minimalist phone options?

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by HermitJohn, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Ok, PureTalkUSA decided they didnt really need my business. So been looking at alternatives. The thing is I havent made nor received a call in last 7 months since my ex died. I only need phone for emergency use or occasional dealings with various customer service matters.

    I only have cell hotspot internet so VOIP is kinda iffy. Even so I looked at Google Voice and it might work except it requires I have a current working phone to get a Google Voice number. Ok, not sure I understand logic of that but I might be able to "borrow" a phone to get the Google number.

    Alternatively found Tracfone offers a 365 day, 800 minute plan for $100. $8.33 a month for emergency service availability seems reasonable. Half what I was paying PureTalk. No real details on whether I can use a 2G flip phone with their BYOP setup. I actually like the old Samsung flip phone PureTalk GAVE me when I signed up under the old owners. Should be able to just replace SIM in it. Left turned off, battery charge lasts forever. I truly dont want a cheap candy bar smart phone. I did find a new $22 unlocked GSM flip phone on ebay that should work. Some noname brand, so dont know quality. I really liked the Samsung as it had very good speaker. I've had phones in past that sound like the speakers at fast food drive up, sounds like they are talking through a blanket.

    I am sure some of you have minimalist uses for a phone but still need it around for emergencies. What do you use?
     
  2. Nevada

    Nevada Voice of Reason Supporter

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    There are a couple of good options if you already have high speed Internet.

    1. As a replacement for a land line, you could buy an Obihai analog telephone adapter and use Google voice. The adapter is about $50 (look for the Obi200) and Google Voice is free. The adapter will give you dial tone throughout your house just like traditional phone service. Google Voice includes free calls throughout the USA & Canada, as well as free voice mail. You can also get a free telephone number so people can call you.

    2. Republic Wireless offers unlimited calls & texts for $15/month. That plan doesn't include data, but if you have high speed wifi in your home you can get your data from wifi. When you are around town your phone will always have calls & texts available through the cell network. You'll need to buy a compliant phone. Check their web page.

    Actually, Republic Wireless is a good solution even without having high speed Internet, if all you need is phone & text.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017

  3. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Ok thanks for info Nevada. BUT, I have a cell hotspot, not hardwired DSL or cable. I imagine VOIP be kinda laggy with it. And using such for VOIP maybe blocked.

    And yes just phone. Dont use text, dont want a smart phone. Had one once, hated it. Dont need unlimited. AS I point out I have neither made nor received a voice call in last seven months. This is emergency backup and official phone number of record for credit card and bank stuff.
     
  4. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I emailed my friend who had told me in past she had Tracfone. She said something about single, double, or triple minutes depending on phone you have. Confusing. Said the triple minute phones are usually cheapo candy bar phones that dont hold up very well. Dont know that I need triple minutes so maybe a flip phone I actually like is better way to go.... than phone thats going to be a royal PITA. Sleep on it, but thinking this annual Tracfone plan maybe way to go. I am not finding any other good alternatives, that arent either super complicated (complicated generally means they are not in consumer's best interst) or trying to get me to pay for monthly unlimited.
     
  5. Nevada

    Nevada Voice of Reason Supporter

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    I find Google Voice to be better than cell phone lag.
     
  6. dademoss

    dademoss Well-Known Member

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    I use an ancient LG flip phone with service through Tracphone. It was on closeout at Target a few years ago for 5 bucks, and servide was 149 bucks for 2 years and like 800 minutes. They had a special on the second year for 1/2 price :) I carry it fishing, and in the glovebox of my car. I'd rather drop that in the water than a way more expensive smartphone :)

    I don't know what's available now, but take a peek at the prepaid section at walmart or target, you might find a deal like I did.
     
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  7. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    DW and I have had US Cellar....since 1996.
    Thru a series of events....This evolved from simple cell coverage.....with landline home phone, cable TV and DHS.....To flip phones, MiFi Hotspot, and dish Dish.

    Had gone with a bundle,... cable, internet, and phone thru the cable, by dropping the landline......
    We were able our phone our phone number that we had for 25plus years....then they jacked the rates.

    Dropped cable, went with the MiFi modem...and keep our cell phones.....ask them to transfer our home number.

    I will note that we use the phones, and modem in two locations...house and cabin...then added Dish to both locations.
    Flip phones work everywhere, battery lasts ...rates are $60 buck for both phones...and we have out old number that everything in the world uses a reference.

    This setup works for us at the moment... and give us phone and internet coverage most everywhere we have gone.
    Not sure if I can do any better.... than to just shut it all off.
    Good luck.
     
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  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Still not sure you are understanding. I have a stand alone pay as you go cell hotspot that I connect to computer via wifi. Trying to then make voice calls with Google voice through computer connected to the hotspot.... Well just say the cell hotspot can go fast at times and slow at times... think you would say the data packets kinda bunch up compared to hard wired broadband.
     
  9. Esteban29304

    Esteban29304 Well-Known Member

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    I am by no means an expert, but I have a WiFi Hotspot here for computer access. YES, the speed will vary from time to time. At times, I use SKYPE , mostly to talk with a buddy , overseas. There is rarely a problem in our conversation . I am hard of hearing so I do use a headset with microphone. You could try that & see.
     
  10. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can do the Trackphone for less than $100 a year, unless you're talking a minutes + phone deal.

