My R+ replacements

Well it's been a few days and I now seem to have learnt more than I previously ever wanted to about MVNOs!

Back on Social, in December 2016, I started a thread called "What are your backup plans?". I was fearful that R+ could go bust and leave very little or even no time to arrange replacement working phones.

Additionally, we were trying to figure out how to cope with the reduced data allotments, which had just kicked in.

Accordingly, at that time, I decided on the following:

  1. For the kids, take advantage of the 3 month mint sim promos to give them the data allotments they'd gotten used to. In the unlikely event that the dialers came through and Karl signed up with other MVNOs, at the end of 3 months, they would have high allotment plans again.

  2. Build up freedompop GSM sims to provide 1.2GB monthly per sim for use in unlocked GSM and GSM capable devices

  3. I also had and still have 2 active lycamobile sims in spare GSM Blackberrys that live in our cars.

Now that R+ has actually come to an end, and with some research over the last few days, as well as new developments, the above is being implemented as follows:

  1. My wife has and continues to use a spare GSM smartphone for her data requirements using a freedompop sim. Her R+ device is now a Tello device which will take care of her talk and text requirements for $3 to $5 a month.

In retrospect, a $35 credit from Ting would have lasted her 2 months, which would have gotten us something for the $10 credit we left behind at R+. But the day after the announcement, we made the decision quite quickly to get the port underway since her number is important to her.

Since there is a first month promo at Tello, I've signed her up for a half price plan including unlimited throttled data which will give us an idea if that's a feature that would be useful for us in the future.

  1. Having had time to see the Monday announcement, I ported out my own number, which is not as important to me, to Ting. I had originally intended to use a FreedomPop domestic ATT SIM, but the $35 initial credit, together with a $50 referral credit, means I have 7 months of Ting for free if I use the lowest talk and text buckets and zero data.

However, I'd still like to be able to have access to 1GB of data per month in the same device. While I could use the Ting credit, I do have FreedomPop sims I can use. To that end, I've ordered a dual sim adapter which will allow my Nexus to hold 2 sims at a time and switch between them using a simple app.

I have however read that the dual sim set up does not always work when one sim supports a CDMA account. In which case, I could change my CDMA Ting account to a GSM account. Another option is to drop Ting CDMA and use Lycamobile GSM for calls. And yet another option would be to activate my Nexus on FreedomPop CDMA, get 1.5GB of data free a month, and pay for Premium Voice to get cellular voice.

Another option in early consideration is to move to Tello and use an unlimited data plan. I don't know at this stage how my experience would be affected at throttled speeds, which is another reason to take advantage of the Tello first month plan discount.

  1. For the kids, as of now I have not decided what their replacement should be. They have over a month left on their mintSIMs. I could bite the bullet and buy them annual mintSIMs especially if a good discount appears again. Another option is monthly H2O sims. Or there may be an option with freedompop, maybe even two freedompop sims using a dual sim adapter, to boost the data allotments.

One thing still to discover is what kind of voice quality I can get with the freedompop domestic ATT sim. The ping is 69ms and data speeds are as good as my home internet on which I use Google Voice through an obihai that is running at the same time as other network traffic. So technically speaking, the freedompop sim should be capable of providing good enough voice quality.

So in summary, more work to do, but as of now, we all have something usable.

I notice you mention you have two Blackberry (Crackberry) phones on Lycamobile. So, do they support Blackberry phones and do you know of any other MVNOS that do as well? If so, I might have to dust off my 'ole Blackberry (Crackberry)!!!

Throttled speeds should be fine as long as you are not trying to watch videos and the like. For email, browsing, and many other things, good enough for me. It's the data hogs that cannot live with it.

It works for calls and texts. No data on paygo.

Sorry don't know about whether Lycamobile or other MVNO support for blackberry's in the proper sense. But I suspect they don't.

mintSIM was not good for browsing even though Speedtest showed higher than throttled speeds.

I'll see what Tello is like soon.

So, do you suggest we get the higher data plans of 5GB or 10GB to avoid ever having to use the throttled 128k?

I might suggest buying the appropriate 3 month sim to see for yourself.

My experience is just one data point. A minute or so in an iPhone and a few days later a few minutes in a Nexus 6.

In another post, I mentioned that the speedtest showed much higher speeds than 128k which made the really slow browsing experience quite surprising.

Maybe some of it can be improved with settings and browser choice. But I personally and my kids for sure, don't want to be bothered with that. We'd probably just be a bit more careful to stay within the full speed limit.