When you think about your cell phone bill, “charitable” is probably not high on the list of words that come to mind. But GIV Mobile, which operates on T-Mobile’s network, is trying to change that. It offers affordable, no-contract cellular plans that also support the arts, the environment, health, education, and more.
8% of your bill each month goes toward charity: you can pick the American Red Cross, the Humane Society, UNICEF, and many others from this list. And the pricing isn’t bad, either—compared to my current monthly bill from Verizon, it’s a pretty nice deal.
The plans start as low as $20 a month (though that doesn’t include data), and all of them have unlimited talk and text. Starting at $29 a month you also get unlimited data. The pricing determines how fast your data speeds are and how much data you get at those speeds. But rather than charging you more if you go over your allowance, you simply go back to lower speeds.
Granted, T-Mobile’s cell network doesn’t cover everywhere. You’ll want to look at the coverage map to make sure you can get a signal where you live and places you’re likely to be traveling. One of the reasons we’re on Verizon is because it’s one of the few that could get a signal inside the hospital where my wife works, but the cost is significantly higher. And, of course, Verizon isn’t putting a chunk of my bill toward The Nature Conservancy or anything.
I got a loaner phone to try out the GIV Mobile service for a month, and it worked pretty well here in Portland, Oregon. I didn’t have trouble getting a signal most places, and the data speeds were fine for everyday use (I don’t do a lot of heavy lifting with my phones in general). GIV does have a variety of phones to choose from, including several Android models and the iPhone 5c (no iPhone 6 yet).
I’m debating whether I’d want to make the jump from Verizon to GIV myself—currently we’ve also got a home phone that’s running through Verizon, so that complicates matters—but I’m also considering using GIV Mobile for when we decide to get our oldest daughter a cell phone. She’s just started middle school and I’m not sure she needs one yet, but when she starts getting around town on her own then I’ll probably want her to have one. It seems like GIV Mobile may be a cheaper option, plus I like the idea that every time I pay the bill I’m kicking a couple bucks to a good cause.