’s life in the present moment. The distraction of all of the phone activity is just too much. So, after being the first in my law firm to adopt a smart phone years ago, I became the first to get rid of it and never looked back. Straight Talk gave me a free flip phone when I signed up for its monthly service.

Meanwhile, I have law partners who walk around and sit at meetings staring at their phones.  I can understand using a smartphone if you travel extensively for work.  But I also watch others in my building ride the elevator while hypnotically staring at their phone screens.  I used to let it bother me but now I understand that it is their burden to bear, not mine. If they are not interested in the world that is right in front of them, they are missing out.

Late last year I learned about yet another new, lower cost wireless phone service that intrigued me. The compelling feature? Unlimited talk, text, and data for $19/month with no contracts.

How can you not be attracted by that combination?

My wife was interested in trying the service because she wanted to use a smart phone for non-business activity without worrying about data charges. We ordered one for her. She was on a waiting list for this “beta” service for 8 months. The phone (they only offered one phone) finally arrived and she began using it.  She let me try it for a few weeks as well. (I can use any cell phone because I also use Google Voice as my primary phone number, which allows me to send calls to any phone number I choose.)

The service (from Republic Wireless) was not glitch free but was more than adequate for my purposes.  On some calls, there was an echo early in the call. Sometimes a call would not go through on the first attempt. The service runs on the Sprint network which is not as robust as AT&T or Verizon. But for $19/month, it didn’t bother me. As baby boomers, we spent most of our lives not being able to make or receive calls unless we were close to a land line telephone. Why should I complain about momentary inconvenience when I am not near a land line?

You may be wondering how Republic Wireless can charge only $19/month for unlimited everything with no contract. First, the phone is specially configured for “hybrid calling.” This means that when you are in range of a usable WiFi network, the phone automatically uses WiFi for all calling and data features.  Second, the phone itself is sold at full price. Third, the phone is an older version Android phone.  Nevertheless, the phone does everything my wife needs and more than I need.

I reluctantly will now be carrying a smart phone again because with Republic Wireless, I have no other choice. Fortunately, the phone is not as large as an iPhone or most of the newer Android models so it fits in my pocket as neatly as my flip phone. I will not allow the phone to beep me whenever a text or email arrives. I want to walk around undistracted by others’ attempts to communicate with me in real time.

If you are considering downsizing your telecommunications costs, Republic Wireless may be a good option for you. (No, I am not paid to advertise for them.

 

 


Comments

  1. John S. says

    I use Consumer Cellular (consumercellular.com). No contract, several different packages available and they let you know if you’re getting close to your limit so you can move up to the next plan. Or, if you’re using less than you expected, you can downgrade. And they have outstanding customer service and a discount for AARP members.

  2. Chuck Wiggins says

    Thanks for info on both of these services. I like the looks of Ting based on our needs, but would welcome any feedback on how either are going. I’m looking to get out of “smart phones” as much on principle (cost of data plans) as I am to save money!

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