Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 04, 2016, 06:26:02 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Cell Phone Questions  (Read 4745 times)

crabby3

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 1,002
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Cell Phone Questions
« on: February 14, 2015, 12:28:08 PM »
Are there phones that can be used only when necessary?  Like if my vehicle dies unexpectedly?

I have heard of pay-as-you-go but is this a specific phone, brand or service?

Does one get charged for incoming calls?

Are there bare-bones phones?  No camera, no touchscreen, just a phone?

Having never had or used one I thought I would try to gain some knowledge before shopping around.

......................

FWIT:  My ride has died unexpectedly twice so far but was fortunate, both times, to be very close to an auto-repair shop.
BTW:  Still don't have any CDs, DVDs, players, etc.   ;D

Curt

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 7,089
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2015, 05:21:27 PM »
BTW:  Still don't have any CDs, DVDs, players, etc.   ;D

^ "still"?  :tellme:          CDs are so last decade; totally outdated.  :down:

Here in Denmark prepaid cards (for the cell / mobile phone) are too expensive; you can have a subscription for about $3½ per month (mine is $35 per month, everything included). Then you would have to also pay per minute for each call you make (never for the ones you receive). Of course you would also have to own a phone, but here the cheapest would cost in the area of $30. This is the cheapest solution I can remember around here; I don't know where you are situated.

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,406
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2015, 06:22:08 PM »
Quote
Are there phones that can be used only when necessary?  Like if my vehicle dies unexpectedly?

i'm in a similar situation as you, wanting a phone for car for emergencies.

in the usa, there is no good solution for this that i am aware of.

my understanding is this:
1. all cell phones have to be allowed to dial 911 even on bad sim card and no plan -- so for REAL PURE emergency 911 access, yes you can use almost any cell phone and not pay for a plan.
2. but if you hope to be able to call any other number besides 911 you are going to have to expect to pay some kind of yearly fee whether you use your phone or not.
3. there are plans targeted at people who rarely use their phones (like me), but the cheapest i found is something around $100 a year. tmobile has a pay-per-day-your-phone-is-on plan for $3/day, but they still force you to pay a minimum and it ends up being about $100 a year.

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2015, 10:36:52 PM »
3. there are plans targeted at people who rarely use their phones (like me), but the cheapest i found is something around $100 a year. tmobile has a pay-per-day-your-phone-is-on plan for $3/day, but they still force you to pay a minimum and it ends up being about $100 a year.

YOIKS!  I pay $1/month on a post paid phone, (month to month) - no included calls/SMS/data but since the rates are only 0.10/min call, 0.10 SMS, & 0.0275/MB it isn't going to break the bank (especially since it's an emergency phone for the wife and is turned off 364 days of the year).

My main mobile phone is $5/month, nothing included but then it's used mainly for incoming calls.

For pre-paid the cheapest is $15 for 365 days.

You guys are really getting screwed over there.

BTW, wouldn't the phone/plan for crabby3 depend on what mobile operators cover the area or are they pretty uniform these days in the USA?

Just wondering if, (for emergency use), this would be suitable:

H2O Pay-as-you-go

$10 gets you 3 months of access with a calling rate of 0.05/min - so $40 covers you for the year.  GSM network only but it's the most pervasive and when are they switching it off in the USA, (Telstra is switching off 2G in about a year here)?
« Last Edit: February 14, 2015, 10:45:20 PM by 4wd »

mwb1100

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,520
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2015, 12:09:49 PM »
For pre-paid the cheapest is $15 for 365 days.

I couldn't believe that I didn't know about that plan (since one of my 'hobbies' is trying to get the cheapest phone service possible), but then I saw it was for Australia - what a let down.  :(

That said, here's my wall-of-text on cheap paygo in the US:

Many pay-as-you-go (paygo) plans are very inexpensive for low use, but they all have some expiration date on unused funds and/or require you to pay some amount very few months to keep the phone service active.  All of the following information is for the US (and for US to US calls).  I'll also not be discussing data - voice and text only.

I'd suggest getting an unlocked GSM phone since that makes it *very* easy to select or change plans. It's pretty easy to find an unlocked feature phone for less than $20.  If you want an Android phone it'll be a little more difficult, but some very low-end ones can be found in the $30-40 range that are either unlocked or easy & cheap to get an unlocked on eBay or a third-party unlock site (this is completely legal). For voice & text, pretty much any GSM phone today will have the frequency support for any GSM provider, so all you have to worry about with a GSM phone (for voice/text) is that it is unlocked and you'll be able to use it.

