Ideas on non-expiring pre-paid cell phones?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dennis Nicholls, May 16, 2007.

  1. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I HATE cell phones.

    I have a pre-paid cell phone that sits in my desk turned-off almost all year long. The only reason I own one is for emergencies, e.g. long-distance car trips.

    The problem with Cingular is that the pre-paid minutes expire. After a couple of months, the phone goes dead, and I have to go into a Cingular store, pay a new activation charge, and then they give me a new and different phone number for it.

    Are there any pre-paid cell phones where the pre-paid minutes are PERMANENT?
     
  2. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I don't know if they have them that are truely permanent; but most are better than what you describe.

    My pay-as-you-go with T-Mobile has minutes that last for a set period of time (1 year, since I buy $100 at a time). But when they expire, if I buy any amount more (say $10) all the minutes extend for another set period of time (a year I think).
     
  3. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    You're right. I have a prepaid T-Mobile plan as well, and I go $100 at a time. Once you spend $100 on prepaid minutes, you become a Gold Member and your minutes will expire a year from your last purchase of minutes.
     
  4. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer
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    I use the same T Mobile prepaid plan that Al and Thomas have and it's an excellent deal for an emergency use phone. $100 buys 1000 minutes that are good for 12 months, and when your time is winding down T Mobile will send you a friendly reminder that the service needs to be renewed. At that point buying a $10 prepaid card will add a few more minutes to your balance plus it preserves what's left of your initial 1000 for another twelve months.

    Although the service can be started with a smaller amount opening with $100 is your best deal. On it's own the minutes on a $10 card are only good for 30 days, but if you add $10 to an account that was opened with $100 30 days gets extended to 365.
     
  5. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    T-Mobile isn't any better than Cingular....you buy a bloc for $100 that only puts off the inevitable for 12 months.

    $100 only buys you a bloc that exists for 365 days...then DOO-DOO LAND. That's a flat-rate of $8 per month even with NO USE AT ALL.

    I want to pay a "surcharge" of $100 and be permitted to use minutes FOREVER.
     
  6. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    I'm thinking the market for this is so small and offers little profit margin that no one has a plan for it. $100 for life? I seriously doubt any company offers that. I think I've heard about a phone for emergencies only; it'll just dial 911 and that's it, and service was $10/year or something like that.
     
  7. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Oh Dennis, I feel your pain, I would go this route too... I had ATT (when it was ATT Wireless) for a bit and it used to be 90 days and then it was changed to 60 and then 45... Arrgghhh...

    If it is truly an emergency (911) phone, isn't any working cell phone supposed to be able to call 911 without an active plan, so long as its equivalent in wireless technology..i.e. CDMA, TDMA, GSM, etc?

    Jay
     
  8. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    TracFone minutes never expire, so long as you keep the phone active. So, it sounds like it is the closest to what you want. You pay a little under $100 for a year of service, which also includes somewhere around 400 minutes (depending on bonuses you might find) or you can buy fewer minutes with 2 months of service. So long as you never let the phone time expire, your minutes never expire.
     
  9. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Jay,
    Yes, any cell phone should be able to call 911 whether or not it's activated. But many of my "emergencies" don't meet the criteria of an "emergency" to 911 operators....calling them for a flat-tire type of call is I believe a criminal offense.

    Actually I'm probably going to just give up on the whole thing. So much of where I travel doesn't have cell phone coverage anyway. For example, the MAIN highway route between California and Idaho is highway 95 between Winnemucca (on interstate 80) and the outskirts of Boise. Your cell coverage drops off a few miles north of Winnemucca and doesn't start up again until you are almost in Boise - that's about 200 miles in the desert with no coverage.
     
  10. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    I bought a car with OnStar last year (never have owned a cell phone though)..pretty cool. I don't think it uses celular technology.....sat stuff I think. They can run a vehicle diagnostic (basic anyway) if you've got a problem or call whatever service might be required. It has phone capabilities through Verizon. You buy a package of minutes that's good for a year and whatever isn't used is carried over to the following year if you buy a few more minutes. I may even try to call somebody one day.

    Mort
     
  11. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Dennis, if you do find a thing like that, let me know cause i would do the same thing as you. My first cell phone was a prepaid phone and I never found a plan that didn't expire but at least I could buy like really inexpensive plans, like say $15 for 90 days or something like that and the option of renewal. Then they cut that to $15 every 60 days and then 45 days........

