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Thread: Best prepaid in NC

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    Best prepaid in NC

    I'm looking for a prepaid plan that has the best coverage for the best price in the Raleigh/Durham area of NC and possible west towards Asheville. I will use it mainly for emergency purposes and the occasional trip to like Chicago. I need something that doesn't expire to soon. T-mobile is obviously the best but they do not service NC, Cingular does not seem to have good coverage and tracfone appears to be on the Cingular network. Beyondwireless looks really bad in this area. Verizon has the best coverage overall, but is ridiculously expensive. I wish I could use Tmobile. Any suggestions and comments would really be appreciated.

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    I guess you have 2 options: Simple Freedom or Tracfone. Tracfone will probably have really good coverage in your area as it's specifically tailored for whatever zip you're in for the most part, although you'll want to try to get a TDMA phone if you're out in the sticks a lot. You may have to do a different zipcode to do so but you'll be rewarded with 160 minutes of time plus a phone for $25 right now. After 120 days (60 with the phone + 60 with the 40 minute card which may be able to get 10 minutes more) you'll need to get another card. For 150 minutes\1 year it's $90, and you can get 100 or 200 extra minutes so it's not as bad of a deal. This will net you $7.50 a month. Or you can go on eBay and find the numerous "ESN Minutes" deals out there. They will give you 100 minutes\60 days for around $20. This is a lot better than the 40-for-$20 deal that you usually get, although you get 100 minutes only and only if your phone is in good standing (which it will be if you don't dawdle in refilling). This would be $10 a month.

    Simple Freedom is always 25 cents\50 cents a minute (home\roaming) and the phone, with $10 in airtime is $50 at many Wal-Marts. They will have very good coverage but you will have to pay $20 every 60 days to keep the phone active.

    Both providers can (and possibly will at no extra charge to you) use the Verizon network, so you'll probably be OK there. Just keep in mind that if you want decent per-minute rates on Tracfone, you'll be paying $10 a month for either plan.

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    There isn't much TDMA in NC, mainly Suncom, and they are only 1900 Mhz. Your best bet would be Simple Freedom. The 25c/min rate will be available on the Verizon and Alltel networks, and they cover alot! If there is a Sam's Club near you, you could get a $25 refill card that is good for 3 months. The only negative for Simple Freedom is that you will get charged minutes when someone leaves you a voicemail, and when you retrieve it, even from a landline. You say the phone is mainly for emergency calls, so most people just ask to have their voice mailbox disabled. SF will do that, no problem.
    Last edited by mframe; 05-31-2005 at 05:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mframe
    There isn't much TDMA in NC, mainly Suncom, and they are only 1900 Mhz. Your best bet would be Simple Freedom. The 25c/min rate will be available on the Verizon and Alltel networks, and they cover alot! If there is a Sam's Club near you, you could get a $25 refill card that is good for 3 months. The only negative for Simple Freedom is that you will get charged minutes when someone leaves you a voicemail, and when you retrieve it, even from a landline. You say the phone is mainly for emergency calls, so most people just ask to have their voice mailbox disabled. SF will do that, no problem.

    You may want to go with US Cellular or Alltel Prepaid - I know both companies are great in NC!

    Also TracFone offers CDMA phones as well as their TDMA and GSM selection. So you may want to get a CDMA TracFone (that would use the Verizon Network)

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    I did not know about Simple Freedom. The coverage looks very good, however the 60 day limit really blows for me. iansltx, I have a question about tracfone and coverage. Bear in mind, I'm new to this so the questions may seem obvious. But when I go to TracFone's sight and click on the coverage map, the green area looks very sparse. It looks sort of like a cingular coverage instead of verizon. Now if I enter individual zip codes of areas I would be traveling to it looks much better.

