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Virgin Mobile or Cingular Wireless prepaid service.

by Big Steve / May 14, 2006 8:13 AM PDT

Which company offers better prepaid phone service? Virgin Mobile or Cingular Wireless? Which offers better fees; any roll over minutes and such?

I wouldn't use a cell phone that much and rather than sign up for 2 years with someone for cell service I'm considering prepaid service. Feedback would be appreciated.

Big Steve

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Uhh.. Big steve
by unclegee1 / May 14, 2006 1:09 PM PDT

Rollover doesn't work with pre-paid. Cingular is much more recognized and virgin mobile is for the younger crowd. Get an actual contract with an actual carrier.

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Cingular vs Virgin Mobile Prepaid.
by Big Steve / May 14, 2006 6:08 PM PDT
In reply to: Uhh.. Big steve

Yond Ranger:

In your profile it states that you claim to be an electronics expert; someone who loves computers and cell phones so here's my question.

What's a very good cell phone to buy; one for sending and receiving cell phone signals; I would prefer a flip phone with a speakerphone; something also internet ready although the phone does not need to have a camera or be video capable.

Which model or models would you recommend that are not the most expensive phones available? A phone for good basic service without all the bells and whistles?

Big Steve

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Extra information
by unclegee1 / May 15, 2006 12:20 AM PDT

Are you looking for one for cingular ??? What do you mean by "sending and receiving cell phone signals"????? Most flip phones these days have a speakerphone, a browser (not fully enabled). Modern handsets all have a camera nowadays. Even the most basic phones with the features you listed have cameras. You can still buy the phone and not use the camera functions. With all that said, I would say that the phone for you would be............ the LG C1500 from cingular. Its review is here on cnet.

Also, quit the "Big Steve"'s not necessary

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unclegee1 I need your help so badly!
by putty_tat007 / September 1, 2008 2:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Extra information

Hello, I hope you can help me out. I use Virgin Cell to text only and have been doing so for a month now. All was well but all of a sudden I can't receive Texts from Egypt. I can sent them and they are received but my friend can't send one to me all of a sudden. The phone i have is a cheap LG on the back it has QUALCOMM 3G CDMA. Why is this happening and can I fix this? I have called Virgin but they are of no help at all. I'm really desperate and need to find out why this is happening.

I hope you or someone can help me out here. Sad Thanks so much in advance.

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Pre-paid Cell Phones
by p0nytail / May 18, 2006 1:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Uhh.. Big steve

If rollover means you don't lose your money at the end of the month, Virgin does allow you to rollover. Virgin has the best price plan for low-volume users. It is pitched to the younger set, but I'm 56 and I love the plan. Fifteen dollars for 3 months and you don't have to worry about extra charges and add-ons or loss or theft of the phone. Who cares if Cingular is more recognized....

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Virgin Mobile perpaid
by Tazz57 / May 25, 2006 4:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Pre-paid Cell Phones

I agree i have been using Virgin Mobile for around 3 yrs started with the K7 this last Xmas05 i upgraded to the MTV Slider se47 the xmas befour that 04 i bought my wife the K9 my parents have the K10 witch i dont like this model because it took me upto 30 min, to add $ through the cell phone my se47 , old K7 & my wifes K9 i can add $ to our acct in a mater of about 15 seconds or over 3 yrs there has been 1 time the VM system was down and i had to call VM to update... I like VM & there phone's you talk you pay you dont talk you DON'T pay BUT you will need to do the 90 day (3 months) no mater what even with the ann $90 card ..And dropped calls i think i have had 3 or 4 in this time mostly just bad reception (bad cell area)..i have used ALL cell company's up untill i went to VM ..Virgin Mobile maybe for the younger crowd but my wife & I are 49+ old and we like the service (Great Customer service)

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by marcopolo_581 / May 15, 2006 6:18 AM PDT

Honestly, I wouldnt get EITHER one. I'd go with boost mobile all the way, and I do plan on switching from Virgin Mobile ASAP.

Currently, I have VM and all these charges are really putting a damper in my balance.
*check VM's site and you'll know what I'm talking about*

Texting is CURRENTLY 10cents to send and free to receive..BUT on june 14, they will change to 5cents to send AND receive.

Internet: $1.00 for 24 hours or up to 500kilibites. *it goes by FAST*

Balance check: 5 times a day for free then 2cents after that.

