best place to buy verizon cell phone?

mar_ciaMay 20, 2006

We have had a trac phone for several years just mainly to use during travel and for emergencies. It has been okay, but I think we are ready for Verizon. Both our grown, married kids have that so we could talk free. We were on a trip recently and our trac phone didn't have enough "bars" to work most of the time........we were in some remote lake/rural areas, but I would go into a fast food restaurant and my phone wouldn't work but I would see others talking on their phone. I think I am ready to make a switch. Where is the best/cheapest place to buy two? Does it make a difference? I mean just go to Radio Shack or the kiosk at the mall or where? Would they be the same price everywhere or not? I am not knowledgable about cell phones at all. I assume the plans are going to be confusing, as well. Any help would be appreciated.

Marcia

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steve_o

Well, you can't go to Radio Shack anymore since they lost/gave up their Verizon franchise. However, Circuit City now has Verizon-staffed kiosks within its stores. And there's Verizon's Web site. There's also Best Buy and some third-party cellular dealers. Amazon.com also sells Verizon.

Where you buy the phone will make a slight difference in your choices. For example, my (Verizon) phone is a Nokia that, for some reason, Verizon did not sell in their own stores or on their Web site, but that they did sell at Circuit City and Best Buy.

Cheapest place? Probably Amazon.com if you're a new customer, though they often make you jump through rebate hoops. Verizon's Web site sometimes has Web-only deals. If you'd rather deal with bricks-and-mortar, though, either a Verizon store or Circuit City would be best. The best deals there probably will be whatever's on promotion in a given month, assuming it meets your needs.

One thing to check out will be what kind of coverage you will need. Cellular service in the U.S. is moving away from analog, which offered good range, to digital, which offers more calling features and better battery life. Most of the phones you'll find at Verizon (and elsewhere) don't even offer analog calling. Sometimes, though, analog is all there is (particularly in rural areas), and the economics of the business imply those sites won't go digital anytime soon. Check the vendor's coverage map to see what kind of coverage you need to have service where you want it. You may have to narrow your search for a phone to one that offers analog and digital service.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 7:15AM
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mar_cia

Steve, Thanks so much for your very imformative and helpful information. Those are exactly the kinds of things I needed to know. I feel like I will know the correct things to ask now and where to go. Marcia

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 9:02AM
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Cynic

You say you think you're ready but I'd suggest you consider what you want and what it will cost.

On a trip you had bad reception. Check the type of service you have and whether it's compatible in the area. You may have the wrong phone for the area. TracFone has roaming agreements with many providers so they have about the best prepaid coverage area of anyone, but their cost is higher. Whether you use it a lot will determine whether it's high enough to justify a postpaid account.

Other people could talk on their phones inside when you couldn't. Not the provider, most likely. It's probably the phone. If you have a cheap "bar" phone, you don't get the greatest reception in the fringe areas. Quality of the phone makes a difference. Most with an external antenna will pick up better than those without. You could ask the people in the areas where you want coverage what kind of phone they have and the provider they're using. Ask how their service is, do they have problems with dropped calls and the like. I was looking at TracFone's coverage maps and they vary by the different type of phone. If you know any traveling sales people or other occupations that have them traveling a lot, they can give you a lot of info and ideas what to look for from their experience.

I know people who carry 3 cell phones to have coverage in various areas they travel. I read about people who carry more! It varies that much. I'd like to see the cellular towers combined and available to all cell providers, just like the phone lines are available to all long distance carriers. Course, that won't happen for a long long time, if ever!

Off topic, but I have OK coverage for most areas I'm in a lot. I use prepaid. I'd *like* a little better coverage while I'm traveling since I go through dead spots and some of the routes I'd like to take have no service. I'm thinking about a second phone for those areas just to have the peace of mind of increased coverage for emergencies.

Yes cell phones are very, very confusing! There's different types, like PCS, CDMA, TDMA, GSM, analog, (whew!) and then you get to consider single band phones, dual-band, tri-band, quad-band, etc. Text messaging? Web? Instant messenger? Then the different plans! Just be sure to relax, make a lot of notes and compare. Also check the coverage and ask around. Especially try to find people who travel in the areas you travel to see what phones they find work or don't work in those areas.

Remember that no *one* cell phone will work everywhere. Some will work in more areas than others and what's best for you is not best for others. Take your time. You'll learn a lot. Don't get pressured into getting something that doesn't work for you, especially considering the penalties for breaking contracts can be expensive. Most postpaid plans don't have roaming charges but don't assume anything. Ask and read that contract thoroughly. There's some excellent forums out there on cell phones with a wealth of information. Take your time and do some research and ask questions when they come up. Write things down, you'll never remember it all.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 12:53AM
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mar_cia

cynic Thanks for all your comments. Things I hadn't thought of. Yes, our phone is the cheapest bar phone and I never thought that maybe it was the phone !! I guess a better tracphone would probably be better, but I think I will try verizon anyway. We use the pnone mainly when we are out of town.....so with the tracphone, you are roaming and use double the minutes. When we were at one lake community, I mentioned that my phone wasn't working and the man we were with said that unless you have verizon there you are kinda out of luck, so I guess in that area, where we are considering moving, verizon works best.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 12:02PM
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tibbar

I love Verizon! I am on an old single rate plan from 2001. I get coverage where sprint and others have none. I bought my plan and phone from the website and it was easy. When I have a problem...once...I went to the store and they fixed me right up. Being able to talk to other verizon users is great and I may have to look into changing my plan..just not ready to yet. My plan is so old that I have longer weekend hours but no evening hours from 6am Monday until 9pm friday. Happy researching...you have gotten great advice above.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 9:59PM
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steve_o

I may have to look into changing my plan..just not ready to yet. My plan is so old that I have longer weekend hours but no evening hours from 6am Monday until 9pm friday.

