Prepaid Cell Phones Cost- Good Deal?

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On Wed, 14 Dec 2005 14:06:33 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

That was my first choice but their web site said they didn't have any coverage in Houston.
Go Figure.
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They use the Sprint network, yes?
Does that mean Sprint has no service in Houston as well?
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2005 21:57:15 GMT, Sherman wrote:

Really? I went to the STI Mobile web site's coverage page and entered 77030 as the zip code for Houston (first one I found in Google search of "Houston Zip Code") and found this coverage map:
http://www.stimobile.com/zipcodes.aspx?Zipcodew030
The dark green is STI (i.e., Sprint) coverage. Looks like all of Houston and most of the surrounding vicinity is covered. Where on the web site did it say they don't cover Houston?
--
Seth Goodman

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wrote:

Wish I could retrace, but the site said it had all kinds of international service but none in Houston. I know it had STI in its name.
Thank for setting me straight. I'm out $19 with tracphone for 40 minutes of time, so not much harm done.
Here are some of the costs I calculated. Per Min    Minutes    Length    
$0.593    TracFone This is the 40 minute card plus the phone - not bad for $20. Phone cards alone Per Min    Minutes    Length     $0.200    400    60 day      $0.250    200    60 day      $0.300    100    60 day      $0.500    40    60 day      $0.430    300    annual card     $0.600    150    annual card    
With Double Minutes Prepaid for $129             Per Min    Minutes    Length     Adv Rat        Real Rate $0.100    800    0.217272727    Assuming 1100 min a year $0.125    400    0.242272727    Assuming 1100 min a year $0.150    200    0.267272727    Assuming 1100 min a year $0.250    80    0.367272727    Assuming 1100 min a year These figures show that if you use the double rate card, they advertise 10 cents a minute while the actual rate is 21.72 cents per minute - and thats if you use the full 1100 minutes per year 800 Plus 300.
Clearly deceptive advertising but I'm getting one anyway.
Sherman
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I have a Tracfone that I got just for emergencies. I do use it occassionally for other calls, just keep them short. It took a bit for me to get used to the charge system, but basically you prebuy minutes that are good for some given period of time (I bought a one year card). It is charge in 1 minute allotments (called units), though roaming charges are higher. I love it and plan on getting one for my wife when her "normal" plan expires since neither of us use cell phones much. I bought ours thru Radio Shack - phone was about $10 after a rebate. Bought the card at Sams at a lower price. Our savings are substantial. With the "normal" plan we pay about $23/mo. including taxes ($270 per year). Now, we do get 40 minutes a month plus long distance and (I think) extra weekend minutes. With Tracfone we paid $10 for the phone and $80 for the card (200 minutes good for a year). That's plenty of minutes for what we really need, but, if need be, we can always get another card. I think we get long distance, but no break on roaming. But, again, we don't use it in those circumstances much. Phone works just like all others - as long as a tower is available, you can use it.
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Sherman wrote:

Something else to beware of: someone posted to another newsgroup just yesterday that TracFone is losing coverage in major markets. I can believe it, because Cingular is gradually phasing out TDMA in favor of GSM, and a lot of the prepay phones (ALL those using the Cingular network) are TDMA.
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Do any prepaid cellphone companies use GSM? I was going to be getting a new phone sometime, and that would be something to consider.
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Mark Lloyd
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wrote:

You would think that TracFone would notify customers of this conversion.
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Jim Yanik
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Mark Lloyd wrote:

Not to my knowledge. It can't stay that way forever, though.
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2005 18:40:46 -0600, Mark Lloyd wrote:

There are six GSM companies listed on the prepaid comparison chart previously mentioned at: http://www.cellguru.net/prepaid_compare.htm
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Seth Goodman

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Hi, Sherman. We had a Sprint plan for 8 years while my husband was an over the road truckdriver and we burned up THOUSANDS of minutes. When he came off the road he wanted to eliminate that bill and didn't want to get into another contract. When our 3rd child was due in August we decided he needed a phone for a month and I did tons of research. We ended up with Virgin Mobile. I'm sure it will work fine in Houston/La Porte. I gave a friend the referral bonus in Corpus. I think it runs on Sprint lines but I can't remember for sure. Anyway, for us it sucks because I'm adding time every couple of days! I am trying to talk my husband into another plan! <He works nights now>. We are spending $100+ a month in minutes. Virgin Mobile has 3 different "plans" and you can figure out what works best for you. Right now I have it set at them taking 35 cents a minute per day and everything is 10 cents per minute. If you use it infrequently you can set it to 25 cents per minute for the first 10 minutes and then 10 cents the rest of the day. Only on the days you use it. They also have a "talk all the time" deal which I haven't checked into much. You have to "top up" I think every 90 days but you don't lose your minutes as long as you add some every 90 days to stay activated. They also have some "auto top-up" things but I haven't checked into it much since I'm adding time all the time!
If I can talk my husband into a contract I'd gladly give you our phone. Virgin Mobile actually encourages recycling your phones. It's REALLY easy to go online and set up your own phone number on a recycled phone. My only complaint with them has been for the first 2 months we got TONS of wrong numbers....they re-issue phone numbers too fast! We didn't b other checking voicemail because it was always a wrong number and wasted minutes.
You can check out Virgin Mobile's deals at http://www.virginmobileusa.com . You could also try to pick up a phone on freecycle. Are you familiar with freecycle in your area? You can email me for information if you're not.
amy
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