Best choice of phone and mobile plan for wife?

My wife and I are currently on Google Fi. She has two problems that we need to fix.
1- She has an old Moto X4 that is really slowed down, even after freeing up some space.
2- All her coworkers have iPhones which they use to communicate for work. The complain that her texts seem to take forever to get to them and one guy says many times he never gets them. Also she can’t use the little icons to respond to messages like she can with her texts to me. Her thumbs up appear like big images to them and break the flow of the conversation.

I don’t know why her texts to them take a long time to get delivered, other than if apple intentionally gimps android to apple text performance. My texts to my son’s apple seem to get there quickly enough. I don’t know what the deal is with my wife’s texts to them. Anyways, she wants to get an apple phone so she can have more seamless communication with them.

She usually doesn’t demand the newest and greatest tech unless if really provides some worthwhile benefit to her. She uses a handful of apps, uses her phone via bluetooth to unlock work doors, likes to take pictures and video, texts and calls. Which iPhone is the best balance of performance and money for someone like her?

Also, she doesn’t need a ton of data. She uses maybe 1-2 GB month. Mint Mobile seems like a good deal at 4 GB for $15 month. She doesn’t usually travel internationally, but does travel in the US for work at times. The Mint Mobile coverage map seems to be decent for our area. Does this seem like a good service for her?

Mint has a deal to get an iPhone 12 + 12 months of 4GB/mo service for $869. That includes 6 months of service for free (a $90 savings). Does that seem like a good deal?

I would like to be on the same ecosystem as her, but unfortunately I signed up for the Google Fi deal where I only pay <$10 month for a Pixel 5a 5G for 2 years and then can upgrade if I want. I have 16 months left. If I cancel, I think I have to pay the $450 for the Pixel. I don’t even know if I get any credit for the amount I already paid.

Thanks

I’m in the same boat as your wife with regard to using Goggle Fi and having a super old phone I want to replace. I’ve been looking at Mint Mobile also. Have you looked at Consumer Cellular? They offer 1 line with a 3 GB limit for $25/month. And … they offer a 5% discount to AARP members.

From my quick little google, Mint Mobile uses’s T-Mobile network, while Consumer Cellular uses AT&T’s and T-Mobile. That may make a difference.

I don’t think they intentionally do anything, but I also don’t think they go out of their way to make things better either. The whole green vs blue bubbles is a thing. I personally don’t have any issues with SMS, but I have seen many reports of people that do, especially in group chats.

As far as the plan, I wouldn’t trust coverage maps. I used Sprint for years, because I always lived in the coverage areas. I switched to Verizon at some point and it was night and day. Not that it’s perfect, but it is much more reliable than Sprint was. I would see if you can find any Mint users in your area before I gave them money.

Have you considered just upgrading her phone and seeing if that makes a difference to her experience? A Samsung A13 is $200 on Fi right now.

The cross-messaging thing does kind of suck. But it’s not like it’s any better going the other way. I get text descriptions of iPhone users’ thumbs up, i.e. ‘Betty likes “see you then!”’ The solution is for everyone to move to a platform agnostic app like WhatsApp or Signal. I use WhatsApp with my friends and Slack or Discord with my co-workers depending on group.

If it was the phone other Android users would be saying they weren’t getting her text, wouldn’t they? Having seen the green vs blue pressure and heard others talk about it on countless podcasts, I really think this is that.

Are you able to buy a phone for discount through work? We can buy from mutiple vendors at my place for personal use. I bought an iPhone 13 mini for $250.

Mint’s price is cheaper at $15/ mo for 4GB, but if Mint’s coverage isn’t good enough and CC improves upon it then it seems like a good alternative - thanks!

I do think many of the problems are in group chat.

Google Fi primarily uses T-Mobile and my coverage is pretty good. The signal strength isn’t always high, but my call quality is ok. So, hopefully Mint would be fine too. It looks like they have a 7 day guarantee to test out the service, so that helps.

I did think about it a bit. I don’t want to spend money on a phone and have it not solve the issue.

She doesn’t think she has a way to buy phones at discount, but I mentioned it and she will check. They would buy her a phone but then they have the right to audit it and she uses it for personal communication too, so she doesn’t want to do that.

She decided she wants to move on the iPhone / Mint Mobile deal so I ordered it. If the service doesn’t work out we will return it. Like I mentioned above I think it will be OK since Google Fi uses T-Mobile.

Thanks for the input everyone!

As suggested, try to get them to use WhatsApp (unless they have an extreme aversion to Facebook, I suppose). It solves all the group chat problems, and it’s cross platform. Seems more reasonable than forcing her to get a new phone.

It is a good idea, but I don’t think they are going to use a different app just for her. She does need a new phone anyway - hers is super slow now. Even just using bluetooth to unlock a work door can take 30 seconds when it should just take a few. It’s almost unbearable to use. It was just a matter of Android vs Apple. If it wasn’t for her work I probably would have suggested a Pixel

Nobody’s going to change their behavior for anyone, ever. Ideally everybody would just move to Signal (not Whatsapp, for fuck’s sake) but that will never happen. She needs an iPhone, and if her current phone is so excessively slow and annoying, you probably don’t want to wait until September when they’ll all be refreshed.

If you’re really looking to go cheap, this deal seems pretty good.

Agreed that Signal is the better choice, but adoption with WhatsApp is far higher. In some countries (observed by me in Costa Rica and Argentina) WhatsApp is what people use for everything: messaging, phone calls, etc.

So long as we’re indulging in fantasy, might as well shoot for the stars!