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Old 09-11-2013, 11:33 AM   #73
ilovejedd
hopeless n00b
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Posts: 4,322
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: in the middle of nowhere
Device: PW4, PW3, iPad 9.7, iPad 10.5, iPad 12.9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penforhire View Post
ilovejedd, some of the MVNO's (mobile virtual network operators) have exactly the coverage you require. I switched from AT&T to Straight Talk. They use AT&T's network. Whatever USA-wide coverage (voice and 3G data) I got with AT&T I still have with ST. There are some claims that my signal is a 'second class citizen' on the AT&T cell towers but my experience is no degradation of service quality after I switched and I've traveled cross-country several times since I switched.

Why did I switch? For the past year or so, I've paid just $43 and change every month (pre-paying one month at a time, auto-pay gives a small discount to the $45 rate). I have no contract and get unlimited calls, texting, and 3G data. There are reports of throttling and warnings at high data consumption but for my 1 GB-or-less monthly consumption rate I had no issues at all.

AT&T (or Verizon) wants something around $80 a month for a worse plan. That is just non-competitive, even if I have to pay full retail for my next iPhone. Now it is also true that AT&T could shut off the entire ST virtual network some day. I'll have to make a switch if that happens. AT&T's customer service is also much easier with AT&T having a solid retail presence in my area, not that I've needed it.

Anyway, don't feel locked into your cellular service provider just because of coverage.
I've looked into MVNO's and they end up being more expensive for me than a family plan from AT&T (4 phones). Not to mention they specifically state no tethering in their terms of service. I personally use at least 5GB of data a month tethering my laptops (no wifi). Even my mom uses tethering so she can check her email and Facebook account on her wifi-only iPad. While I know there are workarounds, I'd rather not have to resort to them.

I really like T-Mobile's BYOD plans. I think it's the way AT&T and Verizon should have gone instead of the new, ridiculous fast track plans which end up costing much more than traditional plans with subsidy. If they just decouple phone cost from the service cost, then they wouldn't need to pay high subsidies and customers can upgrade their phones whenever they like (budget permitting, of course). If only T-Mobile had signal in my area, I'd switch to them.
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