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WaterLeaf

USA Phone Providers

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To the mods, sorry if this thread already exist, I didn't find it.

 

This one is going to be big discussion about the phone providers in the US and your experience of using them. That include any cell phone hardware connected to the service, and the plans/text, talk, data, etc. and the prices about everything.

 

What is your current phone plan? What is the pro/con? Is it a contract or prepaid or billed? What is the plan/cost? If you could choose to use a different provider, what would that be?

 

I'm currently using Straight Talk.

-It's prepay/no contract, no mystery bills ever. Been with this over 10 years?

-You have the choice of buying/using the phone provided from their website, or Bring Your Own Phone if it is compatible. I currently use a Samsung S7/Verizon tower phone.

-I use the whole year plan, which is basically about $550. Unlimited text, call, and data except after certain data use it go down to slower data but I had never got there.

-While I was on the $45/month plan, it just about $20 higher difference than the whole year plan due to tax reason. I do live in the area that have a bit of low tax charge so it's good.

-I do notice there is some slowed down data if I was sending a lot of pics/uploading a lot when I needed to use the phone data plan that is a disadvantage of living in the mountain if so.

-Straight Talk programmed phones are weird. They set something up in it on my S7 that I can't talk and use data at the same time, but my older/other phone can. I had to get used to this and can use Wifi with no problem.

-Straight Talk's policy states that tethering is not allowed. This is a downside for me but I also deal with it or my service get cut off.

-It's been the best deal for me/individual plan.

-I'll update if I remember anything or if anyone give me hints/questions.

 

The previous provider I used was TracFone, it's a prepay plan with limited set of call/text/data. That was over 10 yrs ago though.

 

I never used any other phone providers. I didn't trust going with the wide known providers like Verizon, AT&T, Boost, Mobile T, Sprint, etc. because of continuous complaints from the peoples that says the providers overcharged them, without details from both end.

I've tried looking at other phone plan for me and my Fiancé, but so far Sprint was getting close but Straight Talk has still been the better deal that I'd go with... convince me otherwise. I'm listening what's the good plan for 2 lines.


K-1 Visa process
Sent packet: August 10, 2018

USCIS Received package: August 14, 2018
Notification in text/email: August 17, 2018
Mail received from USCIS: January 22, 2019
USCIS Approved I-129F Petition: January 17, 2019

NVC Received Case: February 14, 2019

NVC Case # Assigned: February 14, 2019

US Embassy Received: Not sure but got email reply - March 11, 2019
Instructions Received via e-mail: March 19, 2019

Interview: May 7, 2019 - Approved!

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TracFone is the worst.

Verizon is expensive and stinks.  They lied to me about coverage areas.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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I use Sprint. But I also pay for a 5 line unlimited plan plus an ipad. So my bill it relatively high as anyone would expect for that much. But in the 12 years I've been with them I have never had any issues honestly. Really also depends on where you live and signal/reception. I know when I travel for work to say North Dakota, Minot to be specifc.. it usually ends up on roaming. Up there AT&t and Verizon is better coverage.. but yea. I always recommend Sprint if pricing is comparable.

Edited by Ben&Zian

08/15/2014 : Met Online

06/30/2016 : I-129F Packet Sent

07/08/2016 : NOA 1 Received

08/25/2016 : NOA 2 Received (48 days)

11/08/2016 : Interview - APPROVED!

11/18/2016 : Visa in hand

11/23/2016 : POE - Dallas, Texas

From sending of I-129F petiton to POE - 146 days.

 

02/03/2017 - Married 

02/24/2017 - AOS packet sent

06/01/2017 - EAD/AP Combo Card Received in mail

12/06/2017 - I-485 Approved

12/14/2017 - Green Card Received in mail - No Interview

 

 

giphy.gif     giphy.gif

 

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Generally, you will see a lot of complains on any of major carriers and it is quite a fact: people only complain when they have problem :) 

I am using AT&T, $35/month, including taxes with unlimited data - I am quite satisfied and have not issue with AT&T for the past 10+ years.  I do not think people can lock into this type of rates anymore.

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Thread is moved from Off Topic to the "Moving to the US" forum.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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We are on Cricket Wireless Unlimited $55/mo plan. Despite the name, we pay $80/mo for two lines ($30 discount for a second line). Reception is good but texts are sometimes delayed for hours if sent from a no signal area. Data is fast all around, even in rural areas. You can BYOP and keep your current US number. Customer service is better than T-Mobile, who bothered to charge $0.01 for the month we switched. Hubby likes it for the data, I like that it has coverage in Canada although we've yet to try. Overall I'm pretty satisfied and would recommend it for data-reliant users.


