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Switching from Cell Phone Contract to Prepaid

Woman holding a cell phone.
Prepaid cellphones are an easy way to keep costs down. This guide contains reviews and tips on prepaid cellphone service providers.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 20, 2011

Please, I need help from people who have personal experience concerning the best cell phone available without a contract and also maybe some suggestions on how to buy a good used phone.

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I am hearing impaired and there is a vast difference for us with regard to quality. Any information on this would be helpful. I prefer a service offering a wide coverage area for travel. My minute usage is low. A good "talking" visit to me, is over a cup of coffee and in private.

By NJ Bartolini

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October 22, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

We were paying 80+ a month for a regular phone. My husband did some research and we now have straight talk. We can buy time (unlimited) for one month, 3 months, 6 months or 12 months at a time. It only costs 45.00 per month if you do the monthly rate. We also bought the house phones that interact with the cell phone for less than a 100.00.

Being older we never thought cell phones were for us. It has changed our lives and helped our budget. If we go out we just pick up the phone and go.

Straight talk customer support is wonderful. They walked us through steps we were unfamiliar with. They had patience and even sent us a new phone when the first one would not work in our area. We paid nothing for either phone.

We have friends and family say that when their plan expires they are buying straight talk. It is very much worth your time to get Straight Talk. I cannot praise them enough.

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Gem

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May 28, 20060 found this helpful

I am looking to get a new cell phone -- either a tracfone or a prepaid one. What have you found that works the best for you? I recently canceled my phone because I never use it and this would only be used for a few minutes each month.

Thank you!
Mindy from Redmond, Oregon

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May 29, 20060 found this helpful

Net10 Wireless. Same network as Tracfone, but 10 cents a minute if you buy 300 or 3000. Also 5 cent text messaging. The phones cost a little more but can be WELL worth it!

http://www.net10.com

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May 29, 20060 found this helpful

We use TracFone...check with them to see what their coverage area is to be sure you will get the coverage you desire. We only use it for emergencies or contacting one another when necessary and not at home. Works great for our needs.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 29, 20060 found this helpful

FYI

Be sure to check if the minutes you purchase have an expiration date. My cousin's always expires before she uses them. She doesnt need a "plan" but loves the security she gets with her cell phone.

edie

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May 30, 20060 found this helpful

tracfone's have to be re-activated if a phone card isn't purchased about every 3 months...That's the way the policy was when I had one two years ago...It was cheaper for me to get a plan with a wireless service,,The cheapest phone card I could find was $21.00...I was having to buy a phone card every week.My plan with a wireless service is only $39.00.

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May 31, 20060 found this helpful

I've had a cricket prepaid wireless for years and I LOVE IT!! Unlimited minutes and the calls hardly ever drop. I think basic plans start around thirty dollars, and voice mail and long distance are extra.

I know that cricket phones can be costly if bought new, but you could check ebay as well as craigslist.org in your area for really good deals.

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May 31, 20060 found this helpful

I have a Nextel plan, but I carry a Verizon prepaid when traveling...they have the best national coverage.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 31, 20060 found this helpful

I have a TracFone. The basic one. 19.99 for the phone. Minutes (at Wal Mart) start at about 18.99. When I am not charging my phone, I have it in my car. I have two special needs children, and we live in a very rural area. If I ever break down, I have a phone to call out. There is one special you can buy. For $129.99 you get 450 minutes, one year's time (meaning you do not have to renew every three months) and every card you buy in that year's time is doubled. If you buy 60 minutes, when you put it into the phone, it doubles to 120. I think that these phones are great for teens, too. The equivilent of the .15 cents our parents used to give us when we went out with friends...call if you need us. Call if you don't, just checking in...etc. PLUS, the best part, no contracts. I see the shows like Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, that friends put friends, mates, etc on their plans, the other person runs up a monster bill and there goes the credit. No thanks. But I buy the 60 minute card. I bought it in March. I still have 39 minutes left. I do have to put more minutes in by the end of June, but 18.99 is better than some of these bills I have seen.

