Wednesday, May 25, 2016

One Less Cellular One

Is it news that another Cellular One disappears?  This year Cellular One of Eastern Illinois sold out to AT&T.  The loss of a very small carrier doesn't move the needle and should mean improved service for Illinois wireless customers.  We expect moderate upgrades including more 4G - LTE coverage in exchange for adopting AT&T plans and prices.

The Cellular One Illinois network has excellent rural coverage and should serve AT&T customers well.  In past years we had hoped that all these small carriers would hook up with each other to create a viable fifth or sixth network but now we feel fortunate to have four major carriers.  Our friends in Canada still dream of having a fourth national carrier so, while we read the writing on the wall for the remaining small carriers, we'll enjoy the good things we have.

Make sure when considering a new or cheaper source for wireless service, check the entire list of carriers that serve your neighborhood on our local cellular pages.  Choose while you can.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Sale on Plans at Page Plus

My family has several Page Plus phones.  Three of these phones have Auto-Refill and, after recently adding a new 'glove-box' phone, I discovered that Page Plus is offering a new discount for Auto-Refill.  Some of these discounts are as much as 16%!  Even if you already have Auto-Refill on your plans, you can delete the old refill, re-add it, and you'll get the new price.

Page Plus is an America Movil Prepaid and offers some of the lowest-priced plans for both Pay-As-You-Go and Monthly plans, including Data.  They occasionally offer Auto-Refill discounts on other America Movil accounts, but you may miss it, especially if you already have Auto-Refill.  We don't get any compensation for this tip (although we do offer Discount Page Plus Refills at Mountain Prepaid), but the more popular these deals are, the more Page Plus can afford to do these promotions.

If you have an old Verizon phone, Page Plus is one of the least expensive ways to maintain a second or low-cost wireless account.  While Page Plus charges for roaming off the Verizon Wireless network, that rarely happens, and some Prepaids don't allow off-network roaming at all.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Installing a Wireless Home Phone

For years we've supplied information about going totally wireless at home, and this week we helped a family member do just that.  He rents his apartment for part of the year and the management company requires a "fixed" phone hanging on the wall or the counter.  We happened to use the Straight Talk Wireless Home Phone, but you can also use replacements from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Net10, Sprint, and some 3rd party suppliers. Straight Talk does indeed cut your phone bill in half...his monthly charge went from $32 to $16, including taxes and fees.

The model we used is the Straight Talk Huawei H223C ("C" as in CDMA) which is available at Walmart and directly from Straight Talk.  The "C" models use the Verizon Wireless network. Prices range from FREE to $50.  Our friend bought a new model at for $30 and then a backup refurbished unit for FREE for the price of a $15 refill card from Straight Talk.  Following the instructions in the box he was good to go within minutes. He filled the new phone with the refill card and set up Auto-Fill after that.  He started with a randomly-assigned number but later "ported" his wired line number to the new wireless box.  Straight Talk's customer service accomplished this fairly easily.

His tryout period gave him a chance to use the line like a short term renter with Call Forwarding and Voice Mail disabled.  Straight Talk was able to disable just those features and still allow Free Long Distance, Caller ID, Call Waiting, and 3-Way Calling.  After porting, his outgoing Caller ID changed from his billing name to just the calling location, another plus.

Overall, everything worked as planned.  Downsides include call quality that isn't quite as good as a landline, and when there is no answer, incoming callers hear, "The Verizon Wireless customer is not available..." which occurs after 30 seconds, or about 6 rings.  Who lets it ring more than 4 times?  The Huawei box is semi-hidden in a cabinet.  Most renters use their own cell phone but this option fulfills all the needs of the program and saves almost $200 a year.  We'll help you do all this at the Mountain Wireless Cut the Cord Page, with deals at the Moose Wireless Home Phone Page.