What moblie service to get, part 2

Karsten Ensinger karsten.at.openmoko at onlinehome.de
Sat Mar 10 08:47:07 CET 2007

Hi Mike,

>> 3. Data plan it is.  You can't add a data plan to a prepaid card.  So
>>    either you have a prepaid voice card + data plan card, or you suck
>>    it up and sign up for a voice plan as well.
> Is there really such a thing as a "data plan card" ?  I can't find that 
> on the gophone section of the cingular site. It only lists:
> $15    30 days
> $25    90 days
> $50    90 days
> $75    90 days
> $100    365 days
>> 5. It seems to be a grey area, using a phone that they don't provide.
>>    I can see a good argument for calling the OpenMoko a SmartPhone.
>>    Which is great 'cause theres a $20/month unlimited data plan for
>>    smartphones.  But there's no way to limit whether you can use it
>>    for tethered/laptop data access so who knows if they'd want to slap
>>    the tether fee on you. "just in case" fortunately I don't think
>>    they're that clue-full.
> I have a feeling that both tmobile and cingular are going to do whatever 
> they can to prohibit the openmoko phones.  And I'm thinking the cheaper 
> "smartphone" data plans will only work on cingular's devices, right? 
> Like the device has to do something in order to be able to make use of 
> it- some technical limitation?  Otherwise I don't know why cingular 
> sells two different plans, the "smartphone 5mb" is $9.99 and the "Data 
> Connect 5MB" is $19.99. I don't get how else they'd be different. Would 
> the neo be compatible with both? Who knows?  I hope someone from the 
> openmoko project reads this thread.
>> 6. It seems that you can only order a plan [get a sim card] with a
>>    phone.  That's not such a financial problem if you're just getting
>>    a cheap voice plan, because there are lots of cheap/free after
>>    rebate voice phones you can get and not use.  But to order a data
>>    plan from Cingular [of any of the tweleve types] you have to order
>>    a phone that is valid for that plan.
> OK, you're saying no matter what plan I sign up for with cingular, even 
> prepaid, I have to buy a phone from them too, right?  I can't like, go 
> on ebay and buy a cheap used phone and still sign up with cingular, even 
> prepaid?
> The one useful piece of info I may have then, is to tell you about the 
> service I have now.  I have ecallplus.com, which resells cingular.  They 
> have a few GSM plans, and you can bring your own phone...  So if your 
> sprint phone breaks you may have a cheaper path to GSM through them for 
> your holdover.

Although I am from Germany, I don't think the "plans" here are that
different to yours.
"Flat" plans are only available for post-paid contracts.
Some pre-paid contracts allow GPRS connects charged by 10kB blocks.
That means that you won't get charged for data connects per minute
but per transfered data blocks (both directions!).

The mobile companies do not make their money with phones. It is more
the opposite, because they subsidize the phones to get them attractiv
to potential customers. Long running contracts are the consequences.
Look at the long running contracts as a kind of credit agreement for
buying a mobile phone.
If you do not take a subsidized phone, you can get a discount on the
rates or alternatively a shorter contract period.
None of the companies take care how you spend your money, as long as
you spend much of it to them using their "lines".

The difference between the "SmartPhone Connect" and the "Data Connect"
plan is mentioned in the details. With the "Data Connect" you are able
to synchronize your office stuff with your smartphone via mobile
connections (although it will be limited to Microsoft software, I
"SmartPhone Connect" lacks this "feature". That seems to be the reason
for the different rates.
To get one of this plans you will need to take an additional voice plan

My advice for you would be, to ask your local phone shop guys for a
contract without a subsidized phone and the possibility to add a "data
plan" later on when you need it. If you will use the phone for regular
data connections, ask for the possibility to get a "flat" data plan
later on. Not all of the offered voice plans allow the addition of a
data plan, so take care when you choose one of them.
It should be possible to get a short running contract if you renounce
the subsidized phones and take a plan which is "non-flat" (means: pay
per use).


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