Prepaid "catch"

Guru

Prepaid "catch"

In my first post about the new $50 Monthly unlimited plan hme83 commented the corresponding post paid plan would cost twice that. And I was reading something on one of the Sprint boards that someone was commenting on why do prepaid customers get unlimited plans when post paid have to pay much more, and that got me thinking if there is something behind the scenes that is maybe unknown. The only disadvantages that I can think of is that prepaid provides less roaming coverage and from what I hear data rates are throttled. Just curious as to what anyone else thinks about this?

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Master

Re: Prepaid "catch"

[ Edited ]

I can't really think of any other "catches" to prepaid service beyond the reduced availability of customer support, a reduced coverage footprint, and potentially throttled data speeds (although I don't see any difference between my prepaid service and my post paid service - it's just that with neither service type is my 3G phone any faster in side by side comparisons to a same make 2G phone - even though I'm in a 3G area and using the 3G network).

 

Post paid service is probably going to be more economical than prepaid for someone who can/wants to be a member of a family plan.  But for individuals - and especially if you don't have a smartphone and high cellular data usage needs - prepaid service is certainly worth looking at; plus, it offers some unique benefits such as feature balance rollover.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

Message 2 of 21 (908 Views)
Master

Re: Prepaid "catch"

It seems frustrating to me that prepaid customers, GoPhone and Pick Your Plan (if there are any still around), are said to receive somewhat less of a coverage area, as well as a "reduced" signal inside of a very well-covered area. I'd like to take a friend's postpaid phone and compare the signal of each side-by-side in the same room. We both have the same phone, so it'd be somewhat accurate. Smiley Wink

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 3 of 21 (900 Views)
Guru

Re: Prepaid "catch"

That's an interesting point about the side by side comparison WildBanchi. As a matter of fact I was with a friend the other day and he had his iphone and I noticed that I consistently had five bars while his fluctuated, in fact he had to go the window to get a better signal. I pretty much have five bars of service no matter if I am indoors or outdoors. Hme83, I hadn't thought about how a post paid family plan could be more economical, but you are right. Also isn't  there a better selection of phones for post paid customers?

Message 4 of 21 (892 Views)
Master

Re: Prepaid "catch"

I'm guessing that your friend was a postpaid iPhone user, though. Smiley Wink Still, different branded and even different model phones have different signal strengths.

Yes, there is a MUCH better selection of phones for postpaid customers, most of which are smartphones. However, you can use ANY AT&T phone (some exclude the iPhone, although it has been proven that, indeed, you can use it) on prepaid service. I'm using a "high-dollar" smartphone with my prepaid GoPhone plan. Smiley Happy

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 5 of 21 (876 Views)
Guru

Re: Prepaid "catch"

Yep, he was a post paid iphone user, still I would have liked to have compared similiar phones to get accurate feedback. Either way I get solid call quality with my phone no matter where I am. WildBanchi, you seem to be just as pleased as I am with your phone and plan pairingSmiley Wink If I wasn't so happy with my V9x I'd give the Atrix a run on prepaid.

Message 6 of 21 (870 Views)
Master

Re: Prepaid "catch"

Yep, my service works well for me, for a mere $25 a month. My service (messaging package) ran out on Tuesday and I haven't renewed it since. I guess this DOES prove that I CAN live without my phone. Smiley Tongue

You seem to be a fan of Motorola. Smiley Wink The Atrix is very nice.

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 7 of 21 (854 Views)
Guru

Re: Prepaid "catch"

The $25 you pay for service is that for Virgin Mobil? If so with a phone like yours and a plan that low priced your doing pretty well for yourself, plus Virgin Mobil uses Sprint's network so you must get decent coverage.smileywink: And yeah, I have had  good luck with Motorola, my daughter's grandmother had the original RAZR and I had Motorola's Bali before I got the V9x and they were all solid feeling phones with good call quality.

Message 8 of 21 (852 Views)
Master

Re: Prepaid "catch"

Nope, I'm happily with AT&T, although I used to use Virgin Mobile. I wouldn't be here otherwise! Smiley Very Happy I wish that AT&T would have VM's $25 unlimited everything plan, but for $25, I get what I need - unlimited messaging and money left over for voice minutes or the occasional phone call/chit chat.

