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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 02-14-2006, 03:56 PM   #41
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

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Originally Posted by (Cute Fuzzy Bunny)
Someone having to call you in 'florida' from your home state might discourage them though, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned...
I don't like people either.



(this is sarcasm)
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 02-14-2006, 07:06 PM   #42
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

I just hate it when people cant wait to call me, call me on my cell and use up my dang minutes!
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 02-14-2006, 08:37 PM   #43
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

I'm going to chime in, too. I've been using the Beyond system for nearly a year, too. Overall, I've been pretty pleased with it (outside of not getting a good signal downtown).
When they offered the free phone with the $10 card, I got one for DH. Which reminds me ... I have to find a way to remind him to make calls on the thing, or he's going to lose that phone # (grrr)
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 02-14-2006, 08:56 PM   #44
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

When I was over in Europe a year ago, I decided to try buying a local Vodaphone SIM card for my AT&T/Cingular phone purchased in California. Because the phone was "locked", meaning it won't accept non-Cingular SIMs, I took it to a place in Dublin that specialized in unlocking phones, and paid I think 50 Euros to unlock and upgrade the system software (the software upgrade was reported to fix bluetooth issues I had encountered). It turned out they installed the wrong version of the software (for a different revision of the phone) and as a result the microphone was disabled. Didn't realize the microphone problem till I was out of Ireland and then the phone was basically dead weight for the rest of the trip. When I sent the phone home in a package of stuff from Nepal, a customs agent or someone stole that phone out of the package. It was rather delicious to know that someone took the risk of theft and got shafted with a nonworking phone.

Because of that experience I now stay away from any attempts to hack phones, but in retrospect I think it's probably safe to say that my issue was from the software upgrade not the unlocking. I suppose that it's probably pretty safe to unlock phones.
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 02-15-2006, 08:39 AM   #45
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

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Originally Posted by (Cute Fuzzy Bunny)
I just hate ... people...
Me too.
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 02-15-2006, 09:50 AM   #46
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

Whats that my wife says on occasion when she gets home from shopping? I think its "I love my dogs more every day..."

Fireme...one bad experience with someone who either didnt know what he was doing or wasnt paying attention may not quite constitute a policy Most of the places that I've seen that do unlocking/upgrading will replace the phone if they screw it up and cant recover it. I havent seen too many 'upgrades' that I'd care about, although someone has a hacked firmware for the razr that does a three dimensional address book thingy that looks very cool.
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 11:12 AM   #47
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

I talked with the folks at GoBeyondWireless yesterday and they will no longer activate phones/customers on the TDMA network.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a cheap emergency phone?* DW will be on a road trip with the kids this summer to visit parents and wants an emergency phone.* We currently have no cell phone (the only ones in our town* )
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 11:49 AM   #48
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

STI mobile has prepaid plans that only cost 10 cents a day plus 10-12 cents a minute when you use them.

www.stimobile.com
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 01:14 PM   #49
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Papi
I talked with the folks at GoBeyondWireless yesterday and they will no longer activate phones/customers on the TDMA network... )

I need help understanding what this means?* The DW and I have considered GBW for our cell phone plan here in the near future...
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 01:26 PM   #50
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

GBW will only sell air-time for the TDMA network to existing customers.

You can still sign up with them, but only for the GSM product. This is what the lady told me on the phone.
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 01:30 PM   #51
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

It means the old cheap plan (on their tdma network) isnt going to be available anymore. They have a newer GSM network that costs more. TDMA and GSM is how the specific phone communicates with the specific network. Different providers use different methods of communication. Beyond rents time on at&t's old tdma network (now cingular) and its an old network...cingular will probably take it out of service. But you can still get beyond wireless's gsm plan for more money. I heard cingulars new pay-as-you-go plan is also improving.

I dropped STI mobile like a hot potato when they added the 10c a day charge right AFTER a ton of people bought their phones. My son uses the phone for a toy now.

I got a t-mobile to go phone (three of them actually) last year. Put $100 on it and that gave me 1000 minutes good for a year. They told me that the $100 put me in their "gold rewards" group, so any minutes added within a year were good for a year, and I got a 15% minute bonus. So I added ten bucks to the phone a month before the 1000 minutes expired and the unused minutes all rolled forward another year.

I dont know if that trick works a second time for ten bucks or if I have to put another hundred on it next year to reattain gold status. And I've read their terms and conditions until my eyes bled without figuring it out. Either way...$55 a year for an emergency cell phone is pretty dang cheap.
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 02:42 PM   #52
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

If you wanted to give an emergency phone with some minutes to someone, can they run up extra minutes over and above what you pay for when you get the phone? Or must any minutes be paid for in advance? I am specifically thinking about an emergency cell phone for a person who may not be responsible as to its use.

