Question about TracPhone

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Shygal, May 11, 2005.

  1. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    Since last week, when I had a flat tire on a highway, with NO tire iron in the trunk (yep I went out and bought one :eek: ) and no one stopped for an hour, so I had to walk 2 miles on the highway...Ive been thinking of getting a cell phone just for emergencies.
    After reading the thread on tracphone, it looks pretty interesting, but theres one thing I dont get about cell phones.

    If someone calls ME on the cell phone, do my minutes tick off like if I was the one making the call? And are they at the same rate?

    And what are "roaming" charges? Ok that was two things :eek:
     
  2. Four Angels Dad

    Four Angels Dad Member

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    I don't know where in VT you are but I can tell you that my experience in lower VT about any cell phones..... There is no coverage and where there is coverage it is very poor I would look into the coverage before I bought any phone or signed up for a plan. Yes your minutes do count if someone were to call you on it. And roaming is where the cell companies get you.. When you sign up for a plan you pick the area of coverrage any calls made from outside of that area incur roaming charges. I can tell you that most of the large nationatl companies (Cingular/ATT) now offer reasonable plans with no roaming charges though you are back to square one as coverage is what you need in VT. Good luck and let me know if you find a carrier that has ample coverage there.

    Ray
     

  3. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

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    Tracfone is expensive when roaming -- 2 units per call incoming and outgoing too -- however any cell phone even if turned off by the provider if it has power will call 911 -=-= free and if only wanted for emergencies will do the trick --get one from a pawn shop for cheep!
     
  4. Nax

    Nax Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the minutes tick off when someone calls you. Yes, it's at the same rate as if you were to call them. Roaming charges, do I believe, apply. I never used mine out of my home range though. I used to have one, but I got sick and tired of the battery running out, and the darn thing never taking a full charge. I'm sure that's because I never charged it at just the right time or some such thing.
     
  5. amelia

    amelia Well-Known Member

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    All I know about Trac Phones is from an elderly neighbor of mine who got one when he moved just outside the city. No reception, he said.

    Another possible way of getting some cheap airtime would be to share a plan with someone else. Companies like Sprint and Verizon usually have monthly plans that can be shared between people with two separate telephone numbers.
     
  6. OldFarmGal

    OldFarmGal Well-Known Member

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    The minutes tick off when someone calls you AND you answer it. So don't answer a call from a number you don't know! Don't know how many wrong numbers I answered before I got wise.

    We've used one for emergency use and let-your-family-know-where-you-are instances for several years. . That's all we need. Works for us
     
  7. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    Does this work for all cell phones, or just the newer ones?
    (really this IS a great Ideal!)
     
  8. WV Rebel

    WV Rebel Well-Known Member

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    I and my wife have TracFones and have had for about 4 years now. At Wal*Mart, the 40 minute cards are $19.00 for two months, that's 20 minutes per month, relatively, for those of you in Rio Linda.

    We use them for emergency, only, although my best friend does have the number but calls it only if he cannot get me on the landline.

    If you answer it every time it rings, sometimes it will be "TracFone" calling about "offers" and just to burn up your time. They say it doesn't come off when THEY call YOU, but that's hawgwash! YOU pay for it.

    So, don't give anybody your number, especially the kids, because they'll have their friends calling so they can play with the neato cell phone.

    And puleeeze don't get them a phone til they're 18YO. They don't NEED one. If you keep track of where they are, like a good parent, they don't have to have one. Teach them to use the pay phone or their host's phone!

    Speaking from experience and $500+ phone bills!
     
  9. Big country

    Big country Well-Known Member

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    Shygal, check out the Virgin Mobile prepaid phones before you get a trac phone. It’s a better deal, no roaming charge and you only have spend $20 on minutes every 3 months to keep it active.
     
  10. wildwanderer

    wildwanderer Momma, Goatherder etc....

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    Find out who Tracphone jumps in your area, in my area we are on the cingular wireless network. And I get better coverage then I did for Verizon. Check with the walmart clerks, locals will know whether tracphone will work with your area.
     
  11. designer

    designer Well-Known Member

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    I have a tracfone. I love that you don't loss your units (minutes). Mine add up and I always have over 200. I keep mine turned off. So it is there if I need it but no incoming calls. I am not aditiced to cells phones like my DH, he has an alltel plan. My battery runs down pretty fast but it is an old phone.
    Location is key. I'm in northern NC and have never not got a signal. But my son got a Virgin mobile and can't get a signal at home or at school. So it sits on his dresser. Maybe their coverage will increase soon. But he is not a phone person either.
    Prepaid is the way to go for emergence phones. But if your a talker you'd be better to get a plan.
     
