Cell Phone Plans: Should You Go PrePaid or Contract?

The Great Cell Phone Plan Debate:

How To Decide Between A Contract Wireless Plan or Prepaid Card

Prepaid cellphone plans are quite flexible and can potentially save you lots of headaches as well as tons of cash— so how come the majority of people who use cellphones still insist on signing a contract? Below we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of contract vs. prepaid wireless cellphone plans.

If you’re tired of being tied down to a two-year commitment, it may be time to rethink why you’re still hanging onto that expensive ball and chain. Below, we’ll take a look at what benefits you may enjoy from a prepaid plan over a contract, then we’ll examine the prepaid vs. contract cellphone plans for several of the U.S. carriers to give you a better idea of whether or not you might benefit from ditching your contract and going prepaid.

Prepaid vs. Contract: The Pros & Cons

How to Decide Between a Prepaid or Contract Wireless Plan

In many countries, you can go to your local convenience store, buy a prepaid SIM for relatively cheap, and you’re ready to make calls in minutes with no contract. The downside? Often you’ll need your own phone. With a contract, carriers often subsidize the retail value of a phone in exchange for a fixed commitment from the customer. You’re basically paying for the discount. So what’s the real price you’re paying for that two-year contract, as opposed to going prepaid?

Examine Your Habits

Before you make any decision about going contract or going prepaid, you need to know your talking habits well. There are a variety of prepaid options: You can pay for X number of minutes, or you can pay by the day that you need access. Things to consider include how much in-network calling you do, and whether you call during nights and weekends. So, look at your recent phone statements, and look at them well.

The Money & Phone Issue

You’ve got several reasons to consider prepaid. If you suspect that what you pay in contract is more expensive than what you could pay prepaid, looking into this option is a valid alternative. (You might also want to try BillShrink to see other ways to cut down on your phone service.) Even if you’re currently out of contract, but your talking and data needs have changed, changing your plan will often obligate you to commit to a new contract for another two years, regardless of what provider you use. For the commitment-phobic, early phone adopters, or constant phone switchers, contracts can be huge detriments.

Keeping Your Number

While contract plans can seem like the adult grown-up version to the prepaid equivalent, this option isn’t just an alternative for unwieldy teenagers. The major carriers will allow you to port your existing number to prepaid plans, and if you’re already using a Google Voice number to manage your existing numbers you won’t have to change a thing to get started.

So What’s The Point?

At the end of the day, the point isn’t just to save more money (even though that’s often a big factor). It’s about not being tied to a particular carrier or phone for two years just because you signed a contract, or just so you could save a little money up front on a phone you’ll want to replace in less than two years, anyway. With prepaid, contract-free plans, you can focus on what should matter most: The quality of coverage and service a carrier provides.’

Details about specific wireless companies for comparisons and the rest of this article can be found here on LIFEHACKER.

Send an email to Erica Ho, the author of this post, at erica@lifehacker.com.

FREE 411 Directory Assistance – Now More Choices!

free411.img_assist_customI’m now aware of 7 companies offering TOLL FREE 411 INFORMATION to anyone using either a landline or cell phone. Now if you’re using a mobile phone, depending on your plan, you will still have to pay for your minutes you actually use, of course. You might want to test these out and see which one works best for you. Websites have been included wherever possible for more info.

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1-800-FREE-411

http://www.free411.com/index.php

1800FREE411

In exchange for listening to a 10-second ad, you can use this free 411-like service. A nice bonus is that it can text (SMS) you the information you’re looking for.

1-800-373-3411

  1. Call 1-800-373-3411
  2. Listen to a 10-second ad.
  3. Follow the voice prompts, asking for your location and business name/type.
  4. Get your desired information by phone or by text.

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1-800-THE-INFO1-800_the_info

http://www.800theinfo.com/

Simply Dial  1-800-843-4636

1-800-THE-INFO is the number to call for free business numbers and addresses. Get the info you need for shops, restaurants, andlocal businesses. Get it fast and get it free. Save yourself some dough. The next time you need to know a number or an address fast, call 1-800-THE-INFO.

It’s like Directory Assistance. Except for some key differences. You can search by the TYPE of business you’re looking for.  Also, if you want to search by neighborhood, landmark or intersection, we can recommend nearby businesses and services.

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1-800-GOOG-411

http://www.google.com/goog411/google411

Google’s service finds specific businesses in specific cities, and connects you to them by phone.

1-800-466-4411

Google’s service gives you information about local businesses in a specific area.

  1. Call 1-800-466-4411
  2. State the location (“Oakland”) and business name or category (“Golden Lotus”/”vegetarian restaurant”).
  3. Choose/confirm the business you want to contact.
  4. Google will connect you.

