Prepaid Phones With Minutes That Don't Expire
By Kris Borinski
Being out of touch is not an option today. With portable tablet computers and smart cellphones, everyone is in constant communication. Several options exist for consumers to choose from but signing a long-term contract with a cellular carrier can be intimidating and expensive to break. Another option available to consumers is carriers with prepaid plans of anytime minutes that do not expire.
As cell phone popularity grew, the major phone companies began offering long term contracts with various talking and texting packages. Qualifying for the contracts involves credit checks and the contracts, running from 12 to 24 months, have penalty clauses for breaking prior to the agreed end date.
Other phone companies emerged offering pay-by-the-minute and prepaid plans. When the terms of the plan expire, so does the phone. These options are considerably cheaper than contracted service.
No Expiration Date
A review of 29 mobile phone companies by the website Prepaid Reviews shows only four companies offering no expiration for minutes on prepaid plans. The companies are Metro PCS, STI Mobile, Venture Mobile and Xtreme Mobile. One of the companies, STI, has three different plans with the two offering no expiration and one that expires. Carefully check the details of any agreements before deciding on a service. A fifth company, Savvytel, based out of Australia, states on the company website their call credits do not expire but if the phone is not used for six months, it is cancelled.
As with contract mobile phone services, most prepaid phone companies charge activation fees. Charges also apply to 411 service, local taxes and additional fees for text and picture messaging. The prepaid phone companies also charge for the phone but often offer discounts when signing up and paying for one or more months in advance.
Advantages of Prepaid Phones
Many consumers pay hundreds of dollars a month for unused minutes and messages with contracted mobile phone companies. Prepaid phones are cheaper and consumers use only the minutes paid for in advance. Prepaid phones are also available for use in most foreign countries allowing travelers to choose a phone to suit their itinerary. Parents not wanting to pay large phone bills for teenagers may also opt for prepaid plans, limiting the time a teen spends on the phone.
Federal Communication Commission Tips
The Federal Communication Commission offers consumers help when issues arise with phone companies and prepaid phone cards. The agency has logged many complaints from falsely advertised rates to connection quality. A guide on the FCC website provides information on how to avoid problems and what consumers can do if the company fails to respond to a complaint.
Kris Borinski began writing for newspapers and magazines in 1982 and has managed both print and online publications. She has won Army Keith L. Ware Journalism awards and Thomas Jefferson Journalism Awards. Borinski has written for "History Illustrated" magazine, "TV Host" and "Harrisburg Business Week." Borinski holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in history from Penn State University.