    I am not sure if the satellite phones have limitations, I know you can get prepaid satellite plans... of course, satellite phones have a much higher initial cost than cellular...

    Jay
     
  12. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    I am in the same boat here. I hate Cell Phones - I think it might be the worst invention to mankind since disposable diapers.

    However, I just got back from a 6 week road trip. During the trip my car died and I had to have it towed to have it fixed which took a few days. Not having a phone was a pain in the ass. I was lucky that it was in a major city instead of the middle of nowhere. People kept asking for my cell phone number and thought it was unthinkable that I didn't have one. Also, the pay phone is making its slow decline into oblivion. So it looks like I will have to get one whether I like it or not.

    I had a cell phone when I lived in Kuwait - which was a necessity. You just bought the phone, the chip, and a prepaid card whenever you needed it. That was it. No contracts, daytime minutes, night time minutes, calling plans, etc. It was simple.

    The T-Mobile thing looks like the way to go.

    1. How much does a phone and chip cost?
    2. Are there any other costs?
    3. Does it have nationwide coverage?
    4. Where can I buy one?

    Sorry for the newbie questions. I have never had a phone in the US that my employer didn't pay for.
     
  13. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Not even close. The gas powered leaf blower is far and away the worst invention - ever. (We tried the non-disposables. Lasted a week and we were back adding to the landfills.)

    1. How much does a phone and chip cost?
    I got my cheapest two for $39 each.

    2. Are there any other costs?
    I'm hazy on this. I don't think there was a start-up cost. But if there was it was cheap. No periodic cost though; except for re-initializing the minutes like we covered above.

    3. Does it have nationwide coverage?
    Yes. I haven't done an exhaustive check; but I believe it was nationwide and I've had no problems in DC, ColSprgs, Denver, and SanJose.

    4. Where can I buy one?
    I got my three at a T-Mobile store, Walmart, and Target. I would not recommend the T-Mobile store as they cost more and you get no more service. Actually, they lied to me, and refused to honor their adbertised price; but I won't go into that story.
     
  14. London Lawson

    London Lawson Second Unit

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    I ditched my expensive Cingular monthly bill and got an el-cheapo Trac phone that serves it's purpose for a cheap solution for a mobile phone. I have never been happier. I don't understand the fascination of talking on a phone all the time.
     
  15. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    What's to understand? I'm sure there are a lot of people that don't understand posting on message boards all the time. [​IMG]
     
  16. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    I saw that Target this week has T-Mobile products on sale - a phone, the $100 card, phone charger etc.

    But then I saw where it is probably better to buy them off of the T-Mobile web site. I wonder if they would charge you sales tax. Shipping is free.

    My primary concern in purchasing the phone would be how long the standby by time was. Then I thought I should get one with a camera in case I get into an accident or some other situation where I would need to take a picture. Then I thought being able to use it overseas would be cool. Their selection of pre-paid phones isn't that big.

    I think that I might get this one:

    http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/Phones/...5-aa5a72232ea0

    Does anyone know about the Virgin Mobile pre-paid plans?
     
  17. Mike Heenan

    Mike Heenan Second Unit

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    The Tmobile plan rocks, that's what I'm on. Although I use it for more than emergencies, I'm trying to limit myself to 4 $100 cards a year which is still cheaper than their cheapest subscription service. And I dont have a phone in my house either so there's no cost there. I have the Motorola Razr, which is quad band and to my knowledge could be used anywhere in the world with a local sim chip. Since I'm planning on doing some extensive travel next year this will come in handy. This one also has a basic camera in it too, and is very thin so I'd recommend it.
     
  18. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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  19. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    I have a RaZR v3 (Whatever that officially means). The sound quality is good, no complaints there with the speaker phone or regular handset but the ringer isn't that loud and the reception isn't good. I don't know if it's the phone or my provider (ATT) but I get crappy reception in my steel box of an office and I know others with Verizon and different phones get through fine. I also get crappy reception in the mountains whereas others may get an analog signal. (I'm guessing). Maybe AT&T is all digital which may explain the connection issues... I'm not a cell phone expert either.

    Jay
     
  20. Diallo B

    Diallo B Screenwriter

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    actually onstar uses verizon's networks for most of its capabilities.
     

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