Another cell phone question...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jay H, Jan 29, 2002.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Back in October, I got a prepaid cellphone from ATT, which was $25 for 90 days.... (roughly $8.33/mo) which has expired on 1/23/02 (without me noticing it so oops, I lost like 30 minutes of calltime) now I noticed the free $25 card I got by registering now says I have to use it in 45 days!!!! Which means the cost per month just doubled.. (how's that for a freakin price jump???). It's a Nokia 5165, and comes up with a huge ATT logo at startup, can one switch a phone to another carrier, i.e. verizon, voicestream, etc..???

    Does anybody else offer 90 day plans anymore and/or which carrier is the cheapest now?

    I might just can the stupid cards and use it as a 911 phone... this is rediculous, next we'll have to renew every week...

    Jay
     
  2. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    I've been looking at the same plan, but the 45 day expiration thing is stupid. I never knew it was 90 days before. Many other carriers have 60 day expirations. Check in your area, and yes, you can switch your existing phone over to a new carrier. The AT&T plan is nice though since they give you voicemail and roaming (not free)--the other prepaid plans I've seen tend to lack either one or the other. I hate Verizon, I have them for my landline and they're a ripoff, and their cell plans are expensive too. Voicestream doesn't allow roaming. US Cellular doesn't have voicemail on their prepay plan.

    I think the expiration thing is stupid. If you pay for 100 minutes, you should get 100 minutes, and you shouldn't have to keep adding on to keep them. It's like putting money in the bank and then having to keep making deposits so the money you put in doesn't disappear. Pre-paid means you bought the minutes, and you should be able to hang on to them for as long as needed.

    It's one of the reasons I still haven't gotten a phone. I should be able to get a phone, drop $100 into the account, and then not touch it until the minutes run out. Then put another $100 in. I don't want to have to pay them monthly (or every 45 days) if I'm not using the phone that much. If I wanted to send them $25 a month I'd sign a contract.

    KJP
     
  3. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    That would be nice!! I bet the $25 would last me all year too, since it's not my primary phone. Verizon is $30 for 60 days.. I'm still checking the other major ones...

    I mean if I'm going to pay twice what I pay now with ATT, I'd go with a cheap postpay $20/mo plan since most of those plans come with a free phone anyway.. Maybe I should of gone with that TRAC phone back in October.

    I hate all telecom companies now!!!!

    Jay
     
  4. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Jay,

    To Answer your questions first I would say that Prepayed cellular should "ONLY" be used if you cannot pass the credit check OR you will only use the phone for emergency use. Either way the company will get there money (Not just ATT) everyone uses the same philosophy with prepaid (access charge per month or limited time to use the minutes).

    Second no your phone cannot be used by most other major cellular companies... The reason being that they use different technologies to transmit the phone call. ATT=TDMA Time Division Multiple Access. Sprint=CDMA Code Diision multiple access. Verizon=CDMA? believe so. and VoiceStream=GSM Global Systems Mobile Networking. There are some other smaller companies that you could possibly use your cell phone with but it would almost be cheaper to just sign up and get the free or 20-50 dollar phone. Best of luck on what you choose to do.

    KyleS
     
  5. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hey Kyle, yeah, the whole idea of the cell phone is for emergencies or perhaps light use, i.e. to call relatives to tell them I'm safe or to call off the search crews if I'm out on an longer-than-planned hike in the woods and stuff. since october, I've used it like 4 times, all long distance and I'll keep it with me when I'm bike commuting just for emergencies so it'll serve purpose #2, since I'm told that you can still call 911 even if you don't have a plan. My plan is "temporarily disabled" until I use my free $25 card which I am holding off on until absolutely necessary.

    $25/45 days doesn't make any sense to me. Postpaid plans are then so much cheaper with free minutes and all that stuff. However, if I can't find a better prepaid plan, I might just use it for a 911 phone... If I can't use it on a different plan, that sounds horrible... That's all we need now in this world is disposable phones. (expensive too)...

    Does anybody know any cheap perpaid cell services besides the major ones, Verizon, ATT, Sprint, Voicestream? I guess if I can find a cheap prepaid one, I'll ask them if I can switch my phone...

    Jay
     
  6. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Jay - my sister had gotten a Nokia phone with a Suncom prepaid plan last summer, and when Suncom went away (actually they were taken over by AT&T) she switched to US Cellular and didn't have to switch phones. I think many of the carriers share the towers/frequencies so in many cases you can switch the phone from one carrier to another. Your mileage will vary of course, depending on what you want to switch to. Ask the carrier in question if your existing phone is compatible.

