Cheap cell phone plans

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mbres60
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Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mbres60 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:45 pm

I googled but I only came up with threads more than a year old. My dh is in the market for a really inexpensive plan. Basically he might use it 1x/year. It is just in case of an emergency. His old phone (really old) with Virgin Mobile no longer works for him as he has reached the maximum limit for topping up.

With googling I found:

AT&T - $2/day on days you use it. However you must buy minimum $10 for 30 days. If not used then you lose it. So really it would probably mean $10/month.

TMobile - $3/month including any combo of 30 min or texts. Additional usage .10/min or message. Need to pay for $20 SiM starter kit fee. Not sure what that is.

Consumer Cellular - $15/month talk only. (ok by us). On one site someone complained of them continuing to bill after they cancelled and it then went to collections.

Ting - $6/month. Need to buy minutes with tiers starting at $3 for 100 minutes. Contracts with Sprint and Mobile

US Mobile - $4/month. Tiers start at $2.50 for 40 minutes of talk. Verizon and T Mobile

Tracphone - $9.99/month. 30 min/texts

I got all this from an article from November from NerdWallet. There could be some "gotchas" in the details not mentioned.

Anyone use any of these? Any suggestions? Any companies have bad reputations?

Thanks for any and all help. It is overwhelming.

Nyc10036
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by Nyc10036 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:05 pm

Does your DH want to keep his existing phone?
If yes, then he is tied to Sprint and its MNVOs.

I would look at Tello. They are a Sprint MNVO.
Don't do the $x/month.
Do their https://tello.com/rates/pay_as_you_go
$10 for whole year.

mbres60
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mbres60 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:21 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll check into it. His phone is very old so he will get a new one.

BeneIRA
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by BeneIRA » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:33 pm

mbres60 wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:45 pm
I googled but I only came up with threads more than a year old. My dh is in the market for a really inexpensive plan. Basically he might use it 1x/year. It is just in case of an emergency. His old phone (really old) with Virgin Mobile no longer works for him as he has reached the maximum limit for topping up.

With googling I found:

AT&T - $2/day on days you use it. However you must buy minimum $10 for 30 days. If not used then you lose it. So really it would probably mean $10/month.

TMobile - $3/month including any combo of 30 min or texts. Additional usage .10/min or message. Need to pay for $20 SiM starter kit fee. Not sure what that is.

Consumer Cellular - $15/month talk only. (ok by us). On one site someone complained of them continuing to bill after they cancelled and it then went to collections.

Ting - $6/month. Need to buy minutes with tiers starting at $3 for 100 minutes. Contracts with Sprint and Mobile

US Mobile - $4/month. Tiers start at $2.50 for 40 minutes of talk. Verizon and T Mobile

Tracphone - $9.99/month. 30 min/texts

I got all this from an article from November from NerdWallet. There could be some "gotchas" in the details not mentioned.

Anyone use any of these? Any suggestions? Any companies have bad reputations?

Thanks for any and all help. It is overwhelming.
I've heard good things about Ting. If you use someone's referral link, I believe you get a $25 credit, so that would cover you for a bit.

pqwerty
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Location: Michigan

Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by pqwerty » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:46 pm

Check out FreedomPop, it uses Sprint's network.

meebers
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by meebers » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:15 pm

I am considering these folks. www.mintsim.com/plans/

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GerryL
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by GerryL » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:19 pm

I have been on Consumer Cellular for several years. Discount from already low prices if you have AARP membership.

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dm200
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by dm200 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:21 pm

DW and I switched our Sprint plan (we were paying about $75/month for two dumb cell phones) to a "family plan" on Sprint that our son has. DW and I each got smart phones. Haven't got the final settled monthly charge, but our share will be less than $75 - but we get new smart phones with unlimited calls, texts, and data - have FREE HULU. Our son and fiancee will cut their charges in half.

nps
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by nps » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:31 pm

H2O Wireless (GSM) can load $9 every 90 days and the unused balance rolls over. $0.05/min

DavidW
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by DavidW » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:09 pm

I have a T-Mobile plan from WalMart that they no longer offer (maybe I am not looking at the right place). 100 minutes and unlimited data (slows down after 5 GB) for $30/month. It gives me a perfect excuse to get off the phone :) I rarely run out of the 100 minutes with the exception if I am on vacation...

