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prepaid phone comparisons

Patri

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I have used a tracfone for years, so understand that plan. Now there is Go Phone, Net 10, Virgin Mobile, etc. My teen will be getting his first phone and I want prepaid. He is willing to spend up to $30 per month. Now some plans have unlimited weekend, nights, texting etc.
Any advice?
 

ctreelmom

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We had started my youngest daughter with a GoPhone from AT&T. The phone itself wasn't very good, and didn't have a great signal (I didn't even know that differed from phone to phone, but it does). The plan I chose cost $1 for each day she used the phone and then so much per minute. I ended up ditching the GoPhone due to her and my frustration over the poor signal and adding her to my account with a FamilyTalk plan and a better phone (which, btw, was free). That works out much better for us.
 

Fern Modena

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You know that if you use Tracfone there are various "codes" you can use to get an extra 30 or 60 minutes when you load, or sometimes even double minutes, right? If you don't, then Google "Tracfone Codes" before you reload next time...its extra minutes for free!

Fern
 

wackymother

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Does anyone have a NICE Tracfone? We've had them for years and we were happy with their cheap Nokias. Now we have some of the cheap Motorolas and we all hate them and their horrible cheesy little ringtones and their crummy-looking displays.

All they have now are Motorolas and LGs. Are the LGs any better?
 

Nancy

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TracPhone

I was a big fan of TracPhone, but had a couple of service issues and their customer service is terrible. My DIL was telling me about her neighbor had similar issues. We all went under a family plan on Sprint.

Our problems were:

1. Son lost his TracPhone. Had lots of time on it (probably about $100) , so we called TracPhone to cancel it. Eventually the person that found phone decided it didn't work and returned it. The amount of time on phone was not able to be transferred back to phone so he lost that amount of money.

2. TracPhone quit working. We purchased another one. TracPhone was unable to transfer remaining time (again about $100) to new phone (because old phone didn't work), so he lost that amount.

3. DIL's neighbor kept adding money to TracPhone, but it wasn't taking the additional time. They lost about $80 because of this. Again TracPhone couldn't fix the problem.

TracPhones are okay, but lack any type of customer service. I used to recommend them, but after this, I don't.

Nancy
 

falmouth3

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I've had Tracfone for about 7 years and I've never had a problem. I had a phone that was going obsolete but it was still working so I was able to transfer the remaining time.

I just bought a new LG phone (additional phone in the family) and I paid a little extra for it. Because I didn't take the lowest grade phone available, I get double minutes for the life of the phone, but I'm still working on the minutes I got when I purchased the first year of service. Even before I had this phone, there were always programs to get double minutes. BTW, normally I don't use my phone all that often so I always have minutes to roll over at the end of the year and they roll over to the next year when I renew. This year, my mother has some health problems so I'm using the phone more during the day, talking to medical professionals and siblings so I'll be glad to get double minutes when I buy extra time in a month or so.

I also just found out that I have voice mail. I hadn't thought my inexpensive plan provided it, but it's there. :banana:

Sue
 

swift

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I recently picked up the Verizon Inpulse phone for my youngest. I liked it because it has unlimited mobile to mobile. The rest of the family has Verizons regular cell phones so he can call us for free. He only needs the phone to call us anyway.
 

xzhan02

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T mobile prepaid

If you are occasional user (or would like to limit usage) I recommend T-mobile prepaid. It's 10c/min after you purchased $100 total refills that last a whole year (unlike many other prepaid refills that expire in 90 days or so). Currently it has $25 free refill card offer that makes some of the phones almost free (they are not he most stylish phones but functional).

http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/Phones/Prepaid.aspx
 

Icarus

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I use t-mobile also and as long as you're willing to purchase $100 refills, it's 10 cents per minute, but if you want to purchase $30 monthly, it's much more expensive. They have basically have 2 plans. The one I'm on is 10 cents a minute for calls, and 5 cents for texts. The other one, I think has a daily fee of $1, but you get free nights/weekends, which may be good for a college student, if they can manage that block of minutes properly. You can buy refills at a discount at callingmart.com, and I've seen fatwallet coupons for them in the past for additional discounts. I think the $100 initial refill I bought cost me around $92 on callingmart.com. But you really do have to buy them in the $100 increments with t-mobile 2 go to get the cost per minute down to 10 cents per minute. The lower denomination refills are much more expensive per minute.

My friend looked into this for a visiting student they have, and he ended up finding an AT&T reseller called airvoice wireless, but it hasn't worked out for him yet. He bought a SIM off ebay, and they haven't been able to activate it in the 808 area code. They are supposedly looking into it. He wasn't in a hurry because I gave him a net10 phone with a bunch of airtime left on it that I bought when I lost my GSM Razr on my California trip in July. Anyway, they are worth a look, especially if you already have an unlocked phone, so you can try it at minimal cost to see if it works for you.

The t-mobile 2 go plan works great for me because I'm a very light cell phone user, so basically 1000 minutes will last me an entire year. So after the cost of the phone, I'm basically on an $8 - $9 a month cell phone plan. I bought an unlocked quad-band GSM Razr off ebay for around $100, rather than use one of their phones, but you can do it either way. They have the usual crappy $30 locked phone packages at Walmart or on their web site or in their stores. If you have your own unlocked GSM phone, you can order a SIM on their web-site for around $5 - $7, I think, which is what I did.

If you want to do more research, I got started with prepaid after reading some threads on it in FT's technology forum.

