My Personal Cell Phone Journey
In today's economy, it seems harder and harder to make a dollar stretch. So when my family's cell phones started to show their age and not quite work right, I started exploring our options. Granted, our phones were over 3 1/2 years old so we definitely got our money's worth out of them and I held off as long as I could, but it was finally time to do something.
So after being a customer of Verizon for almost 15 years, that was of course my first stop. All I wanted was a newer phone that had a few more bells and whistles--nothing much--and was a good quality phone. Now I knew it wouldn't be quite like it was the last time we got new phones because smartphones weren't so prevalent back then. Due to the sheer volume of smartphones available, I asked Verizon if they would allow you to get a smartphone but not have a data plan, because let's face it, I had lived this long without having internet 24/7 and I could continue living like that. The answer was no, you HAD to have a data package to have a smartphone. All we had at the time was straight voice minutes because I didn't want to pay for a huge bill every month and the goal was to keep the monthly costs from greatly increasing, which wouldn't happen if I had to add a data plan. So we were limited in our options to just a few good basic phones, otherwise known as "dumbphones," (which to tell you the truth I despise that terminology because it just makes it sound horrible that someone would pick a simple phone). So I researched the few options available but hesitated making a decision because it just didn't feel right getting one of these lesser phones and being locked in to a contract for 2 years. To say I was discouraged is an understatement because it is almost like the industry is forgetting about the customers who don't want to pay for an expensive data package, so they just get whatever scraps are left for them.
I then decided to explore other options. I checked into AT&T and didn't find much difference in pricing and there aren't many other postpaid cell phone providers in this rural area, so then I started checking into prepaid plans. Not only did I check the prices, I researched all angles including network coverage, roaming capabilities, phones, customer service and just general reviews of their service. I think I looked up every prepaid plan out there for coverage and though some were cheaper, if you live in a rural or non-metro area, most of them just didn't have the amount of coverage needed, especially if it used the Sprint Network.