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Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 05:37 AM   #1
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Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

We have two cellphones. We also have a land line phone at home. Our cellphone contract is not too bad. 2 phones 300 anytime minutes and 1500 off peak. We never use all of the minutes on anytime or peak. We just use the phones for short conversations while away from the house. We feel that cellphones are a convenience. And good to have for an on road emergency.

The costs are:
Cellphone - $45/mo If we add the answering service, it would go to about $52/mo
Home Phone - 35/mo

I am considering some options:

1) Dump the land line and keep the cell phones - Save about $35/mo
2) Dump the cellphones and try to find a good pre-paid plan


The problem I have found with most pre-paid plans is the cost is not much cheaper than a contract because the minutes expire.


Has anyone found a good pre-paid plan that is cost effective and the minutes do not expire quickly?
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 09:24 AM   #2
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

I use t-mobile To Go. If you spend $100/1000 minutes your minutes don't expire for one year.

The phones aren't the best, and the reception is sometimes spotty, but it's cheap and good enough for my purposes.

http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/d...plancategory=4
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 09:59 AM   #3
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

My husband and I each have the Alltel prepaid phones.

http://www.alltelu.com/

On the right side is a link for all the prepaid options. Pay-Per-Day, Pay-Per-Minute, or Pay-Per-Month. We do the Pay-Per-Minute http://www.alltelu.com/pay-per-minute.jsp because we only pay for the minutes we use, no monthly charge, minutes last until you use them, they never expire. You can check activity and add money to your phone online with a charge card. I got my phone last June and I think it's cost me $40-$50 since then.

Minutes are 15 cents each, but this has worked out best for us because like you, we use our phones just for short conversations when one of us is out. We had another prepaid phone before this ($15/month) and your prepaid minutes expired after 30 days and we never used them all.

Also, with Alltel you can use any of their phones with prepaid. Other cell companies had just a few phones that could be used with prepaid.

Alltel has very good coverage in our area, if your area is covered it may be a good deal for you.

As for the landline, call your phone company and ask if they have a limited service or measured service available. Some companies don't advertise this, you have to ask about it. It's much cheaper than unlimited service for local calls. Ours gives us 30 outgoing calls a month, no limit on incoming, and if we go over 30 calls it's 8 cents per call. We would have to make 70-80 calls a month to reach the cost of unlimited. We are not big phone users, we occasionally go over the 30 and get charged the extra 8 cents per call. I think a good number of those calls could be the TiVo calling out every few days!

For long distance I signed up with a company online that charges 2.9 cents per minute, with no monthly minimum or fees if you do online billing (notified by email) and automatic withdrawls from your bank for payment. The one I used was Cognigen, they were recently bought out by Acceris http://www.accerispartners.com/ who kept our same rate. I remember when I looked into long distance companies, there were many to choose from.

As you can see, we are not big phone people. Even when the sons were teenagers they didn't see the phone as a big deal. Our 20 year old son has his own prepaid Verizon phone now and our 22 year old son was issued a nice Verizon Motorola Q from work. His phone includes unlimited calls and also an unlimited data plan so he gets the internet on his phone! Very handy! I can't imagine what that would cost if he had to pay for that on his own.
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 10:00 AM   #4
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

Same here with the tmobile to go. Other plans let you buy minutes that dont expire and last for a year, but the minutes can be spendy. Some let you roll the minutes along if you sign up to let them automatically suck money out of your checking account every month/quarter/whatever. Not that comfortable with that option.

I have three of the tmobile to go phones, got two of them for about $30-40 after rebates. The wifes Razr cost us a lot more than that.

Use Cheapphonecards.com and coupons readily found on fatwallet.com to knock 3-5% off the cost of the $100/1000 minutes e-card, then use a 1% rebate card to save a little more. If you refill within a year before those minutes expire, unused minutes roll over.

Pretty simple...I put a flag in my google calendar to remind me a week before the annual expiration to refill each phone. Our end cost is about $8 a month or about 8.5c per minute used.

We've had no problems with reception or coverage...as good as any other cell phone provider in the area and we've had a bunch of them...but check the tmobile coverage maps in the areas you'll want to use it to be sure they have full coverage there. My old home area shows as a 'marginal' area on their maps and I get three bars of signal. Only two dead spots in the boonie areas we travel in and they're less than a mile each.
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 10:08 AM   #5
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

Tracfone is not bad.
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 10:41 AM   #6
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

i too have been pleased with Tracfone ...
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 11:04 AM   #7
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

I finally broke down and got a cellphone about 6 months ago. I use a Virgin Mobile pre-paid phone, which cost me about $80. As long as I put $15 every 90 days on it, it does not expire. All calls are $0.18/minute. This works well for me since I almost never use it - I make maybe 2-3 calls per month, of maybe 2-3 minutes each. I just keep it for emergency purposes basically, and it costs me $5/month for the convenience. They have good coverage in my area (DC) using the Verizon network.

