Communication/Education (con’t) – I-phones compared to Androids. I am a big fan of Apple and all of their products. They make a great product. I am especially envious of their marketing savvy. They have been able to command a large percentage of the market with products that command a huge gross margin for their company. I am much too thrifty to actually use their products. There are many good products that use the Android operating system at a fraction of the cost of an I-phone or high-end Samsung. The phone I use is a low-end LG Leon. It has about 98% of the functionality of the I-phone 6 and my cost was less than $25 per month. In my research I am also finding that there are more “free” apps available for Androids since Apple controls all of the software for the I-phone. I have yet to pay for an app. There are numerous great android smart phones available for under $50. One provider periodically offers a buy one get one free on my phone for $29. Often that same provider offers a “free” phone.
– 2G, 3G, 4G & 4G LTE (for smart phones): These are “generations” of cell phone signals and relate to signal speed with 2G being the slowest (similar to dial up Internet speeds), 3 G similar to lower speed broadband (about 3 MPS), 4 G (up to 10 MPS) & 4G LTE (1 ½ – 2x the speed of 4G).
– Shopping for a service provider, read the fine print (costs can range from $7 to $80 per month) If you are only interested in talk and text then I would stay away from a smart phone program & go with a basic cell phone. Assuming you intend to take advantage of the “smart” phone functionality be certain to know what you are getting before making a decision. Verizon tends to have the best overall coverage & AT&T is a close second. T-Mobile and Sprint also have very good coverage, but may (or may not) market to your area. All of these firms provide coverage maps at their websites. Some providers buy service from one or more of these companies at wholesale & “resell” the service. Examples are Wal*mart which contracts with Verizon & AT&T (depends on which phone you are using) & Metro PCS which uses the T-Mobile service & is owned by T-Mobile). Unlimited service (for talk, text & data) can be purchased in the $25 – $30 per month range. These lower end unlimited systems will restrict the amount of 4G or 4G LTE data (usually 1 gig a month) and then the speed is reduced to 2 or 3G). If you do not do a lot of streaming these programs work very well and they give you the option of purchasing additional high-speed access should you exceed your allotment. Unlimited high-speed service can be had for $50 $60 per month up to as much as $100! If you have heavy streaming activity this may be an option?
Beware of “free” offers, they are not always free. Several providers advertise a “free” phone. In some cases, it can be the latest I-phone or high-end Samsung. I would caution you to do the math before deciding. Typically, these programs require a two-year contract in the $80 per month range. When you compare this to a $50 per month program you are actually paying $30 x 24 or $720 for the phone. The value of these phones depreciates at about 30 – 35% per year so at the end of the contract you have paid $720 for a phone worth less than $300. “Free” is hardly ever free.