Anybody get phone and internet simple and cheap? What's your story?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by svejkovat, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. svejkovat

    svejkovat Been here awhile

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    Any of you who have dropped your landline and saved? Usually it's a break even, but I'd like the convenience of being able to leave the house with a cell phone. Never owned one before. What I'd really like to know is if anyone connects to the web via their mobile web service.

    I live in west Michigan and pay about 130 dollars for unlimited long distance landline phone, cable internet, and HD cable television (with pretty much no on demand content to speak of unless I opt for more expensive packages). 80 percent of the television content is unmitigated crap and filler. And the extra remote (there are three of them now to control the blu-ray player, television, and cable box) and Charter GUI is a nightmare of bizarrely unintuitive hurdles.

    That price is a bargain compared to a lot of monthly bills I hear about. But I'm a pretty boring guy and really, really, miss simplicity.

    I don't watch a lot of television but it's a 50" plasma and I definitely like HDTV occasional sports and quality movies when I watch them. I have the 7.99 netflix package which serves me ok.

    I don't own a cell phone and have no real interest in learning how to text message or send photos via phone. I never use more than (guessing) 400 minutes a month of phone service on my landline.

    www.tvfool.com OTA signal calculator indicates that I'm a very good candidate for getting all major HD OTA broadcasts as well as public television out of the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo area. I just ordered a 50 dollar AntennaCraft (after lots of research) antenna from Amazon. Gonna put it 10 above my roofline and paint it to blend in with the trees. I should (I'll let you know in a week if anyone is interested) get 10 to 13 channels, about 6 of them HD, reliably. I program these into my favorites via remote. I'm back to surfing 12 channels. Bliss. I connect a powerful HP workstation PC to the television via a 25ft (under floor) HDMI already, so I'm discovering a whole world of interesting documentaries, public domain films, etc.

    Cutting TV service saves sixty dollars each month on my Charter bill. That leaves me 70 dollars per month to find cell phone service with a reasonably fast (even 500 to 1000K is fine) internet access via laptop usb connection to the phone's mini usb. Not all phones allow this. Not all plans provide it. The guy at Best Buy yesterday claimed he didn't know what I was talking about and never heard of USB connecting a PC to the web via cell phone. Google suggests otherwise.

    This is equal parts being a cheap bastard, wanting to simplify my life, and appreciating the convenience of having a mobile phone to carry with me for emergencies.

    Anyone have experience here?
    #1
  2. Dismount

    Dismount Boring bastard

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    It's called tethering.

    Asking someone at a bestbuy something is about as effective as asking paris hilton for advice on how to gut a fish.

    With the amount of content available online, I can't see any reason to ever have television via cable again.

    You can look at gadgets like boxee, and roku if you're having trouble dragging the content in via pc, or you have a large digital library and want a nice shiny interface to access it.

    Our local internet access speeds are steadily climbing, with 20/2 now being available. That's the only thing I don't want to cut down on, as it's how I drag in 100% of my info/entertainment.
    #2
  3. svejkovat

    svejkovat Been here awhile

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    Right. I posted without even thinking first about that. Guess I contradicted myself in suggesting that I wouldn't mind a 1000K connection, and then next paragraph mentioned that I connect to the plasma via hdmi for streaming content. Hah. Good luck with that, eh?

    So I guess the cable internet has got to stay. It's actually pretty good at my location at 15 to 30gb.

    I may drop the landline and go for the 30/month 'straight talk' plan with free phone (you can ask for free refurb motorola W418G via their website). Heard they suck horribly, but with my spare phone needs I'll never notice.
    #3
  4. Buzz363

    Buzz363 Been here awhile

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    Keep the internet and dump your tv cable and phone. Use a MagicJack or equivilant for VOIPing for your home phone then download any tv shows from the net. The MagicJack gives you free calling anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, works pretty well although I hardly use my phone anyway (Wife seems to think it's o.k.).
    #4
  5. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    +1 for dumping television/landline.

    I've got mobile and internet bundled through qwest... Droid phones can be rooted and tweaked to allow tethering without the provider whacking you another $20 for the "feature". I've got 2GB per month, what's it to you if I use it through a computer or the phone... 450mins/2GB runs me $60-ish.
    I've really gotta try to burn all 2GB in a month through the phone. A daily browsing session's good for about 70MB, that's going through a few forums, one or two youtube videos, and IRC/email/chat. I'll save the 3-hour naked webcam chats for when I'm at home.

    Home internet... well, phone service at my house blows. I'm lucky to see 1X data anywhere in my house, phone calls are crackly and drop in a minute or two. I rarely make phone calls anyways, Google Voice is free VOIP... i'll use that to order pizzas or call someone if it's going to be more than a minute or two. So I've got a 1.5M DSL connection at home. It's ~$20/mo.

    TV sucks anyways. My parents have it. Hotels have it. Most of what's played on there is commercials. Really don't see why people pay for that. A lot of the shows you can find online for free. Hook a computer up to your television and stream it through your home internet tubes.

