Welcome to the 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Question: I've never had a cell phone in my life. I know that's hard to believe! But I just never saw the need for one -- landlines have been just fine for me. I don't need to be in constant contact all the time. Recently though, I've received some pressure to get one. I just feel like I really don't need it, but maybe a temporary one is ok. Is there maybe a phone I can get that I can only use every once in awhile, that doesn't require a plan? Thanks! -- Beau, via email.
This might come as a shocker coming from a cell phone reviewer, but I don't necessarily think everyone in the world must get a cell phone. If your lifestyle is such that you don't need it, I don't see the problem of not having one. However, it does make life a lot more convenient, and it tends to be cheaper if you make a lot of mobile-to-mobile or long-distance calls.
You can get cheap and disposable phones if you want something temporary, especially if you go the prepaid route. Virgin Mobile's payLo service, for example, offers cheap $15 phones and the basic service only costs $20 for 400 minutes. If you lapse payment, however, it's likely that your phone number will expire, so you might have to keep reupping every month or so to keep the number alive. But if you really only need a phone every once in awhile -- like on vacations -- then maybe you don't care so much about changing your number. Readers, please let us know of other alternatives that Beau can consider.… Read more