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Author Topic: I'm I paying too much  (Read 3130 times)

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Offline denb45

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I'm I paying too much
« on: January 30, 2012, 01:31:21 PM »
THIS is a question for all you techies out there....
I have a T-mobile Android Galaxy S G4 smartphone that I like very much

but, this is costing me about $99 a month for -unlimited text, talk, a 2GB data
limited each month...

my question here is,

 I'm I paying way too much for all of this
and I'm I being ripped-off & taken to the cleaners by my current carrier...does this sound correct price wise?  anyone know?
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline Rev. Moon

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 01:39:36 PM »
It ain't a bad deal for what you're getting. 

Call them and tell'em that you're thinking about canceling your service.  Tell them Verizon or some other carrier has offered you more for less (just don't mention AT&T; they suck sweaty balls). You will be connected with their retention department.  By the end of the call you will save at least $20 going forward.
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 01:47:19 PM »
It ain't a bad deal for what you're getting. 

Call them and tell'em that you're thinking about canceling your service.  Tell them Verizon or some other carrier has offered you more for less (just don't mention AT&T; they suck sweaty balls). You will be connected with their retention department.  By the end of the call you will save at least $20 going forward.

Yeah, this is the whole problem....I've been a good standing customer for the last 8 yrs. I looked @ my bill and almost 15$ to maybe $20 is all fees.......lol.....yeah I know, bend-over & take it like man  :D anyway I saw the same phone offered @ walmart with everything I currently have, and it was offered for only 45 dollars a month plus fees......read the fine-print....lol it's probably NOT ture @ all, if it sounds that way.....
classic bate & switch marketing once they hook-you your FUCKED
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline Rev. Moon

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 01:51:32 PM »
Yeah, I don't think you can get that for $45, unless it is with Metro PCS --but I have heard from a few heads that they are pretty horrible.
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 01:56:20 PM »
Yeah, I don't think you can get that for $45, unless it is with Metro PCS --but I have heard from a few heads that they are pretty horrible.

lol true that Rev. but I guess it's really not all that bad considering I got that G4 phone for free ( that's a $250 phone), from being a LT customer in good standing, and I love that phone to death  :D
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline RapidRod

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 02:44:58 PM »
Dennis, it's not the plan it's all the taxes they apply to it.  ;)

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 03:03:49 PM »
Dennis, it's not the plan it's all the taxes they apply to it.  ;)

Yeah I know roddels..........fees dog, fees and more fees  :D
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline tednlou2

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 12:21:12 AM »
I was able to get Sprint's SERO plan, which is their employee referral plan.  I think they've gotten rid of it.  Anyway, I was paying $30/mth for 500 anytime, unlimited nights/wknds, unlimited data and text.  When I upgraded to a smart phone, they made me go to the $40/mth SERO plan plus an additional $10/mth for what they originally said was for 4g service, even though we don't have it here yet except for a few isolated areas.  Now, they claim the $10 fee isn't for 4g, but due to all the data smart phones use.  I don't think I use any more data now than I did on my Windows Mobile phone.   

So, I pay $50/mth for everything and no data caps.  That is an awesome deal, but I still don't like the $10 additional fee.  But, it is much better than $100/mth for sure.  At Sprint, I should be paying $69.99 plus $10 for the "excessive data" for my phone.  So, you could save $20 by switching to Sprint. 

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 12:31:56 AM »
At Sprint, I should be paying $69.99 plus $10 for the "excessive data" for my phone.  So, you could save $20 by switching to Sprint. 

Which is $80 plus fees and taxes which then comes to $100 or the same that he's paying. The only benefit to Sprint is the unlimited data, but then it's only worth if it you live somewhere that gets clear, consistent 4G connections.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2012, 09:16:29 AM »
$99.97 seems worth it to me for unlimited EVERYTHING as I do live in a large metro area with clear, consistent 4G connections, so price wise, I feel better cuz now that means I'm not getting ripped-off  :D
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2012, 09:27:15 AM »
$99.97 seems worth it to me for unlimited EVERYTHING as I do live in a large metro area with clear, consistent 4G connections, so price wise, I feel better cuz now that means I'm not getting ripped-off  :D

Compared to what I pay for old school service I'd say you got a pretty sweet contract going.  My Verizon bill runs about $75 a month after taxes for only 450 minutes.  I've been with them now since 02...  As soon as my current contract runs out I'm leaving them.
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2012, 09:31:51 AM »
Compared to what I pay for old school service I'd say you got a pretty sweet contract going.  My Verizon bill runs about $75 a month after taxes for only 450 minutes.  I've been with them now since 02...  As soon as my current contract runs out I'm leaving them.

