Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Love the iPhone but hate the high monthly cost of service? A couple of new options coming could save you money.
Months ago, I told you about a new start-up from one of the Skype founders called FreedomPop.com. FreedomPop is selling a $99 sleeve for the iPhone that’s due to ship later this summer. But this is no mere protective case for that kind of money.
This sleeve will significantly increase your battery life by up to six hours. More importantly, it comes with a freemium offer of half a gigabyte of data for nothing. So the case itself becomes your hotspot. (You pay $10 for each additional GB.)
A deal like this means you can reduce your data plan with your cellphone provider and save yourself a meaningful amount of money with your iPhone — unless you’re on Sprint, which has no data cap for now.
Meanwhile, struggling wireless company Cricket has a signed deal to buy $900 million worth of iPhones from Apple. The goal is to launch no-contract, unlimited-talk-and-text service with a generous amount of data for $55 a month in select ZIP codes around the country. (If you exceed your monthly data limit, your connection speed will be throttled.) Visit MyCricket
.com/iPhone for more details.
Because Cricket is a no-contract service, you’ll have to pay the real unsubsidized price for the iPhone, so that means either $399 or $499 depending on which model you get. But the monthly service cost is a good deal less than what you might pay to AT&T and Verizon, both of which can easily be $80 or more a month for service.
Based on what you pay for the Cricket phone, you should be able to figure out when you’ll break even by paying $55 a month to them instead of $80 a month (or more) to the big guys.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions at ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.