Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
Julieta
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:47 pm

Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Julieta » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:15 am

I'm looking for a cell phone only plan, 100 minutes or less per month. No 4G service necessary as those options are available to me almost 24/7 these days. I already have iPod, iPad, plenty of availability at work and home.

What do folks do if they only want a few hours of cell phone service?

I even have a phone that works.

Please steer me in the right direction. I'd like to pay $30 or less each month. Is that possible?
Last edited by Julieta on Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Keep It Simple

livesoft
Posts: 60419
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by livesoft » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:23 am

I'm sure others will chime in, but I thought that groups of friends were going together on a "family" plan. It really doesn't cost that much to add someone to a family plan. Do you have relatives that would do this for you?
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
Julieta
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:47 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Julieta » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:25 am

I'm checking it out, and thought of doing it as a family plan.
Keep It Simple

User avatar
ClevrChico
Posts: 1168
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:27 am

Pageplus has a 1200 minute plan for $29.95. They're an MVNO on Verizon's network.

User avatar
Julieta
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:47 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Julieta » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:32 am

Do you use them or know of their service?
Keep It Simple

YttriumNitrate
Posts: 1062
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by YttriumNitrate » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:46 am

I use Ting which is a provider that uses Sprint's cell network. Using between 500 and 1000 minutes a month would run ~$24 a month, but and you'd need to bring your own smartphone (used they run ~$80). What's nice about Ting is that there are no predefined plans and you just pay for whatever tier of usage you need. For example, if you only used 400 minutes one month your bill would drop to ~$15. Although you said you did need it, if one month you decide to use less than 100 megabytes of data that would only add $3 to your bill. For road trips, it's really nice to have access to data and know know you won't be gouged for it.

User avatar
Julieta
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:47 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Julieta » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:59 am

I'll check it out right now, thanks.
Keep It Simple

User avatar
4nursebee
Posts: 966
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:56 am
Location: US

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by 4nursebee » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:32 am

ATT prepaid year =$100, something like 1000 minutes, carries over. texts are 20 cents. Smartphone for free wifi spots.
4nursebee

ab80
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:35 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by ab80 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:17 pm

4nursebee wrote:ATT prepaid year =$100, something like 1000 minutes, carries over. texts are 20 cents. Smartphone for free wifi spots.
You can also get SMS packages. Something like $10 for 1000 SMS messages.

alicew234
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:36 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by alicew234 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:21 pm

Check out the cell coverage on Republic Wireless. The phone choices are limited but you can get a cell phone plan for $10 a month. The downside is that you have to pay upfront for the phone but I did the math and I'll break even in 8 months.

ab80
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:35 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by ab80 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:24 pm

Julieta wrote:I'm looking for a cell phone only plan, 1000 minutes or less per month. No 4G service necessary as those options are available to me almost 24/7 these days. I already have iPod, iPad, plenty of availability at work and home.

What do folks do if they only want a few hours of cell phone service?
Sorry, how is 1000 minutes per month only a few hours? That seems like a huge amount of time to be on the phone each month.

If you actually meant more like 100, I'm thinking about getting an ATT prepaid phone at some point. 1-2 hours per month would run me $6-12, and a 200 text message package would run me another $5.

Edit: And I just looked at Verizon and T-Mobile online for their prepaid stuff. Couldn't find anything about text message packages. Plus their minutes are considerably more expensive than at AT&T. I'd think they'd want to price that stuff to compete with AT&T. Maybe the prepaid phone market is small enough that they don't care.

User avatar
Julieta
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:47 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Julieta » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:04 pm

Thanks for noticing the typo, I edited it in the OP topic area. :oops:
Last edited by Julieta on Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
Keep It Simple

thewizzer
Posts: 259
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:11 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by thewizzer » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:19 pm

I have been signed up with Page Plus cellular for the past 3 months. I've been very happy with the service so far. I bought an old iPhone 4 from a friend to use. No problems signing up and I use their auto-refill feature so it automatically debits my account every 15th for another month of service.

http://www.pagepluscellular.com

User avatar
JMacDonald
Posts: 2080
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:53 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by JMacDonald » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:21 pm

Julieta wrote:Typo, 100 minutes.
At one time, I had the ATT GoPhone. I bought 1000 minutes for $100 for a year. That work well until I decided to get an iPhone.
http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/plans/ ... sku4950226
You just pay for more minutes if you need them.
Best Wishes, | Joe

User avatar
iceport
Posts: 3743
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:29 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by iceport » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:30 pm

If I were in the market for a <100 minutes/month voice-only plan I'd look to Consumer Cellular:

Consumer Cellular Voice Plans

200 minutes for $15/month. Even better, they're a no-contract provider.