You may want to make sure these plans have coverage where you will be at. Some plans are iffy in certain areas, rendering the phone useless.

Finally, when possible, try to use GSM based network as opposed to CDMA. GSM is more universal so that you can reuse the phone from GSM based carrier to another one. CDMA is limited to that specific provider. It would be a visa card (GSM) as opposed to a Target gift card (CDMA). Here is a list.

http://www.unlockedshop.com/a-full-list ... n-the-usa/

notinuse
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by notinuse » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:28 pm

Buy a Tracfone on HSN for $60. Service is good for one year, 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, 1.5 GB data. Includes the phone, uses the native Verizon network, does not roam. There are other, more expensive (but still low cost) options on the site.

https://www.hsn.com/products/lg-rebel-3 ... ex/8589615

mpsz
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mpsz » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:33 pm

The $3/mo T-Mobile plan will be hard to beat if you keep your usage below 30 minutes/texts. We have T-Mobile prepaid for my grandparents and are happy with it.

The $20 kit includes a SIM card, which is a chip that goes inside your phone. The SIM is essentially what your phone number is linked to. In most cases, if you need to replace your phone, it's as easy as moving the SIM from the old phone to a compatible new phone and you don't need to contact the carrier. On CDMA phones, the phone itself programmed to work with the network -- you have to contact the carrier, and read/enter lengthy activation codes. CDMA phones (Sprint, Verizon, or Virgin Mobile which resells access to Sprint's network) are not compatible with GSM networks.

All other GSM carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and those who resell their services) also use a SIM card, and this could either be included free or it could be a hidden fee.

Elemental
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by Elemental » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:42 pm

Ting can't be beat if you're ok with theT-Mobile network. I tried that first, and found that T-Mobile did not work for me and my family. We're comfortably settled into Consumer Cellular now, and we're happy. We already had our own phones, so we didn't look at the big carriers with BOGO deals on phones or anything. Something like that might work out better in the end when you factor in the cost of phones. We're ok with older iPhones for the moment.

mbres60
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mbres60 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:25 am

Thanks all. We will be checking out all of these plans. Basically he just wants an inexpensive phone and service because he rarely uses it... only if he were to break down or call me if he is running late, etc.

If anyone else has suggestions or would like to tell me how happy you are with your plan and service... I'm listening :)

neilpilot
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by neilpilot » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:24 am

Is free cheap enough?

If you need a new phone anyway, and happen to have Comcast internet at home, check on Xfinity Mobile. Assuming you don't use data, unlimited talk & text is free. You only pay tax and fees, which for our 2 phones runs around $5.40/month.

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dm200
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:34 am

Find or use an older dump cell phone and add it to a family plan, like Sprint, where an added phone costs nothing addiitonal. For example, the Sprint plan my wife, son, his fiancee and I have (4 phones) could have a fifth phone at no added monthly charge.

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Watty
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by Watty » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:39 am

notinuse wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:28 pm
Buy a Tracfone on HSN for $60. Service is good for one year, 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, 1.5 GB data. Includes the phone, uses the native Verizon network, does not roam. There are other, more expensive (but still low cost) options on the site.

https://www.hsn.com/products/lg-rebel-3 ... ex/8589615
+1

On the HSN/Tracfone bundle. It is basically cheaper to get a new phone with the bundle each year than to pay for another years service.

Some of them will include a years service and other will triple your minutes for the life of the phone. For his light use the years service is likely the best deal.

I have tried several hardware brands over the years and at that price level the Samsung seems a lot better than the others.

Check the expected standby battery life since that varies a lot.

CDub
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by CDub » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:41 am

I just signed up for Sprint's 1 year free promotion. It's actually a bit longer than a year, it says my plan will stay free until April 30, 2019.

https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/offers/f ... :1yearfree

J Dough
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by J Dough » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:56 am

I use Ting and am very happy with it. If your husband doesn't use the phone in any given month, the cost will be $6, with no "gotchas." If he uses any minutes at all, it will put him in the first tier of use, and he will be billed $6 for the phone line, plus the $3 for the minutes. If he exceeds 100 minutes, he will be bumped up to the next tier. The same line of thinking goes for data and texts.

