I recently started reading a couple of knitting blogs. One of them (http://www.yarnagogo.com/blog/blog_index.html) by Rachael Herron talked about reducing debt and the strategies she was employing. A big one encompassed mobile phone service. She had recently paid the carrier penalty and given up her iPhone to switch to Rebuplic Wireless. I began doing the research and traced a rise in "mobile virtual network operators" and have begun making some changes myself.
I was part of a "framily" plan using a smartphone with hotspot capability. I hadn't had a new phone in close to 5 years because this one is compatible with an app to activate the hotspot as though I were still on the phone and not on my android tablet or laptop. I originally signed with them on the smartphone because of unlimited hotspot falling under the plans unlimited data. Then they decided that the hotspot was an "add-on" and not part of the plan and wanted to cap my usage without reducing the price because I was already paying less that they planned on charging new customers. They also refused to either "grandfather" the option or let me out of my contract.
I have decided to combine a FreedomPop (http://www.freedompop.com/home.htm#) hotspot and a Republic Wireless MotoX smartphone (https://republicwireless.com/). If necessary, I will also hotspot with it.
Good news seems to spread … whether in context (cellular/wireless on a knitting blog) or not. The industry changes so fast that available services, plans, and options will doubtless change again in six months.