Today, plans are much simpler. All carriers now offer Unlimited Voice, and Text. It's all about the 4G LTE data. We have plans starting at $50 with 2GB of 4G LTE. We also have Unlimited plans available from all carriers, except Verizon. What the huge data users on Unlimited 4G plans need to understand is they will likely be throttled down to 2G speeds once they surpass, 22GB (AT&T) , 23GB (Sprint) or 28GB (T-Mobile). That means that the only carrier that does not officially offer an Unlimited plan probably has the best of them and here is why...
Sprint's Unlimited Freedom and T-Mobile's ONE plans all advertise UNLIMITED 4G LTE. There are two problems with this. First, these two carriers reserve the right to throttle users at the above thresholds. Secondly, while it is 4G LTE being offered, it's only 480p Standard resolution, not the 1080p and 4k offered by AT&T and Verizon. Yes, this is still DVD quality but why limit your resolution? YouTube just announced they will begin broadcasting in 4k immediately so this is the future. The below plans are the ones Dr Wireless recommends highly.
Best Minimal Usage Plan
T-Mobile's North America Simple Choice plans are no longer advertised but still available. These plans are $40 for line one, $30 for line 2 and $10 for line's 3-9. Each user gets Unlimited everything with 2GB per user of shared data. All plans include Mexico, Canada, and free global text and data in 140 countries.
Best Moderate Usage Plan
Verizon's Large Plan just got much better. Verizon just added 2GB per line, Safety Mode, and Rollover. For an extra $10 though, there promotional 12GB deal is a fantastic value. We feature this plan under both moderate and heavy usage. That's because $160 for 4 lines sharing 20GB of 1080p 4G LTE is a remarkable value. We do have some giant plans up to 100GB with Verizon for our heavy hitters.
Best Unlimited Plans
AT&T - Offers an Unlimited 4G LTE plan. Because they claim this to be Unlimited but throttle at 22GB, and require a Direct TV or U-Verse Home Internet Bundle, we do compare their offerings or recommend them.
Sprint - Sprint may not quite have the same speed as T-Mobile or Verizon but they are plenty fast and less expensive. For consumers, we have Unlimited plans starting at $60 or $100 for two lines. Our personal liable University employees can get two Unlimited 4G lines for only $90. Our best deal for authorized Government accounts is $37.99 for Unlimited data. For $20 per line, Sprint will bump SD 480p to HD 1080p.
T-Mobile - T-Mobile's Unlimited plans start at $70 for one line and $120 for two. LInes 3-8 are $20. For an additional $25 per line, TM will bump the 480p SD 4G LTE data to 1080p HD. What's most significant about this is that T-Mobile also bumps the Hotspot speeds from 3G to Unlimited 4G as well making this a no brainer for Hot spot users.
Verizon - Verizon says they don't offer Unlimited Plans. I say, poppycock! They don't advertise unlimited plans but by using the same definition of Unlimited 4G LTE as the other carriers, Big Red's plans are even better. Here is why:
All Verizon plans are HD 1080p. They don't play the 480p standard resolution game. Since the carriers offering Unlimited plans reserve the right to throttle your speeds down to 2G, only Verizon allows you to get more 4G LTE, if you're willing to pay for it. That's because they have plans between 30 GB and 100GB. If you exceed your data, you get throttled. There are no longer any $15 per GB overage fees anymore.
Dr Wireless is an authorized mobile broker for all of the major wireless providers. We can seamlessly move your line to any plan or any carrier with no interruption whatsoever. Why get involved in the holiday shopping circus when we can have your carrier of choice hand deliver a device to your home or office? The period between Black Friday and Christmas is always the best time to get a new plan and SmartPhone.
Almost 10 years ago, a computer manufacturer developed a SmartPhone that would end up obsoleting Palm's TREO, The legendary BlackBerry, Motorola, and even NOKIA's SmartPhones. Until Apple entered the wireless industry, the carriers ruled with iron fists. NOKIA and Motorola did challenge that rule, but it was not until APPLE developed their iconic iPhone that things really changed. After all, AT&T initially had a 5 year exclusive on the iPhone. After two years into it, they had a problem the other carriers could only dream about - too many SmartPhone subscribers on their network. Apple's iPhone was so highly regarded that people were reluctantly signing up with AT&T just to get it. Apple has created a global product that works with every carrier. I hope they don't become too complacent the way PALM and Blackberry did. At this time next year, there may be a brand new iPhone standard and here is why...
