Cell Phones and Ham Radio
We are always interested in items of interest that
we can share with our ham radio friends or anyone else for that
matter who may be reading this page....especially when it comes to saving
them tons money they can put back into ham radio equipment or their
pocket.....so don't skim over this article, read it carefully and you
may be glad you did!
You can consider this as an advertisement, a personal recommendation,
and a review all rolled into one article.
If your looking for much cheaper cell phone service, we found 2 ways to save tons of money on excellent low cost cell phone service! Here is how it happened.
One day my wife and I were talking about getting a cell
phone for emergency use only when she or I were out in
the car away from home...yes, I know...ham radio always comes thru,
but she is not a ham and I can not persuade her to become one!
I opened my mouth, (gets me in trouble with her sometimes),
and said I would do some research on what was "out there" in the way of
ultra cheap cell phone service since we did not need cell phone service
with all those bells and whistles.
So I got on my internet friend Google and started searching for "cheap cell phones" "cheap cell phone service", etc.
What I discovered both amazed me
and enlightened me as to what you can get in a cell phone and the
service required that meets all of our requirements at a price that I
found hard to believe compared to a couple of cell phone services we have
used in the past.
So what did I discover?.....TracFone at Wal-Mart!
TracFone, is a relatively new
cell phone service provider based out of Miami, Fl. They are not a cell
phone company such as Verizon, ATT, etc. They contract and buy "air time"
in huge quantities from all of the major "cell" companies. Where there is
a cell phone tower, there is TracFone...simple as that. They have teamed
up with the world largest retailer Wal-Mart!
I fount that they offer
several different styles of TracFone cell phones made by major cell phone
manufactures like Motorola, Samsung, etc that you buy
outright plus "air time" minutes to go with them that you buy
ahead of time. Then you get the phone activated, (which is a very simple
process), and your all set with a high quality cell phone and the
"air time" minutes in case you need it in an emergency or for any use. So
long story short, there are no contracts, nothing to sign, the phone works
great and the most important thing,
The way I understand it is
that all you are required to do to keep the TracFone service is buy
more minutes before the "service days left" ends to keep the
phone service activated! When you buy more minutes, this extends the
service cut off date, plus adds minutes to your air time. Each time you
buy 60 minutes, your "service end date" is extended 90 days. The TracFone
even tells you how many service days are left and the number of minutes
As of this writing we have 148
days left of service time plus 65 minutes of "air time". We used 5
already. Thankfully, they were not for emergencies!
So how "cheap" was all of this?
The TracFone phone I bought
was a Motorola W260G TracFone package with home charger,
Walmart price, $14.88 (got it on a "Roll Back" special) the day I was
there..lucky I guess!
No activation fees, no contract, no extra charges of any kind and the Wal-Mart Associate even activated it for me at checkout....nothing to sign, and nothing else to buy except for air time minutes later when I run low. I don't even need to buy them unless the "end of service days is about to expire and I don't want to loose the service.
Total cost for the phone and 70 minutes to use for 150 days = $37.72 including tax!
That's about 25 cents per day including the initial cost of the phone for the first 150 days.
Now forget the cost of the phone for a moment, that was a one time cost.
The TracFone air time minutes
cost, including tax, equals out to about 35 cents per minute
initially including tax...now wait...that sounds high BUT, remember, you
can stop the service at any time at no charge to you because you don't have a contract to pay to get out of and you
will not get a "final" bill from TracFone or any other bill for that
matter. Don't stop reading here...there's more.....
If 60 minutes gets you 90 days of service for $19.88 plus tax, then that's about 4 times per year you have to spend $19.88 which equals to about $80.00 PER YEAR for cell phone service! That's about 22 cents per day to have cell phone service! No...it's not unlimited this and unlimited that, but........
How many people do you know who's cell phone cost per month is around $6.69 PER MONTH? Most are around $50.00 to $80.00 per month.... That's hundreds of dollars we just saved per year with TracFone for ham radio equipment!!!
Now using the simple math above, you can see that, depending on your present service, you could save HUNDREDS of dollars per year with TracFone, (that's more radio equipment you could buy) using TracFone, or said in another way, you could spend hundreds of dollars MORE for the cell phone service with that contract.... all the frills you have now and have little money if any left for ham radio! Even if you want to stop your service with that other provider, chances are your on a contract and it will cost you some serious dollars to get out of that contract! So you spend lots more money to try to save money by getting out of that contract.
To say it even in another way, you spend about $80.00 PER YEAR for an inexpensive, highly reliable TracFone and have the use of a cell phone that will work anywhere the major cell phone carriers have coverage. No there's no roaming charge.
TracFone does not own or maintain
cell towers. They lease air time from most ALL of the major cell phone
companies including Verizon, ATT and most of the other giants so your
chances of being out of cell phone range is small.
How would I
TracFone, Straight Talk and Net10 are registered trade marks of the respective companies.