cell phones again

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Susan1, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    It won't let me search for the old thread. Here we are again, almost August and I am going to have to pay $100 for 400 prepaid minutes at 25/minute that I don't even use to keep the cell phone active. I have used a grand total of 44 minutes ($11) in the past two years. It appears that even Tracfone has to have minutes added to it and the cheapest is $9.99/month (which is more than $100/year).

    I realize that practically every person over 10 years old and their uncle's dog have to be connected to technology 24/7, and can't stand in line or drive anywhere without a phone in their hands. I don't. I just need a cell phone for emergencies (like insurance?). I know the minute I give it up, I'll need it.

    I don't need it when I am in the house because I have a regular phone. (I've actually used the cell phone from the bedroom to check to see if my new answering machine in the family room worked.) And I'm not going to use it when I am driving or in a store. That's what the home answering machine is for.

    I looked into the free government cell phones. Now that I have the extended Medicaid, I am eligible, but I'm not putting my personal information out on some strange website. I wish there was an actual store I could go to. And I don't even need the free phone. Mine's pretty (2008 dusty rose Razr!!), it's a phone, I can text, it works. I have to plug it in every Saturday because the battery gets low just hanging out in my purse.

    I'm not going to take videos of cats doing something stupid and post them online (no offense :) !!!). I just need "emergency" minutes, without having to add up more and more unused minutes.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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    I remember your thread from before. I have more experience now. I am also like you and use the phone only for emergencies and when I travel. I charge mine once a week too - when I remember.

    Last year I went to the AT&T plan. I Paid $100 for 1000 minutes for a year. I had to pay the the phone separately - a flip phone that cost me $39.

    This year, I forgot to recharge the minutes until 2 weeks after the due date. I was afraid I would lose the minutes I still had and the phone number as well. However, this situation had a very happy ending. I called AT&T and the agent was very helpful. I still had 973 minutes left from last year. The agent was able to roll over the 973 minutes to this year. At first it was going to cost me $10, but then the agent was able to work things around and didn't charge me a thing.

    I suggest you call your company and see if they will do the same thing for you. If not, you might want to look into the AT&T plan. I think several other companies also offer the same kind of plan.

    I also wanted to go to a store and talk to someone. The At&T guys were very helpful and prompt. The hardest part of the process was having my old service discontinued - which I had to do in order to port that number to the new phone. I'm sure it depends on your local store and how it's run. The Sprint Store (my old service) was awful and slow.
     
  3. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    Isn't this frustrating? When I went to the Verizon store last year (already had the phone from being on my cousin's plan), $100 for 400 minutes was the best they could do. The only "free phone" thing they have (on their website anyway) is a discounted plan, which is more than I am paying for the prepaid. Maybe I'll go out there again to see if they have anything for "loyal" customers. I don't want to change plans to AT&T (where I already have my phone, internet and cable - and they don't bundle cell phones cheaply) and spend $100 to get 1,000 minutes I'm not going to use. Why can't they just send me a bill for 25 cents/minute when I do use it? (Yeah, I know, that's the opposite of "pre-paid"! ha ha) If I didn't pay for it, then they could shut off the phone or something.
     
  4. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    O.k. I am replying to my own post........................just checked the AT&T website. They have a "go phone" plan for 10 cents/minute!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know if you can just buy a whole year of minutes cheaper than $100 though. I will check into that. But you have to buy a compatible "go phone". There are only three cheap ones. One is gray. It actually has a whole keyboard, so I wouldn't have to hit "2" three times just to get to a "C" (one reason why I don't do texts!!!!). I will miss my pretty phone. When Tim was putting me on his family plan back in 2008 and he asked what kind of features I wanted on my phone, I said "pink". Won't be able to keep my number through Verizon though. Oh well. I'll just call everybody with my new one. Guess where I'll be going Saturday.........
     
  5. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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    You can keep your number. It's the law. If you decide to check out AT&T, go to the store and ask them about it. I have been able to port my number 3 different times. This was the most important thing to me as my number was my parent's number and has been in my family for 60+ years. I can't port it to my home phone, but I can port it to my cell phone.

    Also, if you got 1000 minutes for $100 and they rolled it over for you for several years, it might be worth it. Because they were helpful, I am paying nothing this year.
     