I have T-Mobile, had them since 2002, this is my 4th FREE PHONE  :D
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2012, 09:48:20 AM »
I have T-Mobile, had them since 2002, this is my 4th FREE PHONE  :D

This is my 4rth free phone as well.... just a simple, old fashioned LG.  My wife has the iPhone so I feel a little in the dark when I'm struggling with just simple texting.. lol
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Online Jeff G

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2012, 09:53:12 AM »
I use my cell as my only phone ( except skype ) . At&t has excellent coverage where I live and I have unlimited calling . My total bill is 89.07 a month , I think thats a pretty good deal .

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2012, 10:33:32 AM »
I have T-Mobile, had them since 2002, this is my 4th FREE PHONE  :D

Yeah, well switch to Sprint and you'll be coughing up several hundred for your first phone.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2012, 10:34:57 AM »
I use my cell as my only phone ( except skype ) . At&t has excellent coverage where I live and I have unlimited calling . My total bill is 89.07 a month , I think thats a pretty good deal .

But you don't have a smart phone, right? (Android, iPhone) If you're paying that and not using data services then you're over-paying. A lot.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2012, 11:49:05 AM »
I use my cell as my only phone ( except skype ) . At&t has excellent coverage where I live and I have unlimited calling . My total bill is 89.07 a month , I think thats a pretty good deal .

Hummmmm you have Skype, Jeff don't give me no ideas now, your gonna get me into trouble  ;D  :P :D ;)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 11:50:57 AM by denb45 »
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline WillyWump

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2012, 06:56:04 PM »
I have T-Mobile, had them since 2002, this is my 4th FREE PHONE  :D

I've had Tmobile since It was Voicestream, I think it was '99 when I started with them (anyone remember the Jamie Lee Curtis commercials). I've got a Jailbroken Iphone that Ive had with them for 3 years. I've got a deskfull of free phones Ive gotten from them over the years (some of them belong in a museum,), the last free phone I got from them was a Sidekick, still brand new never used. lol.

Every time I call in, which is rare, they get all gaga over me and my tenure with them and I usually end up with something free after I hang up, Usually credits of some sort, sometimes phones. But within the last year I can tell you that the customer service has gone to shit, perhaps due to the attempted ATT buyout.

Barring a complete collapse of their service, I am sure I will remain with them indefinitely.

-W
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2012, 08:05:58 PM »
I am sure I will remain with them indefinitely.

-W

Yeah me too , just like FORD TRUCKS I'll just probably buy another one  ;)
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline phildinftlaudy

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2012, 08:10:15 PM »
I have an Android phone - just got it --- I have Metro PCS and say what you will, but I pay $60 a month (that includes taxes, fees, etc.) and includes unlimited talk, web, text and international calling.... I have actually called Ann a few times in the Isle of Man and a good friend of mine in England...

I have navigator, of course grindr  ;D   and all other apps...

With Metro you have to buy the phone outright - I got mine when they were having an instant rebate for $80 - it was normally priced at $130....

I've had Metro for about 5 years and haven't been displeased at all with my service....

My brother has a similar plan as mine through ATT and pays $130 with taxes, fees ---
Mom has a basic ATT plan with unlimited talk, but no text and no web and she pays $85 a month.

