The biggest problem I have is we live in the mountains and we are on the line of most cell phone towers. Smaller carriers have zero signal here. Even the large carriers have spotty signals. We currently have a microcell tower for our home with AT&T that they usually charge $200 for, but since we were already customers, they had to let us out of our contract or give it to us for free when we first moved here because they consider us out of the service area. This gives us service at our home and then most of the area around here has fine service.
I haven't found the perfect solution just yet but I have found some pretty cool options out there:
Here is what I put my son on since he rarely needs his but does use it from time to time, especially with the Sea Cadet program he does once a month (sleeping away from home). I would go to this in a heartbeat if we could get some kind of wifi cell tower for it. AT&T towers, really cost, lots of pricing options, no contract, great thus far. His plan is $5 a month for 80 minutes of talk & text- each text is 1/3 of a minute so it's 240 texts. He uses his ipod for imessaging when he can find wifi too. They have $24 for unlimited talk/text and 2GB of LTE data. What? Also, they have an awesome plan for seniors- I am going to get my mom on this plan asap. Start up cost? $7 for a sim card, we used an old AT&T phone.
This non-contractual low priced option utilizes wifi whenever it is available and you get money back for data not used. It is very interesting and perhaps a great option for those living in the city.
T-Mobile walmart-only hidden plan
I didn't know a plan like this existed for those who talk little and text/surf a lot. 100 minutes of talk, unlimited web and text...$30. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tmobile-30-Wireless-Airtime-Card/15443357
$60 for 2 phones- unlimited talk/text/data. Only catch? It is 3G only, 4G phones can't be used so we would have to get different phones despite we own our iphones. In addition, we still wouldn't have a wifi cell service but I heard some have signal right around us which is rare.
This is just some of my research.
I am still working on this. It helps that wifi calling now works on iphones. At least mine. We haven't found it to work on my husband's. But texting? I love texting. Hmmm. How do I get this to work on wifi? Not everyone I know uses imessage or facebook messenger.