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View Full Version : Has anyone gone from regular Verizon cell contract to Verizon prepaid service?



Tradd
3-31-15, 2:31pm
I'm looking at cutting my cell phone costs. I've got a Galaxy S3 I'm on a month by month with since my contract expired in October. I've got a reduced price of $80/month for unlimited talk & text + 3GB of data. Verizon has prepaid plans I can use my current phone on. $60/month for unlimited talk & text + 2.5GB of data.*

It seems I wouldn't get 4G service only 3G. I can't see it would make that much of a difference.

Has anyone made the switch? Any issues?

Tradd
3-31-15, 2:50pm
I read Verizon's website incorrectly. I can't use current phone, but I could get a phone for $50 or so (Motorola Motor G, which gets good reviews). Will be running by Verizon tonight.

ApatheticNoMore
3-31-15, 3:57pm
Prepaid phones suck. I mean maybe one puts up with the suck because they are cheap and you prefer to pay ahead (I have). But just so long as you know they suck. I can't even make a call without being reminded before the call goes through of how many minutes I have for the call. I'm like "I don't care I just want to make a @#$# call, and if it times out oh well". But if one doesn't mind this ...

A few of them are really annoying, when the balance gets low they send you to a really long message about reloading the card, so 5 minutes of that before making a call (that was AT&T, Verizon isn't that bad). And I'm like "I know my balance is low I just want to make a @#$# call". Also if you don't reload in time, they threaten to expire the phone number (Verizon does). Now I don't know if they follow through but your like ugh. And then also the periods of time you can buy are SHORT. I'd love to just buy a years worth of time (but no contract) and forget about it for a year while I used the phone. But the longest periods the prepaid reload cards have is 3 months (the options by credit card etc. may be different). So I'm having to get a reload card every 3 months etc.. It's to the point getting a contract crosses my mind, though not to the point I'm going to do it quite yet.

Tracphones exclusively serve the prepaid market so they might be a better option if one must have prepaid. I don't have much experience with them.

Packy
3-31-15, 4:12pm
Actually, I've had Virgin Mobile prepaid for going on 10 years, and they do some of the stuff you described, but I'm okay with that because the phone meets my littlebitty needs(except for limitations--occasional bad reception-- in their service area, sometimes)and because it is very economical. The service reps I've spoken with are helpful. They've never carried out their threats to cancel my number and keep my leftover minutes, for not prepaying zackly on time. . That said, I can understand why someone who is heavily reliant on a cellular & has no landline might find prepaids to be less-than-satisfactory. It just depends on what your needs are, and I'm glad there are a range of options.

Tradd
3-31-15, 4:29pm
Apathetic, this would be prepaid, not pay as you go. There's a difference. It would be $45/month for base plan of unlimited talk/text and 1 GB of data.

rodeosweetheart
3-31-15, 4:49pm
Tradd, I'm really happy with Virgin Mobile prepaid, unlimited calls, texts, and data for $35 a month--I bought an iphone at Radioshack and signed up there. You can get a sim card, I think. . .

Alan
3-31-15, 5:12pm
I don't have any recent experience with Verizon although I'm with rodeosweetheart, my wife has an iPhone attached to the Virgin Mobile prepaid network. She gets 300 minutes per month and unlimited texts and data for $30 per month. Virgin uses the Sprint network which can be spotty in some areas, although we've yet to run into any dead zones on her phone.

SteveinMN
4-1-15, 9:28pm
I haven't switched with Verizon, but it's well known in the prepaid community that they are one of the most stringent carriers when it comes to activation (only Sprint is fussier). You'll have to ask Verizon if they will have to deactivate your phone since their rules stipulate that only inactive devices can be -- err -- activated. Depending on how much data you need, you could check out Selectel Wireless. They're a Verizon MVNO that offers more data for less money but otherwise has pretty much the coverage Verizon offers. There's also PagePlus, which for years had an excellent reputation as an MVNO offering great value, and they still do, but they were bought into Carlos Slim's wireless empire (TracFone, Net10, etc.), where customer service is not a strong suit. n.b., I have no direct experience with these carriers, having left Verizon behind in 2008 or 2009.