They use the AT&T infrastructure.

--Peter
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

Caduceus
Posts: 1627
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:47 am

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Caduceus » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:55 pm

I suggest searching for pay-as-you-go plans ... the ones that allow you to buy a certain amount of minutes and leave it to you when you use them. They are more expensive per minute, but much cheaper than a plan if you don't use your cellphone much.

I spend less than $8 a month on non-work/personal calls on my cellphone. It would be nice to have a personal data plan, but it doesn't add enough value for me to want to pay for it.

bhsince87
Posts: 1578
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:08 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by bhsince87 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:33 pm

I used Tracfone for years. I signed up for a year at a time, and I had a double minutes deal. It averaged out to $8 per month. I averaged less than 50 minutes a month though, and I always ended up with lots of extra minutes.

But I switched to Republic Wireless a few months ago. Its $10 a month for unlimited cellular, plus it’s a smartphone when you have access to wifi. But you can switch to $25 a month for 3G or $40 for 4G if and when you need it.
BH87

jasg
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by jasg » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:34 pm

T-Mobile has a web only $30/mo plan that I use. 100 minutes and unlimited text/data. You need an unlocked GSM phone and a SIM card you can buy online.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/T-Mobile-SIM-Kit/24099996

User avatar
frugaltype
Posts: 1952
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:07 am

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by frugaltype » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:55 pm

I've had a Verizon Wireless plan for over ten years at $2x.00 something a month. With taxes and the other stuff they add on, I think it comes to $35 or so. I normally only use it in a limited fashion and don't run over whatever the limit is except maybe once or twice in that time. Sorry, I have no idea what they call this.


angelescrest
Posts: 938
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 10:48 am
Location: The Third Coast

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by angelescrest » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:32 pm

petrico wrote:If I were in the market for a <100 minutes/month voice-only plan I'd look to Consumer Cellular:

Consumer Cellular Voice Plans

200 minutes for $15/month. Even better, they're a no-contract provider.

They use the AT&T infrastructure.

--Peter
Wow, this looks great. Anybody have experience with them?

rongos
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 8:36 am

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by rongos » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:54 pm

100 minutes per month will cost you $2 on Lycamobile, and you can bring your own phone if it's an unlocked GSM. Lycamobile uses the T-Mobile network. I have been using them as a backup to my primary phone but in my experience they seem good enough to be my primary.

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Browser » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:23 pm

Julieta wrote:I'm looking for a cell phone only plan, 1000 minutes or less per month. No 4G service necessary as those options are available to me almost 24/7 these days. I already have iPod, iPad, plenty of availability at work and home.

What do folks do if they only want a few hours of cell phone service?

I even have a phone that works.

Please steer me in the right direction. I'd like to pay $30 or less each month. Is that possible?
You didn't say what kind of phone. If you want to use your phone, you'll have to investigate providers for that type of phone. Basically, there is AT&T/T-Mobile vs. Verizon/Sprint. If your phone was on a contract service previously, you might have to have it "unlocked" by the provider to use it on a prepaid service. If you're looking for Verizon prepaid, the best one is PagePlus. For Sprint, it's Ting. For AT&T it's probably Consumer Cellular. All these providers either have very good native coverage (PagePlus) or they include roaming (Ting and Consumer Cellular). Both Ting and Consumer Cellular have "flexible" plans. Ting does it automatically, placing you in a monthly charge bucket based on your useage. Consumer Cellular will let you change your plan at will during the month and provides alerts if you are exceeding your minutes so that you can upgrade your plan for that month and then downgrade back to a lower-useage plan.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

Runner01
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:14 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Runner01 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:13 pm

Airvoice is $10 per month for 250 minutes and uses AT&T's network. You can use any AT&T locked phone or GSM unlocked phone, I used the one in the link.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007X6 ... UTF8&psc=1

rotorhead
Posts: 409
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:59 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by rotorhead » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:45 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by petrico » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:30 pm
If I were in the market for a <100 minutes/month voice-only plan I'd look to Consumer Cellular:

Consumer Cellular Voice Plans

200 minutes for $15/month. Even better, they're a no-contract provider.

