Here in the Central Sierras, our choice of cellular carriers is, shall we say, limited. In Tuolumne County there are exactly two: AT&T and Golden State Cellular. I have been a Golden State Cellular customer since moving here in 1994 and have generally been very satisfied with their service. Of course, for most of those years I used a “dumb” phone, resisting the smartphone movement for as long as I could. Finally I could ignore it no longer and learned the joys of data plans, 3G and edge networks, tethering and data roaming. Coming up on the end of my second two year contract, I found that I was unwilling to lock in to another two years of the same plan and, especially, the same phone.
The phone that I had been using for the past two years, a Motorola Milestone 2, was on its last legs, which had also been the case at the end of my first contract (at that time with an HTC Hero). I also wanted my next phone to be a Google Nexus, which will not work on Golden State Cellular’s CDMA network. So I began looking at alternatives to the traditional two year cell phone contract. This is what I learned. [Read more…]