    Should I type in three or four zip code areas that would correspond to the areas I would travel to and then view which phone models cover these? If a certain model shows green in four different zip codes than this would be ideal correct? If it is tailored to my home area than would roaming apply when I enter another area even if it is green using a different code? I know I'm probably not making sense at this point. I guess I'm just confused by the number of options and the corresponding maps. For example 3 zip codes I would use are 27707 (main area) 28801 (second important) 60625 (occasional). These three phones are common Nokia 2285, Nokia 5180, Motorola C343. When traveling from 27707 to 28801 via interstate I would enter white roaming areas. I basically want to be able to travel almost anywhere in NC and VA and occasionally to Chicago, New York.

    Thanks alot for any help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redrover12345
    I did not know about Simple Freedom. The coverage looks very good, however the 60 day limit really blows for me. iansltx, I have a question about tracfone and coverage. Bear in mind, I'm new to this so the questions may seem obvious. But when I go to TracFone's sight and click on the coverage map, the green area looks very sparse. It looks sort of like a cingular coverage instead of verizon. Now if I enter individual zip codes of areas I would be traveling to it looks much better.

    Should I type in three or four zip code areas that would correspond to the areas I would travel to and then view which phone models cover these? If a certain model shows green in four different zip codes than this would be ideal correct? If it is tailored to my home area than would roaming apply when I enter another area even if it is green using a different code? I know I'm probably not making sense at this point. I guess I'm just confused by the number of options and the corresponding maps. For example 3 zip codes I would use are 27707 (main area) 28801 (second important) 60625 (occasional). These three phones are common Nokia 2285, Nokia 5180, Motorola C343. When traveling from 27707 to 28801 via interstate I would enter white roaming areas. I basically want to be able to travel almost anywhere in NC and VA and occasionally to Chicago, New York.

    Thanks alot for any help.
    Well.... TracFone is setup like this....


    If you click on a GSM phone for the coverage map then it will show GSM service in that area (which is what you were looking at, you said looked like Cingular)

    If you click on a TDMA phone for the coverage map it will show TDMA/AMPS service in that area.

    If you click on a CDMA phone for the coverage map it will show CDMA/AMPS service in that area.

    If I were you, (you said Verizon is great in your area - so is Alltel and USCC). I would go with TracFone CDMA as you can use Verizon, Alltel and USCC. And you can get Analog backup.

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    Tracfone is a reseller of carriers who do not want to make their prepaid available under their own name but would like the profit from it. So the green area for your zip would be the home area of the carrier that Trac is using for your zip. The white is roaming for that carrier. If you go CDMA you'll probably wind up with the same service that Simple Freedom would've given you, just with a phone that isn't as good and minutes\SMS that are more expensive, unless you get an $80 airtime card or the $20 "100 ESN minutes" deals on eBay, which would expire in 60 days anyway. The Nokia 2285 DOES NOT have analog capability so the SF phone will be able to travel (roam yes but OK) more places since it can do analog. The only benefit I can see for Tracfone is that you can get the phone and 160 minutes (through refer-a-friend) for 4 months of service for $25 right now. The other deal would be getting the $90 1-year card and doing the +100 or +200 minute promos on it. Otherwise the card is not worth buying because the minutes are so expensive.

    Doesn't Nextel service your area? I think they do and they not only have Boost Mobile ($20 every 90 days, cheaper than Trac or SF) but they also have Flash ODFM service there. This doesn't make a difference in prepaid Boost but for data plans it's SMOKING fast I hear from PC Mag.

    I just looked on Trac's page and their free phone deal in yor main area is GSM, so you won't want that. You can also get the Moto 120 with the 1-year card and pay $95. This would give you 370-470 minutes for 14 months; 20-25 cents a minute and $6.75 or so per month, a pretty good deal. Not as good as the 160-170 minutes for $25 for 4 months ($6.25 a month, 15-17 cents a minute) but then again you may find this deal in another market that you looked at and then just activate in your normal one. Keep in mind though that only the TDMA deal supports analog, so I think you're better off with the Moto.

    So I guess you should go Trac...

