Prepaid Cellphone For NYC That Is Not Virgin Mobile?
November 4, 2009 9:52 AM   Subscribe

I need a prepaid cellphone service in NYC that is NOT Virgin Mobile. Looking to pay about $10 a month. Don't need lots of fancy telecom doo-dads. Just need decent reception and reliable service and voicemail. What are my options? How about Verizon? Are they any good?

I've been using Virgin Mobile for a while. But the relationship is no longer meeting my needs. Because you've been nice enough to read my question and (possibly) help me out, I will spare you the gratuitous kvetching. Here is the abbreviated kvetching: Virgin Mobile's service is so piss-poor that I can barely make out what people are saying on my phone and it's not unusual for me to get voicemails two or three days after they would have done me some good. This is unacceptable. I feel as if I'm paying $6 a month for absolutely nothing. I am willing to pay c. $10 a month if it actually gets me something.

I'll add here that I am a very occasional user of my cellphone. It's there for potential employers to contact me and so that I can let people know if I'm running late. I don't need five hundred minutes of calling a month or anything like that.

I've done a little bit of research, and Verizon prepaid appears to fit the bill. If you have firsthand experience of Verizon prepaid, would you recommend them? Or is there another service that you would recommend? Again, halfway decent reception here in the concrete canyons of NYC and reliable service -- i.e. getting voicemails when people leave them, not four or five days later -- are what I'm looking for. Nothing fancy.

Many thanks in advance.
posted by jason's_planet to Technology (11 answers total)
Across the river in NJ, my wife uses T-mobile ToGo. Buy $100 worth of minutes, and the price is $0.10/min, and they take a year to expire. Basic phone was $20.
posted by fings at 10:16 AM on November 4, 2009

Response by poster: What kind of reception did she get in the city?
posted by jason's_planet at 10:36 AM on November 4, 2009

Verizon gets decent service for me most everywhere, which right now is Brooklyn, Long Island City, and Manhatten. I've never investigated prepaid though. I hear (from my roommates on a daily basis) T Mobile is terrible in Brooklyn.
posted by edbles at 11:00 AM on November 4, 2009

I believe pageplus is an MVNO that runs on Verizon's network, and is cheaper than Verizon's prepaid plans - you can check them out, though I have never personally used them (I'm actually happy with Virgin/Sprint).
posted by Calloused_Foot at 11:00 AM on November 4, 2009

Here is a link to their prepaid plans:

PagePlus prepaid plans
posted by Calloused_Foot at 11:02 AM on November 4, 2009

What about getting a google voice number and let it deal with your voicemail? I believe it will also send you a txt message notifying you of the voicemail.
posted by o0dano0o at 11:03 AM on November 4, 2009

Might it be your phone model? I've been a happy Virgin Mobile customer in Brooklyn for three years now, and while my phones always had good sound (I currently own a Kyocera Cyclops), my mom's doesn't.

I've never had that happen with my voicemail either. Maybe you just have crappy reception where you live? If so, that could be the case with any provider.

I haven't used other prepaid services, but I was a T-mobile subscriber for a bit before Virgin, and their service was okay. I hear that their prepaid is pretty cheap if you buy a $100 card and get minute bonuses.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:06 AM on November 4, 2009

She hasn't had any service problems anywhere in Manhattan -- we haven't really don't travel to the other boroughs, other than a bit of Brooklyn for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, and she didn't have any problems there either.
posted by fings at 11:47 AM on November 4, 2009

Response by poster: Might it be your phone model?

Maybe. I remember that I did actually buy the cheapest model I could, which *could* have some bearing on the sound quality and reception.

But the voicemails . . . no, not going through that again.
posted by jason's_planet at 11:49 AM on November 4, 2009

My husband had bad experiences with T-Mobile, mainly calls not getting through despite having full signal, lost voicemails etc. He actually switched to Virgin which has been fine ($80 shuffle phone). We're in Brooklyn. So maybe try a different handset? When we were looking to switch, Verizon's prepay tariffs all seemed to have the '$1 or $2 each day you use your phone' charge which didn't make sense to me but may be fine if you're not using it most days.
posted by hibbersk at 6:47 AM on November 5, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:27 PM on November 5, 2009

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