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Basic cheap cell phone service
Old 10-20-2016, 08:46 AM   #1
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Basic cheap cell phone service

My wife is trying to help her 94 YO aunt. She inadvertently let her cell plan expire. She lives in a small town and has a landline for her med alert pendant but wants a cell phone for backup. Her old plan was a pay/go on ATT but was told they no longer support that plan or her old flip phone.
Any suggestions on which service has cheapest simple plan for a cell phone that is only used occasionally for voice only?
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:48 AM   #2
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:57 AM   #3
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Ha! We actually thought about installing a buzzer to her nephew who lives next door. But it will only work when he's home.
My wife is frustrated trying to explain things to her aunt who insists on living alone.
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Old 10-20-2016, 10:12 AM   #4
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Ting is just $6 per month (plus a little in taxes or whatever) if you don't use any minutes/texts/data.

The first 1-100 minutes of voice (all you seem to be interested in) will be charged an added $3. So depending how 'occasional' that usage is, it might be pretty cheap.

I still have my grandfathered T-Mobile Gold Plan and just $10 a year keeps them active and the minutes roll forward. But no longer offered. I'm going to keep these phones after I switch to a smart phone and data plan, I figure maybe throw them in the glove box of the car as a backup.

You can bring any unlocked GSM phone to Ting (AT&T uses GSM format, but some AT&T phones may be 'locked' to AT&T, but you might be able to unlock them).

Might be cheaper alternatives, but that is what I am aware of at this time.

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Old 10-20-2016, 10:16 AM   #5
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Consumer Cellular has good plans as low as $10-$12 a month that come with a free basic phone. We use them and have been very happy. You can change or drop the service at any time.
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Old 10-20-2016, 10:19 AM   #6
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Here is a cheap phone, good for the occasional cell phone user. Candy bar style, with larger buttons.

Alcatel Big Easy Plus.
One year of service.
800 minutes.
$29.99

Sometimes it is on sale for $19.99.

Alcatel Big Easy Plus with 800 Minutes and One Year of Service - Tracfone - New | eBay
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Old 10-20-2016, 10:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by folivier View Post
My wife is trying to help her 94 YO aunt. She inadvertently let her cell plan expire. She lives in a small town and has a landline for her med alert pendant but wants a cell phone for backup. Her old plan was a pay/go on ATT but was told they no longer support that plan or her old flip phone.
Any suggestions on which service has cheapest simple plan for a cell phone that is only used occasionally for voice only?
We use airvoice wireless which uses the AT&T network and have been happy with it. She should be able to use her old AT&T phone, just put in a new SIM card from airvoice wireless or she can buy a inexpensive smart phone from airvoice wireless for $50-60.

Cost is $10 for 30 days of service and you can put it on auto-pay. Your $10 balance is reduced by 4c/min for voice, 2c/text and 6c/mb for data and any unused $ rolls over. We use our phones modestly except when traveling and $10/month meets our needs.

Alternatively, she could go with AT&T gophone... they have a 25c/min prepaid plan and a $2/day plan (only on days you use the phone). They seem to have a couple flip-phones available and some inexpensive smartphones as well.

I see an AT&T gophone flip phone at Walmart for $20 that shoudl work with either AT&T or airvoice wireless.
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:12 AM   #8
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Mine is a tracfone. The phone itself was about $10. I purchase a 90 minute card for $20 every 3 months. That works out to be about $6.67 per month.
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:48 AM   #9
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Consumer Cellular has good plans as low as $10-$12 a month that come with a free basic phone. We use them and have been very happy. You can change or drop the service at any time.
+1.

I'm also quite happy with Consumer Cellular. I have one of the lower voice/data plans and only pay about $25/month.

