Save on Wireless

Amazing smartphone strategy

There’s a lot to like about a smartphone — voice and text, together with Internet access and email and apps. But the service is so expensive every month. Is there any way around it?

Yes, there is. Here is how I have smartphone service for under $10 per month: I bought a new, unlocked LG Optimus T for $185 from a well-regarded eBay vendor. I got AT&T prepaid GoPhone service, put $100 on that, and bought 100MB of data for $19.99.

Now, here’s the key: I use as much data as I want without charge wherever there’s free wifi (including my office, my home, and my favorite restaurant). When I’m out of range I use data for any reasonable purpose — but don’t stream any music or videos. The result: 100MB of data lasts a long time. To keep my data current, I roll it over once a month for $4.99. Text + data + voice runs less than $10 a month, on average.

This is not for everyone. If you want instant access to Internet, music and video anywhere — or if you spend a lot of time talking and texting — you’re better off with an unlimited plan.

Finally, for those who think $185 is a lot to pay for a phone and get one “free” with an unlimited plan for only $60 a month: That adds up to $1440 over two years. My approximate expense for those two years is about $240 for service plus $185 for the phone, or $425.

For more on this strategy, here’s a thread with full details that gave me the idea. Update: If you look at this link, you’ll see that AT&T — and others — are trying to eliminate the strategy I’m suggesting. For now, my AT&T limited data plan is still working. If it’s eliminated, I’ll probably go to this T-mobile plan (not nearly as good a deal, but possibly the best that can be had for now).