If you do choose to change your plan, make very sure you know what you're getting into as far as "night" and "weekend" hours and coverage areas. The America's Choice plan underwent a big change about 1-1/2 years ago which modified (that is, deleted) a good chunk of the analog coverage on which Verizon users could roam (granted, a big hunk of a tiny pie, but if you need it, you need it). AFAIK they're not renewing the SRC (Single Rate Calling) plans, either -- you are moved to AC2 or have to choose something else. I'm not saying "don't do it," just that you know what you're getting into before signing. I didn't realize that they took the "opportunity" to move me from AC1 to AC2 with my new phone, and, by the time I discovered it, it was too late to switch back. :-(

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 8:55AM
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dreamgarden

This is reprinted from the Dollar Stretcher-I have been a subscriber for years. Great publication. http://www.stretcher.com/index.cfm

My Story: Cell Phone Hardball
contributed by Gordon Reeder
Be prepared to negotiate the best deal possible

Play hardball when it comes to selecting a cell phone plan.
And don't buy the standard offering. Several years ago, I had
to update my AT&T (now Cingular) cell phone plan. I also
needed a new phone. Unfortunately, new phones are only given
to new customers. Existing customers have to pay for new
phones. I balked. I decided I wanted the new phone free.

First, I tried pleading with them. That didn't work. Then I
appealed to their sense of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
That didn't work either.

Then I realized that my best hand was to let them know that I
was willing to walk away, so I did my homework. I went to
three of the biggest cell providers in the area. I got details
of their plans and the free phones they offered. I took notes.
Then I walked into the AT&T store, carrying their competitor's
pamphlets in my hand. Let the game begin.

"Hi, I need to renew my cell plan."

"Yes, Mr. Reeder, I see that you have our 'blah, blah, blah'
plan. Is that what you want to renew?"

"Hmmm, I see that night and weekend minutes begin at 9:00 and
XYZ starts theirs an hour earlier. I really like that."

"I see, well we can offer..."

And just like that I got unlimited nights and weekends
starting at 8:00pm instead of 9:00pm. And so it went until I
also had an additional 200 bonus minutes and free mobile-to-
mobile calling. But I still didn't have that free phone and I
wasn't leaving until I got it. And so...

"Well there is only one more thing before I agree to renew my
plan. I need a new phone."

"Of course, Mr. Reeder, we have a great selection of phones.
This one is only $49.95, and this one is $99.95, and..."

"No! No! You don't understand. Phones are free if I switch
carriers."

"Right. We can offer..."

And out came the credits and rebates. By the time it was over,
the $99 phone was free. Yes! I win! I walked out with a better
plan than I went in with and I got a free new phone.

So don't just settle for what is put in front of you. The cell
phone market is very competitive. You can use that to your
advantage. Be prepared to negotiate for what you want.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 12:26PM
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mar_cia

Gordon, I am very impressed. Are you available to come with me to purchase a new car?!! Just kidding. It just shows what you can get if you do your homework and are persistent. I will print and file this important info for two years from now. We did get Verizon....we bought one and got one free and we have been happy so far. (If you would have gone with me I could have gotten both for free I think !! ) My phone has worked twice when others have not so I am a happy camper thus far.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 3:23PM
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mar_cia

oops, Thanks dreamgarden for posting this and after rereading it, I realize I shouldn't have been responding to Gordon ! I do still wish he could come shopping with me, though!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 4:00PM
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steve_o

Be aware that Verizon has much less customer "churn" (gain and loss) than other mobile providers -- in fact, they're about the only ones routinely adding customers faster than they lose them (and they're not losing that many). That makes them much less willing to bargain. Anyone looking to "deal" will do better at a non-Verizon carrier. Of course, whether the service you get is worth what you're paying is another matter. I'm not connected with Verizon in any way other than being a long-term satisfied customer; just suggesting that "Gordon" probably would not have found a Verizon sales rep quite so accommodating.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 7:37AM
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western_pa_luann

We have had Verizon for more years than I care to think about!

But we stay because the service and coverage has been excellent.

When we were last in, we got cameraphones "Buy one Get up to 3 Free". So DH paid for his from his business account, and the kids and I got ours free.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 1:59PM
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mar_cia

Thanks everyone. I am glad to hear about happy verizon customers. Makes me feel better. Now the only thing I have to do it figure out how everything works. So far all I have figured out how to do is call and answer and put numbers in and put a message on the phone. I will probably never take a picture. We haven't paid the extra monthly money for the web access, im, etc. I am new at this so I will see how I like using it. Luan, we live just east of Pittsburgh near Irwin......how about you?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 4:54PM
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western_pa_luann

further down Route 30 East!

Pictures come in handy while shopping... I don't use mine otherwise (kids use theirs all the time....). I also hear it comes in handy to document a fender-bender.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 5:19PM
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