  12. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

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    T-Mobile prepaid has 1 year expiration on $25 refills.

    I think the best deal is buy your own phone and then get a sim card off of Ebay. You can buy a preactivated preloaded T-mobile sim for under $20 and it'll come with a few 100 minutes on it already with 1 year expiration. It might not be a local number but it's only takes a few minutes with t-mobile over the phone and they'll change it to a local area code/prefix.

    Any phone that takes a sim card can be used. If it was used with another carrier, you might have to unlock it. I use CyberGSM code calculator to unlock phones. I've yet to find one I can't unlock. There's also people on Ebay that'll give you the unlocking code for your phone for a couple bucks.

    Many of the prepaid phones are Nokia 3595, a decent phone with a color screen. Not as nice as the latest models but they're reliable and can be had for around $30.
     
  13. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you brought this up, Shygal, we've been thinking about getting one too.

    Designer and WV Rebel, do the $19 minutes expire after 2 months, or are they good for longer? Like Shygal, I only want one in case of car emergencies or if the school has to reach me when I'm out of the house.

    Is there a way to find out if you get reception before buying a phone?

    Thanks!
     
  14. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    Damn! I'm glad that I'm old enough to do without a cell Phone! Believe it or not, women & children lived without them too! Some Heroic people Actually Lived Without a Telephone at ALL! For THEIR ENTIRE LIVES!
     
  15. OldFarmGal

    OldFarmGal Well-Known Member

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    How the TracFone prepaid system works is like this:

    I buy a phone. I buy minutes. I add the minutes online. When I turn on the phone, it reminds me that I have a renewal date of 7/6/05, and 142.5 minutes. My minutes roll over IF I buy more minutes and add them before the 7/6/05 expiration. I usually by a 60 minute card (better rate).

    Roaming areas vary. I use the zip code from an area town, not my own. I have to dial the area code from home, or if I'm in town - to home, but there are no roaming charges. My area within roam is pretty big. What's interesting is that the calls from my home phone to the same town ARE long distance. (Nearly ever place from home is LD for me.) You can check out the roaming range for your area on their website. www.tracfone.com

    Our house sits in a little bit of a valley and my phone doesn't work downstairs, but works if I use it upstairs. My husband has the same problem with his Cingular work cell.

    Hope this helps you decide if TracFone is right for you.

    I would like to digress to pre-cell phone days, too. But, the fact is, the world is not the same as used to be. it isn't as safe. When my 17 year old is out there on the road, I have a small bit of comfort knowing he can call home if he has a problem. When my 13 year old daughter is hanging ou with her friends at our small county fair, I feel better knowing she has a phone with her, and can call if she needs me. In a way, it can be a false sense of security. But, IMO, it's better than nothing. Better than locking my kids up until they're 21.
     
  16. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    TracPhone SAYS they cover my area here, and the only others that do are Sprint, Verizon, and Nextel. Sprint charges 40$ a month and I dont want to commit for 3 years.

    bgak47 I lived without a cell phone too, but after breaking down on the highway and realizing I had NO way to contact anyone without walking along a highway and risking someone running me over or pulling me into their car, I have rethought my thinking on cell phones.
     
  17. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

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    Yet here you are with a landline and internet. Kind of ironic given your statement.

    People used to live without all kinds of things. For example, many reading this would have been dead by now without medical advances in the past 100 years. Technology isn't always a bad thing. Cellphones and UHF 2-way radios make my life easier.
     
  18. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

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    "ll pay as you go phones have GPS tracking in them, "

    No, it depends on what phone you're using.

    In fact, T-mobile has never required any information from me whatsoever. Not even my name.
     
  19. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

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    Most phones have the option of turning off GPS regardless of the carrier. Or you can just turn the phone off. Plenty of phones made in the last year or two aren't GPS capable. The requirement started this year and with most things, it can be defeated.

    I doubt GPS would stop a terrorist when anyone can buy a "throwaway" cellphone for $20-30.
     
  20. goldenlady

    goldenlady Well-Known Member

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    We've had a Tracfone for some time now and really like it. I never have it turned on unless I'm in the car. I bought a little gizmo that plugs into the lighter and charges the phone while it's on in the car. I like the fact that my minutes (units) roll over to the next month if I haven't used them all and I never do.

    I reorder minutes on line through Tracfone and I can get 100 minutes for $29.00 and do not have to reorder for another two months.

    We debated for quite some time before going with this one. We did not want a monthly charge for a cell phone as we never use one but wanted one for traveling.