1. TrophyNostalgia's Avatar
    Hey guys,

    I have a lot of questions regarding cell service providers, plans, and the pros and cons of each different service. I recently graduated college and am looking to switch plans. My phone was previously covered under a family Verizon plan. Verizon has great coverage, but is extremely overpriced and over the top (from what I have observed in my research) in regards to what my needs actually are. I'm primarily looking at individual plans, but am also talking with my sister to consider a 3 line family plan with whatever service we choose. Naturally I know the "quality" of each service is subjective. However, I was hoping someone could clarify the pros and cons of different options that are available.

    1) Why would someone choose a major carrier (i.e. Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile, or Sprint) over minor carriers (Cricket, Boost, MetroPCS etc.)? From what I understand many use the service of major carriers (i.e. MetroPCS uses T-Mobile signal). So is there any benefit to choosing say T-Mobile ($50 per month) over MetroPCS ($30 per month) since they are the exact same service/coverage? (other than the obvious change in phone device selections/Music Freedom benefits).

    2) What is the advantage of subscribing to a carrier's service without a contract vs. establishing a two year contract with them? (Naturally there is the freedom of being able to switch without fees, but wouldn't it be cheaper in the long run to subscribe via contract as services will pay the phone off in two years comparatively to paying $100-500+ for a phone up front?)

    3) I am hoping to save money by potentially using my cell service for internet on a tablet device (I only have a Surface RT or my laptop right now). I know some phones are capable of "tethering" or broadcasting a wireless signal for internet to other devices. However, I know with my Windows Phone on Verizon the feature was somehow disabled (or they wanted to charge me extra for this). Is there anyway to tether additional devices to my plan (whether it be via USB dongle or "tether" broadcast)? What is the best way to do this without incurring unnecessary monthly charges (especially when I may not use the Internet on other devices every month).

    I live in the Chicago area (so provider isn't as critical of an issue, although I do occasionally travel with my job to other major cities in the states). T-Mobile has been looking very appealing to me, but I would gladly welcome any and all advice regarding how to navigate the mess of choosing devices, plans, terms, and etc...

    Thanks for your time and help!
    06-27-2015 05:44 PM
  2. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    Typically, tethering requires a postpaid plan from a major carrier, not a MVNO.

    Sent from my Moto X using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Laura Knotek; 06-27-2015 at 07:22 PM.
    RumoredNow and libra89 like this.
    06-27-2015 05:48 PM
  3. fatclue_98's Avatar
    Typically, tethering requires a postpaid plan from a major carrier, bit a MVNO.

    Sent from my Moto X using Tapatalk
    Verizon's Prepaid allows tethering and it's stated in their FAQs. The $45 plan has 1 gig of data and the $60 plan has 2.5. If you use auto-pay, an additional 1 gig is added to either plan. I don't know if this is enough data for your needs but it's a steal when you consider Verizon's coverage. I don't know of any other MVNO that expressly allows tethering. Good luck.
    RumoredNow and Laura Knotek like this.
    06-27-2015 07:16 PM
  4. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Good on ya for doing research. I likey


    1) Why would someone choose a major carrier (i.e. Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile, or Sprint) over minor carriers (Cricket, Boost, MetroPCS etc.)? From what I understand many use the service of major carriers (i.e. MetroPCS uses T-Mobile signal). So is there any benefit to choosing say T-Mobile ($50 per month) over MetroPCS ($30 per month) since they are the exact same service/coverage? (other than the obvious change in phone device selections/Music Freedom benefits).
    The advantages of using a mainstream carrier are the level of services they offer (value added benefits that vary from carrier to carrier) and getting their fastest data speeds. Most mvno's are capped on how fast your access will be by the major carrier whose towers you are hitchhiking on. Approx. 8mbps. The big 4 get much faster than that.

    As far as value added goes, you have to look into the carrier plans. For instance: T-Mo Simple Choice plans allow yopu to stream music at no charge against your monthly high speed data allotment. They also give you free data and SMS text when roaming in over 150 different countries (speeds vary - in Italy I enjoyed H+ most of the time as a guest of T-Mo). Other carriers have other services and benefits they add for post paid plans. And remember, if you want fastest - use a major. Another thing is that most mvno's ban tethering and you may not have amenities like VVM.


    2) What is the advantage of subscribing to a carrier's service without a contract vs. establishing a two year contract with them? (Naturally there is the freedom of being able to switch without fees, but wouldn't it be cheaper in the long run to subscribe via contract as services will pay the phone off in two years comparatively to paying $100-500+ for a phone up front?)
    The advantage of the contract is that you have the phone added in and make payments on it over two years time. If you don't have an issue buying your phones outright, you don't need a contract. Carriers are getting away from the contract. Your service can be monthly with no cancellation fee for leaving the carrier. Your obligation on the phone balance owed becomes due the moment you cancel. Your service cost is the same whether you get a phone or not. Getting a phone adds a monthly fee and possibly money down depending on credit.


    3) I am hoping to save money by potentially using my cell service for internet on a tablet device (I only have a Surface RT or my laptop right now). I know some phones are capable of "tethering" or broadcasting a wireless signal for internet to other devices. However, I know with my Windows Phone on Verizon the feature was somehow disabled (or they wanted to charge me extra for this). Is there anyway to tether additional devices to my plan (whether it be via USB dongle or "tether" broadcast)? What is the best way to do this without incurring unnecessary monthly charges (especially when I may not use the Internet on other devices every month).
    On Windows Phone the OS does not allow "masking" which shows tethered devices as being the device with service. Since you can't "mask" the tether, you can't tether on a service that does not allow it. Most mvno's do not allow tethering.

    My advice:
    1) Buy your own phones. Learn how to buy unlocked phones that will work on the service you use. Buy what you can afford right now and upgrade when you have the money (maybe income tax refund time). There is nothing wrong with last years phone in good condition.

    2) Maximize your savings by bundling lines together. Several carriers have this feature. Shop around. Just be sure those you are bundling in with are solid. Don't get stuck holding the bag.

    3) Buy a "MiFi," a portable WiFi Hot spot and look at plans that let you pay as needed. If they bank unused data even better - then you can pay ahead when you have extra cash.

    You probably are going to be hard pressed to get cheap + solo + tethering + gobs of data. Prioritize. Good luck.
    06-27-2015 07:17 PM
  5. kg4icg's Avatar
    Sprint's family plans don't require a contract. For example I have 20gb shared between 2 devices which include hotspot and tethering, also International value roaming and yes I'm postpaid. And before someone goes and says, Sprint's slow, they turned on Carrier Aggregation which is LTE-Advanced in which some phones are seeing 120mb downloads right now, and yes the Lumia 635 on Sprint has that capability which is also Boost and Virgin see it too.
    06-28-2015 10:36 AM

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