    Landline phone. With the availability and cost of cellular or VOIP, why hassle with being tethered to a few ports in the wall? Not saying a wired telephone line is bad, but I certainly don't see the need for a "home phone" for voice calls anymore. :dunno
    #5
  6. pilot

    pilot Slacker Moderator Super Moderator

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    I killed the land line and cable tv a couple months ago. I use ATT Uverse for internet and Verizon for cell phone service. Verizon has a deal going where they double the data to 4 gig, same price.

    I also use an OTA antenna for broadcast tv. I get 25 channels here, but four of them are religious, so I really get 21. Of those, I watch about half. Interestingly enough, PBS has three broadcast channels here with two you just can't get from any other source here that I can find.

    Right now, all I miss is ESPN. I have a Roku box, so I get Netflix and Hulu+ along with a bunch of other channels. You can get "private" channels with the Roku. Some are okay, some are interesting, some are crap. Over all, I'm happy with the setup.
    #6
  7. MrBob

    MrBob Certified Geezer

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    I don't know if this directly answers your question, but I haven't had a land line for the last three years. I buy refurbished or new cell phones on eBay and currently have an iPhone 4. My cell service is with Page Plus Wireless. They buy time on Verizon's network. I don't have a contract and each month buy what I think I'll need for minutes. Usually, this is their 29.99 monthly plan which includes 1200 minutes, 3,000 texts, and 100mb of data. They have a yearly plan which is a one time payment of, I think, 80 dollars for, I think, 2,000 minutes which is good for a year at a time.
    I'm finding that 3G networks are pretty wide spread now and wifi is not far behind so I can get online almost anywhere. I just finished riding from Florida to Colorado and was able to check the weather wherever I was as I dealt with tornadoes and severe storms. The GPS function of the phone was a constant help.
    It's important to remember to program your cell phone every month or two for best reception.
    #7
  8. MikeFromMT

    MikeFromMT Past Tense

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    Not for long, the newest updates eliminate the ability to root, it will actually "unroot" your phone (not an issue as far as the OP is concerned) also you can get easytether for free (10 bucks for the full version) and not have to deal with the $20 per month ass reaming from Verizon. :deal
    #8
  9. JamesG

    JamesG Rabid Poster

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    Or you can ditch it all and mooch free internet from your neighbor's wireless router or off McD's, *Buck's, & hotel's WiFi. :evil
    #9
  10. Dismount

    Dismount Boring bastard

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    I didn't think about those. Haven't had a home phone in years. You're right though, they work just fine.


    And cheaaaaaap :lol3
    #10
  11. svejkovat

    svejkovat Been here awhile

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    Seems like this stuff is very much value added to anyone willing to dig, dig, and keep digging. Been researching this for a few days now. What do you think of these comments on this device....?
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...ice+Over+IP)-_-Cisco+Systems++Inc.-_-33150031

    Sounds like the best of many options. This is described elsewhere as a "BYOD" (bring your own device) circumventing many of the lures and snags built into many of the VOIP (you still need some form of voip provision for this device i believe) service providers, and you are freer to move from one provider to another by using such a device in order to 'shop around'.

    Anybody have experience with this, or similar?
    #11
  12. svejkovat

    svejkovat Been here awhile

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    Just found myself Googling

    "BYOD VOIP for the home"

    Will this stuff forever trend toward greater complexity?

    Here's a response from another forum. That Ooma service sounds pretty damn promising.


    I can get 30mg download speed unlimited broadband from Charter for 29.95/mo. No setup fee (already a connected customer). That is base price without any bundling.

    I can keep my old number and hook up to Ooma or Voipo for about sx dollars a month for about the amount of time I presently spend on the phone,

    I'm connecting HDTV via OTA for the price of an antenna (50dollars) and 100ft of RG6 high quality coax with connectors (20dollars).

    So far so good I think. So much the better if I could discover a cell phone provider that would offer me a competing option of simply BYOD and paying for only my minutes used without expiring prepaid minutes or monthly "fees". Have to keep looking.
    #12
  13. AkBrian

    AkBrian Long timer

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    As far as a simple cheap cell phone for occasional use goes, you can't beat prepaid phones. I pay $100 for 6 months and 1500 minutes of voice, text, or low tech mobile web (not smart phone web) with Net10. unused minutes are carried forward as long as you add to the phone before the service expires. If you only use voice, and need fewer minutes tracfone will be cheaper yet. Where I live, they use the AT&T network. It only works in the USA, but it's possible to call outside the USA for 1.5 minutes/minute.
    #13
  14. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    Since I don't use a phone much I have a Tracfone which costs $20 every 3 months. I can access the web and email with it when needed. For internet I use a Virgin Mobil USB thingee attached to my netbook that costs $20 per month for 1 gig data. If I turn off pictures in the browser except for the ones I want to see I can use the web several hours per day. It all works great for me being retired and traveling a lot.
    #14