Cell Phone Ponderings

About 12 or 14 years ago one of the cell phone companies came to the office where I worked. They were promoting their phones to the employees of our large firm. They had an “emergency” program which was very reasonable which assumed you’d only use the phone on rare occasions such as when you had a flat tire or something similar. I signed up for that program.

Over the years I’ve gotten less enthusiastic about the cell phone. The cost increased, naturally, from that very low one. After a few years, it appeared that I had signed up for two-years of service “on a contract.” Every two years, they would switch the phone instrument and want to sell me a feature for this, that, or the other thing. What they didn’t want to sell me was that basic emergency plan. It appeared to have vanished.

Now it’s a rare individual who doesn’t have a cell phone that is also a camera, will download email, and do heaven only knows what else. I wonder if it will stoop to make the lowly phone call. When my provider changed out my phone this last time, I decided I didn’t like that phone. It was too small and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to dial a number on it without pressing multiple buttons all at the same time when I only wanted to press a few, sequentially, to make a call. After some thought, I decided to just cancel the whole thing and maybe get a prepaid phone.

That was not easily accomplished. I ended up having to pay the balance of a two-year contract which was fairly expensive. The company gave no consideration to the fact I had been a loyal customer for a number of years, paying a monthly bill and rarely ever making a call.

My nephew told me about a website, puretalkusa.com, that interested him. They had a flex plan which would only cost $10/month. I looked at their plans and while $10/month seems modest, if you’re never or only rarely ever going to make a call on the cell phone, it would be expensive. You were given some number of minutes per month and they would roll over to the next one if you didn’t use them. That’s nice but I could just see me at the end of the year with over a thousand unused minutes.

So today I bought a prepaid phone. I shall have to keep my eye on it and add minutes to it every three months but I think this will come closer to meeting my “emergency” cell phone needs. Do you have a cell phone? Do you use it in place of having a land line?

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4 Responses to Cell Phone Ponderings

  1. Emily says:

    Hi this is Emily on behalf of AT&T – home phone service is a great compliment to your cell phone for emergency situations. From those times when you can’t find your cell phone to power outages, nothing beats the sense of security that comes with having a landline.

  2. Mary Ann Powell says:

    I bought a TracFone when I was delivering “Meals on Wheels” in remote areas. That was several years ago and I still have it – paid $10 for it at Dollar General. The plan I have costs $11.13 a month. For this I get 50 minutes and 30 days added and they continue to roll over if I don’t use them. I seldome use the phone, so be the time we go on a trip which is when I use it most, I have over a year of time and 200-300 minutes accumulated. It doesn’t take pictures, do e-mail, internet etc. I love it!!

  3. margaret says:

    Fifteen years ago there was a dreadful murder here in Edmonton which resulted in many women, me included, acquiring a cellphone. (The victim could have been saved if the police had been able to locate her in time.) At that time the cost was $8.95/month, 15 minutes of outgoing calls only. I ‘ve kept the plan, the cost is now $12.95/month and the company replaced the phone once to an itty-bitty model that takes up only a corner in my purse. The one time I had a true emergency (broken fan belt on a brand new car) there was no service – I was deep in the Rocky Mountains. I use the phone so seldom it probably works out to three or four dollars per call. Still, I like the sense of connectedness that makes me feel more secure in this naughty world – the coverage area has expanded, even in the wilderness areas of the Rockies.

    I’m one of your interested but silent readers. I like your blog.

  4. AlisonH says:

    We had phones on a plan and went well past the two year contract and at any point after those two years, we could bag it at any time–and we were grandfathered in to the old level of fees no matter what new customers had to settle for. I’m surprised someone told you you had to pay out that contract. You shouldn’t have had to.

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