May. 5, 2011 at 5:06pm
How I stopped paying a cell phone provider
I have stumbled upon a way to avoid paying for cell phone service without giving up my iphone. It's not a perfect system. It does have its drawbacks but compared to paying over $100 a month and/or being under contract with a company that treats me like they're doing me a favor instead of valuing me as a loyal customer, its a pretty good system.
I'm a wifi girl now. I still have my precious iphone and it still connects to the internet and lets me surf the web, check email, peruse facebook and etc as long as I'm in a wifi area. A friend recommended that I download an iphone app called Line2 Toktumi (http://www.line2.com/) and do the 7 day trial. I did and it was great! It accesses my existing address book so I can search for and click on my friend's names to call them (VoIP) just like my iphone did before I lost my overpriced At&t service. I also have unlimited texting! After the free trial I signed up. The cost is just $9.95 a month or $49.95 for 6 months. Quite a savings from what I used to pay!
The only trouble is, sometimes people call me and the phone doesn't ring or give them the choice to leave me a message. It just says "The person you called is not available" and sometimes people would text me and I never got the text. So it works, but not consistently and for business purposes, this was not acceptable so then I added Google Voice (www.google.com/voice).
Google Voice is free and it lets you pick your own phone number. It *is* reliable and it has free texting and free voicemail. So now I have people call me on the new Google Voice number I picked out (253-CEL-zANG) and it forwards to my Line2 number (253-336-5483). If Line2 fails or I don't answer, Google Voice takes the message, transcribes it into text and emails me giving me the choice to read the message or listen to it. So far this has worked brilliantly! (Some of the voicemail to text interpretations are hilarious by the way but I can usually figure out the jist of the message)
This plan works great! So as long as my Clearwire internet service is working at home, I'm golden 85% of the time. If I am outside a wifi zone then Google Voice will take messages for me until I am back in a wifi zone again to retrieve the message. The only problem I'm having is that sometimes my iphone won't ring out loud when someone is calling (or texting) so I have to check it often.
But I'm paying $10 a month instead of $176 for my iphone service! Its not a perfect system but for me its worth the savings. Now wherever I go I ask if they have wifi and most places do. My phone remembers the passwords for every wifi zone I ever sign into so when I go back, it connects automatically. If they ever make the whole city a wifi zone I'll be tickled pink!
I also carry an emergency pre-paid cell in my purse in case I am outside a wifi zone and need assistance. I costs me $1.99 unlimited for any day that I use it and .20 per text. If I don't use it I pay nothing.
And that's how I got off of the cell phone service leash. :)
You can also get Line2 in addition to your cell service and greatly cut down on the number of minutes you are using so you don't have to go cold turkey - you can transition gradually if you like.
I hope this helps and saves you tons of money. I'd rather you have it than them!! :)
comments  | posted under , cell phone, savings, Tacoma, wifiComments
by Erik on 5/5/2011 @ 8:35pm
Tacoma already has Click the public utility!
by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/5/2011 @ 11:50pm
|Mount wifi antennas on all the billboards, that should allow pretty good coverage all over Tacoma. Make this part of the contract with ClearChannel.|
by AngelaJossy on 5/7/2011 @ 7:18pm
|City wide wifi means more money in your pocket and less money into big corporations. It means that you can have unlimited talk, text and websurfing on your mobile device without all those extra fees that the cell phone companies charge, not... to mention all the weird federal taxes and crap that you also pay with every bill. Read the blog link above about how I saved $160 a month because I went wifi. And all those small businesses who are paying $40 or more to have internet in their business would not have to do that anymore, nor would the people who live downtown. Its a small savings but if you ever tried to run a business you'd know that every little savings is a blessing. I believe this could bring more businesses downtown and more shoppers. And it would give everyone who live/works down here a little more discretionary income (if they get off the cell phone company leash) which could equal more shopping, i.e. a boost in the local economy.|
by AngelaJossy on 5/7/2011 @ 7:20pm
|And you know, if you have wifi, you can save on cable too. You can watch TV shows and movies online. I gave up cable a long time ago.|
by Nick on 5/7/2011 @ 7:43pm
|If you jailbreak your iPhone there are a couple of nifty utilities that will let you use the phone's built-in calling and SMS functionality through GoogleVoice (effectively replacing your carrier with GV, and it will even auto-switch to wifi where available to lighten use of your 3G bandwidth). That way you don't need to use the GV app, just use your phone as usual and it will take care of the rest.|
Phone GV Extension
SMS GV Extension
(particularly awesome if you also port your cell number over to GV)
by Nick on 5/7/2011 @ 7:47pm
|If Click could find a private partner to help with the rollout, I'll bet Click's existing infrastructure would be rather attractive to anyone that wanted to roll out a muni wifi service. Maybe Click should post up some sort of RFP to see if the interest were there? I hear Tacoma is all about public/private partnerships...|
by Jesse on 5/7/2011 @ 8:13pm
|Portland tried the whole free wifi thing years ago. I can't remember why it didn't work out though...|
It sure would be nice for the downtown folk to lower costs of living there even further. Sends the right message about Tacoma too.
by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/8/2011 @ 8:51am
|A few years ago we didn't have these tiny and small devices that could work on wifi. A few years ago we had laptops and they really don't work very well in a mobile environment. Today we have iPhones, Android phones, iPads and various tablet computers that work well in a mobile environment. Public wifi is a great thing, but it is only today that public wifi makes sense. Public wifi in Portland, or any other good size city, would make a lot of sense today.|
by Jesse on 5/8/2011 @ 9:46am
|That makes sense... as I type this on my android phone...|
by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/8/2011 @ 9:54am
|I'm not really worried about making phone calls for free, but I sure appreciate the wifi calling on my Android. Some places I just can not get a cell signal, but if I can get on with the wifi my phone provides wifi calling so that my calls come through and go through just great. Really has been great on Lopez Island or even Yelm where my T-Mobile is mute. There is a lot of free wifi around but it isn't consistant or reliable. I see wifi as a back up to my cellular service but it can be a primary connection for some people.
by JesseHillFan on 5/10/2011 @ 11:12pm
|One big problem with wifi (specifically unencrypted) networks is that anyone can cause havok on both ends.For instance there was a recent story about a individual who used his neighbor's open wifi signal (unencrypted) to download child pornography.Law enforcement first raided the owner of the unencrypted router and seized their computers until it was later discovered in the investigation that the neighbor was the actual offender from his MAC identifier on his wireless network card (which if he was smart he could have quickly disposed of after his crime and got away with it)
Myself I discovered that a neighbor across the street from me had a unencrypted signal from his router and I notified him and his wife about their problem.She had noticed that multiple users were bleeding off her bandwidth to a crawl.Unfortunately many people foolishly leave their wifi routers without any encryption due to their ignorance.
Another problem with unencrypted wifi is interception with a packet sniffer so that all the information (including passwords etc) are easily misused by others.