One of the great benefits, in my view, is that if he needs the phone in an emergency, or even just for convenience, it will just work. He will not need to purchase minutes in advance to get it to work. If a situation came up where he needed to be on the phone for hours at a time, he wouldn't need to worry about the minutes not being available. Plus the minutes are pretty affordable, even in the higher tiers. I've been very happy with the connectivity/service, and I'm using an iPhone 5. I'm told that newer phones do better.

Another thing to consider with Ting, in case there is a concern about accidently going into higher tiers, is that you can set your account to send you email and/or text reminders when you hit certain usage points. You can also set it to have a "hard cap" on usage for minutes, texts, and data, all separately, and you can even set those caps for certain devices. That might be more helpful for family plans rather than emergency phones, but it is an option.

mbres60
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mbres60 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:37 am

Watty wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:39 am
notinuse wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:28 pm
Buy a Tracfone on HSN for $60. Service is good for one year, 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, 1.5 GB data. Includes the phone, uses the native Verizon network, does not roam. There are other, more expensive (but still low cost) options on the site.

https://www.hsn.com/products/lg-rebel-3 ... ex/8589615
+1

On the HSN/Tracfone bundle. It is basically cheaper to get a new phone with the bundle each year than to pay for another years service.

Some of them will include a years service and other will triple your minutes for the life of the phone. For his light use the years service is likely the best deal.

I have tried several hardware brands over the years and at that price level the Samsung seems a lot better than the others.

Check the expected standby battery life since that varies a lot.
Thanks. I just checked out HSN for this deal. The $60 price is for an LG Rebel 3 with the 1500 minutes. For $20 more you only get 1200 minutes but a Samsung Galaxy J3. The LG has 8 days standby whereas the Samsung has 20 days standby. Is one phone much better than the other? The Samsung has more reviews. Sorry but I don't understand too much about the specs.

Ting also sounds good but if you are not bringing your own phone (his is ancient with an antenna sticking up and battery not holding charge for too long) their phones are expensive (unless you want a refurbished flip phone. flip ok but don't want refurbished).

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fishandgolf
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by fishandgolf » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:46 am

notinuse wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:28 pm
Buy a Tracfone on HSN for $60. Service is good for one year, 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, 1.5 GB data. Includes the phone, uses the native Verizon network, does not roam. There are other, more expensive (but still low cost) options on the site.

https://www.hsn.com/products/lg-rebel-3 ... ex/8589615
+1

DW and I have been using Tracfone for 10+ years........ It's an excellent inexpensive plan and fits our needs very well.. :happy :happy :happy :happy

notinuse
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by notinuse » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:00 pm

mbres60 wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:37 am
Watty wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:39 am
+1

On the HSN/Tracfone bundle. It is basically cheaper to get a new phone with the bundle each year than to pay for another years service.

Some of them will include a years service and other will triple your minutes for the life of the phone. For his light use the years service is likely the best deal.

I have tried several hardware brands over the years and at that price level the Samsung seems a lot better than the others.

Check the expected standby battery life since that varies a lot.
Thanks. I just checked out HSN for this deal. The $60 price is for an LG Rebel 3 with the 1500 minutes. For $20 more you only get 1200 minutes but a Samsung Galaxy J3. The LG has 8 days standby whereas the Samsung has 20 days standby. Is one phone much better than the other? The Samsung has more reviews. Sorry but I don't understand too much about the specs.

Ting also sounds good but if you are not bringing your own phone (his is ancient with an antenna sticking up and battery not holding charge for too long) their phones are expensive (unless you want a refurbished flip phone. flip ok but don't want refurbished).
I had highlighted the LG phone since it was the cheapest option. If I was buying, I would probably get one of the Samsung phones too. My wife got the Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro (Tracfone from HSN) a couple of months ago and is very happy with it.

