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17 September 2010 @ 01:31 pm
Tapping the Hive Mind: No Phone, No Lights, No Motorcar  
Icon to the contrary, Internet access is the one thing I do have at the moment.

My cellphone account has always been provided through quelonzia's employer. Due to our impending divorce, it has now been terminated.

Time to tap into the LiveJournal Hive Mind again:

I need to find an inexpensive, reliable provider with good coverage in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area. I'm going to be spending a lot of time out in the eastern hills in the near future, so good rural coverage is a plus.

I want to transfer my old cell phone number, preferably without any additional service charges.

I think I should go with a pay-as-you-go plan; I don't need to get locked into monthly obligations when my income is, at best, erratic.

Unlimited evening and weekend hours are a must.

Unlimited text messaging would be Very Useful Indeed; our last contract charged us something like ten cents a pop.

Thanks in advance for the feedback, gang.

I should also note that my old email accounts will be terminated on Sunday. As a Permanent LiveJournal Account Holder, however, I can always be easily reached.
Leodrleo on September 17th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
If the number has already been terminated, you may be SOL on that. One thing I remember from transferring my number is that it was important to keep the number alive. Then I contacted my new provider, and they had to contact the old provider to make the number port. If the number is already closed, it was gone. You can ask, but you may be boned on this.

Unlimited evening and weekend minutes seem hard to find. You end up going to unlimited minutes all the time if you want that.

T-Mobile has prepaid plans. $15/month gets you unlimited texting, but voice calls are 10 cents/minute all the time. Unlimited talk knocks that up to $50/month.

I was on Virgin Mobile in grad school. They use Sprint's network, so coverage should be fine. Looks like $25/month gets you unlimited text and data, with 300 anytime minutes. They were very easy to deal with, and for a basic phone, they were fine.

AT&T has prepaid service through their GoPhone brand, but I don't know anything about it. No doubt there are other prepaid vendors around as well.

None of these prices include the cost of hardware. T-Mobile or AT&T you could use any GSM handset you can get your claws on, but Virgin Mobile will require new hardware.
Bobyourbob on September 17th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
Regarding coverage, look into the "roaming" charges. That's the term used for "I can't connect to my network and have to use someone else's tower". If you have free roaming, you don't need to worry about your basic carrier. Roaming is usually most important in rural areas, where it's only "worth" one provider putting up a tower and you never know who it will be.

I had a friend last summer that used a go-phone for a major trip around the country. If there was service of any sort, she could get a call in or out. I do not know if she used it for texting.

Beyond that, I have little knowledge.
Kymrikymri on September 17th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Without speaking to phone specifics (I'd look at a couple of things -- GSM phones are good for travel but tend to rule out Sprint and Verizon, and son on).

On the number portability thing, a going-forward solution is Google Voice. It doesn't deal with making sure people calling the number they already have can keep in contact with you, but it is a phone number that can ring all your phones (and your computer, if you want), so if you change numbers, it'll sort that for you.

As far as number portability, almost every carrier will deal with this for you, though if the old account isn't in your name, there may be some difficulty getting it ported over (and there may not, I really don't know).

If you want to have mobile internet access for your laptop I recommend anyone but AT&T, but Verizon and Sprint both have decent data options with Android phones. I know it's a flat rate, but I know nothing about MetroPCS so you will need to do some research there.

One word of warning about T-Mobile: they got most of their GSM towers by buying AT&T's old towers that the latter was decomissioning. Their coverage tends to either be excellent or terrible, depending on where you are specifically.
one in a billionsiege on September 19th, 2010 01:33 pm (UTC)
I use Boost Mobile, but they don't do unlimited anything until you start up a monthly plan with them.
Wywy on September 21st, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
T-Mobile Prepaid, $100 gets you 365 days worth of coverage.