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Businesses Communications Verizon Wireless Networking

As 4G Seeps In, Verizon Offers Cheap(er) No-Contract 3G Plans 67

Posted by timothy
from the talk-to-the-phone dept.
jfruh writes "U.S. Mobile companies are working hard to get customers on fancy high-speed LTE plans with expensive smartphones. But Verizon is shrewdly working to eke out profit from its older infrastructure as well. The company is offering no-contract pay-as-you-go 3G-only plans, which might appeal to those who don't use a lot of wireless data and who might want to take advantage of the glut of older Android and iOS phones available on the market." It's good to see prices dropping from one of the biggest names in the industry, but it seems there are some cheaper options already around, especially for unlocked phones or for people who don't need data.
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As 4G Seeps In, Verizon Offers Cheap(er) No-Contract 3G Plans

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  • by bigdanmoody (599431) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:59AM (#42785833)

    I had service with Verizon for quite a while. In the last two areas I've lived, they have the best coverage. About a year ago I switched to one of the prepaid services, and although the coverage wasn't as good, the far lower monthly cost made up for it in my reckoning.

    A few months ago, I made the switch to one of the GSM prepaid providers, and I'm totally blown away by how convenient it is to have my plan tied to a SIM card rather than a phone. Broken phone? No problem, stick the SIM in an old iPhone 3GS borrowed from a co-worker. The same deal when I upgraded to a Nexus 4, just pop in the SIM card and go.

    I can certainly see why this caught on in the rest of the world, and I can see why American cell providers like Verizon and Sprint are against it - I'm sure they make a good bit of money from selling you phones. In my case, I'll never go back to the "old way," regardless of how cheap Verizon might get.

    • Cramming (Score:4, Informative)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:08AM (#42785905) Homepage Journal

      I made the switch to one of the GSM prepaid providers, and I'm totally blown away by how convenient it is to have my plan tied to a SIM card rather than a phone. Broken phone? No problem, stick the SIM in an old iPhone 3GS borrowed from a co-worker.

      Until the carrier sees the smartphone's IMEI and starts cramming a data plan onto your monthly bill, as we discussed yesterday [slashdot.org].

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:21AM (#42786015) Homepage

      I'm on something like my 4th or 5th cell phone in a decade, all with the same SIM.

      Life is so much easier if your phone number and address book can be moved to a new device in a bout a minute.

      I can definitely agree that GSM, for me at least, is the way to go.

      • Life is so much easier if your phone number and address book can be moved to a new device in a bout a minute.

        Life is easier still, esp if phone is lost/stolen, if you don't tie your SIM card to your address book (sync contacts with online service) or phone number (something like Google Voice) .

      • by jaymz666 (34050) on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:39AM (#42786165)

        Address book on a SIM is irrelevant in the day of cloud syncing

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Only if you're willing to use cloud syncing.

          For those of us who don't trust or want cloud syncing, keeping it on the SIM is still good.

          'Irrelevant' to a subset of people, but not to everybody.

          • by Kotoku (1531373)
            You don't trust Google to keep a basic list of phone numbers? Sounds like you are missing a lot of convience for no reason when you consider it comes as part of a larger package that makes a new phone pick right up where the old one left off.
          • Why not roll your own server to store your contacts on IMAP? I just don't like the idea of a single chip that contains a bunch of stuff that I'll miss when I lose it or the chip dies from wear.

          • by jaymz666 (34050)

            My verizon phones have been syncing my numbers to verizon for years now. Even pre-smartphone. They are not a third party, they even know who I call, when I call and for how long I call.

          • by sc0ob5 (836562)
            Can't SIMs only hold 250 contacts? I know that's the limit of my SIM. When you have more contacts than that I think you have little other choice to sync your contacts with some external contact list/address book (like an email client) in case your phone dies.
        • by drijen (919269)
          What will you do when your SIM dies? Those things should be replaced every few years, just from wear.
          • I'll have to get a USB SIM reader, they're about $10 but have to be ordered over the internet. I've been postponing this for long because those $10 (or rather 10 euros plus shipping) are meaningful to me, but if I have one, here's insta backup of any kind of phone (dumb or less dumb). Writing the contact repertory from PC to SIM card should be doable too.