  6. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Susan1, did you look into a smart phone? Most of the plans, now, are data only. Phone calls and texts are free, as many as you want, to any provider. You only pay for used data. You could et the cheapest plan. I have a land line phone. However, it is part of our cable/internet bundle. So, if the power goes out - no phone. I use my cell phone 99% of the time. Rarely use the land line. Only keep it because it is tied to services. Neither of my kids even have a land line.
     
  7. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    I used to have Virgin Mobile pay-to-go and it required a top up of at least $20 to last 3 months. And you can do automatic topup. But for some reason I got stuck with a plan that added minutes more often than that and their website wasn't friendly.

    I recently switched to Tracfone which I only pay once a year. It gives you enough reminders when you need to top up, and I did that double option where it's 800 minutes for two years, not one.

    I use my phone for more than emergencies, so for a phone I use every day, it's not bad.

    Verizon has the worst pay-go-go deals, afaik.

    One time I had a problem with Virgin Mobile, so I complained to FCC. For some reason FCC put me on Lifeline phone program so I didn't even pay for my phone for a year or so. So strange - I didn't really understand why I wasn't paying; I didn't request to be put in that program. When I received a letter about renewing Lifeline, I finally figured it out and discontinued it. But for someone who needs a phone and can qualify, it is worth it.

    As for smart phone, I don't plan to get one. I already have my Nook, my Ipod touch, and I can get on free wifi at work, on the bus, in cafes and through my internet provider's hotspots. How much more connected do I need?
     
  8. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    You have to go to a store, but you can keep your number, yes.
     
  9. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a cell phone at all, so you ain't the only one. :)

    Isn't there a phone out there where I could buy like 90 minutes and pay for it once and done, and have those minutes last the next 50 years since I would never use it but that one time maybe 20 years from now I need it, its there? That's all I want. I don't want to have to keep paying say $20 every three months to keep reloading minutes that I never used in the first place, and never will ... except for maybe that one time in some distant future where my car might break down on the highway and its too far to just start walkin'.
     
  10. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Why don't you use your cell phones? Just curious.
     
  11. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    Nobody to talk to? The only time my home phone ever rings is telemarketers or appointment reminders. Sad, huh?
     
    BaileyCatts and (deleted member) like this.
  12. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    How much? I've gotten 400 minutes for $100 two years in a row. And only used 44 of them.
     
  13. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    Thank you!!! That's exactly my problem!!!! I have to keep adding minutes I don't use just to keep the phone usable - just in case.

    Which is where the free government cell phones/minutes would come in handy, but I don't want to send some company my personal information and then have them steal my identity and not send me a phone. All they'd have to say is "you didn't pay for anything."
     
  14. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    Tracfone airtime cards. You can get 400 min for 365 days and add the 365 extra days for another 50. So 150 for two years.

    I know it is annoying tokeep buying min but I assume it is a way to make me pay for having an active phone and an active number. The company could have labelled it phone maintenance service and i wouldnt think twice about it
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  15. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    Aren't there disposable cell phones? So if it's just an emergency only type thing, why not get one of those?
     
  16. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    If it really is only for emergency use, as in 911 ... I know in Canada the law is that 911 is accessible from any phone, including unregistered or un-serviced cell phones. So as long the battery is charged, you don't need any kind of service plan at all. I'm assuming the law is the same in the US, but maybe not.

    For other usage though, I know it's frustrating to not be able to buy just the few minutes you need per year, but look at it from the cell phone company's point of view: what possible reason would they have for providing such a service? They're not going to make any money at all, and in fact would probably lose money in the administrative costs.

    I'm no big fan of cell phone companies, they're second only to banks IMO in ridiculous fees, and in Canada we generally pay higher rates than other countries so we have even more to gripe about. But in this case I think it's a losing battle. Cell phones are not a universal right, they're a market-driven privilege service.
     
  17. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Most cell plans, now, are data. Minutes and texts are unlimited and free.
     
  18. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    But only when you buy the data, no? Again, it's how they're making their money. They're not going to just give away talk & text for free unless you're buying data.
     
  19. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    Minutes are definitely not all free or unlimited. My plan gives me 450 day minutes - the only unlimited minutes I get are 7 PM to 7 AM on weekdays and 7 PM Friday to 7 AM Monday. If I were to go over those 450, I would have to pay for per-minute usage.
     
