Monday, February 4, 2013

Cheapest cellphone plan

The title of this blogpost is a blatant attempt to get search result traffic, although, since we don't have any ads, getting random people to come to our site really is pointless, except for stoking my own vanity. Anyway, here's another post bragging about how cheap we are. True. Also, some people have expressed interest in how we are doing our cell phone, so here are the details and how things are working so far. Skip this one if you don't care at all.

So, when we sold the car, we thought it was finally time to get a smart phone. There are so many buses around here, and we're so new to the city, that we really needed something more powerful and detailed than a bus system map. Also, smart phones are good for looking up the locations and hours of businesses, because it's a lot bigger pain to go all the way somewhere on a bike just to find out it's in the wrong place or closed. Anyway, we felt justified in being poor and still having a smart phone. Justified!

Anyway, but we were also poor, and cheap. So we looked into the cheapest way to do it, and after looking at a lot of different plans, we found something called Airvoice Wireless. It had pretty good reviews, so we decided to give it a shot. Here's our experience.

Airvoice is a pay-as-you go smartphone carrier. You can either pay for a certain number of minutes, or you can do like us and do the cheapest option possible. So we paid $10 (plus $4.99 for a SIM card) for three months. Each call we make is $.10, each text is $.10 and each MB of data is $.33. For some people, $10 would last like a day at these prices.

The thing is, at home, you can make high quality phone calls and get texts over wi-fi through google voice (or other similar services). We use an app called talkatone (very ugly, but very functional and near zero lag [which was a problem in other apps we tried]). We would have wi-fi either way, so these calls cost us nothing.

But we just don't use our cellphones that much. In fact, a month and a few days in, the only money we've spent is for a few test calls (although my old phone was still in service for some of that time, but I only took it out rarely).

We got a $100 iPhone 3GS because that was the cheapest iPhone we could find that still runs the latest software (we are hopeless Apple groupies). It is nice just to use it on the go even when we are not using 3G data, by downloading maps and schedules to it and as a camera and a distractor for the kids (so basically an iPod touch). I went to a lot of trouble learning how to jailbreak and unlock the phone, but in the end, that just got in my way and all I had to do was insert the SIM card (which fit perfect) and reset the network settings and restart the phone.

Looking back, it sounds like I'm trying to sell something. I am not. I am simply trying to brag. That is all.

Anyway, this has worked really well for us. I wrote this post because others might be interested in trying it, and I know we have friends that are as cheap as we are, but are afraid, like we were, of trying something they've never heard of. The best thing is, is that if something goes wrong, we've only spent $15 (not including the iPhone, which we could just get another plan for) and don't have anything even resembling a contract, so we don't have much to lose.

Really boring post over. I've got a religion post in the works (which seem to really get people going) so you can at least have that one to look forward to.


  1. Awesome. Cell phone plans are such a rip-off in the US and the proprietary mobile phones just blow my mind. I don't have a smart phone but on my nice dumb phone I spend less than $5/month on units. I love pre-paid service. I'm glad you found a system that works for you.

  2. I'm really happy you posted about this. I'm feeling behind the times without a smartphone (my current phone is 6 or 7 years old, to toot my own cheap-lovin' horn), but I can't get past the monthly cost for a data plan. I've looked into going prepaid but I haven't found a rate as good as the one you mentioned. Sounds awesome. I'm totally going to look into it.

  3. I have gone to the service provider bell in Yorkgate Mall. They were very nice and accommodating. I think I am going to sign up with them. Has anyone else signed up with them? Are you pleased with your service?

  4. Your blatant attempt worked! I just posted a similar post and went searching for others on the same topic. It definitely pays to research.

  5. Ah! We totally tried this a few months ago, but we only tried a $80 android and the wifi call quality wasn't good enough. Maybe it's because we didn't have a good phone or because we didn't have an Apple and Apple apps or because of the basement. Luckily, we were able to return the phone, so we were only out like $5 for return shipping for the experiment. I'm really glad to hear that you are making it work. Living off wifi only phone is my dream! Hopefully we can do it wherever we live next. We save money with a landline, but it's still $30 down the drain every month--yuck!

    1. Yes! I thought about you guys when we were thinking about switching over to just a house phone. Have you looked into VOIP phones? They are landlines, but only cost a few dollars a month after you buy the special phone (our friends just bought one for $50). I think it also runs through wifi. We've found the wifi call quality is good with certain apps and not so good with others. And we use FaceTime now to talk to family more often. It's working so well. And practically free! (since we don't pay for internet)

    2. I have seriously considered a VOIP phone, but right now the router is upstairs, so maybe in our next place. What kind did your friends get, and do they like it? I've heard really mixed reviews, and I know for some of them the initial cost is really expensive. The pluses you get with you i-phone (like all the apps) are very tempting, but, same thing, set-up cost is a lot! I'm sure we'll figure out something in our next place, and it's so nice to hear more about the options, so thanks!