Cellphones and PlatinumTel

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I really have never been a fan of phones, so when cellphones took off, I stayed back. In time my daughter added us to her Sprint account and sent us a phone which became my wife's. It wasn't so bad - and was pretty handy, especially when traveling.

Eventually I decided it was maybe a good idea I should have one for my consulting business, but I balked at paying $35-60/month for a phone I did not expect to use more than a couple of minutes a month. I discovered PlatinumTel.com which used the Sprint network. At the time they offered a Samsung M800 for $100 which included $100 towards two years of a pay-as-you-go plan for sms, talk or data time, and one year of free access. A second year of access cost $40. Mmmm, let me see, that's $5.83 per month (140/24), now we're talking!

The M800 barely qualifies as a 'smart phone' (I call it my 'dumb smart-phone'). It did not have a physical keyboard, something I thought was good. It had simple internet apps for Email and the web browsing. Both were pretty meager, but functional. I could check my Email and even take a poor quality picture and send it to myself. It could play music from a microSD card.

What's not to like? Plenty actually, but since I hardly ever used the web/email it didn't matter. The talk and sms and data rates were so low (pennies each) that I never hesitated to use the phone. It was exactly what I needed at the time and was really cheap compared to the alternatives. The screen was so dim I could not read it in bright sunlight and was tiny so typing was error prone. The Sprint network had poor coverage in the West, where we travel each year, but to give them credit, coverage improved greatly over two years. Ptel support was adequate, if you waited long enough when you called. I only called a couple of times - and did I mention how cheap it was?

As I neared the end of two years, I still had more than $60 of time/data left in the account. PlatinumTel provided exactly what I wanted. I have no complaints.