Is there any way to make an orphaned, numberless Nokia useful?
February 1, 2004 6:25 PM   Subscribe

I got a new cell phone, and my old one was deactivated and handed back to me. Is there any way to make an orphaned, numberless Nokia useful again (for when Sprint's coverage fades, like it has all this weekend) without signing a contract for a monthly fee? TracFone makes you buy a new phone, which is the opposite of what I'm looking for. Prepaid long distance cards seem to be only for land lines. Am I missing the magic google search term?
posted by Alylex to Technology (9 answers total)
Best answer: Well, this may not be the answer you were looking for, but some cities have women's shelters that would love to have that unused phone. They give them to the women that live there so they can call 911 if they get into a bad situation.
posted by internal at 6:37 PM on February 1, 2004

There's a hack where you rewrite the old device's EIN to match the EIN of your new phone.
Then you can use both phones on the single account (but not at the same time)
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:33 PM on February 1, 2004

Response by poster: internal, that's a fine idea, and thank you. If I can't use it I will be happy to donate it to a worthy cause.

Fupped, will that help when the new phone stubbornly insists there is "No Service"? Because that's been my situation since Thursday. I'm going to the Sprint store tomorrow to see if there is anything they can do. I'm pretty sure the problem is their signal (or lack thereof). (Also, I'm clueless when it comes to reprogramming a phone... what's involved in rewriting an EIN?)
posted by Alylex at 8:01 PM on February 1, 2004

Admittedly the Uk seems to be ahead of the USA when it comes to cell phones (for reasons that make no damned sense to me) but in the UK you'd belooking for a pay-as-you-go SIM card - one where you have to buy airtime in chunks of £10 from supermarkets to top up your credit.

HTH (but it probably doesn't)
posted by twine42 at 11:54 PM on February 1, 2004

Europe is ahead of the States in cell phones because they came latter and learned from America's short-comings.
posted by Goofyy at 1:05 AM on February 2, 2004

Best answer: If your old cell phone is AT&T TDMA, you might be in luck. You can turn these phones into prepaid at a place called callplus. I have no personal experience with them, but they've received decent reviews (if you can get past their ugly website).

Also, you should know that even a deactivated cell phone still should be able to dial 911, so they're pretty handy to keep in the car, or donate to women's shelters as mentioned above.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:19 AM on February 2, 2004

Depending on what part of the country you are in (like NYC, For instance) Sprint enjoys legendary status for their signal "quality."
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:05 AM on February 2, 2004

Family violence shelters don't usually make their location public. Your local Police Dept. probably takes the phones to distribute to women in danger from stalkers, violent ex-es, etc.
posted by theora55 at 6:10 AM on February 2, 2004

Response by poster: Alas, SteveInMaine, my old plan was not with AT&T and my area code isn't listed on the callplus site. But thanks, you've given me hope and some possible new search terms.

Sprint replaced the new phone today and even though I'm not convinced it was ever a hardware problem, I'll take it.

If I can't find something like callplus for my old phone, I have at least learned how to donate it to a shelter. Thanks everyone!
posted by Alylex at 9:18 PM on February 2, 2004

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