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Cell phone plans?

Started 1326375344.087 in Electronics Talk | Last reply 1327409987.78 by robomo

Hoping someone can help.

We're fed up with paying so much for cell phones. DH & I are not-techies, just need a simple flip phone for (medical) emergencies. We use the home land-line for most calls and both have work phones for emergencies. Both our dr.'s suggest a cell phone for travel emergencies as we are getting older (58), I've had heart issues and he's had medical issues as well.

We have US Cell plan (cheapo phones) but their cheapest plan (with taxes on the taxes, etc.) is close to $90. That seems like an awful lot to me. We use them about 200 minutes total, but with a little effort could use it much less. I think the smallest family plan is like 900 minutes!!!

Does anyone have any suggestions? We only talk - no text, no internet, etc. nor will we need those in the immediate future, if at all....we just want an emergency sort of phone.

I'm confused with all the plans, etc. Can someone tell me pros & cons of some of the plans/phones out there?

I really appreciate it. I'm home with a snow day so I'm making it my mission & would appreciate all input! Thanks.

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Elbelle1326375655.623242 PostsRegistered 6/8/2007NJ

Consumer Reports recently did a great article summing up the cell phone plans and how to decide which plan is best for you. They have a website, www.consumerreports.org

Lovely1326376022.3568 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Get rid of the home phone and ONLY use the cell phones. That way you eliminate the home phone bill and you are only paying for the cell phones. That should make up the difference in cost. You will probably end up paying around $90.00/month for 2 cell phones on a family plan, but you won't have a home phone bill any longer.

Shogirl21326376026.082184 PostsRegistered 12/6/2010

What about buying a prepaid cell phone? You can pick your minutes and pay for it up front - no plans to deal with. I think they have an expiration date on them, though.

I think one of the problems these days is that the best deals are bundled, and the basic plans aren't discounted. I had to get a lan line phone for my mother-in-law in a nursing home, and we're paying $40/mo. for basic service, no long distance and no voice messaging. That's ridiculous!

erblst1326376396.7832531 PostsRegistered 5/19/2008Central NH

Thanks for all the great ideas - just a quick mention here - I HAVE to have a land-line home phone as we can't get cell service on the farm! Nobody can, no service here. So land-line has to stay.

I wish it was that easy.

rogan1326393980.3132168 PostsRegistered 8/29/2007

Go with Tracfone or Straight Talk prepaid plans. Cheap phones, cheap service, coverage most everywhere. HSN always has great deals on Tracfone, like triple minutes for life with the phone purchase.

PaLady11326394645.45313 PostsRegistered 11/28/2011

I second rogan's suggestion re: tracfone. I'm in my 60's and still have a landline (but no long distance, voice mail, etc., just the basics) and some family members were concerned so a couple of years ago gave me a tracfone. The one they bought already had a 1 yr service card on it, and double minutes for life. I've since bought a new one (via HSN, although I think QVC now has a similar deal) which included a 1 yr. service card and TRIPLE minutes for life. Those 2 things are important because the included service card can cost about $100 on the tracfone site, but that means your minutes are good for that entire year. And every time you add minutes, it triples the amount on the card you buy. So if you buy a 100 minute card (can buy them anywhere these days, or on the tracfone website), you get 300 minutes, plus it adds 90 days to the end service date. This may sound confusing but you have NO contract, and only use the minutes you use. With buying a deal that includes the 1 year service, you can go a year without adding minutes if you don't use a lot. And I bought a touchphone in the deal I got with HSN which allows texting - and actually it's cheaper than phone minutes. Now I also feel a part of the younger crowd in the family! Look into the deals on HSN or QVC and get rid of the contract. Doesn't look like you use enough minutes to make it worthwhile for you. And with easy pay you pay for the phone over a few months, and then you're done until you use up your minutes. Oh, BTW my phone deal also included 1200 minutes, so I've not even added minutes in the 6 months I've had it!

Peggles1326396937.76506 PostsRegistered 2/1/2005
I too recommend a Tracfone from HSN because of the great deals. Tracfone covers 99% of the population. In the ordering process at the HSN website, you'll be asked to enter your zip code so you'll know immediately if you'll be covered.

amartinezf­an1326398339.2079630 PostsRegistered 12/1/2006Sunny San Diego

I am no longer under contract with T-Mobile but when I came out from under contract they put me on 500 minutes for $29.99 with free mobile to mobile, free weekends and evenings, etc. which they have NOT increased since and state they will NOT increase as long as I am on it and even though I am not under any contract.