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1-800-935-5697at&t

1-800-YELLOWPAGES

http://www.att.com/Common/1800yellowpages/product_description.htm

Place a free call to 1-800-YELLOWPAGES – (1-800-935-5697), listen to brief five to ten second ads, and then get the number you want. All for free, thanks to the advertisers who pay for the calls.

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1-800-555-8355

By phone or by cellphone Web

http://www.tellme.com/youtellme_color_screen

Tellme allows you to call a toll-free number and get information such as stock quotes, directions, movie and weather information, or get richer information if you have a Web-enabled phone or Blackberry. It can also text (SMS) you the information.

  1. Call 1-800-555-8355
  2. Say one of the following words below.
  3. Get the information you requested.

You can request any of the following:

  • business (“Coffee”, “Starbucks”)
  • “movies”
  • “sports” – scores, game times, updates
  • “weather”
  • “news center”
  • “stock quote”
  • “travel” – taxis, planes, rental cars, hotels
  • “entertainment” – horoscopes, soap opera news

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1-800-BING-411

http://www.discoverbing.com/mobile/411/bing411

  • Call 1-800-Bing-411 (1-800-246-4411) for free.
  • Connect directly to businesses for free.
  • Share listings with friends.
  • Receive text messages of local listings.
  • Hear the latest traffic reports, personalized to your route
  • Hear turn-by-turn driving directions, or get a text message
  • Find movie showtimes and theater info
  • Listen to current weather and forecasts

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1-800-411-SAVE

1-800-411-SAVE Rolls Out Free Directory Assistance Nationwide

1-800-411-SAVE is a pioneer provider of free directory assistance services. Supported by advertisers, 1-800-411-SAVE provides free residential, government and business listings (by name or category) via live operators. While the listing is retrieved, callers hear a brief, relevant advertising message often containing a promotion or special offer. The 1-800-411-SAVE service is an excellent alternative to costly directory assistance services and is fast, easy and 100% free.


5 Things You Never Knew That Your Cell Phone Could Do

Cell Phone Secrets – You May Want To Know

That Could Save You Money, Time & Stress

cell phoneHere’s some important and useful information that just might come in handy for all you folks out there in today’s real world with cell phones. I strongly recommend that you print this post and keep it in a handy location (maybe your car, purse, wallet, desk, bulletin board, etc) for future reference – Very Good Information to have with/near you. There are a few things that can be done in times of dire emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. Your mobile phone can actually be a ‘lifesaver’ or an emergency ‘survival tool’. Check out some things that you can do with it …..

1st – In an Emergency

The Worldwide Emergency Number for Mobile is 112.

If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency –
Dial 112 – and the mobile device will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and surprisingly, this 112 number can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out for yourself.

2nd – Keys Locked in your Car?

Does your car have remote keyless entry?

This just might come in handy someday – One good reason to own a cell phone – If you lock your keys in your car and the spare keys are at home, you can call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person on the other end press the unlock button – holding it near the mobile phone on their end. – Your car will unlock! This saves (time and gas) someone from having to drive your keys out to where you are. Distance is no object – You could be hundreds of miles away and if you can reach someone who has the other ‘remote‘ for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk). Give it a trial before actually being in this situation!

3rd – Hidden Battery Power

Imagine your cell battery is very low – To activate your mobile phone press the keys *3370#.

Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the device will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged back up when you charge your cell phone next time!
This could really be a lifesaver also!

4th – How to Disable a STOLEN Mobile Phone

To check your mobile phone’s serial number – key in the following digits on your phone: *#06#.
A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.If your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won’t get your phone back, but at least you have the peace-of-mind knowing that whoever stole it can’t use/sell it either. Just thinking that if everybody did this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

5th – Free Directory Service for Cell Phones

Cell phone companies/providers are charging (actually stinging) us $1.00 to $1.75 or more (you may actually be paying a monthly contract fee just for this service) for each 411 information call when there is really no need to – other than greed. Now most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option – Simply Dial: 800-FREE-411 or 800-373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now and start saving!
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Here’s a link to another related post on this blog…free411.img_assist_custom

FREE 411 Directory Assistance – Now More Choices!

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There is also another FREE directory service out there – 1-800-YellowPages or 1-800-935-5697

From ANY PHONE, there’s just one number to find restaurants, shops, hotels and more. Search local and nationwide listings by name, or search by category. No matter how you search ….. ….. It’s FREE.
You don’t even have to be an AT&T customer. Make sure you are never caught without this number – Program this number into all your phones NOW!

This number is in effect in the following states now. Get FREE directory assistance in AL, AR, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NV, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX and WI. You may want to check to see if your state has been added yet.

This is the kind of information people don’t mind receiving, so pass it on to your family and friends.