On Wed, 03 Nov 2004 23:17:34 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Thomas A.
> The main obstacle is my total confusion when I look at the prepaid
> folks web pages -- I mostly can't understand a word they are saying or
> figure out what the actual minimum amount I'd have to spend really is
> (virginmobile.com is the exception -- it almost seems clear).
I'm not really sure what all your confusion is due to. Most tell you
what the terms are i.e. you must pay a minimum amount to get service
and there are usually some requirements for you to keep the service
such as a requirement that you add money at a required interval or
that you place a call by a certain period to keep your account active
> I usually give up when I get past the first page that says prepaid has
> "NO CONTRACTS, NO PLANS, JUST PAY AS YOU GO!", then I see the next
> page which lists a huge matrix of "PLANS" for different kinds of
> prepaid phones (Aargh!).
Different plans for different needs I should think. It's not one size
fits all. Some people need it *just* for emergencies and some need it
for occasional use while others do not have any choice and need
something economical as that's the only service that they qualify for
because either their credit is not good enough to get monthly service
or they are foreigners with no local credit.
> Just as a starting point for comparison, can anyone answer this
> If I never use the phone at all, what is the minimum per-year charge
> to keep it active for each of the prepaid providers "plans"?
I know of at least one plan where you can buy an initial package and
your plan will live on indefinitely providing you make a one minute
duration call every 60 days. It does require that you make at least a
one minute duration call before the end of 60 days. So some effort
and recall is required of you. Beyond Wireless provides this service
http://www.gobeyondwireless.com/ You can buy service and phones
through this company. They are a reseller of AT&T Wireless TDMA
service. The disadvantage of this service is that they offer local
numbers only in certain areas and may not have an area code/number
local to you. They will also activate a compatible phone for free and
give you some initial minutes for free. Minimum recharge card is $5.
Another prepaid service offered by PhoneShark called "JusTalk" which
you can buy a minimum $10 'card' (40 minutes) and it will last you for
six months before you must add new minutes to keep the account active.
They are an AT&T Wireless TDMA reseller as well. They do not sell
phones though. You must provide your own AT&T Wireless TDMA
compatible handset. This service ends up costing you ~$1.50/month.
Here is a site that does prepaid comparisons: