Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tracfone vs cell phone?

I've been without a handy for almost five years. Usually I'm the only one in my group to be without one.

We recently bought a Tracfone - basically a prepaid cell phone - to use when we need it. We've been on the fence about buying a regular phone, or a second Tracfone so both of us can have one.

Here's what I think about the situation:

Cell phone:
Pro: feature laden
Pro: a lot of minutes
Con: one or two year contract
Con: feature laden

Pro: cheaper
Pro: no contract
Con: minutes can expire

We don't want a cell phone to replace our home phone - we have a great deal on long distance. I don't want a phone that does everything. A camera? Please! With the 1.3MP cameras on phones today I can barely tell the difference between Troy Aikman and Troy McClure. Korea has six and seven MP cameras in their cell phones. When we get there, I'm in!

I don't want a cell phone because it has a lot of minutes - I want one to find out where my family is or call someone when I need them. With this situation, a Tracfone makes perfect sense.

Any dissenters? Tracfone haters?


khickman said...

Can't speak to Tracphone in particular, but about two years ago we had the same debate. I was paying 40 bucks/month for the cheapest T-Mobile plan at the time. My average use was about 5 minutes a month, 10 tops. Sure, the per minute price on a "dealer's" phone is pricey (25 cents/minute is typical), but if you only talk for 10 minutes, you just waste the money on typical cell phone plans (even the rollover plans have gotchas). I decided on Virgin Moble. Got the phone for under 50 bucks, and it costs me 20 dollars every 90 days. The minutes don't expire, but you still have to put that money in it. For the first year I had it, the mean cost per month was under $10. I also had $60 in airtime tucked away. (I never talked enough to deplete minutes before the 90 day deadline.)

If you're not a gabber, its a good way to go. Beware though: lay off the goodies like ringtones to make it economical.

Trey said...

I think all these ringtones are pretty awful. I would only use vibrate, unless I wanted to do something pretty silly to make sure the group heard it.

crose said...

Yeah, but all the cool people have one. Don't you want to be cool? Nothing cooler than talking on a cell phone and smoking a cigarette! Oh, and those ear pieces, ohhh the ear pieces!

Anonymous said...

this doesnt really answer your question... but for us, cell phones made sense.

We were spending about $60/month on a land line plus long distance fees...

when we moved, we didnt get a new land line but rather went to cell phones only.

our cell phone plan required a 2 year contract (which i had no problem signing), had free phones, free long distance, and more minutes than we have ever used.

all of that for $70/month ($50/month plan +$20 for the second cellphone with caller ID, voicemail, etc)

so for a net cost of $10/month more barbara and i both have a cell phone. and i havent regretted it for a single moment.

but what is good for me might not be good for someone else.

and yes, i use an earpiece too. :) but only when i need to be hands free.


John said...

OK I guess I can chime in, since I bug Trey all the time about not having a cell phone. Candy (My wife) and I both have cell phones. Since 9/11 I just want to know where my family is when they are out. We do not have a landline, we really did not use it that much. We only have a few family and friends outside of texas so we just use the cell phone to call them too. Now Candy is a no-fancy type of person so her phone is simple. Mine is a razr 3v. I am the one in the family that loves the gadgets. Also, I have always been very hard on phones (reason unknown) but this phone is a tank. It really is. Very cool. So I think no one should leave the house with out a phone, maybe just for that emergency that you never thought would happen, or you want to tell your husband or wife that you love them, or listen to your son tell you a great story about his day. We spend alot of money on cokes or coffee or just junk,so I really don't think money is an issue. I think we could all spend a little more time connecting with our love ones. So got out and get a phone. There Trey, I said my peace.