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Thread: explain prepaid cell fones

  1. #1
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    explain prepaid cell fones

    We've had AT&T since it was Cingular Wireless years ago. We live out in the sticks, literally because most of the trees have dies! Anyway my husband is in the oilfield and has to make calls daily, the service is not the problem it's the fones! He's had 4 to my one, this last one has been bad since the begining and he's just fed up. Prepaid may not work out either but at least when he throws the fone off a tower he won't be under contract! Can someone explain how it works and maybe suggest a good one. Verizon usually works here and AT&T.
    ok, advise.

  2. #2
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    We have a prepaid phone that we got at WalMart (I can't remember the brand... whatever WalMart carries) & we love, love, love it! The phone itself is great & the service of the company is truly the best customer service we've ever gotten anywhere. Trac Phone... that's what it is. We got it just as a "let's see if we really want a cell phone" deal, thinking if we decided to stay with a cell phone, we'd get a "real one" & have been so happy with this little cheapie, we haven't switched! And we've never run out of minutes (of course, we don't have a teenager texting 24/7 or anything on it either). I would say, go for it!!!
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  3. #3
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    Tracfone uses the verizon network. You buy the phone and add minutes. I usually get mine from HSN because I get 1200 minutes and 365 days with the phone and triple minutes if I need to buy minutes. Tracfone doesn't take minutes whether you use it or not. I just get a new phone every year and don't have to buy anymore minutes because I don't use it that much, but if I needed to buy minutes they would triple (if a buy a $10 card which is 30 minutes it would triple to 90 minutes, for example). When you buy minutes it also add days to your phone. So it is minutes and days, we buy minutes on the internet and the service is good. You can transfer your number and minutes if you need to buy a new phone and I have seen the phones at Family Dollar for $20 and I have seen them on sale for $10.

  4. #4
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    My daughter got one from Walmarts and hated it. The phones weren't that good and kept dropping calls. She'd gotten two of them; one for her and one for her boyfriend. When they split up Walmart let him go into her account and change the phone into his name. When my daughter asked them about it they said well he knew her birthday; she told them you can find that on the internet. So they were supposed to have locked down her account and make it impossible for that to happen again; a month later he did it again. She canceled and went back to Sprint. My son now uses her Walmart phone and you buy so many minutes at a time. I know that Family Dollar also has one that my grandson has and it can either be monthly or you buy a card with minutes on it. Its a matter of finding out what works in your area or your husband's area I guess would be more of the problem.
    Judy

  5. #5
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    What has been the problem with the phones? Quality of the call? Phone breaking? Or is he honestly tossing them off of a tower?

    I don't know about AT&T but I know with Verizon if the phone isn't getting good reception you can take it back (within 30 days I think).

    My husband used to buy a G'Zone (by Casio) because they are rugged - drop proof, water proof, shock proof, basically ... husband proof. He LOVED his first one, then he got the new-improved model and the call quality was POOR. He took it back to Verizon and we both got I-Phones. The I-Phone isn't indestructable like his G'Zone phone was, but the call quality is fantastic. As a bonus we are both discovering all other wonderful things we can do with an I-phone - like get instant weather updates (pretty handy when you work in the field), check e-mail, send pictures ("Is this the right part boss?"), maps, I have a compass on mine and a stud finder too. They really are amazing little devices.

    If he's tossing ... I mean *dropping* them off a tower then look into getting the insurance with your carrier and they will replace the phone when it is dropped ... I mean *falls* from 100 + feet.

    With the pay-as-you-go phones ... (at least the service I have that we use when we are in England) you have to purchase the telephone outright. If you purchase a cheap phone, you get a cheap phone with lousy reception. If you purchase an expensive phone with good reception and it falls off of a tower ... your still out the $$ for the phone. You're not "renting" the phone, your only renting the phone service for a limited amount of time.
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    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    Sue, your post cracked me up, btw, what kind of "stud" finder? LOL. the service is ok, sometimes when he opens it to make a call it says "emergency calls only allowed" which made me think the bill wasn't paid, whew! that wasn't it. it turns off at will, and sometimes it just says "please try again" this has been since it was 2 wks old and of course when I call India or China or wherever they are, they all want me to do the same tests for 15 min and in the end they want to send me a new battery.
    thanks for all the tips, I think I'm going to give the trac fone a try, at least it won't add 2 more years to our contract!

  7. #7
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    AT&T has some cheap Go Phones and reasonable monthly plans. If you're making a lot of calls they have one that is unlimited calls and texts for $50/month. Or if you only use it a few days a month, they have another plan that is $2/day for only the days you make or receive calls. Various other plans as well.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jeank's Avatar
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    I have been very happy with tracfone. Just get one with a cover for the buttons or you will "butt-dial". I can take photos and send them to email boxes. I get reception where ever I am, but I am always near a town.
    Jean in MI

  9. #9
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    have had Tracfone from Walmart for years. Best little phone I have had. My son bought one and did away with his land line.

