Prepaid Cell Phone Services

January 19, 2014
I have been looking at what services are available here in the US. There are many reasons as to why people choose these types of services, for me it's plain and simple. I just don't use the phone to talk much. I also usually just talk to a handful of friends every now and then so my needs are very basic and not to mention budget. Now, most of the world pretty much seems to use these. I think we're finally catching up with these here. I also want a very flexible plan that doesn't expire or takes my number if I forget to add any money. So I thought I put down a list of what I find as I now need to find something more flexible for my use. In any case you should be able to transfer your current number to any service now. Just click on the red links to go to their websites and read about them.

PagePlus - Uses verizon's network
 - I just found this one and it looks like you can go for at least 120 days without recharging your cards.
- Seems to use the Verizon network from what I read

Not all phones may work on it, but it should be easy to check.

H2O - Uses At&t's national gsm network (Not recommeded)
- I am also looking at this one as it looks like an affordable service.
-I have ordered a sim card to test out, they were only a few cents so we'll see.
- Uses the ATT network (This may be a good or bad thing depending on where you are)

- Reading many of the reviews the only thing seems to be bad customer service and their data plans cutting you off.
- I have had a chance to use the web from the phone and your money seems to drain pretty fast. I only used it briefly a few times to check my mail and read for moments at a time and the 30 dollars were almost gone and I don't think that even lasted a month. It seems to last fine if you only use it for calling. The web didn't feel as fast most of the time either. It does work, but I won't be using the phone for that anymore.
- Their android app is pretty basic and every time I tried to look at my account it always asks for my number which is very annoying as I still can't remember the new number. So far it looks like at least it works when you are not connected to the internet which I'll need to add more money. So it's hard to know exactly how much you have left on this system. The net10 phone always showed me the exact amount of minutes I had left which was good to know. You do get that information but only after each call which is the other annoying thing about the H2O network. It keeps making that chaching sound every time you make a call or use the web.

November 3, 2014
Today I got a nasty surprise. My phone was empty and I had just made a local call yesterday as I normally do and saw that I had money left on my account. I called H2O wireless and I explained to the tech how my phone was empty all of the sudden. I hardly even call anyone and normally just use it for local calls. In any case the guy on the other side asked me if I had called international because there were some international calls. He didn't tell me where but I don't have anyone to call internationally, hell I barely even call anyone locally. He also said something about using the Internet and I told him that I didn't even use that either. Eventually he sort of understood as I got a bit more furious since he kept trying to say that I had called international. In short he couldn't do anything about my funds just going missing from one day to the next. By the way the few texts and calls I made barely used the amount I had so I knew there was something fishy going on there, but no matter what happened they couldn't do anything about it.  In short, what I read about customers service just getting dropped is apparently true so I don't recommend this company as their service can't help you. Oh and that's the other thing, just trying to get in touch with anyone there is another story. Also there is no way for you as the user to actually track what you have used, you only get to see the leftover amount after each call and no way to go back and look. I still like the way net10 did theirs as you always see what is left of your amount. So now I have to go find me another company because there is no way I'm going to give this company any more of my money. I wouldn't mind using them again if their service wasn't like that, but I rather look elsewhere since there are way too many unknowns with their service. The service works just like any other, but not being able to track your usage better and the support that can't help you make it an easy choice to go find something else.

Net10 - Uses various national carriers depending on where you live. I have been using their prepaid cards for some time now. It worked for my needs, but there are a few cons with their service.

-Works fine once you set your phone on-line.
-My support emails were always answered

-Their phones have always been locked, I could not even used my old sim card on my new net10 phone when I upgraded the phone. Now I can't use the service with my new android phone.

-After 30 days, if you haven't used your minutes, you can't use the remaining minutes until you add a new card. This sucks if you just don't use the phone much and only when needed.

-Not very flexible on their plans. You either have the prepaid or monthly service on smart phones.

November 3, 2014

Ptel - Uses the T-Mobile network. Since H2O decided to take my leftover money out for no reason, I thought I do a new internet search for a new company to try. I found this one and they also have a pay as you go service. So I went back into amazon and order me a sim card from there as you can usually find these cards for a few cents. Once I get it I'll just go to their site and add some money to it and see how it goes. This is actually what I like about these services, they are very simple to get setup with not contracts or anything else. Sometimes the only problem may be transferring your old number from another pay as you go service. If that's the case I don't mind changing it to a new one because sometimes you can get some bad numbers anyway. So I'll be trying out their service and hope it works without any problems. Like anything else, you can't find a good one until you have tried them which can go both ways, but I don't mind as I'm not attached to any number.

I finally got my sim card from amazon for the ptel network. You basically have to go through the online as usual, but I was trying to port my old number to them and I got an email from them saying that H20 didn't recognize my account. So I thought okay no biggie, I'll go back and log into the ptel site and although I got a link to make a password, when you go to their login page it asks for your number and password which at this point is pretty useless to me even though I created that earlier. I can't put in the number I was trying to port in since they were not able to do that yet and their system only asks for a number instead of my email and a password.  I got a hold of them through their online chat, but unfortunately logging in is a no go until I have a number. This basically puts me back to square one until they either port my number or assign me a new one which I said would be okay if they can't port my old one. Yeah it sucks, but this is not as easy as you would think unfortunately. So now I'm just waiting for them to see what they are going to do. I was told that it may take from 2-72 hours to port a number so who knows. At least you can get a hold of them through the web which was nice.