For what it's worth, both my wife and I have been on prepaid for more than a year now. My business phone has been prepaid even longer than that. Her plan has those end-of-call notifications of how much was spent/how much is left, and they cannot be exorcised. But they're a small price to pay for $10 and some combination of 250 minutes/500 texts/data. I have my iPhone (6; not all phones on prepaid are crappy) on a monthly GoPhone plan and, short of some roaming and creative ways to buy phones, I get exactly the same service AT&T postpaid customers get. No notifications after each call, same performance. I could buy cards every month, but I'd rather save the hassle and go auto-renew each month. Depending on the carrier, too, you can often buy a year's worth of service (or some other large denomination) and not have to worry about cards and PINs and such every month or three.

It's possible with a little homework.

ApatheticNoMore
4-1-15, 9:52pm
If the notifications were after the call it might be tolerable, they were before the call on Verizon and AT&T (recently yes). *blood pressure* going up each time I make a call since instead of my call going through as I expect (from landlines) I first have to listen to that, that's why I question if it is really worth it.

JaneV2.0
4-2-15, 12:59pm
I'm a slow learner. I've had three smart phones, and I've returned two of them. I currently have a prepaid HTC 816 on Virgin, and I think I'll keep it, though it's become increasingly obvious that what I really need is a simple flip phone plus a small tablet, so I'm keeping my flip phone active. I can't really go wrong for the price. Unless I decide to ditch the landline. I'm sitting here at the computer with three phones stacked up at my elbow...:)

merince
4-2-15, 4:37pm
You can probably use something like Red Pocket. Their online chat is on the spot, but you will have to have an "unlocked" phone - that is a ph0ne that you can change the sim card.

artist
4-2-15, 6:50pm
I haven't had any issues and I continue to use my Iphone 4.

simplelife4me
4-19-15, 10:29pm
If you are not using prepaid, you are overpaying by hundreds and hundreds per year, IMO.

gimmethesimplelife
4-19-15, 11:15pm
I was with Verizon and am no longer with them. I switched to a non-contract plan with Metro PCS for unlimited talk and text and unlimited 4gLTE data with no throttling for $60 a month (including taxes), which is $7 a month less than I was paying with Verizon after I talked them down in price a year ago in February. This is much more data than I was getting with Verizon and the phone was only $29 with no monthly payment after that, $29 total, for a Galaxy Light, which is the perfect phone for me as it has what I need without a lot of bells and whistles plus has unlimited fast data. I'm very pleased so far with Metro PCS. Rob

ABB
4-22-15, 12:58pm
First, Apathetic, call 877.228.5770 and tell them you'd like to have them take away that message about how many minutes you have left, and they will do it! I didn't have that message issue from the beginning, but it started automatically once I signed up for auto-pay online, and it drove me insane. Once I called customer service, they said "sure, let me take that right off" and did something on their computer, and a second later while I was still on the phone with them, I got a text from Verizon that they had made the change (also, a real person answers the phone, not a phone service, so it should be a quick and easy call for you hopefully!). Soooo much better now, and doesn't make my blood pressure rise every time I go to check a call or check my voice mail.

I have switched from Contract Verizon to Pre-Paid. I had to give up my previous phone number of about 16 years, but I chose to do it. I've been very happy. My plan is unlimited talk & text (anytime), and 1 GB of Data for $50 a month (now $45/month, see below). When I called customer service one time for an issue unrelated to money, at the end of the call the woman asked me if I wanted to keep paying $50/month, or if I wanted to go down to $45/month. I pretty much thought it was a scam, but asked a bunch of questions, and she said they offer a $5/month discount just for signing up for auto pay, and since I had previously signed up for that online, she would discount me the $5. So if you do sign up online for autopay, make sure you call customer service later on to get your discount.

The positives I have noted:
1: Lower cost of course
2: No contract
3: Customer service has been surprisingly fantastic. I'm pretty sure the number to call for pre-paid service is different from the main line. When I call, a PERSON picks up, and I don't have to sit through a phone tree, etc.

