Chemocurl and others- Cutting Cell Phone Costs

seattlemikeApril 5, 2009

We are looking at prepaid plans for our two cell phones that we hardly use. Maybe 15 minutes per month total for the two.

Chemocurl: Last October you mentioned paying $40 per year. We haven't found anything close to that, but we also haven't been looking too long. May I ask what plan you are on?

Anyone else have a great plan for really low usage?


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A lot depends on your area and coverage. Virgin Mobile has a deal where you buy $15 for 3 months and there's different per minute rates but for low use something like 25¢/min, but it still $5/mo for some time and a phone. Tracfone has so many different options, a lot depends on if you're willing to play some games. When they run their twofer specials, you'll get a phone and two cards, good for 3 months each for $20, so 6 months of service with 140 minutes for $20 and it can be better if you use bonus codes.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 7:36PM
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Oh and then there's the Tmobile deal that essentially requires a 2 year commitment to really take advantage of it. You buy 1000 min, then just add $10 at the end of the year to extend.

You really need to check your area for coverage though because it varies. Tracfone has different phones for different areas. Around here, from my experience, PCS is the clearest, but CDMA gives you the best coverage area. GSM is a good compromise around here and is getting better. I will sacrifice quality for quantitiy so to speak. I want coverage in the middle of nowhere. And no, there's no phone that does not have dead spots. It takes some research and maybe even some testing. The beauty of prepaid is that it's not that expensive to test.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 7:41PM
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Hubby and I each have a TracPhone and I've had mine for many years now, he just got his last summer. We purchase a 1-yr. card for just under $100 dollars for each phone. We never use all our minutes and the minutes roll over. I like the plan because I don't want to mess with a monthly bill or any contracts or commitments, so it works great for us.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 6:35AM
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I used to have a pre-paid cellphone service that was O.K. It was STI mobile and it runs on the Sprint network. Cost was a fixed $.10/day, whether used or not, plus $.11/minute for calls and no rollover. Their rates have since dropped. The phones were free when we started. I believe you were required to use it once every 2 months to keep the number active and voice mail and text messaging could be turned off which saves on the wrong number minutes.

Most of these pre-paid plans are nationwide, but as far as I know, do not allow roaming on other carriers networks. Thus, a T-Mobile pre-paid is only on T-Mobile towers and not other GSM carriers.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 11:49AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I have and Use Page Plus.

I bought the phone locally for $20 and it came with 100 minutes on it. I don't know where all they are sold, as I have only seen the actual phones sold in cigarette stores. The minutes are available at most gas stations, or you can call an 800# and have then added via a credit card. There is a small fee (75 cents I think) for putting it on your cr cd.

I see now that the minutes are only good for 110 day (not 120 as I said/thought before), so the cost for the phone and adding $10 of minutes twice would not quite make it a full years time.

From the link below:
Your purchase includes:

* Audiovox CDM-9000 Tri-Mode Cellular Phone*
* Phone Battery
* Home Charger
* Preloaded with 100 minutes
* 30 day warranty through

PagePlus activated phones feature:

* NO Contracts
* Preactived with a USA Phone Number (local to area code 801)
* FREE Nationwide Long Distance
* FREE Nationwide Roaming through the Verizon Network, which covers the continental USA and Hawaii
* Caller ID
* Voicemail
* Text Messaging

Refill your minutes within 110 days and all unused minutes will roll-over, accumulating even with the smallest denomination. Additional minutes may be purchased below, at the following rates:

* $10.00 = 83 Minutes ($0.12/Minute)
* $25.00 =300 Minutes ($0.08/Minute)

I recently replaced my phone as the battery went dead and I thought it was too expensive to just replace the battery. The new Page Plus I got was a flip phone, which I like a little better ( It was $29.95 in the store.

When I then talked to Page Plus they switched my left over minutes from my old phone (with the dead battery) and put them on my new phone, along with the 100 minutes that came with it. They also switched my old number over to my new phone, and vice versa. She also told me where I could get a battery for my old phone on Ebay for just $1 (!!!)bless her heart. I ordered 2 batteries then as BF's battery went dead at the same time mine did on his 'old' phone. Now we both have back up phones.

Also...I was able to get car chargers for both models at a flea market...$5-$6 a piece.


Here is a link that might be useful: Page Plus details

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 1:30PM
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I stand corrected on the roaming. After looking at the Page Plus Wireless homepage, it appears that they do offer roaming on non-Verizon Wireless carriers at $.59/minute. So if you live in a red area of their coverage map, then it's all good. If you live in a yellow area, then it will be too expensive.

The advertising by some of these pre-paid carriers and/or their distributors is slightly deceptive when they attach their names to a large network and then only offer a portion of that network's coverage area. From The Lewis Wireless Website:

"FREE Nationwide Roaming through the Verizon Network, which covers the continental USA and Hawaii"

If you compare the Page Plus coverage area to Verizon's own pre-paid coverage area, there is quite a big difference. To be fair to Page Plus, no where on their website do their mention the Verizon Wireless network and so they are honest about what they offer.

The consumer definitely needs to check the actual coverage area map provided by the pre-paid carrier they are interested in.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 2:17PM
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You also need to beware of the maps used even on the prepaid carrier's maps as they can be deceptive. I have a CDMA Tracfone now after using Virgin PCS, Beyond TDMA and Tracfone GSM. Great phone (LG 3280) great coverage and low cost. Last summer I bought 1 year cards for my sister and me for about $99 each and it gave something like 1000 "units". Otherwise I used the cheaper cards but they have to be entered every few months to keep the minutes rolling over and since the cell is my gift to her every year it was just easier, albeit less frugal. I still don't use the phone a lot, but I'm using it more for work now. Still cheaper than a contract phone and I haven't run into many dead spots in the areas I travel and those dead spots are dead for everyone. Friends with expensive contracts can't get reception in those areas either and actually there's been several times my phone will work when theirs will not. For a while I carried more than one cell phone because one might not work in a particular area and the other might. And when both would work, I'd use the cheaper option.

I'm a firm believer in prepaid cell service, obviously.

And I've gotten some great deals on adapters, cases, etc from the internet. Big Lots had some cases at a good price.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 2:00AM
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I bought a Trackphone at Walmart for my DH for Christmas. It came with lifetime doubling on minutes. I was packaged with both AC & DC chargers and a case. I can't remember the exact cost, I think it was about $18 for the flip phone. So far, he hasn't had to get any new minutes and has several months left before we need to get another card. It sometimes gets service when my Sprint can't get service. When my Sprint contract is over, I think I will change over to a Trackphone.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 7:51PM
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I'm looking at dumping our AT&T plan in May when the contract is up! Can't see paying $80 a month when we hardly use them, plus reception is very iffy where we live, would never get rid of the landline.
DSIL has Virgin Mobile and is very happy with it. Also plan on checking out Tracphone. One thing I would like is to keep our current phone #'s and our phones. I think I can do that with VM.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 10:53PM
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I'm pretty happy with the prepaid plan I have with AT&T (came from cingular originally). I refill $25.00 for 3 months. It costs me $1.00 a day whenever I actually use my phone, and .10 a minute. My $25.00 usually lasts the 3 months. What I do like is I don't get charged for minutes when talking to other people who are with At&t...and it's amazing how many of the people I call regularly use AT&T. For about $100 a year I have a cell phone that I use fairly often that I can use anywhere in the US.

Reception with At&t is not always the best in my area so for me if I was switching that would be one of my concerns after all a cell phone is of no use without reception.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 9:47AM
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