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Old 01-10-12, 19:23
sheena sheena is offline
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Default Low priced reliable unlocked cell phone?

Hi.
I'm a technology challenged person and hope to get some guidance on selecting a cell phone. I've learned there are so called 'unlocked' phones that you can use with any network, but am told they are expensive. However, I've seen ads pricing some at $30. Can anyone recommend one to me? Alternatively, do they have drawbacks as opposed to getting a prepaid wireless plan that comes with phone? I am also thinking of going that way with a plan more designed for seniors. I am needing for a few months to call all over US, just need a 'talk' plan, no text or voice mail, etc. Want the least expensive thing I can find. Also, what is a 'hot phone'? Any guidance much appreciated.
Sheena
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Old 01-28-12, 13:36
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Default Re: Low priced reliable unlocked cell phone?

Hi sheena, sorry this particular forum is so slow. I have seen advertisements for more than one new cellphone service at reduced rates for people who are seniors, and/or qualify for medicaid or other types of assistance. They also offer phones that are more simple and easier to use than most others. If you are looking to get on a reduced rate plan, I wouldn't buy a phone until you find out what is offered by a company you might be interested in. There are many routes to take when buying a cellphone, I usually go to an area in my city (Houston) that has a large population of wholesalers and buy an unlocked phone there for much cheaper than T-Mobile (my provider) offers. Only problem is you get zero customer service, no returns or exchanges etc . Most major carried now offer prepaid monthly services - I use T-Mobile prepaid : $59.95 for unlimited talk and text . Just do some research into what providers are available in your area and go from there.
Hope this helps !
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Old 04-14-12, 15:42
bbpathd1 bbpathd1 is offline
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Default Re: Low priced reliable unlocked cell phone?

If you want something really cheap, look at Tracfone. We've used them for several years.

My husband is now using a Tracfone LG420g that I bought on sale for $10.00. You can buy an airtime card for something like 19.99 for 60 min but your phone will probably qualify for double minutes so you actually get 120 min to use over 90 days. Or you can go prepaid monthly by visiting them online. Or you can buy a 1 year card for 99.99 and (with promo bonus) end up with 1000 minutes to use over an entire year. That's what we did after going the 90 days route to make sure he liked the phone--works out to 10 cents per minute. Just remember prepaid means no free minutes on nights and weekends like you might have with a contract.

An example of the 19.99 60 min card--you get the 120 minutes of air time and 90 days of service. If you use all 120 min before the 90 days is up, you have to buy another card (or buy time online at tracfone.com) to have more talk minutes. If you don't use all 120 min before 90 days is up, buy another card to extend your service time and the unused minutes will roll over and still be available to you.

Tracfone will probably send you a message on your phone when you are getting short on minutes and/or service days. Often there is a promo code so you can get a few additional minutes free with your renewal.

I also have a Boostmobile phone on “pay as you go” that I got just before they raised rates to 20 cents per minute, so I am grandfathered to the 10 cent rate as long as I don’t change anything. I just have to make sure I go their website every 90 days and add a minimum of $10 to my account. So theoretically I could have 400 minutes over about a year for $40 if I rarely used the phone. It would be 200 minutes over a year if you went that route. Or pay the 20 cents a minute for as much time as you’d like by adding time as frequently as you need to.

AT&T has a GO phone that is $25 each 90 days. I think it is 100 min in each of the 90 day periods, but you would need to check. I think you can buy more minutes for a higher price. You can buy a GO phone that suits you, as there are basic and fancier models.

Consumer Cellular markets to the AARP market with a 5% discount on rates. Not so many minutes as you would get with one of the other prepaid plans But supposedly good customer service and user friendly phones.

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-14-12, 20:37
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Default Re: Low priced reliable unlocked cell phone?

Net 10 (owned by Tracfone) is another good prepaid option.

As the name implies, both incoming and outgoing calls are 10 cents per minute (and I think texts are 5 cents each).

Although the per minute rate is less than Tracfone, I think you have to buy at least $10-$15 of airtime per month to keep it active. If you plan on talking over 100 minutes per month, this is likely your best value.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-15-12, 12:20
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Default Re: Low priced reliable unlocked cell phone?

Correction on the AT&T GoPhone:
Plans: AT&T offers three different GoPhone prepaid plans. The first is a 50 dollar unlimited plan that includes unlimited talk, text, and mobile web. The 2 dollar daily plan offers unlimited talk and text, but charges 1 cent per 5KB of data. The 25 dollar plan includes 250 minutes plus unlimited text messaging. The 10 cents per minute plan offers that rate.

CompUSA has the Samsung a107 GoPhone on sale this week for $3.99.

When I looked up the AT&T info, on the page was an ad for Net 10. Free phone Samsung T201g refurbished with purchase of 750 min card for $25, which I believe is good for one month. So, if you plan to talk a lot, gman836 is right on with his advice.

Other suggestion I would give is to go to Target and Dollar General or Family Dollar to look at prepaid phones. You can get a good idea of what is available.
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Old 06-06-12, 16:25
bbpathd1 bbpathd1 is offline
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Default Re: Low priced reliable unlocked cell phone?

Sheena, did you ever pick a phone and/or a carrier? I thought of you today when I came across this comment on WSJ news regarding how the major carriers are planning to do away with limited voice minutes plans and force users Into unlimited voice (at a higher price,of course!):

“Absolutely insane to spend that kind of money on a cell phone plan. I pay less than $10 a month for my cell phone plan and it's on AT&T towers using a SIM card from a wholesaler. The info is on a blog post here: http://www.yippz.com/blog/the-next-s...s-8-33-a-month I can't imagine being gouged by my cell phone plan again.”

I don’t know anything about yippz, but they sell unlocked GSM phones (Maxwest brand) for about $50 and up and give you a price break on the SIM ($1.99 vs 19.99) for either Red Pocket or H2O Wireless, both of whom I have heard of but know very little about.

I am hoping someone has tried one of these phones or one of the carriers and can enlighten us all about them.
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