FrederickTheWise
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by FrederickTheWise » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:18 pm

I suggest Ting. We have been using it for a few years now and have had a good experience. The tiered pricing keeps our monthly bill around $30 for 1000 messages and 500 minutes. We use the wifi available when we are out and about so we don't have to pay for data. They are good about not charging you if you go over the tier by a few minutes or messages. They also have some ready to go phones on their website that are reasonably priced.

Let me know if you want to sign up and I can refer you. We both will get a little ting credit that way. :sharebeer
Two Fund Portfolio - Total Stock Market Index (VTSAX) & Intermediate-term Bond Index (VBILX). Home country bias and proud of it.

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Watty
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by Watty » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:26 pm

notinuse wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:00 pm
My wife got the Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro (Tracfone from HSN) a couple of months ago and is very happy with it.
That is the one I have and I am also very happy with it. 1200 minutes is 20 hours of talk time which is way more than I use since when I make a call it is typically just to say something like I am late. For a long time I kept the data turned off so that I only had internet when I had wifi so I only used data when I temporarily turned on to check the weather or something like that.

I don't remember the models but prior to that I had an LG that worked well until died while under warranty. They replace it under warranty with a similar model but the camera in it was terrible and often would not focus so I replaced it with the Samsung. For $20 the Samsung is well worth the extra money unless you are on a super tight budget.

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camillus
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by camillus » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:10 pm

Sprint is running a promo for bring-your-own-device. Free until Jan 2019. Unlimited data.

FactualFran
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by FactualFran » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:01 pm

A frequently mentioned low price cell phone plan provider is Page Plus. They have a pre-pay plan that charges $10 for up to 120 days of service. Domestic calls are $0.10 per minute, text is $0.05 per text, and data is $0.05/MB. The service is for 3G Verizon network phones that are not part of a contract.
Last edited by FactualFran on Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rj49
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by rj49 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:42 pm

If it's an emergency phone, the cheapest option is T-Mobile's pay as you go plan, for $3 a month, with 10 cents a minute/text over 30 a month. The other benefit is you can buy a T-Mobile refill card at a store and load the value and just forget about it for another year. The SIM card kit is just the card you put in the phone to activate it.

To get a phone, you could just get something like this, which will be small, easy to store for an emergency, and with a longer battery life than a smartphone, also helpful for an emergency:

https://www.amazon.com/BLU-T276T-Unlock ... +gsm+phone

Then just take the phone to a T-Mobile store and ask them to set up the phone on a $3 pay as you go plan for you, and you'll be set.

If you want to go with a smartphone, you could go to BestBuy and ask for a cheap emergency smart phone--the key word to focus on is "GSM", the network T-Mobile uses for data, along with ATT, whereas Sprint and Verizon use CDMA. If you use a smartphone, the T-Mobile plan also offers a $5 day pass for using data and surfing the web and doing email.

sciencenerd
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by sciencenerd » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:11 pm

I recently switched from Tracfone to Red Pocket. They operate on all four networks. I have the cheapest annual plan for $60 on e-bay, which gives me 100 minutes, 100 texts and 500 MB of data per month on AT&T. So far, I am very happy with the service.

lt1948
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by lt1948 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:17 pm

Project Fi - Google phone plan is superb and affordable

https://fi.google.com

runner3081
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by runner3081 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:17 pm

pqwerty wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:46 pm
Check out FreedomPop, it uses Sprint's network.
+1

We have been with them for over a year, no issues.

With their current fees, you would be looking at $5.99 up front ($.99 sim card, $5.00 Downgrade fee) and then $.01 inactivity fee for months you don't use it.

gogleheads.orb
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by gogleheads.orb » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:22 pm

page plus? it is $10/(4months)

ReadyOrNot
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by ReadyOrNot » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:45 pm

