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Rec for cheap, bare bones cell phone plan? - Page 2

post #21 of 25
I've got a Virgin Mobile phone - it's prepaid - I think I saw you mention you were going to try it. I personally love it -it's exactly what i need. I don't use my cp much - it's just for emergencies (or that last minute call to pizza place on the way home from late doc appt) to have pizza arrive at the house same time I do. It costs me $80/year.

What I would recommend you do before you go the prepaid plan - esp since you were used to a true cp plan - is to figure out the average minutes you used in a 3 month period to see if it's cost effective for you.

I use barely 10 minutes/month, so it's perfect.

It also uses Sprint Wireless service - at least it does where I live, so I have really good coverage area - i would DEFINITELY encourage you to check that out, too, in advance - because I don't know how long a grace period you get with buying a prepaid phone.

I got a R7 Kyocera at Sam's for about $60 (give or take a wee bit) and it came with quite a few bonus minutes, so I didn't have to buy any top up cards til 3 months later - you have to have a certain amount of credit on the phone to use it. Can 't remember what that is off the top of my head.

Also, if you buy the prepaid phone at Target/Walmart, etc., and it's about $49 or so - expect to have to buy a $20 top up card - again because of the min balance needed on the phone in order to use it.



PS I have not regretted my cp purchase at all.
post #22 of 25
I actually like Cingular... I have two phones, 400 minutes plus free nights and weekends, free long distance, no roaming, and rollover... all for $49.99 a month. The price is $10 more now, but because I got a contract 2 years ago and just stayed with it, my cost stayed lower, and they will give us two groovy new phones if we renew for another 2 years at the same rate. The reception is okay, not great, but I don't know of anyone who has better reception. We have no landline, so prepaid wasn't going to work, but we've never gone over, because of the rollover. I called customer service a couple of times with no problems, too, and billing has never been wrong.

post #23 of 25
My first cell phone was an AT&T prepaid plan, phone was nice, $30 every 90 days, and minutes rolled over. Then they were taken over by Cingular and everything changed, so I dumped them.
I researched all the other prepaid plans in my area and decided to go with Virgin Mobile, been with them for 2 years. They have great customer service, nice phones, $20 every 90 days, and money rolls over to next if you add the next $20 before expiration. They use Sprint lines, but their customer service is completely separate from Sprint.

Unfortunately, for my area coverage isn't as good as T-Mobile, so I'm switching over. When I first looked into T-Mobile, their prepaid plan didn't roll over minutes...can you say "rip off". But they changed and now it does. It's $25 every 90 days, and when you have spent $100 they will give you 15% more minutes, and will give an expiration date of a year for the minutes.
How I decide to use them is whenever I saw someone on cell phone in an area of my community that I couldn't get service I would ask them who their provider was...and it always seemed to be T-Mobile. So I'm switching.

There is something else to consider that alot of people don't know about. If you are using a phone that uses a sim card, you can unlock your phone and use it with any provider. That means, say you're with Cingular, and your phone uses a sim card, you can get a code to unlock your phone, and then use a T-Mobile sim card in it instead if you want to keep your phone and just transfer service providers. And if you look in the right places you can get the sim card for the new provider pretty inexpensively.

One last thing, if you decide to go with Virgin Mobile, now's a good time to start checking Walmart, Target, and places like that because they sell their phones, and now is when they start to bring in next years models, so this years go on sale. I bought my Virgin Mobile phone for $49, and 4 months later (at the end of the year) it was on sale for $29. :

inezyv- No prepaid plan gives you unlimited minutes of any kind. With a prepaid plan you are buying your minutes ahead of time, so anytime you make or receive a call you are using the minutes you have alread purchased, understand? Prepaid plans are only cheaper if you don't use your phone very much. I only use my phone, maybe 20 minutes a month, but some months might not use it at all, so paying $29/month when I might not even use it that month just wasn't cost effective. The other poster was right, go over your old bills for at a 3 month period and see what your usage really is, calculate what it would cost in a prepaid plan as opposed to a monthly. HTH.

Oh yeah, I forgot to add that most prepaid plans now offer nationwide long distance, and no roaming charges. I know that Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile do.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, MountainChick. How do know if a phone has a sim card? Is "sim" short for something?
post #25 of 25
Okay, MoonJelly, I take it back about no unlimited mobile to mobile, it seems Cingular has changed their services too. Cingular offers prepaid with unlimited mobile to mobile and a dollar a day access charge, but only on the days you make calls.I'm not sure about roll over minutes or anything else. You should explore the site, or go to one of their stores and talk to someone about it.
Here's a link:

As far as sim cards go, the following quote came from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSM

Subscriber Identity Module
One of the key features of GSM is the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), commonly known as a SIM card. The SIM is a detachable smartcard containing the user's subscription information and phonebook. This allows the user to retain his information after switching handsets. Alternatively, the user can also change operators while retaining the handset simply by changing the SIM. Some operators will block this by allowing the phone to use only a single SIM, or only a SIM issued by them; this practice is known as SIM locking, and is illegal in some countries.

In the USA and Europe, most operators lock the mobiles they sell. This is done because the price of the mobile phone is usually subsidised with revenue from subscriptions and operators want to try to avoid subsidising competitor's mobiles. A subscriber can usually contact the provider to remove the lock for a fee (which operators sometimes try to claim to be ignorant of), utilize private services to remove the lock, or make use of ample software and websites available on the Internet to unlock the handset themselves. Some providers in the USA, such as T-Mobile and Cingular, will unlock the phone for free if the customer has held an account for a certain period. Third party unlocking services exist that are often quicker and lower cost than that of the operator. In most countries removing the lock is legal.
SIM's only work with GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)phones. If you aren't sure about your phone, the quickest way to find out is type your make and model number (i.e. Nokia 6010) into Google, and hit search. It most likely will come up with links about your phone and say if it's GSM, CDMA, or TDMA.

Hope this helps.
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