Go Metro, if it's available in your area.
September 13, 2008 - diagnosed +
Labs:
Date    CD4    %   VL     Date  CD4  %   VL
10/08  636    35  510   9/09 473  38 2900  12/4/09 Atripla
12/09  540    30    60   
12/10  740    41  <48   
8/11    667    36  <20  
03/12  1,041  42  <20
05/12  1,241  47  <20
08/12   780    37  <20
11/12   549    35  <20
02/12  1,102  42  <20
11/12   549    35  <20

Offline tednlou2

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2012, 08:23:31 PM »
Yeah, if you have just a basic phone, $100/mth is too much.  Is that $100 including taxes/fees?  My Samsung Galaxy 2 Touch (with its 4.5" screen--I'm a size queen) was $199 with my upgrade benefit.  I broke my EVO and should have had to wait until the end of this year to upgrade.  However, Sprint messed up somehow and never logged my last upgrade.  It was showing I never upgraded to the EVO.  So, I was able to upgrade again. 

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2012, 08:30:47 PM »
Nope just, Verizon, ATT,T-Mobile (Qwest if it's even called that anymore) and Boost-Mobile, and of course them burner phones, ya know, them go-phones (pay-as-you-go) but that's about it Phill, sounds like  you gotta a very sweet deal going on there  ;)

Teddy, that's what I have, Samsung Galaxy 2 Touch w/ android OS  (my bad your right didn't know it cost $199) still got it for free tho, ok so the gen consensus is about $100 month or cheaper ( if you can get it)
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2012, 08:37:02 PM »
Here's teh pictar


"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline phildinftlaudy

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2012, 09:18:13 PM »
Here's teh pictar




I would take a picture of my phone - but I need my phone in order to do that ---- one of life's many paradoxes...  It's actually a Samsung Admire - Android

So, here is a pic from the website:


September 13, 2008 - diagnosed +
Labs:
Date    CD4    %   VL     Date  CD4  %   VL
10/08  636    35  510   9/09 473  38 2900  12/4/09 Atripla
12/09  540    30    60   
12/10  740    41  <48   
8/11    667    36  <20  
03/12  1,041  42  <20
05/12  1,241  47  <20
08/12   780    37  <20
11/12   549    35  <20
02/12  1,102  42  <20
11/12   549    35  <20

Online Jeff G

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2012, 09:29:05 PM »
But you don't have a smart phone, right? (Android, iPhone) If you're paying that and not using data services then you're over-paying. A lot.

I have been warming to idea of having the internet on my phone . I spend enough time on my computer at home and I'm kind of afraid to have it on my phone for fear I will never look a human being in the eye again .

The thing is , how do you find the right company that has good coverage in your area and the lowest rate ? I have looked at plans and get frustrated and just keep the plan I have .

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2012, 09:54:07 PM »

The thing is , how do you find the right company that has good coverage in your area and the lowest rate ? I have looked at plans and get frustrated and just keep the plan I have .

You should be fine with any of the big three companies as you live in a city and/or suburb. It's only an issue when you're in a rural area generally. Or that's how it is for Yankees.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Rev. Moon

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2012, 09:57:46 PM »
I've had Tmobile since It was Voicestream, I think it was '99 when I started with them (anyone remember the Jamie Lee Curtis commercials). I've got a Jailbroken Iphone that Ive had with them for 3 years. I've got a deskfull of free phones Ive gotten from them over the years (some of them belong in a museum,), the last free phone I got from them was a Sidekick, still brand new never used. lol.

Every time I call in, which is rare, they get all gaga over me and my tenure with them and I usually end up with something free after I hang up, Usually credits of some sort, sometimes phones. But within the last year I can tell you that the customer service has gone to shit, perhaps due to the attempted ATT buyout.

Barring a complete collapse of their service, I am sure I will remain with them indefinitely.

-W

I could have written this entry:

1. I got service with Voicestream in '99
2. They gave me a Sidekick that I used for maybe a month.  I wasn't too crazy about it.
3. Unlocked iPhones
4. I rarely ever call them, but they always tell me how grateful they are about my being them foreva

Let me add that I detest AT&T.  I am so glad that. They weren't able to take over.  Fuck them.
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline WillyWump

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2012, 10:00:52 PM »
I could have written this entry:

1. I got service with Voicestream in '99
2. They gave me a Sidekick that I used for maybe a month.  I wasn't too crazy about it.
3. Unlocked iPhones
4. I rarely ever call them, but they always tell me how grateful they are about my being them foreva

Let me add that I detest AT&T.  I am so glad that. They weren't able to take over.  Fuck them.

