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needing recommendations for a cellular phone without a contract

Posted on 2014-01-23
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Last Modified: 2014-01-28
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

             I am interested in any suggestions or recommendations for purchasing a cellular phone without a contract.    What I have in mind is a cellular phone which has a card that can be activated or recharged online.  With respect to features, I am merely interested in using it to make local and out of town calls.  I will not be using it for internet purposes or texting.  It will only be used as a phone.

             In closing, I apologize if I have placed this question in the wrong topic area.  None of the topics listed seemed to fit this question of interest though.

             Thanks in advance for any attenntion and suggestions given to this question.  I will look forward to reviewing all information given.

               George
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Question by:GMartin
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by:
_ earned 400 total points
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I use a basic TracFone.
Cost me $10.00 usd, you can get them almost anywhere, and the one I have, came with Lifetime Double Minutes (ex: buy 60 minutes, get 120).
Works good.

They have several ways to reload it, including online at their website.
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by:GMartin
ID: 39805566
Hello and Good Evening

           Thank you so much for the tip.  Can I possibly purchase a TracFone at Walmart?  Also, could you provide a direct link for reloading a TracFone card so I can check it out?

           George
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by:_
_ earned 400 total points
ID: 39806680
Walmart usually has them, as well as Target, Kmart, Dollar General, RadioShack, and any number of other stores.
They all usually have a slightly different selection of Models and accessories, so you might try a few different places to get a "base" model you want.

TracFone
http://www.tracfone.com/got_a_tracfone.jsp
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by:BillDL
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ID: 39809699
I live in Britain where we call this type of non-contract phones (or the SIM cards bought to put into them) "Pay As You Go" or PAYG.  In America the expression seems to be "No Contract" or "Prepaid" Phone or SIM card.

http://www.walmart.com/cp/No-Contract-Phones-Plans/1072335

Here are the Prepaid phones available through Walmart, sorted by price low to high:

http://www.walmart.com/browse/cell-phones/prepaid-cell-phones/3944_542371_133261/?_refineresult=true&search_sort=4

Here are the Prepaid SIM Cards and top-up vouchers available through Walmart, sorted by price low to high:

http://www.walmart.com/cp/Prepaid-Minutes-Virtual/1081104?sb=79&sdir=sasc&

You are still part of a "plan", and very often these phones will be "locked" to a particular provider if bought as Phone + SIM Card, but you aren't compelled to pay a monthly fee, and when your credit runs out you simply can't use it again until you top up the credit.  Some providers of these plans may have offers, such as topping up with $15 every month doubles your credit or adds on a certain number of minutes, but you still aren't in a contract unless you extend your plan.

As I understand it from an American friend, text messaging may not automatically be added to some Prepay plans, so you have to make sure that it is if you intend using it.

You may already have a basic phone (ie. not a fancy SmartPhone) that you could buy a new SIM card for.  As I mentioned, some are locked into a particular provider like Virgin, Verizon, or AT&T.  In these cases you usually get a message that the SIM Card is not accepted.  Most of the fairly basic phones can be "unlocked" for probably $15 by traders in small arcade booths or shops so that they will accept other brand SIM cards if you really wanted to use a phone you already have.

The important consideration you should make is coverage by the different mobile networks, especially if you live in a rural location without too many mobile phone masts in evidence.  The next consideration is more obvious, and that is to compare the price per minute of phone calls and cost for each text message.  They vary and, if you know that you will be calling people who use the same mobile provider a lot, you might find that particular providers offer free calls (sometimes only off-peak) to people on the same networks.

In Britain I can buy a Pay As You Go top-up voucher for all the main mobile providers at the supermarket check-out and many other places.  I don't pay online because I don't want to supply my bank details, name, or address to my provider.  I just buy the printed vouchers, phone the number shown on it, and enter the long voucher number when prompted.  I can retain my anonymity to a degree this way and there isn't the possibility that I will suddenly be added to a chargeable contract through some admin mess up.  I don't know if you are forced to provide your name and address to mobile providers in the US.

I think it would be a good idea if you were to visit the websites of all the big names and compare taffifs for Prepay plans then look into the coverage of the cheapest ones.

You should also look up reviews on the model numbers.  I bought a cheapo basic Samsung GT-E1080i phones from a supermarket in the UK for £14 with Pay As You Go SIM card for the largest mobile provider here.  I wanted it as an emergency back-up for the car where I could leave it switched off until needed.  I set it to go into power saving mode very quickly to save on power.  In power saving mode a full charge lasts for weeks, and powered off the charge lasts months and months.  The problem is that the key pad lock (to stop 911 being accidentally phoned when it presses against the keys in your pocket) is a single-key action * key held in for 2 seconds.  I found that if I carried it in my pocket the keypad was continually being unlocked, so this phone would be useless for my everyday uses.  I should have looked at the reviews, because loads of people said the same thing.
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by:GMartin
ID: 39814151
Hello and Good Evening

                Thanks so much for the resourceful links given in addition to the tips and suggestions.  Using all of the information presented here, I am confident now that I can purchase a cellular phone with a pay as you go card and be satisfied with it.  

                 George
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by:_
ID: 39814182
Thank you much.   : )
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by:BillDL
ID: 39815384
Thank you George
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