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InquilineKea

Possible to live without a cellphone?

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Hm, so the thing with cellphones is that their monthly rates *really* add up. And I'm not a big phone user to begin with, so I could just get a longline phone if I really need to call someone.

But are there possible phone plans where I don't need to pay a monthly fee?

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Most big box stores sell pay-as-you-go phones—you pay a flat fee when you purchase them for X number of minutes, and pay to reload minutes on them whenever you get low. No contracts.

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I actually just recently got a cell phone, a smart phone so I don't feel like I am out of the loop, but I definitely can tell you it is possible to live without a cell phone. I actually am on a prepaid plan, no contract, don't have to worry about reconnection fees if I don't use it for a long time, etc. and I can tell you I like having it on stand by just in case. Truthfully, with prepaid plans being more affordable nowadays I would say ditch the landline and strictly get a cellphone you probably will save some, I know I have.

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I've had a pay-as-you-go phone for the last two years and it's more than enough for me. Most of the time I use skype for call my family and friends; my phone bill is about $100 a year. You can just purchase minutes as you need them, no contract required.

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On the topic of Skype: it's also possible to make free outgoing calls (to landlines and cell phones) from Gmail, now. I think it even works internationally. I use this feature to save my minutes when I'm making an outgoing call before my unlimited minutes start at 9pm.

(When you're in your Gmail account, if you look on the left sidebar where the chat is, there's a green phone icon labeled "call phone.")

Edited by runonsentence

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Oh cool. Could you turn an iPhone or Android phone into a pay-as-you-go phone too?

Yeah I think you can, but you need to buy the hardware up front of course. This can run you $400-500 with newer smartphones. Best bet is to get a cheaper smartphone that has been retired from a friend or something.

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Oh cool. Could you turn an iPhone or Android phone into a pay-as-you-go phone too?

Really before I had my cell phone I either just used skype or google voice, so really there are free or really low costs options. As far as the phone I have, it is an android, one of my friends has a iPhone and we both have prepay. Their plan is slightly more and their phone cost twice as much upfront but I will always advise if you are smart you can easily cut your phone bill in at least half if you go with a prepaid plan.

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Also, I will just add Google has noted that they may soon start charging for their voice (phone) feature. I used to use it when I was living in Europe to call people in the US if they weren't available via skype. Also, there is the option of other VOIP phones such as Magicjack if you have internet access.

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On the topic of Skype: it's also possible to make free outgoing calls (to landlines and cell phones) from Gmail, now. I think it even works internationally. I use this feature to save my minutes when I'm making an outgoing call before my unlimited minutes start at 9pm.

(When you're in your Gmail account, if you look on the left sidebar where the chat is, there's a green phone icon labeled "call phone.")

Oh cool - can you receive free incoming calls in Skype too? (incoming calls from land-line and cellphones?) That is the most important thing to have, as some services must call me through phone.

Edited by InquilineKea

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That you have to pay for: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/prices/

It costs money to use Skype to call phones (instead of other Skype accounts) or to receive calls from phones.

It is currently free to use Gmail to call phones (though another poster hints this won't be the case forever) and impossible to receive calls.

If you want to be able to receive calls, you should either spring for a pay-as-you-go phone or look into MagicJack.

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That you have to pay for: http://www.skype.com...l/en-us/prices/

It costs money to use Skype to call phones (instead of other Skype accounts) or to receive calls from phones.

It is currently free to use Gmail to call phones (though another poster hints this won't be the case forever) and impossible to receive calls.

If you want to be able to receive calls, you should either spring for a pay-as-you-go phone or look into MagicJack.

Actually you can set up Google Voice to receive calls as well for free, for the time being. If you have gmail just go to more tab and then go to even more and you will find it on that page. I actually used Google voice for my primary phone for a over a year until I finally got a cell.

The problem with Google voice is that when you pick a number from their list sometimes a given area code only has so many cities to select from. I actually used Google voice for people to call me when I was living in Europe.

The only thing about Google voice that does kind of suck is you must have your Gmail open and you have to have audio and microphones hooked up all the time.

Edited by orst11

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Holy smokes!! And I thought it was weird that some people still have land lines! I don't have a data plan for my phone, and I feel like I am at a significant disadvantage! If I didn't have a cell plan... I don't think I would still be alive. ... Ok, I would be alive, but definitely living with my mom and no college degree.

EDIT

Ok, now that the surprise is out of the way... I have often wondered. How does one communicate long distance/get a job/ask someone for needed info/anything else that comes with living in a semi-modern world - without cell service?

It's a completely serious question. I have often though I was living in the stone age because I don't pay $40 per month for data on my phone. I can't imagine how little I would be able to do without texting or calling.

For instance, my service provider recently made a temporary mistake and removed texting from my plan for a fraction of a month. They fixed it and reversed the $1,200.00 usage charges of course. But seriously - without a service plan I would owe 15 grand a year.