They use the AT&T infrastructure.

--Peter
I too, strongly recommend Consumer Cellular. We've been using them for a year now, and could not be more pleased. 200 minutes per month will cost you $15, with no contract. Data and texts add a little cost. You need an unlocked GSM phone, since they use the AT&T network. They have been ranked the best low cost provider 3 years running by Consumer Reports. Here is link to their site: https://www.consumercellular.com/Info/Plans. Spend some time on the site, then call them up and talk about what you want. Not every phone will work on their network, but most do. We are using iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S2 currently. If you want to "port" your present phone number, you must establish an account with them first; and let them guide you through the process.

Oleanmike
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Oleanmike » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:49 pm

I've been using Consumer Cellular for two years and love it. $22 per month includes voice, text messages and data. I use it mostly for emergencies and occasionally for data. If you are about to exceed any limits, you get a text warning you and you can adjust the plan for that month.

User avatar
Julieta
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:47 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Julieta » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:53 pm

I had no idea there were so many options. Thanks one and all for excellent details, experience and opinions. I'm on it this week!
Keep It Simple

newboggler
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:09 am

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by newboggler » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:24 pm

check this out from Mr.Money Mustache

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/ ... one-plans/

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Browser » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:55 pm

I'm an AirVoice user and am quite satisfied with the $30/month plan that provides unlimited talk, text and 100 Mb of data. Uses the AT&T prepaid network. My only problem with it is that some areas where I've travelled don't have coverage; most notably a long section of I-40 in NE New Mexico of about 150 miles and also off the beaten track in the Oklahoma panhandle where I stay overnight on my trips. For that reason, I signed up with Consumer Cellular to try it out on my most recent trip, since I can use the same phone. I have an unlocked GSM phone so all I need to do is switch SIMs. Consumer Cellular did have coverage in the area where AirVoice did not, showing that it used the AT&T postpaid network (includes roaming on partner networks). However, it costs more if you use more than 500 minutes talk and 100 Mb data. I pretty quickly found out that I probably use over 1000 minutes talk a month. So, it's a tradeoff. If you use your phone mostly in populated areas and/or are OK with losing coverage in some areas when you travel, then I'd go for AirVoice. If the coverage is important, then Consumer Cellular is your best bet; also if you have very limited voice and data needs. I like Consumer Cellular a lot, but I'll probably stick with AirVoice until my voice minute needs are reliably below 500 minutes per month. One other difference in cost is that AirVoice is a flat amount, with no fees and taxes. I haven't gotten a bill for my trial month with Consumer Cellular yet, but I believe it will add on fees and taxes -- I think those run about 17% typically.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

User avatar
LonePrairie
Posts: 236
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by LonePrairie » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:00 pm

A couple of years ago, when my Verizon contract ran out, I moved my BlackBerry to PagePlus. I turned off data services on the BlackBerry and now use it only as a phone. I get a $10 refill every 120 days. I'm completely happy with PagePlus.

User avatar
ClevrChico
Posts: 1168
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:03 pm

Julieta wrote:Do you use them or know of their service?
A family member uses Pageplus, and it's worked out great. We made the decision based on their usage pattern.

User avatar
mcrunyan
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:38 pm
Location: SoCal

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by mcrunyan » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:31 pm

jasg wrote:T-Mobile has a web only $30/mo plan that I use. 100 minutes and unlimited text/data. You need an unlocked GSM phone and a SIM card you can buy online.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/T-Mobile-SIM-Kit/24099996
+1. This plan is what I use and is great if you're not a big talker. Unlimited data is great since you don't have to think about it; even with free access at work/home.

