Inexpensive Cell Service Experience

Recently I went in search of new secondary service for a work phone. And my really old iPhone was totally dead. So I figured I grab my current ‘spare’ Samsung 8+, which is wholly owned by me supposed to be completely unlocked etc, and use that.
When I tried to get the phone ‘registered’ (have to check the IMEI on sites to see if compatible and not under contract etc.) with any MVNO it was showing that it was NOT TRULY unlocked by Sprint – still had some contractual issues.
To finally get that BS cleared up was a complete exercise in determined persistence. A hassle requiring 30+ hours of chatting and numerous calls!. More on that incredible story in and upcoming post.

I was looking for an inexpensive, non contract and non big three service provider – one that would compliment my current Sprint backbone phone service – CDMA network(s). But again, without the Verizon prices. And I won’t use ATT because of their horrid service everywhere I am or have been.
I searched far and wide for and MVNO that rides on Verizon’s and Sprint’s backbone. [More on what an MVNO is here
I finally settled on Twigby after checking out compatibility and network information of all the MVNO’s I could find that met my criteria.
And … I’m now using Twigby for my work phone. (I still have Sprint for main phone because I want the priority of a top tier provider for that phone)

Twigby is an MVNO that primarily provides talk, text and data service on the Sprint network with talk and text roaming on Verizon’s network – so you should be able to call from just about anywhere in the US.

Most newer iPhones and Android phones are compatible. If you currently have Sprint, Verizon, Virgin, Boost and just about any other CDMA network provider it’ll work.
GSM only phones (read many of AT&Ts older offerings) are NOT compatible with Twigby’s service.

I’m on WiFi most of the time and don’t take many calls – my work calls are usually pretty short. And Twigby’s plans come with unlimited texts.
They also have data overage coverage will bump you up a plan notch to keep you from getting hosed with giant bill.
I chose 300 minutes and 3GB data and it’s only $19/mo for 1st 6 months, and then $24 after. And you get hotspot included.
NO contract!
A few things I had to do. First when trying hotspot – it didn’t work/load so chatted with them online and they reset my ‘network/plan’ settings and then on phone updated settings and it worked!
When checking my LTE speeds at first I was frustrated because they seemed slow (using the Ookla Speedtest app), so signed into account and checked the bandwidth settings (they can be adjusted to enable you to throttle yourself so you don’t use loads of data), changed settings to lower speed, saved then back to unlimited and BAM ripping 4G speeds.

For the past few months now I have been amazed at the service – inexpensive and it works!

If you have an unlocked phone and want to check it out go here:
When signing up, on the last page I believe, if you enter my account (Account Number: 41549 in the referral section YOU and I will each get a $20 credit!

Amazon Prime, Roku and saying goodbye to Cable TV fees

I have been happy with my high-speed internet from my service provider – Comcast for my internet. I pay for and get very high speeds up and down and get a lot of bandwidth.
I am not however, happy with being butt raped for the cost of my TV services. Recently, after three years my TV services portion of my bill went up $75.00 (U.S)!! Above the $80.00 I was already paying to begin with.
So time to end that!

Obviously I am a techy, so I have watched TV via my computers through the use of TV Cards and streaming services etc. for over a decade. Both on my computer monitors and ‘piped’ to the TV. And in the past few years there have been so many awesome services for watching movies and TV shows that saying goodbye to cable/satellite TV services has never been easier.

To watch streamlining media on your PC or TV you can use an HTPC (home theater PC as I’ve written about before connected to your TV or use many of the ‘set top’ boxes available to ‘stream’ movies and shows from different providers. Heck even some new Blu-ray players and TVs are set up for using these services [Hulu, NetFlix, Amazon Prime etc.]

To be able to ‘stream’ video content from the Internet you will still need a high-speed internet service provider with sufficient speeds and bandwidth allotments. Cable, FiOS and the top level DSL services will usually suffice. For me I’m still stuck with Comcast but I am OK with that, their internet, for me so far, has been great.

Services and devices I use.
Services first.
Amazon prime is great for streaming TV, movies and music and my top pick.
I already pay for Amazon Prime ($79.00/year see here to insure I almost never pay any shipping charges and get 2 day shipping on most items ( buy hundreds of items a year and the savings in shipping alone is well worth it!), but this is just great!

With Amazon Prime you also get to watch thousands of movies and TV shows, included with your Amazon Prime membership at no additional cost!!
Here is some information. And if it isn’t available for free on Prime you can still find it for ‘rent’.

Amazon Prime members will still pay $79/year to access those 9,000 movies and TV shows, but now even non-Prime subscribers will have access to purchase or rent titles from the entire library.  New release movies will cost $3.99, and new TV episodes will stream the day after they air for $.99.

Another plus for Amazon is that you can stream your music too! I posted an article about getting loads of free storage from Amazon; you can read that here. You can purchase AND upload your music to your ‘cloud storage’! Effectively providing you with the ability to stream you music to any device that can access Amazon’s sites!

Netflix is another service that has been fairly good but has recently seen about 1 million uses leave because of some pricing and service shenanigans. They are still a good service and if you already have them you might as well keep them.
Just know that a month ago, Netflix raised the prices of its subscription plans by almost 60%, effectively signaling that it would be charging customers separately for DVD plans vs. streaming plans.
AND Netflix Inc is separating its movie streaming business and its DVD by mail service, which will be called Qwikster, Chief Executive Reed Hastings said in a company blog post on September 09, 2011.

Still, Netflix’s on-demand, unlimited streaming for one price subscription model can’t yet be beat by Amazon’s pay-as-you-go system, although Amazon’s on demand options now dwarf Netflix’s streaming catalogue.

Now for some devices.
If you don’t already have an HTPC as I mentioned above you can always get a ‘set top’ box for accessing TV/Movie and other media content.
I am now a huge fan of the Roku box! This thing is amazing! Simple, easy to operate and able to get virtually everything I need.
With this device you can access pretty much any service such as Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, news shows, TV networks (CBS, NBC and so on), Network streaming services like History Channel, SyFy etc.. AND as with any of these devices – YOU OWN THEM! No rental fee for a box to the cable company. NO monthly fee for TV channels etc.

Here is a short, but by no means complete, list of the most popular devices around.



Google TV

Boxee Box

Xbox 360

PlayStation 3


So there you go. I hope that some of you will check them out and I hope you are able to break free and truly watch what you want when you want and where you want it.