Pay as you go cell phone . . .

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#1
Ashburn, Virginia USA
4,519 Posts
Joined May 2003
I must be the only person in the world that doesn't own a cell phone. But, my son is taking me to and picking me up from Baltimore's Port. My cruise on the Pride is next month and my son has convinced me that I need a phone to let him know when my ship get back into Port and where to pick me up. Because I'll probably only use it once or twice a year, I've decided to get the cheapest (and easiest to use) pay as you go go phone. Does anyone have any idea what I should get. If my son wasn't overseas, I know he'd help me but I'm sort of my own on this one. Help!
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#2
Anchorage, Alaska
3,184 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
I don't use more than 15 minutes per month so went down and picked up a Tracfone at Fred Meyer/Kroger. It was on sale for $7.99. You'll need to purchase extra minutes although it was the cheapest I could find and it doesn't require a long term contract.
#3
Pa.
1,062 Posts
Joined May 2000
Love my Tracfone. Never had a problem with connections. Called home (Pa) from California. I buy 1000 minutes a year........cost me about $100. It's nice to have one on you just in case you have an emergency.
#4
Atlanta, GA
1,307 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
I've got a t-mobile pay as you go deal. Have called home from Cozumel and it only cost a couple of bucks. Usually a 25.00 refill lasts about 6 months with me. only use it for emergencies and calling the transfer guys when I get to the airport.
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#6
17,745 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Go Phone is another one (from ATT). Can get at Sam's Club / Walmart and other places. One of the perks with it is if you are calling someone with an AT&T phone (like iphone) it costs a $1/day max.
#7
Pennsylvania
5,590 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Once you put $100 (cumulative total) into a T-Mobile prepaid phone the refills last for a year and then unused minutes roll over with any recharge. Definitely the cheapest way to go once you've topped it up with 1000 minutes. Annual recharges are as little as $10 unless you burn through more minutes.
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#8
Ashburn, Virginia USA
4,519 Posts
Joined May 2003
You guys are great . . . thanks for the info. Now my question is . . . how do you put minutes on a phone? Sounds like Tracphone and I Mobile are the way to go. Do you call someone to add the minutes or is there a card you buy and insert in the phone. I may be an attorney but I'm one plum short of a fruit basket when it comes to tech things . . .
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#9
Wisconsin
1,648 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
quote=Underwatr;25668445]Once you put $100 (cumulative total) into a T-Mobile prepaid phone the refills last for a year and then unused minutes roll over with any recharge. Definitely the cheapest way to go once you've topped it up with 1000 minutes. Annual recharges are as little as $10 unless you burn through more minutes.[/quote]

My husband doesn't use his phone much and now has Tmobile. He has passed the $100 threshold, rolling over extra minutes as he went along. So now he only pays $10 per year to keep his phone and minutes active. Great deal.

Originally posted by ladycaveat
You guys are great . . . thanks for the info. Now my question is . . . how do you put minutes on a phone? Sounds like Tracphone and I Mobile are the way to go. Do you call someone to add the minutes or is there a card you buy and insert in the phone. I may be an attorney but I'm one plum short of a fruit basket when it comes to tech things . . .
With his Tmobile, hubby has several options. Generally he goes online to the Tmobile site and pays by credit card. I think he could call in if he wished. May also be able to by minutes on cards in drug stores, etc. Just be sure to refresh your minutes before they expire.

You may come to like having a phone in the car for emergencies. Or to call if you are running late or such.
#10
6,538 Posts
Joined May 2009
I have used a T-Moble To Go phone for the last five years and have been very pleased. Have taken it everywhere. I buy the 1000 minute card for $100 as it makes me a gold rewards member automatically. This way I don't loose any unsued minutes at the end of the year as long as i refill the phone before the deadline.
#11
77 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I use the TracFone. I went from a $50 contract to about $10 month no contract.

I did the activation on-line. I also buy refills on line. Just make sure you keep enough service days loaded. Also the double minutes is important for a semi-regularly used phone. Many TracFones come with that feature automatically.
https://www.tracfone.com/direct/Purchase?payGo=true
#12
17,745 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Isn't T-mobile the one that gouges for calls while on the ship? I'm not sure Tracphone works at all on cruise ships or may get disabled if you do.