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May 31, 20060 found this helpful

Because we use ours so seldom most cell phone plans, even the so called prepaid plans did not work for us. We originally had "Just Talk" but they raised their basic cost for minute cards so we went to "Free 2 Go" which was ATT but is now Cingular. We can buy minutes that expire in 30 days for about $10.00 but prefer to buy the $25 card which is 100 minutes for 90 days. bought the phone thru ebay for 5 bucks (total $11 with shipping) and after almost 3 years we are still happy with it. Thru Phone Shark can get a small discount on the card and they will apply it when you tell them to. Google "Prepaid Wireless Phones" and you should find which plan will work best for you. My $25 every 3 months is building quite a few extra minutes but never know when you will need them and comparitively it was the cheapest for us.

Hope this helps

SalTCBug

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 3, 20060 found this helpful

I have had a Tracfone for about 3 years now. There are different plans to choose from, but I've always chosen the plan that you don't have to renew for a year. I think the cost is about $100 and that comes with nearly enough minutes for me to use for a year. Last time I renewed I think it came with 350 minutes. The only people who call me on it are my husband and my mom and I don't give out the number unless I have to. (I don't have a real extensive social life.) I really just have it for emergencies. When I drive out of the area near where I live it uses roaming minutes, but I'd only use it for emergencies anyway, not to talk for hours and hours to out of town relatives or anything. Also, your unused minutes rollover each time you renew. It is really good for an emergency use phone, but not for keeping in touch with lots of people all the time. If you do get one, don't buy those little cards with like 60 minutes for 20 bucks. The minutes you buy don't expire unless you don't renew the service so buy the cheapest minutes you can if you run out of initial minutes. When comparing cards, divide the cost by the number of minutes to find the cheapest cost per minute. (cost / minutes = cost per minute)

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March 14, 20100 found this helpful

I have Net10 wirless and after doing the research, its the best bang for the buck in the prepaid market. You can get a plan for only $15 month or something with more minutes (I'm on the $60/600M) and still save - I'm saving more than $50 a month versus my previous carrier. You have international calling, cheap texting, and a great network with T-Mobile. Some people complain about the choice of phones or customer service, but I have nothing but good things to say. I've had a really positive experience and the savings are huge.

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February 4, 20110 found this helpful

En mi casa se usa para todo Straight Talk Celular. Yo tenia contrato con la otra compania de celular, con ST no hay contratos. Tambien mi telefono de la casa es un ST celular que me lo llevo conmigo a todos lados por si la alarma suena y me llaman. Yo tengo el plan ilimitado de $45 y es fantastico los ahorros que he recibido. Cambiese y ahorre no bote su dinero. Straight Talk Celular es buenisimo.

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March 8, 20110 found this helpful

Different cellphones for different people. I decided to choose Straight Talk as my pre-paid cellphone provider and Am just so glad I switched. Been in a contract company for so long, I didn't know how it felt not having the large amount of bill each month. For just $45 a month all my services are unlimited. Wal-mart gave me my path to savings and found Straight Talk.

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March 30, 20110 found this helpful

Wow, OK, I SERIOUSLY recommend Straight Talk's $45 a month deal. I have saved so much money and with that price you get unlimited calls and messages. It is seriously brilliant! I did a lot of research before moving to them and they are definitely the best priced company out there right now!

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April 1, 20110 found this helpful

It is difficult to make the right choice the first time around when it comes to cell phone providers, I had really bad teething problems and had to pay hecticly to get out of a contract I had signed two months prior. If these contract cell phone providers know that your town is seen as a dead zone then how can they still rope you into a contract. I went to visit my mom and she went and got me a cell phone with NET10. I must be honest I was extremely apprehensive but when returning to my town I realized I for the first time in nearly three months I could make and receive calls. NET10 uses Verizon and AT&T towers which is the best out there.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 29, 2012

My contact with AT&T was up over a year ago and I'm considering going with a prepaid in order to save money. I don't want to purchase multiple prepaid phones just to find the best carrier for my needs (dropped calls, no service, etc.) especially while traveling within Texas. I'm currently using an ATT Samsung phone and I have a T-Mobile phone my daughter has given me. Neither of these phones are Android or I-phones. All I do is call and text. My question is: Can I get either of these phones unlocked and go with one of the prepaid carriers without having to buy one of their phones?

By Betty

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By 0 found this helpful
May 26, 2010

Can you remove a chip from a cell phone and put it in a pre-paid phone?

By Dee from Shallotte, NC

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May 27, 20100 found this helpful

Yes. You can put a sim card into a prepaid phone as long as the phone is under the same provider, like Verizon, AT&T, etc. If you're using a sim card that was once under contract and move it to a prepaid phone to only have prepaid service, you may have to contact the company.

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