With the holidays upon us, many consumers may be considering purchasing a wireless phone for a friend or relative. For the great majority of consumers, many of the features included on modern handsets remained unused. If all you want is an easy-to-use cell phone to make voice calls, why should you pay for cameras, video streaming capability, GPS, and all the other ?gee whiz? gizmos? The fancy phones generate the most revenue per phone, so those are generally the ones that get pushed online and in retail stores. If all you want is a ?cheap phone? to make voice calls, you will have to do a little more looking, but there are real cost-saving options out there. One option is to use a phone from a pre-paid cell company. For example the Motorola C155 offered by Tracfone Wireless (not affiliated with TRAC) costs only $14.99. This handset includes Caller ID and voicemail, but does not include a camera, MP3 capability, or other unnecessary gadgets. And you only pay for the service you use with no monthly fees. AT&T Mobility offers the LG CG180 as part of its GoPhone prepaid service. The candy bar style handset has texting capability and can surf the web, but it is a simple phone without a camera or other superfluous options. According to AT&T's website, the handset is available for $19.99 after a $20 mail-in rebate. Verizon customers may be interested in the ?Verizon Wireless Coupe? which currently retails for $39.99 with a two-year service agreement. In addition to the standard numeric keypad, the handset has three large red ?In Case of Emergency? buttons which can be programmed to reach a friend, loved one, or emergency services at the touch of a button.
These are just a few of the many ?basic? handsets available. Some general rules of thumb to use when shopping for basic handsets:
For more information on basic phones, check out CNET.com's recent comparison of some ?basic? handsets by clicking here.
Source: Telecommunications Research and Action Center. http://www.trac.org