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Basic Cell Phone and coverage?

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Basic Cell Phone and coverage?

Postby Suoiragerg » Sat Sep 08, 2007 5:04 am

I use my cell about 50 minutes a month. Ideally, I would like a phone that I could upload my calendar on but that is not essential.

I do use it from outside of Madison about once a month and outside of WI a couple times a year.

I am soooo not tech savy when it comes to cell phones. So what phone and service do you any of you techies think I should use?
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Postby lysander » Sat Sep 08, 2007 5:32 am

50 minutes a month? I think I'd get some pre-paid service like Virgin or Einstein. I don't know much about them, but you should shop around regardless just to get the most up-to-date deals and whatnot.
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Postby Wet_Pavement » Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:58 am

lysander wrote:50 minutes a month? I think I'd get some pre-paid service like Virgin or Einstein. I don't know much about them, but you should shop around regardless just to get the most up-to-date deals and whatnot.


Einstein's pre-paid service at its lowest level is for 200 minutes or less a month at $28.99. That does not include voice mail, which is another $3.95.

If you travel a lot out of state, then you have to buy roaming minutes which gets pricey. But if you basically stay in the Madison area, I think it's a good deal.

But I think there are phone plans where you can buy even fewer minutes at a cheaper price than Einstein. The above plan is 15 cents a minute.
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Postby Paco » Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:47 am

i have virgin, it's ok. I use it mostly for texting. It didn't work in Montreal, doesn't work out at BlueMounds SP, concentrated in big cities, not a rural phone.

I think for calling, there is something called NET-10 that's only 5 a minute, according to their claims & site. I think you have to buy a minimum every 3 months like Virgin. If I was buying one now, I'd get that.

50 minutes at $0.10 = $5.00/month It's either 5 or 10 cents a minute.
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Postby Bwis53 » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:14 am

Paco, where'd you buy your phone (price?) I'm thinking of getting one just for emergencies and an additional business line, for incoming calls.
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RE: Coverage

Postby JohnnyBlood » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:34 am

I have worked in the cell phone industry for 17 years, which makes me an old-timer in this business. I also work on the infrastructure side of the house and do work for all of the carriers, so I'm less biased than the average salesman who works directly for one of the companies.

Without exception, U.S. Cellular has the best coverage in the state of Wisconsin (a client that gives me the least amount of work). Airadigm, as mentioned already herein, arguably has the poorest coverage. They are roaming partners with T-Mobile. Verizon Wireless has good quality coverage and service where they have service. And personally I used Sprint PCS, which I don't have too many complaints with.

Go to their web sites or visit one of the malls in Madison and get copies of their coverage maps. Make sure their coverage areas meet your specific needs. And shop for a phone online; that's the best way to find the phone with the features you need without all of the hassle from the know-nothing salesperson.
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Postby Paco » Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:46 am

i got an Oyster, a little white one that flips close. I like it. I got it at Radio Shack last black friday for $20. Now you can get them at that price at walmart & target. You do have to spend $20 every 3 months though on service.
But check out that other one I mentioned, I didn't research it that much, but it looks cheaper. I think virgin is 20 cents a minute for calling.
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Postby snoqueen » Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:54 am

For low usage I am happy with TracFone. You can get them at Radio Shack or perhaps even still at Walgreens. You just buy minutes as you need them and there is no monthly fee at all. How well this works for you depends entirely on your usage pattern, as the minutes are more expensive than on a plan where you get a whole bunch at once (which you and I probably would never use up). I mostly use my phone for the occasional business call or to confirm an appointment when I am away from home, not for social reasons.

Coverage has been fine except inside MATC, where everybody has trouble. It is a nationwide network so the way I understand it you do not have roaming charges no matter where you go inside the US. I have not tried this out myself.

Text messages are cheaper than talk minutes (incoming text messages are free) and I do use that feature fairly often. You do get voice mail, but as with most services they charge you minutes for retrieving your messages.

Check TracFone out on the comparison web pages, estimating the amount of time you will use the phone. I think my whole cell usage last year cost me less than $100, which was perfectly in line with my needs, no more and no less. The other pre-paid company that is most similar is Virgin, which is also available at Radio Shack.`

A lot of people like the little Nokia phones that come with TracFone -- they are a candy bar style with no hinge, and practically indestructible. Their sound is about like any other cell phone, and if you want to use a head set they have a plug for one. They don't have a schedule feature -- they are very, very basic, with a black and white screen. You can however write notes to yourself and store them on the phone, and you can set it to give you an alarm and a note at a preset time. If your schedule is not complex that might do the job for you.
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Postby MadMind » Sat Sep 08, 2007 6:48 pm

I'm in the same boat as some of the others here.
Just looking for a cell phone for low-usage and/or emergencies.
Now I am aware of phone cards for cell phone use, but the problem with those is the monthly expiration dates. Now would you still have to pay a monthly fee to your service provider in addition to the cost of the phone cards?
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Postby Scotty » Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:53 pm

MadMind wrote:Now would you still have to pay a monthly fee to your service provider in addition to the cost of the phone cards?


With Tracfone every time you purchase a card it extends your service. Lately any card less than a year adds 90 days to the life of your phone number.

When you buy into Tracfone be prepared to get some calls from people you dont know. Phone numbers get recycled.

This happens early on and then goes away.
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Postby MadMind » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:08 pm

Could anyone here provide a detailed comparison between Tracfone and other pay-as-you-go cell phone services like At&T Go Phone, T-Mobile To Go etc.???
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Postby Dark Meat » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:11 pm

MadMind wrote:Could anyone here provide a detailed comparison between Tracfone and other pay-as-you-go cell phone services like At&T Go Phone, T-Mobile To Go etc.???

Here's a start:

http://www.consumersearch.com/www/elect ... -wireless/

I have Virgin Mobile and like it a lot, but which is best will depend on your anticipated usage.
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Postby MadMind » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:07 pm

I picked up a T-Mobile To-Go on sale at Walgreens.
Decided on T-Mobile because it was rated highly in the aforementioned article in comparisons and the fact that $100 would get you 1000 minutes that wouldn't expire for a year.

Found out T-Mobile doesn't cover our area - it'd all be roaming. Guess I should've checked their website first eh? Oh well, that's going back to Walgreens!
Seems weird that stores around here sell phones that don't even have coverage in our area.
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Postby doddles » Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:56 pm

MadMind wrote:Could anyone here provide a detailed comparison between Tracfone and other pay-as-you-go cell phone services like At&T Go Phone, T-Mobile To Go etc.???


Here ya go:

http://www.cellguru.net/prepaid_compare.htm

All the details you need to make a decision.
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Bump...

Postby athabasca » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:03 pm

Just wondering if anyone has any new experiences to add to the above thread? Good, bad, indifferent?

Is TracFone still a good option for emergencies-only use, which is what I'm in the market for? Does Virgin Mobile still have the "Pay Less Every 90" plan (from their web site, everything looked like you had to top up every *30* days)?
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