dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
1206
share rss forum feed


disconnected

@snet.net

[Need Info] iDEN Ending June 30, Must Buy New Phone

I've been with Nextel, and then with Boost Mobile for about 8 years now with my trusty Motorola i450 flip phone. It's the only phone that gets a signal at my house and it only costs me $10 every 3 months to keep it alive. I have about $141 in the account accumulated as of now. I use the phone primarily for emergencies.

In light of the death of iDEN in June, I must either use of the minutes and say good-bye to cellular, or 'upgrade' to a new phone of the CDMA variety. If this is anything like the PCS phones, then I'm in trouble, because there is no PCS signal receivable from the house.

The other issue is the replacement phones, such as the LG Venice, do not have pay as you go by the minute plans. I was on a 10-cent/minute plan with Boost all these years. The Venice, for instance, has a plan that starts at $55/month. There is also a $3/day plan. The problem with these is they are too expensive for my budget (my earnings for 2012 were only $2500 gross). I make a 20-second phone call about once a day. That $3 plan would cost me nearly $90 monthly.

So what other options exist that might enable me to continue to have cellular that I can afford, and a useable signal at the house? I don't need all this data. But my wife already bought me a 'smart phone' for Christmas that didn't work with my AT&T provider, so that went back and she bought the Venice, because it was on the list of phones that Boost will replace my phone with, figuring it'd work, but she didn't consider that the payment plan would change.

At this point, I'm resigned to if I need a phone in an emergency, I'll stop at a gas station and ask to use the phone.



Vchat20
Landing is the REAL challenge
Premium
join:2003-09-16
Columbus, OH

As far as the signal is concerned: If you can find a relatively modern Sprint phone (anything after they dropped the 'PCS' marketing, just to be on the safe side so it is using current bands. I have no clue how much has changed since that era.) even if it is not active and see what kind of signals it reports in your area.

Side note if you are currently with Boost, if they haven't changed policies recently, there are a small handful of Sprint branded phones that can be activated on there if you do not like Boost's own limited selection. Best bet is to take a look at the Boost section of HowardForums. There's a detailed list and FAQ on this. I used to be with them a little over a year ago and had a Moto Sprint Q9C activated no problems. No flashing necessary, at worst the CSR's walk you through manual programming but after that it is straightforward and functions flawlessly.

Worst case if the Boost CDMA scenario is not to your liking, there are many other prepaid providers out there that could suit your needs. I am actually currently with Page Plus (Verizon MVNO) mainly because I was gifted a Droid I wanted to use. They do have a PayGo plan (dubbed the 'Standard Plan' on their site) which has no extra fees and works like Boost's PayGo service. They use Verizon's network and allow roaming on Sprint if necessary at a slightly elevated per minute cost. Plus side is they will activate ANY Verizon phone as long as it is not 4G and any Verizon Prepaid phone that has not been active for 6 months. All Verizon phones will OTA program natively (Dial *228, follow prompts, wait, done) and get you up and running.

Some food for thought. Hope that helps! Kinda sad to see iDEN go, personally. But it was aging, FWIW. I still keep a couple phones around though for the MotoTalk function. Have a functioning digital walkie talkie set even after the Nextel network is shut down!
--
I swear, some people should have pace-makers installed to free up the resources. Breathing and heart beat taxes their whole system, all of their brain cells wasted on life support.-two bit brains, and the second bit is wasted on parity! ~head_spaz



bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·T-Mobile US
·Sprint Mobile Br..
reply to disconnected

Boost will convert your account to CDMA if you buy a new phone. They will also let you use the pay as you go plan that's $0.20 a minute. They don't advertise it online for smartphones but my sister got her i850 converted to the Samsung Galaxy Prevail and when she called in had to get the account switched over and asked to keep her pay-go plan. But if you look at boost coverage map and it shows you aren't covered then there isn't anything you can do.
--



BillRoland
Premium
join:2001-01-21
Ocala, FL
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to disconnected

Your first bet would be to check the coverage maps of the big 4 (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint), unless you have a regional carrier in your area, and see if any of them show coverage at your house. It wouldn't make any sense to convert to Boost CDMA is there's no CDMA coverage where he lives.



Irun Man
Spartan up
Premium
join:2002-10-18
Walden, NY
reply to disconnected

start here

»www.cellguru.net/prepaid_compare.htm

First, you'll need to know what other signal (GSM or CDMA) works best at your location... If Sprint or Verizon CDMA is weak or nonexistent, then AT&T or T-Mobile (or an affiliate) GSM carrier might. Once you have this, find a compatible cheap handset to activate and make a couple test calls. Base the MVNO of your choice on this THEN choose from the options shown on the linked site.

