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Susan1
07-12-2012, 07:33 PM
Hi to everybody I can count on for experience and opinions -

I guess I am the only person over 10 years old who does not keep a cell phone glued to the side of their head. Four years ago my cousin decided I needed a cell phone for emergencies and put me on his Verizon family plan. (Plus, this way I can call him and my aunt long distance for free.) I have paid him $15/month. And I usually don't even remember I have the phone until it beeps to tell me to recharge it. I've had to use it a couple times at this temp job to call the doctor or dentist because I do not have a phone at my desk and places are closed by the time I get home. Plus when I didn't have a badge here, I had to call someone to let me in. But I also haven't wanted to use up the family minutes because he travels a lot and depends on his cell phone for work.

Anyway, now my cousin's daughter is old enough to have a cell phone, and I am being "un-family-d" so that he can put her on his plan.

I need to get an individual plan. I wanted to keep my Verizon phone. (When he was adding me to his plan and asked what kind of phone I wanted, I said "pink"!!) Besides, people have that number and it's on my resume and it's free to call my relatives.

But the Verizon plans seem to be rip offs. You have to add to the prepaid balance before the end of the month even if you still have tons of minutes left. So I would be paying for all these minutes I would never use. Or I would run out of minutes if I actually used them. And still have to pay for the next month's minutes. Or I could buy $100 worth of minutes for the year. How would I know how many minutes I have? Can I buy more if I get stuck on a lot of calls for some reason? Before a year is up, would I have to buy $100 more minutes? (I'm going to the Verizon store Saturday, but I don't want some 21 year old kid to treat me like a dumb old lady <I bought my parents a touch tone phone in the 90's to replace their rotary phone!!> or try to sell me all kinds of features I don't want.)

Does anyone know of a prepaid plan that doesn't cost an arm and a leg for nothing? If I got another plan, I'd have to buy another phone though, and charger. And you have to pay whenever you cancel a plan (I know, not my cousin's family one since he is just changing family members).

I don't want to sit around and text people all day while I am at work just to ask them what they are doing (that's what email is for ha ha) or download music or try to read the internet on a little bitty screen. I don't need a bunch of "apps". I want to slap EVERYONE I see driving or standing in line somewhere transfixed by a cell phone. Or using one at work when I need to ask them a question.

And I know the minute I don't have a phone, something will happen and I will wish I had one. I always figured I could just say "cell phone" and everybody within spitting distance would whip one out.

So, looking forward to everyone's input - before Saturday morning?

Thanks.
Susan

Prancer
07-12-2012, 08:01 PM
Have you considered Boost, which gets the best reviews here: http://cell-phone-providers-review.toptenreviews.com/prepaid-cell-phones/

There are also these reviews: http://www.consumersearch.com/prepaid-cell-phone-plans

My only experience with prepaid was with Virgin Mobile, although that was actually Pay-as-you-go. It wasn't bad for emergency calling and such, but dropped calls and poor call quality were something of a problem. Since there were no contracts, there were no penalities for dropping them, which was nice.

T-Mobile is very popular with my students who use prepaid; if you consider T-Mobile, be sure to check the coverage area. T-Mobile doesn't have full coverage in this area; you don't want to get one of their phones and then find out you are in a dead zone.

nerdycool
07-12-2012, 08:36 PM
I currently use TracFone, and it works out well for me, because I too do not go around with a phone stuck to the side of my head or in front of my face. I paid $200 for 1500 minutes for 1 year, and at the time when I signed up, there was a deal where I would get double minutes for as long as I'm a customer. So my 1500 minutes turned into 3000. That's about $17 a month when you break it down (the bigger minute packages are for 1 year, pre-paid, though there are monthly pay as you go packages, too), and any minutes you don't use, roll over. My actual phone is pretty basic though. I can text, but can't receive pictures, nor can I take them. I think it cost about $20 for the phone.

But they have cheaper minute packages, as well as more advanced phones. They will let you keep your current phone number, too. You just have to request it and they'll port it to your new phone.

TracFone (http://www.tracfone.com/?lang=en)

soxxy
07-12-2012, 08:45 PM
delete

Susan1
07-12-2012, 09:07 PM
I currently use TracFone, and it works out well for me, because I too do not go around with a phone stuck to the side of my head or in front of my face. I paid $200 for 1500 minutes for 1 year, and at the time when I signed up, there was a deal where I would get double minutes for as long as I'm a customer. So my 1500 minutes turned into 3000. That's about $17 a month when you break it down (the bigger minute packages are for 1 year, pre-paid, though there are monthly pay as you go packages, too), and any minutes you don't use, roll over. My actual phone is pretty basic though. I can text, but can't receive pictures, nor can I take them. I think it cost about $20 for the phone.

