Saturday, January 3, 2009

Prepaid Mobile Phone: Accomplished

Photo by Woodley Wonderworks

Well, Prissy got her mobile phone for Christmas after all. When our family plan carrier, AT&T, told us we'd need a $300 deposit to sign her up for an additional $9.99/month line AND sign a two-year contract, we told them, "Thanks, but no thanks." (See my post about that here.)

Off to Circuit City for a $12.99 prepaid Tracfone. Activation was free and came with 20 free minutes--just enough for her to call all the numbers we're allowing her to call and get everyone's number in everyone's phone memory.

The package came with two chargers, a case, and a boatload of coupons for extending minutes. We've opted for the monthly plan of $9.99 for 50 minutes, which is about 20 cents/minute. The cheapest minutes come if you buy a 800 minute year-long service card, but it's money up front, and I'm still thinking we may switch her back to AT&T at the point they begin to be more reasonable about the deposit thing. (Or, more fairly, after I've had 6 months or more of on-time payment to them.)

I did find in my due diligence of review sites on the internet that people seem to either love Tracfone or hate them. Apparently their customer service leaves something to be desired. We shall see. For us, though, it was a cheap solution, and according to Andrew Lavellee in a Wall Street Journal article on the subject, not an uncommon decision in these tenuous times.

Further Reading:
"Things Your Cell Phone Company Won't Tell You," by Karen Datko, Smart Spending MSN MoneyBLog.
Hat tip to My Wealth Builder: Pre-Paid Phones Save Money

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