Pay as you go cell phones

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Bwis53
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Pay as you go cell phones

Postby Bwis53 » Thu May 01, 2014 12:14 pm

Is a pay-as-you-go cell phone strictly just paying for what you use?

With my old trakfone, I had to pay $99. for "service" for a year and
then more $ for however many minutes I wanted.

I'm looking for an extra cell where I buy the phone, pay one fee for
minutes and service until the minutes are used up, and then I can
buy more minutes and service.

Is there such a thing?

msnflyer
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Re: Pay as you go cell phones

Postby msnflyer » Thu May 01, 2014 12:40 pm

I bought a phone from one of the shopping channels, LG smartphone with 1500 minutes to use within the next 12 months, $89. It's a Trakphone so can load more minutes via a card if needed. Put it on their easy pay plan so it's about $13/month for the next 6 months. No interest or fee for the easy pay so why not?

Go to Wal Mart and check out the variety of pre-paid plans. Virgin Mobile has no contract plans, I used them for years with no problems. Target sells Virgin Mobile phones & plans and Virgin's website lists all their offerings.

Warning: if you go Trakphone, NEVER call the customer service number unless you like being on hold for hours.

snoqueen
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Re: Pay as you go cell phones

Postby snoqueen » Thu May 01, 2014 6:12 pm

I can't figure out your interpretation of the tracfone terms of service. Once you buy the phone itself, you have to top off the minutes-and-service for a minimum of $9.99/mo. (The number of minutes you get for that varies, since many or most of the phones come with a lifetime double-minutes or triple-minutes agreement.) You can pay for several months in advance. The minutes do not expire as long as you keep your payments current.

I have had several tracfones and I never had to pay any $99.99/year. Sometimes they advertise that offer, but it is optional. If you hardly ever use the phone and mostly keep it in case of emergency, the $9.99/mo thing is about as cheap as you can find. If you actually use up the minutes and need to add more during any given month, minute for minute it is not the cheapest compared with other companies. So take a look at your usage and choose accordingly.

Walgreens also sells phones and cards from most of these companies.

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Re: Pay as you go cell phones

Postby chainsawcurtis » Sat May 03, 2014 7:45 am

I have a trac phone ($15 from Walgreens). A $20 card upped online gives you 120 minutes and 90 days to use them. Then you add the bonus code for an extra 30 minutes. Been doing this for about a year and it's my main walk around phone - I have a landline at home. I used it when I was in Indiana so I am assuming it works about anywhere. Seems like a good deal.

Beaver
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Re: Pay as you go cell phones

Postby Beaver » Sat May 03, 2014 10:58 am

Bwis53 wrote:Is a pay-as-you-go cell phone strictly just paying for what you use? With my old trakfone, I had to pay $99. for "service" for a year and then more $ for however many minutes I wanted.

I'm looking for an extra cell where I buy the phone, pay one fee for
minutes and service until the minutes are used up, and then I can
buy more minutes and service. Is there such a thing?

Like snoqueen and curtis said, Tracphone is prepaid. You only pay for your refill cards so I don't know why you think you had to pay more $ for minutes.

I've had AT&T prepaid with a nice Nokia 6085 simple phone for years and been happy. Cost only $8/mo. Only problem is service outside Madison and urban areas is not good. Check coverage maps before you buy, but they aren't always reliable.

There are lots of prepaid plans. Here are some comparison sites:
http://www.prepaidreviews.com/compare/
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2375644,00.asp

If you want a cheap smartphone plan see my thread:
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=59215

Bwis53
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Re: Pay as you go cell phones

Postby Bwis53 » Sat May 03, 2014 12:01 pm

I got my first trakfone July 2008, Walgreens, nice and cheap. Didn't think I'd use it very long, so I got a plan for 90 days service and minutes. I never use my minutes. It was the first cell I'd owned in 5 years and it was handy. The service time was always up before I used up minutes. The only way I've bypassed the frequent time renewals, is to go with their one year plan, with a whole bunch of minutes I never use. I tried to tell them I had tons of minutes left and I just needed more service time.

Bwis53
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Re: Pay as you go cell phones

Postby Bwis53 » Sat May 03, 2014 2:54 pm

Anyone?

peripat
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Re: Pay as you go cell phones

Postby peripat » Sat May 03, 2014 4:48 pm

I'd guess you're always going to have more minutes than you need. I certainly have since I dropped my cell phone plan for a Tracfone. I think I'm up to around 3000 minutes now with service that expires in six months. I use maybe 10 minutes a month.
In six months I'll have to extend my airtime again and I'll do it for a year so that will cost me between $89 and $99 dollars (depending on where I buy from and what specials are available at that time) which means I'm paying around $8.00 a month for the service. It will also add, probably, 1200 minutes because this phone came with triple minutes for life.
I believe my first cell phone was from Verizon and I paid $20/month for something like 30 minutes a month. My daughter's first one was a pay as you go Virgin Mobile, and believe me, that kind of thing with a teenager gets expensive fast.
But I will never come close to using the minutes before the service period ends, I suppose that is a sort of marketing ploy- they want us to feel invested, like we have something to lose if we leave them.

snoqueen
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Re: Pay as you go cell phones

Postby snoqueen » Sat May 03, 2014 8:12 pm

I'd guess you're always going to have more minutes than you need.


Yep. That's how they make you think you have to stay with them -- you might lose all those imaginary minutes you'll never use up.

I think their coverage is pretty decent, actually. They don't have their own physical network; they rent or lease access to other companies' networks. So wherever you go, you seem to have a workable connection.

Except, for some reason, inside my house, but that's another story. If I go out and sit in my car in my own driveway, it's better. Who cares.

Incidentally, for people you talk with regularly, if you can both agree on the same internet phone app it's way way better than any cell phone. The people I talk with all use WeChat, which is Chinese. For whatever reason, it works quickly and well, is free, and the app itself is well organized and easy. Text messaging, photos and photo sharing, voice messages, internet phone, even multi-party conversations, all in one.

We tried a Korean app, a Japanese one, and I think one from India? All were decent, but the Chinese one was far and away the best. Sorry, google. Not a phone in the sense of emergency or business communication, but in the social realm it's perfectly satisfactory.

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Re: Pay as you go cell phones

Postby metas » Sat May 03, 2014 9:17 pm

Last summer I bought a discontinued LG cellphone from Amazon for about $20 to replace my land line. It came with triple minutes for life. I spent about $100 from TracFone to get 365 days of service and with triple minutes got about 1500 minutes. I just leave it in the house at all times for incoming calls and short outgoing calls. However I have some friends who talk for hours. When they call I just call them back by going to my PC and logging into Google Voice through my gmail account. I even use Google Voice to listen to my voice messages from my TracFone so as not to use minutes. The whole setup has worked very well and is about as in expensive as you can go for phone service. Sure beats paying AT&T $40/month for a land line.


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