An oops with the cell phone

luis_prSeptember 6, 2012

So phones are now computers too, hu? Well, not being a smartphone person and resisting buying one because they confuse me, I kept using flip phones. Until the oops incident a week ago. Seems cell phones do not like... errr.... oooooooh..... water. Or was it Diet Soda? I do not remember. Ha! Oops all right.

Tried to go to a repair shop but they said they could not help; I have to replace it instead. Visited an ATT Store and it was a case of TMI, too much info.

So, I end up wondering about smartphones and if I should bite the bullet anyways. But god, they are so expensive! The monthly service, I mean. I understand that I still have to pay for the same cell charges as before but, with a smartphone, add battery recharging & data plans.

I got some literature about plans from Walmart a couple of weekends ago, read a little and, wow, ended going to the garden in 103-degree weather instead.

The cost for data plans seems outrageous, don't you think? Even more when you add the monthly cellphone service cost.

My sister said she pays about $120 monthly for 2 smartphones, minus some work discounts. God, that is still almost $1,500 a year. The downpayment for some cars!

An ATT Mobileshare plan example from Walmart, for 2 phones and a tablet, said $170 a month for 6G with unlimited talk and text (I am not a texter). That is over $2,000 a year. That cannot be what people pay for using these computers yearly, is it?

So what is your plan like? I know I will need two smartphones and am very very slowly researching getting a tablet too (I started another post about that) for my mother, who lives in a house without Internet. The cost of the units (the hardware) is irrelevant since the yearly cost of the data plans is so much more than the cost of the smartphone computers. In other words, even a free smartphone still shocks me when I am spending upwards of $1500 for data plans a year. Wow!

TIA, Luis

PS - Oh one last question. Someone said that they were designed to need to be recharged at least once a day. Once a day? A daaaaay? Really???

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I love electronics and have a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, an e reader and I am going to buy a new all in one PC with W 8 after it has been out awhile. I do not want a smart phone. If I want to go online, play games, I can wait until I get home. I don't mind the price of a smart phone, but do not like the monthly bill that goes with it. I have a pay as you go flip phone that cost about $8. a month, no contract. It might not work for someone who is on the phone all the time. Works for me.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 8:55AM
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Have you looked into trac phones. My son uses one all the time as a truck driver.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 4:45PM
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I feel your pain. I needed a new phone. Right now I winter south, summer in the north. ATT/Verizon seem to be the only two companies that are in both areas- BUTTTTTTT to a tune of about $120/mo!!
That is too much for me!
I went with T-Mobile- the $50/mo no contract. Unlimited talk/text/web. It has been great in Dallas!
But....(grrrr), when I got back to Montana, there isn't TMobile coverage- so that means I have no web (I do not have a seperate web server in Dallas either- can't afford to have a seperate web bill, so I read the tiny print on the phone! Not ideal, but will have to do.
TMobile coverage/dropped calls is HORRID in Montana!! I sometimes have to recall three times to just connect! I have had text that won't go through in Montana also.
I don't have another option now, though. Maybe this would work for you now, depending on where you are??

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:47AM
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$120 a month does not sound bad for 2 smart phones. We are paying around that for 3 dumb phones every month with just talk and text. If you use it heavily for surfing the net during the day then yes it will drain the battery a lot. No different that using a laptop on battery constantly for a few hours.

Really you are probabwly better with a track phone to suit your needs especially if you need calling only. I was thinking of trying boost mobile. $50 a month for unlimited every thing per phone and for every 6 on time payments they take $5 off so after 18 months you bill could be as low as $45 a month.

