?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Ring-a-ding-ding - Phil's Rambling Rants — LiveJournal
July 15th, 2005
02:15 am

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Ring-a-ding-ding
I've finally dragged myself kicking and screaming into the 90's.  I now have a cell phone.

I wanted to have a phone for my upcoming trip.  I didn't want to pay $30+ a month for a regular contract phone, so I got a TracFone.  The phone (I got the cheap one) was $30, including 10 minutes of airtime, and 100 minutes was $25 (plus tax even though I bought it on-line, assholes), and for filling out a survey when I activated the phone I got a bonus that I would get 40 free minutes every time I bought 100 or more minutes as long as I keep the phone activated.  I also got 10 extra minutes for activating the phone on the web instead of by phone.  So I got a teeny little phone that seems to work and 160 minutes, good until November, for less than my mom pays for two months on her (pretty cheap) regular billed cell phone.

Even though the prepaid cell phones seem to be targeted at the demographic of people who won't pass the credit check for a regular phone contract, the TracFone appears to be a very good deal for the person who wants to have a phone available but doesn't actually plan to use it very much.  The minimum cost to keep the account active is $20 (plus sales tax) every 60 days -- call it $11 a month.  This beats the pants off of any billed plan I've ever heard of.  I'll try to remember to report back in a few months about how well it works technically and whether it still seems like a good idea economically.

I didn't mean this to be an advertisement for TracFone, but if this makes you want to run out and buy one, email me at my LJ address and I can send you an "invite"; if you use it I get a bonus of like $40 worth of airtime.  I dunno if you get a bonus for using the referral rather than just signing up, but if you don't and did it anyway, I'd owe you a beer or something.

Tags: ,

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:msminlr
Date:July 15th, 2005 12:15 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Even though the prepaid cell phones seem to be targeted at the demographic of people who won't pass the credit check for a regular phone contract, the TracFone appears to be a very good deal for the person who wants to have a phone available but doesn't actually plan to use it very much. The minimum cost to keep the account active is $20 (plus sales tax) every 60 days -- call it $11 a month.

[nod,nod]
I've been carrying a "Simple Freedom" phone since mid-March for that very reason. At about that same cost. Our local WalMart sells both TracFone and Simple Freedom; I read through all their brochures and looked up their websites; ISTR SF won out for me on coverage area, but not by a whole heckuva lot. Their per-minute costs are higher than something like Cingular or Verizon would offer, but you get to use every minute you pay for, and at your own rate.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:bammba_m
Date:July 15th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC)
(Link)
i've been using at&t (now cingular) because it had the lowest card rates (used to be $10, now it's $15). i get text messaging and all the other bonuses of cell phones without hafting to pay $40+ a month. i've been thinking about switching plans, but always within the pre-paid line of service.

even without a land-line at home the past couple months it's been all the phone i've needed.
[User Picture]
From:tigertoy
Date:July 15th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
(Link)
When I first looked into the Cingular prepaid plan, you had to give them more money every month; it was going to end up being more expensive. I formed a bad impression of their prepaid plan because they made it sound like a much better deal than it really was when I read the fine print. That was then and perhaps they have improved now, but the bad impression remains. Also, my mom has a Cingular phone (contract, not prepaid) and the quality of service when I've traveled with her has been poor. TracFone claims to have the best nationwide coverage.
[User Picture]
From:tigertoy
Date:July 15th, 2005 06:32 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Can you get text messaging?

According to the literature, yes.

Is there a mechanism by which you can get more minutes when you run out with nothing available to you but the phone?

Not entirely sure about this. *checks user guide* "Add your airtime online at www.tracfone.com or call toll-free 1-800-867-7183 from a landline phone." I suspect it would be slightly painful to do by phone. Doing it on-line is somewhat time consuming (that is how I added more minutes than what came with the phone), and unless they have an amazingly well designed robot, they'd have to have the buy in Bangalore on the phone with you for a long time -- which probably means a long wait on hold before you can talk to him. But that's pure speculation.
From:starstraf
Date:July 18th, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
yes you can buy track phone minutes at almost any walmart/walgreens and "load" them on the phone. And I think you can buy minutes thru an 800 number
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 15th, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC)

Cell phones

(Link)
Yes, I can understand that sometimes a cheap cell-phone is far better than no cell phone at all. (My wife, a personal care attendant for psychiatrically disturbed individuals, uses a cell phone a lot on her day job, trying to keep up-to-date with which patient/client needs her, and where, and at what time.) But please stick to your guns where television is concerned -- I respect that a *lot.* (I started watching TV about ten years ago, originally just the 10 o'clock news, now a bit more often because Louie does. I am not proud, and I can easily imagine circum-stances where I would want to just sell the TV. I hope and respect that you would never get to this position in the first place.)

Nate
[User Picture]
From:tigertoy
Date:July 15th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I remain committed to being TV-less. Where I live, there is no broadcast service worth mentioning, and the prices from the rural cable and dish folks that keep spamming me don't inspire me to change my mind. If I get a TV it will be to watch prerecorded stuff, and while I haven't ruled it out, I am waiting until I am not uncomfortable about paying for a flat-screen model that I can put on my living room wall and enjoy watching from the couch across the room. I'm pretty tightfisted about things I'm not convinced I *need*, even when I'm working, so I'm pretty safe for now I think.
From:starstraf
Date:July 18th, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
We have had tracfone for about two years now and it is the best option for us. Most months we dont' use many minutes at all, then when we travel we tend to use them up and can buy more if needed.

Most of the time it lives in the car turned off
Powered by LiveJournal.com