Prepaid Wireless Phone To Replace Landline?

by Sue
(Midland, MI)

Hi, I have an 11-year-old son who frequently is home alone for brief periods of time. We dropped our landline and so he has no way to reach Mom or Dad (or vice versa). I'm thinking of getting a prepaid phone but can't decide whether to go with a plan where I pay per day (like Verizon) or pay for blocks of minutes (like TracFone). This phone would get moderate use, and we live in a semi-rural area so signal strength is important too.


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Jan 18, 2013
Straight Talk Wireless Home Phone
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

That is a great suggestion! As discussed below, there are prepaid wireless options that will cost you less than $15/month, however, depending on your usage needs, this could be a great deal. Note that I checked Amazon; the modem can be found there for under $40 including shipping, while on the Straight Talk site they sell it for $100.

Jan 18, 2013
home service
by: Anonymous

Straight Talk has home service for $15.00

Jan 16, 2013
Go with PagePlus
by: Anonymous

If you have Verizon service where you live, go with PagePlus

They use the Verizon network and charge far less than Verizon. $80 gets you 1000 minutes and a year of service. You can always add more minutes if you need to. Unused minutes roll over.

Jan 15, 2013
Prepaid Is Great For Landline Replacement - Part 1
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This is a great question; thank you for asking it! As I have kids, I can truly understand your need and concern. There should most definitely be a phone available for kids to use when home alone for any period. You may find that it’s used more for convenience for things like calling them to defrost food for dinner, get the laundry started, or to checkup on schedules, but most critically, it’s so important for emergencies.

At the end of the day, what plan makes the most sense largely depends on your usage needs. As an emergency only type of phone, you want to minimize your monthly expense, while ensuring that the phone is always active with funds. For people with this kind of need, going with a prepaid carrier that has an auto payment program is usually the best option.

For example, there are carriers that allow you to signup for low balance auto payment with a credit card such that when your account balance reaches $5 or less, it will charge your card the minimum $10 amount. This also includes when your account drops to $0 when funds expire (ex. after 90 days). So, you can effectively always have a working phone for $10 every 90 days or $3.33 per month; you can’t beat that deal! Note that the expiration feature is absolutely critical, for without it, your funds will expire and your account will ultimately be canceled and you’ll lose the phone number, all potentially without you even knowing unless you’re tracking the phone status carefully.

Jan 15, 2013
Prepaid Is Great For Landline Replacement - Part 2
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

However, you described your usage needs as moderate. So a plan like I just described surely wouldn’t meet your needs as you would need to load more money per month, and likely end up paying too much per minute on a pay as you go plan like that one infers. If it’s being used a number of days per month, but not every day, a daily plan may be a good option. THOUGH, it’s critical to pay attention to the plan details. You want a plan that only charges you the daily fee (ex. $2-$3) if you use the phone that day. Many charge you the fee every day regardless of usage, which is rarely a good deal. Daily plans come in various flavors, including unlimited plans. So you can pay $3 for a given day and get unlimited talk, text, and Web on that day. If you don’t use it on a particular day, you won’t be charged.

If the phone is being used daily, and for moderate amounts of time, you may be better off considering a monthly bucket/hybrid plan that gives you a bucket of minutes each month. There are a ton of these options, particularly as carriers are shying away from unlimited plans due to the financial exposure they represent. If moderate usage for you adds up to a lot of minutes, you may be best off with an unlimited plan. Many prepaid carriers offer these plans that are quite comparable to the monthly bucket plans; again depending on your usage.

Another aspect to keep in mind is to ensure that you use a phone that has good battery life, and if not, be sure to keep it in the charger throughout the day. This will ultimately negatively affect battery life, however, if only being used in the home, it’s more important that it be on and available for emergencies. You may also want to consider prepaid carriers (like kajeet) that have built-in free parental controls.

You can check out the different plan option comparison tables by visiting:
No Contract Cell Phone Plans

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