I think I must have had a similar Virgin Mobile plan for a cheap emergency phone. But once you reach the maximum for topping up, don't you want to still use up the large balance you have? I had to call their live help to renew the account. They allowed me to use my balance to pay for the next 90 days of service (lowering my balance). I alternated that with topping up a few times. Then they offered to take $80 off the balance to pay for a year of service. I took it, not realizing immediately that it wasn't as good a deal as topping up at $20 per 90 days, because, the balance didn't go down if you didn't use the phone. But at least the $80 for 1 year was a way to use the balance.
Also, they gave an option of using the balance to order a smart phone. I finally took this option. But now I have switched to a more expensive plan with data. I cannot switch back, since (as you must know) the $20 for 90 days deal no longer exists, except for the old users grandfathered in.
To summarize, your spouse should have options to use the accumulated balance -- and some of the options must include keeping the old cheap plan and old cheap phone.
Last edited by ReadyOrNot on Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

omeganuts0213
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by omeganuts0213 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:47 pm

I might sign up for mint.

mbres60
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mbres60 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:23 pm

ReadyOrNot wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:45 pm
I think I must have had a similar Virgin Mobile plan for a cheap emergency phone. But once you reach the maximum for topping up, don't you want to still use up the large balance you have? I had to call their live help to renew the account. They allowed me to use my balance to pay for the next 90 days of service (lowering my balance). I alternated that with topping up a few times. Then they offered to take $80 off the balance to pay for a year of service. I took it, not realizing immediately that it wasn't as good a deal as topping up at $20 per 90 days, because, the balance didn't go down if you didn't use the phone. But at least the $80 for 1 year was a way to use the balance.
Also, they gave an option of using the balance to order a smart phone. I finally took this option. But now I have switched to a more expensive plan with data. I cannot switch back, since (as you must know) the $20 for 90 days deal no longer exists, except for the old users grandfathered in.
To summarize, your spouse should have options to use the accumulated balance -- and some of the options must include keeping the old cheap plan and old cheap phone.
This is probably his situation. I know that a year ago when his phone was disabled (they disabled it without telling him because he had reached the max $400 limit) we had a lot of trouble with their customer service. After many phone calls and speaking with reps who lied to us he got another year which is about up. I'm pretty sure he used some of his balance to pay for it. I do remember that it was a one time thing. If he wants to keep it then within a few days when the year is up he has to pay $20 to top up (that is what they said a year ago. Maybe that has changed since!) and not with the balance.

His phone is old. It is not a flip phone but has the antenna that sticks up. I know I read that those are not good for you (although if you rarely use it then it probably is ok). He probably got his phone in the early 2000s or maybe it was late 90's.

OnTrack
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by OnTrack » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:51 pm

notinuse wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:28 pm
Buy a Tracfone on HSN for $60. Service is good for one year, 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, 1.5 GB data. Includes the phone, uses the native Verizon network, does not roam. There are other, more expensive (but still low cost) options on the site.

https://www.hsn.com/products/lg-rebel-3 ... ex/8589615
Just be aware of Tracfone's cutomer service. My experience was not good and I would never buy a Tracfone again. I returned the one I had for a refund.

danaht
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by danaht » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:17 pm

I use a combination of Tello and Google Voice (with WIFI) to get a ~$0 a month plan.

Prepaid plan with Tello costs an initial $10 to $20. Unlike other plans - Tello does not charge any fees per month to renew the pre-paid plan. You just need to make sure you occasionally call someone so that they don't expire your pre-paid credits due to inactivity. I have a Google Voice number that I use as the primary number with my cell phone. Google Voice is still currently free, and works great with WIFI or mobile data. Google does charge a one time fee to port the number - but it is well worth it! Not sure how long Google Voice will be a free service - but hope it stays this way for a long time. If you are not around WIFI much - this would not be a good option. But since I am - this is the best plan for me.

note: Tello's non-prepaid monthly plans are also priced at a good value. So, if I ever needed a lot more data outside of WIFI - I would switch to one of those plans.

notinuse
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by notinuse » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:09 pm

OnTrack wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:51 pm
notinuse wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:28 pm
Buy a Tracfone on HSN for $60. Service is good for one year, 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, 1.5 GB data. Includes the phone, uses the native Verizon network, does not roam. There are other, more expensive (but still low cost) options on the site.

https://www.hsn.com/products/lg-rebel-3 ... ex/8589615
Just be aware of Tracfone's cutomer service. My experience was not good and I would never buy a Tracfone again. I returned the one I had for a refund.
Well, that's lousy. I haven't had any customer service problems with Tracfone.