VXL *Virgin XL* :10cents to browse unless unsubscribed for the whole day.

With Cingular, its a different story as well.

of course they have two different plans *pick ur plan, or pay as you go*
I'm not so much of a fan for pick your plan but if thats whats useful to most customers, then so be it.
As for the pay as you go:




Hope that helps.

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What's so great about Boost? / What about actual performance
by jimcheval / May 17, 2006 4:51 PM PDT
In reply to: VM vs. CINGULAR

Boost is 20 cents a minute, compared to Virgin which goes down to 10 after a set number - how do you figure Boost is better?

And actual service - coverage, dropped calls, etc.? How do all three stack up?

(I don't own a cell phone and also can't envision using it more than occasionally if I get one.)

In a related note, someone was telling me today they found Verizon better within LA, but Cingular (with AT&T's towers added now) better in the Valley (that is, the burbs). Don't know anything about T-Mobile or Virgin's coverage/dependability, though.

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now that you really think about it, it REALLY depends on how much and WHEN you talk. See, I talk ALOT more on the nights/weekends *for boost mobile, thats only 10cents...rather than the 25/10deal for Virgin Mobile*

As for texting, 10cents to send and free to receive, and pix = 25cents to send and free to receive is what boost mobile has*...BUT virgin mobile's pricing has different than boost mobile. their pricing is 10cents to send/free to receive, BUT on june 14, they will change to 5cents to send and receive, and pix is 25cents to send and receive.

I receive ALOT of text messages and most of the time, i dont really have to respond to them b/c their just quick heads-up from my friends. but im going to start getting charged from virgin mobile as soon as those rates go into effect.

Down where I live *in southern maryland* nextel's service gets excellent service so ill have no problem getting boost mobile.

I'm more worried about the cost and how much I use on a regular basis. Thats why I thought boost mobile would be a great choice over virgin mobile. I wouldnt have to worry about being charged too much for the internet *on VM's phones, which is a $1 for only 500kbs/average of 50 pages* than boost mobile's phones *which is 20cents all day for unlimited use*

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(NT) (NT) Thorough answer. Thanks.
by jimcheval / May 18, 2006 1:33 PM PDT
In reply to: IN RESPONSE
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by marcopolo_581 / May 19, 2006 5:20 AM PDT

anytime =)

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Vm ballance ck
by Tazz57 / May 25, 2006 4:40 AM PDT
In reply to: VM vs. CINGULAR

by the way FYI you DO NOT get 5 free ballance ck's free with VM i know for a fact you only get 2 free balance ck's per 24 hr time from 12 am to 12 pm after that it's $.02 per ck ........... as for accessing the Web it wont make any difference where you go it will still cost maybe not as much depending on your plan but there you go again with Contracts & plans ..that's graet if you like contracts & plans that take take take your $ even if you dont use it!

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What is important to you ?

I think you should do some research on the network first.
My area does not get good signal for Cingular, so there is no point to get a phone that does not work.

If you are not a heavy cellphone user, really does not matter which do you pick.
If you do use your phone for web, txt message then you will need to think about all those hidden charges.

Currently, I have a VM phone and I am very happy with it.
The only complain I have is I wish VM has some better looking phone. I don't know about Cingular; but for T-Mobile, you can use any T-Mobile(open) phone for their pay-as you go service.

good luck.

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Prepaid; Cingular or Virgin Mobil.
by Big Steve / May 16, 2006 2:52 PM PDT


I just need a basic phone to have for emergencies only; I'm disabled and do not drive but still like having a phone with me whenever I go out for doctors appointments and such.

I wouldn't be playing games or doing text messaging and can't really consider web access since I'm looking at prepaid phone plans.

I did look at Cingular's site last night; checked out a few phones; most of which were listed as refurbs and carried 90 day warranties.

I've never bought a refurb anything. Are refurb cell phones any good? The main reason I'm looking into prepaid is I don't want to sign a contract for 2 year service.

I have good credit but I don't want to be obligated to pay $40.00 to $60.00 a month for a phone that I might not use more than 100 minutes each month. Thanks for your comments.

