What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes?

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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby linuxuser » Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:27 am

mephistophles wrote:
Loon11 wrote:I have a verizon phone - I put $100 on and it doesn't require refill for a year. It costs $.15 a min and less for text. has camera, etc
spouse has virgin mobile which is inexpensive but he can't use it in our mountain cabin. that's the only reason I have verizon. It used to be Alltel and verizon bought it out. if I could get coverage, would try t-mobile or something else but no real point. this is cheap. no taxes or contract.


Verizon is the company I am leaving. They require a new $100 payment each year. You will learn that on your anniversary.


Right.

I have pre-paid with Verizon.
I forgot this year to put in another $100 when my anniversary date came around.
I called them and they were able to put back the ~$35 that was still left - whew- , and then added another $100 + 7% tax in NJ.

Whereas with my mom, last year, all she had to do with T-mobile pre-paid was put in another $10 and she got another year of service.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby jeffyscott » Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:49 am

linuxuser wrote:I have pre-paid with Verizon.
I forgot this year to put in another $100 when my anniversary date came around.
I called them and they were able to put back the ~$35 that was still left - whew- , and then added another $100 + 7% tax in NJ.

Whereas with my mom, last year, all she had to do with T-mobile pre-paid was put in another $10 and she got another year of service.


With T-mobile $100 gives you 1000 minutes, but if you add $10 that is only 30 minutes. Still, at a usage of even 500 minutes per year you would only need to add $100 after the 3rd year, so you would average $40 per year.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Mitchell777 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:21 pm

mephistophles wrote:
Loon11 wrote:I have a verizon phone - I put $100 on and it doesn't require refill for a year. It costs $.15 a min and less for text. has camera, etc
spouse has virgin mobile which is inexpensive but he can't use it in our mountain cabin. that's the only reason I have verizon. It used to be Alltel and verizon bought it out. if I could get coverage, would try t-mobile or something else but no real point. this is cheap. no taxes or contract.


Verizon is the company I am leaving. They require a new $100 payment each year. You will learn that on your anniversary.

How exactly does the Verizon pre-pay work. I asked Verizon the question but the response was not clear. If I pay the $100 per year up front, and then pick either the $0.25 per minute or the $1.99 per day used plan, do the costs of my calls come out of the $100 until it is exhausted or do I pay the $100 and then immediately begin paying over and above that as I make calls? Like the other poster, I use my cell phone very very seldom (have maybe used it 3 times in the past four months for brief calls), I'm already with Verizon at $15 per month + taxes/surcharges - Thanks in advance
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby jeffyscott » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:58 pm

The $100 would pay for your calls. If you are on the $1.99 plan that would be deducted from the $100 balance each day that you use the phone. With 25 cents per minute that would be deducted as you make calls, based on the duration of the calls.

There would also be a time limit on using the $100.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby linuxuser » Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:06 pm

My Verizon pre-paid, is $.99 for every day I use the phone and 10 cents a minute.
http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/prep ... pe=ppdaily
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby linuxuser » Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:08 pm

jeffyscott wrote:
linuxuser wrote:I have pre-paid with Verizon.
I forgot this year to put in another $100 when my anniversary date came around.
I called them and they were able to put back the ~$35 that was still left - whew- , and then added another $100 + 7% tax in NJ.

Whereas with my mom, last year, all she had to do with T-mobile pre-paid was put in another $10 and she got another year of service.


With T-mobile $100 gives you 1000 minutes, but if you add $10 that is only 30 minutes. Still, at a usage of even 500 minutes per year you would only need to add $100 after the 3rd year, so you would average $40 per year.


Right, my mom knows that extra $10 only buys her 30 minutes. She hardly ever uses her phone.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby rec7 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:09 pm

jeffyscott wrote:The $100 would pay for your calls. If you are on the $1.99 plan that would be deducted from the $100 balance each day that you use the phone. With 25 cents per minute that would be deducted as you make calls, based on the duration of the calls.

There would also be a time limit on using the $100.


$1.99 sounds good unless someone calls you.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Mitchell777 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:52 pm

rec7 wrote:
jeffyscott wrote:The $100 would pay for your calls. If you are on the $1.99 plan that would be deducted from the $100 balance each day that you use the phone. With 25 cents per minute that would be deducted as you make calls, based on the duration of the calls.

There would also be a time limit on using the $100.


$1.99 sounds good unless someone calls you.


