Monday, December 12, 2011

Followup: T-mobile Pay As You Go

Earlier this year, I wrote about the T-mobile prepaid plans and how you could buy a Web Daypass for $1.50 a day unlimited data. Unfortunately, T-mobile expired the Web Daypass without telling anyone, so now we're stuck with several more expensive plans.

If you're willing to live with 2G speeds, you can pay $2/day for unlimited data, but only over the Edge network. This kinda sucks. For 3G, you now have to pay $3/day for unlimited data. If you're traveling for extended periods and need data all the time but are willing to live with 100 minutes of voice calling (no big deal, since you can always use Skype), then you can opt for the $30/month 100 minutes/unlimited data plan. These are all pre-paid plans, so no contracts.

One of the nice things about the T-mobile pay as you go plan is that if you start off with $100 of credit, that lasts for a year. If you're like me, you don't use anywhere close to 1000 minutes of calling a year (especially with Google voice where you can pick up your land-line if you're at home). What most people don't know is that all you have to do is to "refill" your T-mobile prepaid SIM for $10 any time, and you get extended for another year from the most recent refill! So if you don't call a lot and are usually in a WiFi zone, your mobile phone service could easily be $10/year. I just called T-mobile's customer service and verified that if you switch between the pay-as-you-go plan and the monthly prepaid plans you will retain your gold rewards status (which is what enables the 1 year between renewals).

Republic Wireless is currently trialing a plan for unlimited data and voice for $19/month provided you're mostly in a WiFi zone (note that you have to buy their specific phone --- this is not a bring your own phone service). This is a good price if you don't want to ever think about metering. My experience, though is that the pay-as-you-go T-mobile plans have been extremely cost effective.
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