Big Steve

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Check your area for coverage for T Mobile
by hh / May 16, 2006 11:21 PM PDT

I think they have the best pay as you go plan. If you add $100 worth, you have 1 year to use them and all you need is to add $100 once a year. Better than having to add monthly IMO.
They have smaller plans, i.e. $10, $20 etc., but these need replenishment more often.
Provided you have coverage for it in your area, I recommend T Mobile. You can also get a cheap no frills Nokia from them for about $50. If you have your own unlocked tri band GSM phone, you can purchase just the sim card and the minutes and use your own phone.

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Virgin Mobile
by r.r.mackenzie / May 17, 2006 1:09 AM PDT

I have been with Virgin Mobile for over three years now, and I have always been very happy with every aspect of the experience. I, like you, don't use the phone very much. I didn't want to commit to a long contract, and didn't want to commit to paying even $40 a month, when some months I might use 10 minutes! With Virgin Mobile, I didn't have to pay a dime if I didn't use my phone...and there were a few months where I didn't. If I -did- have a heavy month of usage, I felt like it balanced out. It was 25 cents a minute for the first 10 minutes of the day, then it dropped to 10 cents for the rest of the day....

I have the Audiovox 8610 and it is the best phone I have ever had! (I have had Motorolas, Nokias, LGs, etc. with Cingular, Verizon and Sprint). I often get compliments on it's looks, and it is light and easy to operate. I highly recommend it. No camera, but you said you don't need it. Battery lasts a long time...I never even bought the car charger, cause I can talk and talk, then plug it in at night....

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Cingular Wireless or Virgin Mobile prepaid; which is better?
by Big Steve / May 17, 2006 3:04 PM PDT
In reply to: Virgin Mobile

Dear Salvadori:

First of all; thanks for your post. If I did select Virgin Mobile; am I correct to assume that Virgin Mobile is the prepaid unit of Sprint PCS?

If I did decide to go with Virgin Mobile; do they charge you a daily access fee even though you don't use the phone?

For example I might not get out of the house more than 2 to 3 days during the week. The time that the phone sits here at home remaining charged; would Virgin Mobile still be charging me a daily access fee for the phone's use even if I don't use it?

Please advise whenever you can and again; thanks for your post.

Big Steve
Biloxi, MS

End Of Message

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If you buy
by PudgyOne / May 20, 2006 6:55 AM PDT

If you buy a Virgin Mobile phone, you van buy it at walmart of at their website

They will give you $10.00 worth the airtime for 3 months. If you go online and enter for auto top up, you only have to pay $15 every 90 days or if your balance gets below $5.00 dollars. The cost of minute to minute is 25 cents a minute for the first 10 minutes everyday then 10 cents a minute after that. Free voicemail, caller ID and NO roaming. They use the Sprint PCS network and claim they are NOT affiliated with Sprint. The 8610 model has great reception and I would highly recommend it for you.

Hope this helps.


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Which prepaid is better? Cingular or Virgin Mobile?
by Big Steve / May 20, 2006 1:12 PM PDT
In reply to: If you buy


Thank you for your post. If you used a phone a few times a month; accumulating no more than 50 to 100 minutes a month in actual airtime; which plan would you recommend going with if you chose Virgin Mobil? Minutes per day? Minutes per month? With Cingular would you choose the $1.00 a day fee and all calls at 10 cents per minute or no daily fee and all calls at 25 cents per minute?

Would you also recommend that I consider adding T-Mobile into this comparison or should I limit my selection between only Cingular Wireless and Virgin Mobile? If I understand your post you recommended Virgin Mobile over Cingular? What was the manufacturer's brand and model number of the phone you recommended in your previous post?

I submitted a post earlier in this forum in which I stated that I am disabled and don't drive and the cell minutes which I would use on a monthly basis would probablty not exceed 50 to 100 minutes per month. I would use my phone just to make local calls and consider such a phone to be for emergency use only.

I'm in the 50+ year old age group and I'm not into playing games nor would I be using my phone to do any form of text messaging nor would be using it to download anything. I'm considering pre-paid service so I have to keep my needs simple.

If my income wasn't an issue I might consider attempting to qualfy for a cell phone contract but since it is an issue; that's the primary reason why I'm taking a very close look at pre-paid cell phone service.

The only other feature that I would like to add to a phone if I could afford to qualify for a contract would be some form of internet service; no email service; just internet service. Can anyone tell me if internet service is available on pre-paid phone plans or not?

