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.