Last weekend, we went to Costco and signed up for a new AT&T Wireless family plan. We cancelled our Nextel service, for which we were paying about $100/month for two phones. We replaced it with a new AT&T Wireless family plan for which we will pay about $110/month for four phones with twice as many minutes and unlimited text, picture and video messaging.
We will now be paying $69.99 for the first line, and $9.99 for each of the other three lines, sharing 700 minutes (I am pretty sure we only had 300 or 350 with Nextel), plus $30/month for the unlimited messaging plan. Then, because of where I work, I get a 15-20% discount off of my portion of the plan (which is $99.99 with the “master” line and the unlimited messaging plan).
In the process of switching plans, we all (my wife, our two teenagers and me) got new phones. I got the new LG Shine for $20. My wife got a Samsung A747 and the kids both got Samsung A737 phones. All of their phones were free (we had to pay sales tax on the original sales price, though, so the total bill came out to about $65).
Having been using a Nextel Motorola i530 for the last three years, I am easily impressed when it comes to cell phones. WIth that said, I am impressed by the LG Shine. It’s easy to use and has a lot of nice features. It took me a few days to figure out where most things were on the phone, but I’ve basically figured it out for the most part.
I bought a handful of 2 gig MicroSD memory cards from Amazon (for about $6 each), which arrived today. I then started putting together some custom ringtones and putting some pictures on my memory card.
I discovered that there is a size limit for both images and ringtones. If an mp3 file is too large (apparently anything over 300 kb), the Shine will not let you assign it as a ringtone. Instead, you see the following error: “file too large to be used as ringtone”. If an image file is too large, you get a message saying “unsupported image format” (even though it’s not the image format that’s unsupported, it’s actually the size of the file).
The phone itself doesn’t seem to have too many more features than any of the other phones we bought, but it does look nice and performs rather well.
So, for the next few days (or possibly weeks, but most likely not any longer than that), I have one of the “hot new phones”. I’m hip :).
Seriously, though, the best thing about having switched our plan, other than the fact that we are getting more minutes, free messaging and much more for about the same price, is the fact that we actually get service at home. For the last two years, I haven’t been able to use my cell phone within a few miles of my house. Now, however, I almost always have a signal.