Author Topic: Suggestions to optimize a cell phone please  (Read 2340 times)


  • Walrus Stache
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Suggestions to optimize a cell phone please
« on: May 06, 2015, 10:19:11 AM »
I'm trying to optimize my mom's cell phone, and I'd appreciate suggestions.

Phone details:
Rarely used dumb phone. Averages about 30 minutes a month. Some months it's not used at all.
Texting - none, except when mom gets someone to take a picture with her phone and then text it to me or my sister to email it to her. This happens every couple years.
No data needed.
Currently on the Verizon family plan, contract up this summer.

Must run on the Verizon network
Prefer to keep the phone and number, but this is flexible.

Verizon's pay as you go plan per minute is $0.25/minute, $0.25/picture text. We could keep this on the family plan, which would simplify payment and tracking, but that's not required.

Anything else I should look into? We'll be doing a "study" comparing costs of different options with the last year or so of actual use.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Suggestions to optimize a cell phone please
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2015, 11:40:56 AM »
So long as the handset is just a vanilla CDMA handset (no 4G LTE), either Selectel or BYO Wireless should work for activating both her current handset and porting her existing number. Selectel is the longer established of the two companies.

Five things to note, however:
1) Sending pictures through a text is called MMS service (as opposed to SMS which is text only), and MMS requires data.
2) Selectel allows CDMA roaming off Verizon, but their cheapest plan (Yearly - about $6.25/month) does not include MMS.
3) BYO Wireless is Verizon native network only, but their cheapest plan ($5/month) does include MMS.
4) So long as a CDMA tower is in range, an E911 emergency call can still be placed even if there's no off-network roaming from the provider.
5) With the US CDMA network, even if you're off-network and cannot roam with your current provider, regular calls can still technically be placed through the ARN for a price.

There's technically Page Plus as well which has PAYGO and reasonable rates that would pop in under $5 a month for her needs, but they're owned by the same company that does Tracfone and NET10, and service support and billing stink. As such, I don't include them in the guide anymore. Unfortunately, there's really not too many well established, good, frugal, Verizon MVNOs.

It's going to be very possible to get her line cost well under $10/month, but one of three compromises will be required depending on the provider: roaming, MMS or customer service. I'd personally recommend sacrificing either roaming or MMS support long before considering sacrificing customer support.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Suggestions to optimize a cell phone please
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2015, 12:03:07 PM »
Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea how much this helps! Especially since I'm aware you're the expert, but I couldn't understand enough to get through the communication guide myself. We will definitely look into these.