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The Wireless Whiz

Frequently Asked Questions

Read an excerpt from the Cell Phone Handbook:
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Frequently Asked Questions (part of Chapter 9, FAQs)

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What are the benefits of Prepaid wireless phones?

  • You don't need a credit check, so if your credit is bad, or you don't have any credit, you can still get a wireless phone.
  • You can buy a phone for someone as a gift, and they can pay for all subsequent wireless phone usage.
  • You can control your usage by only buying as much air time as you need each month. You won't get any surprise bills.

What are the drawbacks of Prepaid wireless phones?

  • You pay more per minute for your air time with prepaid wireless service.
  • Some carriers put expiration dates on their prepaid air time cards, unlike prepaid long distance cards, which never expire. You need to be aware of this expiration date, because if you don't use the minutes, you lose them. Also, if your prepaid air time card balance goes to zero, or your card expires, you may be required to pay a surcharge to reactivate your phone.
  • You don't get any call detail with prepaid wireless. If you need to have a record of calls for tax purposes, or for billing clients, you will need to get postpaid wireless service.
  • You have to buy the phone, even if the phone is analog. (Most analog phones are available at no charge with a cellular service contract.)

Is prepaid wireless available from all carriers?

  • Most carriers, including 800 MHz carriers, SprintPCS, and AT&T Wireless, are offering prepaid wireless phones and service.

I have an older analog phone, and when I go to use it, the phone turns off. Is it because I have an analog phone?

  • It is more likely that your phone's battery is old and needs to be replaced. If you are using the original battery and you got your phone three or four years ago (or more), it's time for a new battery.