If you are like me and just got sick of restarting your phone daily, force closing Apps and repeating text messages, you might want to keep reading. I’m here to tell you about Windows Phone and cutting the contract. From the entry level Nokia Lumia 520 to the uber powerful Nokia Lumia 1020, there is a Windows Phone that you will love. Let’s take a quick journey through the options and decide what network you want to use and how much you could start saving every month.
Pick Your Plan:
Something most people don’t know is that there are The Wireless Carriers and there are wireless carriers. The Big 4, as everyone refers to them, are Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. They control about 95% of the airwaves and hardware to make that cellphone do what it does. Now, they have more room then they know what to do with, so they contract out to MVNO’s or Mobile Virtual Network Operators. These are companies like Straight Talk, Net10, TracFone and a few of my favorites: Red Pocket Mobile, Simple Mobile and my carrier Spot Mobile. In essence, these MVNO’s give you the same service for a lower cost. They aren’t paying for retail stores, sales people and other overhead that the big boys are. They are just plain cheaper to run.
That said, do a quick check of the list and pick your ‘Big Carrier’ now and see what MVNO you could switch to and start saving from.
Verizon Wireless – Page Plus Cellular runs off the Verizon 3G network. For $29.95 a month, you can land 1200 minutes of talk, 3000 texts and 500MB of data. For $55 a month, you can go unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data. For $69.95 you can take that data out to 5GB. If you can live without that blazing fast LTE network, you can save upwards of $80 a month over Verizon’s postpaid rates.
Verizon Wireless – Verizon Wireless Prepaid runs off the same Verizon network you know and love. For $60 you can snag unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data. Adding an extra $10 gets you up to 4GB of data. Again, you are limited to the 3G network, but for a cost of about half of the normal plans, you can forgive that buffering on that YouTube video.
Sprint – Ok, now this is going to get tough here because there are literally a billion choices for Sprint’s MVNO’s and prepaid services. Here’s the bottom line on this one. Any Sprint phone, and since the HTC 8XT is the only Windows Phone 8 device they have we will use that for our example, can be activated across the board on their services. From $6 a month for Ting to $55 for the unlimited Boost Mobile LTE service, there is a plan for everyone. Of course, The HTC 8XT is carrying a price tag of almost $400 without a contract so you do have to figure that in.
AT&T – Red Pocket Mobile is still my first choice on AT&T’s MVNO list. Their simple and upfront pricing makes figuring out what you need very easy. From their $29.99 plan that includes 100MB of data for picture messaging to their $59.99 3GB plan, you have to appreciate the options that Red Pocket Mobile gives users. Compared to the standard AT&T postpaid plan, users can save as much as $75 a month or $1800 over the life of that contract. $1800 can buy an awfully nice Windows Phone – or you can just snag the beautiful Nokia Lumia 520 for $99.99 and love the savings! The other option would be to grab a new Nokia Lumia 925, Nokia Lumia 920 or Nokia Lumia 820, both work wonderfully on RPM’s service. A neat bonus to RPM is that their $39.99 and higher plans includes international calling to many destinations.
AT&T – Straight Talk/Net10/TracFone and their buddies are great options as well. My issue with these guys is that they talk that ‘unlimited’ game and don’t back it up well. There are too many occurrences of people getting interrupted, throttled and just plain cut off to feel comfortable in my mind. Sure, the extra $10 a month is awfully tempting for the lower data user, but I would still run to the $39.99 500MB plan on RPM or the $49.99 1GB plan over the unspecified amounts on the America Movil groups MVNO’s.
AT&T – AT&T GoPhone is a great option as well. For $60 a month you get an unlimited talk, text and 2GB data plan. You can buy additional GB’s for $10 each. The plus to this one is that if you want to shell out for one of those fancy Nokia Lumia 1020 or HTC 8X devices, you can land yourself that LTE connection for blazing fast speeds.
T-Mobile – It goes without saying that technically the T-Mobile Simple Choice plans look great on paper, but when you factor in the taxes and fees that get tacked on to that Simple Choice plan, they become a bit less attractive. Either way, you can snag an unlimited talk and text plan with unlimited data for $50, plus another $10 in taxes. Of course, that $60 gets you 500MB of high speed data, $72 gets you 2GB of 4G speeds and $85 lands you unlimited HSPA+/LTE data. That said, you really need a specific T-Mobile handset to really take advantage of their AWS frequencies. That said, the Nokia Lumia 521 is a great device to get rolling on a T-Mobile plan. If you need a bit more power though, the Nokia Lumia 810 or Nokia Lumia 925 are also available.
