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Cheapest cell-phone plan?
Old 09-29-2010, 07:49 PM   #1
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Cheapest cell-phone plan?

What is the cheapest cell-phone plan you have or know of?

Right now, I pay about $42 per month through Sprint. This plan includes unlimited texting. There's no data plan or Internet access.
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$5 a month
Old 09-29-2010, 07:57 PM   #2
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$5 a month

To help you, you need to lets us know how much you use the phone for voice (in minutes) and for number of texts.

If you don't use the phone much and just need voice and text. A pre-paid plan costs very little.

I use STI-Mobile. StI-Mobile uses the very same Sprint network that you currently use. It costs me 9 cents a day to have the service plus 8.9 cents per minute to use the phone with no roaming charges within the US. Texts cost 5 cents each. Plus the cost of a phone (2 choices only $37 or $60).

I have used the service now for a few years and have had no problmes. I have used it in six different western states and Mexico. Calls were clear everywhere I used it. No problems.

If you use the phone constantly then a pre-paid plan won't work well for you.

Since I don't use the phone much. It only costs me about $5 a month to have a cell phone.
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:32 PM   #3
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I'm (and DW) using Virgin Mobile prepaid, which uses the Sprint network. Cost is $20/3 months (or $6.67/mo) to keep the account active, you can go another 1-2 months before you lose the phone number. For some reason, late in 2009 we got notification that we don't need to replenish our account until 2/2011. So we've had no payments all of 2010. It costs .18/min for calls, .15/text. We really do use these as "just in case"/emergency phones...so much so that my current balance is $78.64 with 41 bonus minutes. I bought my Samsung Slash at Walmart online for $19, goes on sale a lot. We've had service with them for over 5 years. Used to be .10/min for calls back then.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:02 PM   #4
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We have ATT Go-phones, which are prepaid. To keep our balance rolling over, we need to put $25 on them every three months. The charges are $1 per day if the phone is activated for any reason and then 10 cents/min, so if I make two calls, each lasting one minute, it costs $1.20 for that day. If I make no calls in a day, there is no charge. We have substantial balances available, since we almost never use the phones. In sum, it works out to $8.33 per month, per phone.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:16 PM   #5
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OP:

For us, best bet was, T-MOBILE, PREPAID. Bought phone at Costco. Get free accessories, ie. case, car charger.

Once you spend, $ 100, you become a gold member. As long as you buy some minutes, your unused minutes last ONE YEAR.

Minutes cost 10 cents.
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$0.83 (83 cents) per month
Old 09-29-2010, 11:22 PM   #6
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$0.83 (83 cents) per month

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf View Post
OP:

For us, best bet was, T-MOBILE, PREPAID. Bought phone at Costco. Get free accessories, ie. case, car charger.

Once you spend, $ 100, you become a gold member. As long as you buy some minutes, your unused minutes last ONE YEAR.

Minutes cost 10 cents.
And after that, it only takes $10 to rollover minutes and service for another year. 83 cents per month.

That low price is only for low minute/text users. But the OP did ask which is the cheapest plan. OK, if you limit yourself to 911 calls, $0/month.

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Old 09-29-2010, 11:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dimsumkid View Post
I'm (and DW) using Virgin Mobile prepaid, which uses the Sprint network. Cost is $20/3 months (or $6.67/mo) to keep the account active, you can go another 1-2 months before you lose the phone number. For some reason, late in 2009 we got notification that we don't need to replenish our account until 2/2011. So we've had no payments all of 2010. It costs .18/min for calls, .15/text. We really do use these as "just in case"/emergency phones...so much so that my current balance is $78.64 with 41 bonus minutes. I bought my Samsung Slash at Walmart online for $19, goes on sale a lot. We've had service with them for over 5 years. Used to be .10/min for calls back then.
Me and my wife have Virgin.... but we are changing hers as the Sprint network is crap when you get out of a big city... I even lose service going between cities... We have bought a Tracphone and she will be trying it out next weekend when she goes camping... and that is why.... she has been stuck in a park with NO service twice now.... a phone that does not have service is pretty useless for emergencies...

OPPPSSS... edit to add... if you do go Virgin, I do not think they have the .18cents plan anymore... but if you do have the plan you can make it $15/3 months with auto top up... just give them your CC number and they top up every three months....
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by wolf View Post
For us, best bet was, T-MOBILE, PREPAID. Bought phone at Costco. Get free accessories, ie. case, car charger.

