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Re: [tridroid] Republic Wireless of Cary

From: Chip D.
Sent on: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:05 PM
Dave, we seem to have strayed from a Droid topic into discussing 
commercial cellular plans.  In order to avoid getting in trouble with 
the Moderator (or anyone else) I am going to answer your questions 
here, and then drop the topic.  See my responses inline.

-Chip-

On 11/10/11 00:35 Dave Burton said:
> On 11/9/11, Chip Davis <[address removed]> wrote:
> 
>> We got a flier from Verizon for a $19.99/mo. unlimited talk/text/data
>> cellular home phone access.
> 
> "Cellular home?"  Basically a fixed-point cell phone that you can plug
> home phones into?

Yes.  It seems to have a somewhat better RF engine, being a larger 
single-purpose device unburdened by packaging/form factor constraints, 
battery power, or extraneous apps, and blessed with a large antenna.

>>  We actually signed up to add it to our
>> "Family Share Plane" for $9.99/mo., so both our Droids and all the
>> home phones will share the same pool of minutes.
> 
> Pool of minutes?  I thought you said it was unlimited talk?

There are two options:
   1. Unlimited to anyone on any network ($19.99)
   2. Added to an existing Nationwide Family SharePlan ($9.99)

Since we already had the NFSP for our two Droids, the latter was the 
better option for us.  YMMV.

>> We can't seem to come close to exceeding our allotted minutes because
>> all minutes with other Verizon customers are free, as are all minutes
>> with non-Verizon customers on our "friends&family"­ list.
> 
> Not unlimited, then.

Not on the NFSP, but if you don't use all of your allotment each month 
(as we can't) it is effectively unlimited, is it not?  Again, YMMV.

> How many minutes do you get, and what do you pay
> for them, for two droids and the "home cellular" unit?

Off the top of my head I don't remember how many minutes we share per 
month, but as stated, we don't come anywhere close to using them all up.

My wife and I both travel nationwide quite a bit with our respective 
professions, and use our Droids almost exclusively.  The home phone 
was primarily used to take messages when neither of us was available, 
from folks who don't know us well enough to have our cell numbers 
(telemarketers, trade and professional contacts, etc.).  It also gave 
us 911 access.  For this, we were paying Bellsouth over $70/month 
(local+LD with all the state/federal taxes/fees).

BTW, this was our second phone line.  The primary pair is a DSL line 
to  our home offices, which gives us a hard-wired copper POTS voice 
line in the event of a cellular service disruption.

I don't know off the top of my head what we were paying for the NFSP 
for our two Droids, but the "home cellular unit" will add ~$15/mo to 
that.  Given all the features that are included (caller id, etc. which 
we didn't have with Bellsouth) I think that's a pretty good deal.

>> The home cellular unit is free for a limited time and simply jacks into
>> whatever wired phones you have in your house.
> 
> So it is like a MagicJack Plus or NetTalk Duo, except it uses the
> Verizon cellular network instead of the internet to provide home phone
> service, and except that it costs $20/month instead of $70 for the
> first year, and $30/year thereafter.

Yes, in theory.  The difference is that you get none of the "Skype 
artifacts" that come from sharing your telephony bandwidth with the 
rest of the Internet.  In order for us to use a MagicJack, we would be 
piggybacking our voice lines over the same DSL line we use (sometimes 
heavily) for data.  We live out in the woods near Jordan Lake and do 
not have the fastest DSL available, but it's the fastest DSL offered 
to us.  And forget about cable out here; we're on well/septic and 
big&small dish satellite.  (Don't even mention HughesNet within my 
earshot unless you are capable of withstanding a withering excoriation 
of that "service".)

> Seems very pricey, to me.

As I said, YMMV.  I simply wanted to point out an alternative at the 
same price point ($20).  _We_ are saving quite a bit of money.

> If you have Internet service, you could save a LOT more with MagicJack
> Plus or NetTalk Duo or Ooma.

We have friends who have that sort of VOIP connection.  The ones who 
have it bundled with their FIOS service are happy.  The ones who do 
not, are not.  Those are the ones who can use the phone or the 
computer, but not both happily at the same time.  TCP/IP was not 
designed to consistently deliver voice packets.

> Verizon's cheapest plan is $40 for 450 minutes/month, plus extra$ for
> text and extra$ for data, and massive overage charges if you exceed
> 450 minutes of talk.  How is that comparable to the Republic Wireless
> $20/mo deal?
> 
> For two Republic Wireless Android phones + a NetTalk Duo or MagicJack
> Plus, you'll pay about$280 up front, plus an average of about $50/mo
> thereafter (plus the cost of your Internet service), with no danger of
> nasty surprises on your bill.  Your Verizon package sounds comparable,
> except that it isn't unlimited.  What does it cost you?

As I said, I don't have the numbers with me (I'm on the road) but my 
penny-pinching scientist wife and CFO did several spreadsheets of 
options and came up with the "cut our phone bill to 40% of what we're 
paying now" figure.

> BTW, today I went to the Republic Wireless (broadband.com) office, and
> tried to buy a phone.  No dice.  A pleasant young man named Zach at
> the front desk IM'd someone, and was told that I can't do that, I may
> only sign up via the web site -- which is temporarily not accepting
> new customers.  :-(
> 
> I also asked two questions that he didn't know the answers to:
> 
> 1. Can I port another phone number to them?
> 
> 2. Do they "hand off" conversations between WiFi and Sprint-CDMA
> without dropping calls?  (I'm told that T-Mobile's "WiFi Calling"
> drops the call & you have to redial when you stray outside the WilFi
> range.)

So, you're asking me to defend my decision to accept a published and 
readily available offer from a major telecom who has a massive network 
and over 80 million customers, against a start-up reseller from whom 
you can't even open an account?  :-/

As I said, YMMV.

I now relinquish the floor to more fruitful discussion of Droid-ophilia.

-Chip-

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