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  1. #1
    Kay77
    Kay77 is offline
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    Which brand of PREPAID CELL PHONE is good with long talk time and less money on minute usage?

    Since I can't afford long distance phone calls I sometimes tend to make my long distance phone calls with one of those $5 phonecards form a gas station that I buy from. And I make my calls with this $5 dllar phone card that lats me close to an hour at regular public payphone, they really last me a long time but lately been itching to get a prepaid cell phone. And I'm not having luck making a decision on which type of prepaid cell phone I should get that would offer me more long talk time and less money on minutes. Been shopping at Target and Walmart and Best Buy and really not having any luck in deciding.

    Been googling for months now and the prepaid cellphone reviews that I've seen leave memore baffled than before. One person says they love Virgin Mobile prepaid phone plan and cell phone package & immediately the next review says its stinks.

    I am still not sure if Net10, T-Mobile, Tracphone, or Vigin Mobile are worth in minutes or talk time because I am tying to find a prepaid cell phone that is some what equivalent to my $5 phonecard that I buy at the local a gas station to call long distance US #'s.

    the basic requirements that I am looking for in a prepaid cell phone is a bit of durability to it (not looking for a fashionable phone), I will only use this phone to call different states in the US, no texting & no internet usage for me, close to long talk time for cheapest rate in minutes without paying any access fee or monthly fee to use other features on this plain prepaid cellphone..... that's it on my select criteria

    Does anyone here have experience on prepaid cell phone usuage with long talk time and cheap usage minutes? I would appreciate any help you could send my way....**prepaid cellphone right now is all I can really afford along with the card refills.....** Thank you s much for your time and patience in reading my post.


    See More: Not sure which brand of prepaid cell phone I should invest in?




  2. #2
    whacker
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    Re: Not sure which brand of prepaid cell phone I should invest in?

    This is a somewhat complex subject, and I've spent some time thinking about it myself.

    I have a landline at my home, and use T-Mobile To Go for the little need I have for a mobile phone.

    I understand how people who must rely completely on cell phones have a completely different set of rules they have to go by, and how much they typically expect to spend per month on whatever service they choose. For people who are on an even tighter budget and may have minimal or no credit capabilities, pre-paid is their only choice, but the number of choices or plans available from the various companies is mind-boggling.

    I think the first thing to get nailed down is how much you can afford per month for phone service. The different companies have many ways they try to lure you in with minute packs of certain values, but the bottom line is this: You want to get minutes at the cheapest cost per minute, and depending on your projected usage, be able to hold on to them for the longest time possible, to your convenience.

    Generally speaking, the cheapest per minute cost around these days is $.10 (with several exceptions), but depending on the company making the offer, you may have to either buy more minutes at a time than you can afford, or have to pay an "access fee" for usage on the days you use the phone, that could end up being the equal of a certain number of minutes in another company's plan.

    I've picked up brochures for pre-paid service from just about every company except Boost, and that, along with my own experience with T-Mobile, leads me to this: There are two major customer types for pre-paid, divided between very social people who really want to yak it up, just like they had a landline and were talking local from home, and the other type being those who just need it as an adjunct to their existing home phone service (like me), who need a mobile phone for emergencies and to keep in touch when travelling, substituting the cell for the almost non-existant network of pay phones, and not having to use hotel phones with their ridiculous rates.

    There is no pre-paid service that's as cost-effective (cheap per minute) as a post-paid plan with a monthly bill. In some cases, companies offer their same monthly plans on a pre-pay basis (like Flex-Pay from T-Mobile). Others make them a part of their pre-paid promotions, like Virgin Mobile. So many ways to go with this.

    To my understanding, the absolute cheapest per minute rate is Virgin Mobile, where you can get minutes for $.05, BUT you have to spend $50 a month to do so. If you really want to yak and can afford it, this is the way to go. But you could spend the same money with them on a monthly pre-paid plan (providing you have a credit or debit card) and do a lot better. Heck, almost every company offers better talk time with a regular type plan, usually around $40 to start.