There are two main GSM providers in the US (T-Mobile and AT&T); most of the 'off-brand' paygo providers are actually reselling service from one of these carriers.  AT&T has better coverage than T-Mobile. Verizon has even better coverage than AT&T, but isn't a GSM carrier, so I won't consider them in the remainder of this post. Depending on where you live, the coverage might matter in your selection of a plan.

A couple of websites that have a lot of information on these phones and plans:


Some plans that I'm aware of:

  • T-Mobile paygo: 10 min/10 text - there is a minimum $3.00 per month charge
  • H20 paygo: 5 min/5 text - must add at least $10 every 3 months
  • PTel: 5 min/2 text  - must add at least $10 every 2 months
  • Truphone: 9 min/9 text - (Note: I have not used Truphone myself) Truphone used to offer non-expiring funds. Today I can't find any information about their fund expiration policies.  If you check with their customer service and their policy is still to never expire funds and keep the phone active, then this might be a great plan to go with.  I might have to look into this for myself again...
  • LycaMobile: 2 min/ 4 text - Lyca used to allow you to carry your funds for an unlimited amount of time as long as you made at least one call or text in a 3 month period. They have changed things around several months ago and it's not clear to me if that policy is still in effect. Their website doesn't even mention paygo anymore, but reports are that it is still offered.  Lyca was (and still might be) a great plan for low-use phones, but the web site is terrible and the customer service isn't really any better.  I used Lyca for quite a while; when it worked it was a tremendous value, but then some things stopped working for me (Google voice integration being the main one), and I couldn't get any help. That plus the lack of clarity on new policies made me decide to move away.  However, I'm considering moving back since it seems like people aren't having their funds expire in practice and I think a new SIM will possibly solve my GV problem.

I'd say that for the least hassle, get a T-Mobile paygo plan and drop $40 onto it - you'll get a year+ of service, but Truphone might be worth a look.


« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 12:41:03 PM by mwb1100 »

crabby3

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 1,002
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2015, 12:28:05 PM »
BTW:  Still don't have any CDs, DVDs, players, etc.   ;D

^ "still"?  :tellme:          CDs are so last decade; totally outdated.  :down:

The gist of my sentence was meant to convey my non-techno lifestyle.
Many other technologies have come and gone, without my investment, as well.   :)

I am situated in South Florida or around 249 mi (401 km) NE of Havana Cuba.  

What has replaced CDs in Denmark?  I think people still buy and use em over here.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 01:02:12 PM by crabby3, Reason: word left out »

crabby3

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 1,002
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2015, 01:30:55 PM »
Quote
Are there phones that can be used only when necessary?  Like if my vehicle dies unexpectedly?

i'm in a similar situation as you, wanting a phone for car for emergencies.

in the usa, there is no good solution for this that i am aware of.

my understanding is this:
1. all cell phones have to be allowed to dial 911 even on bad sim card and no plan -- so for REAL PURE emergency 911 access, yes you can use almost any cell phone and not pay for a plan.
2. but if you hope to be able to call any other number besides 911 you are going to have to expect to pay some kind of yearly fee whether you use your phone or not.
3. there are plans targeted at people who rarely use their phones (like me), but the cheapest i found is something around $100 a year. tmobile has a pay-per-day-your-phone-is-on plan for $3/day, but they still force you to pay a minimum and it ends up being about $100 a year.

Seems we are both sol... so far.  No contract does not mean no plan.  JitterBug5 caught my eye but the bad reviews out weigh the good by about 10 to 1.
Still reading / digesting everyones replies.   :)

mwb1100

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,520
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2015, 01:38:40 PM »
Truphone: 9 min/9 text - (Note: I have not used Truphone myself) Truphone used to offer non-expiring funds. Today I can't find any information about their fund expiration policies.  If you check with their customer service and their policy is still to never expire funds and keep the phone active, then this might be a great plan to go with.  I might have to look into this for myself again...

