Earlier this year, I posted about how H and I were beginning to think about getting new phones. Our phones were about 3 years and 3 months old at the time. Our phones are pretty old at this point, and I even wrote way back in 2010 about breathing a bit of new life into our android phones by doing a manual upgrade of the phones operating system. This has sustained our phones since then, and we are operating under a monthly contract that still has unlimited data (which is awesome) but we are still paying quite a bit more than I’d like for cell phones – about 150/mo.
During the course of trying to lower our monthly nut, I zeroed in on the phone pretty quickly. The industry is changing rapidly, and there are quite a few different options out there now – if you’re willing to look outside the big 4. The first one that I heard of was republic wireless, which I talked about in the last article. I hesitated on pulling the trigger because I was looking for a bit more information on how the phone used networks and made calls in certain situations where you were out of network, and I tweeted republic wireless and they told me that if the cell network they used (sprint) was unavailable for me, they would place the call over the verizon network – just like what happens with all of sprints regular users.
The primary reason that H and I didnt pull the trigger was two fold. The first is that I heard that republic was going to be releasing new phones in the “summer of 2013” and they would have more than just 1 phone – a “good”, “better” or “best” option would be available. The second was that we were spending a lot of cash elsewhere, as you can read here or here. We held off – and in a move that will not stun my wife at all, we have still not done anything. Most of this honestly has been waiting for when republic will deem it “summer” and release the new phones. This hasnt happened yet, but give that it’s approaching almost winter here in wyoming (I think it’s called “fall” other places) I’m getting kind of impatient.
Not long ago, I ran the numbers on how much we would have saved had H and I switched to republic wireless around the time that I wrote that article (early april). We would be 4 billing cycles with them, and here’s how the costs break down.
|Verizon (Current)||Republic Wireless|
(Cheaper Phone Option)
(Cheaper per Month Option)
|Monthly Cost (2 people, 4 Months)||$600||$232||$320|
Clearly, the plan with the cheap phone is the winner, but obviously will get more expensive in the long term, and by the time 17 months passes, the cheap phone will start to become more expensive than then cheap monthly plan option from republic wireless. In 2 months, verizon will be the highest cost out of all the plans, and the disparity will continue to get worse over time.
Not only is republic trying to shake up the mobile phone industry, but so is another competitor called ting. Ting runs off of sprints network all the time (unlike republics, which runs off of sprint when you’re not connected to a wireless network), and if you’re out of area for sprint (which I will be a lot because sprint doesnt have good coverage here) you go onto verizons network (just like republic). However, with ting, you can choose your own plan and pick and pay for what you need, and not pay for things that you dont plan on using.
Updated: 11/14/2013: Republic has finally released their new phone, the motoX. It’s what I was waiting for when I wrote this article, and I’d like to let you know that I’m switching to them. Ting looked like a great service, but I decided in the end that I’d rather keep unlimited everything.
I guess that ting starts you off in the smallest “box” of each of its service categories (voice, data, txt) for the first month, then at the end of the month, it moves you to where you ended up following your normal behavior. This is fine and dandy, but I really wanted an idea of where H and I would end up if we used ting for our service provider. I took the last few months of data from verizon (April, May, June & July) and got all of my numbers as to how much we were using during those periods. I picked 4 months because those seemed to be a pretty normal set of months, with nothing big or small that we would have used more or less data/voice/texts than we normally would. Below is what I’d estimate we’d use on a monthly basis.
This would put us at 71 per month, which is less than half (!!!) of what we pay to verizon every month. It’s also more than we would be paying if we went with either option from republic wireless.
I wondered what the catch was when I found out about all of this stuff too. How could they be literally be charging a lot less for the same service that you’d be getting from one of the major 4 carriers. With both republic and ting you have to pay for the whole phone – not the subsidized price that you’re usually offered by one of the major carriers. The cost of the phone for republics service is either $199 or $79, and with ting, it would depend on the phone you get (but you get a lot more phone selection from ting). With ting, you’ll be paying a lot more than republic (for now), but you also have the option to buy a used phone (Or bring one of your own sprint phones).
These are some pretty good options, and I know that H and I will end up going with one of these two – we just are not sure which yet, and really are waiting on republic wireless to release their new phones. As soon republic does that, we will make a decision and I’ll let you know what we ended up doing. We are giving republic the benefit of the doubt at this point, because they are about 30/mo cheaper than ting would be for us, but every time I pay verizon I’m starting to get annoyed, so the leash has been shortened a bit on republic.
Readers: Do any of you have republic or ting? What do you like/dislike about them, and how has the service worked for you?