Phones forum


I Just Need a Cell Phone to Make/Take Calls!

by elliehowe / September 26, 2012 2:55 PM PDT

My very old Kyocera is falling apart, so I need to replace it. I only need a phone to make and receive calls. I don't want to shop, play games, take videos or check email on it. I don't want various lights flashing, tones, or vibrations. I just want a telephone.

For several years I have had a Virgin Mobile calling plan -- no monthly fees, no billing... just add $20 to my account every 90 days or when the balance gets low.

So I'm looking for a good, reliable basic cell phone with a very flexible calling plan like I have -- no contracts, no monthly fees. I looked at the Jitterbug Phone for Old People (of which I am one). It looks great but they bill monthly for more minutes than I would ever need.

Does anyone have any suggestions, recommendations, or caveats? Can you point me in the right direction? This high-tech smart phone business is too confusing for my simple "walk OR chew gum" brain. Thanks!

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All Answers

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Why not stick with Virgin Mobile?
by Pepe7 / September 27, 2012 12:20 AM PDT

You aren't forced to upgrade to a smartphone. Just stick with something low end. You can often buy them now @ Target/Wal Mart/etc. Call them up to activate your new handset and stick with the current service you enjoy.

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That's a Great Idea, but...
by elliehowe / September 27, 2012 3:28 AM PDT

Hi, Pepe7,

I was under the impression that I could ONLY use a phone purchased from Virgin Mobile to use their service... Or that I needed to buy a Verizon phone if I wanted to use Verizon service or AT & T phone to use AT & T service, etc.

But you're saying I can buy any phone -- any brand -- from Walmart or wherever -- and then keep my Virgin Mobile service. Wow! That's the best news I've had all week.

You've helped me more than you can imagine... It's very confusing living in a high-tech world these days with a low-tech brain. I just can't keep up. That's why I love, LOVE CNET Forums. You are all so helpful, so patient, and so willing to explain stuff in a way that I can understand. Thank you, Pepe7! - Ellie

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VM markets some of their phones that way
by Pepe7 / September 27, 2012 7:28 AM PDT

You can't use *any* phone/brand, but ones that are specifically marked for use w/ their service. Again, visit one of those shops for details. It's normally near the front door, relatively speaking.

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Thanks for the links!
by elliehowe / September 29, 2012 12:01 PM PDT
In reply to: examples

Hi, Pepe! I haven't been online for a couple of days... hence a belated reply and thank-you for sending the links to Target and Radio Shack. I would never have thought of Target, but thinking back, I purchased my current phone from a Radio Shack store. Thanks for the great leads and for your continuing to help me! - Ellie

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Cell phones forum
by EdDancer / September 29, 2012 7:49 AM PDT

I've bought a used Metro cell phone on for $15.00 so now each month I'm paying $25.00 unlimited calls and E sells Metro cell phone to

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Sure, but...
by Pepe7 / September 30, 2012 12:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Cell phones forum

...why would the OP need that if she specifically states she doesn't use many minutes, and only has to pony up $20 every 90 days? She would have to do it monthly with your system, and the net over 6 mos. would be $150 vs $40 (what she's currently paying).

I could think of one advantage going with Metro PCS though- their LTE coverage. They use the same frequency bands as Verizon/ATT, so roaming would be seamless as such vs Sprint, which uses a slightly different band for their 4G. The OP would have to spend more on the handset though.

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What Does "OP" Stand For?
by elliehowe / September 30, 2012 10:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Sure, but...

Hi, Pepe,

Does "OP" stand for "Old Person?" How did you know? ;o)

I don't know what LTE coverage is, but my calls are all pretty much local, so I don't think I would need the roaming feature. I really do like the Virgin "$20 every 90 days" plan...I've had it for several years now.

I have emailed their customer service to see if I can stay on it if I buy a new phone from them... They said "yes as long as I buy a PayLo compatible phone." But their PayLo plans are per MONTH, rather than every 90 days. So I am now waiting for a follow-up message from them to see if I can get things worked out. I'll let you know what I learn...


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LOL ;)
by Pepe7 / September 30, 2012 11:21 AM PDT

OP=original poster (he/she who starts a discussion thread)

[Why call yourself 'old' btw? My older friends (and parents in their 70s) prefer 'experienced' 8-) ]

Maybe someone else here can verify what VM is trying to push you into. I don't see why you simply can't replace your current handset, activate and stay on the same prepaid plan. Sounds like they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes perhaps. <shrug>

LTE=long term evolution. It's a more recent cellular technology they have implemented. Google is your friend Wink,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=92d757809ab14e67&biw=1024&bih=475


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"Google Is Your Friend" - I'm Making a Giant Wall Poster
by elliehowe / October 1, 2012 2:47 AM PDT
In reply to: LOL ;)

Hi, Pepe!

I'm lucky that Google doesn't charge $1 for every time I use their search. Now I need a "Google for Kids" to translate all of that technical stuff about LTE into real, understandable English.

You would think VM would want to do anything to keep customers since the cell phone market is so competitive. I haven't found any other carrier that offers an "every 90 days" pay-as-you-go plan. Not as profitable, I guess, as the "per month" plans, but Virgin seems to have a niche with this plan and if they were to seriously market it, they might be able to attract more OPs like me. I will call them today to see if their customer service can help me. I prefer getting the answer as an email so I can re-read it and be sure I have a firm commitment from them, rather than a "he said, she said" phone conversation about terms and exclusions.

Also, I will consider using "experienced" instead of "old." Right now I'm toying with "doddering boomer." It has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to it, and it's likely to confuse anyone under the age of 25...

I'll keep you posted if I get any pithy responses from VM. Thanks again, Pepe! BTW, I would rather reply to your posts individually rather here on the public forum but I can't figure out if there is a way to do that. Hope I am not embarrassing you or annoying other Forum members... If so, please TELL me.

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Direct messaging
by birdmantd Forum moderator / October 1, 2012 4:08 AM PDT

To answer your last inquiry to Pepe7, users can send direct/private messages to members who have enabled it in their user profile without it showing in the public forum. If the other user hasn't enabled the feature, you cannot contact them directly.

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LTE for dummies (etc.)
by Pepe7 / October 1, 2012 4:34 AM PDT

This is what I sometimes recommend to my friends who do not want all the technical jargon. The 'Dummies' series (online, and books) can be quite useful in this regard. Look here:

FWIW, there are prepaid carriers that let you top off 90 days, and sometimes, for an entire year. T-Mobile & ATT both let you do this with their own prepaid services (not the cheapest though). I'm sure there are others.

Keep in mind that more money off of selling data, so the market for voice, from a business perspective, isn't going to get the same attention as all the folks upgrading their smartphones that have mandatory $20-30 data plans as add-on fees each month. (Can you say Ka Ching?) Anyway, that said, prepaid is also growing steadily in the U.S.

Definitely check out Howardforums as well. There are some helpful folks there who can likely assist with the specifics of VM. Look here:

Please let us know what you find out. Maybe it can help others here in the future.

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