My New $16.94/mo Unlimited Everything Cell Phone Plan

RIP to my very first smartphone – even the charger cord was near the end of the line

Morning folks! Sorry this is my first post of the week. I’ve been extremely busy with a number of things, some of which I believe will turn into big news I’ll be posting about pretty soon. I also had to carve out some time to watch the latest Game of Thrones episode so it wouldn’t be spoiled for me since the whole world seems intent on doing that to anyone who doesn’t watch it the second it’s available (seriously, get a life you dicks, it’s not 1995 anymore; networks haven’t dictated our tv watching schedules to us for quite some time). But more importantly, my personal cell phone has been having an odd problem that prevents some calls from going through – both outgoing and incoming. Given that I use my work phone for most calls, this isn’t as big a deal as it may be for some people. However, given that I use my personal phone to open the security gate when I have visitors and that I’m currently in job search mode, the situation needed to be remedied. I was hoping my current phone would make it to the five year mark, if only for the sake of pride, but it appears it is not to be. For what it’s worth, I’m not sure it’s an issue with my phone. It could also be an issue with my soon to be former carrier. But given that I’m already plenty due for an upgrade and ready to switch carriers anyway, I’ve decided not to mess with it.

I’ve been paying just over $12 a month for service with Republic Wireless since September of 2014, but given that upgrading my phone would literally result in doubling that (great business practice for a carrier that markets almost exclusively on pricing…), I checked out what else is available. I eventually decided to go with Mint Mobile, a no contract carrier that works on the T-Mobile network. Supposedly Sprint is the worst network but in my experience, it performs almost identically to the vaunted Verizon network my work phone is on. So I’m hoping T-Mobile will be similarly adequate. The big selling point with Mint is that you get unlimited everything for $15 a month ($16.94 after all taxes and fees in my case).

Now I do need to qualify that statement in a way that I believe is necessary with every “unlimited” cell phone plan. Every unlimited plan I’ve seen is technically unlimited, but begins throttling data at some point. Mint Mobile is no different but unlike with many carriers, the company seems to care about truth in advertising. Its plans are advertised at the amounts of data they’re capped at. In the case of the minimum plan I got, that’s 3gb per month. However, it is also stated that data is unlimited, but simply throttled after the stated allotment. It shouldn’t matter for me anyway because I don’t watch videos while I’m driving (and thus not on wifi) – and without watching videos, I highly doubt I’ll ever come near using 1gb, let alone 3. But just in case, I got the three month intro plan so I can make a change if I need to.

One downside I’ve discovered to Mint Mobile so far is that it is prepaid. So I had to pay for my three months up front and if I want to renew at the best price, I will need to pay for twelve at that point. That’s not an issue for me as long as the service keeps working for the duration, but for anyone with cashflow concerns, $180 + taxes and fees might be a lot at one time. Another downside is that the pricing on the phones isn’t competitive in at least some cases. However, there is an easy fix there. Supposedly, any GSM unlocked phone will work with Mint. We’ll find out because I bought a Moto X4 4gb/64gb version for a steal at $200 from Best Buy (the X4 is available directly from Mint at the same price but it’s the 3gb/32gb version). And it’s even better with 1% back from Ebates, 2% back from my Citi Double Cash card, and whatever I wind up getting for recycling my current X1 (probably just a few bucks, but every little bit helps). I’ll be picking the new phone up later today and activating it as soon as the SIM card arrives.

I’ll post a follow up on this once I get everything going. But suffice it to say, I’m excited. The X4 with these particular specs will be an awesome upgrade from my current X1 and I would challenge anyone to find a better phone available for $200. If Mint lives up to its promises, then I will be very happy with the phone upgrade – even if it is four months shy of my X1’s fifth birthday that I was so excited to celebrate. You know what they say; shoot for the moon so that even if you miss, you will be among the stars. I really hope you imagined me saying that in an incredibly sardonic tone. While the sentiment is valid, I can assure you that I’m not the kind of guy who goes around saying things like that. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Update: This deal just got sweeter by $20! Ebates was offering a straight $20 in cash back for Mint Mobile purchases but there was language that said it did not apply to starter kits. So naturally I tried it but since I had elected to only buy the three month plan from Mint and buy the phone from Best Buy where it was a much better deal, I didn’t expect to get that rebate. However, later the same day, I got an email from Ebates stating that I did, in fact, get the $20. So this deal was a home run all around and now I just have to wait for my Mint Mobile sim card to arrive to see how it all works out.

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