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jeffyscott
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by jeffyscott » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:58 am

runner3081 wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:17 pm
pqwerty wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:46 pm
Check out FreedomPop, it uses Sprint's network.
+1

We have been with them for over a year, no issues.

With their current fees, you would be looking at $5.99 up front ($.99 sim card, $5.00 Downgrade fee) and then $.01 inactivity fee for months you don't use it.
It's not for everyone, but we've been happy with it over the 6 months that we have used it. However, it doesn't seem like a good choice for the OP's purposes. I doubt that OP or spouse want to jump through their hoops just to have an emergency phone.

In addition on the free plan there is no voice mail ($2.50 per month to add it). The downgrade "fee", which is a refundable credit, is now $15. With no use account may be suspended and you may also lose your number after 60 days. If he want's to keep his number he would have to pay $20 to port it, though another (probably better) option would be to port to Google Voice (for $10, I think) and then forward that.

Cheapest options that I know of for low usage have been covered by others, but another place to research things is: www.prepaidphonenews.com.

In particular might look at the section under "For light users of voice, messaging and data, the best bets are:...", here: https://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011/0 ... plans.html
and/or talk and test only plans here: https://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011/0 ... plans.html
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

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dm200
Posts: 18298
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Location: Washington DC area

Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by dm200 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:17 am

His phone is old. It is not a flip phone but has the antenna that sticks up. I know I read that those are not good for you (although if you rarely use it then it probably is ok). He probably got his phone in the early 2000s or maybe it was late 90's.
Yes - very old.. Do any family/friends have phones they have replaced and could just give him? DW and I, for example, have our perfectly functioning dumb cell phones we replaced with our son's Sprint famly plan. We keep one (fully charged) in each car for emergency 911 - just in the case we are driving and have forgotten our current smart cell phones.

A440
Posts: 223
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Location: NJ

Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by A440 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:35 am

TMobile - $3/month including any combo of 30 min or texts. Additional usage .10/min or message. Need to pay for $20 SiM starter kit fee. Not sure what that is.

+1
My son and I use this plan. It doesn't have a data plan, but we spend most of our time in "wi-fi" zones (schools or at home). Very seldom do we use the minutes/text allotted for the month. Mainly used for emergencies, or need to contact someone when not in a wi-fi zone.

mbres60
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:47 pm

Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mbres60 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:45 am

dm200 wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:17 am
His phone is old. It is not a flip phone but has the antenna that sticks up. I know I read that those are not good for you (although if you rarely use it then it probably is ok). He probably got his phone in the early 2000s or maybe it was late 90's.
Yes - very old.. Do any family/friends have phones they have replaced and could just give him? DW and I, for example, have our perfectly functioning dumb cell phones we replaced with our son's Sprint famly plan. We keep one (fully charged) in each car for emergency 911 - just in the case we are driving and have forgotten our current smart cell phones.
I got a smartphone 1.5 years ago. (am on our dd plan but if we add dh it is more costly than these prepaid plans). Before that I had a flip phone. LG 5200 (I think that is the number). I used it for about 5 years. Still have it in a drawer. It was on Verizon. Don't know if it can be used with another company. The Tracfone offer for $60 from HSN so far seems to be the best for combo plan + phone cost. $60 for one year and 1500 minutes sounds great. (as long as he does not drop it and break the glass screen!!!!).

targ
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:23 am

Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by targ » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:24 am

You could get a used phone that is compatible with FreedomPop and have a $0 phone bill every month. A word of warning though, you have to sign up for a non-free plan first, and they'll try to hook you with premium services, but once you're set up, you can log in and cut your plan back to their basic completely free plan. I have this plan set up on an old hand-me-down iPhone and it works great.

You could also get a used, unlocked, GSM phone and get yourself a TruSim. There's a small upfront cost for the sim and you would fund your account with a small dollar amount. There's no time limit, and no need to "top up" on a regular basis. It's truly a pay as you use it thing. I also have a funded TruSim sitting in a drawer that I only pull out occasionally and it works great too.

Either one of these would be fine for what you are describing as a very limited use case.

