How can I use a smartphone without a carrier contact?


I feel like my carrier is ripping me off, and every month I have to pay nearly $100 for what I consider a pretty basic plan. I was complaining about it at work, and a co-worker suggested just use my Android smartphone without a plan at all. After my contract is up, I might try it, but how realistic is this plan? Since I live in a city, I have pretty good access to WiFi most places I go in addition to home, so I would have internet service most of the time. Has anyone given this a try? I could use an extra $1200 per year for other things, but I don't want to suffer too much for my thriftiness. Any tips or suggestions would be great. I know that there are no-contract carriers, which might be an improvement, but to be clear I'm thinking of zero cost, no carrier at all.

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If you're not going to be using it for calls, and you just want a Wi-Fi only device then you might want to consider just buying a good old iPod. Yeah, an iPod. As long as you have Wi-Fi, you can do all the usual stuff and you still get access to all of the apps created for the iPhone, etc.

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You can actually get by pretty well if you live where there is good WiFi coverage. Once your contract is up you can use it as a WiFi only device.  You mentioned you have an Android, and I've used a spare Android phone without contract for a couple of years as spare phone. To be able to text, IM, voice call, etc. pretty much requires that you use Google's services, but I assume that isn't a problem if you have an Android smartphone. There are a lot of VoIP programs on Google Play only let you make calls to other people with the same app, a la skype, but there are also some that can be used to call anyone. With one of these you can use a Google Voice account to make free calls over WiFi to whoever you want. I use GroveIP, but I also know a few people who use Spare Phone - VoIP Voice Calls. There are others, but those are the only two that come to mind at the moment. It seems that different phones work better with different VoIP apps, so you might have to try more than one. They cost a few bucks each, but that pays for itself in about 2 days off contract. 

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