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Thread: What Is Currently The Best Option For A Very, Very Low Usage Voice Only Carrier

  1. #1
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    What Is Currently The Best Option For A Very, Very Low Usage Voice Only Carrier

    As background, my wife and I are both retired and we each have cell phones that we purchased unlocked. They remain 100% of the time in our vehicles because we live in a rural area with no cell phone coverage at our home. The only time we use the cell phones is when one of us is out and there is a need to call the other one at home due to a change in plans.

    In the past I had a prepaid card with minutes that didn’t expire unless you didn’t make a call for 90 days. The other day I really wanted to call home and couldn’t because my account had been suspended. Since there were definitely minutes available and I had not made call for well over 90 days (I am guessing 6 months at least) I can only assume that was the problem.

    Rather than go through that again, I am looking for something different. My first thought was the $3 per month T-Mobile plan with automatic billing to a credit card each month to keep it active. Unfortunately they have apparently transferred that plan to Ultra Mobile and that option is no longer available for new accounts.

    As a result I am now looking for recommendations on carriers. What I am looking for is a no strings plan with low monthly voice only usage (30 non rollover minutes a month would be plenty) that will always be there when I need it. Free would be great but a modest fee such as $3 a month would be fine. I just don’t want to pay a lot for minutes or data that I will never use. Would the FreeUP Mobile free plan fit the bill? Are there any plans I should consider?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Truphone for occasional use

    Truphone international SIM

    Uses AT&T in the USA.

    Per line: $30 start-up - SIM card and $15 credit toward services, which never expires. No monthly fee.

    Outbound: 9˘ per minute, 9˘ per text msg.
    Inbound: Free

    Only requirement is that you must originate one call or text message in each 90-day period.

    A slight drawback is that Truphone uses VoIP phone numbers which can't accept text messages from automated systems, such as authenticating log-in to banks, Amazon, etc. (messages arriving from other mobile phones work properly).

  3. #3
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    FreeUp, which uses AT&T, offers 250 minutes (and/or texts) for free monthly.

    Page Plus Cellular, which uses Verizon, offers a paygo plan for $10/120days, which works out to $30/360 days, and any unused balance continues to accumulate as long as you add another $10 every 119 days. Calls are charged at $0.06/min ($0.05/text and $0.05/MB also available).

    I don't know what cellular network you currently use, but you might find that Verizon's network will have better rural coverage, almost certainly than T-Mo, and possibly even better than AT&T, depending on your actual location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockchuck View Post
    Only requirement is that you must originate one call or text message in each 90-day period.

    As I said in my original post, that is precisely what I had and the reason I am looking for something different. To reiterate I am looking for a plan that has

    1. No strings attached, i.e., it should not have something you have to do other than pay your bill to keep it the plan active.

    2. The fee should should $5 a month or less.

    3. If there is a fee attached, you should be able to set up automatic payment each month via your credit card.

    4. I only need voice and the monthly minute allotment can be small and not roll over. 30 minutes a month would be more than enough. I would not even mind a plan with no monthly fee but a 25 cents per minute charge for every call I make. The caveat is that it has to be available even if I do not make a call for 4 months.

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    @Boz1. Thank you. I saw the FreeUp thread and it sounds good but I was unable to find a link the specifically spells out what the terms and conditions are, i.e the fine print. Guess I will have to look harder.

    I will also look into Page Plus Cellular. Based on what you said it sounds fine but I would need the ability to set up automatic billing every three months

    Thanks again.

    Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LPPan2 View Post
    @Boz1. Thank you. I saw the FreeUp thread and it sounds good but I was unable to find a link the specifically spells out what the terms and conditions are, i.e the fine print. Guess I will have to look harder.

    I will also look into Page Plus Cellular. Based on what you said it sounds fine but I would need the ability to set up automatic billing every three months

    Thanks again.

    Thanks again.
    Page Plus Cellular does do automatic refill on the standard plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LPPan2 View Post
    @Boz1. Thank you. I saw the FreeUp thread and it sounds good but I was unable to find a link the specifically spells out what the terms and conditions are, i.e the fine print. Guess I will have to look harder.