I never use more than 150 minutes but am trying to remember to use the phone when I have to call long distance, LOL!

Love T-Mobile. When and if I get a smart phone I will stay with them!

hiccup1326406621.553131 PostsRegistered 8/10/2010

I have NET 10 and I pay $20.00 a month for 200 minutes and if you don't use them they roll over. I have had this service for about 3 years now and am happy with them. You can buy the phones at walmart, target, radio shack and best buy, I have the 900 model and love it.

erblst1326409596.332531 PostsRegistered 5/19/2008Central NH

Well, I research all day on line and on the phone and bad news - I'm not in a good location for the cheaper deals - my zip code plugged into all of the sites - HSN, jitterbug, a few others, show that there is no coverage 'yet' in my area.

Not sure I made it clear, but we need 2 - a family plan of sorts - so that would mean 2 tracfones, etc. So I may be at the best I can be at with the 80.00 at USCell. I think those minutes and keeping track sounds confusing!

I appreciate all the help! I'm going to keep trying as I am also an AAA member - but for now, no service. I noticed on one site, I think it was jitterbug - that a map popped up and only my area (lakes/mt. region of NH) and most of Maine was NOT being serviced at this time - I felt robbed, LOL.


jGalt1326410313.3271691 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Texas

Because I use a cell phone very seldom, I just cancelled my Verizon cell phone and will use a Tracfone I got from HSN a month or so ago. I just checked and they don't have the phone I got and only see one phone offered that is through Tracfone. I like the triple minutes offered at HSN, whereas through Tracfone directly, they only offer double minutes.My phone operates on AT&T lines.

My family are big cell phone users and they use Straight Talk. It only costs $50 a month unlimited text and talk and Internet. You buy cards each month at Walmart and then go online and enter the card number on your account. While it's a pain to go buy the cards, these smaller cell companies are very difficult to deal with, so it doesn't seem wise to me to give them a credit card to charge. Definitely you don't want to try to do anything by phone with any of these companies. You activate online...do it all yourself.

I think the prepaid plans where the minutes last all year are the way to go for light users. The important thing is to find out which carrier the small companies go through because in some places Verizon is bad or ATT is bad. You have to know which carrier works best in your area and then get a prepaid phone with a company that uses the carrier that works best where you live/travel.

Peggles1326416051.127506 PostsRegistered 2/1/2005
Erbist, you did say at the outset that you need 2 phones, and your current plan is expensive precisely BECAUSE there's no competition. If your area was covered, Tracfones would be fine for you both because they're cheap ($10-$30, roughly) and show on the screen how many minutes you have left and how many service days before you need to buy more minutes (which can be ordered on the phone). It's just too bad your area isn't covered. Good luck!

juge20021326457527.35239 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

erblst -

Check my reply to your post on Viewpoints. I suggest you go with the $12 plan on Page Plus Cellular, they use Verizon's network which will probably work in your area. You may also be able to keep your phones so no need to buy new ones.

If you are interested, the best way to get service is thru an online dealer as they provide pretty good customer service, which is sort of lacking if you deal with Page Plus directly.

There is an EXCELLENT one, who btw is located in Maine. SHE (yes SHE!) seems to be the most knowledgeable and provides alot of info on her website. Her site looks a bit amateurish but I have used her services in the past and have had NO problems. You can even email her if you have any questions. Here is her website: http://www.kittywireless.com/

hckynut1326474812.5821235 PostsRegistered 5/20/2006Nebraska

Have had prepaid TracFone for many years now and it is the right ticket for myself and my wife. We usually get new phone plans annually with hsn has a sale of TracFone, which usually comes with a new phone/all the chargers etc/and the last one came with 1300 minutes or 1 year. The whole package cost me $89.95 delivered.

Figure it up and it comes to exactly $7.49 per month. No way would I use 1300 cell minutes if I live to be 200 years old, and it does it all: camera/internet/text and on and on and on.

Prepaid is the way to go and there are many to choose from that have "Unlimited Everything" for around $60 per month. Why anyone would pay the 3 figures per month for a cell phone plus being tied to a contract? Beats me, but I am sure some have their reasons.


Kate R1326478993.11741 PostsRegistered 3/30/2010

My DH and I have Virgin Mobile. We have had our plan for several years but we are completely satisfied. Neither of us make a lot of calls so it works for us. There is also a texting capability if you need that type of service.

