I am told there is a cell phone plan with no contract no monthly bills, you simply pay when phone is used. No use no bill. Can anyone tell me the name of this company and how to contact them.
There are a bunch of them: TracFone and Virgin's VirginMobile probably are the best-known and national in scope. Most of the other large cellular providers also have pay-as-you-go programs, including Verizon's InPulse, Cingular's GoPhone, T-Mobile's To Go, etc.
"No use no bill" is a little optimistic. Pretty much any company offering pay-as-you-go cellular will make you buy cellular time first (sort of like a phone card) and has restrictions on how long those minutes last before they're declared invalid. And how much you'll pay ultimately depends on how much you use the phone. My mother is a very occasional cell phone user, so for her a TracFone made the most sense. If she logged 200-300 minutes a month like I do, however, TracFone might not have been the best deal. You might want to figure out how much time you'll spend on the phone to price the various plans.
We use a Tracphone (sp?). You pay for your minutes up front. There is not a monthly fee. The minute fees are a lot higher, but it saves us money because we use out cell phone only for traveling and emergencies.
With STI Mobile [URLs deleted] NO Monthly Fees, no commitment and MINUTES DO NOT EXPIRE if you make a phone call every 60 days.
Same with TracFone: so long as you use the phone even once (I don't remember if it's 30/60/90 days), minutes roll over.
My son and DIL could add as many as four family members to their T-Mobile service for only $8.00 per month (with a free cell phone). All must be billed on one statement, to one address.
This was the least expensive option for me to have a cell phone to use for emergencies. All calls between family cell phones are free, too. I just pay my son about $100 per year to cover the cost of my line and taxes.
You do not have to pay monthly when you have a tracphone. I have one and I buy a years worth of minutes for 100 dollars about. You can buy 6months at a time also. It all depends on what you want to do.
I like buying a years worth because I just buy it and forget about it. The phone Keeps track of this and everytime I turn it on it tells me when I need to buy min. Plus if you buy minutes before your old ones expire you get to keep all the minutes so you keep adding more and more.
It is really easy and I like it because of that. However I only have a phone for emergencies and I never use it (thank goodness) It wouldn't work for people who like to talk on the phone alot.
My husband bought it for me as a present three years ago because I had to travel by myself and I didn't have a phone.
I use Ecallplus. They have various plans, with a minimum of $10 per month. The plan I use uses Cingular service.
Here is a link that might be useful: Ecallplus
I just went from the cheapest plan at Alltel ($480/year) to a Tracphone (which I believe is the largest phone service of this type). I purchased the phone (they run around $20 and up - depending on how many "bells and whistles" you want) and the $89.99 1-year plan (150 anytime minutes), and can add minutes as needed. We don't use our cell phone except for emergencies and never have it on except when we would need to use it, so this is a big (nearly $400) savings for us.
For someone who has their phone constantly imbedded in their ear, per minute of use is not that cheap using this plan.
With the prepaid phones, the minutes expire after 30 or 60 days after you buy them. That way the phone company can cash in on your unused minutes.
Fine if you use a phone a lot, not fine for occasional use.
"With the prepaid phones, the minutes expire after 30 or 60 days after you buy them. That way the phone company can cash in on your unused minutes."
There's different policies for different companies, as it's true for some of the TracFone cards, but this blanket statement is incorrect. One company requires you to use a minute every two or three months and the minutes do not expire. Most roll the minutes over if you add time. You need to check with each company's policy to see what's best for you. One caution, Net10 is a 30 day expire and you have to buy a minimum so it can be expensive per minute if you don't use much. But analyze what you need and will use for a monthly rate.
"Fine if you use a phone a lot, not fine for occasional use."
I disagree totally. I use the phone only occasionally. That's why I go with the prepaid! I think you got that backward. Prepaid is fine for occasional use, not good for a lot of use.
You also need to look at where you will use it and how much you use it. You should re-examine regularly. Rates can change and your needs may change.
I got the Virgin Mobile last May. It's averaged about $5/month for me and for the following reasons, I'm very pleased:
1) I wanted to try out something that wouldn't have a big disconnect penalty if I decided a cell phone wasn't worth it for me.