According to this support posting, Truphone funds will not expire as long as you make at least one phone call in a 6 month period:  https://getsatisfaction.com/truphone/topics/how-often-should-i-top-up-my-truphone-sim-account

So I'd say that Truphone looks like a good option for a glovebox phone. Buy a SIM for $30 and you get $15 airtime on your account. There is more than 50 years worth of keep-the-phone-active funds in that $30 SIM purchase.  Making two (or three to ensure you don't cut it too close) calls a year probably isn't too much hassle.

Add more funds if/when you actually use the phone. The smallest top-up is $5 which gets you nearly an hour of talk time.

Update:  some more info on Truphone:

  • Truphone uses both the T-Mobile and AT&T networks, so coverage shouldn't be an issue
  • incoming calls and SMS are *free* (US calls/texts - I'm not sure about international ones)
  • one drawback is that MMS (multimedia messages) is not supported, only SMS (text only)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 01:57:33 PM by mwb1100 »

crabby3

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 1,002
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2015, 04:36:33 PM »
Truphone: 9 min/9 text - (Note: I have not used Truphone myself) Truphone used to offer non-expiring funds. Today I can't find any information about their fund expiration policies.  If you check with their customer service and their policy is still to never expire funds and keep the phone active, then this might be a great plan to go with.  I might have to look into this for myself again...

According to this support posting, Truphone funds will not expire as long as you make at least one phone call in a 6 month period:  https://getsatisfaction.com/truphone/topics/how-often-should-i-top-up-my-truphone-sim-account

So I'd say that Truphone looks like a good option for a glovebox phone. Buy a SIM for $30 and you get $15 airtime on your account. There is more than 50 years worth of keep-the-phone-active funds in that $30 SIM purchase.  Making two (or three to ensure you don't cut it too close) calls a year probably isn't too much hassle.

Add more funds if/when you actually use the phone. The smallest top-up is $5 which gets you nearly an hour of talk time.

Update:  some more info on Truphone:

  • Truphone uses both the T-Mobile and AT&T networks, so coverage shouldn't be an issue
  • incoming calls and SMS are *free* (US calls/texts - I'm not sure about international ones)
  • one drawback is that MMS (multimedia messages) is not supported, only SMS (text only)

Thank you mwb1100, for your considerable time and trouble.  However this highlighted part would be a concern.
I tend to be an out-of-sight-out-of-mind guy and may not use or need the phone for more than 6 mo.
If it couldn't be used, without a tech-call first, it wouldn't be worth much to me.   :(  ...sorry
2015-02-15 17 07 08.png

mwb1100

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,520
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2015, 04:49:03 PM »
That "give us a shout" is for fixing the problem if an account was deactivated after 6 months of non-use.  The best way to prevent that is to make an outgoing call for 9 cents every few months.

The closest thing I'm aware of for a cheap phone account that won't expire due to non-use would be a T-Mobile paygo plan that has enough funds to cover the $3 per month minimum for as long as you want the account to not expire.

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2015, 08:01:59 PM »
For pre-paid the cheapest is $15 for 365 days.

I couldn't believe that I didn't know about that plan (since one of my 'hobbies' is trying to get the cheapest phone service possible), but then I saw it was for Australia - what a let down.  :(

I sent you a phone from Australia, remember ;)

BTW,what happened to it?  Send it to crabby3 if it still works.

mwb1100

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,520
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2015, 09:21:15 AM »
I sent you a phone from Australia, remember ;)

BTW,what happened to it?  Send it to crabby3 if it still works.

Oh yes!  I've learned a lot about cell phones and cheap phone plans since then. 

Unfortunately it doesn't seem to take a charge  anymore either with the charger you sent with it or with a universal charger I have for a laptop. :(  I'm not sure if it just needs a new battery of if I did something else to it? I'd be more than happy to send it along, but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble of figuring out what's wrong.





4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,473
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2015, 03:02:08 PM »
Not being able to take or hold a charge, I'd say it's probably about a 95% chance of being the battery.  Nokia BL-5C and compatible are still plentiful and cheap ($5 or less) if you want to try a new one.

Only question is whether it can handle the frequency of the chosen network - I've forgotten its specs.

Plus it should happily work off a car charger as an emergency phone even with a flat battery.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 04:10:57 PM by 4wd, Reason: GFU »

mwb1100

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,520
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2015, 06:01:59 PM »
Being from Australia it probably supports 900/1800/1900 (the US model supported 850/1800/1900).  My notes show that AT&T uses 850 and 1900 for voice and T-Mobile uses 1900.

