Smartphone Plan Bargains

I owe my soul to the cellphone plan

What are the best cellphone plans for baby boomers? There’s a rebel soul inside an American. We chaff under the weight of oppressive power, no matter how well-meaning the overlord. We love the underdog. So what overlords are weighing mightily on our budgets? Thy name is Verizon. Or perhaps AT&T. And we search for underdogs that can beat the giants – a cellphone plan bargain for our smartphones with all the data at half the price.

We have two solutions for our Baby Boomer brethren and one that is ageless.

Give us data, or give us tech deprivation

We’ve already shared our pet peeve that too many marketers treat Baby Boomers as technology impaired and nigh on incompetent. In fact, our own experience is quite the opposite. We don’t know a single baby boomer executive or business leader that isn’t highly dependent upon mobile technology. Our peers view innovation as an economic necessity and live by that rule in both their personal and business personas. We live and work in rural Iowa and Minnesota. We’ve had self-driving tractors for more than a decade. Self-driving cars? So behind the curve. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) steer our diesel workhorses. Machine vision and AI is only upping the precision agriculture. (The same is true of earth-moving equipment in construction.) Average age of farmers? 58. Yep. Baby boomer prime.

And data connections are essential in agriculture. We track markets, sell commodities, cover risk, research inputs and investments all via highspeed data. My small rural resort community has Gigabyte fiber to the home, but my farm cousins depend upon wireless. Really depend on wireless.

Yes, I’ll concede that Verizon has the best rural network for extent of coverage, but the advantage is shrinking. I just can’t bear to pay the big bully premium. So what’s a value-conscious baby boomer tech addict to do?

Two great options: Republic Wireless and T-Mobile Unlimited 55+.

The Conventional Rebel: T-Mobile

T-Mobile is fighting a conventional war against the hegemony of the Big 2. T-Mobile delivers 4G LTE on a rapidly growing national network at a lower more predictable price. And with fewer restrictions and less “throttling.” Throttling is when mobile providers reduce your usable data speed to paleolithic, sloth-like speeds after you reach your data limits. For those over fifty-five, like me, it’s $60 a month for two lines (not one) for unlimited text, voice, and data. Even with optional add-ons like visual voice mail, the total bill is $80 for two lines. Half the going rate for Verizon or AT&T. Verizon’s network is not that much better. (This does reflect a $10 discount for autopay.)

Unlimited for a generation of rule breakers. 55yr old+ get 2 lines with unlimited talk, text and LTE data on America’s best unlimited network for $60/mo. with AutoPay. — T-Mobile’s Baby Boomer Marketing Campaign

We previously highlighted T-Mobile’s savvy baby boomer-friendly marketing for Unlimited 55+. (Media and More: Boomers can afford to buy what millennials borrow)

The Guerrilla Rebel: Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless is fighting the big bullies with guerilla tactics and an unconventional approach. Republic leases space on other networks and so is a network reseller (similar to Walmart’s StraightTalk). But Republic adds a couple of innovative twists to the reseller playbook. First, Republic Wireless fully exploits the ability of modern smartphones to work on either mobile 4G LTE networks or wireless hotspots.

Two pipes are better than one

Republic Wireless’s Smart Innovation 1. Little understood fact. Most of us spend most of our time either at work or at home where the wireless hotspot is a stronger, more reliable signal than the mobile network. The mobile network signal must fight its way through glass, brick, and steel. The wireless hotspot signal is already inside the shield. My office is a perfect example. Someone decided the glass interior walls required chicken wire security glass. Add a metal roof, brick and steel construction, and foil vapor barrier in the walls. It’s a veritable Faraday cage. Even the immediately adjacent cellphone tower struggles to penetrate. My worst mobile network coverage is when I’m sitting at work. But it’s a college, so I’ve got great wireless hotspot coverage.

Republic Wireless breaks the rules. The rebel Republic depends upon your hotspot and gives you a discount for using it instead of the expensive leased cellphone tower. It means Republic can lease less bandwidth from the national players, saving you money. When you can’t connect via hotspot – say in your car — Republic Wireless uses the traditional mobile wireless network for voice, text, and data. From the user perspective, the hotspot is typically faster and doesn’t count against your Republic Wireless data plan. Brilliant. How much savings? A voice and data smartphone plan for $20-$45 depending on how much data you want via the mobile network. The $30 per line for 2GB of cellular data is a good middle option when combined with the hotspot trick. I’m a heavy data user and am normally in between 1-2 GB. $60 for two smartphone lines looks awfully good compared to Verizon or AT&T.

best cellphone plans for baby boomers

Google’s Project Fi

Google’s Project Fi similarly depends upon wireless hotspots but is available in far fewer locations and has a very limited selection of mostly high-end (nee expensive) phones like the Google Pixel II.

Good at less than half the price

Republic Wireless’s Smart Innovation 2. Republic Wireless is going after the value-conscious but tech-dependent user full guns. Inexpensive smartphone voice, text and data plans are only their first weapon. Their second guerrilla warfare trick? Great midline phones that deliver 90% of the power of top-of-the-line, flagship smartphones at less than half the price.

We’re a big fan of Motorola’s Moto series. The current value champion is the $229 Motorola Moto G5+. The reviews are stellar. The $399 Moto X4 adds hands-free voice commands. Either deliver bang for the buck the $800-1,000 premium flagships from Apple and Samsung cannot match. If you just want an affordable smartphone that works, Motorola’s near-pure Android experience is hard to beat.

Yes, Republic Wireless will sell you the current smartphone bling king, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and its drool-worthy, curved screen and barely-there bezels. Republic Wireless even offers a great price at $549. But that’s not necessarily in keeping with the spirit of their value-conscious monthly plan.

You can also bring your own unlocked phone. (Not all phones are optimized to work in all geographic locations.)

Republic Wireless leases bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile. As a general rule, if you’ve got good coverage by T-Mobile or Sprint, Republic Wireless is a great option. So…what are the best cellphone plans for baby boomers?

Best Value & Best Cellphone plans for Baby Boomers

Right now, the hands-down best cellphone plans for baby boomers is a Motorola Moto G5+ or X4 on Republic Wireless. Billing is clear and transparent. No hidden fees or overages. Great reviews for both the carrier and the phones. Great value-conscious savings. You don’t sacrifice your data lifeline to save your monthly budget.

For those age-55 and over, T-Mobile has a contender with the Unlimited 55+ Plan.

Thinking of a smartphone for Christmas? Good places to start. Trying to get your 2018 budget in line with income? An even better reason to check out these smartphone data rebels. Don’t be a cellphone slave to the Big 2 bullies.

What cellphone plan are you currently use? What are your recommendations?


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