Moving back to the great satan: what kind of phone should I get?

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Moving back to the great satan: what kind of phone should I get?

Postby jdsmith » 07 Feb 2012, 07:26

Some of you may know this already, but for the sake of clarity, I am leaving the splendid rock shortly and headed back to upstate NY.

I am running down my thoughts on pretty much everything and today I got to the "internet access/phone" thing.

The deals that are offered in and around Albany kind of piss me off. I don't want cable TV. I have nearly 2T of movies, music, TV shows, MMA and comics to keep me happy. The deals are all bundled with up and download limits, 200 HD channels of shite to choose from and I have very little interest in figuring out unlimited minutes, shared minutes, night minutes and hourly minutes. :facepalm:

I just got off the FB with a certain baldheaded NZer who travels the globe and posts timelapse vids on FB and he sang the praises of the iphone. I would be lying if I said I did not sport wood.

He told me about the prepaid simcards, some with unlimited data and all that and I am intrigued. I do not use the phone very much here and I doubt that will change much when I am in NY. However, I will NEED a phone of some sort and I will need internet access, skype, etc. Right now, I don't even know if I can use an iphone PAYG in NY.

I'd rather spend the cash up front and get something that will save me money in the long run. I just crunched some numbers and a 90$ bundle would cost me 2000 clams for a 2 year contract, not including other gd fees. An iphone here would run about 20kNT. I don't need to be plugged in online at all times like I am here, but when I want it there, I'll want it now if you know what I mean.

I know some of you here are tech freaks :orz: and I pray you will be gentle with me.

thanks bunches,

jd
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Re: Moving back to the great satan: should I get an unlocked iphone?

Postby PapaAzucar » 07 Feb 2012, 08:28

If you can wait till June-August, iPhone5 should be out by then. If you don't need the latest, the iPhone4s will drop in price when the iPhone5 releases. Just do a search on iPhone5, there are new rumours everyday. I personally am waiting for the iPad3 in March.

At one time, the only reason that you would want an unlocked iPhone in the US is because AT&T was the only provider. An unlocked iPhone lets another carrier provide their service. Now, just about all carriers can provide for the iPhone. Sprint was the only one that I remembered before I left that had true unlimited data plan.

I heard that the Buffalo and NYC have large Taiwanese communities so you can still get taste of Taiwan in NY.
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Re: Moving back to the great satan: should I get an unlocked iphone?

Postby ironlady » 07 Feb 2012, 08:31

There are very few people around here ("here" meaning Upstate NY) who have iPhones without some sort of contractual arrangement with either Verizon or AT&T, the only two carries who currently offer the iPhone. Theoretically, you could probably plug in a TMobile SIM card -- I used to do that with the Palm Treo, and TMobile didn't seem to care.

The other reason people go with a contract arrangement is that you can get a new model phone every few years for less than it would cost to just buy one ($199 versus something like $800).

There are probably prepaid data or phone or combo options available, but generally speaking, as in Taiwan, prepaid is more expensive than contract on a per-minute or per-unit basis. Of course that's not considering the phone cost.

I don't know many people in the US who don't have a cell phone bill in the $60-120 range per phone per month these days for iPhones.

Theoretically speaking, if I were a person who traveled back and forth to Taiwan on a regular basis, I would probably get an iPhone contract with a carrier that served my needs while I was in the US, and then get the phone unlocked quietly, perhaps at a nice shop near Crossgates Mall that would do it inexpensively and quickly. Then I would pop in a local SIM card when I was in Taiwan. All theoretical, of course. :D

Getting an iPhone 5 is nice, but the unlocks and jailbreaks will lag behind, if that ends up being important to you.
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Re: Moving back to the great satan: should I get an unlocked iphone?

Postby jdsmith » 07 Feb 2012, 09:37

PapaAzucar wrote:If you can wait till June-August, iPhone5 should be out by then. If you don't need the latest, the iPhone4s will drop in price when the iPhone5 releases. Just do a search on iPhone5, there are new rumours everyday. I personally am waiting for the iPad3 in March.

At one time, the only reason that you would want an unlocked iPhone in the US is because AT&T was the only provider. An unlocked iPhone lets another carrier provide their service. Now, just about all carriers can provide for the iPhone. Sprint was the only one that I remembered before I left that had true unlimited data plan.

