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Prepaid phone coverage

Elan

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We are contemplating switching from a family postpaid plan to prepaid. Neither of us use very many minutes or texts per month, so we thought we'd be able to save a little (actually, a decent amount) per month by going prepaid. In looking at AT&T's prepaid coverage map, it's significantly different (less coverage) than their postpaid coverage map.

Does anyone have any experience with this?
 

dioxide45

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We have used a GoPhone since the Cingular days. The coverage map is different because you can only use it on the AT&T network. There is no roaming.

We put $100 on the phone once a year. It costs $0.10 per minute and per text. You have to put $100 on it for the funds to be good for a year. Any lower denomination of funds is only good for 90 days.

We don't use the phone very often and seldom text. It does work great in our area and pretty much anywhere up and down the east coast. We have also used it from St Thomas.

For us it is much cheaper than the monthly post paid plans. You can get prepaid monthly plans, but they are expensive just like the regular monthly plans. I think they are good when you are using it on a per minute/text basis.
 

wackymother

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We've had a herd of Tracfones for years. Their coverage is quite good--in fact, sometimes we go to Catskills and the Tracfones get coverage and my Boost pay-as-you-go gets nothing. The Tracfones are cheap and they cost $20 every three months, just to top off the use-by date.
 

cotraveller

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We have T-Mobile prepaid. I haven't looked at their coverage map but it has worked well for us, including while travelling. It seems to use whatever signal is available, not just T-mobile. It is similar in cost to the GoPhone plan at $100 for 1000 minutes good for a year. Or you can get less minutes for less money, good for 90 days, but it works out to more per minute.

Once you have reached the $100 spent level all minutes are good for a year and you get 15% bonus minutes for dollar amounts less than $100. Unused minutes roll over as long as you add additional time before your current minutes expire. We have two phones, both over the $100 limit, and I normally renew the seldom used one for $10 per year.
 

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I recently switched from a Verizon monthly plan to a Verizon prepaid plan. I chose the $1.99/ day, unlimited minutes plan. Basically, I get 50 days of use, unlimited minutes each day, and I have 1 year to use up the $100. The one drawback is the "day" ends at 11:59 pm, local time, so if you start your day in California and travel to D.C., you loose time, but if you go the other way, you obviously gain time to use your plan. Coverage is the same as with a monthly plan.

Cheers!
 

dioxide45

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I recently switched from a Verizon monthly plan to a Verizon prepaid plan. I chose the $1.99/ day, unlimited minutes plan. Basically, I get 50 days of use, unlimited minutes each day, and I have 1 year to use up the $100. The one drawback is the "day" ends at 11:59 pm, local time, so if you start your day in California and travel to D.C., you loose time, but if you go the other way, you obviously gain time to use your plan. Coverage is the same as with a monthly plan.

Cheers!
This would be a good plan if you use the plan only a few days a month but use it for long periods of time on those days. If you use the phone every day, I think a per minute plan is better. The $1.99 plan would end up costing $60 a month if you use it every day. That may end up costing more than many regular plans. $0.10 a minute is better for those talking a couple minutes every couple or few days.
 

NWL

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This would be a good plan if you use the plan only a few days a month but use it for long periods of time on those days. If you use the phone every day, I think a per minute plan is better. The $1.99 plan would end up costing $60 a month if you use it every day. That may end up costing more than many regular plans. $0.10 a minute is better for those talking a couple minutes every couple or few days.
Sorry. I left that part out. :eek: I switched to this plan because I don't use the phone everyday. I rarely use it, and because of that, I wanted a plan where my minutes didn't expire before I had a chance to use them. I switched 2 months ago and have only used my phone 1 day. On my plan, if you used it everyday, you would use up your $100 in just 50 days. Even I can do that math. ;) It also depends on how much you talk/day. I will use my phone as you described: make as many calls during the day that I use it. Verizon did not have the $.10/ minute plan you have. It was $.20/ minute. I'm still in the experimental stage. So far so good, but if I find I use it more than I thought I would, I'll adjust. BTW, Verizon is my only choice for where I live, so that's why I have it.

I think prepaid plans, like the one I have, are good for folks who do not use the phone more than 10 days/month. You'd get 5 months of usage for $100 compared to $40/ month on a monthly plan. If you're going to use the phone everyday, a prepaid plan is too expensive. A monthly plan would be a better choice.

Cheers!
 
