About two weeks ago my budget phone I have had for two years (Samsung J3) finally bit the dust. I am very much a cheapskate when it comes to phones so I sought out a replacement that would cost me no more than $100. Obviously this keeps me in the super budget market if buying new. However, I had the bright idea to check out high end phones from 2016-2017 since those would be of higher quality than a 2019 budget phone but without the 2019 high end price. One could argue the smart phone market updates far faster than that and I would be getting outdated tech but considering what it was replacing, that is a moot argument. My standards are $50 budget phone so its easy to beat.
I placed my order via Ebay on Thursday 19 September and it had a “guaranteed arrival date” of Tuesday 24 September. This seemed like FOREVER since I am away from home on work travel so having no phone would surely be inconvenient. But with my Nexus 7 and some strategic downloading and planning, it wouldnt be that bad. However, come Tuesday when I am getting sick of having NO phone I come to find out that my package has been reported as lost! So now not only have I waited 5 days with no phone, I have done so for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. Given that the package was lost and I could not wait any longer, I just went to Walmart and bought a $40 LG Rebel 4. This phone was a stopgap that I would plan to return if the other package showed up or just keep as my primary phone if I wanted to continue being an absolute cheapskate.
The LG Rebel4 was not that bad honestly. A significant improvement to the Samsung so it felt like a win. Well a couple days later on Friday, it turns out that my package miraculously appeared in Pensacola and was now going to arrive the next day. The phone arrived in one piece Saturday afternoon and was as described, brand new in an open unmarked box. So far I believe the claim that it is new but I did run into another problem. The phone is T-Mobile locked when I had thought it was unlocked. Unfortunately the ebay listing does specify this so it was exactly what I purchased and I just didnt read too closely.
So now the next part of my journey was figuring out how the hell to get service on the phone. I have a straight talk sim that I pay $35 for 3GB of data and unlimited call/text. I found out that the only way to unlock the tmobile phone was to get a t mobile sim and have it active for 40 days. I decided to just switch to T mobile since im prepaid and that is the cheapest method for sure. I only use google voice for calls and text so I did another crafty thing and chose a data only plan intended for mobile hotspots. But it works perfectly fine in my phone and gives me 6GB of LTE for $25 a month. What a steal!
This was an absolute headache to get from phone purchase to finally working and I guess I come out ahead in the end. I am loving the phone so far and a cheaper phone plan with more data is absolutely a good thing. Tmobile service is generally worse than straight talk (on at&t) but I will have to see if it really matters with my usual usage. I did not once use the straight talk number on my phone within the 2 years I had it. So it seems appropriate to just go with no non-data calls for now. It allows for calls to 911 via the other number so it functions in emergency should I not have data connection.