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first world problems - the iphone tax

02 Dec 2013

2013-12-02 02:32:04 -0600

Getting the iphone 4 has made me take a real hard look at my current cell phone service and what I want out of it.

I like my Republic Wireless service but I absolutely hate the phone that came with it. Upgrading to the Moto X would be $300. I have no guarantee that I would like that phone any better. It's a risk.

Whereas I have always loved the iphone.

I dropped my iphone service when my contract was over because I just could not justify the insane fees that AT&T was charging (AT&T was the only US game in town when I got my first iphone).

But jump ahead to now and there are plenty of options. Not only that, but in a lot of cases, the prepaid services are actually the best game in town. Awesome for me because I don't plan on ever having a contract ever again.

Virgin Mobile is looking like the most likely candidate for me and I found out tonight that you can do a mobile hotspot feature for an extra $15/mo which also adds an extra gig to your "unlimited" data service (gotta love the US where unlimited means anything but).

Right now, I'm paying $20/mo for an ipad with a gig of data, so even though I really dislike any carrier that makes you pay extra for the same data, in this case, it would actually still save me money.

So what I did was to calculate what would happen if I replaced my current combo of Republic Wireless and ipad data plan with the unlimited Virgin Mobile plan plus hotspot, and basically, it would cost an extra $26/month.

In a way, this is insane. I wasn't even paying that much total for my very first cell phone, so it kind of puts things into a wacky perspective for me.

Frankly, if my iphone 4 supported LTE, I'd probably jump in a heartbeat. LTE means the iphone 5 or newer though. Bummer.

Of course, if I switch over to Virgin Mobile for everything, I'd probably want a newer phone anyway, but it sure would be lovely to audition everything before I have to make yet another purchase (I knew I'd probably want to upgrade soon going into the Black Friday purchase, so I had already been making plans for what I'd do with my iphone 4 once I upgraded).

In many ways, it's kind of insane that I think $26/month is worth it as an iphone tax. But hell, in the context of what I was paying once upon a time with AT&T, this is a steal.

The sort of upside of all of this, is that the more research and thinking I do, the more comfortable I am with the idea of cancelling Republic Wireless and basically forfeitting the cost of a phone that I will probably never touch again.

One of my problems is that I've never ported a number and this time I actually want to keep it (call me mental, but sometimes it's nice to "lose" the people who had access to your old number).

So if I'm going to audition Virgin Mobile's iphone offering, do I have to take the leap now and port it? Or can I audition it with a totally new number and decide to port it later?

There are just so many freaking variables in play, it just makes my head spin.

And of course, I'm pretty sure if I buy a VM iphone, I'm stuck with VM. I think if I buy the GSM version though ($100 more), I'm free to go to any GSM carrier.

And of course, so much of this would be greatly aided by just having the freaking devices and being able to play with them instead of looking at theoreticals, because no one can tell me how the service will specifically work in my house.