OT - cell phone advice

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On Tue, 11 Aug 2009 08:53:24 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

I have a Jitterbug. That is a great phone for old farts like me who don't like talking on the phone. You can buy minutes a year at a time for about $100 or there are other cheaper per minute plans. It is a toll free call to and from anywhere in the CONUS (the numbers are WATS) there is all sorts of operator assistance, up to including one model that is "one button". The one I have is the regular phone but it has a big enough display that you can see it without your glasses and big buttons. It does speaker phone too. The best thing for me, you can update your directory online and it syncs with the phone the next time you turn it on. The operator will do it for you too if you don't want to fool with it.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The problem with Jitterbug is that it's one of the most expensive prepaid services out there. You can get better service for less than $30/year.
See "http://prepaiduswireless.com /".
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wrote:

You may get cheaper service but I am not sure it is better service. ... and I like the phone. I hate those cheap little bic lighter sized phones with buttons so small I can't use them and sound like you are talking in a garbage can. I also like being able to manage my phone directory online. He was talking about a phone for his parents, not his kid. They might like the idea that you can dial "O" and get a call put up to anyone in the country without screwing with 411.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

My mom is 84 and has no problem with a plain, normal cell phone. Don't put all seniors into the same category. A plain phone with relatively large buttons, like an LGVX3300 or a Motorola V325i is not difficult to use for seniors, or anyone else for that matter.

That's nice, but you can plug your phone into your computer and manage your phone directory locally.

Free directory assistance is already available, but not live. I guess if they want to place calls with a live operator, versus entering the number or selecting the name from a list of contacts, that's an advantage of Jitterbug, but boy do you pay a premium for that.
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wrote:

$100 a year, that seems to be what everyone else here is saying. If you have kids scattered across the country toll free incoming calls is a plus too. I know you said there were services as cheap as $30 a year but what kind of service is that? Who is the carrier?
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in

It kinda sounds sub-sub par - the $30 one. Like something mentioned on Law and Order all the time. "can't track it, it's a prepaid phone".
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FlavorFlav wrote:

And that is a Bad Thing?
But seriously- prepaids aren't for everyone, and there are better and worse companies. I apparently chose one of the worse with Virgin, but at the time, that is all I saw in the stores around here, and a coworker recommended it. I was preparing for a road trip for a family emergency (cleaning up after a suddenly deceased relative), and had other things on my mind. I just needed a portable phone. I was in a hurry, and it was 'good enough' at the time, and most of the time since then. For as little as I use it, a conventional cell phone and account is simply out of the question. I could care less about texting and pictures- I just need a phone.
-- aem sends...
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

The best quality and least expensive prepaid service is PagePlus. As low as $2.50/month, and the minutes cost from 6 cents to 12 cents (actually a bit less since refills are sold at a discount). You need to add a minimum of $10 every four months.
PagePlus uses Verizon's network which means it has excellent coverage. If you have Verizon service in your area, it's great. You can roam onto non-Verizon networks for an extra charge so it works almost everywhere (this is _not_ the case with some prepaid services such as Virgin, which do not allow roaming off their native network (Sprint for Virgin)). Most people wanting an emergency phone would like it to work outside urban areas.
If you buy from PagePlus directly, they offer a few refurbished phones for low prices. Or you can use any phone that was previously used on Verizon, so you should be able to pick one up on craigslist for a low price, or for free from friends or relatives.
The best web site for information is "http://prepaiduswireless.com ".
When selecting a prepaid plan pay careful attention to the minimum monthly cost (how often you must add money, and how much you need to add). Avoid Tracfone, Virgin, Verizon InPulse, AT&T GoPhone, Boost, Jitterbug, Net10, and Only1 Mobile. Basically, for an emergency phone, look for plans where you're on the Verizon or AT&T network, and the minimum cost is under $3/month.
T-Mobile can be a really good deal, _if_ you have decent T-Mobile coverage in your area. Order a phone and $100 of airtime, and subsequent airtime purchases are good for 365 days. So you could add $10 and it would keep the phone on for a year, at a net cost of $0.83/month (less because you can get airtime at a discount).
Last week PagePlus also started offering unlimited voice, unlimited texts, and 20MB/data per month for $39.95 (actual discounted cost is about $34 a month). This is an amazingly good deal.
Remember that with prepaid there are no free phones. You buy phones on your own. But the savings can more than make up for it.
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SMS wrote:

Thanks
Lou
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

http://www.safelinkwireless.com /
If you are low income (retired?) they will send you a free phone and about 50 minutes/month... FREE! My only guess is that they make money on all the people who go over the minutes and buy more at 15 or 20 cents a minute.
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Tony wrote:

The "they" is us or at least the taxpayers.
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On Aug 11, 8:53am, "Stormin Mormon"

My wife and I rarely use cellphones but we each have a pre-paid card from Cingular, now AT&T. The phones were about $40 a few years ago and it costs $100 prepaid per year. Any day that you use it, there's a $1.00 connect fee for the whole day plus $0.10 per minute talk time. You can re-charge the dollars any time if you use them up before the year is out.
If you sign up for another year at $100, you roll over any unused amount. My wife has about $270 in credit and I have about $180. So essentially it costs $8.33 per month per phone for emergencies. The problem is that due to low usage, we have trouble remembering to keep them charged.
Paul
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On Aug 11, 7:53am, "Stormin Mormon"

