Is this a genius idea or a fail?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Fakeman100, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Fakeman100 macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2010
    I was thinking of buying an iPod Touch 4g($220 for 8gb) and then installing the Google Voice App (its free). This would allow me to create my own phone number and send and receive unlimited texts as wall as unlimited calls for free.

    I would need wfi to do this so I just buy the Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 ($150) and carry around in my pocket. It has unlimited data for $40 a month with no contract and can be connected with up to 5 devices.

    So, I would technically be spending $370 for the devices in total but only pay $40 a month for unlimited data, text, and calls. If you pay $70 a month with an iPhone 4g (starts at $200) in a year you would have spent $840 for the plan plus $200 for the device which would equal $1040.

    With the iPod Touch and Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200, i would have spent $480 for the WiFi plus the $370 for the devices would equal $850 the whole year.

    This would save you nearly $200 a year! Is this a genius idea or a fail?
  2. mtnDewFTW macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    Go through all that trouble for $200/year.. personally, not worth it to me to carry around the WiFi thing at ALL times. And if I leave it behind somewhere, I'm stuck without a phone. It's definitely a good idea, but I personally would rather just get the phone and pay for the plan
  3. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    I don't think it would be worth it, and you do realize that Google voice isn't a VOIP app right? You could send texts, but you will need another app for calls, I think they are out there, but I don't know what they are.
  4. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Unfortunately, the idea is a fail. Google voice is not a VOIP client. It does require you to have a phone in order to make phone calls. There are ways around this with other programs that do make calls over VOIP, but I would say the voice quality and reliability are weak. Secondly, the wifi connection on the ipod won't stay on forever, which is what you need if you want to receive phone calls. In addition, the battery on the mifi doesn't stay on for more than a few hours.

    A better idea would be to buy a phone with a text messaging plan, or a smartphone if you want the data.
  5. mikelegacy macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    exactly, google voice acts like a forwarding service. it's nice because u can forward one call to as many phones as u want. it can make your cell phones in the house act as one house phone service in a sense...

    edit: oh and for like $20 a year you can get your own number through skype and that IS a VOIP program.
  6. crazytiger86 macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2010
    Just would you receive calls?

    Would you have to magically "sense" the call coming in, boot up your mifi, and connect your iPod and hope that the caller didnt get frustrated and hang up?
    If either the mifi or the ipod run out of battery, youre left without a phone. What about emergency services? VOIP has been known to be unreliable for E911 calls.

    Although it is a cool Rube Goldberg device you thought up, there are just way too many contingencies to make the plan work.

    Even better, why dont you just ditch the mifi, and get a Metro PCS phone or a regular Virgin mobile plan which provides unlimited everything for $40 anyways and keep your iPod.
  7. ikaveh macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2008
    plus next year you probably will be able to sell your iphone for around 500-600 while your ipod would be worth around 200-250(?).
  8. Constantine1337 macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2009
    Isn't it cheaper to get an iPhone without the MiFi? 40$/month and 220$ for the device? Check out the data plans, you might find something around that price point for an iPhone.
  9. MooneyFlyer macrumors 65816


    Nov 18, 2007
    I think technically you could use Skype to accomplish what you want with some additional fees (Skype-in number, cost of outgoing calls, etc.).

    Also, the MiFi has a very limited battery life from what I understand (4-5 hours). There is an external battery add-on for another $20-30 -- but you are almost at the same price with a much more difficult to manage bundle.

    If you want to lower the cost you might be able to get a 3GS for free under contract somewhere (in the US).
  10. shakeman0 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2009
    I agree. The battery in the MiFi would most likely run out long before the iPod Touch.
  11. JASApplications macrumors 65816

    Nov 24, 2010
    Scarborough, United Kingdom
    Fail! Just buy a iPhone. So much easier and in the long run probably about the same price, if not much cheaper.
  12. MaxBurn macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2010
    Agreed, more trouble than it is worth.

    Also add some headphones to the list of thongs you must carry at all times as there is no mic on iPod (for a reason apparently).
  13. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010

    I've got a MiFi (Verizon, not Virgin service). The stock battery lasts about 2 hours of constant (non-standby) usage. Its pretty small. I bought an external extended battery that I plug it into that gives me a full day's worth of use...say 5 hours of accessing the 'Net with another 4-5 hours of standby (always on, just not doing anything) power.

    That kind of setup requires me to keep it in my backpack which isn't an issues since I'm always carrying it while traveling.

    But the bigger drawback is that EVDO coverage varies greatly and that includes major metro areas like Chicago. I've done Facetime calls using it and sometimes it works great. Other times, it stutters something fierce and/or just disconnects randomly.

