Who is a good cell phone provider for me?

I hate cell phone providers. I hate the contracts. I actually hate phones in general.

But I need a phone. I need my land line as the cell phone coverage at my house is non-existent. Also my DSL is tied in with the account and I can’t give that up!

I also need a cell phone. I commute through the middle of nowhere for 40 miles each day. I have broken down and needed my cell twice in as many years. Can’t give up the cell phone.

That said, I talk an average of 2 minutes a month on my cell phone. For this benefit I am paying more than $30 a month. Why?

Are there any providers out ther who are pay as you go? Someone I can pay 25 cents a minute or something equally outrageous and avoid the monthly service contracts?

If you only need the phone when broken down in the middle of nowhere, just use an unregistered phone to call 911. Other alternatives are prepaid cell phone plans, and using an unregistered phone and charge all calls to your credit card. The latter is quite expensive per minute, but if you only use it to call a tow truck rarely, not a major issue.


$20 every 90 days.


$25 every 90 days.

Thanks. I knew this had to exist but the cingular, AT&T, and Verizon web sites don’t seem to have the information.

Virgin Mobile resells Sprint PCS as a prepaid option. Cingular, AT&T, and Verizon all have prepaid options (although a quick Google search suggest that the former may only be through resellers.) The 2 I mentioned are probably the cheapest, although rates may have changed last I looked. Also, look around for sales and promos.

Middle of nowhere? Sure you’ll have a signal?

Good point. Check coverage areas. Also:


$10 every 90 days. May be your cheapest option.

Another poster has previously mentioned this prepaid comparison page: http://markson.net/cell_prepaid_compare.htm

I have a Virgin Mobile pre-paid phone - as others have said, it’s $20 every three months. As you make calls, they debit that money according to this formula: $0.25/minute for the first 10 minutes of the day, then $0.10/minute for every minute thereafter.

Virgin piggybacks on the Sprint network, meaning that if Sprint doesn’t cover your area, you’re SOL. And there’s no roaming at all - if you’re outta network, you can’t make a call. Apparently the system will automatically track any phone calls or messages you do recieve and deliver them to you when you get back into network, however - this isn’t an issue for me since I use the phone so rarely.

I’m like you - I only wanted the phone for emergencies - and so far I’m happy with it. The only real drawback is that I don’t even use up my $20 every three months (you have to keep adding money to keep the phone active), so pretty soon I’m going to have a boatload to use up. I’m going to try to use the phone to make some longer phone calls, and maybe I’ll download some new ringtones, just to use up the money.

There’s another poster around here who uses Virgin Mobile far more extensively than I do, and has for several months (years?) and who seems to be really pleased with the service. Perhaps he’ll pop in with more details. I went with Virgin over other pre-paid plans because those other plans seemed to want to automatically their fees to your credit card, rather than leave it more up to you as to when to pay up. I didn’t see the other plans as that different from a contract, which I already didn’t want. While I still have to pay on a regular basis, at least Virgin gives me the illusion that it’s all under my control.