            The chip itself just never dies, just like the chip on a debit card. It goes on for years and years with a large number of plugging/unplugging if needed. B

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:44AM (#42786221) Homepage
      I agree with this. I switched to a no-contract carrier a couple years ago, and I couldn't be happier. Sure I pay a little more for my phone up front, but I save quite a bit on my monthly bill. On my old carrier, I was paying over $50 a month, which didn't even include any data. Now I'm paying $30 a month for unlimited text, local calls, and data (slowed down after 5GB). At $20 savings a month the phone was paid for before the end of the first year. Plus if my phone breaks, I have the option of just buying a cheap phone to replace it. Carriers have way too much power over subsribers when they are in contracts. They should be illegal. People should pay for their phone up front and be able to switch phones or carriers at any time without incurring a charge.
      • by yurtinus (1590157)
        I'm OK with contracts like that being legal - just look at it as a way to keep ahead of the folks who are too lazy to save themselves that money! People are awful good at convincing themselves to consistently overpay for an "unlimited everything" plan "y'know, just in case I need it." I crunched the numbers on my pre-paid plan and figured I'd need to go over on my minutes by about a factor of three to make the cost line up with the unlimited contract plans - and my call history had never, ever been that hig
    • by RoboRay (735839) on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:59AM (#42786405)
      All of Verizon's LTE phones use SIM cards. If you upgraded to a 4G phone before the grandfathering of Unlimited plans was revoked (like I did), you can do everything you're talking about and still keep the unlimited 4G plan.
      • by LiENUS (207736)

        They use SIM cards for data on 4g. If you're in a 3g only area or want to call someone then your sim isn't in use.

        • by RoboRay (735839)
          Nope, the entire "activation" of the phone is on the SIM. Phone number and everything swaps when you swap cards.
        • by yurtinus (1590157)
          OK, I'm wondering if I'm just doing this wrong. What is everybody using their phones for that takes advantage of data transfer rates that high? I can't figure needing more than 1 or 2 mbps to stream cat videos on youtube or load map tiles in google maps, and my own phone streams Pandora well enough even over EDGE (strange things happen to cell phone signals in my office building). Am I missing out on something fundamental about the smartphone experience that really benefits from a 100mbps LTE network?
    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >I had service with Verizon for quite a while. In the last two areas I've lived, they have the best coverage.

      Here, too, plus I travel a lot for work, so I'm stuck with them.

      That said, the way they price things out now, I'll never upgrade my phone or plan... switching from my old 3G plan with unlimited data on one line and no data on the other line (wife has a cheap flip phone) to their new plan would entail a 50% greater phone bill, as they charge ridiculous amounts of money for data, and require a $20 m

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      >I can certainly see why this caught on in the rest of the world, and I can see why American cell providers like Verizon and Sprint are against it - I'm sure they make a good bit of money from selling you phones.

      They don't even have to provide you a phone to make money. Buy a used CDMA phone and you get to pay a fee of $10-$35 to have them activate it on your pre-existing service with them. It's literally a fee for them typing some characters on a computer so you can continue to be their customer.

    • and although the coverage wasn't as good, the far lower monthly cost made up for it in my reckoning.

      For my use case, a cell phone that gets signal in the most places is the type I need to get. I'm on a $30/mo plan which works fine for what I need, and Verizon's network has at least triple the coverage of the next network here.

      A few months ago, I made the switch to one of the GSM prepaid providers, and I'm totally blown away by how convenient it is to have my plan tied to a SIM card rather than a phone. Bro

      • by yurtinus (1590157)
        Y'know, the thing I liked best about being on Sprint was the shitty coverage. Somebody calls that I don't want to talk to? Oh strange, my phone never rang. Damn yous Sprint!
        • by Sporkinum (655143)

          Kind of funny with me. My current prepaid MVNO is changing from Sprint CDMA to T-mobile GSM. There is virtually no T-mobile coverage in my state, so I will be changing to another Sprint MVNO. Verizon coverage sucks where I live too, so none of their MVNOs would work either.

  • Luls (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neminem (561346) <neminem AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:01AM (#42785857) Homepage

    60 dollars for 500mb of 3g data. I suppose that's cheap for verizon, the king of overcharging you, but considering MetroPCS and TMobile give you unlimited 3g for significantly less (along with potentially not-unlimited 4g), that's still pretty hilarious. Why would anyone pay more for less? It's not like verizon has better customer service (hah!) or even significantly better coverage.

