Am an old Alltel customer, not under contract for cell phones (Nokia 6255i, LG AX8600) or air card (UM150). The current plan I'm on is ~900 minute Alltel plan, the Aircard is on an unlimited plan. Current phone bill runs around $105 per month. The air card is another $65 per month. We're located near NC/VA state line, so close as to be able to ping off NC towers as our "home" towers. Live in a rural area where DSL via the phone company is unavailable, as is cable TV.
Looking to upgrade both mine & my wife's phone to new Droids. My service on my old cell is excellent, only a couple of fuzzy spots in my daily commute. Inside the house, mine is pretty decent. Hers is not good at all, drops off everywhere.
At home, I have the aircard hooked to my PC, and I also have an external antenna pointed towards a nearby tower to boost the signal. Without that, the air card gets -95db, with it it dips to below -80db or thereabouts, so it does make a difference. The antenna is a Parabolic Grid Antenna, pointed toward the nearest tower to me, approx 3 miles.
What I would like to do -
- Get a better phone for my wife, who wants a smartphone.
- Lose the expense of the air card each month without being subject to a data cap (I would like to set it up to where either of us could simply hook the phone up to my PC & antenna & use it like we currently use the air card.) The cap on data is a must, as I occasionally work from home with a lot of databases, multiple sessions & VPN access and would pound the cap in a couple days at times. I am content to use my cell phone tethered to my PC as an aircard & be able to use it when I am there (or have my wife do this if she's there). I realize this removes the phone from use, or would pause a data session if it's in progress when the phone rings, but it's something I'm willing to make a concession for, for offsetting the cost per month on the aircard.
- Minimize the expense of the new plan, without sacrificing a lot of service from my old one. Usage varies each month, some months more texting, some months more voice. Generally, we use about 1/2 the capacity of our plan, with spikes to about 3/4 occasionally.
- I do not want to buy a new air card or get into another plan, as we might move to an area where I would have a better option than the aircard for connectivity. Doing so would also bump me up into a Verizon, capped plan, which I do not want.
What I've found out is that I can get a 500 minute plan (less than what I have) for approx the same price I have now, but not sure what data capacity that might have. I can have the same plan I have now, but it's a Verizon plan, not an Alltel one, cost is approx $130/month, offsetting the cost of current plan + aircard by about $30. Again, unsure of any data capacity/cap limits on it.
- I should get equal or better service (3g) from home with the Droid than I currently do on the air card.
- I should get equal or better service from the droid compared to my cell phone.
- I should get better service from the droid compared to my wife's LG phone.
- Is what I want to do practical? (i.e. getting 2 smart phones & replacing 2 cell phones & an air card with them)
- Can the Droid be tethered to my existing antenna & PC?
- If it can be tethered to my PC and used like my air card, does this change anything regarding the data plan or have any increased costs or other considerations that I'm not aware of?
- Are there any hardware changes I need to make, assuming the above is a practical, cost-effective replacement for my air card when at home & a cell phone when I leave?
- Are there any cost issues with being able to use the Droid as a tethered unit & using it via VPN as an air-card data device?
Anything I've not mentioned?
Would appreciate any input any others might share.