Once you spend, $ 100, you become a gold member. As long as you buy some minutes, your unused minutes last ONE YEAR.

Minutes cost 10 cents.
Actually it was better than this. Once you've spent $100 (which you can do with a one-shot purchase of 1000 minutes), *all* minutes you buy last one year, AND if you reload before the old minutes expire, all the old unused minutes roll over for another year along with it.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:11 AM   #9
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Me and my wife have Virgin.... but we are changing hers as the Sprint network is crap when you get out of a big city... I even lose service going between cities.. a phone that does not have service is pretty useless for emergencies...
Have a Verizon cell. $40/mo for 400 miinutes. This is the only one that has service where we live. DW is after me to get a second cell. What I want is cheap and good service out in the sticks.

Maybe you can't always get what you want...

Which cheap phone has the best service?

Free to canoe
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:49 AM   #10
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I've used Consumer Cellular for several years now. No contract, month to month. Cost $35 to activate free phone, $20 per month for 250 minutes (before all the extra taxes etc). $30 per month for 500 minutes. It is basically a reseller of the AT&T network. No free minutes. I think you can get 100 text messages for $2.50/month.

Free to Canoe.....AT&T has a lot of dead spots in the Alleghany National Forest so most of my camping places, I've no service.

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:21 AM   #11
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I use Tracfone prepaid (with double minutes for life). When I travel with my laptop, I also bring my MagicJack along and try to use that so I don't burn out minutes on my mobile phone.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:16 AM   #12
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............... if you do go Virgin, I do not think they have the .18cents plan anymore... but if you do have the plan you can make it $15/3 months with auto top up... just give them your CC number and they top up every three months....
I have had this plan for three years and it is great. Minutes roll over indefinitely. I have something like a $200 credit ready in case I ever want to call someone.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:25 AM   #13
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Free To Canoe View Post
Have a Verizon cell. $40/mo for 400 miinutes. This is the only one that has service where we live. DW is after me to get a second cell. What I want is cheap and good service out in the sticks.

Maybe you can't always get what you want...

Which cheap phone has the best service?

Free to canoe

I was disappointed in Tracphone since they do not have a coverage map... I am hoping that the phone works when the wife goes camping... her friends phone worked, so here is hope...

But, I did see the Verizon coverage map and it seemed to be best coverage in the places I looked here in Texas... but their prepaid costs are a lot higher... buy a phone for a bit more, pay $25 to connect, 25 cents a minute and I think you have to add more air time more often... now, if it is the only one that works, the prepaid is better than the monthly full service plan...

PS... Verizon has a senior citizen plan that is cheaper per month... for over 65... 200 minutes for $30 per month...

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Old 09-30-2010, 01:40 PM   #15
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On our Houston trip last week, spouse and I had a serious conversation about getting cell phones.

When we had them on active duty we were usually punished for the privilege by being expected to be available 24/7, phoned anytime even for the most trivial of discussions that could otherwise be handled by a properly trained watch section. Of course the other side of that is even when we considered ourselves to BE that properly trained watch section, we were subject to micromanagement by bosses who were waiting their turn to putt out. So when we retired, we shouted "Hallelujah!" and happily gave up our cell phones.

However society has advanced in a different direction, and the pain of not keeping up is beginning to approach the trauma of old memories.

As an example:
- The rental-car company just couldn't accept that we didn't have a cell phone number. Something has to fill that blank on their form, even if it's just the phone number for the watch officer at the National Military Command Center... or the White House switchboard.
- The owner of the condo we rented just couldn't handle our proposal of "We'll meet you in the lobby at 9:30 AM. If we're going to be late then we'll find a phone and call you." Best we could negotiate was "call before you leave the airport." You can guess why we were almost late, or you can read the next example:
- We didn't find any pay phones in Houston's Bush Airport baggage-claim area. Three years ago the Houston car-rental building had four pay phones. Last week it had three stainless-steel plates covering the holes where three phones used to be, and one TTY model for the hearing-impaired. That one lacked a dial tone. It took us two gas stations to find a functioning pay phone.
- Technically our rental condo had a phone. Functionally it was only good for outgoing calls. It took us a couple days of "Why didn't you call me back?!?" to realize that the phone had digital service with digital voicemail. The condo's owner had no idea how to access that voicemail, so if we weren't going to be there when the phone rang then we didn't leave a callback number... or we left the number of our Hawaii phone.
- We arrived at our condo and took a nap. Later that afternoon we were awake (and dressed) when a key went into the condo's door and a realtor entered with two clients. Turned out that the condo owner had the place up for sale and had been showing it by appointment. He'd received a call from the realtor (down in the condo building's lobby) and had been trying to call us on the condo phone (which had gone to voicemail). It never occurred to the condo owner that he should obtain our consent before the realtor showed up instead of just "giving us a heads up". It's a good thing for both sides of the visit that Texas has a concealed-carry law.
- Not only does Rice University apparently lack a pay phone, but the students kept asking us to repeat the question. "Pay phone?!?" Not only did they not understand why we would need one, a few of them had never even heard of the concept. The phrase "phone that I could use for a call" was met with similar confusion ("You want to borrow MY cell phone?!?"), as was the concept of "local call".