In addition to a good price, they are located in the US with helpful customer service.
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Old 10-20-2016, 12:58 PM   #10
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I bought a Motorola Moto E smart phone set up for Tracfone with triple minutes for $20 and buy minutes as needed . 180 minutes and 3 months of use cost $20 so $6.67 a month. Since I don't use the cell part much it works well. I find that I can make calls thru the wifi part of the phone (Messenger, Google voice etc) most of the time so I hardly use the alloted minutes. I think next I will just buy a years use for $50 which will bring the cost down even further.
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Old 10-20-2016, 01:08 PM   #11
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A few months ago I switched to H2O wireless which uses AT&T's network, so far so good. They offer various plans, monthly and pay-go. I use the pay-go, purchase $10 and get up to 200 minutes talk/text, data $.10/MB. Good for 90 days and any unused minutes carry over if you purchase more minutes before the expiration date. Gives me more than enough minutes for my needs so works out to ~$40/year.
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Old 10-20-2016, 01:17 PM   #12
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Mine is a tracfone. The phone itself was about $10. I purchase a 90 minute card for $20 every 3 months. That works out to be about $6.67 per month.
That's what I use. The phone itself was $5 on sale.
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Old 10-20-2016, 01:41 PM   #13
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For very limited use, if your aunt is in an area where there is a strong T-Mobile signal, they do have a pre-paid plan that offers 30 minutes of talk or text (any combination of these two) for $3 per month. There are no taxes. Sims for the plan run about $4 + shipping. The plan operates with a deposit amount ($10 minimum), which you can top up at any point.

Tmobile uses a GSM network, like ATT.

https://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/pay-as-you-go

For cheap phones, check out Prepaidphonenews.com The site owner lists the cost of phones by plan carrier every Sunday morning. If you know what carrier you want to use, this site shows you phones that can support the carrier.

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Old 10-20-2016, 03:56 PM   #14
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I bought a Tracfone last year, too, for maybe $20. They always have discount minutes and you can always load up in advance on them, as well as contract time (days). No monthly charges, just pay for what you use. I can also text on my phone which I rarely do but it is a useful and cheap feature.
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:46 PM   #15
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Mine is a tracfone. The phone itself was about $10. I purchase a 90 minute card for $20 every 3 months. That works out to be about $6.67 per month.

Or you can purchase the 'add a year' option when you go to checkout for an additional $50...

So, $70 for 15 months.... $4.67 per month...
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:48 PM   #16
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......

I still have my grandfathered T-Mobile Gold Plan and just $10 a year keeps them active and the minutes roll forward. But no longer offered. I'm going to keep these phones after I switch to a smart phone and data plan, I figure maybe throw them in the glove box of the car as a backup.

.....
I have T-mobile, and you can switch to a new smart phone keeping your plan. I did and now use a Windows phone.

So I do have to use free or home wifi to use the internet browsing, otherwise it's great.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:30 PM   #17
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I have T-mobile, and you can switch to a new smart phone keeping your plan. I did and now use a Windows phone.

So I do have to use free or home wifi to use the internet browsing, otherwise it's great.
Yes, the grandfathered SIM and plan works when moved to a smart phone, and you can use wifi for data, however, I don't think there's any way to get cellular data under the grandfathered plan anymore. Now, when you switch on data you are effectively switching 'plans', and as I understand it, there is no way to get back to the Gold plan once you do that.

But I think I will just add to the Ting plan I got for DW - it's just $6/month to add a device, and my usage probably won't increase the other billed amounts most months. I'll keep the old phones as back up.

-ERD50
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:11 PM   #18
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I also use Consumer Cellular. Very happy with them and very helpful customer service.
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Old 10-20-2016, 09:21 PM   #19
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Last time I checked, AT&T still offered "new customers" their prepaid Go Phone for 25 cents a min/usage plus a small usage fee for each day you actually use (make or receive a call) on the phone. (less than 6 mos ago I got one for a family member) AT&T's website still shows that the service is available for new customers. She may need to get a new flip phone but those are cheap. No monthly contract or monthly usage charge.

IMO, the best deal with the Go Phone is to prepay $100 which is good for a year. I've been on the plan myself for well over ten years now and seldom use up the $100 prepaid amount in any given year, but I typically only avg a couple of short (2 or 3 min) cell phone calls a month.
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:57 AM   #20
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My Mom has the same $100/yr goPhone plan and it works well for her.
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