Verizon told me voice mail is no additional fee. I suppose if they count a voice mail as a day using the phone, I may be better off with the $0.25 per minute plan they offered. I make about 10 calls per year, get about another 10 incoming, and about 20 voice mails (most wrong numbers). All my calls are very short so the $0.25 per minute may be best. I appreciate the comments
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby nonnie » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:59 am

Tall Grass wrote:I've been happy with my calls/text only Virgin Mobile flip-phone; you just have to add $20.00 every three months, and it does carry over. If it builds up too much money, I just make a text donation to the Salvation Army with my overage...beauty!

I don't see anybody quoting a rate cheaper than $60 a year. This is what Virgin Mobile costs if you sign up for automatic top up; it's $15 a quarter rather than $ 20
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby magellan » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:56 am

nonnie wrote:I don't see anybody quoting a rate cheaper than $60 a year. This is what Virgin Mobile costs if you sign up for automatic top up; it's $15 a quarter rather than $ 20

T-Mobile is $10 a year after the first year's $100 startup cost.

In addition, T-Mobile is also the cheapest option for smartphone users that need once-in-a-while data access. My smartphone has wifi so I can usually get Internet/email connectivity for free. If I find I really really need data access, I activate it for 1 day for only $3. This option works with my phone's hotspot feature so I can share Internet access with multiple laptops and tablets.

Jim
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby linuxuser » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:40 am

Mitchell777 wrote:
rec7 wrote:
jeffyscott wrote:The $100 would pay for your calls. If you are on the $1.99 plan that would be deducted from the $100 balance each day that you use the phone. With 25 cents per minute that would be deducted as you make calls, based on the duration of the calls.

There would also be a time limit on using the $100.


$1.99 sounds good unless someone calls you.


Verizon told me voice mail is no additional fee. I suppose if they count a voice mail as a day using the phone, I may be better off with the $0.25 per minute plan they offered. I make about 10 calls per year, get about another 10 incoming, and about 20 voice mails (most wrong numbers). All my calls are very short so the $0.25 per minute may be best. I appreciate the comments


I haven't tried calling my voice mail and seeing if it resulted in the $0.99 deduction even if I don't make any other calls or receive any other calls.
As a result, when I see on my phone that there is a voicemail, I use a landline phone (generally at work) to check it. Verizon phone number is the one I have on my resume, so most calls come during the workday.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby BornInCA » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:22 pm

nisiprius wrote:We haven't done a close comparison. I've used Tracfone for about seven years, after about seven or so years of using Verizon's cheapest "real" plan. I'm a light user, but by no means an emergency-only user. Maybe 400 minutes per year. I bought the double-your-minutes card (or maybe it was bundled with my last phone). I typically buy 400-minute (really 800 but they've always got a deal going so usually 1000 minutes), 365-day packages. All the phone companies intentionally-I-think make their plans complicated, but it was very very clear that for a light user Tracfone is MUCH cheaper than a regular plan. Like maybe $10-15 month for Tracfone, $35 a month or so for Verizon.

Reliability and coverage is hard to judge. I've yet to be in a situation where my Tracfone wouldn't connect and other peoples' would. Lately I've been seeing unexpected coverage gaps--highway rest stops on the Mass Pike?????--but haven't been in a situation where I could ask a "real" cell phone user if their phone worked.

I've been very satisfied with Tracfone. I wanted cheap and I got cheap. I wanted to make calls, not browse the Internet or be a GPS substitute. It makes calls.

My wife stuck with Verizon for a while because she didn't want to sink the money into a GPS and her phone supposedly had GPS capability for "only" $10/month, but she found it to be sucky and not at all comparable to a real GPS.
ascenzm wrote:
Frugaldude wrote:Hello all,

I have a landline and don't really talk much on the cell phone. I just need it for emergencies and for traveling. I use at most maybe 30 minutes per month on average.

Currently I use a pre-paid Net10 phone, but the cheapest I can pay is $20 for 30 Days of Service and 200 minutes. But I don't use anywhere close to 200 minutes a month, and I'm piling up tons and tons of minutes at this point that I'll never use.

Thanks in advance for any advice! The $20 a month is really irritating to a frugal dude like me. :)


I use a $19.95 double minutes for life Tracfone and I buy a 90 day/60 minute card every three months for $19.99 + $1.00 911 tax and sales tax. My total annual cost works out to roughly $88 to $89 and I get 480 new minutes total each year. Beats paying ~ $450/year for a Verizon 400 minutes/month plan since I probably use less than 100 minutes/year.

