Economical and affordable cell-phone...?

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oldfart
Posts: 431
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:31 am

Folks let me begin from the beginning so's to explain what I'm looking for. Folks I'm on Comcast Cable Service. Now, mind ye it's a right good service.... but I do have some issues. For a pittance ($106 per. mo.) I have cable T.V. and cable innernet and cable phone service. Not a bad price all in all..but when the Comcast Service is down I lose all 3 services! Yup...no T.V.....(not really a problem)..no innernet..(yeah..that bites!)..but most aggravatingly..no phone! Hmmmm? When Comcast is "down" I couldn't even call 911 if I fell off the hooter and crawled to the phone! Nothing..ZIP..nada. This past week Comcast went down 3 times....for approx. 12hrs. each time. Now...if I needed medical assistance (read 911) it wouldn't be possible. And so, due to my advanced age and other infirmities, I've given some thought to possibly buying a cell-phone. Just for emergencies mind ye! Well here's the parameters of my search. I don't need text-messenging!! I have no need to take or send photos via telephone! I don't play videos or games while driving down the road! I don't need that squalky talk feature that most contractors seem to require. (don't know what it's called...) If ya need to send an e-mail..get on your computor! Quite frankly, unless one is either a "working gal" or a drug-pusher I see no need for a cell-phone. Except for this one exception...possible medical emergencies. Walking down the isle at the local grocery store and talking to your friends is nither. And no...mothers don't need to be in constant contact with their children. Kids are sneaky little bastids anyways..and so are wimminfolks! Soooo.....I'm looking for a cell-phone that isn't gonn'a gig me with monthly charges. I need it to work to tell Comcast that their service is down or I'm in a pile of ++++ somewhere up in northwest Pa. in the middle of a blizzard....in Jan.....in Hunting Season. I don't need G.P.S.! Either somebody knows where I'm at.... or they tell me where to go! Simple as that. What I'm lookin' for is a simple cell-phone. No bells or whistles. No 2yr. contracts. No overcharges, surcharges or other hidden fees. Pay fer it when I use it. Well.... let me know my friends. Audie..the frugal Oldfart...
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Yanita
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Posts: 3369
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:16 pm
Location: Eastern N. Carolina

Hi Ole Fart...

LOL, I pay for several features on my cell that I do not use, or should I say they come as a bundled service. I also have no use for phone pics, I have 3 digi cams at this time and 2 35 mils... I don't text, refuse to answer texts. I guess long story short I am not as high tech demanding as many others.

I got my cell about 10 years ago, with the only for emergency rule. Although was valid at the time it has escalated in use since my business is very well established. Kids, friends etc...

My oldest son, who loves being on the phone, well they both do, anyways the oldest uses a "trac phone". From what I understand you pay a flat fee after the purchase of a very generic phone, when you have used the amount of minutes that you have purchased then your phone no longer allows calls until you purchase more minutes. I do believe this is more expense per minute usage, but in the long run might be cheaper for your needs.

If your family has cell phones and uses them regularly, you might wnat to consider getting rid of your landline and using just a cell, remember you can shut them off, turn them to vibrate, whatever. I know that Altell has a plan that you can get incoming/out going from anyone on their service for free.

Our local cable provider, Sudden Link is offering the bundled service of cable, internet and land line...I have declined this bundle for the very reasons you have mentioned. I have several clients that are "bundled" and your right when one service goes down they all do. Not real handy when an impending hurricane or other major storm coming our way.

Anyways, as always those that are savier than I when it comes to all this will surely give there opinions.

Take care,

Yanita
The difference between success and failure is who gives up first!
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Bea
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:00 pm
Location: Plymouth MI

I checked prices and availability of service and went with Trac-fone. I bought the phone for $25.00 (Motorola Flip phone V-170) and bought minutes on line. About $25.00 for a starter which is good for three months and can be kept active for $5.00 a month.

They say no contracts, no hassles and they mean it. Buy yours from a reputable store (Target, KMart and others have them), see if you get a good signal by the home place.

They will pester you with email and offer you promotional codes for more minutes. I top up dad's phone every three or four months for $25 and we both have some peace of mind.

