On Thu, 09 Jun 2005 09:04:22 -0400, Barry Margolin
> I have a cellphone, but I use it very infrequently -- maybe about 5
> minutes a month. I bought a Virgin Mobile prepaid cellphone, but they
> require that I purchase $20 of time every 90 days to keep it active.
> So I have to spend nearly $7/mo when I use at most $2/mo.
> Is there a cellphone plan closer to my needs?
A company that resells AT&T Wireless/Cingular TDMA IS-136 service
"Beyond Wireless" will activate any qualifying phone free with the
requirement that you make a call at least every 60 days.
Theoretically with their service you could have phone service for
months on end and not pay anything unless you used up all your
minutes. The drawback (you knew there had to be one) is that they
only have local numbers in a limited number of locations so if the
number wasn't local to people calling you they would pay a toll charge
to call you.
Outgoing calls cost 15 cents/minute down to 10 cents/minute if you
purchase a large number of minutes refill voucher. I have two former
AT&T Wireless TDMA phones that I've activated on their service to use
if the need arises. I should also add that calls that are not "on
network" are charged at four times the regular rate so if you are in
an area where AT&T Wireless never had service it would not be a good
fit for you as any minutes you would use would be off network and
would cost you four times the regular amount. If however you are in
an AT&T network area it's a good deal especially for the casual
Theoretically you could go to a resale/thrift shop and get a used AT&T
wireless handset and have Beyond activate it for you and you'd have an
extremely economical package.
And there's a trick to ordering minutes from them if you're not in one
of the areas they serve. Set up an account using one of the states
that they do serve and use your credit card billing address minus the
state (use one of the states served.) Otherwise you won't be able to
set up an account to buy minutes.