Cell phones and my specific needs (i needs them)

VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
The amount of "stuff" on the cell phone websites is just mind-boggling. I am having a lot of trouble just navigating information with acronyms and pictures and DEALS and offers and MORE DEALS.

I have a need to get a new phone. Now, this new phone can be almost anything. I don't need a smartphone. My only requirements are that it can call people when I type in numbers and it can send/receive text messages like 30 times per month. Most of my calls will be evening/weekends. Oh, and it needs to have the same number as my old phone. I don't need a keyboard, I can type the messages as slowly as possible and still be okay.

Here's where the problem comes in. I need a phone, but I'm going to be using it very rarely in January. Then, from February until April it will still be rare that I use it. But I need a contact number. What I do need in that time is access on my netbook to the internet. Wirelessly. Without local Wi-Fi or whatever. I believe they call this "tethering". I don't need a whole lot of data, maybe a few hundred MB to a GB per month (like for checking bills, emails, this forum, etc).

After April, I'll probably [strike]get a smartphone, use it a lot, and[/strike] lose the tethering. (Not sure about my future personal phone requirements yet). So I really, really don't want to sign up for a 2-yr contract for anything. I also want to pay as little as possible obviously.

Anyone have an idea for a phone or plan?

Let 'em eat fucking pineapples!
VeritasVR on


  • K0dosK0dos Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I would check on a Mifi or usb device for mobile data that is no contract and an inexpensive pre-paid phone for voice. You will have difficulty tethering without a smartphone and a data plan will be required. You can always port the pre-paid number to your smartphone later and if you don't have a no contract data only device you can sell it or keep it as a backup after you no longer need it.

    I have a Virgin Mobile Mifi for using with my laptop and phone. At $40 for Unlimited data with no contract you can't beat it. There are lots of pre-paid phones out there too, I have an iPhone 4 so I don't know much about them. The most important thing is to check that whatever you go with for data and voice will have service where you are going to be.

    K0dos on
  • EgoEgo Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Yeah, it seems like a USB 3g modem is the right plan for your tethering needs.

    Otherwise it really sounds like what best meets your phone requirements (since your requirements are so minimal) will be based on what plans are available from cell providers in your region. I'm sure lots of people here can offer advice on plans, but are you in the US, Europe, or Canada?

    Ego on
  • kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Tethering is not cost-effective for what you're describing - it's going to be limited to a smart phone, you're going to pay for a phone, a data plan for the phone, and then you're going to pay extra for tethering.

    I haven't done plan comparisons on mobile data, but this seems reasonable:

    Where are you going to be? If this is all because you're not going to be somewhere resembling civilization, then you should look carefully to see if you'll get coverage for phone + mifi where you are. If you are in civilization, it may be cheaper to just use free wifi in public places.

    If you're going to be at a remote AFB or a TDY somewhere does having your own mifi access square with data security policies?

    kaliyama on
  • floobiefloobie Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Just wondering: If, as you say, you'll probably get a smartphone after April anyway... why not just get one right away? That'll make tethering a easier.

    floobie on
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I will expand on my situation, since it I'm liking the responses so far.

    I guess you could consider Montgomery, Alabama as civilization, but that is where I will be from January to April. After that, I will have a good chance to be in a major city. I also cannot use the WiFi in Alabama because it will be government, and therefore be limited. I won't be able to check or do a lot of things I need to check or do.

    Also, unless a smartphone + tethering is a lot cheaper than cheap phone + data plan + tethering, I'd rather not get the smartphone. My work will likely give me a BlackBerry anyway. Not personally (sorry I should have made that clearer in the OP).

    Can you set an old cell phone number to a pre-paid phone?

    VeritasVR on
    Let 'em eat fucking pineapples!
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I figure I'll answer what I did for informational purposes.

    The Virgin Mobile Broadband USB is the bomb. Solved so many problems very quickly. It was $50 to buy and then $40 per month for unlimited data that accesses the Sprint 3G network. No contract requirement. Sweet deal.

    For the phone, I was not able to port the number to a pre-paid phone (although you can, but you just can never get that number BACK to a regular phone plan). So I just opted for a simple AT&T minutes/messages plan without data requirements.

    If work wants me to be online 24/7, they will give me a freakin phone. Done.

    VeritasVR on
    Let 'em eat fucking pineapples!
  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    VeritasVR wrote: »
    For the phone, I was not able to port the number to a pre-paid phone (although you can, but you just can never get that number BACK to a regular phone plan).

    It can be done.

    It may vary by company, but usually it has to do with figuring out what is being used as the account number, etc.

    Evander on
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