One of the reasons that Apple iPhones are so successful is they play nice with Apple and Windows computers. I personally prefer my Mac computers, but do have several Windows computers for certain applications. One is a laptop with Windows 10. I had a Microsoft 2 Surface tablet and was not terribly impressed. The latest Surface 3 and 4 models look pretty incredible though and rate terrific. I believe that what Microsoft has been doing to Apple's iPAD tablet business this year is going to happen next year when Microsoft finally manufactures a great Windows 10 device. After all, Microsoft has the same ability to play nice between computers and Smartphones. The touch screen interface with panels is far better suited for SmartPhones than laptops anyway. The now defunct but still available NOKIA 950XL showed the most promise but didn't quite pan out for Microsoft. I believe Microsoft has the only OS that might even be better than Apple's. It would be ironic if Microsoft came back to unseat APPLE as the SmartPhone OS champions. If this happens, the soonest would likely be the end of 2017.
I've been in the wireless industry since 1990. About the only thing that has not changed since then is the fact that the best time to negotiate a new wireless deal has always been between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. So far, this year is no exception. We have already had a pre-Thanksgiving special from T-Mobile offering two FREE lines when paying for two lines. They just announced even crazier deals. It's important to note that while these deals generally last for the life of your agreement, there is usually a very small window to grab them. In the case of the below promotions, you have three days. If you want in on any of the below, contact me as ASAP as T-Mobile requires the paperwork to be submitted before the deadline. Check these...
From November 24 - November 27, 2016, eligible T-Mobile customers who trade-in a qualifying fully owned Apple, Samsung, or LG phone from any carrier can get the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, or iPhone 6s Plus for free!
From November 24 - November 27, 2016, eligible customers who trade-in a qualifying fully own Apple, Samsung, or LG phone from any carrier can get the Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, or LG V20 for free!
I will be announcing deals from Sprint and Verizon as soon as they are launched. Stay tuned...
Today's top SmartPhones like the Apple 7+/256GB and Samsung Galaxy S7/EDGE will cost almost $1,000. I'm often asked which devices are the best and surprisingly, it's not always the big dollar models. Don't get me wrong, if you're looking to give me a SmartPhone for Christmas, please make it an iPhone 7+/64GB. That being said, here are my favorite models for those who want the most bang for the buck...
APPLE iPhone Options
iPhone SE (MSRP $399.99 or $16.67 x 24 Months)
This model is one of Apple's best kept secrets. This model is the same size as the 5s model screen size wise, but has the same guts as last year's top of line 6s series. While it does not have the 3D touch feature, it does have Apple's amazing A9 processor and 12GB camera and lots of other goodies. Great for women, kids and men with Donal Trump hands (some post election humor).
iPhone 6 - This model is getting harder to find. It is almost three years old but probably the best iPhone that I have ever owned, in terms of stability and reliability. I gave my wife my iPhone 6/128GB and moved up to the iPhone 6s+/64GB. Bad move! While the screen was larger and brighter, the accelerometer would stick and the device's battery life has steadily decreased. Thew iPhone 6 retails now for only $449.99 for the 16GB version.
Apple is now selling carrier unlocked refurbished devices at discounted pricing in their stores. They put a new battery and new cover on these models along with a one year warranty. Don't expect to find any of the newest iPhone 7 models or the SE. They do have the 6 and 6s series though. Grab one and call me to activate!
There is no shortage of good Chinese made SmartPhones. Motorola was bought out by Lenovo and has several great new models. Huawei's latest models are getting pretty good reviews. There are also some fine devices coming from South Korea. LG in particular is making some great models. The LG G4 and G5 are very popular as are the HTC models.
The One Plus 3 Flagship model has an MSRP of $399.99. This brand started by selling their One Plus One model first by invitation, then on the internet, but only on Tuesdays. They created a demand that far exceeded the supply. Their devices typically price out at about half that of the big boys for the same features.
For Windows models, NOKIA is out of the phone business but their 950XL can be found in the $300 range and is a beauty for Windows 10 platform advocates.
Safety and Security Tips...