2) I appreciate the security of having it with me when traveling. It's an insurance item that gives me security at a cheap price.
3) I enjoy the convenience of having it with to have a directory of numbers if I need to call someone from a land line.
4) I have saved nearly the cost of it through gas savings several times by calling a destination rather than driving there and finding them gone. At $3/gal, a 25 investment has saved a couple dollars in gas several times. And for the times they're there, it cost me a quarter. I can't go to a pay phone for a quarter. In addition, it's a savings from pay phones too.
5) I "top up" (add time) for $15 every 90 days and my leftover time does not expire. This gives me from 60 to 135 minutes depending on how it's used. I normally make/receive calls in the 3-5 minute range so I don't benefit too much from the decreased rate after 10 min per day. However, this has worked well for me so far. I have had no realistic need to look for a monthly plan and go from $5 to $30/month or more, and BTW, you lose your minutes there if you don't use them too.
6) I like that it costs the same no matter how much I buy. TracFone and others cost more if you buy less.
With my pay-as-you-go, it costs me essentially $5/month to have the phone service, but for that I get $5 in service. As long as I keep the service, that $5 in service will carry on forever. But face it, if you're not going to use $5/month in service, you should examine whether you need a phone! I wouldn't normally use that but since I have it, I make use of the time when I'm on the internet and need to contact someone or if someone needs to contact me.
I'm not a person who has a phone permanently attached to my ear. Nay, I despise phones actually. But they're a necessary evil and the prepaid plan is a convenience, insurance plan and useful at a very reasonably price.
One caution: Examine several scenarios when considering the phone. Use actual example calls that you may make to compare. Compare with different uses too. Also check the coverage area for the phone service and also the phone. TracFones showed a different coverage area for different phones! Coverage and cost can vary dramatically, especially TracFone. Although I can have a better coverage with TracFone, it'd be much more expensive for me. While 25Â¢/min sounds expensive, it works fine for me and my use. And more importantly, look at the *monthly* to *annual* charge, and that's where Virgin Mobile shined for my use.
Virgin has no roaming, but a more limited coverage area. STI uses the same Sprint PCS network as Virgin uses. TracFone varies on your home location, but normally uses multiple networks and charges for roaming, IIRC it's 2/1. Beyond uses multiple networks and charges 4/1 when roaming but a cheaper per-minute rate. (Sigh) Yes, it's complicated! Research and analysis is needed.
It can make your head spin a bit, but it's worth checking out. FWIW, The best deals I found for my use were Virgin Mobile, Beyond Wireless and TracFone, in that order, when I was researching. Now, to do it over, under today's conditions & prices, it'd be Beyond, Virgin Mobile, and TracFone would tie with STI, though the nod would go to TracFone for coverage between those two. Be sure to factor in the cost of the phone! If you don't need a fancy one, some offer a phone for $10 with $10 service included. I bought a more expensive (flip) phone, so changing carriers would have a slightly higher cost, although the phone can be passed on to someone else who would use the same company.
Last point: Some complain on the service from Beyond. I can't say one way or another. I can say Virgin is great from my experience. People I know who use TracFone are happy, though they do acknowledge it's rather expensive. Some like T-Mobile and PagePlus. Again, research, research, research! If you don't invest too much up front for a fancy phone or large amount of time, you can always dump one if you don't like it and try someone else. Or do like an old girlfriend does, carry two cells to have better coverage. (She needs to be available by phone if needed for work)
Whew, it's complicated. Blanket statements don't apply. Research and analysis pays. And of course as always, YMMV.
"You said, "One company requires you to use a minute every two or three months and the minutes do not expire."
What company is that...sounds like what I might want....for emergency calling out only.
I'm guessing there is no way to buy a phone, and prepaid card, and NEVER have it expire without some action on my part...like making a one minute call once every month or two.
