matt | May 15, 2014
So, Verizon is expensive. Like, stupid expensive. However, they have the best coverage of all of the major carriers, and since I live in a rural area, that kind of means I’m stuck.
Enter Page Plus Cellular. They’re a prepaid cellular provider who buys time on Verizon’s network, so it’s the same network, but different plans. Since Liz and I barely ever use our phones, we are now on “pay as you go” plans, bringing us down from over $100 a month to somewhere in the ballpark of $50 a quarter (depending on usage).
It is also a bring your own device provider, but they only guarantee that their phones will work. However, they also have a large dealer network, and Page Plus Direct (more on them later) maintains a list of compatible phones.
One big caveat – 4G phones are not allowed on their network – those are reserved for Verizon’s customers (and, not their prepaid ones either). (More on this later).
Anyway, Liz’s old phone ported over easily. It’s an old enough iPhone that she could just give them the numbers and it worked just fine.
For my first round, I bought a Huawei Ascend Plus, which also worked just fine.
So, that brings me to the phone. After using it for a couple of weeks, I realized that, while it is a very capable value phone, it is indeed a value phone. The amount of RAM is has is minimal and mostly consumed by the running of the OS, and the amount of storage is equally minimal – once you install more than a couple of apps, you run out of space and can’t install anymore.
I wanted something a little more out of a smartphone, so I put the word out about wanting a used phone (had I thought it through a little more, I would have just bought a used phone through Page Plus Direct initially, but I didn’t). A friend’s daughter was switching to AT&T and therefore had a surplus Samsung Galaxy S3 which I bought from her, and then proceeded to convert over.
My full notes are here, but the gist of it is that I:
- Had Page Plus Direct change the phone associated with my account to the newly purchased one.
- Used Wireless Workshop to flash the phone (Page Plus Direct page on it). The reflashing was necessary in order to reprogram the 4G phone to work as a 3G phone. All in all, pretty simple, and now I have a Galaxy S3 for which I only pay about $25 a quarter (give or take).
Also of note – the folks at Page Plus Direct were really helpful. I had some questions about how all this worked, and a guy named Reed helped me out quite a bit, even though it was only going to mean the $5 ESN change.