There is no monthly fee, and some of the phones are rather inexpensive....we pay $20 every 90 days (each of us) to top up our minutes. The minutes carry over....we are on auto-top up so we do not forget to add money to our account and lose service. Our cost is 18 cents per minute but since neither of us use our phones a lot it is great to feel secure in knowing that we can call when necessary and not have a monthly charge.

I don't know if our plan is still available but I'm sure you could find something that would meet your needs. I think their no contract plans are called Pay L.

Good Luck.

madcity4111326515186.4835004 PostsRegistered 8/11/2007
On 1/12/2012 hiccup said:

I have NET 10 and I pay $20.00 a month for 200 minutes and if you don't use them they roll over. I have had this service for about 3 years now and am happy with them. You can buy the phones at walmart, target, radio shack and best buy, I have the 900 model and love it.

Rollover minutes is an AT&T exclusive.

RedConvert­ibleGirl1326515484.08714994 PostsRegistered 9/3/2005Pacific NW

I gave up my plan that I've had since 1992. I went with AT&T Go Phone. It's 10 cents a minute for calls, I don't know what it is for text messages since I don't use them. I recently paid $100 for a year's worth of minutes (1000 minutes maybe?) - I got tired of trying to remember to buy minutes monthly. I never use the thing so I wanted the absolute cheapest way and for me this is it.

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ALTECHNET1326555423.223725 PostsRegistered 10/30/2010USA

No-contract plans are better but wait for QVC and compare them to HSN. I am that HSN $45 with a $5 dollar credit to my account per month. I get ulimited data, text, talk on 4G plan the phone you get is a Samsung Dart. I got Samsung Exhibit II off Amazon and just switch the Sim cards and called T-Mobile to active the phone. Plan is the same. For those that like to Root the phone both the Dart and Exhibit II can be rooted, overclocked a etc. Rooting takes care of those pesty adware and you can remove the bloatware on the phone. Can watch Netflix using a MOD from one of my Android forums. But other than that the Android OS 2.3.3 or higher is what you need to get. Tracfone I have beef with them with transfering my prior number over to the new HSN phone with 4,000 and triple the minutes plan. I use that for business and my T-mobile for personal use. Still HSN plans gives you a lot of the money but these plans and services are not perfect though. So choose wisely. As for CR just always have open mind.

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4paws1327167431.0322685 PostsRegistered 7/29/2006

I've had Straight-Talk for two years. $30 a month for 1000 min & 1000 texts. I never use them all and have never had dropped calls. It runs on Verizon towers here. Love them!

winkwink1327168214.5632158 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

We've had Tracfones from HSN and really like them. They often have a Today's Special and we recently got the querty keyboard one. Add to that, we could keep our preent phone number and the plan gives you triple minutes for life.

You get service for 1 year. After that you would buy minutes and get 3 more months service. NO contract!

What I've been doing is watching for the Today's special and just buy a new phone. It costs $99, free shipping and we got 1300 total minutes to use for a year. I haven't even used the mintues I carried over from the first phone yet. It's great for people like us who hardly talk on the phone. You couldn't buy 1300 minutes for $99.

My husband ended up liking his old phone so we just transferred the minutes back to that and done!

Texting costs 1/3 of a minute.

Tracfone minute cards are available all over - Walmart to mention one place.

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Last edited on 1/21/2012

Montana1327260852.5071901 PostsRegistered 7/1/2005

I have had a T-Mobile prepaid plan for several years. I add $100 once a year, and get 15% additional minutes, so the cost is about $9.00 a month. The minutes roll over and since I did not use my phone that much, I accumulated lots of minutes.

I just started texting, so it will be interesting to see if I will need to add more minutes before the year is up.

gardenman1327261525.717972 PostsRegistered 6/30/2005Southern New Jersey

I just got my mom a new Tracfone cellphone at Walmart (the Samsung T105G) for $9.88 with a charger, car charger, handfree kit, and case with belt clip. I threw in a 60 minute aircard ($20) and with the double minutes for life that comes with the phone she now has 140 minutes of airtime and the airtime doesn't expire until June something. It's hard to beat that for a $30 investment.

Here's a link to the phone on Walmart's website.


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INXS1327406265.5332665 PostsRegistered 3/24/2007Location, location, location

Since you are a AAA member, check out ConsumerCellular and see if it covers your area. I'm very happy with mine and you can change plans mid-month if you find you need more minutes one month than another.

robomo1327409987.789515 PostsRegistered 3/15/2005

TracFone. Get on their web site or HSN's. I got a great phone from them and 1300 minutes. It's a great phone and the calls are very, very clear - better than with my old carrier. I'm very happy with it. No monthly bill. I get triple minutes for life.

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