I'm a Believer in the Power of Tracfone

by Gary Oakes
(Palm Bay, FL)

I have had a standard two-year contract phone with AT&T for 27 months now. I didn’t mistype, I meant 27 months. There are three of us in the family, so we went with their lowest level family plan, starting with two phones in Jul ‘06. In Dec ’06 we decided to add my son to the plan for $10/month. I am in the Air Force and receive a nice discount for being military; but even with that, our monthly rate for all three was $75—that’s $1800 over the two years!!

We didn’t take the time to do the math until we realized how little we actually used the cell phones. Not being “phone” people in the first place, whether it be landline or mobile; the cells were really only used when necessary (emergencies etc). We made the calculations about 10 month ago and immediately researched cancellation possibilities. Of course, as most are aware, good luck with that!! $175 per phone—unbelievable! So we decided to stick with the contract until it ran out.

Two phones cancelled out in Jul ’08 leaving one at nearly $50/mo. We couldn’t cancel all three at the same time because the third was added later, and although it was added to the same plan, it carries its own 2 yr contract. Of course there was no mention of this little nugget of information when we added the phone.

Since then, I have been vigorously researching pre-paid phones. Initially we shied away from Tracfone because at one point prior to enter the contract with AT&T, my son had received a Tracfone as a birthday gift from a family member. It didn’t work for him in the manner he would prefer a cell phone to work i.e. texting, web access etc. After looking at everything else that is available, I decided to give Tracfone another look.

It turned out to be exactly what my wife and I need! We especially like the fact that we only need to add minutes every 90 days and there is no daily access fee. That goes way above and beyond what the other carriers offer. I have only owned a Tracfone for a couple of days now, but I love it!

I bought the Motorola W376g with double minutes — what a great phone. It’s a flip phone with few buttons on the outside, this is a good thing. The phones I received for the AT&T plan above had multiple function buttons along both sides of the phone. I was able to lock the main keyboard inside the folded phone but not the outside buttons. There were many occasions where I would have the phone in my pants pocket and it would just start talking to me! This is not a problem so far with the new phone.

The mouthpiece is near my mouth so I don’t feel as though I need to yell to be heard. I can save up to 500 phone numbers. It also has color display, caller ID, blue tooth capable (probably won’t use that), voice mail, text messaging, speaker phone, MMS picture sending, FM radio and a camera. It actually has more features than I need, but it was only $29.99! I will only have to spend $20 every three months to keep the phone active. That’s $190 dollars for two years—you can’t even compare that to the $1800 for the AT&T plan!

Of course when the AT&T plan finally runs its course next month, that $190 will double to $380 in order to outfit my wife with a phone. I’ll take that any day over $1800—it’s a no-brainer! Tracfone is the only way to go!!

P.S. You are probably wondering, what about my son. Well, since he feels that prepaid is not going to meet his personal phoning needs, I’ll just say this. He starts his first job next week!!


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Oct 30, 2008
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Don't fear early termination
by: Anonymous

Great story. One thing, I know people hate paying early termination fees, but if you do the calculation and see that you still save money you should go ahead and do it.

One example from an article on Greg Karp's website:

http://www.gregkarp.com/blog/2008/03/21/prepaid-plunge-part-ii-2/

Verizon Family Share: $1,020
2 Tracfones and minutes: -$300
Early termination: -$155
??????????-
First-year savings: $565
Second-year savings (assuming same minutes cost): $820


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