Right on! *fist bump*
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline Ann

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2012, 09:07:41 AM »

The thing is , how do you find the right company that has good coverage in your area and the lowest rate ?


You could always move to the Isle of Man where you have the choice between Manx Telecom and .... Manx Telecom. ::)
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Online Jeff G

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2012, 09:11:36 AM »
You could always move to the Isle of Man where you have the choice between Manx Telecom and .... Manx Telecom. ::)

I'm packing my bags , be there tomorrow  ;) .

Offline Ann

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2012, 09:20:57 AM »
I'm packing my bags , be there tomorrow  ;) .

Cool! :)
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline phildinftlaudy

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2012, 08:00:25 PM »
You could always move to the Isle of Man where you have the choice between Manx Telecom and .... Manx Telecom. ::)

What's the difference between the two?

If it were me....
I would probably go with Manx Telecom
But, of course, that's just me.
September 13, 2008 - diagnosed +
Labs:
Date    CD4    %   VL     Date  CD4  %   VL
10/08  636    35  510   9/09 473  38 2900  12/4/09 Atripla
12/09  540    30    60   
12/10  740    41  <48   
8/11    667    36  <20  
03/12  1,041  42  <20
05/12  1,241  47  <20
08/12   780    37  <20
11/12   549    35  <20
02/12  1,102  42  <20
11/12   549    35  <20

Offline aztecan

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2012, 09:44:31 AM »
I had Alltel for years. Of course, they no longer exist.

Here where I live, AT&T took them over. Just before they did, I switched to Sprint, because my step brother works for them.

The phone service is pretty good. The data, etc., is spotty at best here.

My work phone is Verizon. The phone itself sucks, but the service is OK, for the most part.

It really doesn't matter which service I have, many of the places I go to for work have zero service. That means I am incommunicado whilst roaming the hinterland.

Drives my other clients nuts.  ;D

I guess they think they should be able to call 24/7, but that doesn't happen.

The youngsters seem to have a particularly hard time with this. I think they were born with some sort of electronic device in their hands and feel naked without it.  :o

Someone should slap their mothers for using it when pregnant.  ::)

HUGS,

Mark
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 10:52:15 PM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline denb45

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2012, 10:08:34 AM »


I guess they think they should be able to call 24/7, but that doesn't happen.

The youngsters seem to have a particularly hard time with this. I think they were born with some sort of electronic device in their hands and feel naked without it.  :o

Someone should slap their mothers for using it when pregnant.  ::)

HUGS,

Mark

Too bad you don't live here in Albuquerque close by, you'd never be able to get rid of me.....lol 

Yeah these youngsters would DIE with a electronic device.....

WTF  pregnant mothers shouldn't use these  ;D

"gigles"   your too funny Mark  :-*
"it's so nice to be insane, cause no-one ask you to explain" Helen Reddy cc 1974

Offline Buckmark

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2012, 02:43:12 PM »
I have been warming to idea of having the internet on my phone .

Finally ready to give up your Motorola StarTAC flip phone, so you can get grindr?   :P

Quote
The thing is , how do you find the right company that has good coverage in your area and the lowest rate ? I have looked at plans and get frustrated and just keep the plan I have .

Regarding good signal and coverage area, ask your friends.  There's no substitute for real world experiences.  Also, ask your friends when they are at your home, so you can see how the reception is there, as well as around town.  You also have to remember that some phones have better reception than others.  Yes, it can drive you crazy trying to pick out the right plan and the right phone.

I've been with Spring since, well, forever.  Decent coverage in my area.  Unlimited data / voice / text / nationwide calling and roaming for $99/month.  AT&T and Verizon place limits on your data.  I don't know anyone who has good things to say about AT&T.  Not sure about T-Mobile, but most T-Mobile users are glad that AT&T didn't buy T-Mobile. 





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     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
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Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2012, 02:51:50 PM »
whoa... my first cell phone in the mid-90's was a Motorola StarTAC -- first gen all analog service. When they first came out they were $1000 which would be $1375 in today's dollars. Mine was a hand-me-down from my boss when they upgraded to the next version.
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Online Jeff G

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2012, 03:04:55 PM »
Finally ready to give up your Motorola StarTAC flip phone, so you can get grindr?   :P

 

I don't even know what grindr is LOL . Why do so many people hate AT&T ? The service is the best in my area and the only reason I would change is for a better deal . I think some other company's like Verizon or Sprint work well here also but are costly .   

