Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Do I NEED it?

Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions.

I mailed my letter to the CEO of Sprint on Wednesday morning and will not make any changes until I hear back from them or until June 24th, when the coverage changes.

I signed up for an Unlimited Plan including Unlimited Roaming with Sprint. I have asked them to allow me to keep that plan for the duration of the 2 year contract.

I have asked them to "offer" me a new plan at the end of my contract. Not to force changes on me.

Maybe, I want too much.  Maybe I use the internet too much.  Am I addicted to the internet?

Do I need to walk away and turn off the computer, and go back to reading books. Or do some sewing or some other hobbies.

I am not going to allow these companies to change the way I travel, I will figure out a way to work around it - without paying anymore per month than I am already.  I have decided that I will change my internet usage habits rather than change when and where I travel.  I am not going to avoid areas that have poor or non-existent internet or cell service.  There are many RV bloggers that only use "free" internet - at McDonald's or in a hotel parking lot or a Visitors Centers, etc. Maybe I will do that.

I am hoping to spend a year or more in Alaska, I will check into what types of cell and internet services are available there. This will be a major deciding factor in what service I decide to go with.

I traveled with a small, very old flip phone until I purchased the iPhone in December 2011. In April 2011, I purchased Sprints hotspot, 2 days before I left to pick up my RV in Florida.

As a solo woman traveler, I feel I need to be connected to the rest of the world.  I want a service that will allow me to call someone, correspond with others online, check directions, find a place to stay, find a repair service, if necessary, etc. I have even considered having "OnStar" installed on the RV, for emergency phone service only, so this will not solve the internet issues. I am really thinking about adding "OnStar" and since this has a monthly service fee, I can cut back on my internet plan and still not spend more per month. I want the security of knowing I can contact someone, if I need to - this is more important to me than having instant access to the internet.

I have considered a "satellite" phone.  I have looked into a satellite dish for internet service, only. I do not own a TV, I do not download TV shows or movies with the internet. That is not what I am using the hotspot for.

If I get a satellite system, it will have to be one of those "domes" mounted on top of the RV, I don't have the patience for setting up tripods and wires and all of that stuff. If I had to do that, I would never take the dish out of storage (and I don't have anywhere to store it in a 24' motor home with no tow vehicle).

I thought the iPhone would be my solution to staying connected.  When I am traveling, it is easy to use the iPhone when I pull into a parking lot or a scenic pull-out to look for directions to a campground, grocery store, gas station, etc, rather than setting up the laptop.  I do not have a co-pilot sitting next to me, who is using a laptop and reading directions, etc. for me.

I rarely use the "phone" part of the plan I have. I usually "text" (currently unlimited). I don't use anywhere near the allowable number of phone minutes on my plan.

My entire argument with Sprint is with the internet service, with what they call "data" service - since I have an iPhone - the data service kicks in whenever I check the weather, check for emails, or use an "app".

The email they sent states that, when not using it, I should turn off all data services and turn off the phone or it will continue to count towards the amount of data that I am allowed per month.

The problem is that the cell phone companies promise you anything and everything and then don't deliver.

Or, they change the plan - whenever they want.  I know there is fine print on the contracts, but I don't feel they should be able to change things whenever they want - and hold me to a 2 year contract. I did not want to deal with 2 different companies, as long as Sprint was offering "unlimited" roaming, I stayed with them.  I could have purchased my iPhone through AT&T or Verizon and waited for the contracts on my other phones and devices to run out, then switch over. I was hoping things would be simpler keeping it all with one company. I read an interesting article today (see below) about many people switching companies when the data plans are not available to them. 

Maybe I should go with a prepaid plan, Sprint states these are better for data users.