Mike


I did something similar to Mike. My wife and I switched to Tracfone from both Verizon and T-Mobile back in 2009. We got 2 phones with "Double Minutes for LIfe". On both of them, we started with $199.99 One-Year 1500 minutes airtime card (leads to 3000 minutes). From the second year onwards, we've been renewing with just the 1-year 400 minutes (each time getting 800 minutes) airtime card for $99.99, mostly when I see promos for bonus minutes. The bonus minutes are not doubled. 400 min airtime card for $99.99 is the cheapest 1-year airtime card I've seen. If there is a cheaper 1-year card, I'd take that one instead.

My worst experience with Tracfone was the transfer of phone numbers from one cell phone to another. They sent me 5 aircards to help with the transfer and they all failed. I was on the verge of firing them if they made me lose my phone numbers. Fortunately, it didn't happen. If I have any problems, I contact "Customer Relations/Escalations" instead of "Customer Service."

I am happy with the savings only. "Customer Relations" is fine but "Customer Service" is horrible.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby jeffyscott » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:04 pm

magellan wrote:
nonnie wrote:I don't see anybody quoting a rate cheaper than $60 a year. This is what Virgin Mobile costs if you sign up for automatic top up; it's $15 a quarter rather than $ 20

T-Mobile is $10 a year after the first year's $100 startup cost.


Yes, once you exceed 2 years of service, T-mobile is cheaper.

Boost mobile also beats virgin right from the start, minimum is $10 per quarter. I am grandfathered in at 10 cents per minute on boost, I think they now charge 20 cents. Boost also has web access available for 50 cents per day.

We had one tracfone for many years and had built up 1300 or 1500 minutes (or units), then I found that we could, in the long run, pay the same or less for two phones. I have Boost and wife has T-mobile. When traveling, she has usually has better coverage and I have slow internet access, even though my phone is not "smart"...makes a nice combination.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Loon11 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:33 pm

aja888
never heard of pageplus - but I will surely check it out! sounds very good. if they use verizon, then I will definitely switch. right now I have only =$11.00 left so will need to pay another $100 soon. I can keep my number and phone?
will research now. Thanks!!
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby likegarden » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:34 pm

We do the low-work approach. Once a year I renew our two Trac phones for another year for around $100 each and put each into our cars, power off, for use in car-emergencies, on trips and buying pizza. We have around 900 minutes each, but rarely use them. The simple, inexpensive phones last a minimum of 3 years. I still remember the high cost and complicated times with Cellular One, when a phone only lasted 1 year on a 2 year contract.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Faith20879 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:41 pm

I assume the OP is asking the cheapest cell phone "plan" as to the cell phone itselft?


I have PagePlus - $80 for the 1st year, then $10 every 4 months after that.
Hubby has the T-Mobile $100 for the 1st yr, then $10 every year after that.

PagePlus has far better reception than T-Mobile. I could make calls from a small closet without problem. His is not so, too close to a tree, too close to power line, too deep in the woods, or too whatever, it is a no-go. He's treatened to switch but I convinced him to stay for "diversification".

Regards,
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Epsilon Delta » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:29 pm

BornInCA wrote:The bonus minutes are not doubled. 400 min airtime card for $99.99 is the cheapest 1-year airtime card I've seen. If there is a cheaper 1-year card, I'd take that one instead.

If you buy directly from tracfone.com they give you the option of buying another 365 days for $50. If you have a bunch of rollover minutes you can combine this with a $10 card. This gets you 13 months for $60, (about $55 per year). There are other combinations that can make sense for some people who also need minutes.

Other providers may be cheaper, but if your happy with tracfone and don't want to switch this can be the cheapest way to use them.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby BL » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:53 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
BornInCA wrote:The bonus minutes are not doubled. 400 min airtime card for $99.99 is the cheapest 1-year airtime card I've seen. If there is a cheaper 1-year card, I'd take that one instead.

If you buy directly from tracfone.com they give you the option of buying another 365 days for $50. If you have a bunch of rollover minutes you can combine this with a $10 card. This gets you 13 months for $60, (about $55 per year). There are other combinations that can make sense for some people who also need minutes.

Other providers may be cheaper, but if your happy with tracfone and don't want to switch this can be the cheapest way to use them.


