About a year and a half ago I shared how we took our iPhone 4’s to StraightTalk while knocking $100 a month off of our bill for the exact same service. In fact, Straight talk only used AT&T for GSM phones at the time. That move saved us about $1400 last year and yet we kept our iPhones!
With the advent of the iPhone 5, I had a slight itch to move up from the iPhone 4, but with a very limited budget, had no desire to pay $200+ for a phone AND move to a required contract in the $200 monthly range for two phones. So, I started doing my home work. StraightTalk now offers a “Bring Your Own Phone” plan. Essentially an answer to the countless folks like us who were benefitting from the cheaper service. They even worked a deal to officially offer the iPhone and another deal with T-Mobile, both GSM carriers (they use SIM cards.)
I knew Christmas would bring out some great pricing on phones. I was right. I stumbled onto the Samsung Galaxy Note from T-Mobile at the Kiosk in Costco. A great phone and since it was now being replaced by the new and improved Note II, I picked it up for $50 with a $50 rebate! It’s a huge “Phablet” as it is affectionately dubbed, and I fell in love. For Kim I chose the all new Galaxy S3. A great phone and comparable at least to the iPhone 4S and arguably the 5. While it really doesn’t seem as durable as the iPhone, I think it should do just fine. We purchased it for $175 with $150 in rebates! With phones in hand, the next step was to wait out the required 60-80 days of the contract to receive my rebates. Next up, jump ship.
I know that sounds awful, but I fully intend to pay my debt. Coming into this process I weighed the options. iPhone 5 – $200 with contract and $200 early termination fee. Samsung Galaxy Note – $0 with $200 early termination fee. S3 – $25 with $200 early termination fee. On top of that I sold one of our iPhone 4’s for $300 and blessed my mom with the other. We could easily have made a few hundred dollars on the whole deal.
This week I made the port back to StraightTalk and thus revealed an entire new world of technological wonder. I had one remaining StraightTalk mini sim for the iPhone from my previous contract and purchased a new sim for the T-mobile based S3. I also took time to unlock both Samsung Phones. About $25 through CellUnlocker.net. That process took about 20 minutes to complete and was really very painless.
Once I navigated my way through StraightTalk’s land of customer service I had the Galaxy Note set up with the old AT&T based iPhone sim and the S3 loaded with a new T-mobile based sim, both granting me unlimited service for $45 per month! One shows AT&T at start up then migrates to the telltale “Home” tag of StraightTalk, the other boots up to T-Mobile before migrating to the Home network.
Having now experimented with coverage between the two phones I have now ordered an iPhone/AT&T sim for the S3 and will be taking it to the AT&T side of StraightTalk as well.
I know this might not sound super exciting to many who read, but I have to say saving money on the exact same plan which many of my peers pay $100 more each month for AND moving up in technology makes me smile! If you’d like any advice on making a similar move or on how to navigate the process, feel free to shout.