Prepay Without Losing Minutes?

by Ed
(Virginia)

I am a senior citizen with one Verizon low-cost plan and a Verizon prepay on another, older phone. The prepay is kept only for emergencies and I have now gone for 3 or 4 months without actually using it. We do not text; we do not take photos; we do not use it for getting email. Each month Verizon wants another $15 despite the fact that we have used zero minutes. Is there a better solution for an emergency phone that provides just a little more than the inherent 911 capability -- the occasional phone call -- such as a prepay where the unused minutes don't expire and where you're expected to pay only when you actually use the phone? We don't use the cellphones for long distance as we have digital landline with free long distance through our homeowners association.

Comments for Prepay Without Losing Minutes?

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Oct 28, 2014
Low Cost Pre-paid Cell Service
by: Happy31

I use H2o (AT&T GSM network) for my minimal phone needs because they have plans as low as $10 for three months. H2o support is not that great, but once you learn how to do things yourself on their website the service is good.

I purchased an unlocked AT&T branded phone from Best Buy and called (long wait on hold) to have it set up. I have had the service for seven months and I am satisfied with it. As mentioned, my cell phone needs are minimal. In seven months I have averaged about one call per week. And since account balances roll over, I have not needed to add to the account other than purchasing new three month terms.

I chose a Nokia Lumia 520 Windows 8 phone for two primary reasons; 1- It syncs with my desktop, and 2- The GPS will function (minus some features such as traffic alerts) without an internet connection.

Jun 13, 2011
911 needs no service
by: Anonymous

If the ONLY reason you keep your phone around is to dial 911, then you do not need to even have a prepaid plan of any kind.

Cell phone carriers are required to accept ANY cell phone in their network range capable of dialing 911, and to connect the 911 call through immediately.

So, if that is the only reason you have a cell ("Glove box"), just remember to keep it charged and drop the carrier altogether.

May 03, 2010
Keeping Your Prepaid Phone Active With Minimal Cost
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This is a really good topic. The wireless industry refers to people with this type of usage activity as "glove box" users. i.e. When someone basically puts the phone in the glove box of their car, and only uses it for emergencies. This is definitely a very legitimate use of a wireless phone, and I have family members who do the same thing!


I also understand why people get frustrated when they don't use their phone, and yet the money disappears after a period of time! To provide some perspective, however, prepaid carriers do have a fixed cost even if you never use your phone. These costs surround what's referred to as network carrying costs. Things like having a phone number on the account. A phone number is considered a resource that costs money. There's also a platform cost (usually calculated on a monthly basis) just to maintain the account with its status, balance, etc. The point here is that there's a cost for carriers that they need to recoup. Don't get me wrong, it's not as though they're just breaking even if you pay their minimum amount; they'll make money on it, though not anywhere near what they do on subscribers who use their phone more regularly. In other words, if all of their customers used their phones in this way, they wouldn't be able to stay in business!


That said, you'll still want to minimize your average monthly cost to meet your personal needs and objectives, taking into consideration the expiration date. But no, you won't be able to have your minutes never expire; at least not that I'm aware of.


What you'll want to do is check out the dollar value and expiration periods on the Compare PAYG page. The less money you can add, with the longest expiration date, the lower your average monthly cost will be.


The best rate I've seen lately is $10 for 90 days, which would give you an average monthly cost of $3.33/month. Now that's not a bad price for emergency/occasional use!


I'd also recommend signing up for automatic topup using a credit/debit card. Basically, when your balance hits at or below a defined amount (ex. $5), it will automatically replenish to a preset amount that you usually get to choose (in this case you'll want it to be set at $10). Also, note that it's important to ensure that the account will also automatically be replenished when the funds expire. This is important, because some plans don't work this way, and funds expiring will take your account to zero without triggering the threshold balance (in this example $5). I'm sure there are others that work this way, however, I can say for certain that Boost Mobile works this way (at the time of writing this at least).


I hope this helps!

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