If you’re with one of the bigger carriers, you could be paying $70 per month for your mobile phone. US Mobile’s mission is to offer inexpensive cell phone plans, and the average customer is paying less than $20 per month. Switching would mean that you save around $600 per year. Sounds good right? Let’s take a closer look at how we manage to offer a great service at a lower price than our competitors.
Just pay for what you need
The first question you should ask yourself is if you’re paying for things you don’t use? With unlimited plans, it’s likely that you’re paying for more talk, text or data than you actually use. Have a look at your last bill to see how much you really use. Based on that information, you can see how much a custom plan would cost at US Mobile. Our matrix offers no less than 252 different plans.
Pick the talk, text and data plan you need and calculate how much you would save by switching. In case your first plan isn’t perfect, you can always change to a different plan next month.
You’re in total control
When you join US Mobile you get a login to a personal dashboard. As you login you will get an instant overview of your usage and how much you have left of your plan.
If you consistently have to buy addons in the middle of the month, it might be more inexpensive to buy a larger base package the next month. And vice versa, if you’re not using all the talk, text or data that you have purchased, you could go with a smaller plan the coming month. It’s inexpensive AND transparent.
Don’t put up with hidden fees
Isn’t it funny when you think you’re going to pay one amount and then you get to pay another 30% in hidden taxes and fees? No, it’s not and you shouldn’t allow that to happen. Your bill with US Mobile is made up of three different components:
- Your plan, consisting of talk, text and/or data.
- A $2 monthly service fee, which you could call a “line fee”. If you go to our plans‘ page, this fee is always included automatically no matter what plan you choose.
- Finally, to be fully transparent, we do have one fee which we don’t mention in our matrix which is the Federal Universal Service Fund. It’s only applied to plans containing minutes and it’s as low as $0.10 if you have the smallest package, up to $0.49 if you have the 5000 minutes plan.
In case you need to top up during a month, you will pay the same amount as the matrix shows. You will never encounter surcharges with us and since it’s prepaid, you will never spend more than what you have budgeted for.
Bring your own device
We encourage our customers to bring their own device. As long as your current phone is unlocked you don’t need to buy a new phone. In case you want a new phone, we do offer unlocked phones in our shop. However, we don’t offer subsidized phones. Other carriers might offer you a “free” phone and in exchange lock you into a multi-year contract and let you pay off the phone every month. We don’t believe in contracts, we want you to able to come and go as you please.
If you do choose to buy a subsidized phone with another carrier, we recommend you to sum up how much the total payments amounts to. Often you’ll end up paying more over the course of two years compared to if you had paid for the phone upfront.
The first fix isn’t for free
We never try to “upsell” our customers, we just want you to pay for what you need and will use. Another thing we don’t do is offer limited discounts in order to convince you to join us. Our prices are consistently low and new customers don’t get a better deal at the expense of existing loyal customers.
How to lower your phone bill
As if these affordable plans weren’t enough, we regularly post tips and tricks on how to make your phone bill even cheaper. Here are two of our readers’ favorites:
Main Image Source: Stockphoto through Facebook
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Hand on heart – how many old cell phones do you have lying around at home, collecting dust? In a world where consumption and waste are going up, we want to give you a few ideas on what to do with your old phones.
Even if you don’t want to use it anymore, it doesn’t mean that others won’t. Check for local charities through city government and/or local domestic violence help centers or donate it to one of the national charities listed.
Cell Phones for Soldiers – sends old phones along with free international calling service to troops serving overseas from all branches of the U.S. military.
Hope Phones – recycles your phone to fund healthcare programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Health workers use the phones to register, track, monitor conditions and communicate about emergencies.
Hope Line Phones – refurbishes old unused phones and gives them to victims of domestic violence with a limited free calling and texting service. Run by Verizon.
Rainforest Connection – utilizes old phones to protect rainforests in Indonesia, Africa and the Amazon. The phones are fitted with solar panels for energy and a special software is installed which uses the phones’ microphones to monitor the sound of illegal chainsawing and alert nearby rangers to the activity.
Hand it down
As honorable it might be to donate your old phone, you could also give it a family member. We’ve covered it in an earlier post on How to give your kid a cell phone. Dust off an old phone and load it up with a low-cost plan, since a child doesn’t necessarily need the newest smartphone. It might even be enough to have talk and text plan activated. US Mobile’s lowest talk- and text plan starts at $7/month. You will get the peace of mind of being able to reach your kid at any time and vice versa.
Recycle/Sell it for cash
There are a number of places, both physical and online, where you can actually get cash for your old phone. Prices varies depending on the phone, carrier, condition and the where you turn to so make sure you shop around to get the best deal. Some examples below.
