Prepaid Wireless Phones: A Good Deal? - Comments Page 1

Category: Mobile , Wireless



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Posted by:

Lou
15 Aug 2017

Just a small correction. The 4500 minutes Tracfone plan is $200 for the year and not per month. Great article though. Just what I needed to help me pick a plan.

Posted by:

Rick
15 Aug 2017

I have not found any company yet that can beat the prices on pagepluscellular.com who uses the Verizon network.

Posted by:

JP
15 Aug 2017

One thing I like about Tracfone is that your minutes/texts/data never expires. If you don't use it, you don't lose it.

Another thing good about Tracfone is that they use several of the big name cell towers, so if AT&T isn't good in your area, you can use a phone on the T-Mobile or Verizon network.

The one negative is that if you need to speak with someone in customer service, it can be frustrating. The wait times are not at all bad, but it's very possible you may be on the call for a long time while things get sorted out.

One other thing worth noting, if you switch from a feature phone to a smartphone, depending on how smart your chosen phone is, you may lose out on "triple minutes." (Earlier phones usually earned you either double or triple the number of minutes you paid for.) I recently found out the hard way, and not only lost out on the possibility of getting triple minutes, but actually lost all the bonus minutes I'd built up over time. However, considering that I don't make a lot of calls or send a lot of texts, and try to use wi-fi for data as much as possible, I think I'll be fine and have minutes and texts to roll over at the end of my year's plan.

Posted by:

Larry
15 Aug 2017

I have been with TracFone for 6 years thru 4 phones (1 got broken). I buy LG Android phones with "Triple Minutes for Life" and then purchase 1500 more minutes on a 1-year plan when needed, so I get 4500 minutes that never expire as long as I maintain service (texts count as 0.3 minutes, 1 Mb of data = 1 min). I have never run out of minutes before my service end-date. So far, my plan has cost me just under $17 per month. I have only had 3 dropped calls in those 6 years and better service than I had with AT&T or T-Mobile.

Posted by:

Lucy
15 Aug 2017

Very useful info Bob.

When we moved we found our current cell phone to now have spotty service in our new home so we need to change providers.

Useful info would be which providers use the same "type" of service. For example I understand Verizon and AT&T use a totally different type, which may make a difference in the spotty service.

What types are there, and which companies use each? (Sorry if I don't know the correct terminology).

Posted by:

artm
15 Aug 2017

As a long-time user of TracFone we use the following technique to keep costs low. (Note: Service time and phone time are separate entities at TracFone)
A) Initially purchase a 1 year service and whatever minutes they offer at that time (they usually offer bonus minutes too). B) In remaining years, purchase the smallest increment of minutes offered. In the check-out process, they've always offered a year of service for 49 bucks. Thus, you are out the door with a year's service and whatever unused minutes you've accrued for around 75 bucks. Obviously we use the TracFone only when out of our home, and typically for calls to family. We've accrued thousands of minutes on both of the phone we have and will never use them. BTW, you can purchase an Android-based phone from them for less than 30 bucks. Can you beat that?

Posted by:

Lawrence
15 Aug 2017

In west Texas I have been using my TracFone LG Android for 4 years and have been very satisfied
with it. Now the memory is full and no place to
dump it....and minutes cards are increasingly
hard to get. WalMart is no longer carrying them
in the Pecos, Reeves County, store.

Wish TracFone had better displays at Dollar General
and Family Dollar stores....still hard to get minutes cards and phone selection is very small in
all locations here in west Texas.

Posted by:

Bill Wong
15 Aug 2017

I only use my phone in emergencies and only to talk. If you're in that category, it's hard to beat my Virgin Mobile's cost of $20 every 90 days (with automatic renewals). It is a high 20 cents per minute though. Of course, you have to buy your own phone but many flip phones are under $50. Also, you need to test whether your area has good reception.

Posted by:

Laurie
15 Aug 2017

Is there any provider still locking people into SERVICE contracts? As far as I know, the big four all dropped contracts. They will finance devices, and some of them lock the device to the network until the device is paid off. But, if you pay off the device, or pay the full price up front, this is not an issue. You can walk away at any point.

Phone manufacturers will also finance a phone for you at no interest (usually over 2 years.) You can purchase a carrier-unlocked version that will work on any network (both CDMA and GSM,) and pay back the manufacturer, rather than your service provider, over time. The great thing with the carrier-unlocked devices is that these devices will not be locked to your service provider. No costs will be added to your bill from your service provider. You can walk away from your service provider at any time, whether the device is paid off or not. And, since these unlocked devices are made to work on any network, you can move over to whichever provider offers a better deal, better service in your area, or both.

The big four also offer (basically) unlimited plans. Yes, I realize that there is prioritizing if one goes over a certain data limit, but that data limit is pretty high for the post-paid plans, and going over it does not result in higher costs or cutting off of the service. It may result in lower data speeds, though.

I used to use StraightTalk prepaid. However, once California added the requirement for ST to add taxes/fees to their 45.00/month plan, it was no longer the best deal to me. T-Mobile's post-paid plan actually came out to about the same price for two phones, but offered more for the money. So, I switched to the T-Mobile plan.

