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#45575 by xboxman
Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:36 am
Hi
looking for a prepaid or pay as you go cell phone just to keep around in case of a power outage or internet outage ( i dont have my ooma solar powered yet LOL )
so far i have found tracfone/net 10 and AT&T pay as yuo go / go phone but when i read the fine print it seems that if you dont use your mins within something like 90 days you loose them .. but what i want ( which it may not exist ) is a cell phone that i can keep my mins till i need them and they never expire only run out if they are used or is this asking for a prefect world LOL
#45581 by murphy
Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:53 am
If your worry is the ability to make 911 calls, any modern cell phone is required to be able to call 911 whether or not it is active for other calls. My old Motorola flip phone, which doesn't have a SIM card in it, warns about the missing SIM card when it is turned on and informs that only 911 calls can be made.
#45585 by ggilman
Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:08 am
I did quite a bit of research a while back and based primarily on price, there were two that stood out well above the rest. The first (and the one I went with at the time) is Net10. It has the cheapest "regular" rate at $15 a month for 150 minutes & the minutes never expire if you keep the dates up, but you can actually reduce that a bit. There are codes you can find and if you order from their web site & don't mind swapping phones out routinely, it's actually cheaper to buy new phones from them which include both minutes & a prepaid card, reducing the cost to $7.50 a month or even lower. At one time I calculated my cost at $5.70/month for the 150 minutes.

The other deal is via T-Mobile. Their low-end cards don't have a particularly good return value but if you buy their $100 card, it is good for an entire year so you get $8.33/month for 83 minutes. It's a bit more expensive than if you go the Net10 Route but no need to play any games (swapping phones to get deals, etc...) and you only have to renew once a year.

You mention buying just minutes and forgetting about expiration dates but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. If it did, I would have gone that route myself.

I don't work for either company, just informing you of the research I've done. I have my daughter on a Net10 plan currently. I gave up on the "cheaper" routes via games though since there's a particular handset she wanted and didn't want to keep swapping so I'm paying $15/month. If it's purely for backup, the games are easy enough to play though & you won't care about the handset. I was on Net10 myself but after I started developing apps for the Android platform, I needed an Android phone and changed out to a regular carrier/plan.
#45589 by southsound
Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:41 am
Net10 for $5.50 a month with 150 minutes is what I have been using for more than a year. In our area, ATT is the carrier and even though Verizon says they have the best coverage, for my 10 years with them, I could never make a call from my house (rural Harstine Island in Washtinton). My Net10 / ATT phone works in the house some times and in the yard all the time. I don't mind "playing games" which amounts to buying a refurb phone (looks and works like new) and airtime card every 4 months. That means I get 3 new phones each year - no scratches, but I do have extra batteries and chargers for free. Since I don't mind the simple phones, it works well for me. If you would like details, send me a PM. I don't work for or have any financial relationship to Net10, ATT, or ooma.
#45592 by doug
Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:04 am
southsound wrote:My Net10 / ATT phone works in the house some times and in the yard all the time.


Which makes it a perfect candidate for a cell repeater. However, it sounds like you are not that concerned with coverage at the house. If you are keeping your cell phone cost to under $10/mth, it would hard to justify the cost of a repeater...
#45600 by xboxman
Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:48 am
thanks for all the great info on this
well 911 calls were my # 1 concern
i have never had a cell phone and dont know much about this but lets say i had a net 10 phone in order to activate the phone one would have to call there toll free number ?

thanks
#45608 by southsound
Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:28 am
xboxman wrote:thanks for all the great info on this
well 911 calls were my # 1 concern
i have never had a cell phone and dont know much about this but lets say i had a net 10 phone in order to activate the phone one would have to call there toll free number ?

thanks

You can activate Net10 over the Internet. But before you make a purchase, send me a pm by clicking the little envelope under my avatar. I'll be happy to share some money-saving tips.
#45617 by ggilman
Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:24 am
southsound wrote:ATT is the carrier and even though Verizon says they have the best coverage.


By default, even though they don't advertize who the carrier is anywhere, ATT is the carrier if your area is covered by ATT at all. If ATT doesn't work in your area at all, they put you on Verizon. At my house, I appear to be in an ATT deadzone. Even so, Net10 would try to put me on ATT. If you have issues like this, you can use an alternate zip code that doesn't have ATT service when purchasing a phone through their web site to get a Verizon based phone. I did this and I'm much happier with my coverage since Verizon has very good coverage in my area (I used zip 03448 btw). Only do this if necessary since they actually have a better selection of ATT phones but in my case, the ATT ones would have a very difficult time picking up bars.
#45867 by bw1
Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:54 pm
There are quite a few options out there, but as far as I know they all have expiration dates that you have to refill by in order to keep your service/minutes.

Here is a comparison chart of most of the prepaid cell phone providers: http://www.cellguru.net/prepaid_compare.htm

You can also check out the prepaid forums at http://www.howardforums.com/

The first thing to research is which cell network will give you the best reception in the areas that you are most likely to use your cell phone.

The best option for me was Page Plus Cellular. They use the Verizon Network and I can keep my cell phone active for only $10 every 120 days (about $2.50 per month). Minutes are as low as $0.04 if you get an $80 PIN.

What I did was to buy a Verizon prepaid cell phone (LG VX5500) from Walmart (was about $23 or Target or you can get the Samsung Smooth U350 for $20). Activated it on Verizon prepaid for the first 60 days and then ported the number to Page Plus Cellular. Currently, you can get a $6 balance included with a port or activation. Porting is free and you can activate pretty cheap if you check around.

The other option that I considered was T-Mobile, which if you're willing to put $100 on the first year, will allow you to get another year of service for only $10. So after your first year, it's only the equivalent of $0.83 per month.

For example, you can get a T-Mobile phone and purchase a $100 PIN (as low as $88 if you find a deal), which will give you 1000 minutes and a one year expiration. It also gives you T-Mobile Gold Reward status, so any additional PINs added will extend your expiration an additional year. So, a $10 PIN every year after the first will keep your phone active. If you're not using it much, you could still be using the original 1000 minutes.
#45886 by Canoe
Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:27 pm
Is there any way of getting an iPhone with a prepaid arrangement or card, and using it to connect to the web without paying the disproportionate amount that a regular plan costs for data?

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