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Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: volcs0
Date: January 04, 2010 06:58AM
Our two boys have pay-as-you-go plans - one w/ ATT and one w/ T-Mobile. They are perfect - only very occasional use, low minute requirements, etc. We only really need them a few times per month, say if they are going to a sleepover or if we need to reach them for something specific during the day.

With both plans, the minutes expire long before we can use them. And if we only buy a few minutes, they expire very quickly. It would just be cheaper to add them to our family plan ($10/month), but I'm hoping there is something less than $120/year that we can find for them.

Any suggestions?
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 04, 2010 07:11AM
T-Mobile, charge $100, become "goldmember", get 1000 minutes, they expire after 1 year, but if you renew before they expire, for $10, they are good for another year.

Total cost is $110, 2 years, I believe 1035 minutes (1000 initially for $100 and 35 later for $10).

I heard that if you try to renew for a 3rd year for $10, you might lose some minutes, but that never happened to me yet, I seem to use about 500 minutes per year.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 04, 2010 07:12AM
oh, and get the refill cards on ebay, cheaper than retail, no tax, and sometimes big cash back. I got some with 20% cash back.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: rgG
Date: January 04, 2010 07:15AM
Tracfone has a $5.99 service protection plan which means that it will charge your credit card $5.99 each month on your expiration date, if you don't add a minutes card. Or, you can buy a $20.00 60 minute card that will extend your service for 90 days, which works out to $6.66 per month.

If you do T-Mobile gold, for $100 the first year, then you can add a $10 card at the end of the year and your minutes will roll over and be good for another year. If T-Mobile works well for you, this is probably the best solution.

What is Gold Rewards Status?
Gold Rewards is a status that is reached once a T-Mobile To Go customer has applied more than $100 worth of refills (in any combination of $10, $25 or $50 refills) to his or her account or has purchased and applied a $100 refill to the account. Once a customer reaches Gold Rewards status, he or she automatically receives 15% more minutes for free and any unused minutes will not expire for a full year!






Alpharetta, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: January 04, 2010 07:40AM
[www.pagepluscellular.com]

$10 for 100 minutes is the minimum fill amount and they're good for 120 days. If you add $10 every 120 days, minutes never expire. $.50/month service fee. rgG got me started on this Page Plus thing! :-)



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: what4
Date: January 04, 2010 07:41AM
Make sure T-Mobile provides the coverage you need. I use it, but in my area, it works only in towns and along major roads. It is no good in rural areas.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 04, 2010 07:43AM
he already said one kid is on T-Mobile and works fine. IIRC, he is based in chicago, so I assume T-Mobile has good coverage in big cities.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: rgG
Date: January 04, 2010 07:48AM
Quote
Jack D.
[www.pagepluscellular.com]

$10 for 100 minutes is the minimum fill amount and they're good for 120 days. If you add $10 every 120 days, minutes never expire. $.50/month service fee. rgG got me started on this Page Plus thing! :-)

Yes, PagePlus is very good, it is what I use, but you would have to get new phones, since it runs on Verizon's CDMA network and your T-Mobile/AT&T phones are GSM. You can however, use any Verizon phones that you already have or buy from any source like eBay or Craigslist, so you could get new phones pretty cheaply. You can also use Verizon pre-paid Inpulse phones that you buy at Target or Wal-Mart, just don't activate on Verizon first, activate directly with PagePlus. There are lots of threads over at Howard Forums about how to do this. If Verizon has good coverage in your area, this is a very good option.





Alpharetta, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: January 04, 2010 07:52AM
Quote
space-time
I heard that if you try to renew for a 3rd year for $10, you might lose some minutes, but that never happened to me yet, I seem to use about 500 minutes per year.

This came up a couple years ago here, and I called T-Mobile to get the scoop.
The rep told me that as long as the $10 per year was added, no minutes were lost.



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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: January 04, 2010 07:56AM
Quote
rgG
Quote
Jack D.
[www.pagepluscellular.com]

$10 for 100 minutes is the minimum fill amount and they're good for 120 days. If you add $10 every 120 days, minutes never expire. $.50/month service fee. rgG got me started on this Page Plus thing! :-)

Yes, PagePlus is very good, it is what I use, but you would have to get new phones, since it runs on Verizon's CDMA network and your T-Mobile/AT&T phones are GSM. You can however, use any Verizon phones that you already have or buy from any source like eBay or Craigslist, so you could get new phones pretty cheaply. You can also use Verizon pre-paid Inpulse phones that you buy at Target or Wal-Mart, just don't activate on Verizon first, activate directly with PagePlus. There are lots of threads over at Howard Forums about how to do this. If Verizon has good coverage in your area, this is a very good option.

True. I figure that for what the kids need it for you could pick up two basic Verizon phones from ebay, FreeCycle or Craig's List for next to nothing (free to about $20ea.). This would still be cheaper than paying the $120/year/phone on the plan they are on now.



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: volcs0
Date: January 04, 2010 09:38AM
Thanks for these great suggestions.

Situation came up this AM - I need to be able to reach my 13 YO this morning when I find out if he can go to the doctor this afternoon. I didn't want to have to wade through the school office, etc. - I would just text him. When I dug out his GoPhone, it had expired on 12/26, along with the couple-hundred minutes on it. My fault - ignored the emails in the rush of the holidays.

Anyway, I will look into these options. For our needs there look to be several good ones. Thanks.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 04, 2010 10:30AM
Quote
lafinfil
Quote
space-time
I heard that if you try to renew for a 3rd year for $10, you might lose some minutes, but that never happened to me yet, I seem to use about 500 minutes per year.