One final word of warning (or is it just stating the obvious?) - you'll have to remember to keep the phone charged even if you're not actually using it.
Last edited by targ on Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice. | -REBEC OF GINAZ

NomadicExpat
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by NomadicExpat » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:25 am

+1 for T-Mobile $3/month

We live overseas, but wanted to keep our US phone numbers. It's worked out great. We've put the auto-payment on for $3/month and don't worry about it. When we travel home we just switch the T-Mobile Sim card back in and use as needed. You can even easily add Data Packages on a daily or weekly basis if needed.
No matter what kind of investor you are, the key to success is not participating in a game other than the one you intended to play.

mbres60
Posts: 849
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mbres60 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:05 pm

NomadicExpat wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:25 am
+1 for T-Mobile $3/month

We live overseas, but wanted to keep our US phone numbers. It's worked out great. We've put the auto-payment on for $3/month and don't worry about it. When we travel home we just switch the T-Mobile Sim card back in and use as needed. You can even easily add Data Packages on a daily or weekly basis if needed.
I'm going to check out T Mobile today while at the mall. Online their phones were a little bit more than the Tracphone deal. Thanks.

Faith20879
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:16 am

Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by Faith20879 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:15 pm

mbres60 wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:45 am
...I had a flip phone. LG 5200 (I think that is the number). I used it for about 5 years. Still have it in a drawer. It was on Verizon.
A former Verizon phone is a perfect match for PagePlus. And, you will have one less thing sitting in the drawer.

ReadyOrNot
Posts: 178
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by ReadyOrNot » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:35 pm

[To summarize, your spouse should have options to use the accumulated balance -- and some of the options must include keeping the old cheap plan and old cheap phone.]
This is probably his situation. I know that a year ago when his phone was disabled (they disabled it without telling him because he had reached the max $400 limit) we had a lot of trouble with their customer service. After many phone calls and speaking with reps who lied to us he got another year which is about up. I'm pretty sure he used some of his balance to pay for it. I do remember that it was a one time thing. If he wants to keep it then within a few days when the year is up he has to pay $20 to top up (that is what they said a year ago. Maybe that has changed since!) and not with the balance.

His phone is old. It is not a flip phone but has the antenna that sticks up. I know I read that those are not good for you (although if you rarely use it then it probably is ok). He probably got his phone in the early 2000s or maybe it was late 90's.
-----
What probably is supposed to happen is that when you reach the $400 limit, when you try to top up, it fails, and you get a message to call Virgin. When you call, you get a menu with no live person to deal with paying problems, until you try the technical problem option and get someone live. That person informs you that they cannot deal with pushing the balance over $400 and gives you some options to spend it down. If you have taken one of those options and another top up will bring the balance below $400, it is still supposed to work, but if it doesn't, they should be able to enter your top up manually with the balance below $400. So this could be inconvenient, but a way to keep the $20 per 90 days by topping up or spending some of the balance to bring the balance below $400.
My phone similarly did not flip or open, and had a stubby permanently positioned antenna. It must have been the cheapest phone they made. (I got it on sale at Target when I looked for a cheap emergency phone-- a Kyocera model for something like $22.) The stubby antenna is no more harmful than a flip-phone antenna or newer antenna. They all transmit some radio wave at some power level. Possibly newer kinds of modulation may transmit lower power, but I doubt it; the frequencies used may be different, but probably not, and the newer frequencies probably were no better than older frequencies (closer to the frequencies used by microwave ovens = worse). I did use it with a "hands-free" remote earphone and microphone plug-in thing (bought at a dollar store) when I remembered, to keep it away from my head, but occasionally just used it next to my head.

mbres60
Posts: 849
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mbres60 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:35 pm

ReadyOrNot wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:35 pm
[To summarize, your spouse should have options to use the accumulated balance -- and some of the options must include keeping the old cheap plan and old cheap phone.]
This is probably his situation. I know that a year ago when his phone was disabled (they disabled it without telling him because he had reached the max $400 limit) we had a lot of trouble with their customer service. After many phone calls and speaking with reps who lied to us he got another year which is about up. I'm pretty sure he used some of his balance to pay for it. I do remember that it was a one time thing. If he wants to keep it then within a few days when the year is up he has to pay $20 to top up (that is what they said a year ago. Maybe that has changed since!) and not with the balance.