Although I have managed to maintain somewhat good credit over the years I just can't see myself paying
$40.00 to $60.00 a month for the next 2 years just to have a cell phone that I probably wouldn't use no more than 2 to 3 times a week; accumulating no more than 50 to 100 minutes per month; that's why I'm taking a close look at pre-paid cell phone service.

Another comment which I'd like to make; there have been some in this forum who have posted comments in this forum such as automatically assuming that once someone mentions or asks anything about pre-paid phone service verses contracted cell phone service that the person making that inquiry must either have a questionable credit history or be a deadbeat.

I resent such comments made by others who have participated in this forum and not having all of the facts those who post such comments shouldn't do so and if you're reading my posts; you know who I'm talking about.

You should think twice before you submit a post bashing another poster and you for one have absolutely no right to be judgmental; no right to set out and bash another member of this forum especially if you don't know all of the facts which you clearly don't.

The comments made by the majority of the members in these CNET forums are very valuable to me because they help me try to make good informed buying decisions on whatever it is that I might be researching at any given time which right now is pre-paid cell phone service and I hope to receive a few more posts from others which will help me to make a better informed buying decision when it comes to choosing a good pre-paid cell phone service.

Big Steve

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by PudgyOne / May 20, 2006 1:53 PM PDT

Rates for each phone companies can be found below.

Only you know how much you will be using the phone. I was hardly using my phone except when the children needed picked up or my wife wanted something at the store. I used the home phone for other things. If I am reading what you are now saying, I would choose BEST VALUE because you have these options, UNLIMITED calling to over 55 Million Cingular Customers, $1 per day ONLY on days you use your phone and it's only $0.10/min.

So on days you don't use your phone, you will NOT be charged the dollar for unlimited access. The unlimited access is great. I switched from Virgin Mobile to a Family Plan with Cingular and am pleased with both companies. If you use your Virgin Mobile for about 100 minutes, it could add up. Virgin Mobile @ 25 cents for 100 minutes would = $25.00 Using Cingular you may have some of the minutes absorbed by talking to other Cingular Customers, which in my theory would be cheaper.

Hope this helps.


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Cingular Wireless vs Virgin Mobile pre-paid.
by Big Steve / May 20, 2006 2:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Rates


Again; thanks for the post. Do you have pre-paid accounts with both wireless phone companies? What about T-Mobile; should I also consider them or not? I noticed several of the phones offered on Cingular's website for their pre-paid service are listed as refurbs; would you buy a refurb cell phone if you went with a pre-paid service?

If I understood you correctly you would choose Cingular over Virgin Mobile and select Cingular's $1.00 a day access fee plan with calls at $0.10 per minute? Can minutes roll over on Cingular's pre-paid plans? Which phone would you recommend that I go with if I selected Cingular?

They have a nice looking Sony Ericsson(sp?) phone; it is a refurb and not a flip phone but it seems to have the features that I want. Are Sony phones any good? Sony refurb phones? Again; thanks for your comments.

Big Steve
Biloxi, MS
Katrina survivor

End Of Message

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I was reading
by PudgyOne / May 20, 2006 9:23 PM PDT

I was reading this

It says

What happens to my balance in my account if I don;t use all the funds before they expire?

Funds will be forfited and account will go in to a 60 day grace period. However, refill your account before your current balance expires and the balance carries over to the new date.

As for phones, I can't really tell you which ones are nice or not. As for refurbished ones it could be good or bad. I think I would try for a newer phone. With a newer phone, you know the phone was NOT in a flood or even in someones toilet. Newer phones are seen on the website and I'd also go look for them at a store like Target, Walmart, Cingular or some big retailer in your area. You could also make a new discussion asking what Cingular phone would you suggest and tell them what you want.

Also to make you feel better for emergencies, I found this information for you.

Hope this helps.


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Cingular or Virgin Mobile Prepaid; which is better?
by Big Steve / May 21, 2006 5:48 AM PDT
In reply to: I was reading


I checked out Cingular's website and all of their refurb phones under their prepaid phone plans carried only a 90 day warranty. They had a nice phone by Sony; ( Model #T290a ) which was a refurb selling for $29.99 + applicable sales taxes but I do believe if something did happen to that phone after the 90 day warranty had expired I'd have nothing more than a very nice paper weight made by Sony.

