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Life after Sprint SERO 500 and Iphone 7

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So I have been with Sprint for over 10 years under the SERO 500 grand-fathered plan.  My contract recently expired on Feb 10 and I went on the web site to upgrade to an Iphone 7 expecting to pay a subsidized price of $200 (which is what was the case when I upgraded to Iphone 6 two years ago).  I was surprised to learn that is not an option and most US carriers are now doing away with subsidized phones in exchange for a 2 year contract.  If that is the case then why would anyone be loyal to one carrier?

In researching for options, and considering the TCO (Total cost of ownership) for an Iphone, let's say for a year or two, I have narrowed to the following;

- Buy it at $649.99 from Apple retail store and go with the Cricket Wireless Basic plan for 3 Gig data (my usage is a little over 1 Gig/month) for $35.  TCO without taxes for 2 years = $1,490 versus if Sprint had offered the 2 years contract TCO would have been $199.99 for phone + $50 SERO Plan (which includes $10 premium data add-on) = $1,400
- Buy it at $449.99 from Boost Mobile as they are offering a discount if you buy from them (but it locks phone for 1 year on Boost after which you can request an unlock code) and get a $30 per month unlimited plan that includes 2 Gigs of 4G LTE high-speed data (whatever that means).  TCO without taxes for 2 years = $1,170.  Cheaper than both Cricket and Sprint

Owning (not leasing or installment payment or trading-in) is important to me and I am not the one to upgrade every year - every other year or so is just fine.

Single line plans for the major carriers are significantly expensive ranging from $50 (my current SERO plan) from Sprint to $80 from Verizon.  Does anyone have experience with Cricket or Boost Mobile?  How is their service compared to the major players? (my service from Sprint even in a major city is terrible that I most often use my Verizon phone from work).  Are there any other carriers/plans that are out there that should be considered, especially for an Iphone 7?


 

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Not sure about their SERO plan but I believe you can still get a 2 year contract from an Apple Store.

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I don't understand quite what network you want, but you could also look at Verizon prepaid. It's cheaper than their postpaid plans and works for your data usage. I use that for my work line because the quality and customer service are good. We also have one line on Straight Talk on ATT, and another on tracfone Verizon towers (need the right sim card). Both were bring your own phone and serve different needs. The only way to get reasonable customer service from them is via chat. I do not know if you can use the iPhone 7.

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Cricket is definitely a SOLID option...because it's now an internal company of AT&T.....same towers same coverage but Cricket does not have taxes that you pay on top of the monthly charges....it's all inclusive rate.....I don't know much about Boost

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I've had luck with SERO calling or chatting reps at Sprint. Some are terrible, some are really helpful, it's just luck of the draw.

About a year ago I was upgrading my phone and got a large discount by telling the rep I wanted to sign up for a 2 year contract and buy the phone outright. It took some convincing, but I was able to do it for mine and my wife's phones, and got them for about $150 a piece while staying on the SERO plan.

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Boost is owned by Sprint.
It's their pre-paid division.

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I also have a SERO 500 grand-fathered plan. You cannot get the subsidized plan on the site. The last time I upgraded I had to talk to people in Employee plans.
Not even the regular reps [online/or phone] had knowledge. The Employee plan reps were very helpful in getting me the subsidy and explaining my various options

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If you live near major metros, Sprint and T-Mobile are decent. Otherwise consider AT&T, Verizon. By all these carriers, I mean their pre-paid divisions as well as MVNOs. We had been fed up with TMo and Sprint coverage for years, so switched to Page Plus (a Verizon MVNO and  Tracfone/America Movil company) 5 years ago and recently to Boom Wireless (also a Verizon MVNO). Paying $25/mo for unlimited talk, text and 1GB LTE data. Also includes roaming on other carriers. VZ has many other MVNOs including Straight Talk (has services from all 4 carriers), Total Wireless (Also a Tracfone company), Selectel, Red Pocket and many others. TMo and Sprint have tons of MVNOs. HTH

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I will say that my experience with MintSim (T-Mobile reseller) has been decent. Only downside is that to get the best prices you have to buy 3-12 months of service at a time. There is a 20% of coupon for the 1 year service however.

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I'm about to be in the same boat as OP, and have been considering Project Fi. Anyone have experience with them?

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Try Sprint tele-sales.  I think their number is 866-275-1411. That is the only Sprint department that grandfathered post paid customers can get a subsidized phone.

 

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Sprint sucks! Worst customer service I have seen! Even Citibank is better than them!

