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Best cell phone coverage

Ted Penner
Ted Penner asked
I live in Waco Texas and am tired of $150 mo in bills from ATT.  I'm considering prepaid.

Suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

I am not there - I am a long way north. A string of prepaid cards giving you 12 hours a day for 30 days would cost more than an ISP monthly plan.

Is your basic plan $150 month?  Or are you getting a very large allotment of data.

Cell phone service up here is about as expensive as anywhere on this continent. But I pay less than half that for unlimited local calls and 3 GB monthly of data.
Principal Software Engineer
AT&T will never do anybody favors as far as billing goes unless you beat them over the head.  Even then they will continue to hike your rates every year and you have to complain to keep them down.

First thing is to call their "customer service" (snickers uncontrollably), and after the one hour wait, tell them that you're not pleased with your monthly bill and ask what they can do about it.  You may find that they can reduce the rates (again, this will last only a year) or put you on a more suitable plan.

On the other hand, if they say "Nothing.  We've got you by the short and curlies" then you go shopping for a new phone provider.

Depending on how much you use your phone (or don't use it) there are hundreds of companies out there.  I use mine only for emergencies -- PagePlus provides 120 minutes that last 4 months (and roll over) for $20, three times a year.  Hunt around a bit and you can probably do much better than where you are now.

Make sure that whoever you end up with can "port" your AT&T number over to their service.  Some numbers cannot be ported and you may not want to start over with a new phone number.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2019

Last time I drove through Waco my chepo Tracfone had great coverage there.

Last time I added it up, I pay $5.60/month for my Tracfone.

You might try one of these. You can purchase them off Amazon for $30 or less.
Martin NguyenMember Experience manager
Distinguished Expert 2018

Hi frugalmule,

That is quite the cell phone bill O_O. I understand wanting to find something more affordable and reasonable. May I ask what you are getting with your current plan? And what are you looking for out of your cell phone plan? This could dictate the type of plan you should be looking into. Waco is decent sized city it seems, and gets covered pretty well by all 4 major US carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint), so you can look into any of the pre-paid offerings that are owned by, or resell, coverage by them. You can find a coverage map here, in the upper right you can input your location to get more detailed information. I used Waco, TX, and the 4 major carriers seemed pretty similar based on that coverage map.

If you like AT&T's coverage, you can opt for their prepaid service, Cricket Wireless. 5 GB of data with unlimited talk and text is $40/month. Read the fine print on prepaid plans carefully, as some plans may charge extra for roaming.

If you wouldn't mind trying T-Mobile/Sprint service in your area and use a supported Android device, I've heard really good things about Project Fi. You pay $20/month for talk and text, and a pro-rated $10 per GB of data used per month.

Once you decide which prepaid plan to go with, if you can I would purchase a prepaid sim and put it into a spare phone to test the coverage in important areas such as: where you live, where you work, on your commute, places you frequently visit. I did this before I switched to T-Mobile from AT&T, and once I saw I was getting comparable coverage and speeds for much less, I made the switch.

Hope this information helps,
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2019

https://fi.google.com/about/ might also be worth investigating.