Whenever you receive an e-mail requesting you click on a link, be very careful. Phishing is when spammers use send an e-mail from a company or bank you deal with requesting information. Never click directly on these links. It's better to go directly to the company's URL. Often times, right clicking the company name, or e-mail address will reveal the bogus sender. The other thing to look for is to make sure the beginning of the URL starts with HTTPS, not just HTTPS. This means the site is encrypted and secure.
If you get an e-mail from a friends e-mail address that says, "I thought you might enjoy this..." Don't do it. If you right click your friend's e-mail address, you will notice a bogus e-mail address appears. This is common spam.
If you are still using FREE non-secure Hotspots at Starbucks and other local establishments, why? All of the wireless carriers now support encrypted 4G Hotspots from iPhones and Androids, some even include it in their plans. Think about it! What is to stop anybody from naming their personal hotspot "Starbucks". A savvy hacker can do lots of nasty things to people that log on to the wrong network. If you have an iPhone, go to settings>Personal Hotspot and enable. Simply find the name of your network and enter the wifi password you see on the page.
Big Data Users
At the 20-30GB GB Data level, Verizon is actually the best choice for big data users. That's because the other three carriers throttle their 4G Unlimited plans at 22GB (AT&T), 23GB (Sprint) and 28GB (T-Mobile). Sprint and T-Mobile offer Standard Definition 480p 4G LTE on their Unlimited plans. While still DVD-quality, it is not as razor sharp and clear as 1080p. For an additional $20 (Sprint) or $25 (T-Mobile) per month, per line, you can add HD premium quality. What makes Verizon a great value is they already include this and 4G Hotspot in their plan. If you exceed your plan's data allocation, their "Safety Mode" is also included and "throttles" speeds down to 2G until the beginning of your next billing cycle. Dr Wireless offers zero interest financing as well as two year contracts with $450 instant device subsidy with both Sprint and Verizon. With T-Mobile, we offer zero interest financing.
T-Mobile Introduces Great Data Content Transfer Tool and it's FREE
We have a great new solution designed to make it easy to move content from one device to another without a trip to the local carrier store. Apple users can go to the Apple Store and download t-mobile content transfer. It can also be downloaded from the Google Play store. Make sure to wipe your old device and turn off "Find My Phone" before re-selling or re-cycling.
Check out the Dr's Sixteen iPhone Tricks
Lately, it seems that it is easy to find a great 3 or more line deal but single line deals are harder to come by. This is especially true for those who don't need a lot of data. Both Sprint and T-Mobile have Unlimited 4G data plans starting at $60 and $70 for one line. For those who only need one line and not a ton of data, here are your options...
Verizon's Small (S) plan and Medium (M) plans are good for minimal data users. The smartest move though is taking the Large (L) or higher plans. That's because these larger plans also offer:
-2GB per line extra 4G shared data
-Safety Mode (Verizon throttles speeds down to 2G instead of charging $15GB overage fee)
-Canada and Mexico roaming and Long Distance included.
In T-Mobile's case, we still have the North American Simple Choice Plans available
These TM plans start at $50 and include Unlimited Voice, Text and 2G Data. T-Mobile offers 2GB per line of shared Data on these plans. They are a good choice for travelers as all include FREE Canada and Mexico Roaming and LD. These plans also offer free data and texting in 140 countries as well as $0.20 per minute voice roaming.
Sprint Also offers some inexpensive plan options too
Sprint's comparison with Verizon is not quite accurate as Verizon has recently sweetened their plans. Still, Sprint is a great option for those looking to keep their monthly wireless costs to a minimum. Both Sprint and Verizon offer zero interest financing but still offer two year contract plans with $450 instant device credit.
If you're not sure which carrier of plan option is best, contact Dr Wireless for a FREE Consultation.
T-Mobile OneThe base unlimited plan (which is actually quite limited) starts at $70 per month for the first line. The price drops to $50 per month for the second line and $20 per month (with autopay turned on) for each additional line, for up to eight lines. It offers unlimited text, talk and data -- but here are the limitations:
T-Mobile One HD Day PassIf you have the base unlimited plan and you would like to view video -- like Netflix, YouTube and so on -- in 1080p HD instead of 480p, you can purchase a 24-hour HD Day Pass for $3. Or sign up for T-Mobile One Plus.
T-Mobile One PlusBecause T-Mobile's base unlimited plan is not actually unlimited, you can purchase the T-Mobile One Plus unlimited plan (which is...more unlimited, I guess) for an additional $25 per month per line. The total for the base line would then be $95 per month.
