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Cell phone/plan for my kid

SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!!Registered User regular
Apologies for the cross post from H&A. Figured maybe I'd get a good response here, too.

My wife and I are looking at getting our son his first cellphone. He's turning 11 and involved in a lot of activities and it'd be nice to be able to contact him (or for him to contact us) should the need arise.

I'm not looking for anything fancy or expensive. I don't really care about tracking his whereabouts or restricting what he can and cannot do on the phone. A basic Android phone with a low monthly cost is what I'm thinking about.

My wife and I have phones but we're on my work plan, which wouldn't cover my son, so I'll need a standalone plan.

Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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    wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    You're in the US, correct? Assuming so I've heard good things about Mint Mobile, and the pricing plans for it are currently $15/month for the first year, assuming you sign up for that 12 month commitment. The website says after the first year it's $25/month. That gives unlimited talk/text/4GB of data.

    Google Fi is $20/month for talk and text and $10/GB for data, so that is a bit more expensive but there's no commitment. You can stop service at any time if you change your mind or your son does something that may require getting the phone taken away.

    I'm not in the US so I don't know all of the MVNO's or plans super well, but Mint Mobile might be the cheapest solution.

    As for phones, yeah obviously nothing fancy. The Moto G Play 2021 is $170. It won't wow someone like you or I with a 720p display and only 32GB of storage, but should be a good option for a year or two until you know you can trust him with something a little better/nicer.

    If you're willing to spend the money the Pixel 4a is a smaller phone which might be good for a 11 year old's hands, and does offer a better experience, but is $350. Really just depends on how much you want to spend.

    Other options include some of the cheaper asian branded phones from the likes of Xaiomi, oppo, etc, but none will be sub $200 and if you're looking at $300 already I'd probably just get the Pixel 4a.

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    MugsleyMugsley DelawareRegistered User regular
    You may want to talk to your son. If his friends all have iphones, it may matter to him that he gets one as well. Or it may not.

    I think Clark Howard's website has a guide for MVNOs or even plans for kids. There are more viable options now than in the recent past.

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    syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    As mugsley said, if everyone in his circle uses whatsapp or messenger or whatnot it doesn't matter, but if they use iMessage it kind of does regarding what kind of phone to buy from a social perspective..

    Plus, iOS has some really solid parental controls and privacy controls if those are things you care about.

    "Find My" is also nice if you happen to own an iOS device also, as you can see where your kid is if they aren't answering texts - a thing I am strongly against for teens but kind of makes sense for younger kids.

    Mint has the newest iphone SE model for 15 bucks a month on top of whatever plan you choose, or you could buy a refurbished / unlocked iPhone 8 or X for a couple hundred or less and bring it along for the ride. I would avoid buying anything older than the 8 or X as that will be a 4 year old device by the time iOS15 rolls around, and while I fully expect both models to be supported, I suspect anything older is going to fall off the compatibility list.

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