I have been searching for a new phone. I like the one I have, and I don’t even use a lot of the features that it has. But it is an older model running Android 2.3 OS. If I get one with Android 4.0 or above, I can use my existing Torguard VPN service. The app won’t work on Android 2.3.

I don’t really need the VPN, and I don’t know how much it will protect me, since Android = Google, and many of the basic features require using a Google account to utilize. And Google is a fucking government snitch. Even so, I would like to have the option.

Currently, I use StraightTalk (Walmart via TracFone). I have one of the few phones configured to use Verizon towers. This is necessary, because they are the only ones with a tower close enough to FaucetCompany to get a usable signal inside the building. ST supposedly has a version of the Galaxy 3 that is set up to use Verizon’s system, but it is nowhere to be found, either on their website or at any Walmart that I have visited. Plenty that use Sprint, but none for Verizon. Even if they did, the price is $400.

FaucetCompany negotiated a deal with Verizon that gives employees a 17% discount. Not knowing the details, I started looking into options from Verizon proper. I currently get unlimited talk and text, and 2.5GB of data before suffering a severe speed restriction. For this, I pay $45 per month.

I knew that I would have to go to a local store to get the discount, but I went online to do some preliminary research. I abhor the idea of being locked into a contract, since I tend to become disgruntled with various service providers at the drop of a hat.  So, I looked into VZW’s prepaid options first. A perfectly capable phone that I find appealing is available for $100. Verizon’s unlimited talk/text with 2.0GB of data plan is $60 per month, and increasing the data allowance to 4.0GB bumps it to $70. I have been tracking my usage, and I seldom approach 1.5 as long as I use wifi when available.

Then, I learned that the discount only applies to contract plans, not equipment or prepaid plans. Well, fuck. Let me look there.Newer technology devices are available that do not appear on the prepaid side, but none appeal to me. A lower midrange model is more than sufficient for my needs.

Well, I picked one, just to verify plan options. The 2.0GB data plan is $60, and the 4.0GB is $70 per month, just like the prepaid plans. Except that they also charge a $40 monthly line access fee in addition to your chosen data plan.

Wait, what?

Yes, boys and girls, VZW charges $40 extra every month for the privilege of locking yourself into a two year contract with them. Nine hundred sixty dollars over the life of the contract. Why? How could anyone possibly think that such would be a good idea?

I can’t figure out the answer. Sure, you can get the latest whiz-bang devices for a couple hundred dollars less than the massively-inflated retail price.  But what else?  Nothing that I can see. And the online chat rep that I asked completely ignored me when I asked that very question. I wasn’t even rude when I asked.  Stop laughing!  I wasn’t.  Maybe a bit sarcastic, but not rude.

So, even after calculating the FaucetCompany employee discount, I would pay seven hundred ninety dollars over the course of two years, plus a hundred bucks up front for the phone, for something that I don’t even like as well as the $99.99 prepaid model.  And if I get tired of their shit for any reason, I am fucked.  Either I live with the shit, or pay a $350 early termination fee.  Wow, such a difficult decision.  NOT!

I am still considering the prepaid deal though, even though the bastards won’t discount it.  Search to the ends of the earth for a StraightTalk Verizon S-III, pay $400 for it, and keep the $45 per month plan, or pay $300 less for a phone that I like better, but get stuck with a $60 per month plan cost.  With Verizon, there is no searching – I order online, and the phone will be delivered the next day.  And I will be money ahead for the next nineteen months, even with the higher monthly cost.

UPDATE: Verizon can keep their overpriced service.  The Android app “Feat VPN” works on Android OS version 2.3.  I don’t need a new phone.  Kudos to TorGuard for their knowledge base updates.

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