+1
I do about the same. It is just a little convoluted, buy when you set out to buy a shorter time, you are invited to add these extras like a cheap year or extra minutes. The phone I bought most recently from them for around $20 came with double minutes forever.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Loon11 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:55 pm

aja8888-been trying for 2 days to call pageplus to see if I can keep my current phone.
would port if they say yes. will try emailing. was on hold two different times but could not get anyone.
I have a cheap samsung that I bought from walmart with verizon minutes on it.
would I need to buy another phone?
I could not find a retailer in virginia - so not sure if I could even get the 0.04 cents a min.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby mggray17 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:24 pm

Loon11 wrote:aja8888-been trying for 2 days to call pageplus to see if I can keep my current phone.
would port if they say yes. will try emailing. was on hold two different times but could not get anyone.
I have a cheap samsung that I bought from walmart with verizon minutes on it.
would I need to buy another phone?
I could not find a retailer in virginia - so not sure if I could even get the 0.04 cents a min.


You can't use a verizon pre-paid phone on page plus. You must use a new verizon post paid phone (normally would have verizon contract) with out the contract or used verizon phone that the contract has expired.
That being said you can find new verizon phone cheap on-line. I've been using page plus for several years. Love it and it keeps getting better.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Colorado13 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:12 pm

Reviving this subject with hopes of more great advice... I currently have a contract with Verizon for 300 minutes and $40/month (their cheapest plan.) I don't need 300 minutes/month and don't use my phone with a data plan, so am considering Page Plus (thanks to the advice on this forum.) It's not clear to me if I *have* to purchase a new phone? Since Page Plus uses the Verizon network, does anyone know if I can use my current LG phone with the Page Plus plan? I would rather not purchase a new phone because that will eat into the savings from having a cheaper plan (I'll have to pay a fee to cancel my Verizon contract, but if I find a cheap enough cell plan, I can recover that fee in a couple of months.)
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby rotorhead » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:54 pm

Colorado13, take a look at Consumer Cellular, http://www.consumercellular.com/. I've been using them the past month on a trial basis with a Blackberry 8900, and just today made the decision to switch from AT&T to them. They package their plans in small enough doses to suit our requirements; and my experience with their customer service people on the phone has been very pleasant. They use the AT&T network, so our coverage quality is the same. The BB has been working great, and my wife has an iphone 4s; which we expect will work just as well. We're long out of contract, and both phones are unlocked; so no problems in using their system. I figure we will save $60 per month over what we've been spending with AT&T. That's worth doing! If you are AARP member, you qualify for a discount as well. We also looked at a T-Mobile prepaid plan, and decided the CC plan suited us better.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Colorado13 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:49 am

Thank you - I appreciate the tip!
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby 555 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:25 pm

magellan wrote:"T-Mobile is $10 a year after the first year's $100 startup cost.

In addition, T-Mobile is also the cheapest option for smartphone users that need once-in-a-while data access. My smartphone has wifi so I can usually get Internet/email connectivity for free. If I find I really really need data access, I activate it for 1 day for only $3. This option works with my phone's hotspot feature so I can share Internet access with multiple laptops and tablets."


How do you make sure it uses the free wifi instead of charging you per minute for some other type of connection?
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Faith20879 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:42 pm

Colorado13 wrote:...if I can use my current LG phone with the Page Plus plan...


I don't think LG or not is the issue. From what I hear, you can use any previously Verizon contract phone with PP (check their page FAQ). I have been with PP for a couple of years and am very happy with the quality. My Verizon contract expired so I called one of the PP vendors and they assigned me a phone number plus a couple of dollar worth of credit to try out. Everything worked seamless so I stayed.

Regards,
Faith
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby magellan » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:43 pm

555 wrote:
magellan wrote:"T-Mobile is $10 a year after the first year's $100 startup cost.
In addition, T-Mobile is also the cheapest option for smartphone users that need once-in-a-while data access. My smartphone has wifi so I can usually get Internet/email connectivity for free. If I find I really really need data access, I activate it for 1 day for only $3. This option works with my phone's hotspot feature so I can share Internet access with multiple laptops and tablets."

How do you make sure it uses the free wifi instead of charging you per minute for some other type of connection?

I usually am on a per minute pay-as-you-go plan without data, so I'm limited to wifi unless I specifically go in and change my plan.

When I need data, I use the T-Mobile app to change my plan to the $3 a day for voice text and data on days you use it plan. I send a reminder email to change back to my regular plan when I'm done. I can change my plan from the phone or from any web browser.

If I accidentally leave the $3 per day plan active, I assume I'd see a $3 charge on any day I use the phone for anything. So far, I haven't forgotten to change back though.

