Cell Phones for Less

Q.    I hate having to pay $25 a month for cellular service when I only want to have a mobile phone for emergency uses? Is there a better, cheaper way to accomplish this goal without a monthly charge?

I don’t know where you live, but my carrier (BellSouth Mobility in Mississippi) has a plan for about $15.00 a month.  That’s the one I have because, like you, I only carry my cell phone in case of emergencies. Check out all the companies.  Sometimes you have to ask – this plan isn’t always advertised.  Jean

I love the pre-paid phone cards. They are much cheaper and as long as you keep track of the expiration date of the card, you can’t lose!   Kimberly

Before I got a regular cell phone I had one that is called a PREPAID one.  You get the phone and then you buy time, there are restrictions, so make sure you ask about them.  Pat

I read some time back  that you can use a cell phone to call 911 even if you are not a subscriber to a phone company. They charge you heavily but it is available CHS

At Radio Shack and places like Wal-Mart you can buy a phone and then just buy the minutes you need. You just call an 800 number and they turn on the phone and do the minutes. My friend went to Georgia for Thanksgiving and didn’t have a phone and used this, she got hers at Wal-Mart and she bought 40 minutes. It worked fine. They call it a Trac Phone  Nick&Kathy

I do not knowing about having a working cell phone without ANY bill, but it doesn’t have to be that much! Do you belong to any kind of motor club for emergency roadside assistance? I know that AAA has a special offer through which you get a "free" cell phone and service for $15 a month (+ taxes, and you also get 30 off-peak minutes per month that you can use for free. The phone even has a AAA button that automatically calls the roadside assistance number, and you’re never charged for that. We have had this deal for 3 years, and I haven’t found a better one that also has a good calling range in our area. Also, no matter how much you pay, READ YOUR BILL! When we first started with our phone, we were charged $3 extra a month for "detailed billing." I called an inquired – this is automatically added to all bills, and it is a charge for getting each call you make listed on your bill. I make less than $3 of calls per month!! I had them remove detailed billing, and there were three less dollars on my bill each month. (The $3 was in addition to the $15, so we had an $18 base rather than the $15 we expected!)  I read in the paper that "disposable cell phones" are in development and will probably be on the shelves in the next couple of years. Once they are, they will have a small, prepaid amount of time on them that does not require a monthly fee. For those of us who have phones for emergency use only, this is the way to go! Angie

I do not knowing about having a working cell phone without ANY bill, but it doesn’t have to be that much! Do you belong to any kind of motor club for emergency roadside assistance? I know that AAA has a special offer through which you get a "free" cell phone and service for $15 a month (+ taxes, and you also get 30 off-peak minutes per month that you can use for free. The phone even has a AAA button that automatically calls the roadside assistance number, and you’re never charged for that. We have had this deal for 3 years, and I haven’t found a better one that also has a good calling range in our area. Also, no matter how much you pay, READ YOUR BILL! When we first started with our phone, we were charged $3 extra a month for "detailed billing." I called an inquired – this is automatically added to all bills, and it is a charge for getting each call you make listed on your bill. I make less than $3 of calls per month!! I had them remove detailed billing, and there were three less dollars on my bill each month. (The $3 was in addition to the $15, so we had an $18 base rather than the $15 we expected!) I read in the paper that "disposable cell phones" are in development and will probably be on the shelves in the next couple of years. Once they are, they will have a small, prepaid amount of time on them that does not require a monthly fee. For those of us who have phones for emergency use only, this   is the way to go! Angie

A few years ago, I worked at a domestic violence shelter; and we provided women who were being stalked by their abusers with a cell phone that could only dial 911. We got them from Sprint already programmed that way. You wouldn’t be able to call AAA or anything like that, but it would work in a true emergency.  Karen

Most cell phones have the feature for 911 dialing no matter if you have a service plan or not. If readers really want to save on cellular bills, they should wait for their contracts to run out or use an old cell phone for emergencies.

This is what I did before I started usung the cell phone for all my long distance(free). I had my plan set on vacation rate. No minutes were included. When you used the phone, you were charged high rates per minute, ($.80), but since I had the phone for emergencies only, the 10 mins a year were very cheap. The monthly rate was $8 per month. Cheap insurance to have a phone handy if needed. Pam

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