04-16-2019 - K1 AOS mailed (USPS)

04-18-2019 - AOS delivered

04-23-2019 - Texts received, NOA

05-17-2019 - Biometrics, Fingerprint Completed status

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33 minutes ago, Vans said:

We are on Cricket Wireless Unlimited $55/mo plan. Despite the name, we pay $80/mo for two lines ($30 discount for a second line). Reception is good but texts are sometimes delayed for hours if sent from a no signal area. Data is fast all around, even in rural areas. You can BYOP and keep your current US number. Customer service is better than T-Mobile, who bothered to charge $0.01 for the month we switched. Hubby likes it for the data, I like that it has coverage in Canada although we've yet to try. Overall I'm pretty satisfied and would recommend it for data-reliant users.

We have the same plan. I was on the $50/mo for 8GB data and unlimited talk and text (discounted to $45 for autopay) prior to adding my husband. I also have the occasional issue with texts but usually when the weather has been bad and there is potentially a tower out of commission. I bought my phone on eBay so I didn't have to get one through them. I think my husband wishes the data speed was a little faster, but its fine for me. You do have to pay $10 per sim card when you sign up, but thats the only other expense I can remember.

 

My mom and younger sister share 3 or 4GB on version and I know its way more expensive than my mom would like it to be. She's asked me about Cricket and I think has been close to switching a few times. My older sister was on T-Mobile before she moved to Spain and she loved it. My dad has Sprint but his phone and phone bill is paid for by the company he works for. Both the AFS students my parents have hosted have used AT&T BYOD which is $50 for unlimited talk and text and 3GB with rollover for one line. My parents haven't gone on vacation with my Spanish sister so I don't know how the data would be in the rural areas near the Black Hills and Yellowstone, but my Italian sister was easily frustrated with the lack of service when they went to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

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My husband uses GoogleFi. It's around $20/month plus taxes and $10/gig of Internet.


03639.png                  

 🇷🇺  CR-1 via DCF in Moscow* (2016-2017) 🇺🇸 Info about my DCF experience here and here.

Spoiler

26-Jul-2016: Married abroad (USC + Russian husband) 👩‍❤️‍👨
21-Dec-2016: I-130 filed at Moscow USCIS field office*
29-Dec-2016: I-130 approved! Yay! 🎊 

17-Jan-2017: Case number received

21-Mar-2017: Medical Exam completed

24-Mar-2017: Interview at Embassy - approved! 🎉

29-Mar-2017: CR-1 Visa received (via mail)

02-Apr-2017: USCIS Immigrant (GC) Fee paid

28-Jun-2017: Port of Entry @ PDX 🛩️

21-Jul-2017: No SSN after three weeks; applied in person at the SSA

22-Jul-2017: GC arrived in the mail 📬

31-Jul-2017: SSN arrived via mail, hurrah!

 

*NOTE: The USCIS Field Office in Moscow is now CLOSED.

 

I-90 GC Replacment (for Erroneous GC)

22-Jul-2017: GC arrives in the mail – error in middle name 😕

01-Aug-2017: Sent in I-90 online via website

05-Aug-2017: Biometrics scheduled

23-Aug-2017: Biometrics done @ USCIS office; told to keep GC!

16-Jul-2018: RFE for original card!! 🤬

31-Jul-2018: USCIS Appointment at local field office..

22-Aug-2018: Mailed GC back to USCIS in response to RFE

29-Aug-2018: GC received by USCIS

17-Sep-2018: Received CORRECTED GC in the mail! Finally!! 😂

 

📑 I-751 Removal of Conditions - NBC (Apr-2019-???) 📝 MSC I-751 filers: Track your case here!

Spoiler

28-Jun-2019: Conditional GC expires

30-Mar-2019: Eligible to apply for ROC

01-Apr-2019: ROC in the mail to Phoenix AZ lockbox! 📫

03-Apr-2019: ROC packet delivered to lockbox

09-Apr-2019: USCIS cashed check

09-Apr-2019: Case number received via text - MSC 📲

12-Apr-2019: Extension letter arrives via mail

19-Apr-2019: Biometrics letter arrives via mail

30-Apr-2019: Biometrics appointment at local office  

??-???-2019: TBA...

30-Mar-2020: N-400 early filing window opens! 🇺🇸

 

 

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I had ATT until they got bought out by Cingular, and once they became Cingular the customer service went from great to horrible.

 

I know have MetroPCS my android phone, I pay $50 per month and it prepaid and unlimited, I am also using it in Philippines right now and if I have internet connection I can call and text just like I am in the USA.

