Tuesday, June 28, 2016

An experiment

The city we live in is fairly old school. By that I mean things like:

  • We had a big uproar when one neighbor built one of those little lending library boxes in their front yard. Seems that violated some neighborhood by law about putting up structures in the yards. It took some effort to get that nonsense squelched (and the little lending library is still there and I smile every time I drive by it on my way to work). You can read about it here and here.
  • Or this—we were in the first wave of neighborhoods slated to get Google Fiber . . . until Google realized that our lines were built around the same time as all the houses (so mid-50s to mid-60s) and the cost to build out the network was prohibitive. Google said never mind, and all of us who really truly wanted high speed internet not from Time Warner cried and cried.
  • And similarly we don’t have good wireless coverage. Cell towers seem to be on the same no-no list as those lending libraries were. We knew it wouldn’t be great when we moved here but it’s far, far worse than that, and our current carrier (Verizon) is just awful. That’s based on coverage maps and user feedback, not our annoyed anecdotal reports of dropped calls. We don’t have a land line in the house, and don’t want one; you know it’s bad when incoming calls don’t even ring, they just roll straight to voice mail. (You can check your own coverage here if you're interested.)

All of that to say we knew were leaving Verizon and thought we would probably end up back at Sprint because hey if we aren’t going to have great coverage, we can at least pay a lot less for it. I started looking around at Android phones and wow. The current version of our Samsung ones are pricey (although Apple phones are a bit worse). So then I looked at other Android phones, which led me to the Nexus.

And that led me to Google Fi. It’s Google’s mobile offering. It’s cheaper than any of the others, and because it uses both wireless and wi-fi, I think we stand a better chance of having our calls go through.

So that’s our experiment. Our contracts are up with Verizon tomorrow and we are going to give it a try. If it’s wretched, then we’ll go to Sprint—because the really nice thing about the Nexus phones is that they are unlocked and will work on anyone’s network.


Harriet said...

I'll be interested in your experience. There was some kind of large Google Fi event happening in Austin when I was there last fall. I'd never heard of it before then.

Elizabeth said...

I hadn't either; tomorrow will be the real world test as we fly to Arizona. One of the reasons we left Sprint two years ago was because we couldn't get a signal in the Atlanta airport. That's just crazy. But the signal is so bad at home that we could no longer stay with Verizon either.

I will say I love my new phone.