Free From Mobile Carrier Contract

Two-year contract with AT&T for iPhone 4, which I bought at the release day, was expired. I don’t use data much (300MB/month) nor phone calls. $70+ per month sounded unreasonable to me. There are some cheaper contract free plans. I had picked Virgin Mobile’s data plan first.

Virgin Mobile $35/month Data Plan

  • AT&T termination fee – $0
  • Transfer the number to Google Voice – $20
  • Device (Overdrive Pro 3G/4G) – $60
  • BROADBAND2GO – $35/month

Now, iPhone 4 is just like an iPod touch. Google Voice with a device WiFi only is a little tricky. Google Voice app itself on iOS/Android doesn’t receive any phone calls nor call to any numbers. Texting and listening voicemails are fine. On desktop with a browser, both receive/outgoing call works though.

Talkatone is one of the applications that enables outgoing calls. The sound quality is bad over low speed connection, so you might want to apply $1.99/m premium plan.

The biggest complaint would be the shortness of the battery life of Overdrive. It runs only a few hours even you don’t use too much. I bought an extra battery, though replacing it on a street would be a headache. Besides, it was too easy to forget charging two batteries and iPhone itself. Its size is fairly small, and I could carry it in a pocket. It was kind of nice in a chilly day holding the warm device in a pocket. It takes a minute to wake up from power off. I saw a bug that it won’t turn on sometimes.

The signal was not very strong in San Francisco, there might be some places that you can’t get the connection. The speed was okay, not blazing fast even if it gets 4G connection. But it wasn’t a big problem for me.

I had been using this plan from October 2012 to April 2013.

T-Mobile $30/month Unlimited Web + 100 min Talk Plan

  • Micro SIM card – $10
  • Data Plan – $30/month

Before I blame T-Mobile’s weak signal, I must admit that iPhone 4 is outdated. It doesn’t catch 4G connection, so maybe there’s a faster connection when I see the ‘E’ mark on my screen.

A few cafes, like Sightglass, don’t provide Wifi, though most of them do. I thought tethering is in need, but not much at this point.

So far, I’m satisfied with this plan. I can forget about that the tracking ID of UPS was invalid and I faced an error page on while I was activating the SIM card…


StraightTalk $45/month is another choice. Potentially better signal. Replacing iPhone 4 to Nexus 4 would be an alternative under the T-Mobile plan. Since T-Mobile hasn’t supported 4G LTE in San Francisco yet it sounds too early to switch a fancy HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4.

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