Looking for info on "prepaid" cell phones... - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-25-2006, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for info on "prepaid" cell phones...

My husband and I have been going through our expenditures and are trying to come up with all the ways we can cut back and save money every month. One of those ways would be for us to get rid of our cell phone ($39.99 is our rate, which is the cheapest they offer BTW) and get one of those prepaid things. We basically want the cell phone for me for when I drive (which isn't very often) and may run into trouble and need some help and I have one friend that I talk to who lives far enough away to where long distance charges apply. That's why we got the cell phone in the first place. Well, we have unlimited nights and weekend minutes and we never even come close to using those minutes and that's why we think a "prepaid" phone would do us better. I was wondering if any of you have experience with the use of one of those phones and could tell me a little bit about it; does it latch on to any cell tower just as easily, are there excessive per minute charges.

We briefly tossed around the idea of getting rid of our landline and going strictly with the cell phone but the thing we don't like about that is if we would need to have the phone with us while we're out and our kids are at home with the babysitter then she would have no way of getting a hold of us. Any info would help. Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-25-2006, 11:49 PM
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I have a prepaid for emergencies. I think it was originally an AT&T but it's now a Cingular. I pay $25 every 90 days and the money I haven't used rolls over. I can't really comment on how much it costs per minute since I rarely use my phone, as I said it's pretty much an emergency item. You can choose to put less then $25 on the account but then you have to pay monthly I believe. Also you can put much more on and I think if you put a large amount on, you don't have to "renew" for an entire year. You need to be on top of renewing, whenever you do it, because you lose the left over money if you are late.

For me, it works out perfectly.

Kel
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 08:53 AM
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I have Virgin Mobile. I pay $15.00 every three months(if you put it on your credit card, otherwise it's $20.00 every three months) The cost of each call is 25 cents per minute. Since I don't make a lot of calls it works out great for me. Even when we went to Las Vegas and I had to make long distance phone calls back home to San Diego, it still only cost me 25 cents a minute. If you only pay $15.00 every three months, that only comes to $60.00 a year. Your money just keep accumulating, you don't lose it if you don't use it. You just have to make sure that you put on the $15.00 every three months to keep it activated.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-28-2006, 03:20 AM
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Hmmm maybe I should switch to virgin mobile. Sounds like the same plan with a lower minimum payment. Mine was $10 for 90days when it was at&t but since cingluar bought it, it's up to $25 for 90days. Still not too bad if your usage suits a prepaid set up.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-28-2006, 05:30 AM
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UK Must be different. With Orange I dont have to put on a minimum monthly emount.

I remember they phoned me and said they could save me money by putting me on contract... they asked how much I spend on month, I said put it this way I put about £5 on it in the last year. They couldnt help
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-28-2006, 02:42 PM
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I have the Cingular Go Phone. My plan is $40 a month. I get 300 anytime minutes and unlimited nights and weekends. Long distance and everything else is free also. The minutes I don't use at the end of the month roll over. I chose the Go Phone because I can cancel my service any time. I didn't have to sign a contract.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-28-2006, 08:59 PM
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I have the old prepaid plan that Cingular used to offer before they began the GoPhone plan that Roze has. I am "grandfathered" into the plan -- it is not available any longer. Sounds like the same one Kelae has.

I have a prepaid phone for two reasons:

1) there is no signal at my house, so those free nights and weekends (when my kids are home anyway) are useless for me

2) I don't use to it to chat with people. It's basically for emergencies. Only a few people have my number.

It makes sense for me under the circumstances. Plus, there is no contract, and I can buy different amounts of minutes. I should note that I cannot use my phone nationwide; there are roaming charges which apply when out of my local area (within about 2 hours' drive of my house).

It's not the cheapest way to go, but it eliminates having the fixed monthly cost of a plan. If you don't use your phone much, it's a good option.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-28-2006, 09:26 PM
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I swear by Tracfone prepaid myself. I can by airtime in cards of just about any size. A card for 40 units (minutes) of airtime is $19.95 US, and is good for 60 days. Or, for $89 US, you can buy a card that keeps the phone active for a year, with 150 minutes included. Any units, or minutes, that you don't use before the time expires rolls over once you get a airtime card, and if you get the card early, any time you have left rolls over too.

All the tracfones have a monitor on the phones screen that tells you constantly how much time you have remaining and the date that you will need a new card.

And my favorite part...they don't own any towers, they just lease everyone elses..so the phones will work darn near everywhere, and there are no roaming fees, in your home area or not. 1 unit is 1 minute, anywhere and everywhere.

I don't use my phone a great deal, but I do use it. Especially to call family to avoid long distance charges on my home phone. A person that uses a cell phone a lot will easily spend more on a prepaid, but from the way you say you use it, prepaid is the way to go.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-29-2006, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePageKY
I swear by Tracfone prepaid myself.

And my favorite part...they don't own any towers, they just lease everyone elses..so the phones will work darn near everywhere, and there are no roaming fees, in your home area or not. 1 unit is 1 minute, anywhere and everywhere.

I don't use my phone a great deal, but I do use it. Especially to call family to avoid long distance charges on my home phone. A person that uses a cell phone a lot will easily spend more on a prepaid, but from the way you say you use it, prepaid is the way to go.
Funny you should bring up the TracFone. I've been reading everyone's responses to the original thread since I posted a few days ago. I've done some checking with Cingular and a couple other companies and we have very little signal access for such companies around here. Verizon and Cellular One (recently bought out by Alltel) are the big chiefs around here. That's what we get for living out in the middle of Nowhere North Dakota!

Anyway, my husband said that he's been hearing advertisements for this thing called "TracFone" so I got on the website to check it out. Seemed like a good option for us because we can make calls within the entire western half of North Dakota without a roaming charge. That's the one thing I noticed about your post, Mike, that I've learned is actually different from what you had stated. At least with the current plan they have now (don't know if it was different earlier) any calls that we make to a location outside the western half of North Dakota get what they consider a roaming charge; we will be charged 2 minutes for every minute of phone use for calls made outside our calling area.

At any rate, we did some thinking, talked to a couple people who love their TracFones, found out Office Max is one of the distributors and decided to go with the $90/year plan that includes your first 150 minutes. When we had a cell phone we basically used it for emergency only, aside from the couple of friends we keep in contact with outside our local calling area, so we feel it's nice to have the security in knowing that we have a cell phone that will be good for a year with absolutely no requirement for extra minutes unless and until we choose to purchase more. In doing some calculations, we figure that with the usage we would normally get our of a cell phone we should be saving about $20 to $25 per month with the TracFone. The only drawback I think I could point out about the TracFone is that the higher the number of minutes on the card you purchase the cheaper the per minute rate, so if we want to cut back on our per minute rate we'll need to spend more money at one time to buy a higher number of minutes but the savings at the end of the year should definitely be worth it.
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