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Old 11-11-13, 05:54 PM   #1
ftwelder
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smart phone coaching.

I live in Vermont in an area serviced pretty well by US cellular. I have been with the company for more than ten years with ordinary cellular service. The folks at USC are nice enough but the phones keep getting drastically worse. The latest replacement phone is so bad I switched back to my 3 yr old phone until it's final months that required it be on charge constantly . My bill has now risen to $220.00/mo for two phones that are really a joke.

If you go with another carrier around here you get nothing for reception unless you purchase a special antenna (or several).

Since my hearing is going anyway, I was thinking of getting a handheld device with a decent keypad that I could text or email at a decent speed (with big machinist fingers) as well as a whoop-ass camera so I had one less device to carry (I carry a small digital all the time as well as a cell )

I became interested in the Motorola MotoX and went to the website because I support US manufacturing and to try to learn something. What I think I learned is that I am required to purchase the device with a cellular service. I really don't want pay for cellular service when I already purchase internet from comcast and don't need voice service on a regular basis (though a voip app would be good). I have been resisting google but I am ready to fold.

I would really appreciate some advice and guidance. Perhaps I am missing something obvious but why is there cellular service at all when wireless seems to be everywhere? I had a Samsung galaxy for about a month (before it was lost/stolen) and it it seemed to do fine on the internet alone. And yes, I live in a cave.

I would like to funnel cellular calls, emails, faxes, txt, to a device that could run bikecad and a browser and has a great camera. I want a keypad and some durability I would like to leave some of the money for this purchase in the 'states even if it costs a few$. I don't care what color the device is.

Feel free to provide too much information. Thanks!
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Old 11-11-13, 06:04 PM   #2
genec
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This may be the heart of your misunderstanding...
Quote:
Perhaps I am missing something obvious but why is there cellular service at all when wireless seems to be everywhere?
Wireless everywhere?

Now maybe you mean "WiFi" is everywhere... but the fact is that you cannot "hand off" between WiFi connections... so going into a Starbucks and then going to a McDonalds really means two different WiFi connections.

Cellular means that you can connect and maintain a connection while you are driving, or walking even. That won't happen with WiFi... eventually you will move out of the range of one WiFi connection and into the range of another... but you will not be automatically switched from one to another (the handing off I mentioned).

Now I know you indicated that you don't use the phone much, so the reality is that perhaps you don't make calls all that often and the rare calls you make are probably short.

So what I think you want is a WiFi phone that will use VoIP whenever you want to use it, and that you plan on using it not much.
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Old 11-11-13, 06:13 PM   #3
ursle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
I live in Vermont in an area serviced pretty well by US cellular. I have been with the company for more than ten years with ordinary cellular service. The folks at USC are nice enough but the phones keep getting drastically worse. The latest replacement phone is so bad I switched back to my 3 yr old phone until it's final months that required it be on charge constantly . My bill has now risen to $220.00/mo for two phones that are really a joke.

If you go with another carrier around here you get nothing for reception unless you purchase a special antenna (or several).

Since my hearing is going anyway, I was thinking of getting a handheld device with a decent keypad that I could text or email at a decent speed (with big machinist fingers) as well as a whoop-ass camera so I had one less device to carry (I carry a small digital all the time as well as a cell )

I became interested in the Motorola MotoX and went to the website because I support US manufacturing and to try to learn something. What I think I learned is that I am required to purchase the device with a cellular service. I really don't want pay for cellular service when I already purchase internet from comcast and don't need voice service on a regular basis (though a voip app would be good). I have been resisting google but I am ready to fold.

I would really appreciate some advice and guidance. Perhaps I am missing something obvious but why is there cellular service at all when wireless seems to be everywhere? I had a Samsung galaxy for about a month (before it was lost/stolen) and it it seemed to do fine on the internet alone. And yes, I live in a cave.

I would like to funnel cellular calls, emails, faxes, txt, to a device that could run bikecad and a browser and has a great camera. I want a keypad and some durability I would like to leave some of the money for this purchase in the 'states even if it costs a few$. I don't care what color the device is.

Feel free to provide too much information. Thanks!
The carriers all share towers, some sort of misinformation going on

You can buy an unlocked phone that works on usc and go...

Cellular is phone and wireless is internet...err, cellular is satellites and phone is towers, and every 5 mile works, every 20 miles is problematic, every 200 miles is a catastrophe
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Old 11-11-13, 06:42 PM   #4
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google nexus 5 would be my top pick.
5" FHD screen should be easier to read on and type on.

buy the cellphone from google and buy a plan from one of your local carriers.
Everything except verizon should work with it.
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Old 11-12-13, 06:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
This may be the heart of your misunderstanding...

Wireless everywhere?

Now maybe you mean "WiFi" is everywhere... but the fact is that you cannot "hand off" between WiFi connections... so going into a Starbucks and then going to a McDonalds really means two different WiFi connections.

Cellular means that you can connect and maintain a connection while you are driving, or walking even. That won't happen with WiFi... eventually you will move out of the range of one WiFi connection and into the range of another... but you will not be automatically switched from one to another (the handing off I mentioned).

