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Do you hate paying outrageous monthly bills? Do you hate paying $80, $100, $120 or more per line per month for cell phone plans that isn’t even UNLIMITED? What if I told you that you can SAFELY cut the cord from one of the Big 4 carriers, have a decent smart phone, have reliable service, and get it all for less than $30/line per month?!
What if I told you that the “UNLIMITED” plans sold by your cell provider are not truly unlimited?!
And what if I told you that you didn’t NEED the unlimited plan that your cell provider is telling you that you need to have?
When I thought of cell phones, I knew I wanted the service of Verizon. This is the only provider with reliable service in our area. My husband did some research and finally convinced me that Verizon is not the only way to go. He is sharing with you today what he shared with me
When my wife and I first started talking with each other, communication was (and still is) VERY important in our relationship (and should be in every relationship, too). Initially our communication was kept within Facebook messages, and as time went on and as our relationship grew, we desired to remain in greater contact.
Little love notes were left for each other. Text messages were sent back and forth. Long phone calls were made.
My wife had been a long time customer of the cellular giant, Verizon before we were married. I always hated (and still do) the infamous contracts companies place on their customers. Maybe its a commitment issue, though I consider it being cheap (read frugal). I despised $50/month cell phone plans with many hidden fees. To skirt this concern, I used multiple MVNOs (Tracfone, net10, and Virgin Mobile).
What is an MVNO?
It’s an acronym for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. These are typically the ones viewed as “prepaid carriers.” I am not much of a techie person, but the easiest way to understand this is to think about the position of the BIG 4 carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint). These companies are MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and own all of the cell towers nationwide. On each of those towers is extra space available for rent. Some of the space is rented to local governments for private or public service radio equipment and some of the space is rented to MVNOs.
Why do I care about this?
Well, that extra space means many smaller companies can rent space on these towers for a fraction of the cost of what it costs for 1 company to use the same space. In turn, they pass along these savings to you, the consumer. It’s basic economics! When more people rent the space, the prices are driven down for the collective whole! This means more money in your pocket!
After we were married, I ported my number to Verizon as we joined a group plan and could get a decent discount for an amount similar to what I was paying through the current MVNO. However, shortly after, we were informed we would need to leave the group and discovered our prices would be $100-120/month for 2 BASIC phones.
My wife and I refused to pay big ticket prices for what I knew we could get for less. BUT…I would NEVER convince a long time, dedicated, Verizon customer that it was ok to cut the cord. I was up for a challenge of finding a service that was just as reliable, ran on the reliable Verizon network, and cheaper.
The search began! And the criteria included:
- Good service
- CHEAPER than Verizon
- No contracts
- Keep (Port-in) the same phone number
Almost all of the MVNO providers worked in larger towns, but move away from those areas and your phone would become nothing more than a paperweight. The only company at that time matching all of my criteria was PagePlus Cellular.
PagePlus Cellular was a company I had never heard about and honestly was very skeptical. We decided to try it out by purchasing a cheap phone and taking it with us wherever we went for an entire month! This included driving around our community and a vacation to Florida.
The results…WERE AMAZING!
This can’t be real, right?! The previous MVNOs I used worked on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint networks, but never one on Verizon. Why would Verizon, the nation’s most trusted carrier, allow another cell provider to use their network?
One catch! (Yep, I knew it…there had to be a catch) The “catch”, if you want to call it that, is PagePlus Cellular can’t advertise that they work on Verizon’s network. That’s it! The same phones that work on the Verizon network will work on PagePlus (remember they are using the same towers as Verizon).
What are some things I should know if I would be interested in moving from my BIG 4 carrier?
Pro #1 Coverage. As mentioned earlier it is the same as Verizon. See for yourself here by checking coverage in your area!
Pro #2 Cost. For 2 phones through Verizon on their entry level plans, you will be paying $60/line plus taxes, surcharges, and other fees. Compound this for 2 phones over a 2 year contract and you will be paying $2880 BEFORE TAXES AND OTHER FEES! Once you add in the costs of a phone lease and phone insurance then these costs skyrocket!
Through PagePlus we have been paying $29.95/line (taxes and fees already included) and this includes unlimited talk/text and 3gb of data which has proven to be more than enough for our needs. Compound this for 2 phones over a 2 year timeframe (no contracts EVER) and we have spent $1437.60.
A savings of over $1400!
“But I NEED unlimited!” Ok, so you NEED UNLIMITED? Check out the plans page and you can see that for $39.95/month you can get unlimited everything with data up to 8gb per month before tethering your speeds down. Do you feel 8 gb is too little? Well, also on their plans page you will find a $55/month UNLIMITED EVERYTHING plan! This would still be a $200 in savings when compared to the basic unlimited plan from Verizon.
That $200 could go a LONG ways when talking about compound interest and leads to money in YOUR pocket!
Pro #3 NO CONTRACTs! Not much to say other than I am thankful we are not indebted to a company and can leave anytime we want (if we would want to).
Now for the cons…
Con #1 No Phone Discounts. I don’t see this as a con and let me share why
So Verizon likes to offer phone deals if you sign up by a specific date, or if you change your contract dates, or if you sell your right leg. I like my right leg, but could probably do without my appendix (already removed anyways). Those phone “discounts” aren’t real discounts at all and may cost you longer. Not to mention the “insurance” those companies sell you for using phones that they don’t own anyway. It’s like a car lease (a bad idea) in which the salesman makes commission by selling you all of the add-ons he has convinced you that you NEED.
Con #2 You must buy your own phone. Again, I don’t see this as a con, but it may be something you feel is a downside to moving away from the Big 4.
You must purchase your own phone (make sure it is a Verizon unlocked phone) and can choose to purchase one through PagePlus here or you can BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) by purchasing from a third party vendor like eBay, Amazon, or BackMarket.com.
Con #3 You don’t get unlimited everything. I don’t see this as a con, per se, and again you may. Do I really NEED unlimited everything? I was surprised how little data I truly used when outside of a wifi connection. You can find out how much data you use by looking at your online dashboard or checking your carriers app. Here is an excellent blog post about helping you determine if you need unlimited data.
And for the conclusion…
Overall, we did enjoy the perks of the Verizon service and don’t want you to feel like Verizon is a horrible service. It is not. We do agree that for some people the Big 4 carriers provide good services and each person must weight the pros and cons for themselves before determining if they should consider saving more money by switching to an MVNO. There are many MVNOs available on each of the Big 4 networks and some may be better in your area than others.
What are our overall thoughts? We have been customers of PagePlus for the past 8 years and have been very happy customers! We have truly enjoyed the services from PagePlus and will continue to be loyal customers, although we are not against considering moving to another Verizon MVNO to save even more money in the future!
So…have you tried an MVNO and if so, what have been your experiences?