Cell phone service (minutes/price)?
January 31, 2006 12:16 PM   Subscribe

CellPhoneServiceFilter: My wife wants a cell phone. Whats the best deal right now regarding minutes/price? She wants to do text messaging with her friends and relatives and id say most of her friends use t-mobile. We also want to spend as little as possible.Thanks!

BTW....She not good at all at keeping track of her minutes. The last cell phone she had was a few years ago and she was constantly going over in minutes and i dont want this to happen again.
posted by flipmiester99 to Shopping (14 answers total)
How much does she talk?
If she talks only a few minutes a day (less than 10-15) then you can't beat a prepaid for price.
It also has the advantage of enforcing minute usage.
posted by madajb at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2006

On T-Mobile, regardless of what plan you get her, add the following extras:

1) 1000 SMS/MMS for $7 or Unlimited SMS/MMS for $15
2) Unlimited T-Mobile to T-Mobile calling

This way she can talk & message to her friends as much as she wants without worrying about the limits.
posted by riffola at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2006

I recently switch to USCellular from Sprint. It's not available everywhere - but the plan includes unlimited incoming minutes. It works for me, as I use the phone for business and my clients tend to call me. My plan has 800 outgoing minutes, unlimited incoming, unlimited nights and weekends (7pm) for $20 a month the first six months, then $40 a month after that. It's the best deal that I could find.
posted by muddylemon at 12:41 PM on January 31, 2006

T-Mobile is also pretty good about unlocking your phone after a couple months.
posted by voidcontext at 1:23 PM on January 31, 2006

No matter what service you choose, it's worth the extra money to get more minutes than you think she'll use in a month's time. It sure beats paying the overage costs. Same for the text messaging plan you choose. My daughter was killing me 10 cents at a time with her extreme texting usage. Finally I increased our plan. Problem solved.

If most of her friends/contacts use T-Mobile and they offer free mobile to mobile calling, then definitely go that route. The one positive thing I can say about Cingular is their roll-over minute policy. So many of my calls are m to m that I've bank up well over 6,000 extra minutes, and climbing.
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 1:42 PM on January 31, 2006

I've been using t-mobile for two years and i've been very happy with them.

You might consider looking at http://www.cellreception.com/ to see which carriers get the best reception in your area, although if your wife's friends all use t-mobile, they're probably fine in that regard.
posted by clarahamster at 1:49 PM on January 31, 2006

If you get the T-Mobile family plan, then you get calls to other t-Mobile customers for free, so that may add into your decision.
posted by Laen at 2:51 PM on January 31, 2006

T-mobile (The last time I checked) Pay-as-you-go is fairly cheap ($.10/min - Same as you pay for their 300min/$30 per month plan ) if you buy $100 cards - Buying smaller cards costs more, but it's usually obfuscated to some degree in their literature. It's NOT cheaper than a large plan, if you actually use more than 300min/month.

This really strikes me as a Howard Forums question, though. They usually have the lastest/upcoming dope on the various providers' prices.
posted by Orb2069 at 3:32 PM on January 31, 2006

I recently switch to USCellular from Sprint.

To bad USCelluar totally sucks balls. The suckered me into getting a new phone and a new contract and gave me a cheap-ass Motorola to replace what had been, originally, a $200 ($400 without subsidy) Nokia. The motorolla broke down on me and when I whent into get it replaced the lady there started accusing me of droping it, etc, even though I never had. She's like "it looks worn" which it did, because it was a cheap POS and had been rubbing against my keys in my pocket.

Anyway, when I got home I looked at my bill and realized I'd been paying insurance anyway. I ended up just paying full price for a new Nokia (Just a cheap one, but with advances in tech it was comparable to my original) and paying full price, just because I didn't want to get stuck with another moto POS.

My advice: stay away from US Cellular.
posted by delmoi at 3:33 PM on January 31, 2006

By the way, I'd go with T-Moble. You can get and use any GSM phone with your SIM card, and you won't to go with a locked handset. T-Moble seems to be the best at not treating their customers like assets and abusing them with BS, which is important to me, personally.
posted by delmoi at 3:34 PM on January 31, 2006

My next phone is going to be unlocked GSM, no more contracts for me.

Alright, that's enough ranting.
posted by delmoi at 3:35 PM on January 31, 2006

T-Mobile lets you check your minutes used by just dialing #MIN# and hitting send on your phone. After about 2 seconds, you get a message on the screen with the minutes used in that billing cycle. With this feature its really easy to keep tabs on total minutes used.
posted by reverendX at 6:01 PM on January 31, 2006

posted by roboto at 8:21 PM on January 31, 2006

Probably not a good solution for the OP, but I've had good experience with TracFone in the past. Pre-paid, but there's always a counter on the screen to let you know how many minutes you have left.

It's not as good a deal for heavy users, but once you factor in all of the taxes on a monthly plan, the 'per minute' unit cost of TracFone starts to look reasonable.
posted by Wild_Eep at 7:17 AM on February 1, 2006

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