Looking for advice for getting phones and plan for the kids

Discussion in 'Smartphones' started by jigwashere, May 6, 2017.

  1. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    My kids are 12 and 14, and with all our activities we need to consider getting smartphones and plans for them. Of course, they've been begging us for years, and I'm getting the point where I'm ready to relent. I'm wide open to various options ranging from individual prepaid to family plans.

    I'm on Sprint SERO with my Nexus 6. My contract goes through 6/12/18. Highlights:
    • 500 anytime minutes
    • Unlimited Any Mobile, Anytime
    • Unlimited SMS
    • Unlimited Data
    • $50/month plus tax ($57.03)
    My wife is on Sprint 1GB High Speed Data Share with her iPhone 6S. She's out of contract. Highlights:
    • High speed data drops after 1GB. She rarely exceeds this and never complains. :)
    • Unlimited Anytime Minutes
    • Unlimited Messaging
    • $40/month plus tax minus employee discount ($40.35)
    My son has 850 minutes remaining on his TracFone flip phone. The minutes expire 10/17/2017. Highlights:
    • The phone is pocketable
    • If the phone is damaged or lost, nobody's going to cry
    • At the rate he's using minutes, my cost is around $7/month
    Lowlights:​
    • Texting is nearly impossible
    • No music to listen to while he walks the dog
    • His peers all have smartphones, most of them for years
    My daughter has no phone. Most of her peers has smartphones.

    My mother-in-law lives with us, now. I've got her on Consumer Cellular using a Doro PhoneEasy 626. Monthly costs vary a bit, but average about $20. My wife thinks she should have an iPhone so she could text and FaceTime, but I think the flip phone is perfect for her. She's not pushing for a change. :)

    Here are some options I've considered:
    • Boost and Virgin sometimes have a $150 sale on the 32GB iPhone SE. I'd get this for my kids.
    • Switch my Nexus 6 to Google's Project Fi, then get a smartphone my son could use on my SERO account.
    • Add my kids to my wife's Sprint plan, but I'm not sure what phone to get them.
    • Maybe Ting has something
    Thanks for your suggestions!
     
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  2. Dngrsone

    Dngrsone One Serious Wiku

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    Well, I just picked up five phones with Verizon with insurance on all of them and 12GB/mo shared and out the door I'm paying $258, so what you have now is about half that.

    I'd say invest in a pre-paid smart phone for your son, and maybe give his old one to the daughter as a starter. If she can take care of that one for a year or two, then she can get a smartphone herself.

    I had milked a Sprint unlimited data family plan along for almost a decade, and I ended up saving money by going to Verizon (while still adding a line, no less), but I am stuck with five phones for the next two years.

    You should take the networks available into account as well: not only was I paying $300/mo for four phones with Sprint, but the coverage in my area was dismal. I get strong signals wherever I go now with the big V, and I'm getting a little spoiled.

    The biggest problem I had was teaching the family to budget their data, but that only took a month and a half.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  3. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    I tell ya, when I was 14, my only internet access was on a Pentium 75mhz, Win 3.1 on a 56.6kb modem, calling into Prodigy. A cellphone was a bag phone, and not a single kid I knew had one. How times have changed. :)
     
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  4. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    When I was 14, I was lucky to have 2 cans and a string. ;)

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
     
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  5. Dngrsone

    Dngrsone One Serious Wiku

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    I was going to say... at that age I was learning BASIC on a TRS-80 Model III and the internet was little more than a dedicated link to the local college mainframe.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  6. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    At that age our home phone was shared on a ''party line''. Three families on our country road had different ring sounds to identify if someone was calling our home or one of my neighbors - but every home heard each other's rings.

    Sent from my SGH-M919 using Tapatalk
     
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  7. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    Looking over your options you have considered, if you can get your kids on your wife's Sprint plan, and those lines might possibly get the employee discount, I think you've got a good option there...

    You could always opt for one of Sprint's pre-owned devices. Usually a generation or so back, but they are refurbished and come with warranty. They shouldn't break the bank, and if your kids prove they can be responsible with them, maybe you'll consider a newer device in a few years time, maybe a flagship if they're willing to help save up for it. :)
     
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  8. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    I'm not sure I want to do a family plan with Verizon. Through work, I have a Verizon iPhone 6S, and signal strength at our house isn't the best (although I haven't had any drops lately). I was looking at T-Mobile One, too. It would be unlimited everything, and if I put 3 lines on it (wife and 2 kids), it'd be $140/month.

    I really like your idea of getting a pre-paid smartphone for my son and giving my daughter the TracFone. I'm confident she can take good care of it (it's my son I worry about), but a smaller phone should be easier for her to carry around. I could target 10/2017 (when TracFone minutes expire) as the timeline for upgrading her. For now, that leaves my daughter out of consideration for any kind of family plan.

    Since my SERO contract goes through 6/18, I think I'll leave that out of the mix. Even though I predominantly work from home and am on WiFi, last month's data usage was over 3GB, averaging 6GB/month. Before I consider switching to something like Project Fi, I'd better learn a little data management, myself. Therefore, I'm out of consideration for any kind of family plan.

    My mother-in-law is content paying around $20/month for her flip phone, and I really don't want her to have a smartphone. Next step for her would be to get an iPad and see if she can figure that out before going the smartphone route. Therefore, she's out of consideration for any kind of family plan.

    Okay, unless I'm missing something, I think the best thing would be to work on getting a phone and a plan for my son, and I do like the idea of prepaid at this point.

    Even though he's always been on Android devices and loves his Samsung tablet, he's interested in getting an iPhone. He's open to Android, though, mainly because of cost. I have seen deals on the iPhone SE come up with Boost and Virgin (and read about them on AT&T, but always seem to miss them) are often for 32GB phones. He wants to put music on the phones, so I'd either need the SE with more capacity, or go the Android route. I'd want to be able to unlock the phone, at some point, so need to research that, too.
     
  9. Dngrsone

    Dngrsone One Serious Wiku

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    Sounds like a good plan. If you go the Android route, be sure to research the specific model you are looking at: a phone with smaller in-built storage but an external SD slot (to hold music and such) could fit the bill nicely. Be sure to know the max capacity that slot can hold, though... An 8GB phone that can only take an additional 8GB isn't going to be ideal (I just pulled those numbers out of the air, I have no idea of such a thing exists).


    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  10. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    do you give lessons? please say yes....
     
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