Unfortunately does not offer that same Sony phone; ( Model #T290a ) as new unit; they offer it only as a refurb unit. As for my comment; ''Are you reading this''? My comment was not directed towards you; it was direct towards someone else who had posted previously in this forum. Again my comment was not directed towards you.

Big Steve

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Call Cingular
by PudgyOne / May 21, 2006 7:41 AM PDT

Call Cingular and ask them. 1-800-Cingular ans ask them. If they do not have what you are looking for, then try the local retailer to view phones. A refurb phone has been checked to see that they work but... they could have been in the flood or else had other problems. I feel 90 Days might not be enough. Maybe you can try looking for a phone on
If you try there and see something you like, you'll need a PayPal account and an ebay account. It takes about three days to set it up correctly and have it verified. Then if you find a phone you want to bid on, wait until the last minute to bid on it, if you feel that the price is right, then bid a dollar or two ove the current bid.

As for the other comment, I understand that it was not meant for me. I been in these forums too long to worry about that.

The other person is telling you about T-Mobile. If you buy a T-Mobile phone and put $100 on the account, it will pay you for about a year. If you spend over $100 the double your units or airtime. However the coverage in your area for prepaid is very limited

Decisions are hard to make.

Hope this helps.


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Cingular or Virgin Mobile prepaid; which is better?
by Big Steve / May 22, 2006 2:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Call Cingular


I did contact Cingular's toll free customer service number last night and did speak to a sales rep who informed me of the following:

Sony Ericsson T290a refurb available on with a 90 day warranty for $29.99 was available by phone; a new phone with a 1 year warranty for $59.99 which I'm seriously considering.

The sales rep also recommended that I go with the $1.00 per day usage charge which is charged for days only when I use the phone and my calls would be $0.10 per minute.

He also recommended that I purchase at least $25.00 worth of calling minutes which would expire in 90 days verses minute packages of lower denominations which would expire in 30 days.

Overall the guy at Cingular was nice but he also was high pressured; wanting me to go ahead and do the deal. I told him I'd have to think about it and I'm still thinking about it.

About Ebay; I am a member and also have a PayPal account which I've never used; there were several Sony T920a's listed on Ebay. One guy claimed to have a brand new one which he wasn't using because he just recently signed up for contract service with Cingular.

The bidding price last night for his phone started out at $25.00. I wonder if I bidded for his phone and won could I take his Sony T290a to my local Cingular store and establish prepaid service?

I never can reach anyone at my local area Cingular store to ask them that very question; I am able to leave a message on their store's voicemail but no one has ever offered to call me back.

Cingular's toll free customer service rep did tell me last night that I should be able to do it although I would also need a sims card with the phone before I could establish any type of prepaid service at any local Cingular Wireless retail store. What's a sims card?

Big Steve

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The most logical thing to do
by PudgyOne / May 22, 2006 7:04 AM PDT

The most logical thing to do would to do the deal with Cingular on the phone. Get the new one. If you'd do it through ebay, you'd have to get a sim card. Very little minature card (shaped like a credit card (the size of a nail)). I don't know what they cost but if you have to go through all that trouble, The 800 deal sounds great. New phone, 1 year warrenty, most likely ready to go, sounds great. All you'd have to do is put more money on the account before it expires, that way you could roll over you previous money without losing it. You can store your information on the sim card or on the phone. Something like a chip.

I went away this weekend. This is the first weekend I was at the area where I hardly got a signal using my Virgin Mobile phone. I had my Cingular phone along and had 5 bars. Big difference. I also like what they said about the Hurricanes. It will become handy for someone like you. You'll be able to call me for FREE. I really enjoy my phone and service and I hope you will also.

I wish you the best of luck with your decision.


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Cingular or Virgin Mobile Prepaid; which is better?
by Big Steve / May 22, 2006 7:45 AM PDT


Again; thanks for your comments. You made a statement in your second paragraph; something to do about you like what they said about hurricanes. Would you mind explaining?

Big Steve
Biloxi, MS
Katrina Survivor

End Of Message

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Read this article
by PudgyOne / May 22, 2006 2:49 PM PDT
In reply to: I was reading
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Cingular or Virgin Mobile prepaid; which is better?
by Big Steve / May 22, 2006 3:42 PM PDT
In reply to: Read this article


Good link.

Big Steve
Biloxi, MS
Katrina Survivor

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Like I said before
by hh / May 20, 2006 11:03 PM PDT
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