You don't sign a contact though so get no subsidiary on the smart phone like contract carriers. The phone I liked was $249 each and we need three but HSN had them as the deal of the day last week for $149 with a 5 megapixle camera but I am still trying to find someone in my area that has this service to see how good it works here compared to verizon which we have had for years. Have no home phone so need good service. Mary

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:22AM
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Why not just get another flip phone? I purchased a Nokia flip phone about a year ago for about $40. It does everything I need in a mobile phone.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 2:05AM
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EmmaR, marie_ndcal, acraftylday: interesting suggestion that trac phone thing. Went to to read about it. I had never heard of it. How has this experience been to you? I wonder if it is a problem when running low of days or minutes? Meaning, is it hassle if you are running out of days or out of minutes? Is it easy to recharge them or do you just go to and "recharge" them?

ilmbg: I am in Hurst west of D/FW Airport so I am in the neighborhood. I spend most of my time in the FW area where my ATT Service is spotty, especially during the high traffic times of 12pm-4pm. I have had the same conversation dropped twice over there. I have not researched unlimited plans that include web because I thought that I had read in the news/papers/Internet that the companies were not doing those any more. Interesting you mention texting. That is the one item I do not have to bother with because the people who I usually talk to do not text and so I do not plan to use it or figure out how it works.

acraftylady: well, the cost shocked me. I know, I know it sounds like not a lot. But then I calculated it was $1,440 a year... for what's basically phone service. I do not use any web or high battery draining activities on my phone as it just a flip phone. Its battery would usually last between 2-3 days which is sort-of bad. The previous flip phone I had came with an excellent battery that would last almost 5 days. Of course, I do not talk thaaat much or thaaat long. Ha, but needless to say, I am not used to the shorter battery life and get surprised by the low bat warning somewhat often. Thanks for the info on boostmobile; will check them out. For your info, Consumer Reports says in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, Verizon has the best service, Sprint is second; my ATT is at the bottom. Ha! Oh well. I knew that which is why I am looking to get a new plan from someone else if was cheaper.

nearandwest, all others: another flip phone? well, I usually tend to drag old equipment onandon and stay with what works so, I am usually a late adopter. I had an old flip phone so long that ATT discontinued serving the area in the frequencies that it worked on. So this approach usually serves me well. For example, in late November, I got one of those new flat screen TVs and it "broke" on Wednesday Night. Not even a year! Warranty should cover it but now I have to be inconvenienced and allocate time for a crew to come and fix it. Hopefully they will fix it in only one visit. All my friends have suggested potential uses of selected apps that would make the smartphones more useful so I was considering it now that I am at a point where I have to replace the phone. But I would not be a high user regardless. Not interested in viewing pictures or movies in those tiny screens often. Maybe some GPS if I get somewhere where I am lost. I may access my existing email accounts with the cable company and Yahoo (if that is doable). Maybe locate gas stations, a type of restaurant where I currently am. I was shown one app that even checked prices for bread (example) near where I was located and showed the store prices. That kind of thing adds some value. Will still keep Internet Service at home. Have to because of work.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:18AM
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I renew my minutes once a year, $100. for 1,000 minutes and they roll them over so I don't lose them. I never run out of minutes because I only use my phone once or twice a month. I usually have as surplus of 2,000 minutes at any time. It wouldn't work for someone who has the phone glued to their ear.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:59AM
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EmmaR, so is that a tracphone what you have? I thought you said the phone was $8 a month. How does that change to $100 a year?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:20AM
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I have T Mobil To Go and I bought my phone online from them for $35 which was a special because the phone normally sold for $135. It's a very simple phone, no surfing, no photos, I can text and voice mail. I have to renew my minutes even if I don't need them. The cost for minutes runs about $8. a month at $100 once a year for 1,000 minutes. I have never had a problem with T Mobil or the phone. I think the phone is Motorola. I have never run out of minutes so I don't know what that would cost. I was told at the T Mobil Store that I could buy a replacement phone and all I had to do was move the card to the new phone.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 11:15AM
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I want a cell phone that has no monthly and the minutes don't ever expire until you use them. For maybe once every 3 months use to call a taxi to take me home to get my spare car keys.

That's about the only use I have for a cell phone now that pay phones seem to be vanishing.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 11:18AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Look at cricket and boost and similar offering, I have a friend who uses one of those she can choose month to month, stop if she needs to then pick up again, her rates were very low.