I've only found two negatives (for me), so far:
1: When I first signed up, they showed me a huge list of phone numbers. I chose one that seemed easy to remember. Well, apparently the woman who had my number before me was in debt all over town, so for the first few months, I had tons of people calling me looking to collect on debt. That's mostly stopped now. What worked for me was actually answering the phone and explaining to those people that I wasn't her, and they eventually must have made the proper notes and the calls have stopped.
2: I received a refurbished phone. I didn't know this at the time, since I was a newbie to the smart phone world, but my husband said since the box the phone came in wasn't your typical iphone box, it was refurbished. The phone has maybe 2 glitches that are annoying but not terrible. I haven't even bothered trying to get a new phone from Verizon because of it, so I cannot speak on how they would handle that if I did, but thought it was worth mentioning.

Then these two aren't negatives for me, but perhaps would be for someone, so I should mention:
A. I'm not even sure this is a negative (because I'm happier calling customer service, which as mentioned above, has been quick & easy for me), but it seems that sometimes the store sales associates don't know quite as much about pre-paid questions as they do about regular contract plans. I visited the store twice I believe in the early stages of switching over to pre-paid, only because I wasn't aware at the time that the phone customer service would be good, and they tried to answer me questions, but mostly directed me to call the pre-paid customer service number for "sure" answers.
B. I'm not sure you can get the latest/greatest/newest phones on pre-paid Verizon. I personally could care less, so I didn't even really check into it, but I believe at the time I signed up, the iphone 4 was out maybe, but they just had the 3 (for free for me), and I happily took that.

I've never tried other pre-paid/contract services, so I can't speak to any others. Overall though, I've been about 100x happier with Verizon (contract or not) than I ever was with AT&T ANYTHING. MMM recommends another option on his website for what it's worth to you:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mmm-recommends/

nswef
4-22-15, 2:05pm
Great article. I checked and they don't recommend it for my address, which I think is very honest. We have a Trac phone and they first sent a Motorola which did nothing. The Nokia did. I only pay $119 a year, but no data. I don't text, but it can do it. Am feeling a bit of phone envy, but not often enough to change.

ABB
4-23-15, 1:50am
nswef, that is indeed very honest of them!

SteveinMN
4-23-15, 1:22pm
Then these two aren't negatives for me, but perhaps would be for someone, so I should mention:
A. [snip] it seems that sometimes the store sales associates don't know quite as much about pre-paid questions as they do about regular contract plans [...]
B. I'm not sure you can get the latest/greatest/newest phones on pre-paid Verizon [...]
The sales associates don't know much about prepaid because they're not paid to know more about prepaid. Literally. Their highest commisions/spiffs come from selling postpaid plans. Unless someone's credit history is at the bottom of the Sargasso Sea, very few people spend much money on prepaid phones or plans. The associates are just following the money. Fortunately, on-line/phone customer service is good.

Verizon, in particular, is not good about letting prepaid carriers on their network use the latest and greatest technology. Not a huge deal but I'm glad I have access to AT&T's LTE network even on prepaid.


I've never tried other pre-paid/contract services, so I can't speak to any others. Overall though, I've been about 100x happier with Verizon (contract or not) than I ever was with AT&T ANYTHING. MMM recommends another option on his website for what it's worth to you:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mmm-recommends/
AT&T's GoPhone has worked well for me and for DW's iPad for many months. I've never had an issue, either, walking into a corporate store and getting help, though some things apparently are only done on-line/phone.

MMM's recommendations, like so many of his recommendations, are good if you're on the same happy path as him. Republic Wireless' model of mostly Wi-Fi connection is OK for the very casual user, but other carriers have plans which cost about the same and don't cause as much hassle in using the phone. Ting is good for you if Sprint is good for you; great customer service but that doesn't help if Sprint has no coverage where you need it. Lots of people use StraightTalk, which has almost the sole virtue among resellers of offering coverage on the best network in your area (just pick the right phone), but their customer service has a reputation for being terrible; I can't think I would recommend StraightTalk (or TracFone, Net10, SIMPLE Mobile or its other siblings) to anyone like, say, my mom, a first-order technophobe who has no ear for English as a second langauge. If they work for a reader, great. But I'd be careful about anointing those choices "the best".