Sue...who doesn't like to have to 'remember' a lot of unnecessary things
the cheapest for me is a regional provider, Cellular South. I pay about 80 bucks a month for 2 phones with UNLIMITED local and LD usage and text, 750 roaming minutes included. The first phone is 59.95 per month, with the second phone 8 bucks. add in the taxes and it is just over 80 bucks. my wife talks about 2500 minutes a month, and i talk about 3000! NEVER any overage charges. both phones are used for both personal and business, so that is why the high usage patterns.
for the occasional user, prepaid is best, as long as you do not let your minutes expire. shop around and find the provider that gives you the best options for your needs.
i forgot to add that we do not even have a home phone hooked up. there is one that my work provides for after hours access to remote equipment, but we do not pay for it nor do we use it for anything other than internet access and for our directv rx to call home.
many people find that it is cheaper to get a monthly cell bill and get rid of the home phone, than it is to have both.
if you DO go with prepaid, make sure that you buy larger amounts of minutes if they are discounted. most 10.00 cards are at almost 30 cents a minute, while 50 or 100.00 cards are around 10 cents or so a minute.
We use the minimum Tracphone for cell (after 2 years of $75.00 per month for minimal usage) and an MCI card for LD from landline phone which is about 2.5 cents per minute. It is recommended that everyone keep a landline connected in case of electricity failure.
That was my conclusion. I was paying for a cell phone anyway and found I was using it far more than my wireline phone. In fact, I was using the wireline phone pretty much only for forwarding to the cell phone and for the Internet. So I traded my phone bill for a cable modem and very basic cable. I'm spending only about $10 a month more than I was paying the phone company and getting much faster Internet access and very basic cable, to boot.
It is recommended that everyone keep a landline connected in case of electricity failure.
Why would the cellular phone system fail if the lights go out? In addition, the wireline phone cannot be a cordless phone, since they require electricity to operate.
I got ahead of myself. It was that we should at least have a landline phone and a jack to plug it into, as cordless phones don't work w/o electricity. So I've read. Haven't had to try it out. Only use the cell phone on the road for emergency or quick messages home.
To pick up on the landline thought... I had a neighbor who only had cordless phones in her home and worked from her house and "lived & died" by the phone. Electricity goes out and she's on the "died" side of the equation. I told her to get a $5 phone that plugs into the phone jack, but doesn't require electricity, at Big Lots, Dollar General, or even Wal-Mart as a back-up phone. It never dawned on her that she could use a phone that way. I guess she'd been "plugged-in" all her young life, while I grew up and still always maintain at least one phone that is "un-plugged".
There's also a commercial for On-Star where the electricity is out and a child goes into convulsions and the family can't call out, so they use On-Star to contact emergency aid. They probably didn't have a simple, old-fashioned, stuck to the wall with a long cord, phone. Would have been handy for that particular emergency as well.
I also have a Eton AM/FM Emergency Radio with a Cell Phone Charger so I can turn the crank to recharge my cell phone. No electricity necessary.
We live where the electricity can go out for days at a time, so it's nice to have options....
FWIW, there's also a company that sells solar chargers for cell phones and other mobile devices...
Most people around here likely would not be using thousands of minutes so the standard plans really are not in the price range. If you have a high cell useage, of course a plan is the way to go. If you want occasional use, security and some convenience at a reasonable cost, prepaid is the way to go.
The most important thing is to consider where you need to use that phone and check coverage areas first. Price doesn't mean anything if you can't use the phone when you need to! Many like TMobile but its coverage is lousy for my area. Sprint is better in my area that I travel but I'd like it better. Plus you can't get all service in all areas. Even TracFone will vary the coverage in different areas and even with different phones. Although TracFone now has gone to a one-rate (no roaming) area availability to throw another monkey wrench into the picture.
Beyond had great coverage and minutes never expired as long as you used one minute every 60 days. However, they just discontinued the TDMA service and went GSM and revamped the area and costs (small cards expire in only 15 days!) and it was not an improvement. You might find a phone on ebay, since many people stocked up on phones and service activations and the TDMA will be good for another year or two at the old rates. So given that they're essentially over, out the door they go.
Alltel has a good sounding new program called U prepaid or something like that. Costs are reasonable but you have to be in the Alltel area to get it.
STI is about 10¢-12¢/min and minutes don't expire if you make a call every 2 months. But there's other charges and fees that you need to review.
There's a new outfit called USAonerate that has the best coverage I've seen and can be had for about $3.50/mo at the cheapest.