Mine has come in handy when I've been hospitalized and traveling as well. Seems like I only know people who are long distance calls. Also, I've got dad convinced to keep his on him ALL the time so emergency information is available to anyone who needs it.

I hope this helps!
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Greg
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Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:01 pm
Location: Weedsport, NY

Audie, If you are just planning on 911 calls, ANY cell phone will give you 911 access WITH NO calling plan needed. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."
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bell30655
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 4:11 am
Location: Monroe, Georgia
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I second what Greg said. I have picked up several cell phones for around $1 each at yard sales or wherever. I keep one in each vehicles glove compartment and another at the house.

My home phone service is Vonage which also goes through my internet and when my net/cable goes out so does my phone. I have cell service but with a company called Metro PCS they are known for their really cheap plans $45 a month, talk all you want. But they are also known for gaps in coverage areas.
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WildIrish
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:00 pm

Greg wrote:Audie, If you are just planning on 911 calls, ANY cell phone will give you 911 access WITH NO calling plan needed. Greg
Depending where you live, dialing 911 on a cell phone might actually call 911 in a nearby area. Here in south-central Nebraska, my neighbor's uncle died because of it. He used his cell to dial 911, it reached a 911 unit farther away from his town, and by the time the confusion was cleared up, he died before they could get there.

Also...if you do get hold of the right 911, and you fall unconscious during the phone call, remember one important fact: 911 Emergency CANNOT trace your call, as they can with a landline!

Cell phones are great for a lot of things--I got our phone with a cheap pay-as-you-go Alltel plan at Wal-Mart. But I've programmed numbers into it, for the county where we live, and the one where we visit to do our shopping in the nearest city. These are numbers like the police, sheriff--the non-911 numbers.

We used to have the cable/internet/phone package, too, and got sick and tired of the phone going out. The safest way to make sure you have 911 service available is to get it from a telephone company, NOT your cable company. Probably not what Audie wants to hear, but it's the most sensible way to make sure that 911 Emergency is available for you to call...and to give them a way to trace YOUR call, if you should be unable to speak.

I hope this info helps!
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oldfart
Posts: 431
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:31 am

Well folks I'm sorry it's taking me so long to reply. Been busy of late and..yup...Comcast took another dump for 8hrs.!! EGADS! Mebbe I better mention that I will also be using this cell-phone to contact Comcast to tell them that service is out in Greencastle, Pa. as they don't seem to notice it unless someone calls them. Which (big sighhh) we cain't DO on account of the cable service is out. I'm starting to miss Ma Bell. It worked..every time. Back to the topic. I'll check up on the Trac-Phones as that seems to be the better deal for my situation. I could drop the telephone service from Comcast..but I'd still pay the $106per. mo. even if I don't take the telephone service. Cable T.V. is $50per. mo. and innernet is $50 per mo. so my phone service is basically...free. When it works. Now...I've noticed phone-cards available almost everywhere from Verizon/Sprint/etc. etc. etc. Do any/all of these cards work with the Trac-Phone. Or just Trac-Phone cards? Is one service better than another? Also..will it work inside my home? My daughters cell phone has a problem inside my trailer. I presume it's the metal roof...but it works in her car..go figger? Well give me all the advice ya kin. I'm a frugal man and don't want to try out a dozen different phones till I find one that works. Ya'll be blessed and keep the posts coming. YMHS...Audie..the frugal Oldfart..
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Sylvia
Posts: 189
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 pm
Location: Iowa
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I'd like to mention to get the contract agreement in writing. DH and I weren't going for the lowest rate around but were looking for unlimited data and a decent amount of minutes with weekends and nights free.

We drove through the flood of Cedar Rapids to pick up our phones and when we got home and called and asked the corporate office a question the entire plan had magically changed. There was no longer a discount from my husbands employer that we were told verbally and there was not unlimited data or unlimited texting. What they said we had to pay was half the cost of what sprint said it was going to be.

