By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Going To Cannes 2014: An Internet Access Story
So… I know this is all too Jeff Wellsian… but I also know that a lot of people wrestle with this… and I feel like I found a very happy solution for the first time after wrestling with it for years.
After years of using old phones that can be unlocked by ATT and mi-fis and whatever, I finally figured out something that works with both my AT&T 10g group data plan and my travel needs without costing a fortune.
It started with an investment. I paid full price for an iPhone 5s. Ironically, this became a more attractive option as AT&T implemented two new programs. First, the new $0 down plan turns out to be one of the most expensive ways to buy a phone. Second, with a push to get people onto the 10g data package, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have phones from multiple carriers, as reducing from the 10g package to a smaller data package ends up costing money (unless you are going to have fewer phones/tablets). And AT&T is actually competitive on pricing with everyone else in this 10g offering.
Those two things taken into account, the $850 for an unlocked phone that works on AT&T (and on T-Mobile) is not really that much more expensive than the subsidized phone options.
And here is the real kicker. T-Mobile offers a worldwide unlimited data and text plan for $80 a month, including up to 5g of tethering worldwide. And it is a month-to-month plan.
So here is my gambit… buy the new phone… put it on my AT&T plan… sell my old iPhone 5, which returns about $200 against the cost of my new phone (bringing the difference in cost to a locked under-contract AT&T phone to just $200)… then get a month on T-Mobile for just $80, as needed, and go. No phone changing. No insane bill at the end of a two week trip. 20 cents a minute for talk, which is okay by me, but could be improved upon somewhat with other methods, if you so choose. And as a friend pointed out, I could just audio call from Facetime (with iPhone users) or Skype audio with pretty much anyone and not pay extra for phone calls at all.
When I get back to the states, I pop out the T-Mobile sim card, pop in the AT&T, cancel or suspend my T-Mobile plan… and I’m done.
No more messing around. No more changing to another phone. No more crazy bills. Next time I need it (hello, TIFF), pop in the T-Mobile sim and ramp it up for that month.
This is how much of the world has done this for the last decade or so.
Ironically, I was telling this story to a friend in Amsterdam and he told me that his new iPhone 5s is his first under-contract phone ever… because for the first time, in The Netherlands, there is a deal that makes it significantly cheaper to have a phone under contract. Go figure. We finally get some freedom over here and they get more tied up where they have been free for years.