June 5, 2012, 12:38 p.m. EDT

Sprint's Virgin Mobile USA to offer iPhone

By Thomas Gryta
Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S) is set to become the second U.S. mobile phone service to offer the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone without a wireless contract.
The Overland Park, Kan., carrier will announce this week it will offer the popular smartphone on its Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go brand starting as soon as July 1, according to people familiar with the company's plans. Sprint follows Leap Wireless International Inc. (NASDAQ:LEAP) in selling the device with prepaid service.
By offering the iPhone, Sprint may help satisfy its commitment to Apple to buy $15.5 billion of the phones over four years, an aggressive bet as more carriers are getting access to the once-exclusive device. Sprint's prepaid service, which also includes the Boost Mobile brand, has been its lone area of growth as contract customers have fled.
Sprint added 489,000 prepaying customers in the first quarter, though it lost 192,000 contract customers, which are considered more profitable. It began offering the iPhone on its Sprint brand in October, and has sold 3.3 million of the device over the past two quarters.
Pricing for the Virgin Mobile iPhone couldn't be learned, and it wasn't clear whether Boost would ultimately carry the device.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. The availability of the prepaid iPhone allows Sprint to sell the device to a new demographic. Aside from having no contract, there are no also credit checks for customers.
The addition of the iPhone to Virgin Mobile also leaves Deutsche Telekom AG's (NYSE:DTE) T-Mobile USA at a greater disadvantage. It is the last of the largest carriers without the device, which Chief Executive Philipp Humm has said is a major reason it lost 1.7 million contract customers last year.
Notably, the prepaid iPhone from Virgin would be more widely available than Leap's Cricket brand because Cricket is only in smaller markets. Although Cricket users can use their iPhone anywhere, it can only be purchased if they live within its network that covers about 60 million people, or 20% of the U.S. population.
Sprint's network, used by Virgin, claims to cover about 278 million people or almost the entire country.
Leap will begin selling the phone on June 22 and charge $499.99 for a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S and $399.99 for the older 8-gigabyte iPhone 4. Those prices are about $300 more than those sold by the major carriers, but $150 less than what Apple charges for an unlocked 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S.
Sprint already offers various models of the iPhone at the same prices as the other major carriers when customers sign a two-year contract. That includes an 8-gigabyte iPhone 4 at $99.99 and a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S for $199.99.
In order to carry the phone, Leap struck a three-year deal with Apple under which it agreed to spend $900 million in volume purchases.
Virgin Mobile USA has prepaid plans that begin at $35 a month and offer unlimited data, although speeds will be throttled after the user consumes 2.5 gigabytes a month. It is unclear if the iPhone will be allowed to work on the current plans.
In comparison, Leap is charging $55 for unlimited talk, text and data, which a similar limit on full-speed data, while plans with other wireless carriers are frequently $100 or more, and users are locked into two-year contracts.
Sprint says its Virgin brand is directed toward "subscribers who are device and data-oriented." Sprint acquired Virgin Mobile USA in 2009 for about $480 million. 


  1. Teri,

    I have a "Grand fathered" unlimited account with Verizon which they will be terminating in July even though our contract has another year to go. The contract only means something if YOU change something. It seems they can and do what they wish, personally I'm sick of all of them but they are needed for us to get out there.

    Sat internet is fine and unfortunately expensive. Expect to pay upwards of $1,200 for the dish and more for the rest. Ypu might save on buying used but one thing is for sure, where ever you are you'll connect.

    Unless of course there is heavy tree coverage or bad weather can affect it as well.

    The cheap cell companies don't have the coverage of the major companies so while you save money you can't connect in a lot of places.

    Good luck and have fun!


  2. Craig does all the phone decisions. Im not really sure what he will do after his Verizon account is limited. He also says itS grandathered.

    Good article.

  3. WE have Trac Phones and have never had a problem getting service. Of course we are not full time so have not been to many out of the way places. We rely on free internet when we are on the road. So many places offer it now and many campgrounds as well. It can be inconvenient but we just can't justify the cost of a high end mobile service...but like I said, we are not full-time so I'm sure that makes a big difference. Good luck in finding the right plan for you.

  4. A woman traveling alone makes all the what you need to do to stay safe.

  5. Oh baruther ... I have AT&T iPhone ... at least 5 years? Whenever they first came out..

    We are grandfathered also with unlimited .. My son's fiancé was added to our account and she could not get unlimited. Nothing was said or indicated that our unlimited will end ...,

    That would be a disaster! I'm so used to this phone doing everything ...

    We had Sprint in the beginning of our cell phone days back in 2002 ... sent em back ... They lied about roaming charges! Our first bill was over $200 ... for ROAMING ... about had a cow

    Jeez! I hope you can work it out ... I hope I don't get a notice!!! Be lost without this unlimited stuff ... from Pandora Radio to You Tube to watching DWTS and so forth ...


Hi, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

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