Edited by Aaron McDevitt

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Hold on, I just re read all the responces - internet but no phone service? Isn't that like buying a big screeen tv with no place to live?? I didn't even buy home internet until I graduated in December.

EDIT

Ok ok I know I am overdoing it with this surprise thing but I tend to default to thinking advances in technology are cool but unnecessary in my life. Cell service was the FIRST necessity I bought when I ran from home several years ago (for a few weeks duration, mind you, until my dad agreed to my bro's terms). The only bills I needed were cell phone and car,. And food of course, but friends can provide that stuff - you can't coordinate sleeping for the night without a phone, and the cops don't like the whole sleeping in the car on the side of the road deal.

Meaning - get cell service. It's cheap, and the most valuable thing you'll ever buy except maybe for... nothing. Friends can help with food and sleeping, and transportation can easily be covered by a cheap ass bike. If friends fail, you still need food and shelter, but it's damn hard to find either without a phone.

Edited by Aaron McDevitt

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Hm, so the thing with cellphones is that their monthly rates *really* add up. And I'm not a big phone user to begin with, so I could just get a longline phone if I really need to call someone.

But are there possible phone plans where I don't need to pay a monthly fee?

IK--

If you really want to cut costs, consider the utility of pre-paid calling cards. The usage rates can vary greatly by the type of land line you're using (e.g. a friend's phone versus a public pay phone) so you'll want to read the fine print before you dial.

If you're concerned about emergencies, you can follow the guidance offered above by getting a 'pay as you go' cell phone and using it only when you absolutely must. If you already have a cell phone, the FCC requires that even deactivated phones must have access to 911.

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If your university and apartment/house both have wifi, you can also grab a used android phone, as people have mentioned, and have most of the benefits of a data plan (internet on all the time) without having to pay for either data or voice. That doesn't exactly solve your cellphone question, but a cheap prepaid flip-phone + wifi android phone will serve all your phone/data needs and cost only the prepaid minutes you actually need. Not bad!

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To respond to the "downvoters" who, as usual, don't explain themselves - phone is more basic than a car in convenience, and only a dollar a day.

If I wanted a quick way to poverty, I would ditch the phone.

I do admit that IF there are no other family members, a phone with only internet would be only a bit more expensive, but would eliminate the desire for a seperate internet plan. But a dollar a day isn't much for the convenience of calling/texting people when you have a question, need directions, have a phone interview, need to give someone a method of reaching you (employers, friends, professors, etc.).

I heard some people say pay as you go, which does give you the necessary "contact" info, but you are still isolated in that you can't text as needed.

If you really need a typical cost breakdown, here is an example:

Rent - $5,000 - $15,000 / yr (depending on location)

Food - $3,000 / yr

Car (paid off) - $1,200 / yr (depending on gas/insurance)

Cheap health insurance - $1,000 / yr

Gas/water/electric - $600 to $3,600 (depending on location)

A dinner out for 2 once a month - $600 / yr

Cell phone - $360 - $480 / yr

After food and shelter, I would strongly urge everyone to own a cell phone with any leftover money. Before saving a penny.

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I heard some people say pay as you go, which does give you the necessary "contact" info, but you are still isolated in that you can't text as needed.

There are pay as you go plans that allow texting (either a set number per month, or a set price per text than comes off your balance). But yeah, I think cell service is so cheap, and not having it so isolating, that I wouldn't consider going without.

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Not only is it possible, but better. I went a few years without having a cell phone until a month ago when I started my program, and I still barely use it. I have Boost Mobile and only pay 35 cents a day for unlimited internet which I use to check email on Gmail and check the traffic. I spend a dollar or so a month on calls (10 cents a minute) and text messages (10 cents each).

I say better without one because it gives you freedom. People have to deal with not being able to reach you 24/7. Not to mention I can't imagine spending close to $500 a year (40 a month) on a cell phone. I don't even pay that for my cell phone and my home phone combined.

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Not only is it possible, but better. I went a few years without having a cell phone until a month ago when I started my program, and I still barely use it. I have Boost Mobile and only pay 35 cents a day for unlimited internet which I use to check email on Gmail and check the traffic. I spend a dollar or so a month on calls (10 cents a minute) and text messages (10 cents each).

I say better without one because it gives you freedom. People have to deal with not being able to reach you 24/7. Not to mention I can't imagine spending close to $500 a year (40 a month) on a cell phone. I don't even pay that for my cell phone and my home phone combined.

I know home phone isn't very expensive when you bundle it with TV/internet at home, but I think most people with normal/expensive cell phone plans don't have home phone. So if you're comparing cell phone only vs. home phone only, that reduces the price difference by $5 or $10 per month or whatever home phone would cost you, although home phone would still be much cheaper. As for not being reachable 24/7, that would be nice, but it isn't feasible for me and probably many others. It may be different if you're not in a lab setting, where labmates or your PI may need to reach you with questions or problems (or I may need to reach them :) ).

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