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Nokia + tracfone, prepaid cellular

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jay H, Oct 16, 2001.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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  2. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    OK, I'll answer my own question a bit... Seems like there are 3 players in the prepaid cellular market, ATT, Verizon, and Tracfone. Tracfone basically piggybacks their service through others. ATT and Verizon are digital networks and all three have different price plans and/or expiration lengths.
    I did most of my research between Free2go (ATT) and Tracfone, not much with Verizon only because I found more info on ATT than I did on Verizon so far. Tracfone has higher rates but the lowest initial costs of the three. $9 for phone + $8 card. ATT's initial cost is $99, while Verizon I've read is $124.
    The price plans work out to be $8,$19, and up for Tracfone, the $8 only lasting 30 days, while ATT has a $25 and up minimal plan, but in this case, it lasts 90 days.
    Calculating my yearly costs, Tracfone seems the cheapest overall costs (NOT CONSIDERING THE # of minutes you get)
    Tracfone:$9 phone + ($20 ([email protected] each) x 6 (for 1 year))=$129/year
    ATT Free2go: $99 phone ($25 ([email protected] each) x 4 (for 1 year)) = $199/year
    However, the $99 phone includes a $25 card and a rebate for another free $25 card so in actuality the first year will run you $149/year.
    When I do consider the number of minutes and roaming charges, etc, ATT is much cheaper than Tracfone. The cost/minute is almost half as much and also the roaming charges is also half. I am considering the ATT local plan too, since I do most of my biking around my house. one of the difference between the ATT local vrs national plan is that the national plan includes roaming charges, whereas the local plan doesnt. Looking at ATT's coverage area, it seems that most of my biking is going to be local, except for some wanderings NW of where I live. My commute is all covered locally. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to access Tracfone's coverage map, seems like it's down on my end so I can't comment on that for me.
    I've researched it a bit and it seems that Tracfone has horrible Custemer service and somebody I read mentioning that if you call somebody and nobody answers in 2 rings, Tracfone picks up and you're charged units... Not sure if that's true or not but I think I'm leaning away from them and going with ATT. It's digital and the phone looks like a newer model... Has anybody been able to find that ATT package in a retail store cheaper than the $99 MSRP at ATT's website???
    Jay
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  3. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Just a thought: if all you're going to use it for is emergencies, you don't need a service contract. Any cellphone can call 911, if I remember correctly (at least this was the case a while ago). Just buy an old analog Motorola for a few bucks at a yard sale and you should be good to go. Remember to discharge and recharge the battery every now and then though.
    /Mike
     
  4. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Good to know, but I guess it would be nice to have at least some kind of access to a phone. I found out that ATT used to have 6-month prepaid plans but that was phased out very recently (like in september) and now the plans are 3-month (90 days) plans only. I do alot of solo biking and hiking and stuff so I guess it's only prudent to sometimes have a phone around, ya know when I get hungry and want to order some pizza... [​IMG] Just kidding.
    BTW, do all phones have a vibrate mode or is that an option?
    Jay
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  5. SteveMc

    SteveMc Stunt Coordinator

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    Just my two cents here, my girlfriend bought me one for my birthday and ended up having it for about a day and ended getting a VoiceStream prepaid from Best Buy. The phone was a little more expensive but I liked the options it had better. The TracFone doesn't really have anything, which is good if you don't need any of it. My new one has caller ID and voice mail, and the minutes are cheaper. The phone doesn't look so cheap either, its a motorola. The Nokia one looks like a toy IMO. One thing I did like about the TracFone is that it has how many minutes you have left on the screen when you turn it on, my motorola doesn't but I think I may be able to convert my motorola phone to a non-prepaid phone service if I want. The nokia can't. But If you are just looking for a simple bare bones phone, the TracPhone is definately that and not too pricey.
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  6. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    VoiceStream has a prepaid plan??? I'm looking on their website now and can't find any info... Funny how all the wireless makers seem to hide their prepay stuff....
    Or is that a BestBuy thing? I'm considering actually driving in to work tomorrow so I can check out some stores near work..
    Jay
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  7. Ray R

    Ray R Stunt Coordinator

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    Voicestream bad.
    Here's my experience with their regular cellular plan
    My original plan was discontinued after Voicestream bought out my original carrier. Voicestream said I would now have a plan with "more value". Translation - higher monthly fee, elimination of free weekends, but now I had three way calling, voicemail and a few other service I did not want.
    3 out of the 8 months I was with voicestream I had billing errors. The first was the activation of a service I never requested. Next was roaming charges for several calls made in my calling plan's local area. They credited me the roaming charges, but the next time it happened they refused. They claimed that roaming charges could occur in the local calling area if my phone connected to someone elses tower. I guess having "holes" on the coverage maps they hand out wouldn't be a good marketing plan.
    Voicestream bad.
     
  8. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Why not just get a phone with a service plan?? It's only $25 a month??
    Brent L
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  9. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Why spend $25 when you can spend like $8.33 per month. I have no use for all those features like voice mail, caller id, etc. etc... I just want a plain phone! And the prepaid phones are cheaper than the post paid ones for those of us who aren't glued to the phone all day. ATT's prepaid is $25 for 90 days or $8.33 a month. I haven't seen any postpaid Cell plan that's comparable. The only thing more is the initial cost of prepaid cause many postpaid cell deals come with a free or almost free phone. In other words, there are alot more deals with postpaid phones. However, Tracfone has a MFR rebate for a phone for $10 which is not bad at all.
    Jay
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  10. Dan B

    Dan B Screenwriter

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    Jay,
    I was looking for the same thing recently, a cell phone I would mainly use in emergencies. I was able to acquire a hand-me-down phone from a friend, and I signed up for a U.S. Cellular plan callled Talk Tracker. It's $10 prepaid minimum, which lasts 60 days and carries over if you refill before the expiration. It also has free caller ID. I think these are the way to go if you aren't going to use it much!
    I mean, $5 a month...or $25 a month? Which one's better?
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  11. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Another cell phone question! What's the difference with single band, duo-band, and tri-band phones? I notice some phones on plans are single band (low end Motorola) versus others like ATT's Nokia's 5165i is a tri-band. I'm guessing that the triband ones will be more universal if I travel cause it would be able to use the different frequencies and cell cites, versus a single-band phone. Is that a big factor in usefulness or are we at the point where say most of the coverage falls under the single band phone anyway?
    Jay
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