pay as you go cell phone recommendations for a tween

My 12 year old needs a phone for my convenience. For those that have tweens, any recommended pay as you go plans? I don’t expect a lot of talking but I’m probably underestimating how much it will be used.

I could also add my tween to an at&t family plan for $10 and tons of rollover minutes. Only downside is the texting will be extra.

Any recommendations?

I’ve had the AT&T Go Phone for 12 years. It originally was Cingular.

No fees or plan. I buy a $100 of mins at a time. Lasts me about 5 to 6 months. They would expire after a year, but thats never been an issue for me.

You can buy less. I think $20 is the min.

I actually registered just so I could reply to this. Tweens and teens text! Hundreds, even thousands of texts. More than you could ever imagine. In my experience, unlimited texts are way more important than minutes. I have the Virgin Mobile prepaid phone. It’s $25 a month with unlimited text and web plus 300 minutes of talk a month. Have I mentioned that tweens text?! You have to buy the phone and they vary from a $25 cheapie to an expensive smart phone. I believe their cellular coverage is through the Sprint network. If you decide it’s not for you, you can always quit, no obligation beyond the month. Now that I like it I usually pay four months in advance because it’s a bit of a hassle to pay 12 times a year. One more thing…tweens text!

I just bought a trac phone that was only $30 for the phone and $18 in minutes every three months. If I remember correctly, you only get 3 texts per paid minute. Since kids text so much, I would agree with Kitty A. that paying a bit more per month for unlimited would likely be a better value.

This is what I have. Works great.

ETA - they no longer offer our plan for $25 - now it’s $35 for new customers. Same features, though.

thanks for the replies. Maybe I need to break down and do the ATT family unlimited texting plan…

I got a Tracfone for my tween. It is a cheap slider phone, and she gets 60 min/90 days added for $20. She has a double minute phone, so she actually gets 120 minutes for that price. Lasts for months, even with the texting.

Here’s our deal - if she runs low on minutes for her phone usage, she has to buy more from her own funds. At $20 a pop to keep her going, she can afford it without parental support - it is her responsibility to manage usage.

In the coming years we will see how this works out, an unlimited text feature may be in order.

Yeah, that’s probably the best. Even you and your wife don’t text much now, you will find yourself texting more with your kid that has a phone.

Where R U?

T-Mobile has an unlimited texting plan for $15/mo. There is no minutes/data included with that 15. If you want voice minutes, you can buy them by putting extra money in the account and it will get used at .10/minute. Our teen has this plan and it works great. I don’t think teens really call each other much anymore. It’s almost all texting.

For example, start by putting $20 in the account. This gives you a month of texting and 50 minutes of voice. At the end of the month, put $15 in the account and you’ll have another month of texting and any unused minutes carry over.

I would recommend not getting a data plan. Rarely does a teen really need data service. It can almost always wait until they get home. If you get data, your teen will be continually checking facebook/tumblr/instagram/whatever whenever you go anywhere.

There are smartphone apps that allow you to send texts for free from a cell phone. My brother gave a prepaid phone to my thirteen-year-old niece and I know that she uses one of them for free texting. I don’t know which one she uses, but I know that Google Voice does allow you to do so.