    Once you go through all that trouble....may as well just get an iPhone and enjoy the experience you want without all the hassles.
  14. forcetactic macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    You could get Talkatone which allows free voip for google voice numbers but you'll have to worry about battery life on both devices. Also from what I've experienced, voip especially on 3g is not even close to normal calling
  15. voidcomp, Dec 30, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010

    voidcomp macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2010
    Your idea is a win, but I'm biased since what you propose is almost exactly what I've been doing for the past 3 months with some slight differences. I still carry a dumb phone also (Tracfone) so yes, the convenience factor of having 1 device instead of 3 is understandable.

    Then again I'm a cheap bastich, plus the writing on the wall is clear ... data/text is booming, voice over cell is declining, and wifi is ever more prevalent. There's no way I'm going to lock myself into a contractual, expensive, long term, data capped plan in an age when 80 - 90% of mobile device use is for other than voice over cell!

    VOIP quality is fine on the Touch 4g with sufficient bandwidth (presently using Talkatone and Whistlephone, inbound and outbound), otherwise no big deal, use the cheap phone and avoid any of the mifi's on the market for voice functionality, they all far short pretty much. And yes, the 4g does have a mic.

    With VOIP use surging at the expense of cell time, prepaid like Tracfone (mine runs around $15) needs to be additionally factored into year *2* savings which hasn't been discussed, unless of course the phone co's suddenty start offering 1 yr contracts!

    That aside, voice isn't that big a deal, what really concerns me is DATA (from day 1) with those nasty surcharges when the caps are busted, this in age of streaming Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, music, augmented reality, etc. If you're an active streamer grab your wallet tightly. Others just live within the limit and forgo the opportunity.

    The Virgin Mobile mifi is perfect for me. $40/mth unlimited, otherwise $20/mth with a 1 gig cap. No contract, buy for a months use, skip months, running up to 5 wireless devices concurrently, no tethering, etc. I'm easily getting 4 hrs a charge. Besides, there's not an 'always on' need as I have my cheap phone for voice.

    Bottom line: stick with iPhone for convenience and better quality voice coverage, otherwise your solution is fine (using Talkatone or Whistlephone) if data, cost, no contract, wireless device support and flexible data options is more important.
  16. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Just curious, isn't the ping (lag) for mifi devices really bad? I've used one before, and it feels like its at least 200 - 300 ms, which would make VOIP calls very frustrating. Maybe the one I used wasn't as good as the recent ones though? Thanks.
  17. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    Couple of things.
    1. The iPod touch doesn't have an earpiece or mic, so you would have to carry a head set with you and plug it in, but only when the phone rings, because it also has no vibrate so if the headset is plugged in all the time you would hear it ring.
    2. The battery on the Mifi is much shorter than a regular phone, because it has to constantly be connected for the data, so you want to be near a power source at all times and be constantly worrying if you have enough juice.
    3. Google voice isn't VoIP, so you'll have to use something else. You van try skype, but they don't have unlimited texts, it comes out almost a wash. I recommend line2, $10 a month for unlimited minutes and unlimited texts, it's what my wife uses and works great.
  18. voidcomp macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2010
    Incorrect, the 4g has both a mic and speaker. Incoming calls ring quite loudly.

    As mentioned earlier, the mifi does not need to be constantly connected if you carry around a dumb phone. Use the mifi only when needed.

    'Talkatone is a free Google Talk℠ and Google Voice℠ client with iOS4 backgrounding and local notifications which offers exciting Instant Messenger, Voice Calling over WiFi and 3G, and Location Sharing features'. <-- FREE
  19. voidcomp macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2010
    Yeah it's not that great unless you've got a really good, low lag connection. I've had pretty good luck with mine with a 4 or 5 bar signal.

    The mifi should really be thought of as the data part of the solution, not the voice.
  20. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed. I don't want to carry extra things, so I'd rather pay more.
  21. Infraggable Kru macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2010
    I think that's a big reason many of us don't carry around a stupid phone and an Ipod Touch
  22. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    I meant earpiece so you can hold it up to you ear to listen when on the phone, not the built in speaker which would mean all you calls would be on speaker phone. Sorry, forgot they added the mic for video recording.

    The op was talking about using it as his main phone and not carrying around a secondary dumb phone, as whatever minutes plan is on that phone would eat into his $200 saved a year.

    Thanks, I'm gonna have to check that out.
  23. dccorona macrumors 68020


    Jun 12, 2008
    The 200 a year is only the first years savings. The following years would be higher
  24. voidcomp macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2010
    Yep, but as this thread demonstrates, convenience comes at a price that many are willing to pay. Of course it doesn't prevent them from whining about it anyway :)
  25. The Californian macrumors 68040

    The Californian

    Jan 17, 2009
    Surfers Paradise
    I would have to agree with most that this is a bad idea not only for the reasons mentioned, but also due to the effect the mifi would have on your sperm count. ( I guess that could be a pro or con depending on how you look at it ).

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