Jump to content


Super Cheap Cell Service (or Free?)


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Tetsuya

Tetsuya

    Master Blaster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2172 posts
  • Location:MI

Posted 05 March 2017 - 07:23 PM

My wife and i haven't really had a h ome phone for some time - though for a long time it was cheaper for us to get Cable with the phone included so we technically had one.  

Wasn't an issue, but our son is just now getting old enough that occasionally he might be home alone for a short time, and i'd like him to have a phone to call out and receive calls in case of emergency.  

I have some old cell devices handy (Galaxy Nexus, older iPhone... 4S i think), but im not opposed to buying a new one if the ones i have arent network compatible.  

I know a lot of the guys and (gals?) on this forum use cheap cell services and have been happy with them, so i thought i'd ask if anyone has recomendations for something extremely cheap.  

It would probably get used less than 30 minutes a year.  

Would also be open to using an VOIP service if it can make and receive calls.  

Thanks!

#2 macdude22

macdude22

    Like, totally awesome.

  • Forum Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2038 posts
  • Steam Name:Rakden
  • Location:Iowa
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 05 March 2017 - 08:36 PM

A cheap tracphone and a 1 year card would be pretty idiot proof and comes out to about 10 dollars a month. Ting with your described usage would be 6-9 a month. Ting has dirt cheap flip phones and used sprint phones can be had on the used market for pennies.

I read interesting things about services like Freedompop but i've never used them. I have used both trac and ting.
IMG Discord Server | http://raptr.com/rakden | http://www.trueachie....com/Rakden.htm
Enterprise (MacPro 3,1): 8 Xeon Cores @ 2.8 GHz || 14 GB RAM || Radeon 4870 || 480GB Crucial M500 + 2TB WD Black (Fusion Drive) || 144hz Asus Mon
Defiant (MacBookPro 9,1): Core i7 @ 2.3ghz || 8GB RAM || nVidia GT 650M 512MB || 512GB Toshiba SSD

#3 Sneaky Snake

Sneaky Snake

    Official Mascot of the 1988 Winter Olympics

  • IMG Writers
  • 3299 posts
  • Steam Name:SneakySnake
  • Steam ID:sneaky_snake
  • Location:Waterloo, Canada

Posted 07 March 2017 - 11:33 AM

In Canada, the cheapest option is to just add bulk minutes to an unlocked phone that you have lying around. Adding $100 of credit to a phone expires annually and would cover around 1000 minutes of calling. Every January just top up with another $100.
2015 13" rMBP: i5 5257U @ 2.7 GHz || Intel Iris 6100 || 8 GB LPDDR3 1866 || 256 GB SSD || macOS Sierra
Gaming Build: R5 1600 @ 3.9 GHz || Asus GTX 1070 8 GB || 16 GB DDR4 3000 || 960 Evo NVMe, 1 TB FireCuda || Win10 Pro
Other: Dell OptiPlex 3040 as VMware host || QNAP TS-228 NAS || iPhone 6S 64GB

#4 Atticus

Atticus

    Legendary

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 945 posts
  • Location:Sternum's Ribcage

Posted 07 March 2017 - 12:03 PM

I'll be watching this topic with great interest (pats Anakin on head). I've come to the conclusion that because I use only about half a gig of data a month, AT&T has been gouging me for about ten years. So this fall I might buy an unlocked iPhone 8 and move to Ting or Tracfone.

Just worried if I do, I'll be immediately flagged by US Gov't, because I'm guessing nothing screams "drug dealer!" louder than using one of these discount services...?
"I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."

#5 Sneaky Snake

Sneaky Snake

    Official Mascot of the 1988 Winter Olympics

  • IMG Writers
  • 3299 posts
  • Steam Name:SneakySnake
  • Steam ID:sneaky_snake
  • Location:Waterloo, Canada

Posted 07 March 2017 - 12:10 PM

View PostAtticus, on 07 March 2017 - 12:03 PM, said:

Just worried if I do, I'll be immediately flagged by US Gov't, because I'm guessing nothing screams "drug dealer!" louder than using one of these discount services...?

Better than getting cavity searched financially by the cell phone companies :teehee:
2015 13" rMBP: i5 5257U @ 2.7 GHz || Intel Iris 6100 || 8 GB LPDDR3 1866 || 256 GB SSD || macOS Sierra
Gaming Build: R5 1600 @ 3.9 GHz || Asus GTX 1070 8 GB || 16 GB DDR4 3000 || 960 Evo NVMe, 1 TB FireCuda || Win10 Pro
Other: Dell OptiPlex 3040 as VMware host || QNAP TS-228 NAS || iPhone 6S 64GB

#6 Camper-Hunter

Camper-Hunter

    Heroic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 329 posts
  • Steam Name:Rorqual
  • Steam ID:Rorqual
  • Location:Paris, France

Posted 07 March 2017 - 02:51 PM

Not that would be of any interest to Tetsuya, but for comparison's sake, since Sneaky Snake gave Canada pricing, here in France I get 2 h of outbound calls (inbound calls are always free except when roaming to another country) and 100 SMS a month for €2. Very cheap I think.