But they have cheaper minute packages, as well as more advanced phones. They will let you keep your current phone number, too. You just have to request it and they'll port it to your new phone.

TracFone (http://www.tracfone.com/?lang=en)


Thanks (and to Prancer and nerdycool) - I do kind of want to keep my Verizon phone. I have occasionally taken pictures. Not that anybody else has seen them. Oh, and a friend sent me a picture when she went to the Paul McCartney concert in Cincinnati. (And called me cell to cell so I could listen for a couple minutes!)

And how do I change the title of this thread to "cheap cell phone plan"? Duh. I didn't mean "cheap cell phone", huh?

I've read the reviews pages. Too confusing. And I think Miamisburg does have "dead zones", down in the valley! Not with Verizon though.

Just had a thought I'll have to research. I have AT&T home phone and internet. I wonder if they have a good cell phone package for customers. I REFUSE to bundle to get AT&T "cable" too though. Everyone I know who's gotten it, hates it. (In the Miamisburg area).

Susan1
07-12-2012, 09:09 PM
Funny - the ad at the top of this page is for "Straight Talk" cell phones!!! How'd they know?

Southpaw
07-12-2012, 09:11 PM
:sekret:

Smiley0884
07-12-2012, 09:12 PM
I currently use virgin mobile, and I like them a lot. They have a good variety of affordable cell phones, and I get unlimited texting/internet use along with 1200 minutes a month for only $45. Since I text more than I talk that works for me. They have a variety of pre-paid plans, and I'm sure you can find something affordable that suits your needs.

Tesla
07-12-2012, 09:16 PM
Just make sure whatever carrier you use, you can get coverage in your area. Verizon is the only signal we can get at our house. Both AT&T and T-Mobile suck at our house.

Susan1
07-12-2012, 09:25 PM
:sekret:

no kidding!

Prancer
07-12-2012, 09:39 PM
And how do I change the title of this thread to "cheap cell phone plan"? Duh. I didn't mean "cheap cell phone", huh?

:bribe:


I've read the reviews pages. Too confusing.

Of all the things I have ever researched for purchase, cell phones are the worst, hands down.


And I think Miamisburg does have "dead zones", down in the valley! Not with Verizon though.

Verizon is probably the best carrier locally, at least for coverage; I had them for years and never had a problem, even in my dead zone neighborhood where all the other carriers have problems. They are, however, expensive, relatively speaking. They have both prepaid and pay as you go plans; since you would like to keep your Verizon phone, you might get a good deal there, as you don't have to buy a phone. Your phone should work with other carriers, but they often try to make that a PITA for you.


I have AT&T home phone and internet. I wonder if they have a good cell phone package for customers. I REFUSE to bundle to get AT&T "cable" too though. Everyone I know who's gotten it, hates it. (In the Miamisburg area).

I have AT&T for home phone and cell; I believe (although I wouldn't swear to it) that you get a discount only if you get U-verse and bundle everything. They are always trying to get us to get U-verse and that's part of their pitch.


Funny - the ad at the top of this page is for "Straight Talk" cell phones!!! How'd they know?

Google ads tracks thread content, so you will often see an ad that matches something in a thread.

Google also tracks people on the internet if it can. I'm not seeing a cell phone ad, for example; I see an ad for Wyndham Resorts. That's because I have a reservation with Wyndham Resorts and Google knows that I have been consorting with their site.

:puppet:<--me Google -->:2faced:

Rob
07-12-2012, 09:57 PM
If you don't want to change phones, you are stuck with Verizon's plans.
I don't use prepaid, but Verizon has the best coverage in my area so that is what I have.

My mother uses TracFone, but she only needs it for emergencies. She doesn't talk on it, but she has it in case the landline is out or she is at the doctor and ready to be picked up etc. She buys the one-year 400 minute card for $99.99. She never uses the 400 minutes, but it comes out to $8.33 a month just to have it available. That is about the cheapest we have found. They also have pay as you go as low as $9.99 a month. She got a free phone when she started (back when phones were clunky), and then they upgraded her to a smaller phone at some point for about $15. YOu can also pay $19.99 to get double minutes for the year, but you have to do that when you buy the year card. You can't use half of them and then try to double them.

If you change, depending on your phone, you can probably send the photos to your email and keep them that way.

A.H.Black
07-12-2012, 10:07 PM
I don't have a comment on which plan or phone to use but I do have experience on keeping your phone number. These days you can have your own phone number ported to whatever phone you choose. There may be an extra fee but it would save you from having to change the number with everyone.

When my father died, the family phone number had been in the family for more than 60 years. I didn't want to lose it and kept paying the bill until I found a way to have that number ported to my cell phone. I still get political phone calls for him every once in a while.

