Rec for cheap, bare bones cell phone plan? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 09-18-2005, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Need one for me and one for DH. And we mostly call each other. Verizon Wireless is killing us and the phones we have are crappy anyway.

I might just get rid of mine, but I want to see what's out there first.

Thanks!!

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#2 of 25 Old 09-18-2005, 12:29 AM
 
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virgin wireless has a great deal if you are not using too many minutes.
We were able to get tmobile for $49.99 a month for two lines. That has unlimited mobile to mobile and 500 anytime minutes. We got two motorola camera flip phones and two bluetooth ear pieces for FREE
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#3 of 25 Old 09-18-2005, 10:43 AM
 
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Be careful on the tmobil, if you are not in a large metro area the reception is not real great. We had a 1 year contract and when we would be out of our house and try to use it, there was more time that we had no reception than not.

Hugs
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#4 of 25 Old 09-18-2005, 11:27 AM
 
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Just wanted to post and mention...Cingular Wireless sucks! There customer service is absolutely horrible! I'm at the point of being willing to pay the contract breaking fees for dh and I. I would love to change plans if anyone has any good reccomendations.
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#5 of 25 Old 09-18-2005, 11:58 AM
 
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i agree with organicmommy. We were also had Tmobile and the service was terrible, customer service was worse. Where we live they have phone stores open for biz in areas that dont even get any service. I actually had to stop using their service switch to verizon but not cancel Tmobile because cancelling would have cost more money than to just pay them and finish out the contract. Our best move was to pay 2 cell bills for 5 months.

Stay away from Tmobile. the deal sounds great but if you need any assistance from them , forget it.
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#6 of 25 Old 09-18-2005, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can I ask those with tmobile what kind of things you had to call customer service about? I was thinking about it and I have never really had to call Verizon Wireless about anything. I don't know if that's because things work well or I just avoid calling. We have had a fair amount of reception issues as well, but I am lazy and never really end up calling them about it. I just keep re-trying my call until it works.

Also, I like to pay my bill online and I have never had any problems with that either. Can you pay online with these other companies?

Oh, one other thing. I guess I had more questions that I thought. I have never really had any problems if I had to carry a balance on my account with VW. I can be a month behind and they don't really bother me about it. I might get a reminder in the mail, but they have never shut off our service. Do you know if you can do this with your phone plan? I guess that would not work with the pay-as-you-go plans obviously.

Maybe our service is worth staying with, I don't know. We just have to find some ways to cut back right now. It's crucial.

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#7 of 25 Old 09-18-2005, 02:12 PM
 
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I had to call tmobile on many occasions in regards to no signal. bad reception and dropped calls. Id call, they would pass me off to the tech guys (but first they would ask me if i wanted to pay my due amount),then the tech folks would give me the " ok, well look into this and get back to you". Not once did i ever hear back from them and they did have my number. Once i sort of got someone to admit that i dont live in a full coverage area but they really didnt care. I had a contract and all they wanted to do was get paid for a service they were unable to fully provide. So we just paid them for the last 5 months of our contract (which was cheaper than the cancel fee) and moved on to verizon. Verizon is by far the best i have found as far as the deal and customer service.

If you dont use the phone alot except to each other, just go for the cheapest plan with the extra phone added on. It still may be more than the pay as you go plans but the long distance calling makes up for it in my book.
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#8 of 25 Old 09-18-2005, 02:32 PM
 
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this has not been my experience with tmobile at all.
We live in a small town, 25 miles from a larger town and 50 miles from a major metro area and we have service here. i have to go upstairs sometimes for a good connection, but it is not bad.
We have had to call tmobile twice, once to get the service and the second time bc my husband couldnt get his voice mail to work. Both times, they were quick, friendly and helpful. We had Cingular for two years and they were HORRIBLE!! Very hard to even get a person online!
Tmobile does have acoverage map on there website that I have found to be accurate for us.
As far as paying online, we have always used our bank online paying or we pay by phone, so I cant help you there.
I did a lot of research into the phone thing, and really didnt find any way to bring it less than $50 a month to have two lines. With Virgin Wireless, if you are really careful, it could be less. They charge 25 cents a minute for the first 10 minutes per day and then 10 cents a minute after that. Text messages are 10 cents each. So, if you were home, you could send dh a text message on your computer to his phone, and it would only cost 10 cents.
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#9 of 25 Old 09-18-2005, 09:38 PM
 
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I've had T-mobile for almost 5 years now and I never had a problem until an online payment didn't go through (we'd NEVER had a late payment before that, and we'd been with T-mobile for over two years). They shut off our service immediately without any notice (the payment was DAYS late, and we didn't know it hadn't gone through) and when I called, the customer service was awful, but they even had on record that we'd tried to make a payment. Then, when they reinstated the service, it wasn't working properly (I forget what they did) and I called about it a bunch of times, but the customer service department was useless. I finally ended up at a mall kiosk, and they were SO helpful and figured out what the problem was and fixed it.

I would have switched, but we get good coverage in this area and their plan, for what we need, is by far the cheapest. $30 a month for 300 minutes with free weekends. I never call if I have a problem though, I always just go to a kiosk and get help in person.
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#10 of 25 Old 09-19-2005, 01:10 AM
 
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with tmobile and regards to the crappy customer service over their phone number I could never recommend them to anyone. We told them flat out that we did not want their service after our 1 year contract was up and we still recieved bills. So we called, they told us thet you had to call on one certain day to cancel you contract or it would renew, HUH!!! That right, they said we had to call on tuesday and if we didnt call on tuesday another month woul dbe started and we would have to pay. Now thats outragous. Best bet dont get involved with them, Now granted i do know folks with Tmobile and its great for them but they live in large cities but i cant speak for their needs from what tmobile claims as coustomer service.
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#11 of 25 Old 09-19-2005, 09:49 PM
 
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We also have had a really hard time with Tmobil and with Cingular. Both have had bad customer service, and lots of inaccuracies with regard to bills, etc.

