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Thread: Cheapest ways to get more days? CDMA even worth it anymore?

  1. #1
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    Cheapest ways to get more days? CDMA even worth it anymore?

    I have an existing balance with PP prepaid which is expiring today and I'm not sure what to do since CDMA is going away (when? who knows?).

    I use an ancient flip phone which is on its last battery, but honestly even if I upgrade my phone I don't know if I even want to continue with PP. I only use it because the Verizon CDMA network is good in the boonies and post-CDMA I have no idea if that will still be the case. If I want to upgrade to the 21st century I'll want the cheapest data possible and PP definitely isn't that.

    Ideally I'd just pay for enough days to last me to the end of the CDMA era. I hardly use it for calling so my $80 card purchases have resulted in a growing balance which I'll probably just consider a deadweight loss. By then maybe a better solution will be on the US market (although doubtful the 1996 telecommunications act will be abolished by then).

    Any suggestions before I start adding to my deadweight loss?

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    I'm gonna snag a couple $10 refills to tide me over, but I'm curious if anyone is in roughly the same boat. I have no idea if the coverage in the LTE era is going to be better or worse compared to other networks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballo View Post
    I'm gonna snag a couple $10 refills to tide me over, but I'm curious if anyone is in roughly the same boat. I have no idea if the coverage in the LTE era is going to be better or worse compared to other networks.
    I think it boils down to how far away your closest tower is. LTE has less range (I believe 5-7 miles) then 3G/cdma. Of course there's other factors. My tower's about 5 miles. About a year ago apparently Verizon started turning off some of the cdma and my 3G/cdma coverage went to crap. Still barely hangs on. I switched to new VoLTE phones and now have a good signal again.

    I still haven't heard back on a letter to Tracfone Corp. on giving us a reliable date on when cdma will no longer work on their MVNOs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpz1 View Post
    I still haven't heard back on a letter to Tracfone Corp. on giving us a reliable date on when cdma will no longer work on their MVNOs.
    There have been messages sent to some owners of non-VoLTE phones from Tracfone, Straight Talk, and Page Plus stating June 2020 for the CDMA shutdown. Some Page Plus CSRs have also stated this. That is in contrast to earlier Verizon announcements of Dec 2020, so there may be a different timetable for MVNOs. Without a firm statement from the Tracfone companies it is safer to assume the earlier date.

    As far as availability of VoLTE, Verizon seems to have done a good job updating the towers. Even LTE has changed, as they have been using the poorer bands in my area for a couple of years. Seldom see Band 13 anymore.

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    I travel a lot so I'm more concerned about general reception in the boonies (west coast) than anything else. It's literally the only reason I use Page Plus.

    If Verizon no longer has a coverage advantage with LTE I'll want to ditch it. With LTE does it even matter which carrier you're paying through the nose for? Isn't it all one protocol now?

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    I received the PP message and email about needing to get a new phone but never any start date. One CSR told me June 2020, two CSRs said still January 2020. My email to Tracfone Corp still hasn't been answered.

    Where I am I see band 13 most of the time (in the boonies), alternating with 2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballo View Post
    I travel a lot so I'm more concerned about general reception in the boonies (west coast) than anything else. It's literally the only reason I use Page Plus.

    If Verizon no longer has a coverage advantage with LTE I'll want to ditch it. With LTE does it even matter which carrier you're paying through the nose for? Isn't it all one protocol now?
    There were always differences of reception between the carriers, and I saw comparison from travelers who carried both AT&T and Verizon phones long before VoLTE. Verizon LTE only is going to change that and needs to be reevaluated. I would say that Verizon will continue to have an advantage in the West because of a bigger network.

    No, the LTE bands are not the same between carriers. There are differences of exact frequency between them within a band to keep them separate. The uptick is when everything is LTE, it will allow more phones to be universally compatible with fewer radios.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballo View Post
    I travel a lot so I'm more concerned about general reception in the boonies (west coast) than anything else. It's literally the only reason I use Page Plus.

    If Verizon no longer has a coverage advantage with LTE I'll want to ditch it. With LTE does it even matter which carrier you're paying through the nose for? Isn't it all one protocol now?
    The Vzw network is still the largest with the most geographic coverage in the US.

    Overall Vzw network coverage with VoLTE, especially for MVNOs, should be just as good or maybe better than with CDMA voice due to Verizon LTE in Rural America (LRA) Program aka LTEiRA coverage. There may be specific areas where that's not true, but it should be overall.

    Some people will argue that AT&T is close or better in some areas. It may be in some, but probably not all cases.

    LTE bands/frequencies also matter.

  9. #9
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    I actually think there are a lot of people in similar situations. Mainly because PPC was a good place to keep a low use phone for low cost on the VZW network. And now many are facing the reality that they will need to purchase a new phone to keep using the service, or consider other options. And many of these people used cheap flip phones or other low end phones, which are now much harder to come by in new versions...especially ones that will be compatible going forward.

    The phone I have on PPC is a secondary phone for business use. I liked keeping a VZW phone for that vs. my regular ATT network business phone. But I am not seeing as much a need for that any more. I have only kept the phone with PPC because I have had a balance and did not want to lose it, but now I'm thinking it the dead-weight option you mentioned. If I have to fork out $40-50 or more for a cheap phone just to keep the balance, is it worth it? I'm thinking of eating the cost and moving on. I'd lose around $100 balance.

