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Old 09-18-07, 10:22 AM   #1
eofelis 
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Pre-paid cell phone suggestions needed

I have been cell-phone-free thus far but I am starting to think about getting one. I don't want one for endless yakking (I don't even talk much on the home phone). Just want one for using while travelling, mostly for letting folks who watch our cats call us if they need to. Or to use for a quick call home to let someone know if I'm running late, etc.

I don't want to pay a bunch of $ each month for that. I'm trying to keep my monthly bills to a minimum.

I've done a little looking around so far and a Tracphone is about $14 right now. Someone said a 1 year plan with 400 minutes is $100. I'm not sure if it would be good for long distance calls.

Any other suggestions from cell-phone savvy fooster out there?
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Old 09-18-07, 10:32 AM   #2
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I used to have Tracfone and was reasonalby satisified. I switched to T-Mobile pre-paid and have been very happy. I had some issues with Tracfone's coverage in my area. Their customer service can be somewhat challengeing. T-Mobile is very easy to work with, and most everything can be handled on their website.
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Old 09-18-07, 10:33 AM   #3
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Consumer Reports cautions that Trac Phone minutes expire after 60 days unless you buy more minutes.
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Old 09-18-07, 11:00 AM   #4
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I use Virgin Mobile- no complaints, really. Excellent coverage all over the US (except when I'm on an isolated section of single-track I like to do, but that's OK- being phone-less out there is actually sorta nice). I went for the $6.99/month plan with auto top-up (which I rarely need). And the minutes roll
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Old 09-18-07, 11:47 AM   #5
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Consumer Reports cautions that Trac Phone minutes expire after 60 days unless you buy more minutes.

More correctly you can different pre-paid amounts that expire at different times. You can buy a 300 minute card that lasts a year.

Also check the companies website for a coverage map. Pre-paid plans generally don't have the same coverage as regular plans.
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Old 09-18-07, 11:49 AM   #6
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My GF is using Net10 and seems to like it. You do have to keep paying into it but ultimately it comes down to about $15 a month.
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Old 09-18-07, 12:02 PM   #7
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i used the virgin phone for about a year with no issues.
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Old 09-18-07, 12:17 PM   #8
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I bought a Tracphone because for $15, it was cheap. Chuck in some cash for some minutes, and it did its function well -- a phone I could carry around on a weekend vacation without worry about it getting smashed or accidentally microwaved.

The phone works decently, and did what was needed very well. It has decent clarity, even in low reception areas, and SMS messaging works decently, which was all I needed on vacation.
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Old 09-18-07, 01:26 PM   #9
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Tracfone has the whole phone and 2 60 minute cards right now for $20 shipped IIRC. So that's ~140-320minutes for 6-8 months, depending on which promo codes ya use. I love my tracfone, for some reason it didn't kill all my minutes after the expiration, I can still add 'em, and I get free incoming text messages. It's been ~$3/month thanks to that and will likely get cheaper. Course, I don't really call anyone, so it's not very good for those with the gift of gab.
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Old 09-18-07, 01:35 PM   #10
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Another satisfied Tracfone user. I only use it for emergencies and one minute calls. It works for me.
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Old 09-18-07, 01:52 PM   #11
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Old 09-18-07, 03:15 PM   #12
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I have T-Mobile. $100 buys 1000 minutes, and it's good for a year. After you've spent a total of $100, all further purchases of minutes are good for a year.
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Old 09-18-07, 03:31 PM   #13
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if you insist on pre-pay (it's probably cheaper to get a plan) than t-mob is ok.

fwiw - i have a US pre-pay #, and my standard euro mobile plan.
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Old 09-18-07, 03:32 PM   #14
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Tracphone is okay, but their service and support is terribly annoying. They repeat every work you tell them right back at you, and wait for you to confirm. Every. Single. Time. In their favor, they do a good job of support if you can get past that.

The reception on my phone sucks, but I think that's the phone itself and not the network (AT&T).
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Old 09-18-07, 05:18 PM   #15
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I have tracfone and like it. I buy a 400 min card that's good for a year for about $70 off of ebay. If I don't use all the minutes in the year and you put a new card on they roll over to the next year.
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Old 09-18-07, 06:49 PM   #16
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I've been using T-mobile ToGo prepaid for 2 years now and am pretty happy with it. It's very low hassle. The basic phone costs about $40, and minutes are priced on a graduated scale. I buy 1000 minutes at a time for $100. They expire after a year.

Here's the T-mobile page on their prepaid:
http://t-mobile.com/shop/plans/Defau...plancategory=4
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Old 09-18-07, 07:46 PM   #17
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I've been using T-mobile ToGo prepaid for 2 years now and am pretty happy with it. It's very low hassle. The basic phone costs about $40, and minutes are priced on a graduated scale. I buy 1000 minutes at a time for $100. They expire after a year.
But once you've spent a total of $100 on minutes, you can buy lesser amounts also good for a year.

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If you insist on pre-pay (it's probably cheaper to get a plan) than t-mob is ok
It all depends on how much you use the phone. If you use it a lot, a regular plan would probably cost less, but if you use it only occasionally, the pre-pay would probably be cheaper. If you use 1000 min/year, the T-Mobile would cost only $8.33/month. I bought 500 minutes for $50 for this year, and most likely won't use all of that...so I'm paying $4.17/month.

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