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    It looks like the Tracfone motorola 120 is the one I will go with. The question is how do I get 370-470 for 14 months. I see when I go to to best deals on the home page and enter 27707 for my zip, a moto 120 with 1 year card appears for $89.00. If I click on details I see 1yr prepaid and 150 minutes slashed through and the number 350 shown. Also their is a promo for 100 minutes extra. This is like 450 for 12 months. But when I go to enter this promo number after adding it to my cart it says not valid. Is this a promo I enter once I get my phone or does it need to be added before finaling the order. Also where does the figure $95 dollars come from?

    Thanks alot you guys have been extremely helpful in walking me through this stuff.

    Ok I see where the extra 20 minutes comes from. Where does 14 months come from and the question is why can I not enter the promo number at checkout? Do I enter it after I get the phone delivered? I just don't want to perform the steps in the wrong order and loose it. Also to double check the moto 120 will work in the zip codes I previously mentioned, correct?
    Last edited by redrover12345; 06-01-2005 at 03:23 PM.

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    Don't forget, when you check your coverage area with Tracfone, to select one of the CDMA phones, when viewing the map. Your non-roaming area is a pretty small local area. Everywhere else in the country, you will be paying the double roaming rate, even with Verizon. That National no-roaming map being displayed is only for GSM phones.

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    OK. Here's what you get with your phone:

    20 minutes, 60 days by activating over the web
    100 minutes by using the refer-a-friend promo. Look on eBay for Larry's cell For Less, as he will pay you $5 to do the refer-a-friend, as he referrer also gets 100 minutes.
    350 minutes, 365 days (12 months) by putting in the card code and the promo code WHEN YOU DO THE ADD MINUTES THING. The promo code only works then; it's not really an order promo so much as an airtime promo if that makes it any clearer.

    But I just found an alternative to Tracfone: PagePlus Cellular. You may not want to go with them just yet, as their website is not quite up but IF YOU GET YOUR OWN PHONE AND ACTIVATE IT WITH GETTALKTIME you should be able to get a MUCH better deal than Trac would give you. (sorry for all the shouting but I was just trying to make points).

    For $25 plus maybe $15-$20 for an eBay phone, you get 100 minutes and 90 days worth of PagePlus service. The rate isn't great just yet but look below for the rates with the cards (all of which esxpire in a comfortably long 4 months)

    $10 - 71 minutes - 14 cents a minute
    $20 - 150 minutes - 13.3 cents a minute
    $50 - 400 minutes - 12.5 cents a minute
    $80 - 800 minutes - 10 cents a minute

    So your phone will cost a bit more than the Trac promos will make their phone, and thus your initial minute cost will be higher, but after you get over this hump your per-minute and per-month costs will be substantially lower than what Trac is giving you. A side note here is that you can get the EXACT SAME PHONE as the Trac and it runs on the EXACT SAME NETWORK as the Trac I think except that it has nationwide coverage rather than small local coverage. This is because PagePlus runs off of Verizon too.

    Just a thought. Search eBay for a Verizon Moto v120 (the e model is different color-wise than the c model that Trac uses but I think otherwise it's the same phone) and compare the cost of 471 minutes\15 months ($25 + $50 in cards + plone) with the cost of the Trac deal ($95 for 450 minutes\14 months). See what you find. Hope this helps.

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    I will definitely look into the PagePlus Cellular option after checking costs for the moto 120 on ebay. The nationwide coverage is a huge selling point. Thanks alot for the most helpful suggestions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redrover12345
    I'm looking for a prepaid plan that has the best coverage for the best price in the Raleigh/Durham area of NC and possible west towards Asheville.

    Cingular does not seem to have good coverage and tracfone appears to be on the Cingular network.

    When it comes to Tracfone, you could use several carriers as your primary.

    The 1100 and other GSM phones use cingular, so the coverage will be a problem.

    I have nokis 2285s that use the alltell network, while my GF's V60I uses Verison. They are all in the same area, so they do use both. The coveraghe with either of them is spotless anywhere I've been. She's gone from Gastonia to Kinston and we've both had ceverage all the way to Ashvile and along all the back roads in between.

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