T-Mobile – Spot Mobile is currently my carrier of choice. Their $39.99 plan gives me great coverage, unlimited talk, text and data, plus in my area, access to using any one of a bajillion handsets with their 1900 MHz refarm. Currently, my pocket is armed with the Nokia Lumia 810 and I love it. With the Amber update installed, the device runs unlike any other phone I have ever used. Smooth OS, no force closing Apps and amazing battery life are all part of my daily usage experience. Back to the plans though. Spot Mobile makes it as easy as possible to find the right plan for you. For $24.99 you get unlimited talk and text. For $5 you get MMS added in to that or more accurately, 250MB of data for MMS and light data use. For $39.99, you get the unlimited data added on, with 1GB of 4G speeds. $10 more gets you 2GB and $59.99 gets you 3GB of 4G speeds before dropping to 2G. Spot Mobile just works for me and their simple, upfront pricing has saved me almost $100 a month over a comparable AT&T or Verizon plan with no noticeable loss of service. When I combine the $279.99 price tag of the Nokia Lumia 810 with my $39.60 refills from GetSmartphones.Info I come out with a total 2 year cost of just $1230.39. Compared to T-Mobile, I am saving almost $800 over the 2GB T-Mobile offering. Another bonus to Spot Mobile’s coverage is that they offer free international calling to some destinations and offer an international calling credit on all plans of $39.99 and above.
T-Mobile - Simple Mobile is another great choice in the world of MVNO’s. I don’t rate them as high as Spot Mobile due to some of the complaints in their forums, but they are a solid offering as well. $40 gets you the unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data plan. $50 gets you to 3GB and $60 gets you to 5GB. Of course, all the data plans are unlimited, so it’s just the extra 4G HSPA+ data that you are purchasing. Again, for Windows Phone choices on Simple Mobile, your optimal devices will be the Nokia Lumia 521, the Nokia Lumia 810 or the Nokia Lumia 925 for T-Mobile. Make sure the Lumia 925 you purchase is the full T-Mobile model and not the unlocked AT&T or international version as these will not have the full AWS spectrum that the T-Mobile version does.
Now that you have sorted out what carrier you are going to choose, you can get to picking that new handset. Below are the 5 second versions of the reviews for the current line of Windows Phones.
Nokia Lumia 520 (AT&T) – This entry level handset features a 4” display, 5MP camera and 8GB of expandable internal memory. This is the perfect phone for saving up to get a premium handset later. The $99.99 price tag is budget friendly and the Lumia 520 performs closer to a $400 Android phone than a $100 one. Locked, it works with AT&T, GoPhone, Red Pocket Mobile, Net10 and Straight Talk.
Nokia Lumia 521 (T-Mobile) – This is the T-Mobile counterpart to the Lumia 520. It has the same display, memory and camera. This device runs in the neighborhood of $115-130 new and can be used locked on T-Mobile, Spot Mobile, Simple Mobile, Net10 (T-Mobile SIM) and Straight Talk (T-Mobile SIM).
Nokia Lumia 810 (T-Mobile) – The 810 met it’s demise earlier this year with the arrival of the Lumia 925, but it is still a very solid handset with some impressive specs. The 4.3” display looks sharp and performs well in the daylight. The 8GB of storage is enough to keep the average person going and the expandable memory makes adding 32GB or 64GB of additional storage easy. The 8MP camera on the back takes great photos and the 1.2MP camera on the front works beautifully for video chatting and selfies. Overall, the $279.99 price tag isn’t all bad for such a powerful device. Also available as a variant as the Lumia 820 for AT&T and the Lumia 822 for Verizon Wireless.
Nokia Lumia 920 (AT&T) – The Lumia 920 was the first Nokia device to feature the PureView camera. The 8MP camera takes amazing photos and is still one of the best smartphone cameras around. The 32GB of internal storage is more than enough when you team it up with your SkyDrive. The Lumia 920 is still one of the most popular Lumia devices out there today and with the minor differences between the new 925 (AT&T version) and this, we recommend saving the cash and grabbing the 920 before it’s gone. Locked, it works with AT&T, GoPhone, Red Pocket Mobile, Net10 and Straight Talk.
Nokia Lumia 925 (T-Mobile) – The replacement to the Lumia 810. The 925 brought a PureView camera, larger display and sleek lines to T-Mobile. The gorgeous design of the 925 led to Nokia pushing the device to AT&T as well. It was also the first Lumia on T-Mobile to support their LTE frequencies. Locked, this devices works on T-Mobile, Spot Mobile, Simple Mobile, Net10 (T-Mobile SIM) and Straight Talk (T-Mobile SIM).
Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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