#7 G_Player

G_Player

    Fan

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 45 posts
  • Location:Great Plains, Merica'!

Posted 07 March 2017 - 08:03 PM

What happens when the power goes out and someone as forgotten to keep the cell phone charged?
Cell phone towers have back-up batteries that'll keep them powered for about four hours. It might be longer, I don't remember exactly how long but four hours seems to stick in my mind. Someone correct me please if I've got it wrong.

Nothing says piece of mind more than an old fashioned land line (rotary dial or push button). These will still work in a power outage. You can buy a used one at a Thrift Store for anywhere from .50 cents to a few dollars.

Think about it.
My computer often beats me in Strip Poker but doesn't stand a chance against my kick-boxing!

#8 Tetsuya

Tetsuya

    Master Blaster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2172 posts
  • Location:MI

Posted 08 March 2017 - 07:45 AM

That assumes the local switching station still had power..  common misconception/urban legend that regular phones will always work in an outtage.  There are a number of things that can cause them to go out.  If the local switching station loses power, they won't work.  If the lines are down, they won't work (and around here, they're on the same poles).  The local switching station has a generator, most likely (the one around here does, my grandfather used to service it, back when he was still working for the phone company) but that will last only as long as the fuel holds out, exactly the same as a cell tower (they have generators, not batteries, and usually several days' worth of fuel).  

Companies have also been allowed to pull redundancy from their systems for years.  

And the whole point, for me at least, is having something cheap that my son can use to call me in the miniscule chance he needs me before I get home, not incur another expensive bill.  A landline, around here, costs about 35$ a month.  I'd like to be spending less than that a year.  

Honestly, none of the "re-use an old cell phone" plans I've seen have been that affordable.  I might just be going with a MagicJack.  

And, at least for me, when the power goes out.... I'm good.  Had an 8000W hybrid generator (Natural gas, propane, or gasoline) tied into my box with a fail over switch and tied directly into my gas line.  If the power goes out, my generator automatically kicks in.  I don't even notice, half the time, unless I was actively on the computer or watching TV.

#9 macdude22

macdude22

    Like, totally awesome.

  • Forum Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2038 posts
  • Steam Name:Rakden
  • Location:Iowa
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 08 March 2017 - 07:54 AM

I think the absolute cheapest service (that's reliable anyway) is tracphone. I see walmart has 1 year cards cheaper than the MSRP on the tracphone website. $100. I think that's about as cheap as it gets. I've seen trac flip phones for 20 bucks new at the local big blue.

https://www.walmart....-99.99/45111499
IMG Discord Server | http://raptr.com/rakden | http://www.trueachie....com/Rakden.htm
Enterprise (MacPro 3,1): 8 Xeon Cores @ 2.8 GHz || 14 GB RAM || Radeon 4870 || 480GB Crucial M500 + 2TB WD Black (Fusion Drive) || 144hz Asus Mon
Defiant (MacBookPro 9,1): Core i7 @ 2.3ghz || 8GB RAM || nVidia GT 650M 512MB || 512GB Toshiba SSD

#10 Matt Diamond

Matt Diamond

    Master Blaster

  • IMG Writers
  • 2460 posts
  • Location:Holland, PA; US
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 08 March 2017 - 08:28 PM

My family switched fr AT&T to Ting (GSM, though they also have CDMA). I've posted about it at length before, you can probably still find that post if you search. Some of my family also switched from dumb phones to smart phones at the same time, and we still almost cut our total bill in half.

In fact we cancelled some contracts early, paid the penalty, and came out ahead within a matter of months. Ting will pay a portion of your cancellation fee if you submit it to them, but I think they don't advertise that fact heavily so look for that.

I have a Ting referral code so if anyone decides to switch, you can use my code and I'll get a bonus. Or don't, no big deal.

Quote


[My son] might be home alone for a short time, and i'd like him to have a phone to call out and receive calls in case of emergency.
It would probably get used less than 30 minutes a year.

Ting probably not worth it for this. I think the flat fee is $6/phone/month, plus fees for data, texts, and phone minutes. So for you, $6/month. You can probably do better with a pay-as-you-go-plan. For example I had one where it cost $25 per 3 months. My problem was if didn't put the new money in on time I lost the accumulated minutes. But I left it until the last minute to avoid losing days to overlap. Annoying.

Maybe he could just use Skype? Kids learn how to chat online pretty early these days. If there's a babysitter they probably have their own phone anyway. Etc.

I personally would want an actual phone in the house though, and as he gets older you'll probably want him to have his own phone anyway, so why not plan for that.
Matt Diamond - www.mindthecube.com
Measure twice, cut once, curse three or four times.

#11 Tetsuya

Tetsuya

    Master Blaster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2172 posts
  • Location:MI

Posted 13 March 2017 - 11:28 PM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 08 March 2017 - 08:28 PM, said:

My family switched fr AT&T to Ting (GSM, though they also have CDMA). I've posted about it at length before, you can probably still find that post if you search. Some of my family also switched from dumb phones to smart phones at the same time, and we still almost cut our total bill in half.

