I've written here before about mobile phones in various ways, so I thought it would be interesting to share the story of the Virgin Mobile pre-pay phone dad just bought. My father popped by over during my lunch-break today, After looking at the details online, we headed to Best Buy to check out Virgin Mobile phones and competing services.
We found the Virgin Mobile kiosk at Best Buy and spent a few minutes comparing phones and services before dad chose the Kyocera K-7 Rave. What's funny about this all to me is, the entire Virgin Mobile line of pre-pay phones is marketed to teens and 20-somethings, yet dad is buying one and mentioned several other friends not in the target market buying Virgin Mobile phones. :-)
So, dad bought his phone and a $20 top-up card and was very pleased with the deal. He wants to have a phone for being available when he or mom are out and about, and when traveling. The price just can't be beat. We figured that a $20 card every 90 days (mandatory for keeping a current account) over a year's time came to about $6.66 per month. Figure in the initial $75 phone cost and pricing only jumps to $12.91 per month for the first year. That includes long distance, voicemail, call waiting, caller id and other features. Plus you have no contracts or bills to pay. Not bad compared to other mobile services that start at $20 per month for 1 or even 2 years.
I've actually been keeping an eye on Virgin Mobile's pre-pay phones myself, as my wife and I are nearing the end of a long contract with our current provider. We're trying to think about what to do next. We both user our mobiles sparingly, so it seems a bit crazy to spend lots of money each month for a phone we "might" use now and then. I would much prefer to pay for what we use, because we both use a mobile phone so little. Maybe we could even live with just one phone (blasphemy in the modern world!)
So, we'll see how dad's experience goes. I think it's going to be good, which means we might switch sooner than later and forgo the number portability. This is because we'd have to wait until late November before we could carry our current number(s) to Virgin Mobile. Still, the only real hassle in getting new numbers is that we'd have to alert friends and I might need to print up new business cards. Maybe it's not as big of a deal as I think.
Anyway, if you're at all like us and just need a low-cost phone that you only use sparingly, check out Virgin Mobile, or one of the many other pre-pay services out there. You might be able to save some pretty significant cash compared to a flat rate plan with minutes you seldom use and still have the mobile phone for your convenience.