Shopping for a Smartphone to Use with a Voice Only Wireless Plan

A reader,fil726, writes…

“I want to buy a unlocked at&t(or any carrier)smartphone and use that with a data-less pre-paid plan. I would like to use the wifi whenever I have a hotspot. Just like a ipod touch for example. I dont know if a need a new sim card or can I keep my old one. Would my phone work properly? I am using at&t now. I have a talk only plan and I’m interested in buying a Htc Inspire Android phone I need some clarification please”

Hi fil726,
I think this is a great idea for many people. My wife has used a smartphone using the T-Mobile 1000 minutes a year for $100 because she did not want to pay for a data plan. Smartphones are very useful tools and if you have access to Wi-Fi during most of the day you can use your phone to connect using your home or office’s Internet connection.

To answer your question. You may be able to use the SIM in your current phone with a smartphone. If your current phone is using a SIM (technically a mini SIM), it should just fit in the HTC Inspire. So you should be able to get the phone, move the SIM to the new phone and start using it.

Taking a look at the bigger picture, you might want to review your overall costs to see if you can save money or get more for your money. For example, you didn’t mention what your current monthly bill is and how much you plan to pay for the phone, or what you want to do with the phone. Are you using ATT or ATT’s prepaid Pay N Go service.

I am not familiar with the HTC Inspire but I noticed in the specs that the phone is using Android 2.3.5. I’d strongly recommend looking for a phone that uses the latest Android 4.4 (kitkat) or at least Android 4.0. You’ll get the better application compatibility and be able to run apps like Google’s Chrome web browser which is significantly better than the old Android web browser.

If you can afford it, the Motorola Moto G is a great deal starting at $179. That might be more than you are willing to spend, but if you can find a better deal on your voice service it might become an affordable option.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.

8 Comments

  1. Fil726 | | Reply

    Ok thanks, that’s good to hear but will it matter what model I use if it’s unlocked?
    (Sorry for asking so many questions I’m new to this stuff)

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi,
      The TMobile model SGH-T989 and the ATT Model SGH-I777 are good choices.
      The SGH-I727 model, or Skyrocket show also support LTE

  2. fil726 | | Reply

    Hi,
    Thanks for the help. Thanks for telling me about the specs. Since you are saying that the Htc Inspire is outdated, I would like to know if there are any other options for a fast phone with the cheapest price. I am looking for a phone around 150$. I am willing to play for data, but only for a prepaid plan. I was wondering, if I buy any unlocked GSM phone, would it work with a prepaid plan?
    Thanks

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi,
      What is your current monthly bill? Do you know how many voice minutes you use per month?
      Regards
      Bob

      • fil726 | | Reply

        I currently do not know about the minute usage or my monthly bill but I’ll look into it. My biggest concern is will unlocked gsm smartphones work with a prepaid plan
        Thanks

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Hi
          OK. You just want to make sure you get a phone that is compatible with the network you are using. The Moto G I recommended is compatible with ATT. It uses a Micro SIM. You’ll need to get micro SIM. Its a 3G / 4G phone. It doesn’t support 4G LTE, but at the price point you are looking at I dont think you will find one that does.

          I have used an many different GSM smartphones and have moved the SIMs between phones without issue.

          I was asking about the cost and usage because I wanted to factor that into your Total Cost of Ownership.

          Regards,
          Bob

          • fil726 | |

            Hi,Bob
            I am not able to afford the moto G you recommended, but I did find a Samsung Galaxy S II. It seems like a overall good quality phone. Do you have any experience with that phone? Is it worth purchasing?
            Thanks

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Hi,
            The Galaxy SII is an excellent phone. It was Samsung’s flagship in 2011. The phone was originally released with Android 2.3. The phone can be updated to Android 4.x. You may need to do that update yourself. With Samsung phones, you want to make sure you know which model number the phone is. There are many variants, and you just want to make sure you get a model that will work well on ATT or whichever network you use.

            See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Galaxy_S_II
            Regards
            Bob

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