Long story short, get it in writing. DH has excellent negotiating skills and did manage to get a better contract by telling them we were simply going back to our old provider than the dreamed up plan by the sprint salesgirl.
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WildIrish
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:00 pm

oldfart wrote:I could drop the telephone service from Comcast..but I'd still pay the $106per. mo. even if I don't take the telephone service. Cable T.V. is $50per. mo. and innernet is $50 per mo. so my phone service is basically...free. When it works.
Well, if it's free, don't cancel it. Always good to get something for nothing. :)
oldfart wrote:Now...I've noticed phone-cards available almost everywhere from Verizon/Sprint/etc. etc. etc. Do any/all of these cards work with the Trac-Phone. Or just Trac-Phone cards? Is one service better than another? Also..will it work inside my home? My daughters cell phone has a problem inside my trailer. I presume it's the metal roof...but it works in her car..go figger?
Cell phones are pretty sensitive to interference, and tend to work better outdoors. If I were you, I'd just go to a place like Wal-Mart, and talk to a salesperson there. In my area, I was advised to use the Alltel pay-as-you-go phone Wal-Mart had, because the Trac-Phone wasn't reliable in the town where we're living. (NOTE: This is just in OUR area. That's why it's important to talk to a salesperson, to find out what's best in your area.)

As far as phone cards, you might not need them, depending on your service. On all the cell phones we had (cheapest rates), we had to renew our service by phone or internet. You supply your credit/debit card number, the expiration date, and how much money you want to add to your balance.

NOTE: Your balance ($$ = phone minutes) is only good for a certain amount of time. For instance, if that time limit is 3 months, you must add $$ to your balance before the expiration date...otherwise, you'll lose ALL your minutes. If you add to your balance on time, you'll have your previous minutes PLUS the ones you just paid for. The previous minutes are called "rollover minutes".

Also, some cell phone companies limit how many rollover minutes you can keep in your account. Here's the part that stinks about such limits: You MUST keep adding minutes to your account to keep it active...but you'll be paying for nothing if you've reached the limit.

The solution: IF your cell phone provider has such limits, just use your cell phone fairly often, to be sure that you stay under the limit. That way, when you add $$ to your balance, you'll be paying for minutes, rather than just paying to keep your account active.

Most of the time, there will be a web site where you can keep track of your account balance. There should also be an info packet with your phone, telling you the terms of use.

Finally...if you don't like using a cell phone (they can be kinda complex), there's always the Jitterbug phone. The service costs more, but it's geared toward older folks who want a simple, traditional phone. The phones are easy to use, with large numbers and a big display screen. Jitterbug also offers 24/7 operator assistance.

Here's their website: http://www.jitterbug.com/ :)
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Bea
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:00 pm
Location: Plymouth MI

Trac fone cards only work with Trac-fones, but you can buy minutes on line with a credit card for the same price or cheaper, with discount codes. You can even use the phone to buy minutes for the phone, but I do it on line. No need to run to the store, or drive, even.

The store clerks don't always know so much, that's why I suggest buying the phone where you can return it if you don't get decent reception.

Even if the per minute cost is higher, I enjoy knowing that I am not paying a bunch of made-up charges like I used to with Verizon or ATT. And there are no security deposits or contract costs.

Let me know if you get it, i bullied them into telling me the phone number for voice mail. Now I can use my VOIP to check messages, assuming the power is on.
sherry
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:05 pm

I'm not big on using a cell phone but I do have a trac fone. I have no problem with any dropped calls in my area. (Kentucky) I recently had to go to Atlanta and used the phone to call my hubby and it even worked in the hills of TN. It has came in handy to call the phone or electric company to report an outage of service. When I had to admit my father in law to the hospital, the phone was priceless. I don't use it every day, but when I need it, I need it, and darn thankful I got it.
Serena

Tracfone and Net10 are the cheapest that work nationwide. Net10 has no double minute charges.

My parents have a T-Mobile prepaid plan that costs them $100 per year for a set number of total minutes and the service for the year. They have two of these and use them to call each other to pick up one another. Don't remember how many minutes it is. Their phone calls are very short and they always have minutes which are rolled over to the next year.

I have also heard that dialing 911 does not mean that you've reached anyone anywhere near you and that even if your cell phone has GPS, it does not mean that the emergency medical people can find you.

I have a neighbor who has Net10 and is very happy with it. He's in his 60s and uses it as his main phone. He doesn't have the voice mail set up on it. Just makes and answers phone calls.
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