Be Cheap: Use Your Android Phone Without Cellular Service

Posted on January 2, 2012

THE STORY

It’s that age old story. Boy meets android phone. Boy buys android phone. Boy’s new employer provides boy with a non-smart cell phone so boy sets out on a journey to uncover the mysteries of having a android device with no cellular service.

THE DEVICE

I’m using a Gen 1 HTC Evo 4G.

THE ROOT

I’m running Cyanogenmod 7.1

THE COST

Lets face it, at $80 bucks a month, a smart phone is not the cheapest luxury. My bi-annual cost for service was running me roughly $1920 ($2496 gross earned) dollars. After receiving a crack-berry from work. I (a) realized how much blackberry’s suck and (b) also knew I couldn’t justify the cost of keeping my android cellular service (sorry sprint).

THE VOICE

I’ve had my number for approximately 7 years. It was important for me to keep it. My problem was solved with the use of Google voice and the ability to port my mobile number. For a one time $20 fee, I now have my old cell number attached to my google voice account.

THE FORWARD

I make my Google voice number forward to my work provided cell phone. So that should I get a call on my old number, I can still answer it.

THE GROOVE

And here is the secret sauce, Groove IP. This little android application allows me to make calls using my google voice number when connected to WiFi. It even uses the stock Android phone dialer so it feels just like a regular call. The quality carries the sound of “tin” a bit, but it’s more than usable.

THE INTERNATIONAL

Taking the device with me will also allow me to make free calls back to my friends and family in the US. That is a bonus.

THE PLUGIN (honorable mention)

While at work, I also use the Google Voice plugin for Chrome so that I can send texts directly from my browser. This is actually pretty awesome as I don’t have to pick up my phone to text my wife back.

THE CONCLUSION

I’ve been using this setup for about a month now. I still can Facebook and Twitter. I still can play games. I still can read eBooks. I still can use it as a calendar. I can still use it as a flashlight. All these things and more, and it is working really well.

I realize that some may consider having a cell phone kind of cheating in this expiriement, but I think I could totally make this continue to function without the work provided phone. I would have to change my habits. Making sure to target locations to shop from with free WiFi and such.  But despite this inconvenience, I’d still see the value.

UPDATE

I switched jobs, and my new job requires me to have a cell phone but I also have to pay for it myself (Kind of lame). So I signed up for Sprint but felt like I was paying too much. Did a bit of research and I found this service called Ting. I did the math and then switched as my $90 a month bill has been brought down to $33 a month. This was a great value for me.

If you are looking for an inexpensive plan because of work or something, I’d highly recommend them.

Anyway, I ended up using a coupon to get $25 bucks off my first bill. It will probably break at some point but I’ll post it here for now.

$25 Dollars Off