Again it's important to remember that you need to look at your useage and compare it to the rates they charge. Technically I pay more for Virgin Mobile than others pay on other providers. However, I average $5/month in the end. I'm so impressed with the coverage on USAoneRate though that I'm considering the change. (howardforums is such a valuable resource for this). It would take a few months or more to recoup the cost of buying another phone and the like, but it would give more coverage that is important to me when traveling. If I only wanted it for in town, I would not switch.
It's complicated to say the least. Some charge more for phones and give better rates. Some go the other way. Some charge roaming or other fees. Some give nights & weekend rates. Some charge more for smaller unit purchases. Whew! There's no standardization and that's how they want it, since they can then bring it down to who does the best job of marketing. But the beauty is that you really don't lose an arm and a leg if you regret the one your get and need to change. And often you can sell the phone or give it away to keep it out of a landfill and let someone else make use of it while you upgrade.
Again, there's no perfect plan for everyone. It takes a lot of research and self-analysis or in the alternative, take a guess or a stab in the dark! :)
my daughter's prepaid she got at Walmart seems to be cheaper for her, it's called net 10 and you get 300 minutes for $30. It was cheaper for her than tracfone.
Net10 is TracFone for higher use users. Their minutes expire monthly but are cheaper per minute as long as you use them all. If you don't use many minutes per month, the monthly cost will be high with Net10. Again, just an example of how you need to research it.
I must say that prepaid phones are a good way to teach kids some responsibility. I get so tired of hearing about people with $500/month cell bills and trying to figure out why! :)
We've used Tracfone for several years. We use the monthly prepay plan which automatically deducts $7.99/month from our credit card, so we don't have to worry about purchasing minutes to keep it from expiring. (Tracfone does not advertise this. You have to ask for it.)
Because voice mail service is expensive with Tracfone and we are not happy with how dh is often switched to roaming within a few miles from home we are thinking of switching one phone to Callwave's new mobile service. (Callwave is an Internet answering service we use so we don't have to purchase a second land line.)
Cynic says it best when it comes to cell phones. We had a plan with our landline phone co (Qwest) that allowed us free mobile-mobile and mobile-home, and free LD. BUT they charged roaming all the time...even in my own home I'd go on roam! Then there was a class action lawsuit that required them to pay back all roaming charges, but they changed their plan and buried in the teeeeeeny tiny fine print was that you agreed to pay roaming charges even if you're in your service area. We quit when I had a $35 roaming charge for an incoming call from my daughter...and I was sitting on my sofa when that call came in!
We switched to TracPhone, and it works well for DH and I, but not for our 18yo son. He burns thru minutes like crazy. There is Cricket, which is in parts of the West Coast...they have unlimited calling, including LD, but their service area is small. PERFECT for kids or people who don't travel. Their prices were pretty cheap, too. I'm thinking of going back to Cricket for my son (the $38/mo is a lot cheaper than buying phone cards!).
One of my daughters has Verizon for her only phone, has no Landline. But she hates her service. On the other hand, my mother has Sprint and LOVES hers. Gets service everywhere. There is no easy choice!
Our home has a landline hardwired in...and it's an ancient beast phone (avocado green!)...I was just thinking how lethal the handset could be, it must weigh 3 pounds alone! DH has cordless phones plugged in throughout the house and garage, but I LOVE my green phone in the kitchen.
i tried pay as you go for a while but wasnt impressed. i did away with my land line, and went with cingular 37.00 a month 1000 anytime anywhere minutes with rollover. 37.00 a month is about 8.00 more than i was paying for the land line, but now i can call anywhere and from anywhere.
I've been using my Virgin mobile for the past 2 years and I love it. It's perfect for me. I only use it to make quick phonecalls or in an emergency. It costs me roughly $8 a month to have it.
I think I found the 'best' and got it.
It is Page Plus. For $20 you get the phone, AC charger, and 140 minutes. They are good for 4 months. Then you can either buy 70 minutes for $10 or 200 minutes for $25.
Minutes roll over if additional ones are purchased b4 the 4 month time period expires. You can check balance and expiration by calling #737 from the phone. The account is deactivated if there is a 0 balance on the minutes for 45 days.
Page Plus uses Verizon's Wireless network, but minutes must be replenished with Page Plus minutes. I recently used it on a trip from Indiana to Florida, and had a good signal when (friend's) Cingular and Tracfone didn't.