The T-Mobile One Plus plan gives you unlimited HD Day Passes, unlimited 4G LTE tethering speeds and faster speeds abroad ("twice the speed," or up to 3G where available). The HD Day Passes are cumbersome, though: They last 24 hours and must be reactivated each time you want to use them.
When you consider that Verizon who does not even officially offer an Unlimited Plan can do all of the above for about the same $, it makes sense to compare. After all, If you have 26GB of 4G LTE HD, both are likely going to throttle your speeds above that anyway. I'd give Verizon an 'A' for disclosure and T-Mobile a "D" for acting more like a carrier than the "Uncarrier" the way they are presenting their One Plan. The only ones who will be happy with this plan are the shareholders.
To make the LG V20 even more irresistible, beginning October 17, 2016 and for a limited time only, TM customers can get $200 off their working 4G-capable device trade-in to get a new LG V20 smartphone. And to sweeten the deal, they can also get a pair of Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H3 headphones (a $149 value) for free!
Create and share the magic in everyday moments with the innovative new LG V20, the first smartphone to ship with fast and fluid Android 7.0 Nougat—plus the first to feature 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC capabilities, delivering a crisp and clear sound that reduces ambient noise levels. Connect with LG and be the first to receive exclusive, ongoing news and updates about the groundbreaking LG V20, including the release date, the impressive specs, the superior videography features, and the exceptional audio quality that lets you capture and share your amazing moments with brilliant clarity and precision. This next LG V-Series smartphone gives you the enhanced features you need to feel the passion, seize the moment, and immerse yourself in the world around you—making it another amazing display of innovation from LG. Sign up to receive the latest information on news and promotions for the LG V20 and stay tuned for official release details.
While the unlocked pricing is lower than the AT&T's $829 price tag, it isn't as enticing as T-Mobile's $769 retail price. Both AT&T and T-Mobile are bundling a pair of $150 B&O BeoPlay H3 in-ear headphone for free, and they're also offering a free tablet if you're willing to buy the phone via monthly plans. If you go with AT&T's Next plans, you get an LG G Pad X 10.1 for free. T-Mobile is giving out an LG G Pad X 8.0 or an LG G Pad to those buying the phone through its monthly plans. In-store sales kick off October 28 at both carriers.
Meanwhile, Verizon will kick off LG V20 orders starting October 20, with the phone slated for an in-store debut on October 27.
As for the phone itself, the LG V20 offers a 5.7-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage, microSD slot, dual cameras at the back with a 16MP standard sensor and an 8MP lens for wide-angle shots, and a 3200mAh removable battery. The phone runs Nougat out of the box. Dr WIreless is taking pre-orders for T-Mobile and Verizon now. This SmartPhone is not cheap. It does spec out impressively however and comes with a B & O BeoPlay in-ear headset which is impressive in itself.
China has been releasing amazing products from ZTE, Huawei, and One Plus to name a few. These devices spec out like the high end Samsung devices but at half the cost.
Before Apple emerged nine years ago with their iconic iPhone, it was the wireless carriers who had all of the power. It was the carriers who determined which device manufacturers they would work with and which features would be included, or not on their supported devices. Each carrier had proprietary "Bloatware" that the carriers required to be added. Motorola's MotoBlur in particular would drive me crazy.
A funny thing happened. IBM designed the first SmartPhone, the "Simon". Unfortunately, this device was way before it's time. It was enormous, had awful battery life and was before high speed internet capabilities. A few years later Blackberry and PALM came out with the first of what we now refer to as "SmartPhones". Both of these brands became very popular. Blackberry for its Qwerty keyboard and encrypted and very secure e-mail platform. PALM had the brilliant scheduling application. contact management and easy an interface.
NOKIA and Motorola had been the biggest manufacturers of traditional cellphones. Motorola's "StarTAC" was revolutionary for it's small flip design. NOKIA then introduced the best SmartPhone that nobody knew about. The NOKIA E-61 was made out of Aluminum and did everything a BlackBerry would do because it actually had BlackBerry technology built-in. It also had state-of-the-art features like wifi dialing, SIP trunking, Speech to text technology and a lot more. Unfortunately, Cingular wireless did not want to offer many of these features to their subscribers and never supported this model, nor did any other US carrier. Instead, Cingular required NOKIA to remove the cool stuff and then offered the resulting stripped down version of the E-61, known as the E-62.
