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#141517 - 07/26/08 03:01 PM Good coverage, cheap phone for trip/occ. use??
fordwillman Offline

Registered: 08/27/04
Posts: 103
Loc: Arizona
Hi Everyone,
My wife and I are taking a trip through California, Oregon and Nevada in September. Basically, I hate cell phones, (I am tied to a Blackberry for work), but need an inexpensive (I dont want or need all the bells and whistles), but good coverage phone.
Also, at one time I checked out a plan where you paid a set amount and then you could use it for 3 months and then replenish your minutes (but the coverage sucked and you lost your minutes after 3 months if not used)!

Really, I just want something for personal emergencies or very occasional calls. Coverage and low price are paramount. No bells, no whistles. If anyone knows or can help me here it would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks.

#141524 - 07/26/08 03:41 PM Re: Good coverage, cheap phone for trip/occ. use?? [Re: fordwillman]
big_al Offline

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 586
Loc: 20mi east of San Diego
All phones I know of you lose your minutes after 30 to 45 days if you don't buy more minutes, but if you buy them before your previous minutes expire they (the minutes) build up. Try the "TracFone".

I am talking about pay per use phones,not ones on a monthly contract.


Edited by big_al (07/26/08 03:45 PM)
Some people try to turn back their odometers.
Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way
I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved

#141532 - 07/26/08 05:11 PM Re: Good coverage, cheap phone for trip/occ. use?? [Re: fordwillman]
jaywalke Offline

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 172
Loc: Appalachian mountains

I am a big fan of Virgin Mobile. They buy their coverage from Sprint, which gives me decent coverage for my area and for traveling.

It's 20 cents a minute

You have to add at least $20 to your total every 90 days. That's it. Our shared wireless plan used to cost us $70 a month after all the tax and fees. Now we spend about $15 a month.

#141533 - 07/26/08 05:24 PM Re: Good coverage, cheap phone for trip/occ. use?? [Re: fordwillman]
JCWohlschlag Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 724
Loc: Sterling, Virginia, United Sta...
In my experience, your coverage will depend more upon the specific model of phone you purchase than with the network you choose to go with. For example, my father had one of the newer Blackberry phones on Sprint service, and got no signal at my house. My 4-year-old Sanyo phone (old enough to have the retractable antenna, but still has a camera and external LCD, etc.), also on Sprint service, gets full bars. Also, a cheap Motorola C139 from AT&T GoPhone had a lousy signal in many places that my friend’s AT&T phone worked just fine in.
“Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee. Sometimes old people hike by mistake.” — Demitri Martin

#141536 - 07/26/08 05:39 PM Re: Good coverage, cheap phone for trip/occ. use?? [Re: fordwillman]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
I can't help you with cheap phones, but our experience in NW Arizona and SE California (and other places in the western US) is that Verizon has the best service...

#141545 - 07/26/08 07:39 PM Re: Good coverage, cheap phone for trip/occ. use?? [Re: jaywalke]
philip Offline

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
I use Virgin Mobile. I have the Minute2Minute plan, which is no longer available: $15 every 90 days, unused minutes roll over.

for current rates. The Pay as You Go plans sound like what the original poster would find helpful. Unused minutes roll over if you buy new minutes every 30 days (up to a max of 5000 minutes). Costs 10 cents a minute talk time for 200 minutes, 5 cents a minute if you buy a thousand minutes.

I have gone over my minutes once in however many years I've had it, and bought more over the phone. I use the cell phone infrequently, mostly for long distance calls and when I'm volunteering at events.

I'd suggest comparing Virgin to TracPhone, ATT GoPhone, and Net10. It may be that there is better coverage or a better plan for you other than Virgin, but that's a choice you get to make.

#141556 - 07/26/08 10:25 PM Re: Good coverage, cheap phone for trip/occ. use?? [Re: philip]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Here is a post on just this subject, started by Martin Focazio, from 10-12-05: http://forums.equipped.org/ubbthreads.ph...=true#Post51860


#141562 - 07/26/08 11:22 PM Re: Good coverage, cheap phone for trip/occ. use?? [Re: fordwillman]
Fitzoid Offline

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 289
Loc: WI, MA, and NYC
Just so you know, all working cell phones in the US, even if they have no account tied to them and are not activated, can dial 911. A handy thing to be aware of.

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

#141635 - 07/27/08 12:20 PM Re: Good coverage, cheap phone for trip/occ. use?? [Re: Fitzoid]
sodak Offline

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 410
I have been quite happy with my WalMart Trac Fone.


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