The only downside (or amusing aspect, if I have the right mindset), is that I am definitely NOT part of their target demographic. When I first got it and called customer service, the recorded messages said things like "Yo dude, chill til someone can help you." Seems to be aimed at the 'urban youth.' But it's cheapest I could find, so that's fine by me.
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 11:09 AM   #8
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

The only reason i have the cell is that i have a long commute (60 mile round trip) through some rural-ish areas. Started with Virgin about a year ago, but the phone conked out after 6 months and it was going to be an ordeal to tx my service to a new handset. Cancelled them and got a go phone about 3 months ago on an after-xmas sale (about $40). Get good reception from Cingular, probably average under $5 a month worth of minutes (I bought enough that they won't expire for a year).
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 11:45 AM   #9
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

http://www.mycricket.com/


Not prepaid but it is cheap and simple.
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 12:13 PM   #10
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

I haven't read the fine print, but I just noticed that Cingular is now saying

"NEW! One year expiration period on $100 refill cards!" on the page with their "GoPhone Pay As you Go" service:

http://www.cingular.com/cell-phone-s...hone-plans.jsp

I have found Cingular (now AT&T again) has the best service quality in the bay area.

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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 07:28 PM   #11
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

I second the Virgin Mobile route if you are an occasional user. In Michigan they use the Sprint towers, which I have found satisfactory. Using auto pay, it is only $15 every 90 days and you get to use up the $15 at 18 cents a minute when you do make a call. That is like $5 a month and you skip all the extra fees and taxes on a regular monthly charge cell phone. I also agree about the Virgin demographics - the graphics on the phone are a hoot.
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-01-2007, 07:40 PM   #12
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

I just renewed my Tracfone 1 yr. subscription with a special offer of 450 min., 1 yr., and free phone. The minutes roll over for the next year if you do not use them. This plan is good for light use.
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-02-2007, 05:55 AM   #13
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Tracfone is not bad.
I'll second that...of course you pay double for calls outside your home
area, not good for travelers.

I haven't had a land line for 10 years.
I remember when the day I did it, the phone company was charging
me to switch back to my long distance carrier after they switched it without
my permission, they were giving me a hard time. The light came on, I said,
fine, I'm canceling my service. Their response, "you can't cancel us, everybody
needs to have a phone". Got one, thanks..."click"
Tom
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-02-2007, 01:31 PM   #14
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco

And good to have for an on road emergency.
I hate cell phone contracts, but always wanted a cell for the car in case of emergencies. Went for years without one, until last year when I finally found the solution. I heard about a phone you could get for international travel, through a company called Mobal. I decided not to buy the phone from them. I bought an "unlocked" phone here in Canada, and then ordered a Mobal sim card from the Travel Insider. The sim card was free, except for a shipping charge of U.S. $2.50. The sim card was delivered within a few days. Inserted it into the phone and it worked. The phone is only used for emergencies, nothing else, because the per minute charges are too high. I had no contracts to sign, and no monthly fees. I only have to test it out for a minute, once a year, to keep my number. That's all.
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-02-2007, 01:49 PM   #15
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

Um....maybe I shouldn't let this cat out of the bag, but if all you want is a "911" phone, then buy one at a garage sale for $1.00. You don't need a plan of any kind to be able to dial 911 in the US!
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-02-2007, 02:09 PM   #16
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain_Mike
Um....maybe I shouldn't let this cat out of the bag, but if all you want is a "911" phone, then buy one at a garage sale for $1.00. You don't need a plan of any kind to be able to dial 911 in the US!
I hear what you're saying, but when I say emergency, I don't necessarily mean 911 calls only. It may also include the car having a mechanical failure, and having to call roadside assistance, especially if my wife is alone in the vehicle.
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???
Old 04-02-2007, 02:56 PM   #17
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Re: Cellphones... Anybody identify a good pre-paid plan???

Check out www.stimobile.com pre-paid Plan #1

after you buy the phone, it costs you 10 cents a day (~3$/month) plus 10-12 cents a minute for calls.

So if,like me, you use a cellphone rarely it really won't cost you that much. Stimobile is a Sprint network reseller so you get a very good nationwide network.

I have found that for me STImobile works great. My monthly cost is under $4 a month.
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