You can also text message with it. Maybe all the prepaid plan phones do that. It's kind of fun, and is 1 minute usage I think per message sent or received and read.
It also has games, I thought I never would use, but they came in handy traveling 18 hours straight through on that trip.
I picked up a DC charger for $5 (flea market).
The phone is sold at discount tobacco outlets, and maybe some gas stations or truckstops. Minutes can be bought at several gas stations. You have to ask for them at the register, as it isn't an actual card that you receive, like other phone plan cards.
For $40 a year, I too can be cool, traveling with a cell phone attached to my waistband.
You can get the standard phone, or a Flip Phone, but the Flips usually sell out first, so they may not always be available.
I think that about covers it,...and then some.
PagePlus is popular with a lot of people, especially with people who like to use a special phone. (Many prepaids require you to use one of "their" phones) Alas, I don't have coverage with PP in my area so they're out.
Was thinking of STI as a gift for my sister, but now they changed their rate structure again and are charging 10¢/day fee on the use. So the bargain is gone, again. (They changed it a couple months ago and changed it back)
Guess I'm still looking at USAOneRate. Problem is to factor in the cost of a phone and such....
Really makes your head spin sometimes!
You said PP doesn't have coverage in your area. Are you sure? Who said that Verizon (PP) doesn't have coverage in your area? the competition? If you can use Verizon there, then Page Plus will work also.
I thought Verizon's network was pretty well 'everywhere'.
Can you hear me now?
Verizon's network is "pretty well everywhere" because they have numerous agreements with other carriers who have coverage where Verizon's is weak. For example, here in Minnesota, if you're much past an Interstate highway in the southern half of the state with a Verizon Wireless phone, you're probably actually on Alltel. If you went to buy Verizon Wireless service in such an area, you'd most likely be directed to Alltel. PP may not have an agreement with everyone and it isn't a sure thing that all of VZW's agreements reciprocate with the other carriers.
Thanks for the info!
There's many different Verizon coverages. Well actually, the same is true with all providers. Verizon cut back their area significantly for all accounts activated after February. For example, there's America's Choice version 1 & 2, InPulse, etc. And for some reason, the prepaid is always a more restricted coverage. They don't want to give the tightwads the same coverage as the more profitable areas, I guess. Probably think they'll hook people with prepaid and then opt for the postpaid to increase coverage. Doubt that'll happen. So far it doesn't seem to be happening either. And interesting too since the prepaid market is where their future is for adding customers since the postpaid market is virtually saturated and people can't change too often because of the cancellation fees in the contracts. It's irritating, but that's the way it is.
The coverage map for PagePlus shows essentially the Twin Cities metro area is covered and St. Louis County in northern MN. Technically the rest of the state has "coverage", however, it's at the $1.99/min roaming rate. Way too rich for my blood! I don't mind some roaming charges for traveling since I don't use the phone much, but I'm not about to spend $2/min. Additionally you have to tack on the cost of a decent tri-band phone and PagePlus is out of my budget.
SimpleFreedom has cheaper (about 50¢/min) roaming but they're discontinuing a lot of their service with no credit back to the customer. They have the option to sign up with another carrier. So I wouldn't mess with them at this point. At least without more research.
Although the Sprint PCS coverage isn't great around here, I'm finding that it's not all that bad compared to the others. At least they cover the major freeways and some highways where PP, Cingular and others don't. And I do tend to stay on the major highways. And since I like the phone I got for Virgin, I might just hang on to it. But I'm still tempted to try out USA1rate and see if their coverage is what they claim.
The prepaid coverage leader overall would have to be TracFone, unless the maps are accurate for USA1, but TracFone's rates are pretty high unless you play games with transferring back and forth between a couple of phones and/or beg people to sign up to get referrals. I can justify what I'm spending for a phone. Could justify a bit more to have better coverage even at roaming rates. But I'm not crazy.
Argh! I've been looking around again. Head's spinning again. Why don't I simply slam my hand in the car door? Be more enjoyable than trying to interpret their websites!
