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Remember "Smartbeep"?

Smartbeep. Those $1.99 a month pagers we all had about a decade ago (Ok some of you won't remember).

Nobody has pagers anymore because cell phones have gotten cheap. I didn't know HOW cheap until I was about to send martes off on a trip without one, and decided to take a closer look at the Ralphs Grocery phones.

Yup, cell phone service from a grocery store. It was even on sale and only cost $20

Its an iwireless.com phone. Quarter a minute prime time, dime a minute off peak, dime for an outgoing SMS message.

Thats it. NO charge to have it on, active and available to take incoming calls. If you are not a common cell phone user (I am not) and merely have one in case of emergencies, and essentially AS a pager (I get incoming SMS messages from work, but THOSE are free on this thing!), this is ideal.

All I have to do to keep it active is add at least $20 of air time once every 3 months. I doubt she will use that much.

I am debating shutting off my blackberry and getting one of these for myself instead. This explains why little kids in school all have cell phones now.

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loiosh_de_talto December 19th, 2007
I suspect the majority of those are attached to family plans. It costs ~$10 a month to get an extra phone added to your account. They use your minutes.

lockemaison December 19th, 2007
That is the same as the old virgin mobile plan. Virgin has since reduced their price even further if you can believe it. I've had my virgin phone for almost 4 years now. I have not needed another phone. I don't even have a landline. I actually bought another virgin phone to be a "landline", but never activated it. But the idea being these phones are so cheap you might as well have another one laying around at $20 per 3 months.

Virgin uses Sprint network cell towers and it is 18/minute and/or 10/minute to another Virgin phone. Just add $20 after 3 months. Virgin's phones are also cheap, as low as $10 but as high as $150 for one that takes photos and surfs the web. If you lose it, just go to the store and get another $10 phone. They have calling plans too, the cheapest one I recently switched to. $7 a month for 10 cent minutes regardless of calling time, which takes away the $20 per 3 month requirement for an extra $1.

Many people don't see pay-as-you-go phones seriously or even know what they charge. Most of them charge too much, but there's 2-3 companies that are cheap like this. So if you try to explain it to people they are all "well, the phones are cheap, but how much is the contract per year?" or "what are the extra charges" and etc. They just can't comprehend that it's just a $20 phone that you pay per-minute on - the end. No contract either. I had one dude go so far as to say to me "sir, you do NOT understand how the cell phone business works. You buy that $20 phone you will end up paying on a year long contract! You simply cannot buy a phone for $20."

Boost mobile is another super-cheap pay as you go phone. I recommend squarely against them, though. Bad web and customer service and annoying features.

These phones are marketed squarely at children and teens. If you call tech support, it calls you "honey" and they say "cool" a lot. Whatever, it's cheap. The reason they sell so much is because of 1) kids who have cheap parents that won't add them to their cell plan, or 2) kids who want to keep a secret cell phone because you don't need a credit card for one.

titanic December 21st, 2007
This Phone does everything I use my blackberry for. Mobile email and the miniature browser window are quite frankly not all that useful. this thing synchronizes with outlook, and therefore Plaxo. Its all I was looking for.

Incidentally iwireless only wants $5 a month to switch to the at 10 cent anytime bit.

goggremlin December 19th, 2007
I still carry a pager for work as email to SMS does not work as reliably as a modem calling a phone number.

Its not your classic brick of pager tho, its a Timex Internet Messenger watch, It's got a 800 number and voicemail. Quite nice.

c_eagle December 20th, 2007
*nod* I still use one also. $1.99 a month is a great deal, and it has better reception than cel phones.

titanic December 21st, 2007
I was actually looking for that - but smartbeep seemed to be out of business. You still got a $2 a month pager?

Edited at 2007-12-21 07:12 pm (UTC)

c_eagle December 22nd, 2007
Looks like it's about $4 per, this year. It's interesting but it fluctuates every year (billed annually now, used to be trimesterly). It's gone under four bucks in the past, but my last bill was about $50 for the year. I figured it was in the ballpark of the $2 pager range you mentioned. Used to get a new free pager each year with that included also.
I looked at the bill and it's actually $36 annually, but they have extra gov't fees added to bring it up.
The company is usamobility.com ... they have an office in the San Fernando valley I think... I went there when I needed a new pager. Also comes with a rudimentary voice mail service for people who don't "get it" that you are supposed to type in a number.
Good Luck!

I looked that up

titanic December 21st, 2007
But every reference I can find to the pager watch is dated 2002 or 2003. Like it never caught on or something. Timex doesn't seem to make it anymore.

c_eagle December 20th, 2007
By the way, if I get some MSIE certified work requests that maybe you are more qualified for, would you like me to send it to you? it doesn't happen often, but someone was calling me about networking their entire office, and while that's not a prob, it sounded like they wanted to use static IPs, so I wasn't quite sure if that was very wise for their needs.. maybe you have a better answer and maybe you would like the freelance.

titanic December 21st, 2007
Unfortunately my MSIE certification was in Windows 2000, and is now 4 years old. I forgot a lot of it, and I'm now fully trained in a completely different career field.

I'm seeing software and hardware both these days that I know nothing at all about. Not qualified to work in it anymore.

c_eagle December 22nd, 2007
ah... okee. no sweat :>

c_eagle January 2nd, 2008
The new career stuff sounds like it's really coming along too.. best of wishes with that!

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