User avatar
BolderBoy
Posts: 3878
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:37 pm

ClevrChico wrote:Pageplus has a 1200 minute plan for $29.95. They're an MVNO on Verizon's network.
+1
Been using their $10/quarter plan for several years now. All I need. Minutes roll over. I don't need much.

8track
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:20 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by 8track » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:41 pm

I use this one. It costs $75 / year for 2000 minutes, 1500 text messages, no data. You can add data to this by buying a card, or pick a monthly plan that includes data. It uses the Verizon network

http://genius-wireless.com/selectel-plans-2/

Paul

MattE
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:44 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by MattE » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:57 am

I'll also vouch for PagePlus - we swapped my wife's Droid 3 over to their $55 plan (unlimited talk\text + 2 GB data) and my old Motorola Q9 to their $12 plan (250 minutes\250 texts) last year and have had no problems at all with it.

goaties
Posts: 232
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:15 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by goaties » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:45 am

There's one other issue which it seems no one has mentioned yet: coverage. The problem I had with most carriers is they use the GSM network, which is fine as long as you are in populated areas. I only use my cell when traveling...and I'm always traveling to rural areas which only seem to have good TDMA coverage (or is it CDMA? I always get those confused). For me, I found that Tracfone was the best as they piggyback on whatever network is in the area. Often I got reception while someone with an expensive ATT or Verizon phone got nothing. This may have changed now, but do check the coverage maps for these "bargain" cell providers.

Currently, I'm using PagePlus because it's cheaper ($10 for four months), but I haven't put it to the test, coverage-wise, yet.


JerLon
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:03 pm
Location: Western NY

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by JerLon » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:11 am

ClevrChico wrote:Pageplus has a 1200 minute plan for $29.95. They're an MVNO on Verizon's network.
I have been using PagePlus (using Kitty Wireless as my "dealer") for a year now. I am on the $29.95 plan (1200 minutes, 3000 text messages, 500MB Data). With two iPhones, my wife and I have saved $1,680 in that year. Only once did I go over the data allowance (less than a dollar in charges) and we have never approached the phone or text allowances.

The coverage map is VERIZON's coverage map. Doing it through Kitty allows for slightly better service than through PagePlus.

lrak
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:46 am

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by lrak » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:18 am

My wife and I use StraightTalk. It is Walmart reselling TracPhone services. $30 for 30 days/1000 minutes/1000 txts/30mb of data. The "C" phones use Verizon towers. The "G" phones use AT&T towers.
If we buy prepaid cards at Walmart in NH, it really costs us $30/mo. If we subscribe to monthly services with a credit card as MA residents it comes out to ~$100/yr more in taxes/fees for the two phones.

Note: If you have a SmartPhone with them they require you to have the $45 /30 days / unlimited plan.

User avatar
sephage
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:07 pm
Location: Philly

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by sephage » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:25 am

For those already on Verizon for some time and are reluctant to move because of their better coverage (for which you'll pay fairly dearly), you can try asking them for their undocumented loyalty plan. Voice and text are unlimited, data is 2gb, no tethering allowed, however (I'd never used tethering so not a big deal to me). $60 base per month, around $68 with fees & taxes. I'd called to remove a line from our plan, told them I was thinking of jumping ship because they were so pricey, so they moved me to that plan for the remainder of my contract. So far, works great, and I'm enjoying paying half of what we used to pay.

One further point to consider, is that if you're also considering ditching your landline or phone from a cable provider & going with cellular for your primary phone (as we are), it might make sense to pay a little more for the carrier that has the best coverage in your area; better overall experience and still saving a nice chunk of change per month, etc. Fortunately, we have some overlap between the major carriers here so in another year I'll have additional choices to consider (& probably will dig this thread up again then).
"I've got a bad feeling about this..." - Every Star Wars character at least once

User avatar
BigFoot48
Posts: 2547
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:47 am
Location: Arizona

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by BigFoot48 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:39 am

My $15 LG221C flip-phone from Tracfone is running about $80 a year for 480 minutes. I have about 3,800 minutes accumulated as they roll over so I buy the best time deal and don't care about minutes any more. It takes a pretty decent photo too! Has a browser but it's only for emergency use unless one has good eyes and is good at keypad typing.
Retired | Two-time in top-10 in Bogleheads S&P500 contest; 12-time loser

JerLon
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:03 pm
Location: Western NY

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by JerLon » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:48 am

sephage wrote:For those already on Verizon for some time and are reluctant to move because of their better coverage (for which you'll pay fairly dearly)...
If what you want is Verizon coverage, you are far better off going to PagePlus which is a Verizon MNVO which means you HAVE VERIZON COVERAGE as Verizon sells excess tower strength to PagePlus. I'll repeat, with PagePlus (for pennies on your Verizon dollar) you have the EXACT SAME COVERAGE as Verizon.

