When I thought of cell phones, I knew I wanted the service of Verizon. In our area, that really is the only thing that has decent service. My husband did some research and finally convinced me that Verizon is not the only way to go. He is sharing with you today what he shared with me.
My wife had been a long time customer of the cellular giant, Verizon, but I have always hated contracts. Call it a commitment issue (I call it being cheap), but I like to keep MY money in MY pocket. I had Verizon back in the day, but hated paying almost $50 a month for a single phone. Long story short, I paid out of the contract. I have used several prepaid cellular companies (Tracfone, Net10, and Virgin Mobile) since that time and have had ok service with them, but the one downside has always been coverage. Living in a rural area, where the nearest tower is 3 miles away, service is shoddy at best, unless you choose to pay $50+ a month for Verizon.
After my wife and I were married, we had the opportunity to go back into the Verizon network, but at a discounted group rate through a business plan. We decided to try it. After a month being on the plan, we were told that we would have to be on our own plan as the business needed the extra lines. My wife and I calculated the costs. Wow! $100-120 for two of us to have BASIC phones would not cut it! We had no land line phone and needed good coverage with good service. My wife and I refused to pay big bucks, but I knew I would NEVER convince a long time Verizon customer that it was ok to cut the cord. (You are probably thinking the same thing right now.) As a previous prepaid consumer, I knew there had to be an option out there that was just as reliable as Verizon, but at a cheaper cost. I only had to convince my wife of this, however. No easy task!
The search began. My criteria included: good service/coverage in our rural area, cheap, no contracts, and able to keep the same phone number. Almost all of the prepaid providers are good inside of larger towns, but migrate away from those areas and you have nothing more than a paperweight. The ONLY company that matched all of my criteria was PagePlus Cellular. This is a company I had never heard of before, but decided to do more investigating. After weeks of researching and comparing, deliberating whether or not it was wise to consider going away from Verizon, we bought a cheap, previously owned, Verizon phone and tested it out. (Any phone that has been used on Verizon, or that is equipped to work on Verizon’s network, will work on PagePlus.)
The result...it operated on the Verizon network!!!!! I could not believe it. There had to be a catch! There had to be a loophole that Verizon does not know about or something. The catch is this...the company, PagePlus, had signed an agreement that they will not use Verizon’s name in any dealings with their customers, and that they will not “knowingly allow the use of iPhone or Blackberry devices” on their network. That’s it! The NAME of the giant is not allowed. To me, that little catch is not a hindrance at all! The one little agreement with Verizon about the use of an iPhone or Blackberry is what scares off a few people; however, these phones will still work on their network, and data speeds (3G only) are equally comparable to Verizon because it is Verizon’s network.
So what are our thoughts on being customers of PagePlus? I personally could not be happier. We are using the same phones that we used while on Verizon, and whenever we want to change/upgrade our phones, all we need to do is go to eBay, or another PagePlus dealer, and buy a good quality used Verizon phone. I have an iPhone 4 and I love it. The same great Verizon service at a fraction of the cost. Great service, great price, and no contract! Who could argue with that!?
1) The coverage...as discussed earlier, it is the same as Verizon. See for yourself if you do not believe me. Page Plus Coverage vs Verizon Wireless Coverage. It’s the same map!
2) The cost...with Verizon for 2 basic phones on their Share Everything plan is $110 per month ($30 for each phone x 2 phones + $50/month for Shareable data). If one person has a smart phone, that cost increases to $120/month. So, on their basic plan, with their cheapest phones you are looking at the following equation ($110/month x 24 month contract = $2640). Note: that cost does not include their “hidden fees and surcharges”. And guess what, their prepaid plans are the same cost! Whoa! Who wants to pay that?! You may be saying, “we have no choice!” But wait...with PagePlus there are other options. You can have monthly renewable plans starting at $12/month (The 12) or up to $69.95/month for unlimited talk/text and 5gb of data! But the options are not limited to monthly use. What if you are only in need of a phone for emergencies? (i.e. senior citizens, little children staying at a friends house, etc.) PagePlus has you covered yet. Just buy a PIN! For $10, you can have available 100 minutes of talk time for 120 days of service. Texting can still be done on the PINs but half a minute is deducted for each text sent/received.
PagePlus offers many different options for plans. My wife and I like the Talk-n-Text 1200 plan. We get 1200 minutes of talk, 3000 text messages, and 250mb of data for $29.95/month. I know I know, many people feel that they NEED Unlimited Everything, but the truth is, many cell phone users do not hit 1200 minutes of talk, or 3000 text messages per month. (And, 250mb of data is not much, but you learn to control accessing the internet, and find time for more constructive things, like actually talking to people!) For data, I mostly am on my cell phone inside of WiFi networks, so I rarely even touch the data portion of my plan. So, what will PagePlus cost us? Minus the initial cost of the cell phones... $29.95/month for each phone x 2 phones x 24 months = $1437.60. And yes, that is the biggest reason we switched to this company! A savings of >$1200 per 2 year contract. No hidden fees or surcharges! We signed up for an automatic payment plan through PagePlus which raises the cost per month to $31.97 per line. That is still a whopping savings! PagePlus does offer a plan that is unlimited talk and text with 2gb of data for $55/month, which would put you right at the same cost of the Verizon basic plan (without additional hidden fees), but unless you need unlimited everything, there is no reason to pay for more than what you need.
3) No contract! Not much to say about this other than I am grateful we will not need to pay out of contracts any time soon!
1) In my opinion, there are two small cons. The first is no Visual Voicemail (iPhone exclusive), however voicemail still works without a hitch. My solution, either use Google Voice as my voicemail (great service and free), or just call my voicemail everytime I have a missed call. No big deal. The other con (once again can be dealt with) is when you first sign up with PagePlus, an automated voice announces your current minutes before you make a phone call. This can be annoying, but if you do not need the reminder, or find it frustrating, you can call PagePlus and have it removed. This can be a help or hindrance, depending on how you look at it.
2) One item that my wife has missed is that of “My Verizon”. This is the service that provides a back-up in the “cloud” of all of your numbers, account information, etc. Instead of using this service (that you really pay for in the long run) there are free apps available that allow you to manage this (like Google Voice). The only other item that I wish PagePlus would improve is their customer service. PagePlus is located in Toledo, Ohio, and their customer service is based there, but if you plan on getting in touch with someone, be prepared to wait for an hour on hold. Communication is done best through email, I have found, or contact a PagePlus dealer.
Ok, I know you are wondering, “is he done rambling yet?” The conclusion is finally here!
Overall, my wife and I have enjoyed the benefits of the Verizon network, but we did not want to pay the exorbitant fees included with being a customer of theirs. Cost, coverage and service are fantastic with PagePlus and as long as they are providing cell phone service under Verizon, at a fraction of the cost, we will remain loyal customers to them.
~ Mr. NotAfraidOfTheSnow