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Prepaid Phone
Old 01-20-2019, 05:34 PM   #1
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Prepaid Phone

Am feeling that I should go back to first grade.

So here's the situation. Though I still have a cheapy smart phone, I don't use it. Paid $59 for the phone including one years free service.

The only thing we use it for, is an emergency on the road. total minutes used for this in the past year, about 6.

Need a cheap phone or two to keep in the cars. I see them advertised for as little as $9.99... Prepaid phone. Cannot find a sensible website that explains prepaid.

Is there a phone god somewhere that pays for the service? So, now, make believe you are explaining prepaid to someone who lived in the last century.

Prepaid means to me, that I pay up front, before I use the service, but no... nowhere is this mentioned in the prepaid explanation.

So I buy the phone. What next? Do I activate and give the company access to my bank checking account? How do I activate? I guess that buying Tracfone cards does something, but what? Do I have to call them (a nightmare) every time my minutes run down? What if I don't pay on time, does the phone then become junque?

Since it's just jeanie and me, I don't care about transferring phone numbers, but just in case, is this hard to do?

We don't text, or do anything fancy.

Embarrassing to ask silly questions that any fifth grader already knows, but have learned that vanity goes by the wayside after age 80.
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:40 PM   #2
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1. Buy cheap phone
2. Buy card (appropriate for phone) for desired number of minutes
3. Go to website to activate phone (use code number on card you just bought).

Use phone until minutes are used up and repeat step 2 as necessary.
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:59 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by stepford View Post
1. Buy cheap phone
2. Buy card (appropriate for phone) for desired number of minutes
3. Go to website to activate phone (use code number on card you just bought).

Use phone until minutes are used up and repeat step 2 as necessary.
Thanks... If I buy 60 minutes and don't use it for a year, does it continue till the minutes are used up?

Is the only way to get minutes to buy cards?

Can I renew using the phone, or do I have to use a computer to go online?

I see one website that asks for the zip code where the phone will be usedl It wouldn't work in my zip.

If I do need to transfer a phone number is this a major project?

Do other manufacturers offer prepaid phones, or just Tracfone?

Oh... one more thing... I have in my junk drawer 7 or 8 old cell phones that still work... Could I activate some of these, or do they just die when the time runs out?

The gal at Walmart wasn't very nice.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:50 PM   #4
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There is a time limit after which minutes expire. I think you typically just need to make a short call every 3-4 months to keep this from happening.

I'm pretty sure multiple manufacturers make these phones as I've seen a rack full of different ones in Walmart.

I don't think you need to renew online, I just find it easier to type that way. You should be able to do everything through a dial in number and another phone.

I'm not the world's expert on this stuff as I've only gotten cheap prepaid phones a couple of times. Other answers I'm not sure about.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:54 PM   #5
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I have a prepaid plan through T-Mobile. Don't know if it still available to new customers, or if they just keep the plans for existing customers like me. My phone is an old Motorola Razr. Some of your old phones may work with a prepaid plan, but you would have to do the research.

I've had the prepaid plan for 4 or 5 years. The minutes do expire eventually. The expiration time depends on how many I buy. I buy enough to have the minutes for an entire 12 months, then I renew by buying another bundle of minutes for the next 12 months. Any unused minutes roll over to the next year. You can check their web site for current details.

I don't use the phone much. Some years I have many unused minutes to roll over. Other years I run out and reload sooner than 12 months.

Hope this helps. : )
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:06 PM   #6
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Just as a FYI, nearly any cell phone will dial 911 even if it has no service plan attached. https://www.verywellhealth.com/can-m...ll-911-1298359
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:29 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies...
every time I think i've learned something, something new pops up... whaddya know about this? $.99 Sim.... to work with my old phones?

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Tracfone-...49&athena=true
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:58 PM   #8
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There are going to be some phones becoming un-useabe in the next 2 years as 5 g rolls out, Verizon, and any of the chap prepaids using the network, is going to dump 3g service and SMS. Messages will have to use the 4 g network.Verizon will not activate any phone that does not have 4 g capability. Cheap flip phone w/ 4 g will become available. Don't know the other carriers plans.
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Old 01-20-2019, 10:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewis Clark View Post
I have a prepaid plan through T-Mobile. Don't know if it still available to new customers, or if they just keep the plans for existing customers like me. My phone is an old Motorola Razr. Some of your old phones may work with a prepaid plan, but you would have to do the research.

I've had the prepaid plan for 4 or 5 years. The minutes do expire eventually. The expiration time depends on how many I buy. I buy enough to have the minutes for an entire 12 months, then I renew by buying another bundle of minutes for the next 12 months. Any unused minutes roll over to the next year. You can check their web site for current details.

I don't use the phone much. Some years I have many unused minutes to roll over. Other years I run out and reload sooner than 12 months.

Hope this helps. : )
In case this applies to you.
If you have the legacy pre-paid plan.
When you have $100 worth on the phone, if the end of the year rolls around, you can simply add $10 and it will be good for another year.

I used to think I had to add $100 each year, but that is not true. I ended up with over $200 on the phone, so the last few years I've been renewing for another year for $10 as I work down my minutes.

