Don't know nuthin about cell phones

kashka_katApril 19, 2010

Im one of five people whoÂs never had a cell phone. I just know IÂm going to lose that sucker the same way I continually misplace the TV remote The house is burning down and whereÂs the freakin phone!

However after paying nearly 40 dollars last month for 9 measly calls on my att land line, its way past time to ditch it and go to prepaid cellular. I donÂt make many calls, although I might go thru periods when I might, if I have to look for a job (or whatever) so IÂm looking for reasonably affordable..

IÂm looking at the brochures but want to know  are there hidden charges I should know you about? If it says 300 minutes for $30 is that the end of it or do they nickel and dime you to death with other charges.

Does any cell phone you buy work with any company? Or you have to use what they give you?

If thereÂs no coverage in certain areas, what do you do? Are you just out of luck if you have a relative in remote parts of Nevada say or Idaho?

Recommendations? Above all, accountability and customer service is what I want and would pay a little extra for.

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I am another non-talker that has a cell phone for emergencies and the occasional call I have to make. I have Virgin Mobile and have had it for quite some time. I pay $20.00 every 90 days and I am charged 18¢ a minute. I am at this point about $275.00 ahead of the game. I have never had a dropped call or been in an area where I couldn't use the phone but it is obvious I don't use it much. Works for me.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 3:29PM
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I use

Depending on how many minutes you actually use ...

One of their pre-paid plans costs about $3 / month + 9 cents a minute.

You have to use their phones.

They use Sprint's BASIC area (not the roaming areas)

You can call anyone in the U.S., but depending on where you happen to be, it may not have "service"

I use about 40 minutes / month = $3.60 +($3)
(sometimes 8% discounts)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 3:07AM
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I wonder if it would work to get a phone card and call the 800 number with a cell phone and then be connected via land line to anyone? I just would like to cover all my bases if this is to be my only phone. I have relatives that have a habit of moving to out of the way places.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 9:25AM
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Kashka, no it would be a waste to use a phone calling card with a cell phone. You can call out anywhere. It's where you are located that determines the service you get. For example, AT&T is weak and spotty where we are, so people with their fancy new iPhones are pretty discouraged. Only Verizon gets good coverage where we live. YMMV.

Don't worry about where your relatives are unless you actually go to visit them and want to use your phone. Coverage only matters where YOU are.

Here is a link that might be useful: cell phone coverage

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 10:13AM
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I also have Virgin Mobile and have had it for years. I have a landline for local calls for $16 monthly from ATT. I use Virgin Mobile for any calls out of this area and have never had a problem. However, when I've had to call customer service the canned voice that answers could drive you crazy. Aside from that, I have been very happy with it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 5:00PM
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Question - of what use is the camera in the cell phone if you don't have web/texting with it? Can you download the photos some other way?

I've been still researching but Im just as confused as ever.

Was about to go Virgin but then found out that it doesn't work if you "roam" - doesn't charge roaming fees, it just goes dead. Since part of the attraction is to have it when I travel for emergencies the more places it works the better.

This site is pretty useful---

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 3:16PM
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By far the best deal in prepaid cell phones is/was T-Mobile. If you buy a $100 refill card, it lasts a full year. You can add minutes with other cards and they will not expire at least until the year is up. It works out to something like 10 cents a minute with a monthly cost of as little as eight bucks if you hardly ever use the phone.

But check to see if the above is still valid. I haven't looked into it for awhile. It could have been changed or discontinued.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 10:26PM
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To reiterate what might be confusing you, your ability to use the phone depends on where YOU are and depends on where the call recipient is if you are calling another cell phone. If you are calling a land line, your end is the only one using the cell tower. If you are in an area with spotty coverage, you have a good connection with someone, you are moving, and the call is important to you, you should stay put until you're through with the call to avoid being dropped. Cell phones poll cell towers within reach of their signal. If no cell towers are around, or even if there are and your network provider (ATT, Verizon,etc.) doesn't subscribe to that cell tower network, you're out of luck. It's been my experience that Verizon has the best coverage in the US. However, I know nothing about their pay-as-you-go plans. Lacking that, you'll have to decide on a few carriers and then pick the one that gives you the least number of disadvantages.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 2:37PM
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After much reading, I think Page Plus gives the best deals - however, the idea of a refurbished phone makes me slightly squeamish. Yeah, Im sure they'd disinfect it but even so....

