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the Price of Pay by the Minute Prepaid Cell Phone Plans

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$ 100
Aug 2007
Phoenix, AZ
Prepaid cell plan   more... close row

Description of service

The service in question is a prepaid cellular plan with a nationwide provider.

The price was for 1000 minutes of talk time (though other denominations, including amounts as small as $5, are available), along with use of the carrier's voice mail, call waiting, caller ID, domestic long distance. Roaming costs extra as does foreign long distance. Text messages cost $0.25 per to send and $0.10 per to receive if not sent by the carrier. Internet connections cost $1/day plus time for use. All fees are deducted from the cost of minutes.

Minutes may be purchased online, by credit card with the phone, or through retail outlets. Once the total cost of minutes purchased exceeds $100 the minutes expiration date increases from 90 days to 1 year.

The service comes packaged with a limited selection of phones, a SIM card, and a $30 credit in minutes. The Sim card may be used in any unlocked phone, or phone locked to the carrier.

Review of Service

The connection quality is excellent with 4-5 bars signal strength throughout the city. All the features work as advertised. Connections are almost never dropped and are clear as can be.

I replaced my land line with the cell phone and I haven't regretted it. There's no overage charges, no monthly bill, no contract, I can order more minutes without difficulty, and the minutes take a year to expire. Also, I can talk anywhere.

The cost of internet and text messages is a bit of a rip off compared to the $5/month unlimited use for contract phones, but I don't use my phone for those things so it's not important to me.


#999# will tell you your account balance in minutes and dollars. Learning the voice mail message prompts will make checking your messages quicker. Basically all the usual cellphone tricks for saving minutes still apply.

If you're concerned with anonymity or privacy, purchase the phone and minutes in cash at retail outlets.

If you have a lot of minutes left and they're about to expire, you can add a few dollars to your phone and the expiry date on all the minutes will reset.

If you go through a lot of minutes -- 1000/month or more -- you're probably better served by a conventional contract-type plan.

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