By the end of the first day we were concerned that we wouldn't make it through the week without a cell phone. By the third day, however, we'd decided that the cure was to avoid having to make any calls (and to use the deadbolt when we were in the condo). By the fifth day we were back to enjoying ourselves, free of all the baggage that goes with conveying/caring for portable electronics.

It's only a matter of months, however, before we'll be coerced into choosing between degrees of inconvenience.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:43 PM   #16
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:51 PM   #17
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Nords:

yes those cell phones can indeed come in very handy on occasion. You always have the option to turn yours off if you don't want to be bothered.

One thing I didn't like about my pre-paid phone was that it had voice mail. Voice mail is great if your friends are trying to reach you or if you just won the lottery and need be notified. However what I found was that many places you give your phone number, such as the car dealer repair shop, would send out these ongoing automatically dialed advertisements. It got so bad that I just had my cell service turn off the voice mail. And since I was paying a few cents per message it got to be even more annoying that their advertisements were costing me any money at all.

I read that a symbol now, of great wealth, is to not be reachable by cell phone. For the rest of us plebeians a cell phone can indeed be an electronic ball and chain.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:12 PM   #18
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I'm very impressed with tracfone. I got a flip-phone for $20 that comes with double minutes for life. It works great and even survived a trip through the laundry.

It had good coverage on our recent Idaho/Oregon trip.

The trick is to order the minimum minutes, and "supersize" your order with a year or air time and extra minutes, like this:

tracfone.jpg

Result: 260 minutes and 13 months for $94 = $7.23/month, less in future years.
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:36 PM   #19
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The trick is to order the minimum minutes, and "supersize" your order with a year or air time and extra minutes, like this:
I guess the key for us would be to set ourselves up with at least one cell phone for less than we currently spend on long-distance phone cards.

That's a lumpy $42 every six months, or about $7/month. And it would probably be necessary for those minutes to never expire.
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Old 10-02-2010, 01:06 PM   #20
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Actually it was better than this. Once you've spent $100 (which you can do with a one-shot purchase of 1000 minutes), *all* minutes you buy last one year, AND if you reload before the old minutes expire, all the old unused minutes roll over for another year along with it.
Nothing has changed. I had over 1700 minutes on my phone. I just added $10.00 worth of minutes to my Gold Rewards plan. All existing minutes rolled over and I'm good to go until 10/2/2011.

From the T-Mobile support page:
" T-Mobile Prepaid minutes expiration
T-Mobile Prepaid minutes begin to expire the day they are added to your account, not when they are purchased. For example, if you purchase a refill card on May 1st and add it to your account May 14th, the term of expiration begins on May 14th. Depending upon the refill amount you purchased and your Gold Rewards status, the expiration time for your T-Mobile Prepaid minutes will vary.
For non-Gold Rewards customers:
Unused minutes will expire as follows:
  • $10 T-Mobile Prepaid card -- expires in 90 days
  • $25 T-Mobile Prepaid card -- expires in 90 days
  • $50 T-Mobile Prepaid card -- expires in 90 days
  • $100 T-Mobile Prepaid card -- expires in 365 days

For Gold Rewards customers:
Unused minutes will expire one year from the date you last applied airtime to your account.


To help ensure that you never lose your unused minutes, T-Mobile will send you a text message when your account is within five days of expiring. That way, you will have plenty of time to refill your account and carry forward any unused minutes to your new expiration date."

I underlined the important information. It does not matter the amount of refill but when you refill. $10 carried all of my unused time forward for another year.
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