I have att and pay way too much for how little I use it.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Mikie that is what I have.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 11:45AM
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Just checking ravencajun, is that

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:08PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Yes it is.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:24PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Yes it is.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Unfortunately data plans are expensive and there doesn't seem to be a way around that. Some of the "second tier" companies (Cricket, Metro PCS, Virgin Mobile, etc.) offer cheaper service but then your choice of phones tends to be far more limited, although I seem to recall that iPhones are coming to one of them.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:05AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

and always be sure to read the fine print because when they say unlimited they do NOT mean unlimited in reality. For most of those for the data part I was seeing it actually tops at around 2.5 GB anything over that will be very throttled and may incur additional costs.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 1:15PM
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I'm most like EmmaR in how I use a cell phone. I was given a Galaxy Note for my birthday, and have had it about a week, so the learning curve is still in gear. The manual that came with the phone covers just the basics. The Android Forum I visit to find answers to problems seems pretty dead most of the time, so not much help. My calls to the store where the Galaxy was bought and to ATT have been disappointing. I've had more and better help here on this forum. I've spent hours trying to figure out how to do things on the smartphone. For example, on Saturday, the 1st time I took the smartphone out of town, I wanted to check my email and couldn't figure out how to put the underscore "_" in my email address so that I could log in to my account. So I went to a Target store where they showed me how to access the alternative keypad on the phone. It's little things like that that drive me nuts. I'm not willing to spend hours and hours to learn Android. I'm not paying the bill, since it was a gift, but so far I feel like putting it away in a drawer and forgetting about it.

I've had excellent service with Trac phone and will be renewing with them. It's $99 a year and you buy the minutes as you go. It's the way to go if all you want is basic cell service, imho. The Galaxy Note is a nice phone that has lots of features, but I doubt I'll ever use most of them since the same features\services are easier to use on my laptop and tablet via wifi.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 3:26PM
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I guess I am an odd person, but I don't want to look at the tiny screen on a phone when I have a computer monitor. I don't want to watch movies on my PC monitor when I have a 42 inch TV in the living room. I just don't see the logic in it. I want to talk to people on the phone at home not driving down the road or when I am in a restaurant or at Walmart.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:28PM
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I don't have a trac phone but friends that do like it. We have 3 phones so need the 700 minutes a month from verizon and the unlimited texting plus we get a work discount from my husbands work.

HSN runs good deals on trac phones. Today they have a wifi smart phone with 1,400 minutes and you get triple minutes for life when you add minutes. My friend got her trac phone from them and got the triple minutes and is very happy. QVC Also has track phones and does the triple minutes for life. Mary

Here is a link that might be useful: trac phone

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Can the trac phone surf and how does it connect?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:04PM
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The track phone I showed is wifi only so you would need to be where there is a wifi connection like starbucks and such. I have no clue if trac phone has phones and data plans with 3g and stuff. You would have to check their website.

I could care less on spending money on an internet connection outdide my home. Frankly can't afford it and don't need it as calling and texting is more important to me. I have my kindle fire and there is so much free wifi when traveling this works fine for my needs. Mary

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Thank you Craftylady.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 2:02AM
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Good luck to you in your quest. I think you have some very good ideas of what you want.

I got and iPhone and iPad. Why did I do this? I want to keep up with technology. Siri is my friend and as she said she lives to server. But, more than that I want to learn.
Android is a favorite on her and I didn't do it. I have a sprint employee who lessened to the price when I was on his buddy plan. So, I am having the time of my life whether it be the phone or the pad. I am curious and I can see something of interest and am online and will look it right up. Sprint has a no limit policy for all data and I don't worry at all. I have no land line.
I also had a flip phone that I adored and had many features.
I want to learn and there is a cost. If you can wait and do it a thousand other ways then take the great advice here and go with it until you can make more expensive choices. A Timex is a Rolex when all you want to see id who called and dial out. Enjoy whomever you talk with.There was a time when every long distance call was expensive... much more so. I appreciate the fact that whether I call Turkey or her I am in the zone.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 3:15AM
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We have 2 tracfones, under their "basic family plan" at $16.25 total per month. Automatically we each get a month of air time and 50 min. and the minutes roll over. I got the cheapest phone they were offering about 10 yrs ago and it is just fine. I rarely use my phone and now have over 2000 minutes.