    I have a dual sim GSM phone (4g) that I have an empty sim slot right now. It's my backup personal phone. I had moved my primary personal phone to Selectel from PPC and have been on RedPocket's CDMA-V plan the past two years. I will have to update that phone, but since it is my most used phone, I will consider doing that there. But the one with PPC, I could live with an ATT network plan. So, I am thinking of just going with H2O and using that empty sim slot for that number. I will lose the funds with PPC, but will be able to start adding to the new balance sooner than later this way. If I had to fork over half that amount in balance to get a new phone, a year from now, it would effectively be a little less than $100 on hand at that point (as I'd have added to it). Or, a year from now I could have a $30-40 balance with H2O and not have to buy a new phone....or could look for one less expensive than a VZW compatible one. If I divide the per minute cost into those balances, yes, I'd still have come out better sticking with PPC. But that's a pure cost element. I'm looking at the *going forward* angle of things and think the gsm route will be better for my particular situation.

    If I were insistent on sticking with VZW network, I'd seriously consider what I've already done...switch to RedPocket. Selectel, Boom, and a couple others are more options too. I just like the low cost plans with RP. You can get a decent usage allotment for $10-15 and UTT for $20 with them....on any of their network options. I have used all three of those levels at different times in the past two years. That's still the nice thing about prepaid....being able to adjust your plan based on needs that change. They still do offer a paygo option, but it's not as good as others. PPC does still have one of the better options in that area on the VZW network.

    As for coverage, I have seen pluses and minuses with both the main carriers. When I got my first phone, I had to go with Alltel as even Verizon was not good where I was at. Eventually that became VZW and was a moot point. Overall, I still consider VZW the better coverage overall, but ATT is pretty darn good in most places I've needed to use it. And oddly, one of the most surprising things I found was way up in the Black Hills I ran across an area where VZW was completely nothing, and yet ATT rocked. Three of us had VZW phones and nothing on any of them. I had my backup ATT phone with and pulled it out, and low and behold it worked great way up in the boonies there. But that is the exception. Just goes to show you have to test your own needs. I still try to take one of each network phone with when I travel anywhere as you never know. Even if one is just a backup.

    With Airvoice and H2O on ATT network (even ATTs $2/day plan is a good low use option) you can get your costs pretty low just to keep a good GSM phone alive and usable. Under $4 a month with the first two and less than $9/month with ATT itself. Only real good low end paygo on VZW is still PPC, or if you want to play the TracFone games, they can be ok cost wise. But if you use your phone a bit more.....and want to stay on the VZW network, I'd look into RedPocket, Selectel, Boom, etc. Compare to PPC. Factor in a replacement phone. And what your best option is going forward. Eating some balance may be justifiable in some cases. It may help to almost look at it as if you were starting out fresh....new phone, new plan, new balance, everything. That is your best bet moving forward. Then you just have to weigh whether the deadweight is best to hang onto or move on from it.

  10. #10
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    IMHO, Tracfone is tough to beat as they now have UL TT 30 day plans with varying amounts of data, and 30 -365 day airtime cards, plus the

    Ebay store with 1 year 1200min / 1200 text /3 GB data for $50+tax - Choose Verizon, ATT, or Tmobile or switch b/w the 3 if needed.

    I think TF is easy to deal with - I've never had any problems, but some folk's have had issues in the past no doubt. Just my two cents.

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    I am out in the field - rural NY, near Syracuse. I am happy to say that I have strong lte signal out here. In the past this area was served better by AT&T.

    I think the fears of no coverage when CDMA is dropped might be a little over stated. Change is not something to be avoided, especially if we are all getting on the same boat!

    Sent from my S3_Pro Umidigi using HoFo mobile app

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    why would you give up your current balance? Buy cheap $15 my flip phone and keep your account. I don't think there's another provider out there that has plans as cheap as PPC does. $10 every four months just to keep the lights on, so to speak, to me is dirt cheap. I've been very pleased with using TracFone for my smartphone. But sticking with Page Plus for my backup flip phone is an easy decision. Especially since I've already built up a healthy balance that I'm not giving up.

    Not sure why you stuck with the$80 plan when you weren't using your phone very much. We did the $80 plan for the first few years or so, but once my father's balance grew to $300+ and mine almost $200, I switched us to the $10 every four month plan. You could do the same. Get a cheap MyFlip and switch to the $10 plan until you use up the balance and then switch providers if you want to. Or keep the flip as a backup phone. I actually use my flip phone to talk on and haven't touched my voice minutes balance on my TracFone smartphone. I actually prefer to talk on a flip phone vs smartphone anyway.

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    Huh, for some reason buying two $10 cards only resulted in 120 days instead of 240. wtf

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballo View Post
    Huh, for some reason buying two $10 cards only resulted in 120 days instead of 240. wtf
    You can't "stack" cards on PP like you can some other MVNOs. Only one at a time or you wipe out the first one's days and start the next. Your $ will carry over, just not the days. I assume doing that, you had $20 for 120 days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballo View Post
    Huh, for some reason buying two $10 cards only resulted in 120 days instead of 240. wtf
    That's how PPC paygo has always worked, even back when I first started using them in 2001. I set a calendar reminder to refill every 119 days back then.

    I bought cards when they were on sale and saved the PINs in a file and added them to my account every 119 days. I don't think PPC PINs go on sale like they used to, but the idea is the same.

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