OP - the t-mobile legacy plan is no longer available.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:24 AM   #10
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We've only ever had prepaid phones. Basically, instead of paying monthly for a certain number of minutes/texts/data, whether you use the allotments or not, you pay as you go for what you use. As for minutes expiring, we've not had a prepaid plan like that. We've been with a couple of carriers that made you add money every 3 or 4 months to keep the service going. Other than that, it didn't matter if you actually used the service. The balance would just continue to grow if you used less than what you added.

We just switched one of our phones to a carrier (Tello) that works a little differently. They don't require regular deposits for their prepaid service. They do require that you use the service at least once every 3 months. They also have monthly plans that can be customized, if those are a better fit.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:50 AM   #11
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You do have to watch to make sure the minutes you pay for don't expire to soon.

I had a pre-paid phone years ago. It was a simple flip-phone which I purchased after I desperately needed a pay phone and found that they were few and far away in our cell phone world. I paid $100 for about 1000 minutes that lasted an entire year. (A deal at that time.) It worked out very well.

The next year I bought my first 'smart' phone and did not renew the deal.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:51 AM   #12
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I am prepaid through Trcafone. I bought 2 Alcatel smartphones for $99 each. We each have an account with Tracfone, and can add minutes, data, etc. as we desire. They are paid through our credit cards.
I have mine set up to get my e-mail, plus I have a grocery store app to make my shopping list.
DW has her set up for Pandora, and she plays it through her car speakers via Bluetooth.
We also recently bought a folding wireless keyboard to take on trips. It is easier than using the keys on the phone.

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Old 01-21-2019, 11:32 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by gwraigty View Post
We've only ever had prepaid phones. Basically, instead of paying monthly for a certain number of minutes/texts/data, whether you use the allotments or not, you pay as you go for what you use. As for minutes expiring, we've not had a prepaid plan like that. We've been with a couple of carriers that made you add money every 3 or 4 months to keep the service going. Other than that, it didn't matter if you actually used the service. The balance would just continue to grow if you used less than what you added.

We just switched one of our phones to a carrier (Tello) that works a little differently. They don't require regular deposits for their prepaid service. They do require that you use the service at least once every 3 months. They also have monthly plans that can be customized, if those are a better fit.
I also use Tello and can't say enough about them, I have had them for over 2 years. My monthly plan costs $5 for unlimited texts and 100 minutes which works great for me since I'm a texter not a talker. If I'm out and about and need data I can turn it on at 2c a MB pulled from my $10 pay as you go balance. If you have good Sprint coverage in your area Tello will work for you and you will need a Sprint phone or buy one from them. If you decide to just go pay as you go which sounds like what you need the rates are 1c per text, 2c per MB for data 3c per minute for calls. Suggest you give them a call, tell them your situation and ask whether you would be best with a cheap monthly plan or pay as you go. They are the nicest people to deal with and you can transfer your old number over to them at no charge if you wish. Here is info to contact them, I'm not selling anything and if links are not allowed on this site, admin please delete them. United States, call 866-377-0294 or https://tello.com/

To anyone else that's interested you can build you own monthly plan staring at $5 or $14 with unlimited calls and texts an 1GB of data

Hope this helps and good luck.
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:57 AM   #14
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AT&T has a "daily rate" phone that is $2 per day that the phone is used. This *could* be a decent deal for someone who needs access to a phone but never really uses it. One downfall is that the $2 comes in whenever you send/receive a call and/or text...even if it goes to voicemail. I don't know the specifics, so you would probably want to investigate further.

https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/pl...ku4940399.html
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:49 PM   #15
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imoldernu:
I would suggest doing a little more research. Pick a carrier who is known to deliver good cell service in the places you live (Verizon, T-Mobile, ATT, etc.). The carriers all have pre-paid plans ( i.e., you buy minutes up front and replenish periodically).


Then because you want to do prepaid go to prepaidphonenews.com and read the article on their front page "The Best U.S. Prepaid Talk and Text Only Deals." They will recommend both carriers and MVNO's (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that use the carrier signal that you've determined works best in your area (i.e., Verizon, ATT, etc.). An MVNO leases the cell network and re-sells it to the public, almost always at less cost than buying pre-paid from the carrier.


Across the top of this website are several useful tabs: Prepaid How To, Prepaid Plans Compared, and Prepaid Carrier profiles. That should help narrow things down, then you can go to websites and use the 800 number or website texting feature to get questions answers.


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Old 01-21-2019, 04:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ExFlyBoy5 View Post
AT&T has a "daily rate" phone that is $2 per day that the phone is used. This *could* be a decent deal for someone who needs access to a phone but never really uses it. One downfall is that the $2 comes in whenever you send/receive a call and/or text...even if it goes to voicemail. I don't know the specifics, so you would probably want to investigate further.

https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/pl...ku4940399.html
The problem with that is spam calls. I occasionally get calls in English, Spanish, or Chinese!
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ExFlyBoy5 View Post
AT&T has a "daily rate" phone that is $2 per day that the phone is used. This *could* be a decent deal for someone who needs access to a phone but never really uses it. One downfall is that the $2 comes in whenever you send/receive a call and/or text...even if it goes to voicemail. I don't know the specifics, so you would probably want to investigate further.

https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/pl...ku4940399.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by Souschef View Post
The problem with that is spam calls. I occasionally get calls in English, Spanish, or Chinese!
Maybe ATT and companies with these types of plans subsidized the spammers or at least this gives them an incentive not to crack down on the spammers.
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