Pre-Paid Cell Phones|
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How to buy a prepaid phone
Providers and Phones
T-Mobile is based in Bellevue, Washington - and formerly known as Voicestream Wireless. T-mobile was the first international communications company offering service to both the US and Europe.
Pros: With T-Mobile prepaid there is no monthly bill, you just pay for refills either online or by buying a minute card at a retail location nationwide. You can also purchase a starter kit that includes a phone, basic accessories and starter minutes when you sign up and the phones include all of the basic calling features.
Cons: Calls can be expensive when purchasing the lower denomination refill cards (for example, the ten dollar refill card works out to 33 cents per minute) and minutes can expire quickly.
Plans: T-Mobile offers four different prepaid services. Their basic pay as you go plan offers four tiers of refill cards. The 10 dollar refill is for 30 minutes, the 25 dollar refill is for 130 minutes, and the 50 dollar refill is for 400 minutes. When you buy the 100 dollar refill, you are enrolled in the Gold Rewards program, which gives you 15 percent more minutes for each card you buy. The 100 dollar card is for 1000 minutes, which already includes the 15 percent bonus.
The pay per day plan starts with a 1 dollar per day access fee, charged only on days you use the phone. This gives you unlimited night minutes, starting at 7 p.m., and unlimited mobile to mobile minutes. All other calls are 10 cents per minute. T-Mobile also has a FlexPay plan. This allows you to choose from among T-Mobile's most popular postpaid calling plans, but pay for them on a prepaid basis. FlexPay customers also have the option of signing a contract, which will entitle them to a subsidy on a handset purchase. Finally, T-Mobile offers a Sidekick plan for the popular device. It costs a dollar per day, and includes unlimited text messaging, email, and Web browsing. Calls are billed at 15 cents per minute.
Customer Service: Customer care is offered via a toll free number, email and retail locations nationwide.
Credit Check: None
Payment Options: T-Mobile's prepaid plans can be paid for with a debit or credit card, or by purchasing a refill card at retailers across the country.
Text and Picture Messaging: Text messaging with all plans, except the Sidekick plan, is 10 cents to send and 5 cents receive for new customers. Picture messaging is also available at 25 cents per message.
Data Plans: T-Mobile offers prepaid Sidekick data plans for $1 per day.
Downloadables: Ringtones, games, wallpaper and applications are available and start at $1.49 each and up, with prices varying based on what you purchase and the phone you're using.
International Calling: T-Mobile prepaid does offer the ability to make international calls. Rates vary based on the destination country, but start at 30 cents per minute, on top of the regular airtime charges. You'll want to check with customer service before making international calls to check rates for the country you're calling.
Roaming Charges: There are no roaming charges on the T-Mobile USA network.
Calling Features: All phones feature call waiting, caller ID, voicemail and 3 way calling. Airtime rates apply.
Activation Fee: None
Nationwide Long Distance: Long distance calls to all 50 United States made with T-Mobile are treated like regular calls with no additional long distance fees.
411 Calls: Directory assistance is available for $1.79 per call, plus airtime.
Earliest Minute Expiration: All refill cards below 100 dollars expire in 90 days.
The 100 dollar card expires in one year, and extends the expiration of future purchases to one year.
911 Calls: Yes
Phones: T-Mobile prepaid cell phones start at zero dollars (after sending in the mail-in rebate form) and go up to $89.99. There are a number of web exclusive deals, which offer substantial discounts from retail price. Select phones come with a free 30 dollar refill card.
Some Available Cell Models:
Nokia 1661 (shown)
Size: 1.8 x 4.3 x 0.5
Weight: 2.9 ounces
Included battery: 860 mAh Lion
Talk time: up to 4.2 hours
Standby time: up to 20 days
Band (frequency): 850 MHz;1900 MHz
English/Spanish user guide
Top Phone Features
FM radio (headset required)
*Additional fees may apply
Text messaging* The quick, quiet way to stay connected.
Speaker phone Put down the phone and keep talking with a convenient speakerphone.
FM radio (headset required) Listen to your favorite stations from anywhere.
Calculator A handy way to check your figures.
Calendar Keep track of appointments and even set reminders to make sure you're on time.
Phone book Store names and numbers for easy retrieval and dialing.
Speed dial Call numbers in your phone book with the touch of a button.
Stopwatch Time anything you want to one hundredth of a second.
Vibrating alert Phone vibrates to let you know you have a call or message without disturbing anyone.
Built-in Paging allows callers who reach your voicemail to enter a return phone number instead of leaving a voice message.
Call Forwarding will automatically forward your calls to another mobile or landline phone number. You can use the Call Forwarding feature to forward all calls to another number or to forward calls only when you are unavailable. When forwarding calls to phone numbers outside your local calling area, toll and long distance charges apply. Additional per minute charges apply to calls forwarded to another number.
Call Waiting lets you place a call on hold to make or receive another call. Note: Airtime rates, roaming and long distance (if any) apply for both calls.
Caller ID lets you see who's calling before you pick up the phone. Note: Due to public telephone network limitations, caller ID may not always be available.
Conference Calling lets you add a third person into any conversation. Note: The initiator of the call will be charged double airtime minutes, roaming and long distance (if any) during the conference call.
Customer Care representatives are ready and waiting to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for activation, service, and billing questions. It's always free to call domestically; dial 611 from your T-Mobile phone or 1-800-937-8997 from any other phone. Or e-mail customercare@T-Mobile.com.
How to buy a prepaid cell phone - Carriers, Providers
How to buy a prepaid cell phone - Advantages, Disadvantages, Plans, E-mail
How to buy a prepaid cell phone - How I did it. Real world experience Step by Step
How to buy a prepaid cell phone - SIM card
How to buy a prepaid cell phone - Details about Providers, Phones
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