Jim
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby aja8888 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:47 pm

Colorado13 wrote:Reviving this subject with hopes of more great advice... I currently have a contract with Verizon for 300 minutes and $40/month (their cheapest plan.) I don't need 300 minutes/month and don't use my phone with a data plan, so am considering Page Plus (thanks to the advice on this forum.) It's not clear to me if I *have* to purchase a new phone? Since Page Plus uses the Verizon network, does anyone know if I can use my current LG phone with the Page Plus plan? I would rather not purchase a new phone because that will eat into the savings from having a cheaper plan (I'll have to pay a fee to cancel my Verizon contract, but if I find a cheap enough cell plan, I can recover that fee in a couple of months.)


We have three phones on Page Plus that were previous Verizon plan phones. They are an LG VX-9200, a Motorola Droid 2 and a Motorola Droid Pro. You do not have to buy a phone if you have a Verizon phone with a clean EIN...... clean meaning off contract. Just activate the phone on Page Plus and pay Verizon the early termination fee and you are good to go. Call Page Plus and they can walk you through the process and port the number. Porting is free, activation is $10. Then pick your plan.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby theduke » Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:12 pm

I changed from a Verizon pay per minute to Page Plus a couple months ago. I'm now paying $10.00 every four months. That's $2.50 per month, and it's a 10 cents per minute charge. I'm a very low user. I'm very satisfied with their service. They have several plans for those who want more minutes, text, and data.

Edit to add. I'm using Kitty Wireless as the service provider, but it's with Page Plus and they use the Verizon network.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby wander » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:51 am

It sounds like PagePlus is a good deal to OP for using roughly 12 x 30 = 360 minutes yearly for purchasing 2000 minutes ($80) that lasts for a year. After a year, still has 1620 minutes. Add $10 every three 120 days to extend the left over minutes plus 100 new minutes. The additional $30 makes it new 1920 minutes plan and so on.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby 555 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:07 pm

magellan wrote:
555 wrote:
magellan wrote:"T-Mobile is $10 a year after the first year's $100 startup cost.
In addition, T-Mobile is also the cheapest option for smartphone users that need once-in-a-while data access. My smartphone has wifi so I can usually get Internet/email connectivity for free. If I find I really really need data access, I activate it for 1 day for only $3. This option works with my phone's hotspot feature so I can share Internet access with multiple laptops and tablets."

How do you make sure it uses the free wifi instead of charging you per minute for some other type of connection?

"I usually am on a per minute pay-as-you-go plan without data, so I'm limited to wifi unless I specifically go in and change my plan.

When I need data, I use the T-Mobile app to change my plan to the $3 a day for voice text and data on days you use it plan. I send a reminder email to change back to my regular plan when I'm done. I can change my plan from the phone or from any web browser.

If I accidentally leave the $3 per day plan active, I assume I'd see a $3 charge on any day I use the phone for anything. So far, I haven't forgotten to change back though."


I don't understand all of this. But am I safe in assuming that if I start using the internet on this phone, there's no way I could accidentally do something I have to pay for. I'm using the "T-Mobile $10 a year after the first year's $100 startup cost". We've basically almost never used the phone for anything.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby magellan » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:40 pm

555 wrote:...am I safe in assuming that if I start using the internet on this phone, there's no way I could accidentally do something I have to pay for. I'm using the "T-Mobile $10 a year after the first year's $100 startup cost". We've basically almost never used the phone for anything.

Per their website, T-Mobile prepaid offers pay-by-the-month, pay-by-the-day, and pay-by-the-minute plans. Pay-by-the-minute is also called pay-as-you go in some places on their website.

As long as you're on the pay-by-the-minute plan, there's no way to get 2G or 4G data by accident. So I think the only way to get non-wifi data is to specifically change to a data plan like pay-by-the-day plan I described in my post above. I use wifi all the time on my pay-by-the-minute plan and I've never seen any surprise charges for accidental data use.

I think with pay-by-the-minute, texts cost 10 cents each to send or receive, so if some spammer sends you text messages and you go in and retrieve them, you'll get charged 10 cents each for those.

Jim

fyi - Here are the options I get when I access my t-mobile account via their website
Image
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby 555 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:32 pm

Thankyou, magellan, for the explanation.
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Re: What's the cheapest cell phone if you don't need minutes

Postby Atilla » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:42 pm

The plan I had for my texting fool of a teenage son was a prepaid plan from T Mobile. $15 a month for unlimited texting and ten cents a minute for calls. He never hardly ever calls anyone.
The Village Idiot - here for your entertainment.
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