I tweeted earlier that my cell phone bill was lower than it has been in over 10 years. My friend Janet said “hey, that’d be a great blog post”. When Janet says that, I listen. Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter. She’s a great resource.
Anyhow, on to how my cell phone bill has gotten much lower. I am ecstatic to see this industry getting jumbled. Notice I didn’t say disrupted. Two reasons. One, that word is overused and two, I don’t think it’s to the point where the word ‘disrupted’ is merited. I believe we are on our way there but we certainly haven’t arrived yet.
I switched to the iPhone 4S along with millions of others. I switched from AT&T and Verizon (two main phones) to Sprint. Why? Because I wanted to try this new combo out and see if I could get full featured and unlimited iPhone usage for a low price. Good news – I can and I am. Here is how you too can get the cheapest family plan for iPhone 4S:
1 – This has to be on Sprint. To my knowledge it will not work on another network. I don’t know why Google Voice won’t fully integrate with your existing number on other networks, but it is my understanding that it won’t right now.
2 – You need the newest version of the Google Voice app for iOS 5. When you install it on your phone you can integrate it online with your actual phone number. The user sees your actual phone number and it is the one in use; not the Google Voice number. This was huge for me.
3 – I signed up for the shared family plan for iPhone 4S. 1,500 minutes with unlimited data (true unlimited), unlimited text and unlimited calls to any mobile phone in the US. The only time it uses the 1,500 minutes is to/from a land line. While that doesn’t sound like a lot of minutes between two heavy cell phone users, it has worked so far (I’m tracking usage online).
4 – Texts are included both ways to any phone. Unlimited data is truly unlimited. While Sprint recently throttled other devices, the iPhone 4S is a legit unlimited data and text plan. I like that. I can’t surf the web and talk on the phone like I could on AT&T, but I don’t miss that at all, actually. The speeds seem to be comparable – I’m not noticing any difference. One thing I am noticing? No dropped calls. None.
5 – When I am on wi-fi (which is often) the phone uses Google Voice automatically to send and receive both calls and texts to my actual number. When I am not on wi-fi, it uses the Sprint plan to call and text. My wife’s phone is set up the same and I’m tracking our usage. It looks like that for two iPhone 4S, with unlimited text/data and what we are treating as unlimited voice (we use them all the time without tracking our minutes) is $130/month on Sprint. With taxes and everything it looks like our bill will be around $140/month, or $70 per iPhone , per month for unlimited everything. That is still not an insignificant amount of money, but it’s the least we’ve spent in over 10 years and that’s a good thing for us.
I should also note that so far the customer service has been excellent. Noticeably better than AT&T or Verizon. I hope that keeps up along with the great pricing, features and coverage.
Who are you using? Any suggestions for how to lower your family plan further? I’d love to hear how you have put together your best options. I’m not a fan of the wireless carriers overall, so I’m anxious to see their plans and pricing continue to drop.