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  1.    #1  
    So I love me some iphone4 but being able to pick up a cheap Veer was too much to resist. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to jump between my iPhone4 and a Veer with a single account (diff. data plans, micro-sim in iPhone, reported damage from sim adapter in Veers, etc). And I wasn't quite ready to have add another line just to play with the Veer and have it available as a 'weekend out and about phone' so I came up with the solution of getting a GoPhone sim, prepaying some money on it and just using the 'pay as you go' option.

    I thought I would share my experience and advice and offer up the chance for anyone to ask questions if there is anything I don't address in my post.

    So the important thing to initially know about the GoPhone (and wasn't quite explained to me) is that the initial amount you PREPAY into your GoPhone account determines the amount of time you have to expend that cash. So, prepay $100 and you have a year to use it... Prepay less and you have less time. I prepaid $50 and I think I have 3 months to use it.

    Ala Carte Text and Data - One important thing to know is that you can order NO VOICE service (that costs anything) and get texting and data packages. This is helpful if, like me, you are not too talkative on the phone but love having text messaging available or (more importantly for me at least) aways want internet and email access in your pocket. Packages start at as little as $5 a month for data and another $5 for text messaging although those are pretty minimal -- although if you are always around a wifi you could probably get away with an 'emergency' data package.

    Talk Plans - So as I mentioned the 'no cost' talk plan is really a $.10 a minute. You'd be crazy to get if you talked for even a few hours a month but for me (not a talker) it beats the alternatives which are... a $2.00 a day unlimited talk/text plan which is actually kinda cool because I think I recall if you don't use it you don't pay -- it's just on the days you use it so you could get unlimited texting and talking for the weekends for $4 a weekend. Be warned though -- if you get a text one day and that's the only thing that happened on your phone that text will cost you $2. Of course I think you could just keep your phone off during the week or leave it in airplane mode and just use data and problems solved. There is also a $50 a month unlimited talk and text plan which might make sense if it was your primary phone and you talk and text a lot but it doesn't include data. If you look it up online it will say unlimited talk+text+data but in the fine print it's not 'smartphone data' so you need to pay for an extra package.

    "FEATURE" PACKAGES -- so you can get whatever talk plan you want and add 'feature packages' to it that add data and/or texting.
    - BAD: 'Feature plans' is that they expire 30 days from when you purchase them.. So, for example, if you get 1000 text messages for $20 and only use 50 of them and then throw your phone in a drawer the remaining 950 are gone forever. Same thing with data -- get 500 megs and use 20 and the other 480 disappear after 30 days.
    - GOOD: You can 'roll over' your feature packages as long as you 'renew' with another package before your previous one expires. So get the 1000 text messages for $20 and you won't lose it 30 days later as long as you re-enroll in another text message package even if its the $5 a month one..
    - MORE GOOD: You can set an 'auto enroll' in the packages so you don't need to work about keeping them up to date.

    Texting plans -- three levels $5, $10 and $20 a month. I don't remember the amount of texts but $5 was kinda way small, $10 was like WAY more messages for only another $5 and $20 was a crazy amount of messages.

    Data - a little stingy here when you compare it to the 'post paid' regular plans I am used to. The MAXIMUM data plan was just 500 megs and it was $25 a month compared to the options for 2 GIGS or 4 GIGS that one would be able to get with their iPhone. That being said for even aggressive email and web browsing $500 megs should last a while. I wouldn't stream pandora 24/7 or anything but for general internet I think 500 megs should last a while.

    SET UP - This is kinda tricky. In order to set-up the Veer you *NEED* to either login or set-up a HP WebOS account. The phone can literally do nothing but call 911 until you do this. This includes the inability to connect to wifi. This is a problem because part of the GoPhone set-up process involves confirming the phone is correctly set-up be receiving a phone call. Once this phone call is received you will then get the data turned on. It's a chicken and egg situation -- you can't set-up the phone properly and receive a phone call until AT&T turns on data services which requires you to successfully receive a phone call. Frustrating. The first time I set up a veer I got through to a customer service rep and after them trying to call me 9 times I *think* (not sure) they turned on my data early (prior to me adding the feature package) when I explained the chicken-and-egg -- it worked, I activated the HP WebOS account and the phone call finally came through and I added my month on it and the feature packages and all was well. The second time I helped a friend the CS rep wasn't as helpful (or smart?) and I ended up just taking a leap of faith it would all work out -- put $100 on the phone and added the data package before the phone was technically 'working' (i.e. no call came through) and it worked out fine. After being on the phone for 20 minutes I just thought it was worth taking the risk and then disputing the charge with my CC if something went way wrong. Everything ended up working out just fine.

    FINAL ANALYSIS - I think the GoPhone is a great option for those just looking for a 'weekend phone'. I can easily forward my calls from my iPhone which is convenient. Less convenient is the fact that I can't forward text messages. I guess a good solution would be to ultimately transition over to something like google voice and just get a number there that I can forward online to either of the two phone lines.

    RECOMMENDATION FOR THOSE INTERESTED: Know how 'long' you are likely wanting to use the phone per this approach PRIOR to your initial GoPhone investment. If you know you want to use it for a while then invest a larger amount upfront of that you GoPhone funds take the longest to expire. Drop $100 into your GoPhone account and you'll have an entire year to work through it. I ended up getting the MAX data and text packages for a total investment of $45 and am not going to come close to using all of the data or texts and am auto-enrolled in the $5 a month text and $5 a month bare minimum data package just to keep the unused portions of my initial investment available in perpetuity. So for about $100 you can can get a service for a weekend phone for about 5-6 months -- not bad. $45 initial investment and then $10 a month (data+text mins) for another 5-6 months. This of course doesn't include any talk time which is pricey at $.10 a minute BUT for me at least it's a weekend phone and I am out and about doing things and not talking on the phone.

    Ugh. Quite a bit of typing. Lemme know if it was helpful and I will subscribe to this thread and check it to see if there are any follow-up questions.

    ALSO -- I would love to know if anyone else has approaches for talk/text/data plans for a veer 'weekend' phone.. Maybe t-mobile has something better that justifies unlocking it? I am happy with AT&T in my area but cell phones are always a 'your milage may very' type thing so I would definitely consider switching over to t-mobile if they had something competitive to the GoPhone plan..
  2. ashykat's Avatar
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    #2  
    Also check out H20 Wireless which is an AT&T MVNO, cheaper than Go Phone it seems and they work in AT&T Locked phones. You'll also keep your high speed data this way. You could always go the way of T-Mobile or Simple Mobile, a cheap T-Mobile MVNO. Of course then you'd be stuck on Edge.
  3. shrxwin's Avatar
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    #3  
    thank you both - I am a Verizon customer but my sister picked up an off-contract Veer for me and I was willing to be wifi only but having a SIM card and a backup phone on an alternate network sounds a lot more doable after reading your posts!

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