    I would buy the minutes on the 90 day card and ALWAYS have time left over, which of course, would roll over...ended up with a LOT of leftover time after a few years! Connections were always good (WAY better than Sprint or AT&T).

    Be aware, if you have an problems that you need help with, you will be talking to someone in India/Pakistan and as people everywhere, some are easier/harder to understand than others. If I had difficulty understanding someone I tell them I had a hearing difficulty, hang up and call back a few minutes later. Just do that until you find someone that you can understand easily. Customer service at Tracphone ALWAYS wanted to please.

    By the way, I hear Trackphone, Net10, and Straight talk are all owned by the same company.

    Mon
     
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  11. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Yes been looking into Tracfone. Its quite confusing cause they are changing buisiness plan and phasing out the old double and triple minute phones and 2G/3G stuff. Their year "smartphone" plan is 1500 minutes and $125. No double or triple, it is what it is. Compare that to the older phone year plan of 800 minutes for $100 though if you had a triple minute phone might get 1200 minutes for $100. And as you say think the lowest minute 90 day plan on old phones is actually the cheapest at something like $7 a month. Not many minutes but it would roll over and accumulate , if you only had phone as emergency phone. Tracfone doesnt sell the phones that use the old plans anymore, but can still buy them on ebay and Amazon.

    I still havent gotten clear answer about their bring your own phone deal. Whether you can use the 4G LTE SIMs in 3G flip phone. It will physically fit, but whether you can then activate phone like that??? 2G support even by ATT network is gone or nearly gone I think. For voice calls, 2G was fine.
     
  12. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Trackphone did have a spot on their home page where you could enter your phone serial numbers and they'd let you know if it would work with their SIM.

    Mon
     
  13. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    4G LTE hotspot? Might be fast enough. If it is, then Google Voice maybe would meet my needs. They offer free phone number and free voicemail to email and you can call out on computer. Just hoop jumping fest to get that number.
     
  14. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I read that they did, BUT it doesnt show on any browser I have. Even the Pale Moon browser I keep bare metal with nothing blocked. What browser do you use? Surely this isnt one of those retro IE only things....
     
  15. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I like Tracfone and the one year plan is really the way to go. If you go with a regular plan, even though the minutes roll over every 90 days, that only applies if you buy a new 90 card (or minutes). They have a flip phone advertised that sounds like what you want -- Alcatel A206G. I didn't research it, but you might want to check it out.

    I'm curious why PureTalk bumped you off? I used them for a couple of years at their $10.00 a month plan (250 minutes). My sister is on their $5.00 plann (80 minutes) and I think she's still using it. At least she hasn't said anything about having to get new service.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 9:39 PM
  16. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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  17. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    It was just that I liked the Samsung flip I got free when I signed with PureTalkUSA some years back. I could actually hear the person on other end. Not like trying to interact with the clown face in driveup fast food. And some cell phones are like that!

    PureTalkUSA no longer offers a $5 plan. Well they do, but it costs $10 now with no rollover. I was grandfathered in to old $10 plan and had pile rollover minutes. Now my goofy credit card company decided I needed a new card two years early and forced me to activate it by disabling my old one though like I say still couple years before it expired.

    When I did this PureTalkUSA couldnt get their monthly $10 so sent me an email giving me one day to call them before my phone disabled. I saw the email, but forgot and didnt get around to calling them. Then my phone is disabled and I dont have any other phone.

    No idea where nearest pay phone is, if such a thing still exists.... Oh and when I go to PureTalkUSA account, it wont let me update credit card it wants me to enter SIM number and choose a new plan like I was starting from scratch. Meaning it would now be at least $15 per month for basic account with rollover minutes. I think PureTalkUSA has new owners some time back and they jacked prices to pay for their acquisition.
     
  18. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Ok, weird. I turned on the Samsung phone to get IMEI number, and suddenly got 6 new text messages from PureTalkUSA telling me to call 611. And was able to call out! I didnt try any other number, assume they limited it to calling customer service. No idea why this wasnt possible before.

    After finally getting some guy with heavy accent that I had hard time understanding, he updated credit card info, so seems I am up to date... Hey as long as its my old $10 a month with all the accumulated rollover minutes, great. If not, then I will be cancelling and going with Tracfone. Give it some time to update and then see if I can get into my account online without it treating me as new customer.
     
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  19. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    You got me curious about Skype. Seems it will even install to an Android phone without a cell account, so you can make calls via wifi.

    Anyway from what I gather, call from Skype to Skype accounts is free. Calls from Skype to USA landline or cell phone number is $2.99 a month or $30.50 for year subscription. So far so good, but then was looking for what an actual phone number costs so landline or cell can call the Skype account. They only briefly mention this will be revealed once you apply for one????? I googled and seems to be around $60 a year???? Frankly dont see much advantage to Skype if it costs as much as cheapest pay as you go cell plans. Course you would have unlimited use if you talk a lot. The pay as you go cell phones, you buy minutes.

    Now from way I understand it, Google Voice provides all this with no charge? I dont say free, cause nothing is truly free on the WWW. There is always ads and data collection, though you can block lot of that to some extent.

    Now that I have working cell again, may experiment with Google Voice without bothering my friend. Be interesting to see how well it works with my cell hotspot connection. I can even call my cell phone.....