User avatar
Julieta
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:47 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Julieta » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:51 am

We all can benefit from pooling our resources and this is a great forum for serious savers! I am grateful and appreciate the responses and know there will be savings for all who visit this topic. :moneybag
Keep It Simple

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Browser » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:13 am

You can get Verizon coverage with Ting. It uses Sprint but roams onto Verizon. I think you're probably fine on AT&T as well if your service includes roaming, which Consumer Cellular does. T-mobile has the most limited nationwide coverage. Can be fine in some areas. I found it wasn't great for me, even in Phoenix suburban area. AT&T has the most extensive 3G HSPA+ architecture, which is called 4G (not 4G-LTE). It's a faster 3G speed. When you have it, your smartphone will display a small H next to the bars. I have the H displayed probably 90% of the time when I'm using AirVoice or Consumer Cellular. T-mobile often gives you 3G or 2G speeds with prepaid -- OK for voice, not so good with data. Verizon is great for 4G-LTE but does not have as extensive HSPA+ coverage as AT&T. Currently, prepaids don't offer 4G-LTE I don't believe. I don't think I'd use it even if they did because it would really suck data and data is expensive on prepaids. My 3G HSPA+ has been fine for data. Mostly, you are limited to 3G with prepaid, so you want to use a service with HSPA+ (4G) speeds as much as possible if you care about data. That's probably AT&T.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

mikep
Posts: 3694
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:27 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by mikep » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:03 am

JerLon wrote:
ClevrChico wrote:Pageplus has a 1200 minute plan for $29.95. They're an MVNO on Verizon's network.
I have been using PagePlus (using Kitty Wireless as my "dealer") for a year now. I am on the $29.95 plan (1200 minutes, 3000 text messages, 500MB Data). With two iPhones, my wife and I have saved $1,680 in that year. Only once did I go over the data allowance (less than a dollar in charges) and we have never approached the phone or text allowances.

The coverage map is VERIZON's coverage map. Doing it through Kitty allows for slightly better service than through PagePlus.
For 100 min/mo, I use page plus $80 per year plan. Then at the end of the year load $10 every 4 months to extend your $80 refill until it all runs out. The $80 refill is 4 cents/min and the $10 refill is 10 cents/min (FIFO order), and there is a 50 cents/mo fee taken out of your balance on the 25th of each month so your cost should average out to ~$5/mo. I have an iphone 4 on this with SMS/MMS/data turned off on the page plus site. iMessage works fine over wifi for SMS/MMS since most of my friends/family have iPhones and works great except the occasional text where I am not near wifi, I would only see when I get connected again. Kitty is fine for activation/porting number (they have a promo for a free $12 plan or 10% off another plan) but then if you can manage your own I buy my refills through pincheap.com at 7.5% off (6% for the $10 PIN) as I feel there is no real value add from Kitty after you are setup. If you want some text and a bit of data (10MB) they have a $12 per month plan for 250 min/text and 10MB data.

2retire
Posts: 367
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:00 am

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by 2retire » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:16 am

There is also Platinum Tel (ptel.com). They are a pay as you go outfit.

Calls - 5 cents a minute (100 mins/month = $5)
Texts - 2 cents each
Data - 10 cents per MB

If you don't use data, you can easily get away with paying ~60 a year for your cell phone. You'd need to buy a $10 card every two months. All unused dollars roll over.

They use the TMobile network.