    Another prepaid plan to check out is Tracfone, it appears to be nationwide, but I think you have to use their phone (a Nokia), it says the phone can't be transferred to other carriers. But it's only $70 to get started. They have expirations that depend on the card you buy (the higher cards have longer expirations), but you can get a TracPlus card for $99 which gives you 100 minutes and a 1 YEAR expiration, so you can do that and then just add minutes (as little as 10 minutes at a time) as you need them. The cost per minute is high (up to $.79/minute), though, unless you add like 300 minutes at a time. I think Tracfone is analog only though, digital is better.
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Jay,

    Do you have significant monthly long distance charges on you home telephone? If so, you may be better off getting a cell phone with a monthly fee that includes long distance calls in the pre-paid minutes.

    My parents are a instate long distance call (the worst kind), and my mother-in-law winters in Florida. We use our Sprint PCS phones for these calls, as well as local zone calls. The savings on our home "land line" phone bill just about offsets the cost of the cell phone.
     
  8. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    FYI: You don't need service through anyone to dial 911. You just need a phone. By law, the carriers must allow the call through regardless of service or not.

    However, when you dial 911, you are connected to the County Sheriff, so if you are hiding in your closet while an axe wielding maniac is breaking down your front door, it may take a while to get help. The reason for this is that there is no quick way to pinpoint your position on a cell phone. (at least not yet, the FCC is coming down on cell providers to better locate 911 callers).
     
  9. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    I hate to tell ya Jay, but most phones are usually chipped for only one provider so that you cannot switch between different companies.

    Up here I use TELUS and it's great service so far. I am also on a pay and talk. I just make sure I have $25 in my account and then I can get unlimited 7-7 calling as well as lunch hour calling and 50 minutes the rest of the time. Each month. It comes with Voicemail, Call Display, and Call waiting. I dont have to pay extra for that, nor do I have to pay for the "system access fee" that cellphone companies like to charge for their plans.

    Wish I could be of more help with the american plans.
     
  10. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  11. Jeffrey_Jones

    Jeffrey_Jones Second Unit

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    Ryan,

    I don't believe that cellular calling plans show up on any of the three main credit reporting agencies. I have been using cell phones for many years and have never seen any of my plans appear. A calling plan is not an extension of credit and is not considered a short or long term debt. Cellular carriers use the credit checks to evaluate a person's financial situation and to limit their liability. They may be able to post negative information if an individual defaults on a bill, thus turning the bill into unpaid debt.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  12. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Sprint PCS does offer a prepaid service. It's not listed on their main website but I found a brochure on it at WalMart. Turns out it's only available through WalMart. It's called My Wireless, and you can find out more at their web site: http://www.sprintpcs.com/mywireless
    It offers rates ranging from .45/minute (day) down to .15/minute (nights/weekends), airtime is good for 60 days, and it works anywhere on the Sprint PCS network. It also offers voicemail, text messaging, caller ID, and web access. There was no information on minimum amounts of airtime you can add at a time
    The biggest drawbacks is: (a) you have to go to a store to add airtime, no way to do it online or by phone; (b) no roaming off the Sprint PCS network; but there's no information on roaming outside your local calling area; (c) long distance costs .20/minute extra (not too bad though, but no info was available on local calling area).
    If it offers a decent local calling area it might be worthy of consideration.
    KJP
     
  13. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hey, if I do decide to go to another plan, I could sell it to somebody as an ATT phone if I can't use it elsewhere right? I would have to tell ATT to cancel my number and all that, delete my address book and stuff but the buyer would be able to simply activate a new account with ATT to use it...

    Thanks guys, Anybody interested, by any chance? It's a Nokia 5165, with the standard NiMH battery and charger, no accesories.. In fact, the plastic wrap is still on the LCD screen to protect it from scratches. It's been recharged once and has very little use. Paid $99 for the package and I still have a $25 card (not yet activated) that was free and expires in 45 days from activation.. Make offer!

    Jay
     
  14. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    I used to work for GTE Wireless (before it became Verizon Wireless) and cell phone accounts do not show up on any of the credit reporting services. One reason we asked for a credit check was to determine the amount of deposit we ask from the consumer. Technically, GTE Wireless was an utility and therefore we can't decline service to anyone. However, we can ask for a deposit, which we do pay interest on to the consumer.
     

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