Offline Buckmark

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2012, 03:16:35 PM »
I don't even know what grindr is LOL .

You will.   ;D

Quote
Why do so many people hate AT&T ?

I've heard it is either poor call coverage, slow download speeds,  high costs for their plans, or surly customer service.  Pretty much the same reasons everyone uses to bash their cell phone company.

Quote
The service is the best in my area and the only reason I would change is for a better deal . I think some other company's like Verizon or Sprint work well here also but are costly .

Sounds like you may have an answer. :)  Seriously, you'll run into all sorts of gotchas, limits, and "terms and conditions" whenever you switch cell phone carriers.  It may just be easier to stick with AT&T if you're relatively happy with them.

"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline tednlou2

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2012, 02:16:32 AM »
whoa... my first cell phone in the mid-90's was a Motorola StarTAC -- first gen all analog service. When they first came out they were $1000 which would be $1375 in today's dollars. Mine was a hand-me-down from my boss when they upgraded to the next version.

My brother got the StarTAC, when it first came out.  I remember we were all shocked he paid that much for a phone. 

BREAKING NEWS:  ANDROID USERS ARE WHORES.  That's what a recent survey says anyway. 

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399714,00.asp

Offline madbrain

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #39 on: February 07, 2012, 06:38:12 AM »
You will.   ;D

The android version of grindr is rather worthless.

Quote
I've heard it is either poor call coverage, slow download speeds,  high costs for their plans, or surly customer service.  Pretty much the same reasons everyone uses to bash their cell phone company.

All of of the above can be said about AT&T, I can attest to that. They don't have signal at my house also.
I'm a happy T-Mobile customer.

With a small corporate discount, we pay about $170/month for 3 phones with taxes with T-Mobile.
2 Android smartphones with unlimited text and data . The third phone was free, and is for my partner's nephew (who doesn't live with us) and only costs $5/month; it is not a smartphone, though.

If you can group your lines with a friend you can often get a better per-line rate than if you only have one phone.

Offline J.R.E.

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2012, 08:34:23 AM »

I don't know if this will help you, but I just read this today:

AT&T customers surprised by 'unlimited data' limit
Monday, February 13, 2012
NEW YORK -- 

Mike Trang likes to use his iPhone 4 as a GPS device, helping him get around in his job. Now and then, his younger cousins get ahold of it, and play some YouTube videos and games.

But in the past few weeks, there has been none of that, because AT&T Inc. put a virtual wheel clamp on his phone. Web pages wouldn't load and maps wouldn't render. Forget about YouTube videos _ Trang's data speeds were reduced to dial-up levels.

"It basically makes my phone useless," said Trang, an Orange County, Calif. property manager.

The reason: AT&T considers Trang to be among the top 5 percent of the heaviest cellular data users in his area. Under a new policy, AT&T has started cutting their data speeds as part of an attempt to manage data usage on its network.

So last month, AT&T "throttled" Trang's iPhone, slowing downloads by roughly 99 percent. That means a Web page that would normally take a second to load instead took almost two minutes.

AT&T has some 17 million customers with "unlimited data" plans that can be subject to throttling, representing just under half of its smartphone users. It stopped signing up new customers for those plans in 2010, and warned last year that it would start slowing speeds for people who consume the most data.

What's surprising people like Trang is how little data use it takes to reach that level _ sometimes less than AT&T gives people on its "limited" plans.

Trang's iPhone was throttled just two weeks into his billing cycle, after he'd consumed 2.3 gigabytes of data. He pays $30 per month for "unlimited" data. Meanwhile, Dallas-based AT&T now sells a limited, or "tiered," plan that provides 3 gigabytes of data for the same price.

Users report that if they call the company to ask or complain about the throttling, AT&T customer support representatives suggest they switch to the limited plan.

"They're coaxing you toward the tiered plan," said Gregory Tallman in Hopatcong, N.J. He hasn't had his iPhone 4S throttled yet, but he's gotten text-messages from AT&T, warning that he's approaching the limit. This came after he had used just 1.5 gigabytes of data in that billing cycle.