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Patri

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We had Tracfone for years and it worked well. Now on Net 10 and it covers anywhere I want to call. I have trouble using up the minutes. Buy 300 for $30 and have to refill every 60 days.
It's amazing how not hooked to a cell phone I am, but it's always there when I need it. I use a landline for local calls. (And we have a specific reason for keeping that line). I guess I will be 90 before I get a smartphone.
 

Elan

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Finally pulled the plug on our AT&T Family Plan and went prepaid. My wife and daughter are on AT&T Prepaid, I'm on T-Mo prepaid. Going to put my mom (emergency phone only) on a TracFone, I think.

If things go as planned, we will get far better features (more minutes, more texts, and more data) for considerably less dollars per month (about 20% less). Of course, one has to bring their own hardware, but there are getting to be more and more good unlocked phones available for decent prices.

We'll see how it goes.
 

deemac

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I use t-mobile also

We have T-Mobile prepaid. I haven't looked at their coverage map but it has worked well for us, including while travelling. It seems to use whatever signal is available, not just T-mobile. It is similar in cost to the GoPhone plan at $100 for 1000 minutes good for a year. Or you can get less minutes for less money, good for 90 days, but it works out to more per minute.

Once you have reached the $100 spent level all minutes are good for a year and you get 15% bonus minutes for dollar amounts less than $100. Unused minutes roll over as long as you add additional time before your current minutes expire. We have two phones, both over the $100 limit, and I normally renew the seldom used one for $10 per year.
Agree with all you said re coverage, but I use it less than you -- I only add $20/annually to keep my minutes active. I started with paying the $100 for 1000 minutes to keep it open for a yr.( I knew I would NOT use all minutes in 1 mo). Basically, I wanted a phone for emergency/airport/car travel.
 

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We have used a GoPhone since the Cingular days.
A little off the subject but my AT&T Samsung clam shell died after about 10 years of use. I wanted a simple replacement, no camera, no internet, etc. AT&T really didn't have anything that simple. The young rep in the AT&T store suggested that I go to Best Buy and get a GO Phone and replace its SIM card with the SIM card from my phone. I did as he suggested and now have a new Samsung clam shell at a cost of $10 and it works like a charm.

George
 

Passepartout

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Finally pulled the plug on our AT&T Family Plan and went prepaid. My wife and daughter are on AT&T Prepaid, I'm on T-Mo prepaid. Going to put my mom (emergency phone only) on a TracFone, I think.

We'll see how it goes.
I am interested in this as well. A TUGger once said that calls from Mexico to the US on TracFone cost the same as any other call. True? Other prepaids? Did you port your old cell number to the prepaid?

Jim
 

Talent312

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I'm a long-time Virgin Mobile customer. They piggy-back on the Sprint network. I recently bought a droid-phone for which they offer data+phone paks starting at $35/month, one of the lowest I've seen for smart phones.
 

Elan

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I am interested in this as well. A TUGger once said that calls from Mexico to the US on TracFone cost the same as any other call. True? Other prepaids? Did you port your old cell number to the prepaid?

Jim
I'm not sure about international calls on TracFone (or any other prepaids, for that matter), but I found this online:

"4. INTERNATIONAL CALLS
You may now use your TRACFONE to make international calls to landlines (including some cellular phones in some countries) at no additional charge."

Sounds like you have to dial an "international access number" and then connect.

Yes, we ported our numbers. Very painless.

An amusing aside: When I called AT&T to cancel our family plan, the CS rep asked why. I told him not enough features for the monthly expense. He proceeded to ask what features were missing, and I explained that our family was texting more and more and that to add unlimited family texting at $30/mo was absurd. He then said that cancellations could offer me family texting for $10/mo. I told him that had they been proactive with such an offer, we might not be leaving. He agreed that the business model was bad.

Seems very odd to me that the major carriers will spend millions on advertising trying to attract subscribers, but they aren't intelligent enough to keep current subscribers (in my case a 20 year AT&T wireless customer). For the sake of knocking $20/mo off texting (texting costs the carriers essentially nothing), they could have retained a $100/mo account. C'est la vie.......
 

Elan

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I'm a long-time Virgin Mobile customer. They piggy-back on the Sprint network. I recently bought a droid-phone for which they offer data+phone paks starting at $35/month, one of the lowest I've seen for smart phones.
Since I switched to a 4G prepaid plan w/T-Mo, I had to get a new phone as well. Bought a pretty decent Android phone outright for under $200, and I get 5GB of 4G data (and unlimited at 3G) for $30/mo. I'll never use the 5GB except possibly when tethering on vacation.

Edited to add that on 4G at my house, I got 7.2 Mbps down on speedtest.net. Pretty respectable.
 
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