Cell Phone Service for the Non-Garrulous

I’m a man of few words. Well, vocally anyway. My wife has teased that I must have a fixed daily allotment of spoken words, and on evenings when I’m particularly quiet, I must have used them up already. I’m not sure if she buys the “still waters run deep” explanation, but not being much of a talker comes in handy for getting cheap cell phone service.


My number one complaint about cell service, and what kept me from getting one until about a year ago, is that I couldn’t see paying $40 a month for something I didn’t think I’d use that much. But then I had a look at T-Mobile’s prepaid plan. I think I saw someone mention it on a Windows Mobile forum or something, because up to that point I had the general impression that prepaid was a way of extorting people who didn’t have good enough credit to get a “real” plan.

It turns out that T-Mobile’s plan is really not bad. Unlike other carriers’ prepaid plans (cough AT&T cough) where, on top of actual minutes used, they ding you a dollar for any day that you push the green button, with T-Mobile, you just pay for minutes.  If you pay $100, you get your minutes for something like 10 cents each, and you have a year to use them up. If you’re the type of person who does casual math, you might be saying, “A hundred bucks for 1000 minutes!?! What a rip! I get three bajillion minutes a month for only sixty bucks!” You probably also talk a lot.

For me, it’s a great deal. I’m coming up on my one year anniversary on this plan, and I still have… hang on while I check… 25 minutes of my original 1000 left. That means that over the course of the year, I’ve paid an average of $8.30 a month for cell service.

I use my cell phone whenever it’s convenient, but if I’m at home, I use my land-line instead. I did need to make one adjustment mid-year when the minutes trajectory changed drastically: when I changed jobs, my wife didn’t have easy access to my new work number and called my cell instead. It just took putting my new work number on the home speed-dial to fix that, though.

Now if there were just an affordable way to get a data plan…

Author’s Note: I don’t work for T-Mobile, don’t personally know anyone who does, and didn’t get anything for writing this posting.

One thought on “Cell Phone Service for the Non-Garrulous

  1. I’ve only ever used pre-pay since my first mobile phone contract ended up costing me (wait for it) about $4.35 per minute. What !!! I hear you shout. Well, like you, I don;t talk that much. My first mobile phone purchase was a contract phone (you know, the phone was almost free since the contract terms subsidized it). When I got my first bill, I was absolutely astounded to see that I had used the phone for less than 10 minutes, yet still had a $35.00 bill to pay. This went on for a few more months, although my usage crept up slowly, I never managed a rate below about $2.00 per minute. I decided I would not renew the contract (luckily it was a 1 year term), and switched to Pre Pay. This also solves the problem of children using the phone more than they should. We have a family plan which allows unlimited calls between five different cell phones for $5.00 per month. So, we put all the family phones on the plan, and now our children can always phone us for any reason. They are responsible for any other calls or texts they make, and so have to purchase their own pre-paid minutes with their own money.

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