Use it as a camera/monitor
Instead of getting rid of your old phone, there are several ways you can repurpose it. For instance, many old smartphones have better cameras than surveillance cameras.
With an app like SalientEye, you can turn the phone into a motion detector (which notifies you with text or mail when detecting movement). Another app is TrackView, which allows you to remotely monitor and record a video. Pair the Baby Monitor & Alarm app with your phone and get alerts when your baby wakes up.
Use it as a universal control
The next time that darn Apple-TV remote control is missing, you might want to consider using an old phone as the remote control. There are several options for how to set it up depending on what type of device you have and what solution you’re looking for:
Install an app to make your device a dedicated remote for your various home entertainment components. Search in app stores for specific apps to control your components.
Pair the phone with the Chromecast streaming sticks. Use it to wirelessly cast content or audio from apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Pandora, and Google Play Music.
Set up a home media server using Plex, then use your old device as a dedicated remote to stream your own local content to your TV.
Connect the device directly to a TV or audio system through a cable.
Use it as a wireless mouse
Similar to the previous example, you can turn your old phone into a wireless mouse or remote for your computer. You could even use it as a clicker for presentions. There are several apps out there to be used as remotes and keyboards. Some examples are Gmote 2.0 and Remote Link for Android or Remote Mouse and Mobile Mouse for iOS.
Use it as your car’s music player
Avoid the hassle of connecting your current phone and instead use an old phone as your music player, never taking it out of the car. Load it with all the music you want, or download the music streaming app if you prefer. Then plug it into your car’s power port, connect it to the stereo via either Bluetooth or the headphone jack.
Main Image Source: www.zerowastesg.com
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Want a glimpse into the future? We found the most innovative phone accessories currently on Kickstarter. Some are already on the market, while others need some support to get through the final stretch of development.
SELFLY is the Phone Case that Makes your Phone Fly
SELFLY is a 9 mm thick phone case, which is also an autonomous flying camera device. Snap it onto your phone, let it fly and control it through their app. SELFLY operates for 5 minutes in the air, which is enough to take about 15-20 selfie flight maneuvers. It’s available for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy 7, Galaxy 7 Edge and Nexus 6.
LenzO Turns your iPhone into an Underwater Camera
LenzO lets you take high-quality photos and videos up to 330 feet under water. Choose between settings like video, time-lapse, slo-mo and panoramic among several other features.
This case has solved the issue with water resistant phones interfering with the touchscreen, by using two control systems. One of them adjusts a small arm on the inside of the case. The other will transmit your touch letting you control camera functions on the phone. It so far available for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
LuminAid is a Phone Charger and Lantern in One
This is one of the phone accessories every camper needs! The PackLite Max Phone Charger is solar inflatable lantern and charger. It has a 5V USB output port with a fast charging output of 2.4 Amps, which has enough capacity to fully recharge your phone or other devices. You can either charge by micro USB for 1-2 hours or by a built-in solar panel, which takes 12-14 hours. The lantern packs flat and inflates into a lightweight and waterproof 150-lumen lantern. It even floats and can be submerged in water up to 3 feet. LuminAid runs for 50 hours on Low Mode.
The inventors, two Columbia University graduates, pitched LuminAID on Shark Tank Season 6 and received an offer from all 5 Sharks and it’s so much more than camper gear. TheLuminAID lights have been used in more than 70 countries and after disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan and the earthquakes in Nepal.
Do you like to travel but want to avoid expensive roaming fees? The Konnect i1 supposedly connects up to five devices to a global 4G LTE Hotspot with coverage in 100+ countries. It even allows free international calling in 20+ countries.
So how does it work? The i1 will search for the strongest local carrier in their partner network and automatically connect you to a Wi-Fi. All you have to do is purchase a one-day plan for $10, which will give you unlimited data for your phone, laptop or tablet. Just connect to the NUU Konnekt i1 and start surfing.
Steadicam Volt™ Creates High-Quality Videos with your Phone
Mount your smartphone on the foldable stabilizer, power on and go. The Stedicam Volt helps to keep the subject in frame and at a stable horizon level. You can choose between sport, capturing fast moving moments, or movie mode, for the more cinematic shots. It accommodates phone sizes with or without a case from 100 to 250 gram in weight and 58 to 85mm in width and has 8 hours of battery life.
Fun fact is that Sedicam isn’t just known for their phone accessories. The Steadicam brand has helped filmmakers for 40 years to capture smooth and shake-free videos. According to their website, it’s the “stabilization choice of Hollywood”.
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Google Maps has made a series of updates during the first two months of the year. Most of the updates are relating to a new navigation bar. The bar consists of three icons: Places, Transit, and Driving, which help you explore the area around you. In case you missed what’s new with Google Maps, we’ve gathered the top hacks for you here.