I heard that the Buffalo and NYC have large Taiwanese communities so you can still get taste of Taiwan in NY.

I don't really care for the best of the best of the newest; I just want something that works well when I need it. I rarely use the telephone now and plan on cutting back on my daily online usage when I'm back. I want reliable and cheap for my needs.

When I start jonesing for Taiwanese culture, I think I will just go hiking in the Adirondacks. That'll set me straight. :thumbsup:

ironlady wrote:There are very few people around here ("here" meaning Upstate NY) who have iPhones without some sort of contractual arrangement with either Verizon or AT&T, the only two carries who currently offer the iPhone. Theoretically, you could probably plug in a TMobile SIM card -- I used to do that with the Palm Treo, and TMobile didn't seem to care.

I think it's more than that now. AT&T, Verizon (which seems to be preferred) and T-Mobile for what I read last night.
The other reason people go with a contract arrangement is that you can get a new model phone every few years for less than it would cost to just buy one ($199 versus something like $800).
Yes, however, isn't the contract cost is nearly as much as a bundle of HDTV/internet and cellphone. WTF?
There are probably prepaid data or phone or combo options available, but generally speaking, as in Taiwan, prepaid is more expensive than contract on a per-minute or per-unit basis. Of course that's not considering the phone cost.
That may be better for me though. I honestly don't use the phone all that much.

I don't know many people in the US who don't have a cell phone bill in the $60-120 range per phone per month these days for iPhones.

Right. But then again, are they playing angrybirds and constantly surfing the net all the time? :roll: :lol:
Theoretically speaking, if I were a person who traveled back and forth to Taiwan on a regular basis, I would probably get an iPhone contract with a carrier that served my needs while I was in the US, and then get the phone unlocked quietly, perhaps at a nice shop near Crossgates Mall that would do it inexpensively and quickly. Then I would pop in a local SIM card when I was in Taiwan. All theoretical, of course. :D
I won't be traveling b&f.

Getting an iPhone 5 is nice, but the unlocks and jailbreaks will lag behind, if that ends up being important to you.
I don't even know what that means. :oops:

I think AT&T and Verizon sell the iphone for 100 bucks, but the contract sucks you it to paying for minutes you don't need and then making you buy messaging. Who sends 1000 messages in a month? gtfooh?

I want to simplify. Not poopooing your advice, though, IL, so don't get the wrong idea. I welcome it. I just don't want to buy a Silverado when an S-10 will do. :thumbsup:
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Re: Moving back to the great satan: should I get an unlocked iphone?

Postby mabagal » 07 Feb 2012, 12:20

Prepaid data SIM options in the USA are slim.

Simple Mobile
http://www.simplemobile.com or

AT&T and get an iPad SIM to use in your iPhone. This is an arbitrage from the data rates on their voice plans, so they you will need to tell them you are getting it for your iPad or better yet, bring in a 3G iPad or they may not sell it to you.
http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/devices/ipad.jsp

Neither of these is unlimited. Simple shuts off after 1G, so it's extremely limited. With the AT&T iPad plan you can get up to 5GB for $50, but there is no voice plan, so you'll have to use Google Voice, Skype and What's App or IMO to make your phone act like a phone.

The iPad SIM angle is actually a very workable approach. My girlfriend and I do exactly this when in the States and it works well.

The only unlimited data plan available in the USA now for the iPhone is Sprint. You'll need to get an iPhone with them. This isn't going to work easily for overseas because it is a CDMA phone first, with a locked GSM section, which means it won't work outside Sprint or outside the US without some serious finagling.
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Re: Moving back to the great satan: should I get an unlocked iphone?

Postby jdsmith » 07 Feb 2012, 13:28

The iPad SIM angle is actually a very workable approach. My girlfriend and I do exactly this when in the States and it works well.

How long does the chip last you? Are you on it all the time cutting virtual fruit, or you read the index page on the flob through twice and it's gone? But it you're simply checking/sending emails and uploading pics and videos and skyping for 15 minutes every few days, what then? Should last quite long methinks. :ponder:

Thanks for the patience if these are really dumb questions. :)
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Re: Moving back to the great satan: should I get an unlocked iphone?

Postby mabagal » 07 Feb 2012, 13:45

jdsmith wrote:
The iPad SIM angle is actually a very workable approach. My girlfriend and I do exactly this when in the States and it works well.