This came up a couple years ago here, and I called T-Mobile to get the scoop.
The rep told me that as long as the $10 per year was added, no minutes were lost.

I guess the whole sting is still unclear

Year 1: you spend $100, get 1000 minutes, and use let's say 300 minutes. You have 700 left about to expire

Year 2: just before Year 1 is over, you add $10 and get an additional 35 minutes. So you start year 2 with 735 minutes. Again, you use 300 and have 435 left

Year 3: add $10, 35 minutes. It is unclear if all minutes roll over, and you get 470, or only the 35 minutes you added in year 2 will roll over and now you have 70 minutes.

I never run into this situation yet, but I think some people say the second scenario happens, i.e. in Year 3 you lose the minutes from Year 1.

If anyone know for sure, please let us know.

Thanks



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2010 10:32AM by space-time.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: January 04, 2010 10:33AM
I was told by a T-Mobile rep that no minutes were lost - all of them roll over.



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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: space-time
Date: January 04, 2010 10:34AM
Quote
lafinfil
I was told by a T-Mobile rep that no minutes were lost - all of them roll over.

great, thanks
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: GGD
Date: January 04, 2010 10:42AM
With TracFone when you add airtime using their website they give you an option to extend the phone's expriation by an additional year for an extra $50, this is in addition to the 90 days that their normal airtime cards have.

So, if you add a $20 60 minute 90 day card and add the $50 option, you get 60 minutes that will be good for about 15 months for $70, about $4.67/month.

You can usually find a promo code online that will add an extra 30-60 minutes to that purchase too, so if minute usage is really low and what you need more is a long activation time, this might work well.

If you get one of their phones that comes with Double Minutes for Life, or buy the upgrade ($25 one time charge last time I looked) than you might be able to get 120-180 minutes each time.

You probably have some idea of how many minutes they actually use per month/year, so could probably judge how many minutes you would need for 15 months.

They usually have some deal on their website for a refurb phone with two 60 minute airtime cards for about $20. That would be a good deal to start with and then buy the airtime online adding the extra 365 days.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: January 04, 2010 11:09AM
It's nice to see that more pay as you go plans are available now. This is really the only honest way for providers to sell their phone services.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: January 04, 2010 11:18AM
Here ya go space-time

Hot off the net !





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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: Mini 9
Date: January 04, 2010 02:28PM
fake! photoshopped!
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: January 04, 2010 02:57PM
I like T-Mobile for the reasons stated above, my wife is on year three with a total cost of $120 or less than $3.50 month. I fill it once a year with a $10 card, she still has more than 300 minutes from year one and I'm betting I'll just have to add another $10 card next April when it is renewal time.

For most folks the contract plans are stupid. My sister pays $75/month for two phones and makes about 90 minute worth of calls. She won't switch because her plan gives her unlimited nights and weekends. My sister isn't the bright bulb in the box.



You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands...
- For example, if they are wrapped around your throat she's probably slightly upset.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: January 04, 2010 05:52PM
Anther vote for T-Mobile.

We were looking fro a pay as you go phone about 4 years ago and were amazed by the crap that all the other brands were foisting on the plans - monthly minute requirements, monthly service charges, set-in-stone minute expirations. All BS.

And T-Mobile had the plan as described by space-time and others above. No BS and exactly how a plan would be set up if done fairly, not to screw the customer. Needless to say, we're happy 4 years later as gold members (paid the $100, plus $10/yr for additional years and have never lost the minutes) with the same $30 phone from Costco (many others were real crap but the one we have is quite good for an old cheap phone).

And with a more $$ in our pocket than with every other plan on the market*.









* OK, I bought a couple of Mac Minis with the savings... grinning smiley
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: January 05, 2010 03:04PM
If T-Mobile coverage locally works for you that's the cheapest option ($100 initially, $10/year after that)

Tracfone allows your to see minutes remaining/expiry date on the phone but is more expensive.

For those in a Verizon area choose Page Plus.

Both T-Mobile and Page Plus accounts can be managed (see expiry date/ minutes remaining, and refill) online.
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Re: Best phone plan for pay-as-you-go? Any without expiration?
Posted by: Winston
Date: January 08, 2010 01:10AM
Quote
volcs0
Thanks for these great suggestions.

Situation came up this AM - I need to be able to reach my 13 YO this morning when I find out if he can go to the doctor this afternoon. I didn't want to have to wade through the school office, etc. - I would just text him. When I dug out his GoPhone, it had expired on 12/26, along with the couple-hundred minutes on it. My fault - ignored the emails in the rush of the holidays.

Anyway, I will look into these options. For our needs there look to be several good ones. Thanks.

If you call AT&T and offer to put more money on the GoPhone account they may be able to reinstate the minutes which expired, particularly since you are within 30 days of the expiration. It's worth a try. Tell them that you'll have to move to another carrier if they can't help.

Also note that if you get the GoPhone unlocked it will work on T-Mobile (and vice versa for the T-Mobile phone). Generally TMo is pretty good about unlocking phones once you've had them for a couple of months. AT&T is less generous, but normally will unlock a phone you have had for a year. It can help to tell them you may need to use the phone abroad and need it unlocked to use a local SIM card.

One other comment on T-Mobile: you don't have to spend $100 all at once, although you get a better per-minute price when you do it that way. We recently got a T-Mobile To Go account for my daughter which due to a special deal and a special dispensation for late delivery came with three $25 reload cards. Each reload extends the account for 3 months. By stringing them out we'll get 9 months use, then one more $25 reload will get us another year because we'll hit the $100 total. (Not sure if we'd get more minutes if we had used all three cards at once.)


Good luck.

- Winston



------------------------
Be seeing you.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/2010 01:19AM by Winston.
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