If it’s a phone that you’re not going to use much, I’d seriously look into a prepaid plan. I’ve got the Virgin flavor of such a plan, and I’m a big fan of it. I have to put $20 on the phone every three months, giving me a monthly fee of ~$7 to have a cell phone, which can’t be beat (unless you use the phone a lot, which would drive up your per minute costs).
Here’s why I got it:
–I didn’t want another monthly charge of like $35 to have a cell phone. I wanted one basically for emergencies only - it’s not like this was going to become my primary phone or one that I used with any sort of frequency at all.
–Of the prepaid plans I looked at, Virgin was a) one of the cheapest, and b)didn’t make you hook up any sort of credit card to automatically refresh the thing. Of course, it’s an option, and you can, but you don’t have to - you can also buy cards at Target or Best Buy and add money to your phone that way. One of the other plans I looked at (I believe it was AT&T) required you to connect the phone to a credit card, then automatically put money on it every month. Hello? I said I didn’t want a monthly plan. How is this prepaid? Not sure if they still have that or not.
–Virgin piggybacks on Sprint’s network, so quality and coverage has always been pretty good. That said, I don’t have a good connection here in my building or out in the sticks. However, you should be able to use it in any major city and along most major interstates. Check all coverage maps before deciding.
–It’s an easy plan. No nighttimes, no anytimes, no overages, nothing. It’s 25 cents a minute for the first ten minutes a day, then 10 cents a minute for every minute thereafter. I only pay for the minutes I use, and I never lose anything (tho I understand that most plans have rollover features now and such). I know that I’m paying more per minute than I would with a plan, but since I rarely ever use it, I’m still saving money. However, if you’re buying a phone that you’ll use heavily or frequently, you’d probably save money with a plan. Determine your own usage before buying.
–No contract. I don’t want the phone anymore, I don’t pay. No fees, tho’ I’d lose any money that was still on the phone. They give you a little bit of a grace period (I think it’s 30 days) before they deactivate your number, however, so you have some time to pay up and still be able to use your phone. After that grace period, however, you’ll have to buy another phone or contact them in some way to reactivate it and such.
You do have to add $20 every three months, and this can add up over time (I think I’m up to like $60, now, because I don’t use the phone that often). But any accumulated money doesn’t count towards the $20 - it’s not like, I have a balance, so my phone should work, right? Nope, you still have to pay up. I think that if I used my phone just slightly more, however, I’d probably eat up this balance.
I’m really happy with mine. Give them a look while you’re doing your research.