His phone is old. It is not a flip phone but has the antenna that sticks up. I know I read that those are not good for you (although if you rarely use it then it probably is ok). He probably got his phone in the early 2000s or maybe it was late 90's.
-----
What probably is supposed to happen is that when you reach the $400 limit, when you try to top up, it fails, and you get a message to call Virgin. When you call, you get a menu with no live person to deal with paying problems, until you try the technical problem option and get someone live. That person informs you that they cannot deal with pushing the balance over $400 and gives you some options to spend it down. If you have taken one of those options and another top up will bring the balance below $400, it is still supposed to work, but if it doesn't, they should be able to enter your top up manually with the balance below $400. So this could be inconvenient, but a way to keep the $20 per 90 days by topping up or spending some of the balance to bring the balance below $400.
My phone similarly did not flip or open, and had a stubby permanently positioned antenna. It must have been the cheapest phone they made. (I got it on sale at Target when I looked for a cheap emergency phone-- a Kyocera model for something like $22.) The stubby antenna is no more harmful than a flip-phone antenna or newer antenna. They all transmit some radio wave at some power level. Possibly newer kinds of modulation may transmit lower power, but I doubt it; the frequencies used may be different, but probably not, and the newer frequencies probably were no better than older frequencies (closer to the frequencies used by microwave ovens = worse). I did use it with a "hands-free" remote earphone and microphone plug-in thing (bought at a dollar store) when I remembered, to keep it away from my head, but occasionally just used it next to my head.
Yes, his is a Kyocera model. Bought it at Best Buy. The phone was either free or $35. So long ago I don't remember. I know it was a sale. Got our moneys worth :-)

Have narrowed it down to T Mobile's $3/month (went to two stores and neither mentioned about paying for the SIM kit) or the Tracfone on HSN. Basically my dh has to decide which type of phone he wants. T Mobile he can get a flip phone (Alcatel) that has about 50% bad ratings for various reasons or either of two different smart phones. Each of these phones cost $75. The flip phone is small and would be easy to carry. Tracfone deal on HSN has choice of two smartphones. Neither have great reviews. The sales person in T Mobile said their Samsung would probably last a year. What???

I lean toward the flip phone. Don't have to worry about him dropping it and breaking the glass and also it is small. How bad could it be if he barely uses it?

mbres60
Posts: 849
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by mbres60 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:16 am

Thank you all so much for all your suggestions. There are so many companies and deals out there! We narrowed it down to T-Mobile and to the HSN deal on Tracphone. We do have Comcast internet but after buying a phone it would have cost more. This week end we ordered his new phone from HSN. Decided to go with the least expensive phone (LG) because he hardly uses it. Because he is a new customer to HSN he saved $10! So instead of $59.95 it was $49.95 and no sales tax was added either! So for a total of $49.95 he gets one year of service (1500 minutes). Free shipping too.

In another year we will now be checking HSN to see what their deals are as it will cost more to add minutes for a year (currently it is $100).

Thanks again to NOTINUSE and to WATTY for suggesting this option.

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midareff
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Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by midareff » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:22 am

GerryL wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:19 pm
I have been on Consumer Cellular for several years. Discount from already low prices if you have AARP membership.
Agreed and have had good service and no issues. $41 a month for me and wife with unlimited phone and text, I have data she doesn't. We own our phones.

honda_solo
Posts: 5
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Re: Cheap cell phone plans

Post by honda_solo » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:07 pm

Here's the best phone plan out there right now: https://www.mintsim.com/

Positives: Good value, decent coverage, works with a variety of phones, allows personal hotspot.

Negatives: Must prepay one year in advance, MVNO runs under T-mobile network, service may not be good in your area, must set up online & limited tech support.

I've been using mintsim.com for about 1 1/2 years on my iPhone 7 and have zero complaints. They don't have a family plan but offer unlimited talk & text with 2 GB of data for $15. $15 X 4 phones = $60 a month. I don't like spending to much money on technology so it works perfect for me. I chose the 10 GB plan for $25.00 a month. If you can find a better plan, buy it.

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