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Cell Phone Pay-As-You-Use Plans - Cards/Minutes Without Expiration Dates?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave B Ferris, Sep 20, 2002.

  1. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

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    I was hoping to obtain a cell phone almost exlusively for use with roadside emergencies -- thus, I was targeting the 'pay-as-you-use' services versus a regular monthly contract. However, the cards/minutes applicable to the 'pay-as-you-use' services seem to have expiration dates; e.g., 45-days. So, if 45-days passed without the card being used in the case of a roadside emergency, I would be forced to buy another card, right?

    Also, even if I used the card for one innocuous call during each 45-day period, while I could then presumably roll-over the minutes to a new card,I would still be buying new cards every 45-days, accumulating more minutes than I would ever need for roadside emergencies, right?

    Any ideas? Tips? Tricks?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Greg Rowe

    Greg Rowe Stunt Coordinator

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    I bought a trakfone. They are pay as you go but they expire. I bought it for 30$ with a 30$ rebate.

    Any old cell phone can make 911 calls even if it isn't active.

    We also bought one for my wife. Her's we keep up to date with minutes. It costs about 100$ for about 100 minutes. If you spend that much the expiration date is 1 year from when you activate the card. That averages out to a little under 10 minutes a month, which is probably close to what you might use. It works well for us. It is certainly cheaper than 30-50$ per month for a "real" cell phone.

    Greg
     
  3. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    If you want to use it ONLY for 911 emergencies, get a $10 analog Motorola without a calling plan. Like Greg said, any phone can make 911 calls whether it has a calling plan or not.
    If your emergencies are more of the "call a friend for help" kind, I think you'll have to go with the alternatives you and Greg already mentioned. I was looking at this a while ago, and I didn't find any pre-paid plans without an expiration date. [​IMG] I too would be interested to know if anyone else knows of any such plans.
    /Mike
     
  4. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  5. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the responses so far.

    To clarify, I would - in fact - be intending to place the calls to my emergency provider (National Automobile Club), rather than 911.

    Thanks.
     
  6. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    I have been in the same boat as you. I bought into ATT's prepaid wireless play (free2go) a bit ago, it was good because it was $25 minimum plan over 90 days but then AT&T decided to change to 45 days and still keep the $25, hence they basically doubled their rate. Recently, though, they introduced a $10 phone card so that is interesting for me. I am a bike commuter and I like to have a cell phone just in case some driver decides to run me off the road or something so it's basically a 911 phone for the most part. I only put money into my plan when I'm on vacation or bicyle touring where it's really handy. However, with the $10 cards, I'm considering useing that cause that makes it less than $10 a month, cheap enough for this bastard! [​IMG]
    I couldn't find any prepaid phone plan that didn't have an expiration date and I really don't need a phone for everyday life so this was a good deal for me.
    Jay
     
  7. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I think it's really f**king sneaky by the cellphone service providers to put an expiration date on their prepaid plans... I bet a lot of people don't realize that when they buy them, at least I didn't realize it at first when I was looking.

    At least they should refund the unused minutes when the prepaid period expires, IMO.
     
  8. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

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    Sure, Jay, $10.00 is probably pretty close to an amount I would be willing to forfeit every 45-days (or some such period) in exchange for the security of knowing I could call the Auto Club in an emergency.

    Now, I'll have to see how easy it is to find those $10.00 cards. I have a feeling the marketing reps who answer the normal inquiries downplay the less-expensive cards!
     
  9. Dan B

    Dan B Screenwriter

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    If you shop around, you can find some plans that have lower mininum amounts. My plan with US Cellular is only $10 every 2 months. I make a point to try to use the cell phone for a few local calls instead of my home phone, since I've paid for the minutes. (I too mostly use it for emergencies though)

    -Dan
     
  10. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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  11. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    You should be able to buy the $10 card in any AT&T wireless card, which you can find at ATT's website. I don't think they try to "hide" them or anything. You might be able to recharge your prepaid ATT phone via their website but I tried before and it wouldn't let me. I think you can reactivate a active plan but cannot reactive a phone that is inactive (i.e. no money in account).

    I do warn you that $10 might not give you alot of minutes, it might even give you only one phone call especially if you try to call a place that's gonna put you on hold for awhile.

    But then if you're calling a 1-800 number, I believe you'll only get charged the roaming fee which I think is 30 cents
    per minute unless you have the national Free2go wireless plan.

    Jay
     

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