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What's the best pay-as-you-go cell plan?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Drew Bethel, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    We don't want to get trapped into any monthly payments but on a rare occassion a cell phone in hand would be nice. In the UK you can buy a simm card with 10 quid or more, insert it into you phone, and when you ran out you simply bought another card - no fees or pressure tu use your phone. Is there a no-strings-attached cell phone like that in the U.S.?
     
  2. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Drew - do post what you find; I'm interested in getting a prepaid cell for the times I'm in the US. I have a few old GSM phones that I could use, but I'm not sure if the providers will let me use my own phone and then activate it.
     
  3. Jimi C

    Jimi C Screenwriter

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    "We don't want to get trapped into any monthly payments but on a rare occassion a cell phone in hand would be nice. In the UK you can buy a simm card with 10 quid or more, insert it into you phone, and when you ran out you simply bought another card - no fees or pressure tu use your phone. Is there a no-strings-attached cell phone like that in the U.S.?"

    We have that in the U.S.. You can buy the phones and the cards at drug stores and such. There is a catch to them though. The cards expire after 30 days whether you use all or none of the minutes. So, they are only worthwhile if you have such poor credit that you cannot get approved for a monthly bill plan.
     
  4. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Mobile phone forum, and check out what other users state about their prepaid service. I would also recommend being quite specific of where you intend to visit (like a zip code) so some of the people there could do a coverage check for you (some of the people who posts there are employees of said mobile companies). Mainly take the words of the customers and their experience with the appropriate carriers.

    The main things to shop for are coverage (will it work in the area you intend to visit), cost (activation fees and per min/fees), and expiration (most have it setup where if you buy a certain $ amount of minutes, not only the per min cost cheaper, but in addition the min may last more than 30 days, and watch out about if the sim card expires with no minutes and it's duration!). I don't know if you can benefit from getting a rebate to start up your initial service (new phone, activation, and startup min sometimes comes as a package after rebate is cheaper than just buying and activating a sim).

    Some things to consider is that some of the prepaid services offer mobile to mobile try to find out what some of the other users you intend to call in the US carries to see if you may benefit, you won't get free incoming calls like the way most countries operate, you may also need to get an international calling card to call back to non-US countries. Hope this helps.
     
  5. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    I have Cingular "pay-2-go" service (formally with AT&T) that I like. You have different amounts yoiu can buy from $10 up to $100. all cards expire at 90 days (except the $100 card is 180 days) and if you refill your minutes before the expire, they will carry over.

    Been using the service for about 3 years now on my old trusty TDMA phone and I have had service everywhere Ihave gone so far (compared to our other cell phone on GMS with Cigular monthly bill, that service sucks)
     
  6. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Checkout www.virginmobileusa.com

    They don't have their own wireless network. They lease Sprint's network so the coverage should be exactly the same.

    It's been a little while since I've used them. When I started, you had to put in at least $20 every 90 days. Charges were 25c/min for the first 10 minutes each day and then 10c/min for the remainder of the day. They've added other payment options and one of the others might be better for your intended use. You have the option of registering a credit card and have any amount automatically added to your account each 90 days, or when your account falls below a certain amount. You can also buy cards at places like Target, Best Buy, etc. I've occasionally seen them on sale at Target where you can get a $20 card for $15.

    The good news is that your dollars never expire. The bad news is that there is a max amount that you're allowed to have in your account ($150, I think). At some point you do have to start using up some minutes. You also have to buy one of their phones since they're specially programmed to work with their infrastructure. My wife just discontinued her service and has a Kyocera Slider phone that I would be willing to ship you for $15. It's a little banged up, but it works fine. You can even test it out for 30 days before paying me.

    "No strings attached" doesn't really exist in the cell phone world. The goal of all of these companies is to make money so they have to make sure you keep paying somehow.
     
  7. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the input. We just need a simple phone to use locally. You know, sometimes you're lost and you need to call for directions, or you're running late, or I'm out cycling and get a flat in the middle of nowhere! Odd situations like that.

    I miss the UK phones of topping off when you want to with no time restrictions! In any event, I think $20 for 90 days is much better that $35 per month or more.
     
  8. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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    I'll second the recommendation for Virgin Mobile. For infrequent phone use, their Minute2Minute plan (described above) was the best value I could find. If you "Auto Top-Up" using a credit card, you have to pay only $15 every 90 days. The maximum amount allowed in your account is $300. More details here: http://www.virginmobileusa.com/corpo...dConditions.do
     
  9. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Joe, I checked the site and the top up is actually $20 every 90 days! [​IMG]

    Oops, nevermid...I found it! [​IMG]
     
  10. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Tracfone is awful, and when the service goes down you're fucked.
     

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