I think that AT&T uses 1900 in most areas with 850 providing some additional bandwidth in some areas.  But there might be some AT&T zones that only have 850, which this phone probably won't work with. But I suspect it'll have no trouble in most places.

I thought the phone wouldn't even power on with the charger plugged in, but I just tried again.  The screen comes on for about 5 seconds (just a white screen with a very small empty battery icon).  So I think a new battery might do the trick. I ordered one on eBay; we'll see how it does.


crabby3

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 1,002
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2015, 04:08:49 PM »
My thanks to all for your info and links... I have learned a lot.   :)

Getting back to what I really need, a break-down emergency plan, I have two options.

- - - - - - - -

Crabby3 + cell phone = vehicle assist.  Easy, convenient but not free... (after purchase)

Crabby3 + bicycle + plus land-line = assist.  Semi-easy, semi-convenient but free... (after purchase)

A bike like this, plus solid rubber tires, should help me out of most jams.   8)

mwb1100

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,520
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2015, 04:52:09 PM »
Crabby3 + cell phone = vehicle assist.  Easy, convenient but not free... (after purchase)

Crabby3 + bicycle + plus land-line = assist.  Semi-easy, semi-convenient but free... (after purchase)

You must have quite a large glovebox!


crabby3

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 1,002
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2015, 05:13:01 PM »
Crabby3 + cell phone = vehicle assist.  Easy, convenient but not free... (after purchase)

Crabby3 + bicycle + plus land-line = assist.  Semi-easy, semi-convenient but free... (after purchase)

You must have quite a large glovebox!



Heh, heh... cute.  My current ride is a standard van... small glovebox but huge trunk.  ;D  I believe one of these folding bikes may fit in a small car trunk as well.

mwb1100

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,520
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2015, 05:33:27 PM »
In all seriousness, if cost is the only issue (you might want the bike for other reasons), a $20 or less phone along with the $30 Truphone SIM should last for years if the use is minimal. 

If I get 4wd's Nokia 6320 working again when the battery gets here, you're welcome to it, in which case the total outlay is $30 for the SIM.

crabby3

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 1,002
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2015, 12:53:48 PM »
In all seriousness, if cost is the only issue (you might want the bike for other reasons), a $20 or less phone along with the $30 Truphone SIM should last for years if the use is minimal. 

If I get 4wd's Nokia 6320 working again when the battery gets here, you're welcome to it, in which case the total outlay is $30 for the SIM.

Thank you for your offer.  Hope the new battery works for you.

Cost is not the only issue.  Remembering to use it now and then is another matter.  I can be an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of person.  No BS.

I would use the bike for other occasions.  But maybe without the hard rubber tires.

--------------------------

My main questions were answered...

Are there phones that can be used only when necessary?  No

Does one get charged for incoming calls?  Sometimes

Are there bare-bones phones?  No camera, no touchscreen, just a phone?  No

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,405
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2015, 01:50:15 PM »
My main questions were answered...

Are there phones that can be used only when necessary?  No

Are there bare-bones phones?  No camera, no touchscreen, just a phone?  No

Those answers are incorrect.  You just have to look at more "senior-friendly" phones.

You can also take a look at Consumer Cellular: https://www.consumer...lular.com/Info/Plans

Quote

Voice Plans   Minutes   Monthly Fee
Anywhere Casual   0   $10.00   Select
If you rarely use a cell phone but want the comfort and safety of owning one, then our Anywhere Casual plan is the one for you. Under this plan, you pay the lowest monthly fee possible ($10.00) and only pay for minutes if you use them (25¢). Most customers on this plan use 20 cell phone minutes or less per month, and sometimes none at all. This plan is ideal for emergency or casual use. Of course, you may upgrade to a different plan at any time.

Not sure if there are any other phone services out there like that... but it comes out to what Mouser was saying earlier... about $120 a year.  They don't have phones without a camera... but it doesn't have any of the other stuff you didn't want.  And they have bring your own phone plans.

And tracfone has phones that are even more barebones than that... surprised that it wasn't mentioned.

http://www.tracfone...._EN&title=LG3280

But in general, in order to not have to use a phone for more than 90 days, it's going to cost you a bit over $100 a year.

crabby3

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 1,002
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2015, 02:10:16 PM »
i love lamp.png

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,405
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cell Phone Questions
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2015, 04:09:27 PM »