Note - this is on the ship at sea, not in port.
#13
Pennsylvania
5,590 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Doesn't everybody gouge for calls on the ship at sea?
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#14
162 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
To add minutes to the tracphone you can do it using a computer or right from the phone. You buy "minutes" anywhere the phones are sold and also at some stores that sell gift cards. The directions are on the cards and very easy to follow. My mother uses a tracphone and loves it. She finds it easy to use and add minutes. Good luck!
#15
1,871 Posts
Joined May 2002
Originally posted by xxoocruiser
I have used a T-Moble To Go phone for the last five years and have been very pleased. Have taken it everywhere. I buy the 1000 minute card for $100 as it makes me a gold rewards member automatically. This way I don't loose any unsued minutes at the end of the year as long as i refill the phone before the deadline.
I too use the T-Mobile. I put the 1000 minutes on at the beginning (about 4 years ago) to get the gold rewards and now each year I add $10 of minutes. I still have 400+ minutes left so the phone costs me $10 a year to keep. As an added bonus, T-Mobile is very good about unlocking the phones so we are able to bring it to Europe and buy a sim card when we get there. Makes the calls while there very inexpensive.
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#16
The Big Tomato; i.e. Sacramento CA
7,412 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
I also have T-Mobile. The only reason I got one is my boss was quite upset over the time I had a heart attack and had to go next door to my apartment to have someone call 911 for me. I rarely use it though, and I don't have international roaming on it.
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#17
San Antonio spaceship earth
7,140 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by Sargent_Schultz
Isn't T-mobile the one that gouges for calls while on the ship? I'm not sure Tracphone works at all on cruise ships or may get disabled if you do.

Note - this is on the ship at sea, not in port.
Tracphone does not work on a ship. You have to have a cell carrier that has an agreement with either CellularAtSea (WMS) or CellAtSea (MCP) who provide the ship cellular tower. Cruise ships leaving from the US will have the service of one or the other company. You can go to http://www.cellularatsea.com/ or http://www.mcp.com and see who are their cellular partners.

From what I have seen, most US cellular carriers charge the same amount which is $2.49/minute. However I have seen reports that T-Mobile charges more. It is up to your cellular carrier as to how much is charged. I have AT&T and it is $2.49/minute.
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#18
Ashburn, Virginia USA
4,519 Posts
Joined May 2003
Is it possible to buy a T-Moble or Tracphone on eBay and then just call (email) the company and pay to have minutes put on a phone? Like the idea of $100 for a year . . . do both phone companies offer this?
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Chandris' Regina Magna 1974 - Southern Caribbean
NCL Norway 1984 - Mediterranean
Island Princess 1994 - Alaska
Celebrity's Galaxy 10/2003 - Western Caribbean
Carnival's Triumph 4/2005 - Western Caribbean
Carnival's Triumph 9/2/2006 - Western Caribbean
Carnival's Pride 1/7/2007 - Mexican Riviera
Carnival's Valor 4/27/2008 - Western Caribbean
Carnival's Liberty 1/10/09 - Eastern Caribbean
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Carnival's Dream 1/9/10 - Western Caribbean
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#19
Pennsylvania
5,590 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
You can buy the phone plus the $100 top-up card(s) anywhere, like WalMart or Walgreens. In either case a low-end phone is on the order of $20 or so.

You can buy an annual card for Tracfone for $99, but it only gives you 400 minutes and the following year you'd pay $99 all over again - no optioni to exend all plus-ups for a year the way TMobile does. There's also a $119 card that gives you 800 minutes and then double minutes for the life of the phone.
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ms Amsterdam: 1 cruise
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#20
USA
2,308 Posts
Joined May 2004
It costs me about $7.00 a month for about an hour's worth of minutes a month and 20 cents a minute thereafter. I don't do data, photos or texting. It recently increased from $5.25 a month which I had paid for 6 years. I pay almost $21.00 every 3 months and the bill is charged to my credit carrd. I doubt my plan is still available for new customers, but you could ask.

I almost never use my phone and therefore have never went over my limit. My unused minutes roll over each month. Great service, good reception - I have been very pleased.

They also have a $25.00 a month plan that includes 300 anytime minutes plus messaging, e-mail and other stuff I don't need on my phone. Sounds like a good deal, though.

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-...alk-plans.html
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