The NOKIA E61 was awesome in almost every respect. It was durable. It came in a gorgeous anodized aluminum casing and had a great qwerty keypad. It utilized the Symbian operating system which was a good one. What doomed this model was the confusing navigation menu and the fact that Cingular, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon were not very interested in this device. NOKIA came out with some subsequent models that boasted great cameras but never got anywhere with these models in the US, as with their traditional models
Google's Android and Apple's iPhone then gradually took over the market. Apple did what NOKIA and Motorola could not do. They showed the carriers that it was not all about FREE phones. The public was willing to pay full pop for great devices. AT&T saw this and signed a five year exclusive agreement with Apple. This agreement caused AT&T's network to fail from over congestion in many major markets. People would buy iPhones and begrudgingly sign up for AT&T's service as there were no other options, if you wanted an iPhone. After five years, Apple wisely brought their iPhone to Verizon, then Sprint and finally, even T-Mobile. Without their previous exclusive, there was a mass exodus from AT&T to Verizon and later, the other carriers.
Meanwhile in the Android camp, Sprint was the first carrier to introduce 4G in the US. They did it in partnership with Clearwire and the offering was called 4G WiMAX. Yes, the speeds were greater than any 3G options at the time. Unfortunately, while Sprint launched WiMAX, all of the other carriers chose a newer, soon to be launched 4G standard appropriately known as 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE). This is today's de-facto global data standard as 2G EDGE was last decade's de-facto data standard. Sprint's huge selling device was the HTC "EVO". While amazingly featured, the problem with this device was mediocre battery management.
While Google's Android platform was good, it presented many problems. Unlike Apple, there were over a dozen device manufacturers. Each carrier requested their own proprietary interface (Bloatware) that often could not be removed and slowed down performance. This made it even tougher when there were software issues that needed to be addressed.
Apple's Guaranteed Software Upgrades... Unfortunately, not all of the manufacturers push out software updates in a timely fashion. Several do and others don't. The other problem was many of the older Android models were not even supported with these upgrades. Compare that to Apple who just provided iOS 10 support to models like the 5, and 5c which are 4 years old. That meant a longer life cycle for Apple iPhones than comparable Android models.
Best Hardware and Software Support... Anyone who has purchased a Samsung NOTE 7 can tell you about why having thousands of retail stores globally can be a major asset to consumers. The original Note 7 models are exploding. The new, improved safe version is still exploding, and folks who bought these devices are left with just the carriers to deal with these problem. If Samsung had a store network like Apple, this would have been an easy exchange scenario. Apple's iOS 10 runs smoother and more reliably because Apple iPhones are exclusively made by Apple for their iOS.
Applications are better, safer, and less of a threat. Face the facts, Apple has the lionshare of business and if you are an Ap developer, they are your primary market as that is where the real money is. Apple is stricter with their Ap development tools and rules which help protect their users from malware, viruses, and other bad experiences. At one point, it is thought that over 80% of the flashlight aps in the Android Play Store were infected with Malware, or requested personal information that should never have been required for a flashlight application.
Before, the biggest differences between Apple and Android were you got a much bigger screen, faster processor, bigger memory capacity, and more camera megapixels per dollar with Android. Now that Apple has caught up on screen size, power, waterproofing and other features, it's more about cost these days. Yes, it is still possible to pay top dollar for some of the Samsung and Google products, there are many Chinese and Korean made devices that are good quality but a fraction of the price of the "big boys".
That being said, if you really hate Apple and want an Android, Google's new Pixel model is the safest bet. That's because, Google pushes out software updates for themselves much faster than any of the other equipment manufacturers. This model does look extremely impressive spec-wise, and Verizon has already signed on to officially offer it. I'm guessing that it will also be offered to consumers as an unlocked option for the other networks.
Apple is still in the drivers seat and is slowly catching up to all of the razzle dazzle features that Google has debuted. It appears that the iPhone 8 expected to launch on September of 2017 will be the 10th anniversary game changing wonder phone that we have all been waiting for. In the interim, grab yourself an interim solution and wait this one out. There has never been a better time to grab an iPhone 6, or 6s with the newest iOS10 at a great price.
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.