Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Smartphone Plunge

I went ahead and finally did it - I took the smartphone plunge. It's not that I completely hated my dumbphone; I didn't. And it's not that I was completely enraptured by the smartphones; I wasn't. I like the new, shiny, sparkly electronic gadgets as much as the next person. I really do. However, while I do think iPhones and other smartphones are cool, I was simply unwilling to pay the extra money for data plans each month. In other words, I'm way too cheap to pay for stuff that I know I won't use.

The cheapest iPhone plan from AT&T would cost me $55 per month. That would include 450 rollover minutes, DataPlus 200MB, and $0.20 per text (sending and receiving) and $0.30 for video messaging. In other words, a bare bones plan with a 2 year contract. I hate contracts. Their pay-as-you-go smartphone plans using Android phones would end up costing me $60 per month. Compared to my $20 per month no contract, dumbphone plan with Virgin Mobile, I decided the extra $40 per month was not worth it.

When it came time to add more money to my Virgin Mobile phone, I took a second look at their website. Holy crap, where have I been the last couple of months? For $25 per month (no contract) their Beyond Talk plan includes 300 talk time minutes, and unlimited messaging, data, web and email. Say what? That's right, you heard me: unlimited messaging, data, web and email. If you need more talk time, there are other options. Since Virgin Mobile was acquired by Sprint, VM uses the Sprint network. Suddenly, the world of smartphones seemed affordable. Both hubby and I purchased the LG Optimus V Android phone. It has been alot of fun. Is it a high-end phone? No, it's a middle-of-the-road phone. But, it does everything I want it to do.

That's not to say that everything went off without a hitch. While my husband had no problem swapping phones, I wasn't so lucky. However, once I got a tech on the phone who was willing to take the time to solve my problem, I was up and running within 40 minutes. If you're considering upgrading your dumbphone for a smartphone, or you're tired of plans with a contract, just know that you have other affordable options.

Update 7/25/11: Virgin Mobile has since increased their prices for the Beyond Talk plans. The cheapest Beyond Talk plan is now $35 per month. Still a good deal in my opinion.

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