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Cell providers for geeks?
Total Views: 1939 - Total Replies: 4
Jan 09 2010, 8:21 pm - By smthng

Hey all, due to several of our situations changing, our cell phone needs have changed a bit.  We no longer need Activesync, so we can get off of our current plan and dieing phones.  We basically need two phones, and they probably will be radically different.

My Phone:

    Needs unlimited data plan (not 5 gig, but really unlimited)Needs to able to access Gmail and Google calendar using native applications.Has to be able to get contacts from either Google Contacts or Outlook.Needs a qwerty keyboard, although a thumboard would be fine.GSM would be a plus. GPS would be a plus.The bigger the screen, the happier I'll be.
    Native twitter and/or facebook apps would be nice.Must NOT require me to install iTunes (ahem).Ability to tether a laptop would be nice, but not willing to pay extra for a service plan to do so.

Here's the wife's phone requirements:

    Must be relatively easy to use for making calls and storing contacts.Needs a decent camera.Needs SMS messaging.Can't be huge.

 I'm probably looking for something like a Droid, I have no clue what the wife wants.  I think the provider is the most important thing...  The unlimited data is the killer.  We're ok with AT&T right now, but our phones are old and we don't want to commit to two more years with AT&T just to get a phone (AT&T doesn't have any really slick phones right now).

Anyone got any preferences or experiences they care to share?  Oh, we will need nationwide coverage.

'01 Newmar Dutch Star - No name yet, but my wife calls it the Death Star. :S
'06 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - "Teflon" - has to go away soon. :(

'09 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - I call it "Little Tiny Baby Jeep That Needs To Grow Up By About Four Inches", but Dasy isn't really happy about that.

'03 Yamaha TW-200 - "Little Tractor"

FreeCampsites.net - Your source for free camping locations
Jan 10 2010, 3:53 am - Replied by: KevsKnight

We have had real good luck with Verizon, but it won't cover your unlimited data requirement. In fact, I don't know of any carrier that still has unlimited data and has any kind of nation wide coverage. I am fortunate to have unlimited on my two Verizon cards, but I have had them since they first came out (PCMCIA cards :) ).

I think you need to have a look at where you travel mostly and find the best coverage. You are going to be stuck with 5GB limits, so best to get the best coverage. I am using two data plans, and we have never gone over our 10GB (theoretical) limit. We use a load balanced router to keep them loaded equally.

The reason I mention coverage is that some companies are truly covered in some areas. They will advertise it, but will use roaming on someone else's towers. Much time doing that and they will drop you. I found this in Kansas - no Verizon towers where we went, and was in roam all the time.

Your phone will be tough, but for your wife, possibly the phone I currently have would work. I have a Samsung Rogue and have been happy. Slide out keyboard is great. Real good camera. Cheap data plan.

Of course, whatever phone you decide on will depend on what carrier you go with. I suggest going to EVDOinfo.com or 3Gstore.com to do your research. Ping EVDOalex here on the site. He is very knowledgeable with multiple carriers.

Good luck!


I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Jan 10 2010, 3:42 pm - Replied by: Technomadia

About the only way you're going to find unlimited data these days is by finding someone who has a grandfathered in plan from pre-5GB caps who is ready to get rid of it - and taking it over (sometimes including their older device, depending on the carrier).  And usually this has to be done sorta under the table - with you taking over payments on their plan, but not changing the names, etc. on the account. 

For Dasy...  pick her carrier first (Verizon generally is the best nationwide in our experience.. but look at coverage maps of where you anticipate you'll be going), then have her go to the store and fondle the current selections.   If you don't want to commit to a new plan, you might want to consider buying a used phone off eBay. You may pay more for the phone that way - as they're not subsidized - but you can get around being locked into a contract. 

For yourself..  check out the Nokia N900 (anti iPhone geeks are rather liking it), the Palm Pre  (which will soon be on AT&T and has a lot of awesome things announce at CES) along with all the new Android devices that are about the deluge the smartphone space. Google's Nexus One looks pretty sweet too.   Things should be getting interesting this year in that space, and I'm looking forward to my iPhone contract expiring this summer and having choices :)  (I absolutely love my iPhone, for the record - but I get giddy about mobile devices in general). 

One thing I do recommend is having phones on multiple carriers.. as coverage can vary so widely as you travel especially once you get out of major populated areas.  Having different carriers increases your odds that at least one of your phones will have coverage when you need it. 

 - Cherie

Cherie and Chris / Technomads / www.technomadia.com
1961 GM 4106 - Vintage Bus
On the road since 2006 

Jan 15 2010, 12:34 am - Replied by: AmeriRV

We prefer Verizon for the best coverage areas. We also have a Verizon MiFi HotSpot for our computers which we love. DF was drooling over the Droid in the Verizon store, he's going to have to wait on that one. When we can upgrade it'll definately be a 'touch' phone, unless something even better comes out in the next few years! 
Linda & Scott,
Owego, NY
"Don't tread on us"
Feb 13 2010, 8:24 pm - Replied by: smthng

Just a quick update on what we went with...  We ended up switching to Verizon.  I got a Motorola Droid and the wife got a Droid Eris (HTC).  The both require data plans, but it's unlimited.  I am using PDANet to tether the laptop when absolutely neccessary.  While the phones and plans weren't cheap, it appears that you can still get unlimited plans, you just have to fork out for one of the newer phones that pretty much requires constant connectivity (I imagine the same thing applies to the iPhones).


We did a really short post about them on our blog here:



'01 Newmar Dutch Star - No name yet, but my wife calls it the Death Star. :S
'06 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - "Teflon" - has to go away soon. :(

'09 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon - I call it "Little Tiny Baby Jeep That Needs To Grow Up By About Four Inches", but Dasy isn't really happy about that.

'03 Yamaha TW-200 - "Little Tractor"

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