 

I carry a flip phone from that is $26 per month unlimited talk/text prepaid from ATT,  You can't really use internet with it, but it is for work only.

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On 5/14/2019 at 7:57 PM, Falcon Cara said:

I had ATT until they got bought out by Cingular, and once they became Cingular the customer service went from great to horrible.

Had no idea AT&T was bought by Cingular. A random guy today on the street asked me where the nearest AT&T office was, I had no clue. This probably explains it!

 

On 5/14/2019 at 7:57 PM, Falcon Cara said:

I know have MetroPCS my android phone, I pay $50 per month and it prepaid and unlimited, I am also using it in Philippines right now and if I have internet connection I can call and text just like I am in the USA.

My husband had MetroPCS until switching to GoogleFi. It was terrible, incoming calls did not go through and there were tons of robocalls. This might vary from state to state though.


03639.png                  

 🇷🇺  CR-1 via DCF in Moscow* (2016-2017) 🇺🇸 Info about my DCF experience here and here.

Spoiler

26-Jul-2016: Married abroad (USC + Russian husband) 👩‍❤️‍👨
21-Dec-2016: I-130 filed at Moscow USCIS field office*
29-Dec-2016: I-130 approved! Yay! 🎊 

17-Jan-2017: Case number received

21-Mar-2017: Medical Exam completed

24-Mar-2017: Interview at Embassy - approved! 🎉

29-Mar-2017: CR-1 Visa received (via mail)

02-Apr-2017: USCIS Immigrant (GC) Fee paid

28-Jun-2017: Port of Entry @ PDX 🛩️

21-Jul-2017: No SSN after three weeks; applied in person at the SSA

22-Jul-2017: GC arrived in the mail 📬

31-Jul-2017: SSN arrived via mail, hurrah!

 

*NOTE: The USCIS Field Office in Moscow is now CLOSED.

 

I-90 GC Replacment (for Erroneous GC)

22-Jul-2017: GC arrives in the mail – error in middle name 😕

01-Aug-2017: Sent in I-90 online via website

05-Aug-2017: Biometrics scheduled

23-Aug-2017: Biometrics done @ USCIS office; told to keep GC!

16-Jul-2018: RFE for original card!! 🤬

31-Jul-2018: USCIS Appointment at local field office..

22-Aug-2018: Mailed GC back to USCIS in response to RFE

29-Aug-2018: GC received by USCIS

17-Sep-2018: Received CORRECTED GC in the mail! Finally!! 😂

 

📑 I-751 Removal of Conditions - NBC (Apr-2019-???) 📝 MSC I-751 filers: Track your case here!

Spoiler

28-Jun-2019: Conditional GC expires

30-Mar-2019: Eligible to apply for ROC

01-Apr-2019: ROC in the mail to Phoenix AZ lockbox! 📫

03-Apr-2019: ROC packet delivered to lockbox

09-Apr-2019: USCIS cashed check

09-Apr-2019: Case number received via text - MSC 📲

12-Apr-2019: Extension letter arrives via mail

19-Apr-2019: Biometrics letter arrives via mail

30-Apr-2019: Biometrics appointment at local office  

??-???-2019: TBA...

30-Mar-2020: N-400 early filing window opens! 🇺🇸

 

 

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We have Google Fi also.   $20 for the first line and $15 for each additional handset.   We still travel internationally and it has worked everywhere but Nepal.    I also have 3 data only sims.  Internet is pay as you go at $10 per gig.  We have never had a combo bill above $85.  When I was single my biggest bill was never over $55.


March 2, 2018  Married In Hong Kong

April 30, 2018  Mary moves from the Philippines to Mexico, Husband has MX Permanent Residency

June 13, 2018 Mary receives Mexican Residency Card

June 15, 2018  I-130 DCF Appointment in Juarez  -  June 18, 2018  Approval E-Mail

August 2, 2018 Case Complete At Consulate

September 25, 2018 Interview in CDJ and Approved!

October 7, 2018 In the USA

October 27, 2018 Green Card received 

October 29, 2018 Applied for Social Security Card - November 5, 2018 Social Security Card received

November 6th, 2018 State ID Card Received, Applied for Global Entry - Feb 8,2019 Approved.

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15 hours ago, millefleur said:

Had no idea AT&T was bought by Cingular. A random guy today on the street asked me where the nearest AT&T office was, I had no clue. This probably explains it!

SBC then bought Cingular (and a few other telecom companies) ... and renamed itself AT&T.

 

So since I'm lazy about switching carriers, I went from AT&T wireless to Cingular to AT&T.


