Cheap voice-only cellphone plans? [telecom]

Have a question or want to start a discussion? Post it! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View
Apologies if this is considered off-topic, but my (non-datacomms)
cellphone account just expired. I wasn't paying attention. 8-(

It was an AT&T GoPhone (now called AT&T Prepaid) that cost $100/year
and gave me 1000 minutes of talk time for one year. No data, no
smartphone, just simple voice. It was just for unusual circumstances,
and worked fine.

Obviously, I'll go back to AT&T to see if they'll renew the account,
but in case they won't I'd like to know if there are any alternatives.
I've never used more than a small fraction of the talk time each year
and have no need of a smartphone. I just want something to let me
communicate when in transit.

Poking around briefly on the Web I find lots of "cheap" cellphone
options, but all seem to involve more service than I need.

Thanks for reading, any thoughts appreciated.

bob prohaska

Re: Cheap voice-only cellphone plans? [telecom
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2018 06:07:10 -0400
Subject: Re: Cheap voice-only cellphone plans?

Try Tracfone.  Most of their plans include data, but you'll be able to
get more than enough minutes for your need for under $100/year.  Pay
in advance and buy a bundle of minutes.  Also available at some stores
like Staples.

Michael Muderick

Re: Cheap voice-only cellphone plans? [telecom]
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I like Ting, pay-as-you-go.

If you use nothing, it'd be $6/month (+ tax & CALC, blah blah blah) to
hold the line/service. 100 minutes per month (only kicks in if you use
it), adds $3 to that. So pretty close to the price and minutes you
state, but what is better, if it is never used, you pay less. If you
use more, you pay more. They'll let you bring your own device.

Doug McIntyre

Re: Cheap voice-only cellphone plans? [telecom]
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I would too if they weren't limited to Sprint and T-Mo whose coverage
is poor and non-existent, respectively, where I live.

They'd be delighted to sell at&t or VZ but those two aren't interested
in new MVNOs.

Re: Cheap voice-only cellphone plans? [telecom]
Quoted text here. Click to load it

The cheapest prepaid I know of is Tracfone, who resell at&t, Verizon,
and T-Mobile.  Their cheapest plan is $18+tax every 90 days which
gives you 60 or 120 minutes, depending on the phone, extra rolls over
if you don't use it.

Their smartphone plans are, for some reason, cheaper than their
dumbphone plans.  If you have a smartphone, the same plan gives ou 180
mins, 180 texts, and 180mb of data.

You can bring your own smartphone, or they have cheap basic phones for
$20 or less.

John Levine,, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail.

***** Moderator's Note *****

With Tracfone, the unused minutes roll over ONLY if you add MORE
minutes before the due date. If not, they go away.

Bill Horne

Re: Cheap voice-only cellphone plans? [telecom]
Quoted text here. Click to load it

When I looked at Tracfone it appeared they charged about the same as
AT&T but allowed only 400 minutes/year. Not bad, but out of pocket
no better, and the name "Tracfone" makes me cringe. 8-)

Ting looks like a better deal if the coverage is acceptable in my area.
I had no idea of its existence (despite looking) and am grateful for the  
guidance of the group. At least now I've got one potential alternative
when it comes time to renew. It isn't much cheaper than what I have, but
it _is_ cheaper.

Thanks to all for taking the time to reply!  

bob prohaska

Re: Cheap voice-only cellphone plans? [telecom]
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Look again.  The $18/quarter plan is about $75/yr.  If you talk a lot,
you can use it with a cheap smartphone which triples the minutes
so you get 720 min/yr (also 720 texts and 720mb)

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Agreed, if you have adequate Sprint or T-Mo coverage.  If you need
AT&T or Verizon, Tracfone is the better option.


Re: Cheap voice-only cellphone plans? [telecom]
Quoted text here. Click to load it


Much to my surprise, the salesperson at the local AT&T phone store
said "It's not on the website, but you can renew it." No attempt at all
to upsell. Same price, same time limits. Problem solved for now.

Thanks for reading,  

bob prohaska

Re: Cheap voice-only cellphone plans? [telecom]
[The rambling below also applies to the recent "without a landline"/
"voice mail question" thread]

On Thu, 19 Jul 2018 at 22:21 -0000, bob prohaska wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I'm in a similar situation, basically happy with my AT&T GoPhone for
occasional voice and text use.  I actually have a cheap smartphone
(after they turned off local 2G service disabling my old flip-phone
without telling me).  I never use cellular data, just WiFi at home or
a few other places.

With my current accumulated balance and rate plan ($25/3 months and
$1/day unlimited when used) I can go for over two more years of
unlimited use, so I don't want to switch from the GoPhone service.

In addition, I have Vonage for my "home" service which I seldom use
and would like to get rid of.  I have some old cordless phones setup,
but I mostly use the very clunky Vonage Mobile Extension android app
over WiFi for the Vonage calls.

Key feature #1: On the cell phone I forward "When busy", "When
unanswered" and "When unreachable" calls to my Vonage number.  This
means the occasional calls to the cell number will go to the Vonage
number and eventually to the Vonage voicemail if not answered.

Key feature #2: My Vonage voicemail is configured to transcribe the
audio to text ("Visual Voicemail") and send me the transcription and
audio file via email.

Most calls to either number go unanswered and to voicemail unless I
know the caller.  I can read the email/voicemail using my normal
processes including on the smartphone if I have WiFi.  This is just
about the only way I get voicemail anymore.

I would like to ditch the Vonage service but have become attached to
their Visual Voicemail and don't know what might be a suitable

It looks like the AT&T "Visual Voicemail" is only Visual in that you
need vision to operate the UI to listen to your voicemail.

I do see Voicecloud
< - but
$15/month for about 10-20 voicemails is pretty high (but a little less
than I'm paying Vonage).

I would prefer to stay away from Google Voice which as usual for
Google seems to have little to no documentation about what it does/how
it works.


What is the current state of voicemail transcription and forwarding to
email?  Is this common for any mobile providers?

Any other ideas or suggestions for a voicemail to email transcription

Stuart Barkley

I've never been lost; I was once bewildered for three days, but never lost!
                                        --  Daniel Boone

Site Timeline