Also, I have heard about cell phones for kids that can be programed to only call certain numbers (like home). Anyone know anything about this?
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 03:21 PM   #53
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

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Originally Posted by Martha
Also, I have heard about cell phones for kids that can be programed to only call certain numbers (like home). Anyone know anything about this?
I saw a "firefly" phone on clearance pretty cheap at Target, that seemed to do this, but I don't know how much service costs, or how stable the company is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
, can they run up extra minutes over and above what you pay for when you get the phone?
I doubt it, but if you're concerned, you can probably pay cash for the minutes and phone, so noone can try to collect from you. Might be flagged as suspicious though and records kept of all calls... :

My answers above are tentative, hopefully someone else knows more.

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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 04:21 PM   #54
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

Prepaid phones are just that. When they run out, you get a message saying you need to buy more. That can be done using the same phone and dialing customer service on it (usually 611 or *611), on the internet, or by buying a card in a store and punching it into the phone.

The firefly is a phone for children. Its tiny and uses prepaid minutes and has a "daddy" and "mommy" button on it. It is possible to program the phone to make other calls and to accept calls from certain numbers. Something I'd consider getting for Gabe when he's a bit older for him to use in the event of an emergency.
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 06:20 PM   #55
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
* Beyond rents time on at&t's old tdma network (now cingular) and its an old network...cingular will probably take it out of service.*
Last time I talked with gbw, they were expecting Cingular to support the network through the end of next year, though with the AT&T deal, it could be sooner. Sounds like I may need to keep T-mobile in mind for the eventuality. I've also heard good things about Virgin Mobile, too, though I haven't checked out their coverage.
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 06:35 PM   #56
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

The coverage maps are key. If your areas of use arent covered, no deal is good.

My recollection was that the cheap phones virgin had were some oddball audiovox or other lower tier maker vs the nokia and motorola phones I could get for the same price as t-mobiles. And I have this weird aversion to short term minute expiration even if they have automatic payments and rollovers...I know exactly whats going to fail to work at some point (the automatic rollover), and who is going to end up holding the bag (me). Thats why I liked the 1 year expiration deal with t-mobile...that I got the minutes to extend another year for ten bucks was a bonus.

Note that our cell phone use is pretty mild. I might call the wife from the car to ask "what the heck was on the shopping list that I didnt bring?"...maybe one or two calls every day or two for a minute or two.
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-18-2006, 07:00 PM   #57
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

* Well, it would be helpful if VM had a nationwide coverage map instead of making me plug in various cities ... sheesh. T-Mobile does look pretty good right now ...
* * * It's been very nice not having to worry about buying more air time, so I'm hoping gbw can hold onto that network a while longer.
* * Our cell phone use at home isn't much, either. I have to remind DH to keep his in his car.* For us, the real use comes during travel .. nice to avoid those phone fees at the hotels.* So national coverage is crucial.
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-19-2006, 12:56 PM   #58
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

Yep, beyond wireless was amazing while it lasted. I had an old at&t free2go phone, called them up, they gave me a miami FL number (sort of fun "being in miami" when I used it), and 35 free minutes. No cost.

I plugged the charger into my dads center console power outlet and dropped the phone into the console with instructions on how to make a call, and programmedmy numbers and the number of roadside assistance/towing companies in all the areas he visits. Put an outlook reminder in every 7 weeks to make a "keep alive" call on it. Still has 29 of the 'free' minutes left.

If the tdma network is still available in a couple of years when those free minutes run out (presuming he - god willing - never has to make an emergency call), he can decide if having it made him feel better enough to spend $100 on a t-mobile phone.

Nice to have a 3 year, free beta test...
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-20-2006, 02:37 PM   #59
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

haven't seen it mentioned, so I'll give it a plug: Tracfone.* I got a phone and 450 minutes, 15 months service, for about $120.* They use the Cingular system, which is clearly the best for my needs, and my usage is absolutely minimal.* (annual service can be purchased so there's no need for a montly charge.)

If you don't use the phone much, this is the best deal I could find. (my previous service was $11/mo + time used, but on the old network ... couldn't get a replacement phone which was needed.)
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal
Old 05-20-2006, 05:25 PM   #60
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Re: Latest cheap emergency cell phone deal

Whatcha paying? Last time I checked tracfone you had to either keep plugging in new cards every 90 days or buy a "1 year service with double minutes" for about $140, and the total minutes was somewhere around the 300-500. Didnt tempt me from the t-mobile togo 1000 minutes for a year for $100.

Nice that the phone tells you right on the display how many minutes are left and when they expire though. Seems to need to be kept a secret by a lot of these outfits.
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