I was told I could get my own if it is a CDMA phone - what would that be? I see phones on Amazon but what exactly should I be looking for. Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 9:40AM
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Google "what is CDMA". The provider you are looking to use should be able to tell you if they use CDMA phones.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 1:18PM
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Let me rephrase my question - the provider I want to use requires CDMA phones - I don't like their selection and was looking online to see what the options were for buying my own - however when I search for phones for sale I rarely see ones that are CDMA, & most don't say what they are one way or another. SO.... I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions re specific phone models or where to look?

Am I correct to assume that has to be a specifically CDMA, or is it the sim card that determines what system it operates on.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 11:33AM
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SIM cards are used in GSM phones, which are somewhat network agnostic, but only on GSM networks. CDMA phones are generally network specific. CDMA phones don't use SIM cards.

To put it another way, don't expect a Verizon phone to work on Sprint, even though they are both CDMA networks, but an AT&T phone with a T-Mobile SIM card should work on T-Mobile, since they are both GSM networks.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 10:30PM
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I don't make many calls either. I have T Mobile to go and love it. I buy a thousand minutes a year for $100., there is no other charge. My minutes are rolled over. I signed up online and bought a $125. phone for $30 at the same time. I do the once a year thing and don't have to worry about renewing often and losing my number if I forget to renew. I still have my land line but I make all of long distance calls on the cell. No contracts either.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 7:39PM
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We had Virgin Mobile for years. Paid $15 every three months for minutes and continued activation. The only reason we switched was because in our rural area, the Sprint network used by VM did get the best coverage. We ended up switching to Tracfone. With the Tracfone scheme, they lease cell tower access from many different providers. So if one of the big cell companies has coverage where you are, you'll get reception. It has improved coverage for us immensely. The thing that made us switch from VM in the end (which we used without a problem in our local area) was when we hit a deer in a remote area. Our car needed towing and we had no reception on the cell. The kind folks who picked us up did have cell reception. Using their cell phone to make our emergency call was our wake up call.

Still, we didn't want the high cell bill because we only use our cell when traveling or during the summer when we drive regularly to less well covered cell areas, (read rural). So we went with tracfone. We've used it since January 2010 and so far no issues. The are so cheap we each have one now. Tracfone carried over our old VM number too, so now I don't have to remember a new number. (This is called 'porting' your current number. New provider, same phone number) To buy and set up an new phone for a year with about 700 minutes cost about $125. After that it will be less because we just have to buy the minutes and not the phone.

Tracfone has various schemes for minutes and keeping your account active. These are explained very well at the site I've linked below. The site is also wonderful for explaining how the Tracfone system works, how to get the most for your money with the Tracfone, where to find promo codes for bonus minutes when you activate a purchased minutes card, also how to make the most of the official Tracfone website offers. Frankly it's better than Tracfone's own site. There is also a coverage map the site owner has created using Google maps showing where people have reported they get reception. It really is a wonderful site, like a kind person explaining the ins and outs of pay-as-you-go phones --who also realizes you aren't a total dope. It is very thorough. Good luck with your search!

Don't forget to check Net 10, and the new Walmart "Straight Talk" plans either.

The linking option doesn't seem to be working today, so here you go for cut and paste:

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 3:00PM
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I have TMobile To Go and love it. No contracts, no hidden charges and I signed up online and got a $125. phone for $30. I buy $100. worth of minutes a year and they role over the minutes. I generally use it for my long distance.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 10:58PM
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