Now I know you indicated that you don't use the phone much, so the reality is that perhaps you don't make calls all that often and the rare calls you make are probably short.

So what I think you want is a WiFi phone that will use VoIP whenever you want to use it, and that you plan on using it not much.

You are totally correct. I wasn't considering (or aware of) wifi can't follow a person around. dang.

I pay for commercial internet service at the shop, another account at home and the phones which together is several hundred$/month.

May be Ill get the handheld device and try it for a while before giving up the phone service. I have had my phone # for quite a while.


I don't know about the cell towers sharing but US cellular is the only service that works everywhere in town or even my building unless my my crummy phone has amazingly good reception!
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Old 11-12-13, 08:55 AM   #6
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I would get a pay-as-you-go cell phone, like Tracfone. They are quite a good company and I used them for about 3 or 4 years before switching to AT&T. You can get non-smart phones that don't suck data or require extra charges, etc. Tracfone piggybacks on the big-name company's towers - like a lot of the smaller providers do, but service is usually just as good. Remember, if there aren't towers close by, no one is getting reception it doesn't matter what carrier you use. Vermont might be iffy - I would check on it. Either way, a pay-as-you-go plan like Tracfone can cost as little as about $20 every few months depending on how much you talk/text.

If you downgrade to something like a Tracfone, but still want communicative connectability I would suggest getting something like an iPad with the 3G built in. This carries a monthly cost, but it's not a lot as compared to the enormous monthly cost of a cell phone + data plan. The iPad will allow you to email, chat, and internet anywhere 3G is available (which is pretty much every corner of the US). It will be most useful to text/chat with people with iPhones because of the iMessage/Messages application, but you could still text with Android and regular phone users with your Tracfone.

After the initial cost of buying the iPad, your monthly payments would be much much lower. I can't imagine what's costing you $220/month. I have 2 phones (family plan), minimal data plan, and a text package for my wife and I and our cell phone bill is only about $85/month. Our internet/TV at home is $60.

And yes, Wi-Fi is just wireless internet. It comes from a wireless access point such as a router in your home, or at a business. It has a limited distance. Once you're out of range, you get nothing. Range is usually anywhere from 50-200ft depending on the quality of the router. This is why you cannot just whip out a laptop anywhere and magically get on the internet - because there is none! There is nothing to connect to.

When you see people on the internet on their phones everywhere, that's because they are actually using a connection (3G/LTE/4G) to their cellular service/satellite and that is connecting them to the internet. Because your cell phone works anywhere there is a signal, the data connect usually does to (but not 100% everywhere - it has to be strong enough).
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Old 11-12-13, 09:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ursle View Post
.

Cellular is phone and wireless is internet...err, cellular is satellites and phone is towers, and every 5 mile works, every 20 miles is problematic, every 200 miles is a catastrophe
Not understanding this one.

Cell is towers, many of them. Short range stuff that allows the user device to stay connected by switching to different towers as the device moves out of range of the last tower. Reception/connectivity is dependent on a that connection which in turn is affected by tower placement as well as local terrain, which can interfere with the connection. Thus some cell companies have better service then others, with US Cellular being good in that region of New England.

Satellite phone service is not cellular, as the device connects directly to a satellite, thus coverage can be better assuming there's line-of-sight to the satellite.

Sounds like the OP wants to replace his older dumb cell phone with a smart phone.

@ FTWelder. AEO has it right that purchasing the phone outright is cost effective. You pay a lot more up front, but then own the phone as opposed to the carrier subsidizing the phone and surcharging you for the loan. Note though that most carriers (not sure about USC) will charge an extra fee for data connection that all smartphones end up using. Verizon's pricing is $30 per month above and beyond all the other fees, just for the privilege of using a smartphone. You may never use any data, but still pay the extra $30. Note as well that a lot of the apps you might want to use, Google Maps and any app that tracks a bike ride as example, use data, as they have to have that cell connection to get the map image data off the network. Ditto any connection to the internet via the cell service, that's data. Smartphones can also connect to WiFi if and when it's available.

I would also ask around and find out if Verizon is getting better in your area. A buddy that lives across Lake Champlain from you just switched from US Cell, as VZW has gotten better and was cheaper to use data with multiple phones (his family). Problem with Verizon (and Sprint) is they use proprietary cell systems, that do not allow the phones on their system to easily switch to another carrier. Both use a version of what is known as CDMA. I've no clue what USC uses, but if you own the phone that works now on USC and wanted to switch to Verizon for any reason, you would end up with a new phone just to connect to Verizon. In that case it's sometimes cheaper to simply get a free or low cost VZW smartphone phone, even if it's not exactly the phone you desire.

Last edited by Steve B.; 11-12-13 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 11-12-13, 03:51 PM   #8
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i use a nice lg smartphone (that required full pre-payment) with service from virgin mobile at a cost of $33/month. 3g data is unlimited, and is used rarely when outside wifi service. the phone/data service works great until i go off in the boonies of the cascades or forest service roads,

i switched from at&t (over $60/month without a data plan), and should have done so much sooner.
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