Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

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doss
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Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by doss » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:27 pm

My father-in-law needs a cheap cell phone and service. He is not a senior citizen (age 55) but has early on-set Alzheimers. Anyone have any suggestions on a cheap cell phone plan for someone like him ? He just needs it for emergencies and staying in touch with family. The ability to also text would be great. Thanks!

xenial
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by xenial » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:35 pm

Tello (Sprint network) has very inexpensive plans, as well as a dirt cheap pay-as-you-go option for light users. I've been happy with them.

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fortfun
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by fortfun » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:40 pm

doss wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:27 pm
My father-in-law needs a cheap cell phone and service. He is not a senior citizen (age 55) but has early on-set Alzheimers. Anyone have any suggestions on a cheap cell phone plan for someone like him ? He just needs it for emergencies and staying in touch with family. The ability to also text would be great. Thanks!
If he has a laptop, or computer, he can just use Google voice to text and call. I'm too cheap to buy my son a cell phone. Google voice is how he communicates with his friends (mostly texts but can call too). Very simple, you can just leave it up on his screen at all times.

Austintatious
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by Austintatious » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:48 pm

DW and I have used Consumer Cellular for several years and we have been satisfied with the service they provide.

https://www.consumercellular.com/Plans

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tcassette
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by tcassette » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:58 pm

doss wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:27 pm
My father-in-law needs a cheap cell phone and service. He is not a senior citizen (age 55) but has early on-set Alzheimers. Anyone have any suggestions on a cheap cell phone plan for someone like him ? He just needs it for emergencies and staying in touch with family. The ability to also text would be great. Thanks!
Assuming he is in a decently strong signal service area, T-Mobile offers a prepaid plan that is $3 per month (plus taxes and fees) that should fit the bill. You can fund it with prepaid cards or online with a credit card.

DivesEtPauper
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by DivesEtPauper » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:23 pm

Ting. Rates start at $6 per month. You only pay for what you use. For example, if you use 1-100 minutes in a given monthly billing cycle, that adds $3. If you use 1-100 texts, that's another $3. Total bill would be $12, plus taxes and fees (my last month's bill showed $5.02 for taxes/fees). If you don't use the phone at all for a given month, it's only $6 (again, plus fees).

They have tiers, but they are pretty forgiving about bumping you to the next tier. Send 101 texts and you might still get the lower rate. Even if you do go over, it's only $2 more, and the next tiers are pretty good too.

We have three phones ($18), 838 minutes ($18), 604 messages ($5) and 1 MB (we don't do data - I realize this is impossibly low for many folks). Total bill $46.02.

I've been using Ting since 2014. Support is also great - they pride themselves on having U.S.-based support staff, and they don't make you jump through hoops. I have a Ting referral link I can send you privately (I assume posting it here would be frowned upon). I think it gives us both a small one-time credit.

sawdust60
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by sawdust60 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:00 pm

h2owirelessnow.com - AT&T MVNO - $10/90-day 5-cent/minute plan. prior post

neilpilot
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by neilpilot » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:21 pm

If you or he has Comcast internet, you can’t get much cheaper than free (plus tax & fees). Xfinity mobile.

MaxRN
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by MaxRN » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:36 pm

Another recommendation for Ting, inexpensive, reliable, and easy to deal with.
Don't believe everything you believe.

Topic Author
doss
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by doss » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:48 pm

Thanks! But what about phones...do these services require you to purchase an expensive phone or do they general provide it for a discount (or free)?

retire2022
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by retire2022 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:54 pm

Walmart Straight Talk run by Total wireless

https://www.walmart.com/browse/cell-pho ... 19_1225527

or

https://www.walmart.com/search/?query=t ... s%20phones

you buy your own phone and you pay for your minutes month to month, the good thing is most Walmart stores are almost everywhere

use this app to see where most of the services are https://www.opensignal.com/

In either plan you could to choose which carrier is best in your area

For both plans, the maps uses one of the four carriers, Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile and Sprint

good luck

redrunner
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by redrunner » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:23 pm

If it's truly just a case of having a phone for emergencies, then a Pay As You Go plan would almost certainly be the better plan. Otherwise, I'd recommend https://www.mintmobile.com/. They're a T-Mobile MVNO, and unlimited talk and text plan with 3gb data, purchased a year in advance, comes to be $15 per month. I used them for two years and would highly recommend it - as long as Tmobile has decent service in your location. We just moved to Nebraska where service can be a bit spotty, which is the only reason why we switched. Currently we're with RedPocket, a Verizon MVNO and am paying $22 per month for the same plan.

heyyou
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by heyyou » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:46 pm

The candidate might do okay with the big button phone from AARP, but it may not be the best buy on pricing.

reisner
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by reisner » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:50 pm

My wife and I have used Republic Wireless for the last four-five years. Phone, cell, internet, $44 a month for the two of us.

SoAnyway
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by SoAnyway » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:01 am

Sorry for your FIL's diagnosis, OP.
I'm on AT&T prepaid - 30 bucks a month for unlimited talk + text, and a gig of data with unused data that rolls over to the next month. And I get 2% cash back due to the cc I use to pay it.
Depending on your FIL's "use case" specifics, you might get a better deal at the other vendors. If you post your FIL's geography and make/model phone currently used, you might get better responses since quality will vary based on these factors.
Nothing in this post constitutes legal or medical advice. | Consult your attorney or physician to verify if/how anything stated might or might not be applicable to your specific situation.

