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Cellular Phones/buying first cell phone


Hi Debi,
I am so thrilled to have found you - an expert without an agenda. Bless you for giving your time and expertise.

I'm about to purchase my first cell phone, but after extensive research, my head is spinning, and I'm more confused than ever.  The only decisions I've made so far is that I should get a smart phone, with a pre-paid (no contract!) plan, and that I don't need unlimited anything. I will be probably be using it more for texting than talking, as I'm not a big talker. (The only exception is that I call a friend who lives in Brighton, UK about once a month to chat for about 30 minutes; however, a plan that doesn't include international calling is not a deal-breaker for me).

I work from home, and live very locally, so I don't want a data plan either, as I think I can just use my own wi-fi when and if I want internet. Most pre-paid plans seem to start at $40, and I'd like to find something cheaper, if possible.

As for the phone itself, EVERYONE tells me I should get an iphone, but for my first phone, I'd like to spend no more than $100. Can you make some recommendations, or do I really have to spend more to get something decent? (Btw, my eyesight isn't that great, so I'd a 4 inch screen if possible).

I've been doing research on phones and plans for 2 months and have gotten no where except more and more confused - I'm not an old lady, but I'm starting to feel like one, and a complete idiot, too! I would greatly appreciate any advice and information you can give me regarding what phone to buy, and what carrier/plan you'd recommend...thank you so much!
Kind Regards,
PS In case it matters, my zip code is 92109; my area code is 858.

Hi. I'm very happy to assist you. A couple of things: when you purchase a SmartPhone, the carriers all require a voice and data plan, so even if you are going to use WiFi the majority of the time, you will see need some type of data plan, even if it's just a small one (like 300MB). Verizon and AT&T have their post paid plans that are $45.00 a month. Wth post paid and a two year commitment, you can get an iPhone 5C for example for only $99.99. I know you said you wanted a prepaid phone, but you may want to consider post paid because of the value it will bring you. The nice thing about an iPhone is that they are super easy to use, almost all applications are made for iPhones, they are high quality and well worth it. Samsung Galaxy 4's are also great for Androids, but honestly, I think the iPhone is a great way to go. I wouldn't be that intimidated by post paid. If you really want to switch carriers before your contract is expired, most carriers will help pay your cancellation fees to get you to move to them. There aren't too many SmartPhones for $100.00 with prepaid, but if you can find one and are completely set on prepaid, then definitely go for it. You won't have a lot of options, unfortunately because post paid is pretty limited. I would definitely go with the carriers directly and not through a reseller. I'm not a big fan of resellers. I have several devices and have used all operating systems and can say that iOS, Apple, is by far the best. I hope this helps. Thanks.  

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I can answer questions on cellular phones, the physical device, the network, contracts, billing, ordering, porting and what to look for when purchasing cell phones. I am located in the United States. I am an expert on BlackBerrys, Treos, HTC devices and iPhones as well as cellphones and aircards. I have over 15 years of experience in both the wireless and wireline world with the carriers. I have a lot of knowledge regarding the wireless providers - their services, prices and policies, both GSM AT&T and T-Mobile) and CDMA (Verizon, Sprint/Nextel). I am very familiar with the individual devices and their specifications. I can also answer questions regarding BlackBerrys, iPhones and other PDAs, both Palm-based and Windows-based. I can troubleshoot most any problem someone is having with their cellular device or with the provider.


Over 20 years in the Telecom industry working for the carriers with individuals, small business, medium business and large corporations(Fortune 500). Also worked as a professor in Maryland for 10 years teaching telecommunications.

I belong to several organizations

Master's in Telecommunications

Awards and Honors
Received several awards for papers that I have published over the years

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