I have Tracfone and have used it for a 1 and half years. My text messaging coming in is free and going out is one third of a minute. AS far as voicemail, I check mine at home so it is free. I buy one year plans so its ten cents a minute. I am happy with it except you might want to call Tracfone before you buy if you want downloadable ringtones and wallpaper. I bought mine and found out even though the packaging said downloadable ringtones, Tracfone said I could'nt.
My wife and I have been using STI mobile pre-paid for over a year now. The phones were free after mail-in rebate. I have the Sanyo basic phone and she has the LG slightly better phone. It initially started out as no monthly fee and then went to .10 per day (with or without use) plus .10-.12 per minute for the calls. I spend about $5-6/month and my wife is probably at $7-$8. I make 2-3 short (1-3 minute) calls a week. We get the top-up cards at cheapphonecards.com. They send the pin via email and give a 3% discount. Minutes are checked by dialing a free number on the cellular phone.
The phones work fine. The Sprint coverage in our area is pretty good. Reception can be poor to none in a some rural areas away from the main highways and inside homes situated in valleys (like ours). Cingular is also very poor in our home, based on my daughter's experience. At this point in time, roaming is not an issue because the coverage goes wherever Sprint goes. Who knows if this will be scaled back in the future for the pre-paid plans?
We both had STI mobile turn off the text messaging and voice mail to save on minutes and prevent wrong numbers and spam text messages from wasting our money. If you leave the phone on but can't answer the phone, caller ID is a free form of communication for people in your contact list. Our home phone line answering machine is for messages.
STI mobile may not be the best deal today, but it works fine for us.
Earth Tones has a program where you'll only be billed for the time you use- I think it like 25 cents a min if you do it that way.
I have used tracfone for the past 4 years, I purchased the yearly plan for $100. Doing that enables me to keep the same number and rollover the unused minutes. It is mainly just an emergency phone for me.
The only gripe I have is that when we moved from CA to Louisiana I couldn't receive service, the tracfone people had us try a million different things with the phone and finally had us mail it back to them and sent us another programmed for this area. The bummer was the substitute phone was a beat up used phone where mine had been in pristine condition.
This furriner is sitting here, hearing of many phones and systems that are totally unfamiliar...
... for a few minutes a while ago thinking what fun it would be to have you guys all sitting in a circle, trying to explain these various services to one another!
Then I added the idea that wouldn't it be helpful to give a whiteboard/flipchart to each of you!?!?
Efficiency - plus good results - being the watchword, of course! (Isn't it always??).
Have a great (short) week everyone!
Just imagine ...
... if you'd started an investment program on receipt of your first paycheque ...
... stayed with it rigorously throughout the intervening time ...
... and spent even a modicum of time in the years between learning a bit about how to make both income and assets work more effectively ...
... think how many years earlier you could be planning to retire??
Or - maybe even have retired already, even at a moderately young age??
Probably less complicated to figure out advantageously than this maze!! More long-term profitable, besides??
ole joyful -partly retired personal financial advisor, thankful to be enjoying good health, several years retired
I've just been reading this thread & my head is spinning! I'm going to give up my Verzion plan because I don't use that many minutes so its not worth what I've been paying. I want to get a plan where you just buy the minutes. I need a plan that would have good reception in the Southern New Hamshire area. Can anyone know what plans are good in this area?
Any time I have had to use Verizon for any type of service I have made many new friends...in India.
Depends on how much you talk. Tracfone has the absolutely cheapest plan if you only want a phone for emergencies. First, you will need to look around (amazon.com) and buy a phone that has triple minutes for life. Then you buy minutes that are good for 90 days. Example, if you buy a 60 minute card for $19.99 that will get you 180 minutes on that phone. That is $ 0.11 cents per minute or $6.66 per month. You must purchase another card before your 90 day time period is up. Any minutes you don't use will be saved for use later. A 120 minute card is $29.99 and will net you 360 minutes on your triple minute phone. Also good for 90 days.
Texting uses up about half a minute per text.
I just downgraded my ATT phone, from a regular monthly plan to a GoPhone plan.
As it was explained to me, the pay as you go plans rely on only the transmission towers belonging to your carrier. That is why they are less expensive.
I expected an argument, but the transaction went smoothly. This particular CSR is exceptional, however. She didn't even have to change the SIM card. As a matter of fact, she told me several people a week did the same thing.