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I'm in the same boat as you (I have the Sprint SERO plan too), but I knew about the change of no longer offering subsidized phones with a 2 year agreement already. Sprint got rid of that in mid 2015. Considering you upgraded to the iPhone 6 (which was the most recent model) shortly before they discontinued the subsidies, you were lucky. Had you waited for the iPhone 6s in late 2015, you probably would have been out of luck. Be happy you got the most out of your SERO plan while you still could. I know I sure am.

My wife has cricket and we've had no issues. She has a little bit better signal than me most of the time, and she doesn't use that much data, so we've never had an issue with the 3 GB plan. The only downside to Cricket is that their 4G LTE is throttled to 8 Mbps at all times. That's not much of a downside for me though, cause the last speed test I ran on a Sprint 4G LTE connection, I got 7 Mbps.

I will be in the same boat as you soon when my Samsung Galaxy S6 starts to bite the dust and I might end up going with Cricket. But I really want a subsidized flagship phone too, so I'll be at a crossroads. In the meantime, LONG LIVE Sprint SERO!

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Sprint just announced some hot deals for their existing loyal customers

http://newsroom.sprint.com/blogs/devices-apps-and-services/unlim...

Existing Customers Currently on Sprint Unlimited Freedom with Unlimited Data, Talk and Text with Mobile Optimized Video •Customers who are currently on this plan – Unlimited Freedom – can now receive premium resolution video
•Plus, the mobile hotspot will now increase to 10GB/month per line starting in March.
•It’s simple…just call *2 from your Sprint mobile phone.

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PaulBanks said:   I'm about to be in the same boat as OP, and have been considering Project Fi. Anyone have experience with them?
I have a few friends who are happy with their Project Fi plans.  But, you are limited to only a few phones - most phones aren't compatible, because they need to be able to access any network Google partners with (currently T-MobileSprint, and US Cellular I think).  But one of the phones you can get is the new Google Pixel.  The others are Nexus phones also from Google.  I assume most people nowadays would get a Pixel.

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ahallfatwallett said:   
PaulBanks said:   I'm about to be in the same boat as OP, and have been considering Project Fi. Anyone have experience with them?
I have a few friends who are happy with their Project Fi plans.  But, you are limited to only a few phones - most phones aren't compatible, because they need to be able to access any network Google partners with (currently T-MobileSprint, and US Cellular I think).  But one of the phones you can get is the new Google Pixel.  The others are Nexus phones also from Google.  I assume most people nowadays would get a Pixel.

  I am using Project Fi and I like it. I ditched Sprint SERO 500 because of the terrible way they treat their loyalty customer (been on SERO for almost 8 years). I bought Nexus 6 for about $200 and activated Project Fi SIM card, now I am using Sony Xperia (yes, you need to have a Nexus/Pixel phone to activate the SIM card). I am on WIFI most of the time, which reduces my bill to about $30. I never used more than 2GB data when I used SERO plan, so it is a big saving.

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gaspra said:   
ahallfatwallett said:   
PaulBanks said:   I'm about to be in the same boat as OP, and have been considering Project Fi. Anyone have experience with them?
I have a few friends who are happy with their Project Fi plans.  But, you are limited to only a few phones - most phones aren't compatible, because they need to be able to access any network Google partners with (currently T-MobileSprint, and US Cellular I think).  But one of the phones you can get is the new Google Pixel.  The others are Nexus phones also from Google.  I assume most people nowadays would get a Pixel.

  I am using Project Fi and I like it. I ditched Sprint SERO 500 because of the terrible way they treat their loyalty customer (been on SERO for almost 8 years). I bought Nexus 6 for about $200 and activated Project Fi SIM card, now I am using Sony Xperia (yes, you need to have a Nexus/Pixel phone to activate the SIM card). I am on WIFI most of the time, which reduces my bill to about $30. I never used more than 2GB data when I used SERO plan, so it is a big saving.

  
Any problems with reception? From what I understand, Project Fi uses Sprint towers so switching shouldn't be any different than being with Sprint while paying twice as much.  

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Project Fi also uses T-Mobile. For unlocked phones other than Google branded ones, you are essentially using T-Mobile service.

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I have Sprint, my brother has Project Fi (he had T-Mobile before) and he has a lot of trouble with his service. He convinced my parents to switch to Fi and they aren't completely happy either (mostly happy but they are at home on wifi most of the time vs he is out working most of the time).

Hard to provide specific details other than "dropped calls, bad connections, sometimes his phone doesn't even ring - just goes to VM, etc" but yea, make sure that you talk with local friends who have Fi before jumping on board.

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