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Old 04-19-2011, 09:26 AM   #41
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Hello,

We're looking at really cheap cell phones and made a spreadsheet to compare them. See attached.

- Stephen
Thanks for the attachment. Have you decided which plan to go with?
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:52 AM   #42
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We're leaning towards T-mobile, pay as you go. I need a cell phone (100 minutes) without a camera (for work), which I currently have, my DW needs 300 minutes (blabs a bit), and our son, Luke, needs unlimited txting ($15) + no minutes. So, I'm hoping for 3 phones + our unique requirements to be no more than $60/month total. Not easy to do.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:12 AM   #43
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Nice spreadsheet for the cell phones!

I've learned a few things in my switch from AT+T to T-mobile:

1. By calling ATT before we left and telling them we need to travel internationally, I was able to get an unlock code for my wife's fancy Sony phone. I am now using that phone on T-mobile for $100/year, while she's on straight talk. I tried the same with my cheap nokia, but the code didn't work.

2. ATT had locked down the Sony phone. After buying a special data cable and a long evening on internet forums, I was able to flash the phone with new firmware. That unlocked, of all things, a wi-fi chip that was built into the phone. As long as I am in my house or at a wi-fi spot (starbucks, panera, etc.), I can play with "mobile" internet and applications at no cost. The novelty is 90% of the appeal for me.

Also, as I've spoke to people about this, it turns out pretty much everyone I know has an "old" phone that they would have given me. Generally these are 1-2 years old and perfectly fine for calls or texting. It pays to ask around.
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:20 PM   #44
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Hello,

We're looking at really cheap cell phones and made a spreadsheet to compare them. See attached.

- Stephen

Boost, and Virgin Mobile are affiliated with Sprint (parent company) and use Sprint network. Boost (prepaid) is more for heavier users (higher price points).

Virgin Mobile offers "payLo" plans as an alternative to Beyond Talk for pretty much phone use (options for web/text). Best is $30/mos. for 1500 min. with limited text/web access. I'm not aware of any prepaid service that allows unlimited free talk between family members (but some plans have unlimited prepaid talk per month - usually at fairly high monthly rates).

I posted earlier that I currently use T-Mobile prepaid (have for several years). Service/coverage is great and cost is minimal. As stated - no issues with roaming and going over your minutes at horrendous overcharges (just refill anytime you need). Various rates for refill, and you only have to purchase the $100/1000 minutes for all refill minutes to last the year. Hate to see AT&T acquire them - don't see any positives there....
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:25 PM   #45
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We have about 2 older motorola V505 phones that we had unlocked. Used them in Italy about 5 years ago, when we splurged on a special vacation between jobs. We simply bought a local simcard from a street vendor, and used it.

The phones that we have and wish to keep are a Blackberry 8820 for me, because it doesn't have a camera, and a Samsung model with a qwerty keyboard for my wife. I have used the wi-fi feature that pimpmyretirement talked about above, kind of fun! However, I never attempted all the email, etc. Just used the usb port to download my contacts on the first 8820. It broke about 3 months after I bought it and was slightly challenging to get it repaired (replaced for free). The 2nd one I've had another 3 months and it is still working, but I haven't downloaded the contacts back yet.

T-mobile's $100 for each card seems like a simple, easy way to go. If the evil empire (AT&T) takes over, we might go elsewhere just out of spite. That company is beyond ridiculous how bad they were to us. And we've been loyal customers for ~8 or 10 years.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:49 AM   #46
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The T-mobile SIM is a few dollars cheaper online. I'd encourage you to buy that way, it is easier as well.

I made the mistake of buying it at the store. The clerk wasted my time trying to upsell me, then after giving me the SIM, told me I had to call T-mobile support to get my number ported, anyway. Total waste of a trip.

I also found out last night, if you cancel in the middle of a billing cycle, AT&T does not refund the rest of the month. I am very happy to be done with them and really hope their T-mobile purchase falls through.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:28 AM   #47
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We have been Tracfone users for years. As said before...the minutes roll over year to year. We don't text and talk just for communication, (don't blab), and it fits our lifestyle well. If you are going on vacation, you can also change the local calling area temporarily to where you are going to be. I think you can do this up to 4 times a year.

