Is there any way to have FREE mobile phone service? YES!
Last year, I bought a T-Mobile G2 phone. But the T-Mobile service in my area is so weak that I disconnected from them. Still, I use the phone – without a contract and at no cost. I can make and receive regular phone calls with anyone in the US & Canada – at no charge. That is technology, my friend.
Someone in the front row has their hand up… “Can I do that with my phone?” they ask, excitedly! Well yes, if your phone is capable.
First, let me explain some of the problems of mobile phones:
- Phones have different Operating Systems (OS). No matter what you do, the OS limits you to whatever works on that OS. Some phones have been hacked and the Android OS installed on phones that were shipped with the Windows Mobile OS, etc. but that is either difficult or impossible – depending upon the phone.
- Phones are on different technologies. CDMA phones (Sprint & Verizon) do not work on each other’s networks. GSM phones (AT&T & T-Mo) will not work on the CDMA networks at all. T-Mo and AT&T roam on each other’s networks but their data protocols are different. The only common denominator is the EDGE data (about 60k).
- Phones are SIM locked. This means that an AT&T phone will not work with a T-Mo SIM card or visa versa. However, federal law mandates that carriers MUST give you the sim unlock code. After executing the code on your phone, the phone will work with a sim card from any compatible carrier (be aware of the data problems mentioned in the last paragraph).
- Phones are boot-locked. Some phones can hacked to give access to the boot-level or “root” of the phone. Phones can be “jail broken” (term usually given to such work on Apple phones) or “rooted” (similar work done on Android devices). Once a phone has been boot unlocked, the ROM and other firmware can be replaced or updated. However, all the physical limitations of technology are still present. A “jail broken” ATT iPhone will work on the T-Mo network but you can only use the data at Edge speeds. However, a jail broken Verizon iPhone will NOT work on the T-Mo or ATT network.
With all that said, there may be a real value in having an old (no contract) phone to play with. Especially if it is an Android device.
Here is what I did with my G2.
- I signed up for a Google Voice account and connected the phone as the primary answering phone.
- I called T-Mo and get the sim-unlock-code and executed it.
- I rooted the device and put CM7 on it (this has value but is not essential for the process)
- I shut down my account with T-Mo and removed the T-Mo sim card entirely. That means that there is no network – except WiFi. All other functions are retained. (Actually, I later added a pay-as-you-go sim for emergencies but this is not essential)
- I purchased the GrooVe IP app from the Android Market and set it up on the phone with my Google Voice acct.
- Now, I can make/receive unlimited (free) local and LD phone calls to/from my Google Voice number – at no charge. The only restriction is that I have to be within range of WiFi. That can be from my home network, most available public networks, a friend’s network (if they allow you access), WiFi shared from another phone, or – in my case – from a Verizon MiFi device. (I only use the MiFi when I am traveling to assure that I do not lose access to the telephone system.)
This should be possible with any fairly new Android device. It may also work with another OS but I don’t know. (It would require GrooVe IP or a similar app.). BTW, this is the same process I used on my GTab to use it as a phone – except that I could just begin at # 5 in the last list. Here is the link to my article on using VOIP on the GTab: GTab works for REGULAR phone calls
So, can you use your old phone for more than other people do? Tell us in the comments..