These days, it seems like pretty much everyone you know has got a mobile phone tucked away somewhere on their person. This also means that everyone is paying massive telecom companies a monthly premium for the chance to use it… but what if you could own a phone complete with all the same features, but no activated plan? As long as you’re near a local Wi-Fi connection, iPhones and Androids can perform all the same tricks as they usually do, except at a fraction of the cost of what your monthly bill comes out to.
Here’s our guide on how to own a cellphone, but never pay for service.
Who needs texting when you’ve got the next best thing just a download away? Thanks to new texting applications like Kik and WhatsApp, the option to forego your monthly phone bill doesn’t seem nearly as daunting or scary as it used to.
Whatsapp first made headlines late last year when it was bought up by Facebook for a staggering $1.2 billion, and those numbers don’t just come from anywhere. The app has experienced overwhelming success in its short time on the market, boasting a staggering 900 million members who flock to the app as fast and functional alternative to paying for the right to talk to their
friends every day.
Some of the advantages of WhatsApp over traditional texting include perks like the ability to create group chats that are compatible with all mobile operating systems, whether it’s big time players like Android or iOS, or the smaller, lesser-known alternatives like Nokia’s Symbian. This means that instead of running into nasty blocks of green text clashing against blue in your messaging window, everyone enters the chat room on equal ground, and every picture, emoji, or voice memo will go through unabated thanks to the app’s universal formatting system.
No matter what operating system you’re on though, WhatsApp is a well-rounded, quick, and endlessly rich texting application that any frugal phone owner should have installed as a mainstay for their mobile device.
Of course, this wouldn’t be an article about using your cellphone to circumvent calling plans without mentioning the one service that started it all: Skype.
Once you install Skype on your phone and hook up to the local Wi-Fi connection, you’ll immediately be able to message, call, or video chat with anyone of your choosing. Conversely, anyone who needs to get a hold of you can do the same as long as they have the Skype client installed on their phone or desktop computer.
The main convenience of Skype is not only its ubiquity, but also the fact that it works on pretty much any mobile or stationary device you can think of. Find anyone in your phone’s standard contacts list, and it’s almost assured they’ve got a Skype handle on the side, which makes messaging and talking to them over the Internet a whole lot easier than asking them to install an add-on like Kik or Whatsapp.
Fair warning, anyone who goes this route should know that while calls made within the United States or Canada are free of charge, the cost for international correspondences can vary depending on where the call is sourced from and where it’s going to. In general, you can expect the cost to rise the farther the call has to travel over the wires to get from your phone to whomever it’s intended to reach.
iPhone Wi-Fi Calling
Last up, if you happen to own an iPhone and need an interim solution in the wake of a few past-due bills, iOS’ internal Wi-Fi calling feature can come through when your carrier is knocking at the door but the credit card is already maxed. Wi-Fi Calling comes as an automatic inclusion to the iOS ecosystem for anyone running iOS 8.0 or above, however to actually start a Wi-Fi call on your iPhone, you’ll need to enable the option by going into your Settings –> Phone –> Wi-Fi Calling.