T-Mobile...after reading these replies looks like a good one for our lifestyle, also.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:35 AM   #48
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Thank you all, we've ordered 2 T-mobile simcards on line. $6.99 each. We'll put $10 in one and test it out in our phones for a few days before we transfer our numbers.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:51 PM   #49
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Their website was confusing - is there a basic monthly charge, or 'refill' amount required? If it is unlimited, where does the 'airtime' charge come in? Is it applied to the $1.99 per day used?

OK, I see your $55 includes the phone, activation and first $10. So how long would the next $10 cover you for? At one day every two months, would it last 5 months, or is there a time-out also?

-ERD50
ERD50, to follow up, I went to Verizon and got more details on their pay-as-you-go.
1. They have a special right now of $66 which includes a Samsung flip-phone, the activation and $10 of airtime.
2. The cost is $1.99 on each day the phone is used, but after the one phone call that day, you can make as many calls as you like until midnight for no extra charge. So that $10 airtime is good for 5 days (not necessarily consecutive) "but" it expires in 30 days if not used.
4. Phone account will not expire until "unused" for 1 year.

So it looks like the trick would be to only buy a minimal amount airtime just before you are planning to use it, or say maybe $2 each month for just in case.

THE GOOD NEWS: You can also use an old Verizon phone if you have one and you only have to pay the $35 activation. Of course you don't get the $10 free airtime. But for $35 you are up and running.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:02 PM   #50
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ERD50, to follow up, I went to Verizon and got more details on their pay-as-you-go.
Thanks for the follow-up.

bold mine -
Quote:
2. The cost is $1.99 on each day the phone is used, but after the one phone call that day, you can make as many calls as you like until midnight for no extra charge. So that $10 airtime is good for 5 days (not necessarily consecutive) "but" it expires in 30 days if not used.
That's what I feared. That wouldn't be a benefit for my current usage profile, over the T-Mobile pay-as-you-go "Gold Status". Of course, if the AT&T takeover goes through, even though this will probably be grandfathered, I'd probably go look for someone else based on past experience with AT&T (their 'customer service' was like a skit from SNL).


Quote:
4. Phone account will not expire until "unused" for 1 year.
That's nice. IIRC, with TM you lose any rollover minutes if you don't add $ by the expiration date, and lose the account after just 14 days.

-ERD50
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:02 PM   #51
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ERD50, to follow up, I went to Verizon and got more details on their pay-as-you-go.
1. They have a special right now of $66 which includes a Samsung flip-phone, the activation and $10 of airtime.
2. The cost is $1.99 on each day the phone is used, but after the one phone call that day, you can make as many calls as you like until midnight for no extra charge. So that $10 airtime is good for 5 days (not necessarily consecutive) "but" it expires in 30 days if not used.
4. Phone account will not expire until "unused" for 1 year.

So it looks like the trick would be to only buy a minimal amount airtime just before you are planning to use it, or say maybe $2 each month for just in case.

THE GOOD NEWS: You can also use an old Verizon phone if you have one and you only have to pay the $35 activation. Of course you don't get the $10 free airtime. But for $35 you are up and running.

OK, I went back this morning to get my old phone put onto PrePaid and the rules somehow changed. IOW, the guy yesterday gave me erroneous data.

Activation is only $25. Each day is $1.99 and unlimited to anyone that day.
Minimum Airtime was $15, expires in 30 days, phone account in 60 days.
Airtime $30, expires in 60 days, phone account expires in 4 months.
Airtime $50-75, expires in 6 months, phone account expires in 6 months.
Airtime $100, expires in 1 year, phone account expires in 1 year.

On the $100 deal, if you buy $15 more at, say day 360, the balance of the $100 rolls over but the expiration is whatever the new amount paid was.

IOW, take an accountant and a lawyer when you shop Verizon.
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:42 PM   #52
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Switched wife from $30/month Verizon to Tracphone with pay as you go.
As she does not use it much cost is $100 in phone minutes per year. Got it at Sam's Club. She is happy with it, it is a basic cellphone by Samsung.