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 9 of 21 (850 Views)
Guru

Re: Prepaid "catch"

Not too shabby a setup at all Smiley Very Happy You said you are happily with AT&T, I gotta say that the service for me has been great as well. I did some research on AT&T before I got my phone and I remember reading stories about dropped calls, poor coverage and spotty customer service, but I have not encountered any of that.

Message 10 of 21 (846 Views)
Master

Re: Prepaid "catch"

So far... Smiley Very Happy Just kidding. That is most definitely a good thing, as no one wants to experience any of those "subpar" issues.

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 11 of 21 (703 Views)
Guru

Re: Prepaid "catch"

The reason I went with AT&T is because the V9x is only available from them, but thank goodness it's all working out well. It's funny, but i wonder if people with a setup like yours become more common place I have to think that'll make some of the wireless carriers rethink their pricing strategy a bit by lowering prices and or giving customers more flexibility and options. Well one can hope anywayMan Very Happy

Message 12 of 21 (699 Views)
Master

Re: Prepaid "catch"

[ Edited ]

Wild Banchi wrote:
It seems frustrating to me that prepaid customers, GoPhone and Pick Your Plan (if there are any still around), are said to receive somewhat less of a coverage area, as well as a "reduced" signal inside of a very well-covered area. I'd like to take a friend's postpaid phone and compare the signal of each side-by-side in the same room. We both have the same phone, so it'd be somewhat accurate. Smiley Wink


Believe me - it's not just a "saying" if you are in one of the areas impacted by it - such as much of the western to central half of the United States.  Pick Your Plan did/does provide the same roaming partner coverage of a post paid plan - and it was about as expensive as being on a post paid plan. Smiley Wink  Just take a look at the coverage map for GoPhone service (now it's only PayGo for new customers) vs. post paid in the western half of the US and you'll see that there are pretty large coverage differences.  I didn't realize how significant it was until a couple of years ago when traveling in rather "off the beaten path" areas of this part of the country while on vaca.  At the time I was considering dropping my post paid plan and had phones along on the trip with both a post paid plan and my prepaid service so that I could really see what the practical implications of doing so would be.  Needless to say, I haven't dropped my post paid plan yet and I still have both service types.  lol.

 

That said - as I've said previously, I don't note any difference in the RF (i.e. "signal strength") between my post paid vs. prepaid services.  It's either that I have coverage or I don't on the prepaid service.  If I have coverage, there doesn't seem to be any difference between performance in my area; but I'm also not receiving 3G data speeds while using a 3G at&t branded device on the 3G network on either the prepaid service or the post paid service.  (Side by side comparisons of data speeds on an at&t branded 2G SE W580i are consistently slightly faster than they are on the at&t branded 3G SE W518a - whether the prepaid or the post paid SIM is in either phone.)  I have heard that in some areas at&t may throttle the data speeds with prepaid service (even though I'm not seeing that); and I've also been told that in some areas at&t may throttle data speeds with feature phones - both the W580i and the W518a are feature phones.

 

iPhones are well known to not have very good cellular radios - so they will likely fluctuate in terms of holding a signal more than devices by some of the other manufacturers may.  (Nokia and Moto are typically considered to be the best in terms of RF.)  Also, you can't really gauge anything by the "number of bars" as each manufacturer uses a different scale in their indication of RF strength.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

Message 13 of 21 (689 Views)
Master

Re: Prepaid "catch"

With that being said, I'm glad I'm not out in Montana or somewhere else way out in the boonies. GoPhone service is covered well in parts here of Michigan. When you head up north, though, that's when you may have some trouble getting service. Overall, my GoPhone service works exceptionally well and the only thing that could be better is a discounted price on my plan every month. Smiley Wink

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 14 of 21 (683 Views)
Guru

Re: Prepaid "catch"

Hme83, there is something about what you said about the number of bars, the times when I had 1-2 bars showing I had no problems as far as  call performance. According to the coverage map here in Massachusetts it's pretty well covered so I should encounter no problems.

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