    I will also look into Page Plus Cellular. Based on what you said it sounds fine but I would need the ability to set up automatic billing every three months

    Thanks again.

    Thanks again.
    You're welcome.

    Freeup has been "so-far-so-good" for over a year, although there have been three iterations of the free plan to date, even if the prior free plan offerings have been grandfathered in so far, but long-term reliability from a service that is offered for free is sometimes a bit of a gamble.

    Re PPC, just to clarify, it's every 120 days, which is almost 4 months, not 3 months. So, $10/120 days (~4 months) comes out to $2.50/30 days (~1 month). It's one of the best paygo plans from a well-known, reputable MVNO for low usage that I'm aware of currently. Also, PPC does offer auto-refill.

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    Regarding the Truphone discussion above, I have had an active Truphone SIM for backup since 2015. The OFFICIAL terms require usage every 180 days, NOT 3 months, and even so, that has NOT EVER been enforced on my account, or on anybody else's account that I'm aware of so far.

    See section 7.10 at http://truphone.com/us/legal/truphon...and-conditions for the official terms, but like I said, so far, the usage every 180 days requirement has NOT ever been enforced.

    LPPan2, if you have a Truphone SIM (I'm not sure if that's what you meant in your post above), have you looked at your online account to check the account status? I've had 1+ years of no usage on my Truphone SIM at a time, and my account remained active with the balance intact.

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    Red Pocket $60 for annual plan which gets you 100 mins talk/100 texts/500MB data each month. Buy sim and plan from Red Pocket on Ebay. Pay once and you are good for the year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    Regarding the Truphone discussion above, I have had an active Truphone SIM for backup since 2015. The OFFICIAL terms require usage every 180 days, NOT 3 months, and even so, that has NOT EVER been enforced on my account, or on anybody else's account that I'm aware of so far.

    See section 7.10 at http://truphone.com/us/legal/truphon...and-conditions for the official terms, but like I said, so far, the usage every 180 days requirement has NOT ever been enforced.

    LPPan2, if you have a Truphone SIM (I'm not sure if that's what you meant in your post above), have you looked at your online account to check the account status? I've had 1+ years of no usage on my Truphone SIM at a time, and my account remained active with the balance intact.
    I have a Truphone line and have had it for a number of years.
    I had data leak once a few years ago.

    I have never made an outgoing call or sent out any texts.
    My line is still alive.

    I get voice mail from some Chinese speaking woman with a California phone number about one time a month.

    I still have a $14.99 balance on this line even after the small data leakage a few years ago.

    If I was going to recommend something like the OP is looking for I would recommend Truphone.

    Sent from my Monstrous Moto e5

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    I, too, have TruPhone SIMs that I don't use, and they still work on the very rare occasions I need them.

    The 180 day rule is not enforced at all.

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    h2owireless also would suffice. I don't see any requirement of using the phone monthly, just add money regularly. $10/month + tax every 90 days, $0.05/minute. I'm up to over $50 in credit.
    iPhone X is my current primary phone. I have older model iPhones and Moto phones available on other lines. Currently prepaid, though would consider postpaid on right plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LPPan2 View Post
    I saw the FreeUp thread and it sounds good but I was unable to find a link the specifically spells out what the terms and conditions are, i.e the fine print. Guess I will have to look harder.
    FreeUP is good, so far, but it doesn't meet your requirements. From its Terms and Conditions: We reserve the right to terminate accounts on the Free Plan that are inactive for 60-days with no usage. Your Free Plan will be deactivated, if you fail to login to your account at the end of each billing cycle and manually renew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick880 View Post
    FreeUP is good, so far, but it doesn't meet your requirements. From its Terms and Conditions: We reserve the right to terminate accounts on the Free Plan that are inactive for 60-days with no usage. Your Free Plan will be deactivated, if you fail to login to your account at the end of each billing cycle and manually renew.
    Good find. In that case, PPC definitely has the lowest monthly cost and is perhaps only option that meets the $3/mo criteria in the original post.

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