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Need some help gang.....am considering buying my first cell phone and don't know the first thing about who, what, where, why.
I want a phone mainly to provide security and convenience for when my wife and I are in separate location...ie, she is out shopping and I am home. Do not want all the bells & whistles, just basic, efficient, easy to use, clear reception, durable (not easily damaged if dropped, I'm clumsy sometimes
), low monthly fees, and one that works locally, and when we travel out of state. Would also appreciate info on the complex payment/service plans. Any brand better that others? Nokia, Nextel, Radio Snack,
Motorola, Sprint, etc. etc. Thanks gang!!!!

Zippy

Red/Black Z06

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Zippy, your first cell phone? I have had one of these damm things since 84, can I send you mine? I think I pay several hundred dollars a month but I spend over two thousand minutes a month on the phone, so I am told. I have Cingular service but most are pretty close in price, check your local papers to see who is offering the best deal.

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Carl V. *****Authorized Zaino Distributor*****
Huntingdon Valley, PA.** 2000 Magnetic Red Convertible **
MN6,F45,QF5,AQ9,AG2,CJ2,T96,B34,AAB,UN0,U1S,JL4,UV6,T82,N37
** Corvette Club of Delaware Valley **

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[This message has been edited by hcvone (edited 02-22-2001).]
 

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Zippy,

I have a 1500 minute deal with ATT for $149.99/ month with no roaming or long distance fees. Good phone (Nokia) and good reception overall. They also offer smaller plans with no roaming or long distance for less per month.

Your going to have to do your homework to pick the best plan based on usage, roaming, long distance and monthly fees. If you can swing a slightly larger plan that includes no fees for roaming or long distance go for it. You will end using it more than you think and some of these plans do not cost much more than your residential phone service.

Just my two cents. Mark

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Xtreme Z06 rolled exhaust plate, GM bra (road trips only) and lots of Zaino.
 

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Zippy,

The best deals usually come when you buy a plan through your work or credit union if either are available. For example, I started with Sprint PCS when I was still in the military and got two phones for a flat fee of $7.50 a month plus .10/.25 a minute depending on if I am using prime time or off time. Plus all calls made within the area I am at while traveling are considered local. I am not a heavy phone user so this works out best for me. However, if I used my phone more than 250 minutes a month then I would probably go with Sprints, AT&T or cingular's one rate plans.

Best bet is to shop around and do not sign any long term deals unless they actually offer a great deal.

As far as phones go, they are basically all the same quality if you have digital service. The only difference in phones is added options. Longer talk times between charges is better and definitely get a phone that can be used with a hands free mic/earphone for driving or even walking around. Even the most basic models now have these features. Go cheap initially and if you find you use the phone a lot more than you had planned, upgrade at that time and get a newer phone with more functions that you want or need.


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Kevin D. TRCC-127
T/R Z06 with mod Red/Black Interior.
 

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Zippy,
If you are a chatter box, (
J/K) and like to talk on the phone, talk to your local digital service provider and find out what their plans are. Some include a couple of states coverage, some include a "region" and others are country wide. If you really do talk a lot locally, I'd get the local plan with a lot of minutes. I currently have 350 minutes for $35 a month. I can call anywhere in the US with no long distance charges as long as I call from anywhere in North or South Carolina. When I do travel out of my local area, I use public phones when needed. If you get "nationwide" coverage, you'll be paying for that access every month and may not be using it to its full advantage. Plus, the nationwide plans give you fewer minutes for the same amount (as compared to a local plan). Also, some of the services (I think Cingular just started this) you can call another cell phone number (within the same provider - ie Cingular) and you are not charged for any airtime on either end. That would be ideal to keep in touch with the wife, kids, etc. Best bet, chat with a provider face to face and explain what you are looking for. From what you described, I wouldn't pay more than $40-50 a month for that kind of service.

Some of the digital phones also switch to analog service when out of the "service area" for digital. This would apply to the out of state coverage since the digital service isn't available everywhere. You will pay more for this convenience! You have to balance the "wants" with the "needs"....

Best to ya!

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Thanks for the memories Dale.
Delivered 1/19/01 - Z06 Quicksilver/Black
Nickname - "Silver Bullet"
Installed - custom license plate, exhaust plate, B&M Ripper, Flameball, CAGS
 

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Zippy:

You kind of opened a can of beans here didn’t you? As you’ve read, price plans are important, but there is one more thing you should consider. Simply put, currently, in America cell phones work on two different frequency bands and use three different transmission methods. The two frequency bands are 800mhz and 1900mhz. The three different transmission methods are AMPS (analog), TDMA (digital), and CDMA (digital). To quote the sonorous James Earl Jones, “Your cell phone is only as good as the network it’s on.” This couldn’t be truer.

Since most systems are switching over to digital, AMPS is no longer as prevalent as it once was, but it is still the system in place in most rural areas throughout the US. TDMA is the most common of the digital systems with CDMA running a very close second. Why am I boring you with this, because knowing what’s out there will help to determine which phone/system to get, and which phone/system you get will determine where and how well your phone will actually work.

Now, what to get. Unfortunately, I don’t know who the big Cell phone players are in your area, but if AT&T wireless is available or if you have a Cellular One franchise, then you have TDMA coverage. This is quite likely since TDMA is more common. If Verizon, Alltel and/or Sprint are available, then you have CDMA coverage. My guess is that if you are in the Detroit Metropolitan area you have both. Here’s the rub. Digital cell phones are either TDMA or CDMA not both, but you can get 800/1900mhz TDMA 800mhz AMPS phones. And you can get 800/1900mhz CDMA 800mhz AMPS phones, which are sometimes called tri-mode or tri-band phones. Be careful here because most phones are dual-mode or dual band or even single-mode. Both of these tri-mode phones can be used virtually anywhere in the US with only a few limitations. CDMA is not as common as TDMA, so digital service is not as widespread. Your CDMA phone will switch to AMPS (analog) when out of a CDMA service area. TDMA does not have the capacity that CDMA has, so in large Metropolitan areas at peak times some calls won’t go through and you experience more dropped calls (with TDMA). In the Eastern US, CDMA/AMPS is the way to go. Nokia, Motorola, and Qualcomm make very good tri-mode phones. I personally have had several Nokias and Motorolas, but I definitely like the Motorola Star-Tac the best. It’s small, it’s cool, it’s got great reception, and it’s tough. I drop my phone often. And most importantly, it’s 800/1900mhz CDMA 800mhz AMPS. Good luck and I hope this helps. Oh BTW, GSM is on its way too, but I wouldn't worry about that yet.

Mike

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I have used Verizon for the last 10 years, only problems was when they had their consolidation last year. They have a good plan for the Detroit area of prime time/weekend minutes. Depending on how much you anticipate you will use the phone. This includes free roaming in Michigan and several surrounding states. Price of 30-60/mo.

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Coverage is the highest rated criterion and the TDMA gets the best coverage nationally if that is important. All the best.

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'01, Z06, Millenium Yellow (electrochromics, BSMs, magnetic oil plug, cargo net,and velcro'd accessories), Everyday driver (such a treat to drive Automobile's car of the year!)


 

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Zippy,

Take a look at the phones and plans that all of the different company's have to offer. They all pretty much do the same thing
You just need to decide what is important to you, like :
how many minutes
size
price
area you are calling in
Some even offer a plan where if you get one, you can add another for $10.00 or something like that. Then you can give one to your wife...unless that is a bad idea?


There is an insurance option that costs about $3.00 that will cover if it gets lost, broken or stolen.
Just my .02

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