  20. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    how on earth does anyone use 450 minutes a month (unless it is a work phone)? Even before smart phones when people talked instead of texted I think the max minutes I used was around 200 while I was travelling.
     
  21. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    Old dopey me - Does data mean using the internet? I don't want to do that. That's why I have a computer. I wouldn't try to read a web page on a teeny tiny phone screen.

    Anyway, you might just be talking about smart phones. With anything else, you have to pay by the month or add minutes every month (or pay a certain length of time in advance) to pay for phone and texts minutes.

    And I just noticed a "$2/day on days used" plan on AT&T. (So could I make 50 calls/texts on one day for only $2? Calls to you also count, so I would get charged for wrong numbers and telemarketers (I've had quite a few of those) and end up paying over $700/yr? ha ha ha) (Edited to add - I don't pick up calls from people I don't know, but I've had messages left for not me. And I can't stop texts from coming in.) I don't have the eye strength/patience at the moment to read the whole explanation and terms (contract, minimum, etc.). I'll ask when I go to the AT&T store.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  22. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    That's something like how it was when I was on Tim's friends and family plan. Free evenings and weekends and to other Verizon phones. And I was still giving him $15/month for nothing but peace of mind!!!!
     
  23. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Yes, sorry, I wasn't clear.

    Do you have a data plan? It's hard to find phones that are just phones anymore. And if you buy any sort of smart phone, you have to switch to a data plan. We have a family share plan. When we first got smart phones we paid for a minute and text plan and had unlimited data. When my son upgraded to the iPhone5, we had to switch all of our phones over to unlimited minutes and texts and pay for gigs of data.
     
  24. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I have a smartphone and no data -- prepaid/pay-as-you go phone that's talk & text only, no data, for $10 a month, then I use the internet and other data features whenever I can get free wifi. Never had to pay for data usage, and I'm hoping I never will.

    But it's just me on my plan, and I've never felt the need to be connected to the 'net 24/7 wherever I am. Obviously it gets more complicated once you factor in other people.
     
  25. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    You can do that with a pre pay phone. But, not with a contract phone. I am fairly frugal with my data. And have explained to my daughter that if she doesn't keep her data use in line, she can pay for her own plan. I use my data for navigation, weather, another apps. I have a very small data plan, it is actually less expensive than the minutes/texts plan.
     
  26. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    I don't. That's how many minutes the plan came with, and it was the cheapest data plan offered by my network (Sprint's Everything Data plan). The fact that I can text and surf the web as much as I want, plus data roam without being charged for it - which is great for when I go up to the Adirondacks because it seems they only have Verizon up there) - is the plus for me where that plan is concerned.
     
  27. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    Data can also mean texting. I was out of my area at a folk festival last year, and tried texting someone (I have a Galaxy S2 smartphone). Because I was in an area where I couldn't get a data connection, it wouldn't send the text until I was closer to home.

    A lot of sites have mobile versions, which optimizes the content for viewing on a smaller screen. Facebook has a mobile version (NOT the same as the FB app that has to be downloaded in order to be used), as do a lot of news websites.

    I pay for my smartphone by the month, same as when I had a regular, non-data cell phone. When my statement closes on the 26th of the month, my total minutes available goes back to 450, and my text and GB used totals return to 0.
     
  28. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I have Sprint's Everything Data Plan, on a Galaxy S2 phone. 450 Anytime minutes, unlimited nights/weekends starting at 7 PM, unlimited texting and data, and free roaming (I believe that covers both calls and data, and definitely covers data). Very happy with both the phone and my plan. :)
     
  29. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    Unproductive update - I stopped at the AT&T store on my way back from somewhere else. The 10 cents/minute is a prepaid up to $100/yr. You get 1,000 minutes instead of the 400 minutes I already don't use. And you have to keep adding minutes every year. Same with the $2/day. You pay $100/yr. (or add as little as $10 each month, whatever) and it just subtracts the $2 used on whatever day from what you've paid. So either way, you are paying $100 a year just in case you might ever possibly have to use it for an emergency or to order a pizza while you are driving or check your home answering machine. ha ha Rats. Plus I'd have to buy a new phone.

    Verizon is still the 25 cents/minute and I already have the phone. I still have till the end of August. Neither place deals with the government cell phone thingie. Oh well.
     
  30. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    $100 a year would be a blessing for us. We pay $180 a month for two phones and 6 gigs of data.