John Cozen, a Web and mobile applications designer in San Diego, hasn't been throttled yet either, but he's been so disturbed by a warning that he's "almost scared to use the phone," he said. Complaining to AT&T got him nowhere, and now he's looking to switch to another carrier.

"I don't think two to three gigabytes is an exorbitant amount," he said. "Really, I'm just looking at pictures and text once in a while."

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said that as of last summer, the top 5 percent of data users were using 2 gigabytes of data per month. But he also said the company doesn't actually throttle all of the top 5 percent "unlimited" data users. Last month, the figure was only 0.5 percent, or about 200,000 people, he said.

That's because AT&T only throttles users in areas where the wireless network is congested that month, Siegel said.

Siegel also pointed out that aside from moving to a tiered plan, "unlimited" plan users on the cusp of being throttled can use one of AT&T's 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, where usage is unmetered.

The unlimited plan worked fine for AT&T a few years ago, when the iPhone was new. The company had ample capacity on its network, and wanted to lure customers with the peace of mind offered by unlimited plans. Now, a majority of AT&T subscribers on contract-based plans have smartphones, and the proportion is growing every month. That's putting a big load on AT&T's network.

The limited data plans force subscribers to keep an eye on their usage, so they don't overwhelm AT&T's network. Verizon Wireless has adopted similar plans. But the two companies differ in how they manage their remaining "unlimited" subscribers.

Verizon doesn't slow down the "5 percent" unless the cell tower their phone is connected to is congested at that moment, and it slows them down by the minimum amount necessary. By contrast, once AT&T has decided to throttle your phone, it will be slow for the rest of the billing cycle, even if it's 3 a.m. and there are no other cell phones competing for the capacity of that particular cell tower.

Verizon's measures have drawn few complaints, and indeed, may have gone unnoticed even by the "5 percent."

T-Mobile USA is up front about the level it starts throttling at: 5 gigabytes. AT&T subscribers have no idea if they might be among the top 5 percent until they get the warning, which is soon followed by throttled service. While Trang was throttled at 2.3 gigabytes, he knows other iPhone owners who are using 5 or 6 gigabytes per month with impunity.

"It seems very random," Trang said.

Sprint Nextel Corp. is hanging on to unlimited data plans without throttling, alone among the "Big Four" national wireless carriers.

Tallman sees few prospects for a lawsuit against AT&T. The company is still providing unlimited data usage to throttled customers, even if the speeds are so low as to make the phone useless for anything but phone calls and text messages. The company made no promises that "unlimited" data would always be coupled with high speeds, he notes.

"They just guaranteed the highway. They didn't guarantee the speed limit," he said.
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Offline Hellraiser

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2012, 03:47:10 PM »
I don't even know what grindr is LOL . Why do so many people hate AT&T ? The service is the best in my area and the only reason I would change is for a better deal . I think some other company's like Verizon or Sprint work well here also but are costly .

AT&T in the south is a different animal.  Generally they have the best coverage, although they don't provide true 4G in my area only 3G (Although seeing as I have an Iphone 4s this makes no difference).  Trying to find a good solid answer to which phone and which provider to choose is nearly impossible.  They all have pros and cons.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #42 on: February 16, 2012, 02:58:02 PM »
although they don't provide true 4G in my area only 3G

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Offline madbrain

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Re: I'm I paying too much
« Reply #43 on: February 16, 2012, 07:19:30 PM »
"I don't think two to three gigabytes is an exorbitant amount," he said. "Really, I'm just looking at pictures and text once in a while."

IMO, it's extremely unlikely that he could hit 2 to 3 GB of data just looking at pictures and text.
Text is just noise in terms of data volume, and assuming very generously that a picture is 200 KB, 3 GB would be 15000 pictures. The guy has to be watching a lot of videos to hit that kind of volume.

Not that I'm defending the carriers or anything about their limited plans, but on my T-mobile bill which still has an old grandfathered truly unlimited data plan, the data usage is only about 200MB per month for each line. I use my phone's data connection quite a bit for web browsing, chat, and e-mail, but never for video - I don't see the point of video on such small screens.

 


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