Jun 172016

While I am living up in the cold, dank, rainy north for the moment, the place I am staying in does have it’s perks.  One of which is broadband internet.  But, I haven’t been using it because there is no wifi available for said broadband, until now.

I’ve been paying Sprint an unDarwiny amount of money every month for internet and iPhone.  If you have been following the Fritter you are well versed in my many issues with getting and maintaining a decent internet connection both on land and sea.  My current solution using a Sprint hotspot device and unlimited data and phone with the iPhone has been the more better solution.  I’ve been able to keep a connection just about everywhere I go and it seems to work ok.  But…

It’s expensive as all hell.  I am a heavy internet user.  Comes with the territory.  I use well over 30gb of data a month to keep my evil empire going and it has cost me plenty.  Over $200 a month.  With yet another bill coming up next week I decided I needed to come up with something cheaper, at least whilst I am stuck up north.  So I started doing some research and this is what I’ve come up with so far.

For the internet, I went out and purchased a router for the modem which provides broadband.  Turns out, getting a wifi signal is pretty easy.  This is the router I got:

It’s very simple and comes with all one needs to set up.  It took longer to get the damn thing out of the box than it did to set up. I now have high speed internet, basically for free, and I don’t have to drop so much money on Sprint.

I am keeping my hotspot with Sprint, I just reduced the amount of internet I am paying for every month to a more manageable level.  I want to keep it in case I happen to be traveling and need quick connection.  Later on, when I move back to the island, I can reinstate the previous levels if needed and keep a connection going.  For now though, the router setup will work fine.

As for the iPhone, I have some other decisions to make.  Right now I’m dropping $90 a month for unlimited calls/text/data.  I use a lot of data but no texts and last month I made all of 6 phone calls.  Most of my communications are by email, message, or right here.  I hate talking on the phone anyways.  It just seems to be wasteful to be dropping so much money on things I don’t use…much like my ex-girlfriends.

So, I’ve been constipating about which way to go here.  My contract with Sprint is long paid off so I can stop the cell phone plan anytime I want without any penalty.  If I do so, I can still use the iPhone with all the available features except of course, cell calls.  Everything else will work off a wifi signal, of which there are always plenty to be found so in essence, I would have a glorified iPod.  I could set up an account with somebody like Skype, buy a phone number for a few bucks a month and still be able to make calls when needed.

The issue with all this is if I end the Sprint contract, I lose my current phone number.  It’s not for sentimental reasons but I would prefer to keep said number as I have it for my contact number on all the sites I use.  I’m lazy and would rather not to have to spend a day going through dozens of accounts to change a phone number.  Skype does not allow porting in a number although some other voip companies do.

I could also park the number.  There are a few options available here and some will not only park your number but forward, by email, any incoming messages.  All for just a few bucks a month.  It may be the best solution for what I want to do.

Come winter the new iPhones will be out and I plan on replacing my 3 year old 5S.  It’s been a very good phone but the time to upgrade is approaching.  When I get said iPhone I could reinstate the old number should I decide to spend the money and get another setup with Sprint or one of the other carriers.

I figger if I can drop Sprint for now, not only will it save some substantial money, it will also give me a chance to see how well the iPhone works as a wifi device only.  Should I be happy with the results, by the time I upgrade to a new iPhone, I’ll just get one unlocked without a carrier and move on.

When one travels as I do, and plans on more travel, keeping a decent internet connection is a constant issue.  Something I have been struggling with for years.  I’ve spent way too much money to obtain said connections, usually with less than satisfactory results.  My current set up with Sprint has been the best so far, just expensive.  By going with the router and wifi here where I am staying, and cutting back on the iPhone plan, I’ll be able to maintain internet and not spend a fortune.  Hopefully by next year, I won’t need to spend near as much time online and be able to cut any future bills down to size.

It’s a constant battle between finding the right combination of decent connections and affordable prices.  As always, I’ll be looking at all alternatives.

Capt. Fritter

  2 Responses to “Always Trying To Save A Buck…”

  1. “It’s a constant battle between finding the right combination of decent connections and affordable prices.” Boy, you got that right! Nowadays, when my phone rings, it’s not usually something I want to answer. Our daughter is pretty much the only one I answer and if I don’t she sends me a text most of the time anyway. But, it never occurred to me I might be able to save money by getting rid of the voice part.

  2. Look into prepaid plans. I’ve been with T-Mobile for about five years and it’s worked out pretty well.

    They transferred my number from Verizon without any difficulties. $100 gets me 1000 minutes of talk / text at 10 cents per minute / text; picture messages are 25 cents. Minutes are good for a year and $100 usually lasts me 3 – 4 months. If you’re into it, they also support WiFi calling which will save you money. Data isn’t included but is available separately. Since I’m a very light data user WiFi is fine with me but your mileage may very.

    The biggest downside has been coverage / roaming. T-Mobile doesn’t have a huge network so some places obviously require roaming. Generally it’s not a problem but very occasionally they don’t have roaming agreements in place and your phone will either not connect to a competing carrier, or it will but it won’t let you do anything but call 911. In NYC I couldn’t connect to AT&T’s network but out west I could with no problems. I haven’t had problems with this in the past few years, but I also haven’t been back east in a few years.

    Overall I’ve been very happy with the arrangement. T-Mobile would obviously prefer I move to a post-paid plan but I like controlling when I give them money and the fact that they don’t know my name, address, email, or SSN is a huge bonus.