    But it gets back to how much you can afford over a given period, and getting the most for your money. One company, Net10 (part of TracFone), is always straight-up $.10/minute, BUT you have to refill or refresh your account at varying rates depending on the refill amount, forcing you to spend money on their schedule, not yours. This is probably the most common thing among all the pre-paid plans. You may "own" the minutes, but you've only got so long (the service time) to use them, until and unless you purchase more within the time limit. So you have to plan and purchase wisely, or end up adapting.

    Another issue is, which company has adequate coverage in your area (and who should you avoid)? If you choose based just on cost, you might end up with buyer's remorse. So check that out on each company's web site if you can.

    With my usage and going with T-Mobile, I only spend $100 (all at once), get 1000 minutes, and don't have to worry about it for a year (better still, there are sales on T-Mobile cards at Target a couple times a year). Unused minutes roll into the next year since I buy again at that time. If I did want to yak it up, I could continue to pump even more money into it, but with them, you only get the best per minute rate if you spend $100 a pop. But they've served me well. They have an alternative pre-paid plan called "Pay By the Day" where you have that $1/day access fee, but you get unlimited nights (starting at 7pm) and unlimited T-Mobile to T-Mobile calls. If that's good, it's available

    Net10 is pretty good, and very straightforward. Not many flavors to choose from. But you've got to buy more minutes when it's time.

    TracFone I would stay away from. Their per minute rates aren't anything to brag about.

    AT&T is also down on my list. You've really got to spend money with them to get good per minute rates. They're probably the most expensive, along with Verizon's InPulse prepay service (wow, talk about expensive).

    Virgin Mobile is very interesting. The best per minute rates, but you do have to justify using your time in the amounts they want.

    Go to WalMart and pick up brochures for all these, and study up on them (have a calculator handy). Make some guesses about how much time you need to have per month, and how much you can spend. You have to be able to keep your account active, or you can lose your new phone number.

    At home, I use a prepaid long distance card that I get at Rite Aid drug stores, for long distance. I get 'em on sale periodically, and I usually am paying around $.02 per minute. That's still an option for you, since you have a specific need for long distance. Gotta keep an eye on the Sunday sale circulars for those kinds of deals.

    Sorry for the long post (my FIRST!), but I have a lot to say on this subject. Good luck in your search!
    Simikins likes this.



  3. #3
    Kay77
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    Re: Not sure which brand of prepaid cell phone I should invest in?

    Whacker....I thank you so much for your post. I really don't mind it being lengthy at all. You gave me lots of food for thought.

    As far as getting a those prepaid phone/plan brochures and making decision I've already done that but still having lots of trouble making a decision becase all these plan have a gimmick enclosed in their prepaid plans somewhere.

    I've kinda of narrowed down my choices to Virgin Mobile prepaid phone or
    Net10. But the hankering question I have on both is these refill cards are quite expensive for a limited amount of days no matter which way you turn.

    For example, there's a Virgin Mobile Flare phone for $30 at Walmart and the incremental refill cards last only 30 days but mind you there's a $90 Top Up card that I can purchase as well to keep service for a year without having to worry about refilling phone card after phone card for this phone. But my ultimate question is: if I buy a $50 phone card 1st for 1,000 mins and it has a 30 day period on it and then I go and buy another $50 phone card for another 1,000 mins does that extend my days of usage to 60 days for 2,000 mins or does it stay at 30 days?.....wondering if I have to buy that $90 top up card to keep my entire service for a year.....I can't find one Virgin Mobile customer service rep who can answer this question for me (been calling for a week for an answer no luck yet).


    Also, Net10 is pretty starightforward as you mentioned as well very plain vanilla I like it. But the prices on these phone cards and the limited days of usage is paralyzing for me. And with Virgin I get more additional mins at $10 less so far.

    I see T-Mobile is your choice but I can't spend a $100 right off the bat to get a phone card like that to allow me to keep my mins for a year which is a very good thing. But I've never seen/heard Target having sales on T-Mobile phone cards at Target at all. My cousin has a prepaid T-Mobile and she's not to happy with its service prepaid or monthly wise.