How long does the chip last you? Are you on it all the time cutting virtual fruit, or you read the index page on the flob through twice and it's gone? But it you're simply checking/sending emails and uploading pics and videos and skyping for 15 minutes every few days, what then? Should last quite long methinks. :ponder:

Thanks for the patience if these are really dumb questions. :)


I use it as my internet connection when I'm out of the house. For the phone, iPad and laptop. So a lot. 5GB per month is usually enough when in the States, but I turn off some of my Dropbox synching to make sure it stays under when I'm not on a fully unlimited plan.

If you are doing what you are doing, 2GB per month should be enough unless you do a lot of video Skype or upload big photos and videos, in which case you can upgrade to 5GB.
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Re: Moving back to the great satan: should I get an unlocked iphone?

Postby Taigottawanna » 07 Feb 2012, 14:02

If you don't absolutely have to have an iphone, you should look into a prepaid account like Virgin Mobile. They have monthly or pay by the minute plans. Since you don't plan to be a heavy user, your balance accrues (you have to put in least $15/3 months to keep your account active) and you can use it towards the cost of of new phones through their website. I believe they sell phones and "top up" cards through most big box stores, too.

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/


I
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Re: Moving back to the great satan: should I get an unlocked iphone?

Postby jdsmith » 07 Feb 2012, 14:06

mabagal wrote:I use it as my internet connection when I'm out of the house. For the phone, iPad and laptop. So a lot. 5GB per month is usually enough when in the States, but I turn off some of my Dropbox synching to make sure it stays under when I'm not on a fully unlimited plan.

What's a dropbox? Or if I don't know, would I need to know? :lol:

If you are doing what you are doing, 2GB per month should be enough unless you do a lot of video Skype or upload big photos and videos, in which case you can upgrade to 5GB.

OK, so let me get this straight: I buy an ipad and then get a 2-5Gb simcard in NY because if I have an iphone they might not sell it to me, for internet, and skype. check (__)

I use the same simcard, as in take it out and stick it into an iphone and then I have a phone plus internet? Check? (__)

And this is because the ipad does not have cellphone features? So, in this case, I need to buy an ipad and an iphone. Stop.

Do I have that right?

Oh and on a side note, I can just get a PAYG simcard for my old celly and I violah, have a phone in NY. Is that right? Sorry for the tangent, but it seems obvious, so I think I'm wrong. :roll:

What's the best/cheapest combination, do you think?

a) my old cell + PAYG and an ipad +PAYG (no iphone because I'll have a cell)
b)home phone + internet bundle in the house and my old cell phone+ PAYG (because I don't really NEED the internet away from home)
c)iphone and ipad +PAYG (can I get calls from Taiwan then?)
d) screw the home phone and stay with the old cell + PAYG and an ipad+PAYG...eh, that's a) again

oh god, now I think I know what people mean by reverse culture shock.Where's the blow my brains out emoticon? :s
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Re: Moving back to the great satan: should I get an unlocked iphone?

Postby mabagal » 07 Feb 2012, 15:03

Unlike here, PAYG is not the usual way people get cellphone coverage in the USA. So the options are slim.

Here's the logic flow:

1) If you are going to go back to the States for an extended period of around 2 years or more, just sign a contract with AT&T to get a discounted iPhone and 2GB per month. That's the easiest way. You can add on more data or something called "tethering" which allows you to connect your laptop or iPad wirelessly to your iPhone and use the iPhone as an internet connection for the laptop.

2) If you need a PAYG SIM card with data, Simple Mobile is the easiest way. http://www.simplemobile.com. It has a 1GB data hard cap each month and operates on a slower speed network called "Edge" when used in an iPhone.

3) If you need a PAYG and more than 1GB, you should explore the AT&T iPad SIM card option. When I did it, I brought in an iPad since I already had one. Obviously don't buy an iPad just to do this. I am assuming you can simply say you are getting the SIM for your iPad that you left at home and convince them to sell it to you. Then put it in an iPhone. If you do this, you are correct, the iPhone won't have a normal cellular number, but it will have 3G internet access. Since it is connected to the internet, you can use Google Voice and Skype to turn it into a phone. People will simply dial your Google Voice number and Skype will ring on your iPhone and you do the call that way.
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