The names on the title are two of the most well-known cellphone carriers in America. It was unfortunate that I had purchased both, when I actually only have the need for one.
Here was how it went.
I firstly did an extensive research on several cellphone carriers, even to those with relatively obscure fame such as Boost and i-Wireless.
I found that AT&T and T-mobile are two of the most well-reputed brand. I initially wanted to subscribe to a postpaid service (where I am charged a certain fixed monthly fee of $40-60), but decided to rethink about it after seeing that that amount of money is too pricey for my pocket.
What I need is of course, easier and cheaper long-distance communication with Indonesia. So I researched for a data-only plan (where I only pay for the unlimited mobile internet, but without any phonecalls or SMSes)...to no avail.
I thought T-mobile had a data-only plan with their so-called "Unlimited Blackberry" plan, but it was no good. Apparently it was directed towards a hearing-impaired audience.
There was also another carrier that listed unlimited international phone calls as its main feature, and it got me excited...until I found out that the so-called "international" was only for 60 countries relevant to America (you know, the Spanish-speaking countries that provides USA with immigrants, the Arabic-speaking countries that provides it with oil and terrorism cause, and Japan and China and some similarly wealthy friends in Europe).
That pissed me off.
So I decided to go for a smarter solution, which would be a normal Prepaid plan, as any good Indonesians would opt for.
Postpaid got me thinking a whole week because:
- Though the phone may be low-priced (such as $150 for a Blackberry 8900) or even free, I have to subscribe to its carrier for 24 months in full. Which means that if I terminate the contract plan after using it for a year, I have to pay off a termination fee which ranges from $150 to 250.
- All the features that you have in a postpaid plan can be purchased cheaper with a prepaid plan. Who needs 1000 minutes and unlimited SMS for $50/month in postpaid when you can have the same features with a prepaid one?
Then I bought a T-mobile simcard in Walmart (which comes together with its Nokia 1661 phone) for $20, with $3 initial balance. This means that the Nokia came for $17, which wasn't a bad deal, considering how plastic it is.
I also bought a $50 prepaid refill card for T-mobile, a move I regret now.
What a waste of money.
It may not be true for some other areas in USA, but T-mobile does have a poor signal reception inside the house I'm living in right now.
Then they also charge a hefty fee to send SMSes abroad to Indonesia.
So I researched more on its arch nemesis, AT&T...and look what I found, a messaging feature package of $10 for 1000 SMSes!
And it lasts for 30 days.
And I found that in Kaskus, fellow Indonesians are giving testimonials of how they have found a "leak" that the SMS package can also be used to send texts abroad (to numbers outside America).
Now that I have found that AT&T has a good signal reception in the house, I'm sticking to AT&T. Just as not to let my T-mobile phone go to waste, I may keep the number alive till its expiration on late December...or I may choose to discard it by then.
But oh well, even if I want to keep both phones active, I only need to dig $10 for T-mobile and $25-50 for AT&T every 3 months. Which in total, I only need to pay $35 at most.
Which averages $12 a month.
Not a bad deal. Not expensive at all. I can now SMS as much as I like to Indonesia!