Just Bought a SmartPhone Without Buying a Data Plan

(posted 1/31/2015) - Bought a new Ford Focus ST recently with MyFord Sync built-in. After successfully connecting my Acer Tablet to the Sync system via Bluetooth I realized I could also connect a phone for hands-free calling if I only had a Bluetooth and Sync compatible phone.

I'm pretty much a dinosaur when it comes to mobile phone usage. I had a 9-year old Nokia 6010 which I only turned on and used (it normally sat dormant in my glove box) when trying to rendezvous at an airport or when calling home while on the road. I only used it for voice-calling and the rare text message.

I found a plan back in 2006 that perfectly fit my usage needs ... T-Mobile offered a (now legacy) No Contract, Prepaid Minutes plan. I basically bought blocks of minutes good for a 12-month period at less than 10cents/minute. But now I needed a new phone to connect up for hands-free calling. What to do?

I looked at T-mobile's current no contract pay-as-you-go plans and found that they offer $3/month voice/text plans that allowed 30-voice minutes/texts and $2/day unlimited data (billed only if you used data that day). While this seemed a great fit for my needs I had over 600 minutes on my old legacy voice/text plan and I wondered if they would sell me a smartphone and let me stay on my legacy prepaid minutes plan.

Yes -- they would and they did! I was happy to find out that the friendly folks at T-mobile would sell me an LG Optimus L90 smart phone with full camera/video functions, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, running Android 4.4 for a measily $50 (part of the deal also required me to buy another $40 worth of prepaid voice minutes). The agent activated my phone, copied my contacts while I waited and had my new phone associated with my old account/phone number in about 10-minutes.

So, contrary to what some of you may have experienced with AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint I was able to upgrade to a new Smart Phone without having to give up my old T-mobile Legacy Prepaid Minutes plan. I now have over 800 voice/text minutes in my account, good till January 2016 and have connected my new phone to my Ford Sync for hands free calling on the road.

Perhaps just as cool I can now take pics and capture videos onto my phone (I have almost 4Gig of file space without plugging in an SDcard). I've connected to our Home Wi-Fi network and can access the Internet and check E-mail from my phone there or at any public Wi-Fi Hotspot (notice I'm not using T-mobile's data service here -- this is not Wi-Fi calling).

So, for about $100 bucks I've left the stoneage phone behind, but kept my stoneage habits. My new phone will again be turned off most of the time and will sit in my center-console awaiting future use on the road. But now it'll be Hands-Free calling instead of pulling off the road to make or receive a call. Technology marches on.