September 20, 2008 9:45 PM   Subscribe

whats the best payg cellphone to get in the us ?

I dont really know much about this but that there are certain types of companies and plans - i'm really not together on this so would like some
help - you know, best all round plan or something - where they dont charge you for receiving a text or call ....
posted by sgt.serenity to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Most carriers have unlimited texting as an option that you can get with your monthly service. On our ATT family plan, we pay $30 a month extra for unlimited texting.
posted by No New Diamonds Please at 9:57 PM on September 20, 2008

Response by poster: thanks for the info - but im specifically looking for information on the pay as you go service, cheers.
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:04 PM on September 20, 2008

With the usually rather high per-minute rates, it really depends much more than usual on your calling patterns. If you're a very busy caller, many of the PAYG vendors have monthly plans nowadays to save you money, and you'd have to compare those one by one. But that's where you'd get features like free texting.

For myself, I'm still grandfathered on the same Minute2Minute plan I had umpty years ago on Virgin Mobile, but they don't even have information on their website about it anymore. Except on busy months, it's still a better bet than any of the plans I could switch to. If I texted more, though, I'd almost certainly want a monthly plan.
posted by dhartung at 10:07 PM on September 20, 2008

Depending on where you're located, Cricket is a pretty decent deal. I've got them because I don't use a ton of talk time, but I text and use mobile web like a mad man. Even if you do talk a lot, they've got plans that cover that also.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 10:14 PM on September 20, 2008

Any US carrier is going to charge you for receiving a call - you're billed by minutes used, whether it's incoming or outgoing. The big factor is going to be where you're using the phone (some have better coverage), how much you're going to be using it, and how much you want to pay.

I use Virgin Mobile - I don't use that many minutes in a month so I pay per minute, and pay $5 for 200 texts. VM lets you sign up for their 'Sugar Mama' service, where you earn free minute by watching ads on the web.

Virgin's also got monthly packages that give you a pretty good deal without having to sign any sort of contract.

VM doesn't offer the niftiest, flashiest new phones, but they're cheap.

I wanted just a phone to carry, and it was the best deal I could find at the time.
posted by pupdog at 10:15 PM on September 20, 2008

Seconding Cricket. I pay about $60 a month for unlimited internet, unlimited phone calls, and unlimited text and picture messages. They're even offering a broadband option in many areas that uses a little USB device for your computer for $30 a month.

It's nice to see that there is now a company that has realized that a flat rate for unlimited service is possible.

Extra bonus: no contracts.
posted by lockle at 10:28 PM on September 20, 2008

If Cricket service is available where you are, I would suggest that. It's cheap, and abundant in minutes/texts. If that isn't an option, then AT&T Go would be your next best bet. If you get autodraft then the minutes you buy each month end up cheaper then most any other PAYG or Pre-Paid phones.
posted by mediocre at 12:40 AM on September 21, 2008

Best answer: As see from your profile that you're in Scotland. I think you'll find that if you're not a US resident or if you don't have a credit card issued by a US bank, your options will be limited as many phone providers require that you have an American credit card and/or billing address.

I needed a phone to use on my visits to the States, as it was proving expensive to use my UK phone. I bought a Virgin mobile payg. As long as I add $20 to it every 90 days it stays live, and I can do that via PayPal automatically, or manually when it emails me the reminder. The phone itself was about $10 or so and is pretty basic (just a phone, no camera or anything).

I bought it at Radio Shack and they set it all up for me, all I had to do was plug it in and wait for it to charge up, then follow some basic instructions to activate it.
posted by essexjan at 2:31 AM on September 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

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