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Posted: 6/17/2009 9:30:31 PM EST
I'm thinking about picking up a pre-paid cell phone which is only to be used for select incoming phone calls.

Say I buy 500 minutes...will those last as long as they aren't used, or will it eventually expire (ie do they dock minutes from you each month?)
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 9:33:59 PM EST
I am sure they will EVENTUALLY expire, but from what I have heard they will last until you use them. They probably vary from service to service. Contact a company of interest and ask them.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 9:35:47 PM EST
Varies by company. I have seen them that expire every month to 90 days to one year.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 9:57:54 PM EST
I can only speak for T-mobile prepaid.

If you buy minutes in increments of $100 (1000 minutes), you will not have to renew until after 12 months have passed. At that time, I buy another $100 worth of minutes, and they roll over the unused minutes from the previous 12 months.

I've been doing this for three years now, and wish I'd done it long ago.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 10:07:25 PM EST
Originally Posted By packingXDs:
Varies by company. I have seen them that expire every month to 90 days to one year.


This.

I have a system (Net 10) that requires you to buy time every 30 days. If I don't use that time, I lose it. However, my minutes (and my subscription) DO roll-over. I use my cell phone enough so that I'm signed up till March of 2010. So, I could put my phone down until then and the minutes will be good till then.

So: I buy 300 minutes in January at a cost of $30. If I don't use them, I lose ALL the minutes, plus I lose my service and my phone number. However: if I use, say, 100 of those minutes, and buy 300 minutes in February, I now have 500 minutes.

Now, because of family problems, I buy 300 minutes on Feb 10, and 300 minutes on Feb 28. I am now good through April.

Make sense? 300 minutes is easy to burn, too; they charge you for the full minute, even if the call only lasts 20 seconds, whether it is incoming or outgoing. They charge 1/2 minute for a text message.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 10:15:02 PM EST
Virgin mobile doesn't do anything like that, if I understand you correctly. You DO, however, have to add at least $20 onto your account balance every 90 days to keep it active, but you are the sole spender of that balance.

Of course, they do offer text bundles and plans for a flat rate/month, if that's more economical to you. YMMV.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 11:58:03 PM EST
Bump for more info.
Link Posted: 6/18/2009 12:06:26 AM EST
I'm currently using TracFone. You buy cards that have a set number of minutes and time on them and add them to the phone (or you can do it online). As long as you have time on the phone, the minutes don't expire. If you ever run out of time, the minutes all disappear.

You can buy 400 minute/1 year cards that will also double the minutes you add to the phone for the life of the phone (which is applied before the minutes you put onto the phone, so the card is essentially an 800 minute card). Also, phones can be activated and used anonymously.
Link Posted: 6/18/2009 12:12:52 AM EST
I use the trackphone now after the mess of a fixing the ex's misuse of a verison account. That ran me over $1100.00 to cover canceling the phones and charges she ran up.

I purchased a spendy phone for the ammount of around $50.00 and got double minutes for phone card time purchases at wally world.

The phone is paid for and I usually purchase a 200 minute phone card every 3 months and that gets doubled when activating the card.

It has served me well for the last 9 months without the hastles of a higher price every month like a contract phone would do.

I would guess if my math is correct that my phone runs me around $12.50 a month for long distance and texting.


I might upgrade to an expensive contract phone if I decide to get a phone with a modem option for a laptop later on, till then, I am satisfied
Link Posted: 6/18/2009 12:32:43 AM EST
wanting to not be traced?
Link Posted: 6/18/2009 12:38:42 AM EST
I sell cell phones for a living, and I can say this, STAY AWAY FROM TRACPHONE/NET10, they are not the cheapest, and they are by a wide margin, the worst cell phone company to deal with.

It really comes down to how many calls we are talking about, in either case I would strongly reccomend virgin mobile, they use the sprint network, so coverage is good, and you can either go by the minute, which is 20 cents a minute, and the money in the account is good for 3 months, by the minute at 10 cents a minute, but it's only good for 30 days, or $50 a month for unlimited calling.

Whatever you do, remember, the prepaid minutes are not refundable, so if you are unhappy with a phone, you can get your money back on the phone itself, but refunding the minutes is impossible.
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