Cherub721
07-12-2012, 10:08 PM
But the Verizon plans seem to be rip offs. You have to add to the prepaid balance before the end of the month even if you still have tons of minutes left. So I would be paying for all these minutes I would never use. Or I would run out of minutes if I actually used them. And still have to pay for the next month's minutes. Or I could buy $100 worth of minutes for the year. How would I know how many minutes I have? Can I buy more if I get stuck on a lot of calls for some reason? Before a year is up, would I have to buy $100 more minutes? (I'm going to the Verizon store Saturday, but I don't want some 21 year old kid to treat me like a dumb old lady <I bought my parents a touch tone phone in the 90's to replace their rotary phone!!> or try to sell me all kinds of features I don't want.)


I use the Verizon pre-paid plan so I'll clarify a few things. Like you, I rarely use my cell phone, and when I do use it, the calls are typically just a minute or two long ("I'm on my way home" "Can you pick up some dinner" type calls). I have the cheapest plan which is $15/month (really $16 and change since you have to pay taxes, but not fees), and as you said, you have to add money each month even if you have minutes left over, which sucks because I could make that $15 last a long time otherwise. :P

Just to be clear though, you don't "lose" the minutes. Once you pay your $15 for the next month they do carry over, which is nice so that I don't have to feel guilty if I ever need to do a longer phone call since I have a huge balance. Once, I got lost and decided to download GPS onto my phone for one day, which was only like $5 so it barely made a dent in my balance. Sometimes I'll donate $10 here and there to the red cross via text just to burn off some of that excess balance that I'm not using. I'd still prefer to be able to not buy minutes every month, but at least I don't lose what I have already paid.

There are actually different "plans" within prepaid as well. http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/prepay/processPrePayRequest.do?&&type=ppdaily (click view plan details) This is where it's important to gauge your habits. If you tend to use your phone infrequently, but talk for a long time when you do, you'd probably do the $1.99 daily plan which charges you 1.99 for the day but no per-minute fee. Since I use my phone a couple of times a week, but for about two minutes at a time, I have the plan that doesn't incur a daily charge but charges you 25 cents a minute per call. The mobile plan is a la carte (I only used it in that one emergency). This is why you have to be careful with prepaid, because if you do the 1.99 daily unlimited plan and use it every day, suddenly you're paying $60/month and you may as well have a regular plan.

The phones on that website are expensive, but you don't have to get an expensive phone. I have the Samsung Juke which is very old but it's pretty and it doubles as an mp3 player; it was only $20 at the time. I can take, send, and receive pictures, and can go on the internet, but my screen sucks.

You might not need to buy a phone - google your phone's make and model and the word "prepaid" or call verizon to see if it can be used that way.

To address some of your other questions/concerns:
-You could find out how many minutes you have by creating an account on their website and/or sign up for free texts from them when you reach a certain low point (either in terms of cash left or available minutes). There's also a function that tells you how many minutes you have left every time you make a call, but it was annoying so I turned it off.
-I wouldn't bother going into the store to ask. They will probably try to sell you a plan. I did all of my research online. You could also try calling verizon; when I called to switch from a plan to prepaid, I went over my options with the girl and she agreed that the prepaid plan I chose made sense, and seemed knowledgeable.
-You have to add minutes at least once a month, but if you run out of minutes, you could add more.
-You should be able to port your current phone number to a different plan or different carrier without problems.

I'm happy with Verizon except for the fact that you have to refill every month. I have to use it because it's the only provider that has a good signal at my workplace. You might want to consider T-Mobile. http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-plans My mother uses their gold plan. You pay $100 for 1000 minutes which is good for one year, but after doing that once, you only have to add $10 to the phone per year to keep the same phone number active (you could certainly add more if you ran out). This is probably the best plan for people who realllllllly don't use their phones much.

KatieC
07-12-2012, 11:03 PM
Or I could buy $100 worth of minutes for the year. How would I know how many minutes I have? Can I buy more if I get stuck on a lot of calls for some reason? Before a year is up, would I have to buy $100 more minutes?

Susan

Your situation sounds very similar to mine a few years back. My Dad wanted me to have a cell phone - I got one free on a family plan - free calls to family, about $30.00 a month. But when my Dad passed away, I couldn't call for free anymore, and didn't want to pay $30.00 a month for a phone that sat on my dresser. I paid off the contract for $200.00 and badgered the cell phone rep til he told me about the $100.00 prepaid that was good for a year. I've used this ever since, and if it gets close to the year end and I still have a lot on the phone I just call my friends in Africa and use it up quite nicely. I mostly use it for texting. I figure it's cheaper than $10.00 a month, which was the next cheapest option.

Good luck.