Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Bare Bones" Cell Phone for $30 A Year? Yes, Please!

If your phone is your lifeline, if you have to upgrade your phone all the time, or if you have to have all the bells and whistles, this post will probably not interest you (though it may still save you money).

I am not known for my cell phone use. In fact, people would probably say I am known for NEVER answering my cell phone, for forgetting to charge my cell phone, and even more often, for not even having my cell phone turned on.

I don't make calls on my cell phone. I don't text...ever. I don't own a smartphone and have no desire to own one. I would be happy just not bothering with a cell phone except Mr. LH insists I have one "for emergencies".

For years, I have had cell phone service through Verizon on a plan with shared minutes that allowed us to have an "add on" phone for $9.99 a month (after all regulatory fees and taxes it wound up being over $13 a month but we'll just say it's $10/month to make it easy). Last month, my phone enjoyed 5 minutes of call time. I wasn't even the one making the calls. The Boy had my phone so he could call us when he was ready for a ride home after his Boy Scout meetings ended.

5 minutes. Ten dollars.

That "emergency" phone got to be quite expensive to have.

A few weeks ago we cancelled my phone on our Verizon plan. I was going to test a new (new to us) provider, Page Plus Cellular.


The reviews for Page Plus are all over the place, from good to bad. I noticed that most people who do complain are upset about data streaming speeds. I have also read very positive reviews from people who use a lot of data. But I don't need data. I only need to be able to call for help in an emergency (and occasionally let The Boy use my phone when he's at Boy Scouts). And the majority of the reviews I read from frugal-minded people (especially those who, like me, don't need a phone to do much more than make a phone call), were quite positive.

I get (sort of) the same coverage with Page Plus as I did with Verizon. In Colorado, coverage looks to be a little spotty in parts of the higher mountains and the eastern plains (voice available in most areas and no coverage in some areas) but in the areas I would be most likely to travel, I shouldn't have a problem. Near The Boy's camp outside of Elbert, Colorado, my Page Plus phone had no signal. Mr. LH's phone showed one to two bars. Inside the camp (rocky, hilly and covered with trees), neither phone had a signal.


You can view the coverage for your area by typing in your zip code on the Coverage Map.

I was able to use my current Verizon phone (a 4+ year old Samsung SCH-U900 FlipShot) so I didn’t have to buy one. It still worked fine and I don't need the "latest and greatest". If it dies, I'll find another old phone to use. $10 was all it took to activate my old phone with the new phone number (after 4 years of living in Colorado, I still had a NC phone number - it was time to fix that). If I had chosen to keep my old number, activation would have been free.

After just a few minutes and a few steps, my phone was up and running with a new number on the new service. I was provided with $2 of calls/texts/data to "test things out".

Page Plus has a lot of available plans, but I wanted the bottom of the barrel one because I rarely ever use my cell phone. I went ahead and purchased the bare minimum pay-as-you-go card online, received an immediate confirmation with a PIN, and entered the PIN online.  It was all quite easy! Now I have 100 minutes that will expire 120 days from now if I don’t use them. At that time, I can purchase another 100 minute PIN.

It cost me $10 for the minutes (technically, it came to $11.11 with all the regulatory fees and taxes). So that works out to $30 a year for up to 300 minutes (that I will still probably never use) verses $120 a year that we were paying through Verizon with a cheap $10 a month “add-on” plan.

I have the same phone, almost the same coverage, the same "emergency communication capabilities" and a new number...all for $90 less per year.


All opinions are my own. Page Plus Cellular is in no way affiliated with this blog and did not request a review. Also, Mr. LH and I have always been happy with Verizon phone service and Verizon customer service...just not the price. Since we do sometimes travel to remote areas, Mr. LH will be keeping his Verizon service but changing it to a smaller plan. That way, there's a better chance we will have a signal when needed.



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