I’ve been a 10 year + Verizon Wireless customer, however, I simply had enough with their stance on Nexus devices. I purchased my Galaxy Nexus two years ago to get the real Nexus experience. After the release was pushed back further and further the device was finally released and time after time updates came at a snails pace from Verizon. Not only that they loaded the phone with Verizon bloatware and banned Google Wallet. Hardly the pure Google experience Google intended for a Nexus device. Worst of all the Galaxy Nexus itself has some several pitfalls like poor battery life.
After the Galaxy Nexus debacle I wanted to choose my next phone carefully. The Moto X was my first candidate as it was a near pure Google experience, but I was severely underwhelmed with it from the launch. So much so I actually went to a store to look at it before committing to purchase. After holding the phone in my hand I was not impressed and combined with the specs I felt like I would have another dud before two years had passed. Not to mention Verizon did not have Moto Maker at this point which is one of the bigger selling points of the phone.
Shortly after I scratched the Moto X off my list Nexus 5 rumors started to really ramp up. It was pretty well known in the community Verizon was not getting this phone, but I knew it would be true pure Google phone. Amazingly the Nexus 5 was never actually announced. Google just placed it on their website with no announcement. Possibly because of the high demand for the phone. After the official specs and initial impressions came out on launch day I knew immediately this was the phone I wanted.
Switching to AT&T Prepaid Go Phone
The real point of this post is to chronicle my process from moving from Verizon to AT&T Go Phone. I chose the $60/m plan with unlimited talk/text and 2 gigs of data.
Why Go Phone?
First off, my area doesn’t have any T-mobile service whatsoever. So any T-mobile option is off the table for me and unless you live near a city that is probably a common situation. If you primarily are in a T-Mobile service area you should check out what they offer. I chose Go Phone because I need predictable phone service and support. Go Phone is nearly the same service level as post paid AT&T customers from my understanding. AIO, Straight Talk, Net10, Cricket, Virgin, MetroPCS, etc are all MVNO companies that have agreements with companies like Verizon and AT&T to lease voice and data on their towers. Understandably the data traffic with these providers have lower priority in general. Stipulations vary but in general on these MVNO plans when you exceed your data usage your data rate is crippled to 2G speeds for the remainder of the period. This really isn’t acceptable for me. Go Phone is clear about their data policy and provides an avenue ($10/gig) to purchase more data.
Straight Talk is one of the options that really stands out. For $45/m you can get unlimited/talk/text/data. Well, not really. If you read the fine print data is capped at 2.5 gigs/month, there are also limits on other items as well. Additionally a quick Google search will reveal that Straight Talk has a huge customer service problem. Generally it sounds like you will talk to outsourced foreign support (India) and this leads to a lot of frustrations with people. What is interesting now just in the last few weeks Straight Talk has added support for AT&T LTE to their site again. So you can purchase a 4g LTE sim now from Straight Talk. I mentioned Straight Talk specifically because it will likely work well for a lot of people but for me I need reliable support and predictable data (with a path to buy more) so I went with Go Phone.
Activating and Porting
The sim purchase process is a little bit hidden on the Go Phone site if you don’t have one, but basically you need to go into an AT&T store and get a sim because you can’t order it on their site. Not sure why this is, they are for sale on eBay and Amazon but make sure you are getting the latest 4G LTE sim card if you buy one. The sim cards in store appear to be free. Once I stopped into my AT&T store the activation process was simple. The clerk installed a new sim card and gave me the predictable, “why are you not buying a full blown plan for this awesome phone” speech. He scanned my IMEI number on the back of my Nexus 5 and a few minutes later I had a new number and service! I asked about porting my number, we decided it would be best if I drove home and made sure the service worked like I expected before porting from Verizon so he gave me an extra sim if I needed it. I was a little confused by that, but my phone worked so I left ready to go.
Porting was probably the most surprising process. I called customer service and explained I’d like to port my number to my new Go Phone account. They transferred me to the porting department. The rep was really nice and asked for my account # with Verizon, pin, and phone #. She called my new Nexus 5 then called Verizon to authorize the transfer. In a span of about 15 minutes the port was complete without even rebooting my Nexus 5! So there you have it, porting your number from Verizon to AT&T Go Phone can be done over the phone in real time!