    Just trying to find folks who have used Net10 or Virgin Mobile and would tell me about their experiences with either???

    But I thank you you so much for mapping this out for me a little more. I kinda wish I was working in the cell phone business all this mone to be made is staggering.



  4. #4
    whacker
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    Re: Not sure which brand of prepaid cell phone I should invest in?

    Yes, narrowing it down to Virgin Mobile and Net10 would be my choice as well, if it was my only phone.

    Obviously, one of the biggest differences between the companies is how they structure their offerings as to how much you're expected to let your money flow into their hands for a given period of time! One thing I also don't understand from the VM brochure I have is the difference between a Minute Pack and a Top Up. They state that Minute Packs expire in 30 days, and then in finer print they say that you must Top Up at least $20 every 90 days to keep service active. I don't understand the difference. Does Topping Up keep your minutes intact? If you have to do both, that's a big negative, not very cost effective.

    Which leaves Net10, as their refills are good for the stated amount, based on the minute amount. But in my case, considering that their 1000 minute deal is only good for 6 months, I'd never use that much cell time in that short of a time, and would have to pump more money into the thing.

    Which makes my use of T-Mobile all the better. Even if I were to dramatically increase my usage, because I have already spent $100 (some time ago), I could buy as little as a $10 refill and it would last one year. My emphasis with them is to buy what gives me the best per minute rate, but even so, for the occasional user, the length of service time is just as important.

    Another significant feature of T-Mobile Pay as You Go is that you can opt for the $1 a day plan, which, as you probably know (and similar to some other companies), charges you $1 on days you use, and you pay $.10/min during the day (I think regardless of the refill size), and get unlimited calling evenings starting at 7 P.M., which is a good deal if you plan on "yakking" it up at night. If you plan and are disciplined about usage, this could be a very good way to go. If you used every day, you'd be looking at $30-31/month minimum, and then whatever number of daytime minutes times $.10.

    If we all could just track our usage, and see an average of how we use our phone (time and pattern), it'd be so much easier to choose among all these offerings. But you have to make an educated guess, choose, then see how it stacks up, and perhaps have to put up with knowing you made the wrong choice for a while, until you use what you invested in a phone already, then do it all over again with the up-front costs of starting with a new company. At least with pre-paid type deals, it isn't quite as painful as with a post-paid plan.

    Oh, by the way, regarding Target, right now there's a sale on $50 phone cards from all the companies they sell pre-paid for. $44 for a $50 refill card, from T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, AT&T, Boost, and Verizon. I broke down and got a T-Mobile. For that amount, I get 460 minutes (I'm a Gold Rewards member - over $100 spent), and it makes my entire balance good for another year from now.

    Other T-Mobile deals to watch out for: Sometime between December and March, Target will have (if they maintain their pattern of the last few years) the T-Mobile $100 refill available for around $88, and may even throw in a low-end Nokia phone for free! That's the phone I'm currently using. That phone tends to change annually as newer models are introduced.

    Also, Walgreens Drugstores have occasional sales on either T-Mobile (recently $19.99 for phone and starter time) or TracFone (ugh!). Good place to start if the timing and their plans fit.

    So I wish you luck in choosing. Please post with what you end up with.
    Simikins likes this.



  5. #5
    whacker
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    Re: Not sure which brand of prepaid cell phone I should invest in?

    I've been Googling a lot about this lately (did I get any on ya?).

    Check out prepaidreviews.com. Really extensive info there. Other sites available as well, but a lot of user input here.



  6. #6
    zbikenut
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    Re: Not sure which brand of prepaid cell phone I should invest in?

    If you are after a very basic phone the Net10 Nokia 1600 with the 300 minute card for $30 is far and away the cheapest you will find. You get 300 minutes on the card and 60 days and you get 300 minutes and 60 days when you activate the phone.

    600 minutes and 120 days for $30. You will need to buy them two at a time to get out of paying shipping also.

    Good Luck

    Also Tracfone has some deals online. Google "Tracfone Mistakes" to learn how not to use a Tracfone..



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