If the only service in your area is ATT as you've stated, then it sounds like your options are indeed limited to what they charge for phones/services. You did throw me for a loop though, since you also say your current carrier is Verizon. I therefore assume they also have coverage where you live- or is it just in your second residence where this doesn't hold true hence your need to go w/ ATT(?) It would really help to know both your zip codes for service so we can quickly check online for available products from ATT, etc.
In any case, for the most part its sounds like all you really need is a basic Family Talk plan- $59.99/month (before local taxes & fees), which includes two lines. Do both of the lines/phones have to have the exact same features(?) We need to know exactly what you need on each line/handset to accurately estimate the total cost. For the sake of the argument I'll assume you only want all the extras on one of the lines, as things will be a lot more expensive otherwise. Here's a basic example just to get you started:
550minutes/month Family Talk ($59.99/two lines)
-free mobile to mobile calling/free long distance
-$100 rebate card
-Windows Mobile 6.1/PDA phone
-GPS compatible w/ ATT Navigator (voice instructions @ $9.99/mo)
-wifi (to connect with your current DSL/wireless home network)
-Voice dial ($4.99/month feature)
-Unlimited PDA data plan $30/month
Samsung Blackjack II
-$100 gift card rebate
-no data plan to keep total cost down
-$4.99 voice dial/$9.99 navigator
Total outlay initially-
-2 rebate gift cards @ $100 each that will arrive later
*includes $36 $ 26 activation fees. You might be able to get them to waive these if you tell them you're considering another carrier like Verizon.
Personally, I'd prefer a standalone GPS for the car, as the prices on those have come way down to the point where I don't feel it's worth it to have it on PDA phone. You asked about obtaining a data card w/ ATT possibly. Bear in mind they are extremely expensive, although you could get a free card for signing up for 2 years worth of service which is about $60/month. Since you may be limited to EDGE speeds, cable is a better value IMO. You might see whether or not DSL is available at the second residence for less money in it's unbundled form that does not require a landline. It starts right about $20/month for naked DSL.
Let me know if anything isn't clear what I've posted above. Without a doubt there are lots of permutations of features/handsets according to your particular needs. There are other handsets which would be available, such as the Tilt, but I would not recommend it for someone unless they are more technically saavy. The Samsungs are a little more user friendly out of the box IMHO. You could also substitute something cheaper for the second handset/line if you didn't also require GPS, etc.
I have had a cell phone since analog was the only service available---quite a long time. I?ve never really needed it except for emergency calls, I used ?maybe? 60 minutes a month. I?ve always been a Verizon customer and still have my plan at $29.99/month! But---life has changed and I need to upgrade. My husband?s job changed and he took my phone! Still low usage, but now need 2 phones. I have been trying to figure out the technology/plans/features/etc/etc/etc for a month now and I just get more confused. Hoping someone here will lend a *patient* hand and help me figure this out? Please?
I tried a prepaid phone but way too much hassle. I have a tech savvy family, but they aren?t helping much. (They all get their phones through their employers.) I pretty much understand the phones, my confusion comes from the features I am required(?) to pay additional for to use them---and which one to get. Cost is the controlling factor.
I can only go with AT&T---they are the only carrier with service in my area. I have two residences, one picks up the 3G Network, the other is on the EDGE Network. I will use this mostly in the EDGE area.
So, trying to be brief, here?s how I will use my phone.
*Both husband and I will probably use less than 400 VOICE minutes/month
*Features I HAVE to have:
-Bluetooth or Speaker Phone (for in the car)
-Voice Dial (I am disabled so I can probably get this on a phone without the feature or paying extra for it?AT&T offers this)
-GPS (with voice)
Nice to have:
-Sync with Outlook 2003
-Internet access (would like to access Google)
I do mostly regional long distance, never out of country and I don?t travel out of state. (I am in Washington State)
I?m confused because it isn?t clear to me what additional features I will have to pay for. For several things (like GPS) I keep finding freeware or hacks to supposedly be able to use it without having to pay for this service. I am also frustrated because I don?t use the phone or these features a lot. Paying full price to AT&T for internet access is frustrating---especially after paying what I do now! However, I don?t want to have to worry about overage charges.
My home is wired with wireless DSL, at my second home I currently use my neighbor?s WiFi connection (would like to stop doing this). I'm only there seasonally and $60/month to get Cable Internet if I subscribe---and only be able to use it part of the year. Also have a land line in both places---it all starts to add up quickly! Additionally I have cable and satellite TV at the home location---satellite is moved to second location seasonally.
I was considering adding a PC Connect card for my laptop, but the service, even on AT&T is on the EDGE Network in my area and I?m not sure how consistent it will be. Don?t want to be locked into it if it doesn?t work, and it?s a 3 hour round trip back to the store to return the phone/PC Card. (Or a 3-hour trip to wait to receive it in the mail to try it and return it within the 3-day trial time period, with service that might possibly work great one day and poor the next). I can?t imagine being able to do this in the time window allowed to not lose my activation fee.)
I?m seeing very confusing $$$ signs and not sure what service I have to pay extra for and how much. If anyone could explain to me what I actually need through AT&T I would appreciate it more than you can know! I don?t trust calling AT&T to explain this to me---they are trying to sell, so my best interest is probably not theirs. Being locked into a two year contract, I am getting very paranoid about making a wrong choice---kind of like the stupid pre-paid phone---I had at least 4 calls I was charged for just to check my balance, with no warning! I really feel ?tech challenged? with all this and I?m usually not!
Can anyone offer any help or suggestions for which services I will need for each of these uses, what the bottom line cost would be, and suggest a phone?
Sorry for the length---been at this for a while...
Very much appreciated!