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Prepaid Cell Phone - Pros and Cons

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    Prepaid Cell Phone - Pros and Cons

    Prepaid cellular phones are becoming more popular and you may be wondering if you need one or if they may be a better choice for you. Here are some of the pros and cons of Prepaid Cellular Phones:

    <b>No Contracts or Monthly Bills</b>: Prepaid cellular phones do not require you to sign any contract nor pay any monthly bills. Some providers allow you to buy minutes in increments much like you would a prepaid phone card. When the amount you paid for is up, the service will no longer work until you buy more airtime. Most prepaid providers work by the "buy your minutes" model mentioned above, while some prepaid cell phone providers have monthly plans, much like a regular cellular service provider. Still others let you buy up to a year's worth of coverage in advance. You will need to decide which one of these options works best for you.

    <b>No Credit Checks or Deposits</b>: Not everyone who wants a cell phone can get a traditional cellular service plan. Some people go to all the trouble of shopping for the
    best plan and picking out their phone only to be denied service because of a credit problem. Prepaid cell phones are available without the traditional credit check hurdle.

    <b>No Age Limit</b>: Prepaid cell phones can be a good option for teenagers. Some prepaid cell phone plans allow parents to pay for the monthly minutes usage or let their kids pay cash to buy their minutes at thousands of convenient locations. You do not have to worry about the teens driving up big bill since the usage will be limited. It will also be a lesson on teaching them how to budget their money.

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    <b>No Hidden Fees</b>: The average monthly wireless phone bill in 2000 was just over $45, according to an industry report by the <A HREF="http://www.ctia.org">Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association</A>. With prepaid plans, you can reduce your wireless cost to less than half of that of postpaid full-service plan. There are also no monthly taxes, activation fees or termination fees with prep-paid wireless.

    While these are some of the positive aspects with a prepaid cellular phone calling plan, there are also a couple of disadvantages of which you should be aware:

    <b>The Rate Per Minute</b>: Typically, a minute will cost twice as much in a prepaid plan compared to a monthly plan. Check the plan's details before buying.

    <b>Included Services</b>: Sometimes, not all services are included. For example, you may not be able to surf the wireless web or use your phone in analog areas. Extras may cost a lot more. Long distance calls, for instance, may be charged a premium fee over what monthly consumers pay.

    In summary, prepaid cell phones are of substantial interest to users who might like to have a cellular phone for occasional use -- for unexpected roadside emergencies, for example. But if you just want to have a cell phone as "insurance," it can be irritating to pay a traditional cellular telephone bill of $20 or $30 every 30 days, month after month. For this type of user, prepaid cell phones are a very reasonable choice.

    ******************************************
    Theresa O’Donnell is the owner of <A HREF="http://www.budgetdial.com">Budget Dial Communications</A>, a leading provider of discount telecommunications including <A HREF="http://www.budgetdial.com/prepaid-cellular.htm">prepaid cellular phone services</A>

    #2
    Re: Prepaid Cell Phone - Pros and Cons

    I've used Virgin Mobile for years. My costs total $30 every three (3) months, no contracts and sales pressure, and do not have worries if the phone is ever lost or stolen.

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      #3
      Re: Prepaid Cell Phone - Pros and Cons

      My husband had been out of work for about 6 months. We lost our landline phone but have borrowed a cell from my my. We dont have DSL or a way to use a computer - everybody wants a deposit. Is there a company out there that will install a phone line with the set up fee built in and low monthly costs?

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        #4
        Re: Prepaid Cell Phone - Pros and Cons

        I have had a tracfone since 2003 and it has served me well. I started buying the year contract a couple of years ago. Last year it was 139.00 for 250 minutes but because of specials they will give you more minutes usually double. This year the price went down to $99.99 for 250 minutes plus 250 bonus minutes for the year's contract. My phone is basically an emergency or per need phone. I don't think about calling people when I'm out. i usually can take care of those calls when I come home.

        I figured out that my phone including the cost of the phone has cost me $7.76 per month. No contracts. The other pro to buying the contract is that you don't have to renew every two months and don't have to worry about losing your phone number. This works well for me.

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          #5
          Re: Prepaid Cell Phone - Pros and Cons

          I have been researching prepaid cellular plans for the past week or so due to the fact that my wife an I have one of the "family plans" thru verizon and my monthly bill is $78 for 500 shared minutes. The only problem is that between the 2 of us, we only use about 200 minutes. She hates using the cell phone and I only use the cell to alert the family that I am almost home and to see if we need anything before I get there. I can't stand getting home only to be asked if I can run up to the store for some milk! I have spoken to a few companies and my number will be able to be ported to another companies prepaid plan. Get this though...verizon said that I cannot keep my number if I switch to their prepaid plan. I guess they rather loose the customer totally. Anyway...By moving to a prepaid plan, I can probably save upwards of $60 per month over a years time (because you have to buy the phone up front and you don't get a "free" phone for signing up).

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            #6
            Re: Prepaid Cell Phone - Pros and Cons


            My wife has used Virgin Mobile for more than a year now and we've been happy. You have to select your plan based on your usage. As with most pre-paid arrangements, it is best for lite users and especially good if you can set up for auto top-up, because you can top-up less than the usual amount.

            To net it, we pay about $16 every two months and it works fine.

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              #7
              Re: Prepaid Cell Phone - Pros and Cons

              To Chubrock: When I renewed my contract recently, I was going to upgrade to a different phone (free of charge My renewal date was within a few days and they suggested that I buy 60 minutes for 19.00 and then turn around and get the special for the new phone. Also, I told because of the new technology of the newer phone that I would lose my present phone number. I didn't want to lose my number and that one stipulation right there made up my mind for me. Besides, my other phone is still working well. Why fix something that isn't broken?

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                #8
                I am seriously contemplating a pre-paid phone, and was wondering if anyone knows whether these minutes can work on any phone, or does it have to be a phone that's somehow tied to each provider (ie. Tracphone minutes must have a selected Tracphone, Virgin with Virgin only phones, and so forth)?

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                  #9
                  I would not recommend the Cingular go-fone. When I had it I had trouble getting service when I really needed it. That was what I had the phone for--emergencies! Even on a major highway, which usually has excellent cell reception, I was unable to place a call.

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                    #10
                    Any experience with online top ups to romania?

                    Hi there,

                    I was wondering if anybody has ever tried to top up their prepaid card over the internet! Is it save? My kid is doing an exchange year in Bucharest, Romania, and I wanted to pay him his phone bill, but it might be wiser to do it myself rather than sending him the money! Is there any save solution out there?

                    Best wishes

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