-David
 
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EJC

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Nancy--My guess is that you could have just taken the SIM card out of the old phone and put it into the new phone. The minutes and phone number would probably have then transferred to the new phone. At least that is the way it works with the prepaid Telcel phones I buy in Mexico. The SIM card is usually located underneath the battery. Normally, it is about half the size of a postage stamp and made out of a white cardboard type material with gold-colored contacts. Next time you are in this situation, it might be worth swapping SIM cards to see if the above applies to Tracfones. Also, my brother thought he had lost his Tracfone this past summer. He called Tracfone and they transferred the minutes to his new phone. He later found his first phone, but by then it was a non-issue.
 

Nancy

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Just telling what happened to us. I knew about the Sim card, but by then I was so fed up with TracPhone support, I ditched them - never to return. I had also recommended them to many people and will no longer do that.

Nancy
 

tashamen

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Just telling what happened to us. I knew about the Sim card, but by then I was so fed up with TracPhone support, I ditched them - never to return. I had also recommended them to many people and will no longer do that
I had a similar bad experience with Tracfone (after years of using them) and have ditched them as a result and will never consider them again. They sent me a new phone (that I did not request), which did not work - I spent several HOURS on the phone with their tech support with various individuals whose English was not very good. Bottom line - lost all of the minutes on the old phone - and then the new phone did not work at all.
 

wackymother

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I had similar experiences with Tracfone. Then I decided that I would never get more than $20 or $30 "into" a Tracfone. I buy the cheapest phones and the minimum service, and if the phone breaks or gets lost, I just start all over with a new phone and I don't worry about it.
 

Icarus

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Hmm, when I lost my t-mobile 2 go SIM along with my phone in California, all I had to do was call t-mobile after I got a new SIM and new phone and they transferred everything over.

-David
 

falmouth3

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How's the phone? Do you like it?
Yes, I like it fine. It has a camera, which I haven't used. I'm not crazy about the choices of ring tones, but that isn't my highest priority. ;) It seems to work as well as the Verizon cell phone I used to have for work.

Sue
 

wackymother

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Hmm, when I lost my t-mobile 2 go SIM along with my phone in California, all I had to do was call t-mobile after I got a new SIM and new phone and they transferred everything over.

-David
Sigh. All of us who have ever had to deal with Tracfone's miserable customer service are weeping with bitter anger and frustration over this. I personally spent about three hours (and I am not kidding) on the phone with them, just to get a number ported! They are truly horrific.
 

Icarus

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Fortunately both tracphone and net10 were never serious contenders for me, since I wanted to carry a single unlocked GSM phone, that I at least have the possibility of using (with a local SIM) in most (but not all) other countries.

I think it would be a good idea to check out airvoice, if you don't want to buy minutes in blocks of 1000. If buying them in blocks of a 1000, t-mobile 2 go is a pretty good option from a good company.

Airvoice offers both CDMA and GSM options, if you look at their home page. (not at the same time, you have choose one of the two.)

I have no idea how their CS is. Though my friend was unable to complete his activation in the 808 area code, he said the people he talked with were very nice. I guess YMMV with them.

-David
 
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elaine

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I just got a cute virgin mobile phone for DD

$50 red cyclops camera phone. Free shipping and free $20 credit on account. 400 minutes was $30, 200 texts is $5.
 

marsha77

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T-Mobile To Go

We started out with the T Mobile To Go plan. I bought the 1000 minutes card for 100.00 that was good for a year. They also have other minute cards. It was great for my hubby & me, but our daughter was a heavy talker (not good for her). T Mobile now has a plan where you pay a dollar a day & mins. when used, but I like the plan without the dollar a day.

Marsha
 

Icarus

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We started out with the T Mobile To Go plan. I bought the 1000 minutes card for 100.00 that was good for a year. They also have other minute cards. It was great for my hubby & me, but our daughter was a heavy talker (not good for her). T Mobile now has a plan where you pay a dollar a day & mins. when used, but I like the plan without the dollar a day.

Marsha
Next time buy your refills on callingmart.com at a discount. See my posts above.

-David
 

wackymother

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since I wanted to carry a single unlocked GSM phone, that I at least have the possibility of using (with a local SIM) in most (but not all) other countries.

I think it would be a good idea to check out airvoice, if you don't want to buy minutes in blocks of 1000. If buying them in blocks of a 1000, t-mobile 2 go is a pretty good option from a good company.

Airvoice offers both CDMA and GSM options, if you look at their home page. (not at the same time, you have choose one of the two.)

I have no idea how their CS is. Though my friend was unable to complete his activation in the 808 area code, he said the people he talked with were very nice. I guess YMMV with them.

-David
An unlocked phone would have been great for me this past year, because I traveled out of the country several times...but now I'm looking at Cape Cod and the Poconos for the foreseeable future.

But 1000 minutes per year is probably juuuuuust about what I use--it's way too much for everybody else in my family, though. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll look into the T-Mobile when my patience with Tracfone runs out, which should be any minute now. :D
 

Dottie

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Looking at options other than tracphone. We rarely use our cell phone-often not even once a month. Even tho tracphone is cheap, the yearly fee is high for the amount of use. We mainly just carry it in case of an emergency.I looked at the info on go phone. I read about a charge of $1 a day if you use it that day, but it is unclear to me if you need to pay a monthly fee or just the cost of the cards. Anyone know the answer of know of something better for us to check out?
 
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