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JoMoney
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by JoMoney » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:35 am

I've been using a SpeedTalk mobile pre-paid plan (they're a MVNO on T-Mobile's network)
The plan I got was $99 a year for 500 minutes talk, unlimited text, 1gb 4G LTE data
https://www.amazon.com/Year-Prepaid-GSM ... B01LZNJ3DV

They have other plans for less (or more). If you go with a T-Mobile MVNO, be sure to thoroughly check whatever phone you use operates on all the bands T-Mobile uses.
https://www.frequencycheck.com
https://www.frequencycheck.com/countries/united-states

T-Mobile doesn't have the best coverage as it is, and it was (initially) even worse for me while I was using a phone that worked but not on one of the major bands T-Mobile uses in my area.
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cacophony
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by cacophony » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:40 am

I pay ~$15/month for unlimited voice, unlimited texts, and 5GB/month LTE. It's a redpocket plan you can buy on ebay and activate for att, tmobile, or sprint. The lowest prices are around black friday for 1 year of service.

DivesEtPauper
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by DivesEtPauper » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:26 am

doss wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:48 pm
Thanks! But what about phones...do these services require you to purchase an expensive phone or do they general provide it for a discount (or free)?
With Ting, you will need to buy your own phone, but the cost works out better than it may seem at first. Ting sells a number of phones under $200 (new, but slightly older models), or you can BYOD, but you have to do a little homework first. Even if you go a little higher end, compare that to a two-year contract from, say, Verizon.

We got our phones directly from Ting, including the one that my 60-something mother-in-law uses now. She makes calls (80% of our minutes used are courtesy of her! :D ) and sends/receives texts like a pro.

The one downside to Ting: No freebies among families. When my wife texts me, that counts as two texts (her sending, me receiving) in our monthly total. If reply, that's 2 more. I'm pretty sure that some contract plans allow for free calls/texts between phones on the same account. But, again, you end up paying for this one way or another.

One little Ting customer service story, then I'll stop before I sound too much like a paid shill: Shortly after we bought my mother-in-law's phone, we had a problem with the charger cable not working. (This was a Motorola issue, not a Ting issue.) I figured Ting would make me send back the device, then wait for a new one, etc. Instead, I bought a replacement adapter (Amazon I think), and Ting just credited the amount on my next bill - nice and easy. Compared with our previous experiences with Virgin Mobile, it's night and day.

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dm200
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by dm200 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:26 am

doss wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:27 pm
My father-in-law needs a cheap cell phone and service. He is not a senior citizen (age 55) but has early on-set Alzheimers. Anyone have any suggestions on a cheap cell phone plan for someone like him ? He just needs it for emergencies and staying in touch with family. The ability to also text would be great. Thanks!
From our experience, having multiple folks/lines on one account can be a real bargain. I know Sprint has good deals if you have 4 or 5 phones on one account. Maybe you could add him to your cell phone account OR switch to a plan for multiple phones.

My wife and I switched from our two phone plan to be on our son's Sprint plan. It saved us money and we got new smart phones with unlimited calls, text and data. There are four phones on his plan - my wife and I, and he and his wife. if a fifth person came along - then that fifth person would be free and lower all our costs.

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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:21 pm

Red Pocket Mobile (Red plan = Verizon, Blue plan = AT&T, Yellow = Sprint, Pink = T-Mobile) for 1 year $99.00 ($8.25/month)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/8-25-Mo-Red-Po ... 8104!US!-1

500 talk 500 text 500mb per month.
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BL
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by BL » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:48 pm

heyyou wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:46 pm
The candidate might do okay with the big button phone from AARP, but it may not be the best buy on pricing.
I looked at "cell phones for seniors" on Amazon.com and see quite a few. Some are unlocked and work with various providers.

I have used Tracfone for years now and they may have some. Am wondering if they are switching to smart phones only, though, so would check on that if you don't want a smart phone.

What is person familiar with? If none, would want the simplest possible phone, maybe with pictures. I wonder if someone like an occupational therapist or folks that work with physical or developmentally disabled persons would have some ideas.

Hope you can find something that works out.

gd
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by gd » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:50 am

Nothing is cost effective if he can't use it. His abilities are the first consideration, not the cost. You haven't given any info about his prior experience and circumstances; it sounds like he does not have a mobile phone, or has a smart phone he cannot use. In that case I'd go with a flip phone and give up on texting. If not, get what he's used to.

The Jitterbug (GreatCall) products are somewhat easier to use for cognitively or physically impaired and have better support (including a DVD with tutorials), but not cheap.

As someone else suggested, if you or he is a Comcast customer, Xfinity Mobile runs us about $2.50/line if we don't go over 100M cell data/mo, easy for us with all the Comcast WiFi scattered around. We had to buy one new phone for it, which paid for itself within a few months when replacing Google Fi.

an_asker
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by an_asker » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:39 am

xenial wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:35 pm
Tello (Sprint network) has very inexpensive plans, as well as a dirt cheap pay-as-you-go option for light users. I've been happy with them.
+1!

3-20Characters
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by 3-20Characters » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:56 am

neilpilot wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:21 pm
If you or he has Comcast internet, you can’t get much cheaper than free (plus tax & fees). Xfinity mobile.
+1. This is on the Verizon network and the first 100mb of data are free. So if he doesn’t use data, he will only pay taxes and fees. For me that would come out to ~$3/month. Practically free. But as mentioned, needs to be a Comcast/XFINITY internet customer.

For a phone, buy a used or discontinued compatible phone on eBay or the like.
https://www.xfinity.com/mobile/byod

BogleLearner
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Re: Anyone recommend a cheap cell phone service for text and calls?

Post by BogleLearner » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:17 am

Consumer Cellular has served us well - with unlimited text and calling,
for $35.79. The network is AT&T. The phone had to be replaced 2 years ago, and Consumer Cellular
did it for free - not sure why. Great customer service! We are members of
AARP - you could probably order the service even if you are not.

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