I have a tracfone, they are great. I get connections just fine and I replenish it every 3 months or so.
If you get a tracfone it is worthwhile to pay the extra $49 at time of purchase to get "double minutes for life", with this plan every time thereafter when you buy minutes they automatically double them. That initial $49 pays for itself after your second replenish.
If all you need is basic communication then I can highly recommend a tracfone.
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windcrest wrote:

I, too, have no problems with my Tracfone. Also live in a low reception area where bars are minimal but it is equally bad for wife's phone with Verizon.
My Tracfone is several years old and I would like to get a better looking one but website gives no clues on how to do this. You do not get the hand holding that Verizon or Sprint offer. Also updating minutes is easier on internet than on phone.
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wrote:

You're going to have to call customer service. The Rep has to give you special code numbers to enter into the new phone and to also transfer any minutes from the old phone. http://www.ehow.com/how_2125116_transfer-tracfone-units.html
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RobertPatrick wrote:

That's what I have been reading. Would be nice if they automated. My phone works fine, just looks almost antique.
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[snip]

My first Tracfone (bought in 2000) required typing in these long code numbers. The one I got in about 2005 did not. You still have to call customer service to transfer units. Both units and days were transferred. I did have to get a new phone number, possibly because of the change from CDMA to GSM.
BTW, in case you don't know about the technology, GSM phones are the ones with SIM cards.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us
  Click to see the full signature.
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wrote:

Been a Tracfone customer since the begining many years ago...Love it....Highly recommend it...The only drawback is their assortment of phones...SWMBO wants a camera phone and Tracfone doesn't have one for Maine for some reason...Only the basic phones are available...Kinda sucks....I only use mine for work so I could care less...LOL...We have the LG flip phone.....
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windcrest wrote:

With the Double Minutes for Life remember that it goes with the phone. If you get a new phone then you have to pay it again.
With the $100/400 minutes card doubled to 800 minutes (after buying the double minutes for life), and discounted 8% by CallingMart, the per minute cost comes down to 11.5 cents. But even this cheapest cost per minute is higher than the most expensive cost per minute on a carrier like PagePlus which allows you to use any Verizon CDMA phone, including smart phones, and which offers data.
Nice things about Tracfone:
1. You can sign up for a $5.99/month service that keeps your account active in case it would otherwise expire.
2. The 400/800 minute card has a one year expiration time.
3. Coverage is good, both on their CDMA (Verizon) phones and their GSM (AT&T phones) with roaming available (either included or at extra cost).
4. Apparently it works in Canada.
For a seldom used, glove box phone, the 365 day expiration is very nice, though you can get the same thing with a 7-11 SpeakOut phone and pay only $50/year.
Incidentally, tomorrow:
CallingMart.com: Wednesday 8/12/2009 from 11am-11pm EST. 8% Off Face Value for Net10, Tracfone, Verizon & PagePlus . Coupon Code: CM-20090812.
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Haven't been following entire thread, so hope this isn't redundant.
I have subscribed to Virgin Mobile for several years, not because I love them (NOT) but because they are the cheapest for pre-paid. I use a cell phone only for emergencies and while traveling, so a monthly plan would be a waste of money for moi.
Virgin Mobile charges my cr. card $15 (just went up to $20) automatically every 3 months.
They have always been HORRIBLE to deal with on the phone. Used to have a female robot named "Simone" with a phony black accent who was no help; in fact hung up on me several times.
Their on-line service is equally opaque if one happens not to have the "V" number or whatever they now call their six-digit customer code.
Following an emergency (next para), I had no recourse but to call the cust svc number, which turns out to be much more user-friendly than the old horror.
Emergency: I ran out of gas ON A FREEWAY ON-RAMP AT RUSH HOUR . That has to be the acme in driver stupidity!!! Several drivers slowed and stopped to help, but I waved my cell phone as signal "I'm OK". NOT! My calls to Road Service would not go through! Terror!
I was saved by an MTA (Los Angeles transit) truck whose job is to get idiots like me off the road.
When I got home I tried again to use my cell phone. Nada! I had my friend call me; he reported "service has been suspended". What???!!! Plenty of money in my account.
Back to phone service: After a tense period of dealing with a nice, willing person with a hard-tto-understand accent (offshore call center), I realized that service had been "suspended" because my last credit card payment had bounced.
It was MORE fallout frorm a smash'n'grab robbery over two months ago!! I had spent WEEKS -- no, MONTHS, trying to reach everybody -- credit cards, bank accounts, insurance, direct-pay, etc.etc.etc. but did not think of cell phone payment plan set up years ago, since I hardly use the phone. Unbelievable what it takes to put one's life together after identity theft (plus property loss and damage!).
Why am I posting this OT rant? Because Virgin Mobile did not follow up on the bounced payment. They should have made every effort to contact me! I have faxed their CEO a strong complaint, which I hope (hah!) will lead to better outcomes for the next person faced with a potentially life-threatening emergency.
Please, save your flames. I have been through enough!
I just wanted to (a) reluctantly endorse Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go as cheapest for only emergency/travel use, and (b) alert people who may have suffered identity theft to check their cell phone payment plan as well as the other, more obvious exposures you need to change.
Burned "idiot driver"
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