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which is a simple cell phone?
Old 05-16-2016, 04:39 PM   #1
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which is a simple cell phone?

I'm looking for a simple cell phone for my aunt, but am clueless about them. A flip phone with big digits and no sign up sounds like it would be perfect for her. Something that comes with X minutes out of the box, no sign up, no credit cards, no contracts, etc. When searching the hundreds of models online the descriptions generally do not state what extra steps are needed to activate service. To get one that works right out of the box, is there a particular brand or phrase I should be searching?
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Old 05-16-2016, 04:47 PM   #2
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It sounds to me like you want a 'disposible phone'. Before you do that read the following article, fwiw frugal seniors in my building go with Consumer Cellular.

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Old 05-16-2016, 04:49 PM   #3
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Look into Jitterbug as well. It worked fine for my mom.
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Old 05-16-2016, 10:07 PM   #4
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We got my mom a simple flip phone and I programmed in her contacts. Her's is a AT&T gophone. IIRC phone cost ~$20 and she get's a year of service and 1,000 minutes (more than she uses) for ~$100. Simple, cheap and meets her modest needs when traveling.
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Old 05-16-2016, 10:46 PM   #5
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I have a low-end LG phone with Tracfone and use its pay-as-you-go system for buying airtime and service time. Texting is a little cumbersome, but I rarely text. I don't use the phone often, so I don't have to buy more airtime and service often. No contracts, no monthly fees. I bought the cheap phone at Target and the man there helped me set up the service right away. I have had this phone since January 2015 and it has worked fine.
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:56 AM   #6
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Her's is a AT&T gophone. IIRC phone cost ~$20 and she get's a year of service and 1,000 minutes (more than she uses) for ~$100. Simple, cheap and meets her modest needs when traveling.
+1

My 87 year old Aunt went to her local AT&T store and bought a pre-paid phone she would be comfortable using in an emergency. The staff activated it and loaded a $100/1 year card for her. She marked her calendar for when she needs to return and have them load another year. She is not comfortable adding airtime through the phone.

GrayHare, you may need to consider the carrier's cell reception in her area.
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I have a low-end LG phone with Tracfone and use its pay-as-you-go system for buying airtime and service time.
I also use Tracfone but did not consider it for my Aunt due to the Philippines tech support.
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Old 05-17-2016, 07:17 AM   #7
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I used to have a simple flip phone and add 800 minutes on Tracfone yearly which was plenty more than what I needed (I still have a land line). As for a cost, this was great (only about $9/month) until service went out and I tried to get Tracfone tech support and they gave me a total run around.

Now, I have a simple smart phone with Consumer Cellular and am happy. Cost for my needs (250 mins talk time, 300 texts/month, 20 mb data) is about $20/month, and I have real customer support when necessary. I can switch my plan anytime as needs change, but for now the basic works out fine.
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Old 05-17-2016, 09:12 AM   #8
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Cricket $35 per month, phone plan better that previous cell phone company Sprint $115 per month. Phone is HTC and works perfectly fine...
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Old 05-17-2016, 10:35 AM   #9
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We just purchased a replacement flip-type phone (Tracfone) for MIL who finally broke her old one. $7.88 at the grocery store, and transferred the number and accumulated minutes on their web site.

It was an Alcatel (sp) brand, large pushbuttons, easy to use, etc. Might work for you...the Tracfone kiosks are usually found in supermarkets and dept stores such as Target, etc.

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Old 05-17-2016, 11:25 AM   #10
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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

Alcatel Big Easy Plus with 800 Minutes and One Year of Service Tracfone New 616960045762 | eBay
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:53 AM   #11
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Thanks for the various replies. I remain unclear if these phones work out of the box. so I ordered a few online as a learning process, they are cheap enough. There was no mention of needing to buy something else to make them work. I'd like that to be that case so I don't have to immediately order more stuff such as minutes (from a time store?).
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:23 AM   #12
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You will need to select a carrier and follow their directions to set up the phone.
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:50 AM   #13
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Now, I have a simple smart phone with Consumer Cellular and am happy. Cost for my needs (250 mins talk time, 300 texts/month, 20 mb data) is about $20/month, and I have real customer support when necessary. I can switch my plan anytime as needs change, but for now the basic works out fine.
+1 for Consumer Cellular. Straight forward plans, phone comes with SIM installed, just a phone call to activate. Of course, if a smart phone, you may wish to get additional apps and sometimes configure things the way you like.


If looking for something simple, look at Consumer Cellular Doro flip phone for $50 and $15 talk plan, $2.50 to add texting, with taxes & fees would be about $20 a month, no contract.

We're no longer with CC as I've two teen age sons that felt very constrained by CC data plans. Once they are on their own, wife and I will likely move back to CC as it'd be cheaper, the two of us are not heavy data users.

https://www.consumercellular.com/
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Old 05-29-2016, 10:35 AM   #14
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A followup. I've tried and returned several cell phones because none simply work out of the box. The ATT Go Phone and Alcatel One Touch looked promising but once you open the package you discover you need to sign up for expensive plans. Tracfone appears to not require signing up since one can buy minutes via cards but it too has an "activation process" that does not work from the phone itself. Apparently there does not exist at any price a phone one can buy and use for awhile without a first going through a signup or activation process that includes baggage such as unknown licensing terms or complex agreements.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:10 AM   #15
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A followup. Apparently there does not exist at any price a phone one can buy and use for awhile without a first going through a signup or activation process that includes baggage such as unknown licensing terms or complex agreements.
Yep, that's how it is these days. They really need you to sign up so you can be assigned a phone number our you can port your old one. Plus, the phone ID needs to be registered in the system so it can work.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:19 AM   #16
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Yep, that's how it is these days. They really need you to sign up so you can be assigned a phone number our you can port your old one. Plus, the phone ID needs to be registered in the system so it can work.
Assuming I don't want to port a number, those things can happen automatically the first time the phone is seen by a tower.
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Old 05-29-2016, 02:15 PM   #17
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Assuming I don't want to port a number, those things can happen automatically the first time the phone is seen by a tower.
You're not on the hook for anything (at least with the Tracfone). The provider just needs to know the phone is being used "for real" and not inadvertently being played with by a child before assigning a phone number. They're not toys (although some are priced like toys) and the Feds probably have some basic rules or regulations for airwave service that the providers must comply with.

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Old 05-29-2016, 03:04 PM   #18
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Tracfone typically (always?) needs a minutes card that has a unique number. The user could key that number in the first time the phone is powered up.
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Old 05-29-2016, 03:55 PM   #19
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Tracfone typically (always?) needs a minutes card that has a unique number. The user could key that number in the first time the phone is powered up.
If you go to the Tracfone website, you can buy minutes there. They also have internet specials. They also had a deal, which I bought, the for a one time $19.95 price, you get double minutes forever.
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