How to Convert Old Cell Phone to Pay Per Use

by April Khan

Maybe you’ve decided that a contract phone just doesn’t suite you anymore, or you’re trying to be more cost-efficient by going prepaid (pay-per-use). Whichever the case may be, if you have an old contract phone lying around, you may be able to convert it prepaid. Certain companies welcome the idea of recycling your retired handset in this way, while other companies require you to purchase a newer handset to reap the pay-per-use benefits.

Setting Up Service

1

Call your previous service provider to make sure your phone model can be used as a prepaid phone. Some phones are outdated and cannot be used as pay-per-use phones.

2

Go into the store or online and select a prepaid plan for your phone. This can be a top-up account where you pay a set price for a certain amount of minutes, or a pay by the day plan where you pay a fee just on the days you want to use your phone.

3

Take the battery cover off your old phone and remove the SIM card. Insert the new SIM card in its place and close the phone back up. Turn on the phone and follow the onscreen prompts to set the date and time.

Registering You Phone

1

Write down the SIM card number. You can find this number printed on the back of your SIM card. Also, write down the phone’s IME number. This number is located under the battery on the phone.

2

Follow the instructions given in your start-up guide to register your phone. You will need to have the numbers you've written down along with some general account information such as your name, address, date of birth and area code you’d like your number to be in.

3

Add your minutes to the phone. Some prepaid plans come with free start-up airtime. This will automatically add itself onto the phone.

Tip

  • You can only use your old handset to get a prepaid SIM from the same provider as your previous one. Many phones are programmed to only work with the providers you got the phone from in the beginning. If you wish to switch to another provider, you have to get a new handset along with the SIM card.

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About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.

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