Number porting update...
So after going back and forth on the emails I was told I needed the sim card number from my h2o card so they could ask for the number to be ported and released by h20. I send it over and now I have to wait. In the meantime I have been without a phone. I could have just asked for a new one but I wanted to see what the process for this was like. In short it would be faster to just change numbers, but I'll keep on waiting to see what happens as I really don't use the phone much anyway.

Update: November 14, 2014
I finally got a number assigned since I could not get my old number transferred. The good thing is that the number works. The bad thing is that I got a number from someone with bad credit and I keep getting all these collector calls. Another bad thing about this company is the website. They ask for the cell number and the password I created. I still can't access that page even with the number so this is a huge problem which needs to be changed to using an email instead of a cell phone number as that is creating a big problem since no matter what I can't get in. I guess I would need to create another new account with the new number which I don't even want to bother with now. It's just too much hassle. If they use an email address instead, then you can keep using the same account for whatever you got. As of now I think the website is not helpful in that sense. At least they do answer their chat and emails so you can get a hold of them that way. The service seems to work fine so far, but until the calls stop, who knows. Maybe I will have to get a new number again.

Republic Wireless - Uses the sprint network and the Moto X phones which is nice, but they also use their own firmware which means you can't take the phone and use it on other networks. That goes for any sprint phone if I remember correctly anyway as they use a different type of network. I had them when they first came into the market and unless they use unlocked cell phones now, you won't be able to take them anywhere else.

Go Red Pocket - I just found this site for more prepaid plans, but I don't see a paid as you go plan which is what I'm looking for, but I'll add it here as I want to add any other companies I find to get a good list going.

Update May 29, 2017
Today I'm just updated the pages a bit, so if you're looking for a pay as you go service, I have found this one to work for me. I don't use the phone much but their service allows me to purchase what I think I will need every month. So you can basically tailor their phone service to you. Since I hardly use the phone I pay a small amount and chose from all the different options. If you need to have web access, you can also add that to your choices or leave it out altogether. As simple as that. Now this service would be perfect if I could roll over my unused time. Their service has been great and I have had no problems other than getting a number of someone who apparently owed money. This apparently is the downside of using a pay as you go service, you can get stuck with a bad number in terms of that. However, there is one thing you can do, just block any numbers on your smart phone and that will take care of any annoying calls. Well, I hope this helps you at least find something that you can use without breaking the bank. Ting I think was the other one I was looking at first, but usmobile had the better pricing at the time I was looking around. I haven't looked back since but use whatever works for you.


Jaime said...

I finally got to set up the H2O service on the phone today. I found out that transferring my old number to my new service was not happening since they wanted my account from my old service and I just could not get the information they wanted once I had logged into my net10. So I decided to just activate the h2o sim card with a new number. Once I got a hold of tech support on their online chat I was able to get through the recharge wireless page. Make sure to write your number down when you activate it as their system doesn't have it anywhere for you to look it up. You have to put in the number to the account you want to add money to, then hit search to find how much you want to add. This was not obvious and it was actually confusing but worked once I was told the search was to find how much and not to find my number. It too about 3 seconds to activate the new sim and the site says to wait 10 minutes but after a few minutes the phone was working as I had my friend call me to check. You do need a credit card to buy new minutes as there is also no paypal which is fine, but thought I mention it. If not just buy the card at any store that carries it or add the amount there. The phone tells you how much you spent and how much you have left after a call. The net10 service uses minutes instead so this is something a bit different but I guess many services also use this. The support seems to be one person as it took a little while and when I did ask questions nothing happened. In short, the service seems to work just fine once you learn how it's set up and get through.

Jaime said...

I forgot to mention that that only way to check your total is only or if you use an android phone they have an app called MyH2O to check but it's not the best. It asks you to put in the number and won't keep it there once you get out of it. There is an app called Smartphone monthly Payment from iTech Unlimited that I also installed to fill since the h2o app for that seems old and not secured. Another thing I forgot to mention was that after my call, I had another five cents charged for a transaction. I have no idea what the heck that was as I keep the data connection closed for the sim. So it looks like any app that has network access may open that up. I hope not but I read about your minutes being depleted on this service so we'll have to see, if this is the case they need to fix that.

Jaime said...

So far the phone has all full bars for signal so that looks good. Even though it supports 3g and my old phone actually says 3g, this one doesn't. The old one had two bands in the 3g, this one is just one.

Jaime said...

I finally got a new number set up on the phone and activate it and I find that I can't access the web when I open the browser. I don't know if it's the service or the phone but even my old phone opens the web fine. This new updated phone just doesn't at the moment.

Jaime said...

I got in touch with the H2O online chat and found out that I needed to setup a new APN in order to access the internet. So basically these are just like computers where you need to set that up depending on what carrier you use, then you'll need to get this information from them.