In fact we cancelled some contracts early, paid the penalty, and came out ahead within a matter of months. Ting will pay a portion of your cancellation fee if you submit it to them, but I think they don't advertise that fact heavily so look for that.

I have a Ting referral code so if anyone decides to switch, you can use my code and I'll get a bonus. Or don't, no big deal.

For our personal phones, my wife and i switched to Metro PCS two years ago (after our Sprint Contracts finally expired) and both got OnePlus One's.  We came out WAY ahead.  (We're ~80$ a month for both of us, 5GB 4G, unlimited HSPA+/3G, Unlimited Talk/Text/etc, free hotspot, etc).  

Quote

Ting probably not worth it for this. I think the flat fee is $6/phone/month, plus fees for data, texts, and phone minutes. So for you, $6/month. You can probably do better with a pay-as-you-go-plan. For example I had one where it cost $25 per 3 months. My problem was if didn't put the new money in on time I lost the accumulated minutes. But I left it until the last minute to avoid losing days to overlap. Annoying.

Maybe he could just use Skype?

He uses Skype to talk to his grandmother (my mother) all the time; but i need it to be able to make phone calls to any number (which you can do with Skype Credit) and also be able to receive calls, which i'd have to pay for a yearly Skype Number (~90$), so sorta defeats the purpose.  I need it to be able to receive calls so i can call him back if i need to.  

Quote

If there's a babysitter they probably have their own phone anyway. Etc.

We usually use family for babysitting, so that isnt an issue.  Its for times when he's going to be home before i or my wife can get home from work for a short time.  (less than an hour).  He's not quite old enough to spend a lot of time alone, but an hour or hour and half is no big deal.  I just need him to have access to a phone that can make calls and receive them in case he needs something.  

Quote

I personally would want an actual phone in the house though,

Complete and total waste of money.  Its more likely, especially around here, that the landlines will fail th an my cell phone.  In fact.. during the recent power outtage here (SE Michigan) - the landlines were down.  My cell wasnt.  And considering how often i DONT use a landline (i hadnt made or received a call on the line we had through Comcast before cord-cutting... ever.  Six or seven years.  we only had it because the bundle was cheaper than just cable + TV).  

Quote

and as he gets older you'll probably want him to have his own phone anyway, so why not plan for that.

In another 3 years or so.  I love my son and all, but im not buying him a cell phone before hes 12ish.  He's already got an iPad and a 3DS i have to closely monitor just to make sure he isn't plugged in 100% of the time.  

That's why i was looking for a cheap service i could put 20-30$ on for the year and call it good, so he had access to a phone on those rare days when hell be home without us (its not often, not even once a month, necessarily.  Only when traffic gets bad.)

Im not super worried about 911 level emergencies, as he already knows that any cell phone even one without service has to connect to 911, and his mom's old Galaxy Nexus sits in my office charged just in case.  

I looked into trying to do a Google Voice number, but that's got a bunch of hangups and other weird stuff stuck on it.  

MagicJack is looking promising though.  ~30 a year, doesn't need to be plugged into a computer anymore (has an Ethernet Jack), just the network.  Unlimited local and long distance.

#12 Frost

Frost

    Secretary of Offense

  • Forum Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6089 posts
  • Steam ID:CaptFrost
  • Location:Republic of Texas
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 March 2017 - 01:10 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 07 March 2017 - 11:33 AM, said:

In Canada, the cheapest option is to just add bulk minutes to an unlocked phone that you have lying around. Adding $100 of credit to a phone expires annually and would cover around 1000 minutes of calling. Every January just top up with another $100.

This is what I do with my AT&T GoPhone service on my oooold Motorola RAZR2 V9x. I generally only make calls to tell someone something or conduct business; never got into or liked the whole yakking nonstop on the phone thing, so I use very little time. I top up once a year with $100 and at 10 cents/minute that generally covers me for the rest of the year.
Kestrel (Falcon NW Tiki) – 4.0 GHz i7 4790K / 16GB RAM / 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2, 2x480GB Intel 730 (RAID0), 10TB STX BarraCuda Pro / GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB
Iridium (MacBook Pro Mid-2012) – 2.7 GHz i7 3820QM / 16GB RAM / 2TB Samsung 850 Pro / GeForce GT 650M 1GB

Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.

#13 Atticus

Atticus

    Legendary

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 945 posts
  • Location:Sternum's Ribcage

Posted 14 March 2017 - 07:11 AM

But....but....how do you play Pokemon Go???
"I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."

#14 Frost

Frost

    Secretary of Offense

  • Forum Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6089 posts
  • Steam ID:CaptFrost
  • Location:Republic of Texas
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 March 2017 - 04:23 PM

My iPod Touch 6 does my "smartphone" tasks without any kind of subscription.
Kestrel (Falcon NW Tiki) – 4.0 GHz i7 4790K / 16GB RAM / 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2, 2x480GB Intel 730 (RAID0), 10TB STX BarraCuda Pro / GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB
Iridium (MacBook Pro Mid-2012) – 2.7 GHz i7 3820QM / 16GB RAM / 2TB Samsung 850 Pro / GeForce GT 650M 1GB

Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.