Posted by:

Orville
15 Aug 2017

I use Tracfone - buy a 1 year card with 400 min. each talk, text, data. With my "triple minutes" phone feature, 1200 minutes each. for $100 card. I carry the phone mainly for emergencies and make very few calls with it - lots of carry-over minutes.

BOB - WHILE I'M HERE.... if you can arrange it with the mfr. during your next iDrive sale to NOT have to register and get stuck with the mandatory iCloud feature, I'll buy. I think others here really don't want/trust their data in the cloud, either.... Thanks. (sorry for the intrusion)

Posted by:

john silberman
15 Aug 2017

I use Consumer Cellular. My monthly bill is typically $38 total for two lines. That includes about 500MB. For $10 more I could have 1.5GB. I have never needed more than 500MB, but I am conscience not to stream music on a data plan and to minimize online mapping/navigation. If I need to navigate, I use Maps.Me or download offline Google maps.

Posted by:

Linda
15 Aug 2017

I have used Tracfone for several years and no problems. They even notified me sometime back that by 2g phone was going to be obsolete and sent me a new LG 3g free. I spend $21 for three months and was on the double minute plan, so my minutes really add up. We don't use a cell phone lots other than mostly when we are away from home. So far I am very happy with Tracfone.

Posted by:

Bengt
15 Aug 2017

Interesting to read what the market in the US looks like.
In Europe I believe the competition is more brutal. I live in Sweden and here I can have a prepaid plan with unlimited calls and texts as well as 2 GB data at 4G speed for less than $20 per month. If I add $15 more I can raise the data limit to 20 GB per month.
This works over all countries within the EU at no extra cost.
For the one who only use it for calls and mainly to receive calls it is enough to pay $6 a year to keep the number and SIMcard alive.

Posted by:

Bernie Crowley
15 Aug 2017

Apparently no one has heard of PennyTalk, a prepaid voice mail service provider that charges one cent (that's $.01) to make calls in the US by dialing a preset number. This is a VOICE mail service that works with your land line and cell phones. A 90 minute call from Boston to Seattle costs 90 cents. Calls to foreign countries are supported by different rates.
Call 1-800-842-3525 or on the web at pennytalk.com

Posted by:

Charles H
15 Aug 2017

Thank you, Bob, for what you've presented. Bowever, it's unfortunate that such a review totally overlooks one of the best cellular options available today, Republic Wireless. Republic has pioneered the area of wi-fi cellular and innovated in its combination of resources for areas where coverage might be skimpy for some providers. It will switch during calls from wi-fi to cellular or vice versa, as needed. That makes it easy to continue talking when you leave your home's or other places' wi-fi and need cellular coverage. I've been using it for two years and have been delighted with it. Anyone looking for cellular coverage should at least investigate this groundbreaking wireless company that's been getting impressive reviews. It also supports bringing your own phone (BYOP) for many popular phones. Check it out. The money you save will be your own. (Not an affiliate post. Simply the results of one benefiting from the service.)

Posted by:

Kathy
15 Aug 2017

My parents are in their 80's. Like artm said above, I just renewed my their tracfone service by purchasing 120 minutes and 90 days service for $19.99. They still had nearly 900 minutes left in their account since they only have the phone for potential emergency use when they are out and about. During checkout I added a year of service for $49. So for just over $70 (taxes, of course) they got 15 more months of service and they now have over 1100 minutes since their plan gives the double minutes on any purchases. For under $5 a month they and the family get some piece of mind - well worth it!

Posted by:

Stuart Berg
15 Aug 2017

My use of Tracfone amounts to $7 per month. I have an LG smartphone that currently has 5820 minutes, 6675 texts, and 6 GB of data because everything is carried over from month to month so long as I continue service. Since we have no cell service at our home, we are light users of cell service. The reason it's so cheap is that our phone came with triple minutes/texts/data for life and we buy the 1 year service (1200 minutes/1200 texts/1.2 GB data), but instead of buying it from Tracfone for $99 + tax, we buy it on eBay for usually about $84 and no tax ($84 per year = $7 per month). It is important to note that when you have triple minutes/texts/data you can't use any promotional codes.

Posted by:

Glen
15 Aug 2017

I understand that some people do have to have the big dollar phones with all the bells and whistles,.....But their are a "lot" that only have it to look good, that's one exspensive way to look good. ill just keep my pay by the year $120.00 double the minutes,.....and left over minutes when I got to renew them the following year, that roll over.

Posted by:

Jon
15 Aug 2017

I used to be with TMobile's prepaid and switched to AT&T prepaid about 6 months ago. They do roll over their data for 2 months, and the throttling really is only an issue in cities. They only throttle you back if the network needs the bandwidth. I've never experienced a slow down in service. That being said, my data reception at my work is awful even with 3-4 bars. TMobile's data (when it's working) can be MUCH faster.

Posted by:

CG
15 Aug 2017

Been using Cricket (on ATT network) and have been happy. Five lines for 100 per month with occasional throttle on data usage

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