Also got rid of ATT land phone and went with Ooma VOIP another significant savings $9 each 3 months, have been happy with it. Still pay ATT, but only $20/mo for internet line.
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:06 PM   #53
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(in reply to "golfnut's"questions: What's the best deal if you have a teenager who "must" have texting ?? We're paying around $125 per month for 2 phones (one of the DW and one for our son). Our plan is with Verizon.)

I have 2 teenagers in the house who have T-Mobile prepaid. For $15 a month (no tax or other junk fees added!) you get unlimited texting. Voice calls are $0.10/min.
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:26 PM   #54
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I have the Iphone and like the ease of email/texting and web browsing when I am out of town. I intend to keep it. I keep all of my appointments and contacts and have moble me to sync the data to my MacBook.
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:24 PM   #55
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Does anybody know if unused minutes in the Tracfone Family Value Plan carry over to the next month?
https://www.tracfone.com/direct/ValuePlans
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Old 05-08-2011, 04:01 PM   #56
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Howardforums.com has info, wikis and discussions on everything about cell phones and carriers, including prepaid. They used to have a chart comparing prepaid plans but I couldn't find it just now. I have used Tmobile for many years, Pay-As-You-Go prepaid for the last few. Tmobile has regular (Pay-As-You-Go) prepaid minutes and new monthly prepaid plans, although I didn't see the new monthly plans in the wiki. The Gold Rewards status is a big plus as it gives you a one-year expiration on minutes and rolls over to another whole year with just a $10 purchase. I also send texts and they don't seem to affect my balance at all...not sure but think a generous amount of them is included. Of course everything could change with an AT&T merger.

Here is the link to Howardforums prepaid discussion: US Prepaid/MVNO Discussion
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:03 PM   #57
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You want the iphone. You really do.

DW has one and would be traumatized if it disappeared. It is a phone, camera, internet, video conference with grandkids, our GPS and more. Worth every penny for what it does. More apps than stars in heaven....must have more apps, must have more apps
I got the Verizon iPhone this week, which is my first smart phone ever. The data plan is my first ever and costs $30/month, though if that should bother me in the future I suppose I could drop my land line to pay for it.

After two days I can say that it is very pretty, lots of fun, and may not actually function very well as a simple telephone due to dropped calls and fading in and out. But then it does a lot of other things and as a retiree I don't spend a lot of time yakking on the phone anyway...
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:03 PM   #58
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I cannot get over how far cell phones (smart phones) have come and how fast. Got my first cell phone in 1997 while working part time for a property management company. One step ahead of a walkie-talkie. Recently our son put DW and me on his family plan as a gift to his Mother. Don't know the cost but it's unlimited everything. Got new phones at Verizon. Buy one get one. She got a Droid and I picked the basic cell phone. Hers has voice texting, GPS, video, 650K ringtones, 140K wallpapers, etc, etc. It's crazy! Now I know why people just sit around tables looking and playing with their phones instead of talking. I was at an event recently where there was a break area in the lobby, 60-70 people taking a break and 90% of the people were on their phones. In 14 years they have morphed from cell phones into computers and libraries. I'm amazed! Where do we go from here?
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:17 PM   #59
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Ain't it the truth, I bought my first cell phone in 1986 after finding myself driving to work in the middle of a blizzard at night. I figured I should have some means of communication. It was a bag-phone of all things. I just got an HTC Thunderbolt, the darn things are pocket computers. I only make maybe 15 minutes of calls a month but the internet capabilities make it worth the price. If you look at where cell phones were 20 years ago it's hard to imagine where they'll be in another 15 or 20. I'm guessing they'll be obsolete.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:24 PM   #60
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If you look at where cell phones were 20 years ago it's hard to imagine where they'll be in another 15 or 20. I'm guessing they'll be obsolete.
I agree. This is what my first cell phone looked like:



This thread makes me feel like a spendthrift seeing what all of you are paying to have a cell phone. I have a QMD (quick messaging device) so it's not really a "smartphone" but I can check my email, browse the web, etc. I very rarely use it to make actual phone calls . I'm actually in the market right now and debating getting an Android vs. the iPhone 4.
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