User avatar
sephage
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:07 pm
Location: Philly

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by sephage » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:04 pm

JerLon wrote:
sephage wrote:For those already on Verizon for some time and are reluctant to move because of their better coverage (for which you'll pay fairly dearly)...
If what you want is Verizon coverage, you are far better off going to PagePlus which is a Verizon MNVO which means you HAVE VERIZON COVERAGE as Verizon sells excess tower strength to PagePlus. I'll repeat, with PagePlus (for pennies on your Verizon dollar) you have the EXACT SAME COVERAGE as Verizon.
Is that the same for data (4G) as well as text & voice? Just curious, if so then it's pretty compelling (if not, it might still be compelling if you can live with 3G).
"I've got a bad feeling about this..." - Every Star Wars character at least once

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Browser » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:50 pm

Like I said, there's 2G, 3G, 4G, and 4G-LTE. To my knowledge all the prepaids will give you at least 3G most of the time. In some areas, only Edge 2G is available. To my knowledge, few of the prepaids give you 4G-LTE. It looks like Straight Talk (Trac Phone) does if you bring your own 4G-LTE phone and purchase an AT&T SIM card. $45 per month. I know that AirVoice and Consumer Cellular don't have 4G-LTE. But both provide pretty extensive 4G (HSPA+) coverage, which is fast enough for me. I can't figure out if Page Plus gives you 4G-LTE. Verizon's 4G (HSPA+) coverage isn't as good as AT&T. They chose to build out their 4G-LTE network, while AT&T built out it's HSPA+ network. Ting uses Sprint and Sprint's 4G and 4G-LTE coverage is awful. So you'll get Sprint 3G coverage for data most of the time, and I can testify it's a lot slower than AT&T 3G coverage. When you are out of Sprint service area, it will roam to Verizon and the data speed might actually be better then. T-mobile has a much more limited HSPA+ (4G) network than AT&T. I'm happy with AT&T data speeds on both AirVoice and Consumer Cellular prepaid. I don't know if I'd be happy with PagePlus (Verizon) 3G speed -- haven't used it. I tried T-mobile with Walmart's Family Plan and was not happy with their speed even in metro Phoenix. I'm sure it is OK in many metro areas, however. But it probably sucks when you're off the beaten track. They don't even have voice coverage in many rural and small-medium towns. Actually, a not bad plan these days is from Ma Bell herself. They have a no-contract plan for $45 that gives you 4G-LTE, unlimited talk and text and 300 Mb data over the full network, including partner roaming. I'd have to pay $40 on AirVoice for unlimited talk and text with 500 Mb data, no 4G-LTE and no roaming. There is no unlimited text and talk with Consumer Cellular. 2000 minutes costs $40 and 500 Mb data costs $20 more = $60. No 4G-LTE.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

User avatar
LonePrairie
Posts: 236
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by LonePrairie » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:04 pm

I neglected to mention in my post about PagePlus that I use and highly recommend Kitty Wireless.

http://www.kittywireless.com/

Browser
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm

Re: Is there a low cost cell phone plan, limited minutes?

Post by Browser » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:23 pm

If you want simple and easy, Consumer Cellular fits. I bought a SIM at Sears - or you can get one free online. If bought at Sears, you get the $10 back on your first bill, so it's free. Pop it in, configure your phone, and you're in business. Good website, everything can be handled there without ever needing to talk to anybody. If you want to change your plan back and forth you can do it repeatedly online with no fuss. AirVoice Wireless is more of a hassle and I've needed to deal with customer service a few times. You don't have the flexibility to change your plan without a hassle and that can't be done during the month to avoid overage, as it can with CC. PagePlus looks like a hassle too if you don't want to buy and use one of their crummy phones. You gotta go through Kitty or some other 3rd party to get a phone. The advantage of being on the Verizon network is a wash if you ask me, if you have roaming coverage on AT&T as you do with Consumer Cellular. Plus you know you'll be getting good HSPA+ speeds about everywhere. But it costs more than PagePlus. The PPC 1200 minute, 500 Mb. plan is $30. To get 1000 minutes, 500 Mb. on CC costs $50 ($30 for voice, $20 data). If your voice needs are 1000 minutes or less and you have limited data needs, I'd go with Consumer Cellular. If you need more than 1000 minutes and/or want more data then you gotta either pay more or make some tradeoffs somewhere.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

Post Reply