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Want to replace older cell phones but keep same service plan if possible

adarryladarryl Decatur, IL Icrontian

Bear with me as I explain. My wife and I have LG VX8300 phones through our Verizon Family Share Plan 700 and pay $83.00 per month with no data. However, due to the age of our phones, replacing the batteries with new ones that hold a charge has become just about impossible. Both Ebay and Amazon have sold us replacement batteries that won't hold a charge either. I guess they are selling new, old stock or factory pulls and they just won't hold a charge for more than a day or two. If we use the phone for a lengthy call, the batteries will fade and the phones start beeping to signal the battery is about to go dead mid call. What I would like to do is replace our old phones with new ones but keep our current Verizon service plan. Verizon won't let us do that without selling us a data plan driving the monthly cost up considerably. The Verizon rep further told me that even if we buy Verizon compatible phones the company will want to charge activation fees and require the addition of a data plan anyway. So what can we do? We don't text or web surf with our phones; that's why we have high speed internet at home. I simply want newer phones with more reliable power packs without increasing our costs. Anyone face this before or have any recommendations on a workaround? Thx!

BTW, the service providers in our area include Verizon, T-mobile, Sprint and AT&T. Unfortunately, there are also lots of complaints of weak, fringe coverage with all but Verizon so if I change carriers, I may inherit weaker signals and unreliable service.

Comments

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    I thiiiiink you might be out of luck when it comes to replacing your phones and keeping your current service plan. Those phones do not have SIM cards, so the plan is kind of tied to the phone. Someone else might be more knowledgeable, but I think that option's kind of gone.

    Before I continue with a couple ideas, it's worth noting that if what you're trying to do is a bit out of the ordinary (and it is, data plans are pretty much the standard nowadays), you're probably going to have to come up with something a bit hacky, which probably means a bit of experimentation, or putting up with some quirks.

    1. It's been a long time since I did this (think Blackberry era), but I used to do the 'smartphone-with-no-data-plan' thing. My trick was just to get a plan - any plan - that simply didn't have data - so long as it had a SIM card, I could then buy a smartphone whose radio was compatible with the plan (finding this out just involves a bunch of googling, this helps), install the SIM card, and then away I went. This might not be feasible anymore, as 'no data' is going out of vogue.
    2. Since the problem is 'without increasing our costs,' you can try looking into a mobile virtual network operator. These are companies that, in a nutshell, sell you a plan but use a bigger carrier's network. Boom Mobile is an example of a virtual carrier that uses the Verizon network, and they have an individual plan that offers no data. Again, experimentation is required - they might suck. Furthermore, it would be wise to use your own phone instead of buying one through them... that way if they suck, it's easier to get away from them. However, using your own phone is costly.
    3. You COULD embrace data. No, not as in a 'suck it up and get with the times' way, but by using something similar to Project Fi. The idea here being that your phone number gets ported to Google Hangouts, so that all calls and texts are done over data. Now, I've heard some folks say they use unsupported phones (like a OnePlus device) on Fi and it WORKS, you just end up only using one half of the service (ie, the OnePlus One only has one radio, so it wouldn't be able to benefit from switching back and forth between networks). This is a pretty cheap alternative.
    4. In the same vein as number 3, it's possible to port your number to google voice (which, however, may be deprecated in the future) and make all your calls and texts via hangouts. In this situation, all you need is the smallest LTE data plan - no talk, no text (because all that goes through data). This is actually what I'm doing right now.

    Each of these idea has its own caveats - you risk running into devices that Simply Don't Work with what you're trying to do, or companies that won't grandfather you in sometime down the line... but experimentation and janky ideas is part of doing something nonstandard.

    adarryl
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian

    I think Dan covered all of it, but re project fi: you cannot get a non google phone on it unless people are buying the phone to get the service, then moving their SIM to another device and google isn't stopping them (which sounds likely). I believe I would rec MVNO as well in your scenario, Ting is a popular one AFAIK

  • BlueTattooBlueTattoo Gentleman Farmer Houston, TX Icrontian
    edited Nov 2016

    I've been using Ting for a few months on a new LG Nexus 5X. If you don't use data, you don't pay for it. You do pay for minutes talked, no unlimited plan. Look at their price list and how many minutes you use in a month. Texting is charged, also. It may save you money or not. I normally leave data turned off on my phone and count on WIFI. If I am out and need data, I turn it on for a while. They have both CDMA (from Sprint - I use this) and GSM (I think from T-Mobile) networks. Use what works best in your area. There are no start-up or termination fees, so it's cheap to try if you have an unlocked phone. New users can save $25 with a referral. If you want to try it, I can send you a link.

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