August 26, 2009

Cell Phone for $5 / month

In one of my older posts Can you get a cell phone for $5 a month? I tried to find a $5 / month cell phone plan but came up empty. A reader commented with a way that it can be done via T-Mobile prepaid phones:

Reader Byung Kyu Park said...

By the way, at least for T-Mobile, once you pay $100 or so (best if you pay that up front, since then you get $0.10/min rate as well as 1-yr expiration date on the minutes), your minutes *always* last for one year since your last refill.

So, if you pay $100 first year, and then pay only $10 near the expiration of the first year (note that here you don't really get the same $0.10/min rate; that rate applies only when you are filling $100 at a time), then unless you are using up the minutes, you don't have to worry about it for a year.

Thats a great tip from Byung. I checked out the details on T-Mobile's site myself. If you add $100 in minutes to your prepaid plan then you'll get their Gold Rewards status. That will get you 15% more minutes and your minutes will last for 1 year.

So as Byung said what you can do is first get a prepaid account and add $100 minutes. Now you'll have the Gold status and your minutes will last 1 year. Then about 11 months later when the minutes are nearing expiration you can add just $10 more in minutes and since you're a gold status user those additional minutes will last a year. Doing it this way you can get 22 months coverage for $110. That works out to $5 a month!

Of course you will have pretty limited amount of minutes to use doing it this way. But this is a good way to get dirt cheap cell phone access for emergency and/or infrequent use.

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