I need a cell phone. Recommendations?

I guess I need a cell phone AND a cell phone company, or plan, or what have you. I’ve never had one, so I don’t really know where to start.
Chief considerations:
Expense. I need something inexpensive. Basically, I only want one so that my kids can reach me when I’m away from home. I can’t afford a big ol’ payment, either to start out or on a monthly basis.
Credit. My credit sucks. I don’t know if this has an effect or not.

I actually can get my hands on used cell phones–can one of those be activated by any company, or must I purchase one from the company I choose?

I feel like such a novice!


I think here they let you activate one that you have. One option is the “pre-paid” kind, where you buy minutes up front. Call around and find out what the local folks provide; sometimes they are a better deal than big national companies. Right now, between me and Sweety & kids, we have 5 cell phones going (!). They run about $50 a month, with the exception of 2nd oldest boy; his is pre-paid (his mom pays for it for him).

Avoid anything with moving parts.

I really lik- -e flip-up sty- -ot one when I bou- - in 2000, but the connecti- -ugh the hinge is getting weak n- -ometimes I can’t - - other per - - ing.

I have sprint pcs with vision and the phone I use is an LG 5350. You can get 300 minutes and unlimited nights/weekends for 30 dollars. For an extra 10 dollars a month you can get Vision which gives you internet and a few other features. Don’t bother with Vision if you don’t want to check email or get on the net with your phone. The sprint pcs service actually works quite well in my area and whenever a caller can’t reach me it goes right to voice mail, which I get alerted to whenever my phone comes back into service.

You can usually get a free phone from the service provider. I have AT&T, they offer a free Nokia 3590 if you sign up online. I’m sure other providers have similar offers. However, I believe that credit-worthiness is a consideration, this may cause you trouble. Pre-paid is a nice option if the providers won’t give you service.

Talk to locals about their service, and see if there is a consensus about which provider is best. In my area, it seems that Verizon is best, and Sprint is worst, but that is VERY area specific.

You should be able to get the most basic service for around $20/mo. AFAIK, phones are provider specific, so an old one you have may not work with certain providers.

Stay away from flip phones and Samsung phones in general. I worked for a cell phone company for about 6 mos, and in that time we had more complaints about those phones than all the others combined.

I have Verizon, and a plain old Audiovox phone. My plan is nationwide calling with 400 regular minutes and like, 3000 evening and weekend minutes for $40 a month. I’m really happy with the service - I had coverage almost all the way through northern New Mexico and up into Wyoming, while a friend with a different company was stuck without service. The phone is also pretty good - compact enough, and lightweight, but it doesn’t hold a charge the way my old Nokia phone did.

Most companies want you to get their phone. I had Cellular One before, and wasn’t able to get my old phone hooked up with Verizon service.

If you don’t need service outside main digital service corridors, you can probably go with a different company (say, VoiceStream) and save some on your monthly fee.

I have a Nokia phone and pay Cingular $20 a month plus tax for a reasonable number of minutes – I’ve forgotten how many. I just needed the basics too – mostly for car trouble, that sort of thing. It has done just fine.

But I must say I am intrigued by those photo phones!

body- I have a Virgin mobile phone, as does my husband and I love it. It’s low cost- the phone itself was about $59 on sale, and came with $10 in time. You then buy more time as you need it.

You only need to put more minutes on your phone every three months. Minutes never expire, but you need to just put a new card on every 3 months. No biggie.

Cost: 25 cents per minute for the first 10 minutes of each day, 10 cents a minute thereafter on that day. You only pay for what you use.

Excellent range. Free voicemail, text messages are free to receive, 10cents to send, you can send e-mail, has several utilities like calculator, check splitter/tip calculator, alarm clock, downloadable ringtones ($1.00 each), etc.

Check this website for more info:
I have the “Party Animal” model (retails on website for $79, got mine on sale at Media Play for $59 at Christmastime) and my husband has the supermodel.

Hope this helps!

You may want to see what plan your friends are on, and think about your long distance telco bills. I’ve just made the switch to Nextel, owing to free incoming calls, free nighttime and weekend calls, and their direct connect feature. It looks like I can all but eliminate land line long distance, and keep my monthly cellular about the same.

Good point. My cell saves me about $15-20 off my landline bill each month, since I was able to cancel long distance service completely, and make all my LD calls from my cell, so it’s not really a $40 bill on top of everything else. Now for cable internet, so I can be landline free!

Oh, I forgot to say- there are no long distance or roaming charges on the phone I have- it doesn’t matter (within the US) where you call from or to- it’s the same price. I love that!

Get a Nokia, whatever plan you’re on. They have the most user-friendly UI I’ve seen.