  10. #10
    Member sunflower1944's Avatar
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    I used Tracfone for many years and was always pleased with it. Even able to call home from the middle of the ocean while on a cruise. I would buy the one year plan and always got a lot of extra minutes. I still think that was the best phone/plan I ever had. Now my kids have me on their family plan but I miss my old tracfone.
    Jo

  11. #11
    Junior Member scarlet14's Avatar
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    I have Verison pre-paid phone---cost me $10.00 a month---got a new phone phone last spring at Sam's--old one was out dated--have really had no problem since verison took over alltel--and that is mainly more area coverage---have had it for about 4 years now---and we live in a rural area---the $10 [actually $30.00 every 3 months] works for me as I am not very "yappy" unless something spetacular commes up I will stay with this

  12. #12
    Junior Member scarlet14's Avatar
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    forgot to mention ---the charge comes out at fifteen cents a minute with my pre-paid phone

  13. #13
    Super Member Quilty-Louise's Avatar
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    I just got my dad a TraceFone last month. Got the cheap ($10) phone
    as it would be the easiest for him to learn to use (he is 84).

    For his first month he had 260+ minutes and then he sent me a letter
    in the middle (not even 2 weeks after getting phone) telling me that
    he was upset because his phone died. I tried to tell him that would
    happen if he used up all his minutes.

    So when I bought more minutes for him this month I warned him not
    to be calling every person he knows and talking for extended periods
    of time or he would run out of airtime.

    I HAVE to be strict with my dad and his phone usage or he will run
    amuck.

    Only thing about TracFone I am not pleased with is that I can't track
    the minutes of my dads phone online. I thought about trying to find
    another service that would let me do that, but don't feel like going
    to the hassle of setting up another new phone and trying to teach him
    how to use it again.

    But so far I have heard MANY good things about the TracFones.
    Louise - Ya-ya to Zachary April 13 2015. I collect mugs from the U.S. and around the world. Also collect handmade pincushions, sewing/quilting themed fabrics, and fabric in general.

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    I have had a prepaid "Cingular" for years and I love it. I live in the country and get good reception.

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    If Verizon works well in your area, go with the Verizon pre-paid phone. That's what we have. Trac Phone did not work well in or area. All cell phones use the same towers, but the phones from the companies who own the cellular dishes in an area have priority over other cell phone companies, so in California our Verizon phone got kicked off the Sprint towers when they were busy, just as Sprint users get kicked off Verizon towers when they are busy. With the Verizon pre-paid phone, we pay for a year of service, add minutes if needed (we don't use it that much), and the minutes carry over as long as you renew before the time is up. We've broken 2 phones and we just buy another phone and have the minutes transferred. We go with the cheap phones - none of the "smart phone" stuff - and it costs just a little over $100 a year.
    Shirley in Arizona

  16. #16
    Super Member KimS's Avatar
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    My husband and I use Tracfones and have for years with no problems. You can purchase the minutes right from the phone, online or buy cards. This tells you how much I use my phone. I put $100 on it and it last a year with minutes left to rollover. LOL!! Hubby uses his much more than I do mine so when he runs low he tells me and I purchase minutes online. I think they work great! There's also a program at Walmart where you pay $45 monthly for unlimited everything. That's what my son has and he's had no problems with his either. Hope this helps.
    Kim

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    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Get a ruggerized phone and put it on a bungee cord I love mine...
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  18. #18
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    AT&T has a pay as you go plan where you're not under a contract.
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  19. #19
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Straight Talk (walmart) works great... when it works. Heaven help you when you have a problem. We had it for a while, and even tho it was affordable, it wasn't worth the hassle.
    We also only get ATT and Verizon where we live, and we got the TMobile prepaid phones. I have 1500 minutes or texts every month for $30 and my texting-teen gets unlimited texts for $15/month. I put $20/month on there so he can make "emergency calls" at $.10/minute.
    We have never had a problem with them at all. I don't even come close to my 1500, and I'm not afraid to call my parents and chat or text either. My phone was around $20-25 at Walmart and it's a basic flip phone. My son's phone is a "smarter" phone that we got used at a pawn shop for about the same price. He likes that touch screen but I like the keypad with numbers!
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  20. #20
    Super Member CAS49OR's Avatar
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    This is an interesting thread. I've been thinking about buying a Tracphone at Wal-mart since I saw the unlimted talk, text, data, 411 for $45 a month. I have had Verizon for years but never get close to using my minutes. I want to update my phone but then they will force me to buy a data package. I don't need that since I'm home most of the time and have my computers.

    consumercellular.com has a plan for $10 a month, shared $15 a month, and the basic phone is free. I thought about that too.
    :-)
    CAS

  21. #21
    Senior Member skowron5's Avatar
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    We have 2 tracfones. We live in the sticks and hubby can even take it out when he goes hunting and get a signal.

  22. #22
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    For my work phone, I ha a StraightTalk phone from Wal-Mart. What a hassle. Couldn't even use it in the house cuz only heard every 3rd word but worked fine outside. It had issues with being inside and wanting to work well plus I kept getting strange texts at 3 am on an almost daily basis. when I was on the road which I am alot for my job, reception was always iffy and my boss didbn't appreciate that. When we renewed our cell phone contract and updated my phoine, I dropped the straight talk stuff. Boss was much happier and since I recieve a cell phone allowance every month, it does cover most of the cost of my monthly charges.
    Chris
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