K-1                             AOS
NOA1 Notice Date: 2018-05-31    NOA1 Notice Date: 2019-04-11
NOA2 Date: 2018-11-16           Biometrics Date: 2019-05-10
Arrived at NVC:  2018-12-03
Arrived in Moscow: 2018-12-28
Interview date: 2019-02-14
Visa issued: 2019-02-28
POE: 2019-03-11
Wedding: 2019-03-14

 

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US Telcos are complicated. I think there are only 4 major companies that actually own tower equipment, Verizon, AT&T (Formerly Cingular), T-Mobile, and Sprint. Companies like MetroPCS, Cricket, and Google Fi basically have a deal with those 4 to resell their signal. When it matters that in case of congestion (E.g. like on concert, coachella, or some sporting events) subscribers of "Big 4" get a priority, while others might get bumped off. But you pay premium in monthly fees for that privilege.

Also it is worth nothing that anyone using verizon or sprint phone might have issues with international travel, as those are CDMA couriers which strictly American thing, and their phones will not readily accept GSM international cards. AT&T and T-mobile won't have those issues. 

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16 hours ago, Shiran said:

US Telcos are complicated. I think there are only 4 major companies that actually own tower equipment, Verizon, AT&T (Formerly Cingular), T-Mobile, and Sprint.

Though IIRC, T-Mobile and Sprint are merging, so who knows how that will play out.


K-1                             AOS
NOA1 Notice Date: 2018-05-31    NOA1 Notice Date: 2019-04-11
NOA2 Date: 2018-11-16           Biometrics Date: 2019-05-10
Arrived at NVC:  2018-12-03
Arrived in Moscow: 2018-12-28
Interview date: 2019-02-14
Visa issued: 2019-02-28
POE: 2019-03-11
Wedding: 2019-03-14

 

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On 5/13/2019 at 11:36 AM, WaterLeaf said:

To the mods, sorry if this thread already exist, I didn't find it.

 

This one is going to be big discussion about the phone providers in the US and your experience of using them. That include any cell phone hardware connected to the service, and the plans/text, talk, data, etc. and the prices about everything.

 

What is your current phone plan? What is the pro/con? Is it a contract or prepaid or billed? What is the plan/cost? If you could choose to use a different provider, what would that be?

 

I'm currently using Straight Talk.

-It's prepay/no contract, no mystery bills ever. Been with this over 10 years?

-You have the choice of buying/using the phone provided from their website, or Bring Your Own Phone if it is compatible. I currently use a Samsung S7/Verizon tower phone.

-I use the whole year plan, which is basically about $550. Unlimited text, call, and data except after certain data use it go down to slower data but I had never got there.

-While I was on the $45/month plan, it just about $20 higher difference than the whole year plan due to tax reason. I do live in the area that have a bit of low tax charge so it's good.

-I do notice there is some slowed down data if I was sending a lot of pics/uploading a lot when I needed to use the phone data plan that is a disadvantage of living in the mountain if so.

-Straight Talk programmed phones are weird. They set something up in it on my S7 that I can't talk and use data at the same time, but my older/other phone can. I had to get used to this and can use Wifi with no problem.

-Straight Talk's policy states that tethering is not allowed. This is a downside for me but I also deal with it or my service get cut off.

-It's been the best deal for me/individual plan.

-I'll update if I remember anything or if anyone give me hints/questions.

 

The previous provider I used was TracFone, it's a prepay plan with limited set of call/text/data. That was over 10 yrs ago though.

 

I never used any other phone providers. I didn't trust going with the wide known providers like Verizon, AT&T, Boost, Mobile T, Sprint, etc. because of continuous complaints from the peoples that says the providers overcharged them, without details from both end.

I've tried looking at other phone plan for me and my Fiancé, but so far Sprint was getting close but Straight Talk has still been the better deal that I'd go with... convince me otherwise. I'm listening what's the good plan for 2 lines.

I had Straight Talk, and their customer service was horrible.  I had a very difficult time getting a phone replaced under their insurance plan.  I switched to Verizon, and I love it!!   Customer service is great, their web site is 100 better than ST, and I received $200 discount on a  Pixel 3 XL..........I have zero cons with Verizon....

Edited by missileman

                               :idea:MSC (National Benefits Center) I-751 filers- Please add your data :idea:                          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Id1duRRByZHJmhEzl9N25GqwzcnUyLCR4e4N9W6zGLg/edit#gid=0

 

Retired 20 year US Air Force Missileer

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
  • I751 mailed to Dallas PO Box: 3/28/2019
  • I-797 extension letter  for ROC dated 4/2/2019  MSCxxxxxxxxxx received: 4/6/2019
  • Biometrics apt received for 4/25/2019: on 4/12/2019
 

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