We're now with Virgin, and I can't say enough good things about them. DH and I both have phones with them and the signal has been great, the customer service has been excellent. If you're the kind of person who chats a lot on your cell, it's probably not the service for you, but if you use your phone for quick check ins and the occasional call when you're away from your desk or your home line, it's fabulous. We used to pay $49.99 (so, more like $65 with all those taxes and fees) for 400 shared minutes on two phones. Now we put about $20 every 90 days on each phone and any money that is left rolls over.
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#12 of 25 Old 09-19-2005, 10:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonJelly
Maybe our service is worth staying with, I don't know. We just have to find some ways to cut back right now. It's crucial.
Maybe you should go without them.
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#13 of 25 Old 09-19-2005, 10:10 PM
 
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can you dump your land line and go wireless only?
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#14 of 25 Old 09-21-2005, 12:54 AM
 
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#15 of 25 Old 09-21-2005, 08:55 AM
 
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Unless you use your celly alot, go prepaid. We get a $20 card that lasts 90 days-that's less than $7 a month. It is per minute more expensive so if you like to it isn't the best way to go. I have heard way too many horror stories about cell phone charges and broken contract nightmares. I've had Cingular Prepaid and Boost (t-mobile) and had no problems with either.
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#16 of 25 Old 09-21-2005, 09:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by partymoo
Steer clear of Sprint. It's impossible to get anything resolved. I've waited for hours in the store before finally having to leave without being helped, and calling hooks me up with someone in India or somewhere, thick accent I can't understand, and erroneous information.
I'm always tempted to tuck the invoice down my butt crack and walk around awhile before sending it with the check, but it's not really the fault of the poor shmuck who has to open it, so I just silently fume and wait until the contract runs out.
I'm not the OP, but I'm appreciating the recommendations.
Yes, Sprint was outrageous. Every month they had errors on my bill, always in their favor, including calls from cities I had not visited to numbers I had never seen. It was always something. I had to spend hours on hold resolving it every month. Once resolved on the phone, there was a geat chance it would not really be resolved, requiring multiple phone calls. The service was horrible. Dropped calls. Cancelling was a nightmare.

I have a prepaid Cingular phone which is barely adequate, but no dropped calls, no surprise bills, etc.

I have heard that Tracphone prepaid is very good and has lots of good deals and coupon codes for discounts on minutes. I have not tried them yet.

Are there any prepaid plans that allow unlimited calls between phones, like a family plan of some sort?
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#17 of 25 Old 09-21-2005, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am going to try the Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go plan -- www.virginmobileusa.com for those in the states. A friend IRL had recommend them but I couldn't remember what company it was before I posted this. Anyway, I will let you know how it goes!

Thanks for all the tips!!

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#18 of 25 Old 09-21-2005, 12:47 PM
 
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I have two questions. Is it OK to ask on this thread?

1. Do any of you know of any prepaid plans with unlimited calls from one phone to the other? and;

2. Virgin Wireless says it gets its lines from Sprint. Do you think the same problems with Sprint would occur with Virgin?

Thank you.
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#19 of 25 Old 09-21-2005, 01:10 PM
 
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I've had Verizon for years since it took over my Ameritech Cellular. On Verizon you should be able to call any other verizon customer and not use any minutes. Also if your contract is up, you should be able to turn in your phones for new ones and get huge rebates plus a better service plan.
DH & I call each other on the phones since its incl and does not use minutes. Also my parents have the same program so I call their cells only. I also do not have long distance on my land lines since I have it on my cell and it only uses minutes.

Before switching, visit one of their independent stores (not coporate owned) because they will take care of you because they have to compete. Also if you call customer service see what plan best works for you and DH.

Whatever you do do not get Cingular or Tmobile.

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#20 of 25 Old 09-23-2005, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st
I've had Verizon for years since it took over my Ameritech Cellular. On Verizon you should be able to call any other verizon customer and not use any minutes. Also if your contract is up, you should be able to turn in your phones for new ones and get huge rebates plus a better service plan.
DH & I call each other on the phones since its incl and does not use minutes. Also my parents have the same program so I call their cells only. I also do not have long distance on my land lines since I have it on my cell and it only uses minutes.

Before switching, visit one of their independent stores (not coporate owned) because they will take care of you because they have to compete. Also if you call customer service see what plan best works for you and DH.

Whatever you do do not get Cingular or Tmobile.
I do agree with you about Verizon. We signed up for the last two contracts at one of their stores and you definitely get better treatment.

You gave me some food for thought. We might go see what they have to offer first before dropping them. Thanks!

And to the previous poster, those are good questions. I would like to know as well. Our Verizon plan is a family plan and we don't get charged for talking to each other.

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#21 of 25 Old 09-24-2005, 05:40 PM
 
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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.

hth.

Love,
BettyAnn

PS I have not regretted my cp purchase at all.
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#22 of 25 Old 09-25-2005, 03:17 AM
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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.

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#23 of 25 Old 10-06-2005, 03:00 AM
 
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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.
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#24 of 25 Old 10-08-2005, 12:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info, MountainChick. How do know if a phone has a sim card? Is "sim" short for something?

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#25 of 25 Old 10-08-2005, 08:11 PM
 
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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:
http://onlinestorez.cingular.com/cel...uid=2281300022


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

Quote:
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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