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You know those cheap cell phones at grocery stores?

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lenarenee

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Tell me about those cheap cell phones at grocery stores. I saw one for 10 bucks. How do they work? Are they the ones where you by a month worth of service then chuck the phone?

Who are the service providers? Any idea how much a month would cost?

( I didn't check it out at the store because I didn't know at the time I would meet someone who needed one)

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BattleGnome

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I bought my phone at Walmart using a monthly service. I use the Walmart company (they used to give an employee discount on minutes).

You buy the phone then there are "gift cards" with activation codes to purchase your minutes. You do have to sign up with an email address then activate the phone. Once everything is set up you get one of the cards with minutes and input the code online. I fine I get more minutes for a better price using the monthly service rather than what was offered by any of the big name companies with a contract. If you choose to you can set up an automatic monthly payment plan or purchase cards for multiple months.

I think the cheapest possible Walmart plan is $20-30 a month for the cheap flip phones. I have a smart phone and pay $45 for "unlimited" talk/text/data (with data caps for speed). It's been four years and I'm much happier with my Walmart phone than I think I would be with any of the other carriers in our area.

(And yes you can get rid of the phone after a month if you want to or keep the phone and only get minutes when you have out of town guests or for your own vacations. I think there's an international plan option but I've never looked into it)
 

navigator9

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I used to have a smart phone and I hated it, so I went back to a flip phone that I love. I use Tracfone, and I got my phone at Walmart for $17. Tracfone has a variety of phones you can buy, and many different pay as you go plans. You can buy airtime on cards, online or through your phone. I love it. You can buy minutes as you need them. I've used Tracfone for years and have had no problems. You can take a look at what they offer here... http://www.tracfone.com/
 

mx6inpenn

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Many of the cell companies offer no contract pay as you go options. I use Verizon prepaid. My husband uses straight talk. They are both $45 unlimited talk/text/data. I've had mine for more than 3 years now. It's about time for a new phone, so I may switch carriers when I get one. It depends on which one has the phone I want :) You can use a cheap phone for a month and get rid of it or keep it as long as you like. I will never go back to a contract phone.
 

Scooter

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Also there are a lot of MVNO services that let you bring your own phone... Ting is what I use. Ting has great rates but may not be good for folks using lots of data. At somewhere between 500MB ad 1GB a monthly plan from a service like TMobile would probably be better.
https://ting.com/
Here is another service: https://republicwireless.com/
A lot of MVNOs use Sprint as there primary backbone.

Scooter
 

cgsample

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I rarely use my phone, so I'm paying about $7 a month to Tracfone. I've never run out of minutes.
 

Susie

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TracFones have poor coverage in the rural areas of the deep south.
 

GeezLouise

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I have used tracfones a lot. They are a good deal for people who don't need many minutes.

They used to prefer T-mobile network in areas with any tmo signal at all, even bad signal. In my area they prefer ATT. The phones in the local stores will probably operate on whatever is the predominant network (Tmo or ATT) in that area. Because I travel regularly in areas that do not have good Tmo or ATT signal, I learned how to order CDMA phones online that will operate on Verizon's network and lots of times roam onto other networks such as US Cellular, which have (in my experience) best rural and mountain service. If you need to know how to do that, PM me and we can set up a time for a phone call.

One caution, NO tracfone smartphone will roam off its native network. The "feature" or dumb phones do pretty well.
 
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cjisler

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I got my husband a Tracfone on QVC last year. 90 bucks for 1200 minutes and texts. It expires mid Dec and I'll load it up again. He has only used about half that. One charge and no monthly bill. When my iPhone gives up the ghost I'll switch to tracfone, too.
 

navigator9

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Depending on which Tracfone you buy, some have double minutes for life, however many you buy, they're automatically doubled. And another nice feature is that you never lose your minutes if you don't use them all.
 

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