More cell phone advice....

I know there was another thread in this vein recently, but I am looking for something slightly different, so I hope I can get some suggestions from the great people here.

My wife and I will be looking for new cell phone contracts within the next 30 days. She has a typical flip-phone with a standard keypad. This is all she wants. In fact, she has explicitly told me she does not want a phone with a full keyboard or even a camera (unless forgoing such makes it much more expensive).

I, on the other hand, am a geek, and will gladly take whatever technology I can get on my phone that doesn’t make it much more expensive. At the least, I DO want a full keyboard, if possible. This is mostly for texting…

We don’t use a huge amount of minutes - I would say we should be just fine with 600 min per month to share for the account. More isn’t a problem, less probably would be.

As for other uses - text messaging is our other top priority. I would say a minimum of 400 txt per month is required (this is a shared total). Again, more is fine, less wouldn’t work for us.

We really don’t need any kind of internet/data access…so paying additional for that (like is common with blackberrys) would be a waste. I currently have a phone on Sprint that has unlimited text and data, but don’t use the data unless I am very bored, and that is rare.

So…suggestions on places we can look or deals that are available would be much appreciated… She is currently on AT&T, I am on Sprint. We aren’t “stuck” on any provider…as long as they are reliable we’ll be happy.

Thanks in advance!

You contract will be governed by your cell phone use, and not your wife’s. So look for the most affordable family plan that cover all of your needs, and an appropriate phone. Your wife should be able to get a simpler add-on line based on the master account. As for her phone, it will also be governed by what she wants and uses. Since you both want texting, chances are she will have to have a 3G/4G phone just like you because texting is often considered a 3G application.

On Verizon Wireless you could go for the nat-wide 700 min talk and text plan (unlim txt for both lines) for $99.99 a month total before tax. Otherwise the same plan sans txt is available for 69.99 and you can add 500 txts packs to each line as a feature for $10, saving you $10 a month vs unlim.

They’ve got two simple feature phones (no data plan required) with full keyboards, the Samsung Intensity and LG Cosmos. Every carrier still has clam shell phones too.

If you’re thinking at all about a BlackBerry or Android device, Sprint would definitely be best, because they don’t charge the $30 smartphone personal like all other carriers doand the required data plan includes a lot of very nice perks. That said, if you’re going to go with a feature phone, T-Mobile will have the best price for you. $79.99 for 2 lines sharing 750 minutes both with unlimited text. Good luck with your search!

I don’t think I am interested in a Blackberry. Some of the Android devices look tempting though.

What do you mean by a “feature” phone???

Take a serious look at the Palm Pre. It has a slide out button-based keyboard which you can type on really fast once you get used to it. It’s carried by Sprint and Verizon. I’ve had one since October and I love it.

I’d suggest against Sprint though. Yeah, the price is better but having to deal with their horrid customer service has probably taken away 5 years of my life.

I will never use Sprint again.

The T-Mobile (HTC) G1 is awesome. The touch screen is nearly as big as the iPhone’s, but it also has a full keyboard and trackball. The GPS functionality is also much more accurate than the iPhone’s and the Blackberry Storm’s.

I have been looking at Android based phones…i will consider the G1 and it’s followers…

As for Sprint, that’s who I’m currently with. My wife is on AT&T. I haven’t had any problems with them, and I have a great plan with unlimited texting and data for under $50…

I’m pretty sure this is not true for plain texts. Providers may ‘require’ 3G for picture and video texting (though on an older, non-3G phone I was still able to send pictures), but that won’t be an issue without a camera. I put ‘require’ in quotes because the only reason I could think it would be required would be for upsells.

I really think you will want to stay away from full-featured smart phones for yourself as well as your wife, though, if you have no intention to have a data plan.

You will kick yourself every time you try to do something with it that you can’t without a data plan. People who see you with your shiny new toy will be very confused why you don’t have a data plan. Really? An internet-capable device with no internet? I guess if your intention is to use it only when wi-fi is available, that’s one way. But you will find yourself wanting access at all times once you start enjoying the capabilities with wi-fi.

If you want to keep yourself from adding on the expense of a data plan, the best way is to not have a device that supports it. I can’t fathom not having internet access at all times and being limited to hotspots. If I didn’t have a device capable of it, though, then it would be a non-issue.

There are plenty of full-keyboard phones out there made primarily for texting. Much cheaper on the pocketbook, too.

It came out in 2008, and its successor (for T-Mobile), the MyTouch, is already out. It’s not as good, though; screen is slightly bigger, but you lose the keyboard.

The Verizon version has double the memory (16G) and they’ve knocked the price down to an insane 49.99 with no rebate. That’s a crazy-awesome smartphone for the price of two large Chicago-style pizzas.

Feature phones are generally those that do mkore than just make phone calls. Many have a keyboard or touchscreen and have many “smart” features, but aren’t running a smartphone operations system with access to applications not supplied by your wireless carrier. IE, not RIM/Blackberry, Google/Android, Microsoft/WindowsCE/mobile.

(and for the record, I’m a huge Rand McNally fan. Awesome screen name.)

In fairness to sprint, I hear this equally about just about every cell carrier, and I have personally had numerous bangiong-head-against-wall run-ins with every major prepaid and postpaid carrier in the US. The fact is that each an every one of these companies has terms and contitions that:
[ol]
[li]The average customer choosers not to read before signing[/li][li]Favor the carriers abaility to profit and forcibly retain you as a customer[/li][li]would cause substantial financial loss if it got out that they were making exceptions left and right to them[/li][/ol]

It’s pretty unusual in my oppinion for a customer to go through an entire 2 year contract and NOT have such an argument with their carrier. When a customer tells me they hate X carrier, to me, its often just chance that thay happened to have some kind of negative event with that company as opposed to any other.

All of which is not to say that cell companies have excellent service. They often don’t. They’re big enough to need to transfer you several times to get your problem solved, have long wait times, and have one rep or department contradict what another has said all the time. Their contracts stifle competition and back people into a corner that open up the posibility of customers having NO good reasonable options to solve their problems. And if you do have a problem, often the nicely said response is "thats what you get for not buying our monopolistic phone insurance.

I’ve never had an argument with T-Mobile in 8 years. Well, one, but that was because I thought I’d already paid for something that I hadn’t.