The Date Hack
One of the keys to a successful date is to be one step ahead. Google Maps now gives you “live” updates, which will let you know exactly how busy a place is when you want to go there. To find live updates you type in and select your desired location, then tap on the name of the place and scroll down to the bottom.
The Parking Hack
Another new feature will help you find parking, or at least prepare you for how difficult it will be to find parking. Google says it’s now using historical parking data to calculate a parking difficulty score. The score is displayed in Google Maps’ directions card as Limited, Medium, or Easy. To view the parking info you enter the destination and the parking difficulty icon will appear on the directions card at the bottom of the screen.
The Ride Hack
As before, Google Maps will offer you multiple ways to get to a certain destination. What’s new is if you tap the icon looking like a figure with a hand up, you’ll access available ride services. It includes Uber and Lyft, among others, with price estimates. Select your ride, tap Request in the lower right corner and you’re off. Google will even integrate your payment settings so you won’t need the Uber app installed once logged in through Google Maps.
The Transit Hack
Google Maps now also provides real-time transit times to and from specified locations. According to Google, it promises you that “you’ll never have to sprint to the bus again”. The transit tab will list public transport options, along with information about when the next bus or train will arrive at a stop close to you. It also allows you to share an ETA with your friends.
The Find-Places Hack
The new Places tab is exactly what it sounds like. If you tap it you will see a set of new icons like restaurants, bars, gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores etc. close to you.
The WiFi Hack
Locate the nearest WiFi, as covered in How to make Your Phone a Wi-Fi Hotspot. Simply type in “Wi-Fi Hotspots” in the search window and you’ll see the Wi-Fi spots within reach.
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We have covered this topic of locked vs unlocked phones in the past but it’s still one of the most common questions we get. Therefore, we’ve decided to take another stab at it!
Many carriers still limit the phones to only work on their network, at least till you tell them to do something about it. Legally you have the right to unlock your phone (more details in Can I Unlock my Phone) but you have to get the permission from the carrier. Locking your phone to a network is probably the easiest way to keep a customer. But to be fair, a common reason for locked phones are so that the carriers can offer lower upfront payments. You will have to stay as long as you’re paying off the device. We only offer unlocked phones in our shop.
In order to lock a phone, the carrier adds a software code on the phone during the manufacturing phase. That limits the phone from working on another network until you enter an unlocking code. The easiest way to know if a phone is unlocked when you buy it is to look for specs clearly stating that the phone is unlocked.
GSM vs CDMA
When you’re bringing over a phone from one carrier to another, it’s not only locked phones which limit you, unfortunately. Carriers operate under one of two types of networks: CDMA or GSM. Out of the four biggest carriers with their own network, AT&T and T-Mobile run on GSM, while Sprint and Verizon Wireless use CDMA. All other carriers operate on of these four networks (except for US Cellular who has their own network). You can check with your carrier which network you’re on if you’re uncertain. US Mobile is a GSM carrier.
In general, an unlocked GSM phone from AT&T and T-Mobile will work on each other’s networks. If you have a device that is locked, your carrier can unlock it if you meet their individual criteria.
Older phones from Verizon and Sprint, on the CDMA network, don’t operate with a SIM card. That basically means that those phones are restricted and can’t be used on another CDMA networks. However, most, if not all, 4G LTE devices from Verizon and Sprint are technically capable of operating on a GSM network, as LTE needs a SIM card to operate. Examples of phones compatible with all carriers 4G LTE speeds: iPhone 6, 6+, 6s, 6s+ and Google Nexus 5 models and Nexus 6 models.
Phone Compatibility US Mobile
When people ask us if their phone is compatible with our network, we usually ask them these two questions:
- Does your phone have a SIM card slot? Check the back or on the sides of your phone if it has a slot for a SIM card. If yes, it’s likely GSM capable and should, therefore, work on US Mobile.
- To avoid uncertainty, check the technical specs. Either just google the name of the phone or check your phone’s serial number. Your phone has a unique 15-digit code, IMEI or MEID, which can be found in the phone settings, or by entering *#06# on the dial pad.
- Is the phone unlocked? If you’re still in a contract, or if you’re outstanding payments, your phone is most likely locked to that carrier. You have a legal right to have the phone unlocked if you meet the carriers’ criteria, described further in How to Unlock Your Phone from any Carrier.
- If you happen to have a SIM card handy, you can always try to pop it into the phone to see if it’s unlocked or not.
- If your phone isn’t unlocked, we can help you unlock it. All you need to do is to fill out this Unlock Request.
We hope that this shed some light on how to bring your own device (BYOD) to another network. Feel free to add comments and questions in case we need to clarify things further!
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