FWIW I use Page Plus (Verizon MVNO with BYOD) that offers voice as low as $0.04 a minute with an $80 refill that's good for a full year.
--
I turned on my computer for this?



disconnected

@snet.net
reply to bobjohnson

Re: [Need Info] iDEN Ending June 30, Must Buy New Phone

Thanks for all the helpful posts.
I didn't know that Boost will convert my account to CDMA, but it's worth trying before I tell my wife to return the Venice phone.
As for signals, my sister in law has a Sprint phone, but it only works if she goes outside on the porch (gets 1 bar).



disconnected

@snet.net
reply to bobjohnson

They're telling me that they only offer the monthly and daily plans for the Venice phone. What should I tell them to get them to offer alternative minutes plans? What is the secret phrase that will get them to step outside the policy?



disconnected

@snet.net

I was out and about shopping and running errands and had the Venice phone with me. Even though it is not activated, the signal indicator provides a running tracking of the coverage. Downtown is pretty good. Even inside Costco, where traditionally it's hard to get service with AT&T.
I confirmed that the tower next to my house is providing signal, as I have 6 bars as I pass the tower, which is 900' from the house. When I turn onto my road, down to 4 bars. In my driveway, down to 1 bar, and I'm staring right at the tower in front of me! I must be in a deep null between cell antennas.
A good friend of mine uses the Wilson signal booster, which she paid $350 for and said it works extremely well for her rural CO location. I may have to go that route one day if things get better economically.
In the meantime, I have communicated with Boost on through e-mails, but they have told me there is no minutes plan for the smart phones. I'll call them on Monday and see if I can push the matter, pointing out that I'm a long time customer for the past 8 years and that I will drop them if they insist on that bloated expensive plan. I could always use the phone as a PDA. It's far more capable than my CLIE was, and about half the weight.
BTW, is there a way to place a call when there is a wi-fi signal but no cell signal? If it's a 'smart phone', it should be able to work that bit of magic.



bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
reply to disconnected

Your phone will work (and not work) in the same areas as the Sprint phone. Sprint includes roaming though, boost doesn't.



bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
reply to disconnected

Yes, they only offer the daily/monthly plans for anything other than feature phones. My sister called and escalated it to management before they would even consider keeping the minute plan.



disconnected

@snet.net

I spent half an hour on the phone with Boost today, but got nowhere. They won't budge.

Oddly enough, my AT&T GoPhone is a LG Android phone and I've got a 10c/min plan there which costs me $25 every 3 months to keep up. That Boost won't do that seems foolish--they are turning away probably many customers with that policy.

At any rate, my GoPhone went swimming with me last August, I did manage to dry it out, but the battery life is measured in minutes now, and I have to keep it on the charger all the time, limiting the usefulness of that phone. Also, it does not have service at the house.

I've been seeing a lot of talk about 'rooting' and 'jailbreaking' phones. I wonder if the LG Venice can be modified with software to make it work on the AT&T system? I like the phone and it's features, but unless I were a young man with a promising career and a steady paycheck, I cannot afford the $55 monthly cost. I just need a phone to make a 20 second call every day, that's about it. The rest of the features are nice, but not worth $55 a month.



bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·T-Mobile US
·Sprint Mobile Br..

said by disconnected :

I spent half an hour on the phone with Boost today, but got nowhere. They won't budge.

Oddly enough, my AT&T GoPhone is a LG Android phone and I've got a 10c/min plan there which costs me $25 every 3 months to keep up. That Boost won't do that seems foolish--they are turning away probably many customers with that policy.

Yes, Sprint and their other companies do not mind sending customers to other companies. Also all the other companies will allow you on per minute plans with android phones with no problems.
said by disconnected :

At any rate, my GoPhone went swimming with me last August, I did manage to dry it out, but the battery life is measured in minutes now, and I have to keep it on the charger all the time, limiting the usefulness of that phone. Also, it does not have service at the house.

I've been seeing a lot of talk about 'rooting' and 'jailbreaking' phones. I wonder if the LG Venice can be modified with software to make it work on the AT&T system? I like the phone and it's features, but unless I were a young man with a promising career and a steady paycheck, I cannot afford the $55 monthly cost. I just need a phone to make a 20 second call every day, that's about it. The rest of the features are nice, but not worth $55 a month.

The LG phone is CDMA and there is no way to make it work with your gophone sim.
--



disconnected

@snet.net

That pretty much settles it then. The phone goes back.

Any recommendations for a good AT&T compatible Android phone? The first one my wife bought in December would not work or could not read my AT&T SIM card. My LG 390 is on borrowed time with short battery life, but does pretty much everything. Could use a sharper screen like the Venice, maybe voice recognition too--found that a very useful feature on the Venice.


bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5

Any unlocked SIM chip / GSM phone with the proper freq. support should work. Find out from ATT which freq. they use in your region, then get a phone that matches.



AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to disconnected

regarding coverage maps, if you use Sprint PTT, you need a solid EvDO (3G) signal.
--
* seek help if having trouble coping
--Standard disclaimers apply.--



disconnected

@snet.net

Thanks. As for coverage, pretty much the only system that works at the house is iDEN. CDMA, PCS, etc., work downtown, but not at the house. I suspect AT&T is up around 1700-1950MHz. No wonder they don't work at the house.. and I'm 900' from the tower!



Selenia
I love Debian
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2

1 edit

AT&T: 700/850/1900 MHz 700 for LTE and 850/1900 for hspa+ edge all being moved to 1900 so avoid a 2G phone. They work well in remote areas with a modern phone.

Verizon: 700/850/1900 MHz. 700 is for LTE and the other 2 for CDMA(1xRTT or EvDO). Great band for LTE but CDMA is mandatory for voice.

T-Mobile: 1700/1900 MHz for hspa+ and EDGE. One reason I think T-Mo currently sticks to more densely populated areas.

Sprint CDMA(Boost Mobile btw). 1900/2300 MHz. Sprint has wide spectrum, but uses bands with poor penetration. 1900 is their CDMA band for 1xRTT and EvDO, as well as some LTE. The spectrum up at 2300 afforded by clearwire is used by WiMax and is said to be planned for LTE use. 2300 has been known for awful penetration, but Sprint could use their vast spectrum there to help offload the spectrum starved 1900 MHz LTE, currently only running on 5 MHz channels(AT&T and VZ use 10 MHz channels)if they play it right.

Bottom line: If you have building penetration issues, I doubt Boost Mobile CDMA will work out for you. I say pick the carrier with low frequencies and a tower near you(prolly AT&T or VZ). Make sure the phone supports it, as not all AT&T or VZ phones support 700 yet(mine does). Some AT&T phones a few years old fail to support 850 on 3G though support it in 1900, so stay with recent phones(less than 2 or 3 years old to be safe). Most phones of theirs support EDGE on 850, even the old ones mentioned, but AT&T has been refarming 850 and pushing EDGE to 1900. So again, avoid 2G phones and some older 3G phones.

Btw you're in an Android forum. Have you considered using Google Voice and VoIP? A few clients work well. I personally use GrooveIP, though I had CSipSimple working well too. Might solve your house coverage issues for staying with Boost. GrooveIP is $5 one time, very reliable, and sounds superb. A SIP line will work too. I have my phone setup to dial with GrooveIP when on Wifi and use Voicemail dialer to dial using GV over cell(even with no data connection). I use AutoAir to pull into airplane mode on wifi and Llama to automate my wifi and other things(with exception rule for being currently on cell call). This avoids double rings and immediately uses my cell forwarding settings and my GV settings to push people who call the real cell number to VoIP though everyone now calls my GV number as I always call from it. Then use the GV app for texting both over wifi and 4G. Just a hint as I would hate to see you waste those Boost Mobile minutes. All carriers have bad coverage inside my house, so my phones would be screwed without it most the time. Besides, AT&T covers this county well. This fills in the gap at home and keeps me happy with my cell.

Good luck!
--
A fool thinks they know everything.

A wise person knows enough to know they couldn't possibly know everything.

There are zealots for every OS, like every religion. They do not represent the majority of users for either.



disconnected

@snet.net

Excellent information about the frequencies used by these carriers--thank you!

iDEN was great (and still is). I have 3-4 bars at the house. I also have an AT&T LG 390 phone, but it probably doesn't do the 850 band, because it has no service inside the house. Works great on the front porch with 4-5 bar signal though.

The LG Venice that my wife bought me for Xmas has no signal in the house. The network identity menu shows a signal strength of -128dBu in the house.. outside it's in the -86 range. Just 900' up the road, standing in the driveway of the cell tower, I get 6 bars.

I've tried to set up Google Voice to use my cell number, but the confirmation call never rings the phone and goes straight to voice mail. If I call the phone from a regular phone, it DOES ring, so something's off kilter with Google Voice's system, so I can't confirm the number and set up an account. But I was thinking along the same lines of using my wi-fi to place calls from home. This new phone is hearing aid compatible, so I can use my hearing aids like Bluetooth devices and be hands free. Something my i450 flip phone can't do. Have to use the wired headset, which gets in the way all the time.

I'm resigned to the lack of signal problem, so I've been looking into a Wilson cell booster system. I'm considering the 801247 Signal Booster from Wilson Electronics, which seems to get good marks from users of the system. This will solve my building penetration problem. But to solve the 1650% increase in monthly bill is another problem entirely. I cannot afford their $55/monthly bills. My present plan with them is costing me $3.33/month and 10 cents/min.