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Please Share: Wireless Carrier and Phone Suggestions

A little more than three years after getting my first cell phone, the time has come to re-evaluate phones and plans. Currently, my family shares a Cingular/AT&T/Cingular/AT&T/Whatever family plan. We have been fairly happy with it, but our phones are all starting to give up the ghost (my second phone to do so, really). Since we are under no contractual obligations, and thanks to the ability to keep our numbers wherever we go, we are open to the idea of changing carriers as well as phones.

Here are the criteria:

– I like flip-phones
– We have no camera or gadgetry requirements, they may even be minuses
– I like the possibility of getting internet via phone
– I might add more as I think of it…

From very early research, I’m leaning towards T-Mobile. Your input is appreciated!

8 Responses to “Please Share: Wireless Carrier and Phone Suggestions”

  1. Daniel Marsh Says:

    I have been using t-mobile for a long time and frankly I would rate them dead last when it come to their internet service. EDGE is very dated by todays standards and t-mobiles coverage is not the best. If I were going with a GSM provider, I would stick with Cingular/ATT for their superior coverage. T-mobile also jacked up their rates on EDGE coverage to $30/month from $20/month and suddenly their “internet3” wap gateway is no longer available on the standard unlimited internet plan. In short, they are trying to boost the rates by 50% and charge you even more for a feature that was always free in the past.

    If I were going for a data plan, I would go with Sprint. Their EVDO rev A deployment is much further along and they offer better TOS on their data plans. Verizon tries their hardest to keep you from using your phone for data, doing things like disabling features in the phone’s firmware…

    Sprint also will do a standalone data plan for $60, while Verizon pretty much insists you have a phone plan to pair it with, or wants an extra $20/month.

  2. Ben Says:

    Cincular if you want to b the first to play with an iPhone…

  3. Ben Says:

    Argh! Lets try that again. Cingular if you want to be the first to play with the iPhone.

  4. Daniel Marsh Says:

    The iphone is a joke in many, many ways. Here are the biggest imo.

    -$600 non subsidized price
    -non-tactile interface means you can’t use it in your pocket
    -non-user swappable battery
    -flush screen surface that is going to get scratched to hell in a pocket, as is a common complaint of many ipod owners.
    -inability to install your own apps. This thing is not a smartphone in any sense of the word.

    The cool things about the iphone imo:
    -visual voicemail and the fact that they actually got a service provider to alter their network to meet their needs. IMO, a cellular provider should be just providing the pipe.
    -multitouch user interface (no, they didn’t invent it, they just productized it)

    Personally, I am much more interested in OpenMoko than the iphone.

  5. Bernie Zimmermann Says:

    I’ve been with Cingular for almost 5 years now, and I can’t really complain about their service. I haven’t been with anyone else, though, so my view probably doesn’t carry much weight in that department.

    However, as far as a device goes, the RAZR V3, even though it’s like carrying around an iPod in terms of everybody having one, is a really nice phone. Download Google’s Gmail app on there and Opera Mini and you’re off and running.

  6. Hoyin Says:

    First, you should decide what type of data speed you want. Keep in mind that Cingular and t-Mobile are GSM, Verizon is CDMA, and Sprint is something else (TDMA?). Cingular has EDGE (2.5G), UMTS (3G), and HSDPA (3.5G) network though the last one is limited to a few metropolitan areas. t-Mobile offers EDGE only but it has paid a hefty price tag for a number of UMTS/HSDPA bands and it will roll out its UMTS/HSDPA network out by the end of this year. Verizon uses CDMA2000 (I think) and its V-Cast is unrivaled to all others so you will get the most bang out of your buck (~2 cents) for the internet access. Sprint I dunno about but they have a terrible everywhere else network that you should really consider since CALLING is probably the biggest feature you need (same goes for t-Mobile).

    As for phones, the RAZR V3(something) is all around an excellent phone from an image-obsessed engineer’s point of view. Cingular carries the RAZR V3r which is the HSDPA version. Otherwise, LG CU500, Cingular Sync (by Samsung), Motorola Krzr K1, and Sony Ericsson W810i is also a good choice for Cingular. t-Mobile’s phones are highly Paris Hilton-approved but I would recommend against PEBL U6. Verizon has some really good looking but horrible performing phones (*cough*Chocolate*cough*) but in all, there’s plenty of good choices out there, like the LG VX8600, MotoKrzr K1m and LG enV. Sprint, on the other hand, I don’t know too well.

    Finally, if you are interested in buying an unlocked phone, you can wait for a Nokia N76 to come out – it is sleek, 3G, and comes with a boatload of features. But I need to issue this caveat – it might not be on sale in the U.S. and so you’ll have to get it overseas and the UMTS network won’t work. *Or* maybe they have it on sale at the Nokia store over in NYC. Keep in mind that most phones offered as unlocked are GSM phones because they need a SIM card so you’re restricted to only Cingular and t-Mobile.

    There are plenty of excellent phones out there and you can go to to look up their take on it. Also, another source is which gives you a list of what’s good and what’s to come. I’m a self-proclaimed cell phone-atic and I know a lot about what’s coming in the mobile world. Let me know how your search goes. =)

    One more thing: wi-fi phones are hard to come by and they aren’t cheap but it’ll save you a bundle on mobile web surfing.

  7. Ben Says:

    I like the OpenMoko phone as well. I think the number-pad graphics should be adjusted for more contrast from a design standpoint. OpenMoko would definitely be an improvement over current phones. But using a phone in your pocket? Are you talking like an earbud and mic? Since the iPhone is running a form of OSX, I’m sure voice activation of phone calls would not be a problem. And as noted by Hoyin (above), a wifi phone certainly has advantages. The iPhone will also be supported by a carrier and a notable product/software manufacturer from the get go which will reassure most consumers. And not being able to install 3rd party software? Probably not a problem for the market that Apple is aiming for – consumers who just want something “that works.” Yeah, I know, it doesn’t work for you – It probably won’t be flexible enough for most geeks. As for scratching? Lots of plastic. Lots and lots of plastic. And room for third party ipod “armor” companies :-) Open Moko is for the geeks who want the flexibility that open source offers. iPhone is for the average consumer with a bit of cash. But both phones show the future of cell phones (or personal devices as that seems to be what they are becoming).

  8. Ryan Says:

    I probably won’t touch the iPhone with a 49 1/2 foot pole. I’m far too rough on my phones to justify the expense, plus I don’t want features. Well, not exactly, but I want minimalist features. A phone can have features, but they should work well and be unobtrusive. Thats just me, though, I guess, because it certainly isn’t where the market appears to be going.

    Lots of people sure seem to like their RAZR V3s… probably thats what we should do.

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