My DH spent a little more money and got one that added 100 min. every time the regular 50 min. were added. ( check out what deals are offered when you purchase your phone. )
This was great, but he lost that phone and the accumulated extra minutes didn't transfer to the new phone. He ran a little short of mins. this past month and purchased extra mins. with his phone to get a little cushion should this happen again.( He often uses my phone when he calls his long distance buddies- no extra minutes or charge for long distance)

Even with our basic plan we could "text" if we wanted to, but with a loss of minutes. There is a"browser" icon on my phone. I am sure I could surf if I wanted to. Maybe I would have to upgrade my plan but I am not interested so I have never investigated that aspect.
Minutes disappear if you receive calls or a text, and should someone send you a picture you really lose a lot of minutes. I noticed that I lose 2 minutes when Tracfone texts that minutes have been added each month.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:04AM
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Yep from what I hear you can't go wrong with trac phone if you need simple. I have been using google call for some long distance stuff after someone hear mentioned it and it works fine on my desktop. It's free in the U.S and Canada and on my desktop sounds loud and clear. My son had gotten me nice head phones with a microphone but you can just use a cheapy microphone too. Mary

Here is a link that might be useful: google call

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:50AM
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How do you figure the data plan with either trac phone or the majors? I found an interesting link on the subject at:

but as a flip phone owner w/no Internet, the various GB-sized plans mean nothing to me other than one is more than the other. Can someone give me an idea of how to choose a plan's GB? And if I choose wrong (low or high), am I allowed to change the data plan the next month?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 1:08AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I have the minimum data plan on my phone, with the phone I got, smartphone, you are required to have a data plan, I am with Att. What I do is go into settings and turn off mobile network for Internet. That way I know I am not using up my data plan, but I can access the Internet via wifi with no costs, at home I have wifi so I can use it all I want or any where I have a wifi connection.
Now if I am out and about and find I need to access the Internet and no wifi around then I go to settings and turn on the mobile data connection. I can then connect to the Internet to get the information I need then turn it back off.
I have an app on my phone that keeps track of exactly how much I have used on both the mobile network and wifi.
One thing that will eat up your data plan is if you allow the apps and stuff on the phone to update automatically, because if they all decide to update when you are on the mobile connection that definitely uses up quite a bit. If I turn on my mobile network I always go to settings before that and turn off auto updates, so I know nothing will be using it but me for what ever I am looking up.

I learned that fast, the first day I had my phone and checked my data used I already had used over 20 mb and my plan is only 200mb for the whole month.
I don't use texting so I don't have it in my plan but I didn't know that at first so I texted a few people and sent pictures in texts I found out those were charged to me individually and the picture ones were quite expensive. I don't do that ever.
So if you can do it this way you can get away with the minimal data plan of 200mb if you will be using mostly the mobile network instead of wifi I would go for a larger data plan. You can definitely go up in plan size not sure about down.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:21AM
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If we move up to smart phones I am looking at the unlimited everything plans. Also just got my AAA newsletter and see we can get $100 credit per phone if we switch to them plus a few other things and they have unlimited data still I think. We need unlimited texting with son away at college and right now we pay $10 a phone for unlimited texting and verizon to verizon is free.

For us a lot is gonna depend if my son ends up from NY to California for grad school in September and and if verizon coverage is good where he will be or if he needs another carrier there. We have been month to month with verizon for over a year now so not tied into a contract and can leave any time. Mary

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 8:54AM
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