    (That said, I'm actually using a much smaller provider called Ting. It's not unlimited anything, but I'm on target to spend a whopping 15 bucks a month on phone service, including data (because I don't use very much data, or very much anything else.))

    • by neminem (561346)

      Note: if I had paid for a 4g phone, which I didn't cause I preferred buying a perfectly good refurb 3g phone for 25 bucks instead, but if I had, that also would have been "unlimited" 4g, too (i.e. pay for the amount of data you use, but no extra cost for it being at 4g instead of 3g, or any limit to the amount of it that can be 4g.)

    • by dubbreak (623656)
      Yeah seems crazy expensive. Last time I was in the US I bought a $10 AT&T flip phone and a $50 plan (they unlucked the sim so I could throw it in my real phone). The $50 (well $60 if you include the POS phone I had to buy to get a sim) was unlimited voice text and more data than I could use (way more than 500mb but I don't remember how much). Verizon's plan sounds as bad as Canadian carriers.
  • by GSloop (165220) <networkguru@@@sloop...net> on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:04AM (#42785869) Homepage

    Or, I can sign up with StraightTalk, for $45 a month vs $70 for the same or worse from Verizon. (And taxes/fees on ST are tiny. You know how you almost always pay $5-9 in "extra" fees - well not on ST. The regulatory and recovery fees are less than $1. So that $45 becomes something like $45.92 - not nearly $50.)

    I don't know about their StraightTalks's plans on Verizon's networks, but on AT&T, I'm getting LTE - so I expect it's 4G on Verizon's network too.

    Ahem. If this is "helping" me, please stop. I really don't need your "help" Verizon.
    Somehow I'm not rushing out to pay at last $30 more to get 3G instead of 4G.

    Can you say slashvertizement?

    • I've been thinking a lot about Straight Talk but heard there were some cons like no visual voicemail. Are there any other downsides to using them that I can weigh against the savings over AT&T?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        "unlimited" data from straighttalk is 2gb.

    • Can you say slashvertizement?

      I'm pretty sure I could not, actually. Could you give the phonetic spelling?

  • I get 2.5 gig data and messaging and 300min phone for $25 bucks. Of course that deal is not available now, it's gone up to $35. Oh yeah the phone cost $100.
    • by afidel (530433) on Monday February 04, 2013 @02:00PM (#42787691)

      Yep, Virgin Mobile is great, though the new best value for most folks is probably Republic Wireless, $19/month for unlimited text, talk, data. The deal is they use VoIP and WiFi for the vast majority of their users traffic, they handoff to Sprint and then Verizon only if you don't have a WiFi network available. The downside of this is that they only offer one phone and it's running Android 2.3 and since it took them 9+ months to get that working reliably it will be a bit before they do a new phone on ICS/JB.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:31AM (#42786085)

    If you like the Verizon network, but don't want to pay Verizon prices, they've "rented" their network out to Page Plus for years now. All I use is voice service, and if purchased in $80 chunks, minutes are 4 cents, and the monthly fee to have a number is fifty cents. All you have to do is supply the phone; any 2G or 3G non-pre-paid Verizon phone will work. For the plans mentioned in the article, Page Plus has had essentially the same available for some time for far less money.

    • by bobthecow (67269)

      Right, just go with the $69.95 plan from Page Plus Cellular, and get unlimited talk and messaging and 5GB of data.

      Or the $55 plan with 2GB of data.

      I was *so happy* when I found them earlier this year after dealing with the terrible service quality on Virgin Mobile.

  • Otherwise they can go fuck themselves.

  • and 30 dollar recharge cards in every store.

  • by neminem (561346)

    Every so often, slashdot decides to uncheck the "Disable advertising" checkbox for me, and I have to go recheck it (after I notice, several days later, when an ad gets through adblock). All totally worth it for this moment: this very page has a banner ad at the top for me, wherein MetroPCS is advertising unlimited 4G-LTE for 60 bucks a month. (Which still seems a -tad- pricey, but then, I don't have 4G yet anyway.)

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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