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Thread: Dumb phone questions

  1. #1
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    Dumb phone questions

    I have a "dumbphone".... Samsung T199.
    I've had it for 7 years, that is, since I retired.
    Before that I had..... nothing. Really, no smart phone, Cricket phone, Star Trek flip phone, nada.
    I pay $5 per month for 30 minutes of talk time (no texting, no camera, certainly no web access).
    30 minutes is enough time to call a tow truck and give him my location.

    I have a phone at home for everything else, and it is (wait for it)... a LL (Cue the Luddite chorus).
    Anyway, the carrier is T-mobile.
    So my question is: why does my phone still work with the new 5G.... thing? I can still make calls.
    (As you can see I am totally ignorant of this particular "tech").

    Can someone explain this to me in short sentences and using one syllable words?
    Last edited by Patty Hann; 03-02-2023 at 12:21 AM.
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.

  2. #2
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    Short answer is "no". Looking up your phone model, I see it is a 3G model. T-mobile supposedly shut down 3G service in May, 2022 so it a surprise it works at all. Time for a newer phone. Not advertised / featured at all, but basic cell phones are still available from all carriers. 3G is an older, slow technology that is obsolete.

    Not preaching, but personally I would be hard pressed to give up my smartphone. Using it as a conventional phone is about the least value it presents for me. The GPS, camera, maps, restaurant reviews (Yelp and Trip Advisor), streaming music player, and notebook capabilities are all valuable to me in addition to basic internet access.

  3. #3
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    So there is no explanation as to why it still works? Is it magic?
    Seriously, why would it still work?

    My financial situation is pretty much A or B, but not A and B.
    I don't stream any TV, I have a Computer (Dell Inspiron) originally bought in 2007 (altho' it has been updated), a 2006 Corolla.
    You see where this is headed? Life is choices. I've made a lot my choices based on which hobbies I can afford to keep up and which I've had to give up.
    And I've had to make financial sacrifices to keep the ones I have (Astronomy and woodworking).
    Last edited by Patty Hann; 03-01-2023 at 6:16 PM.
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patty Hann View Post
    So there is no explanation as to why it still works? Is it magic?
    Seriously, why would it still work? ...
    Best guess is they haven't turned off the old radios (yet!)

    As far as upgrades, my wife & I are completely happy with mid-range smart phones that frequently go on sale for $200. But I know there are even less expensive models available that would do everything you list and more. Also, T-Mobile offers zero-interest "financing" on (many? most? all?) phones acquired thru them. They add 1/24th of the total to each month's bill, so you don't need a lump sum to upgrade.

  5. #5
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    The kicker is ... I pay $5 a month for what I need.
    Pretty sure there isn't any service out there that's just $5 per month.
    If anyone knows of such service, I'd appreciate a link/info whatever.
    I'm thinking that the cheapest service is $50 per month... a 900% increase.
    5x12 =$60....50 x 12 = $600 .....
    That annual $540 can buy a lot woodworking gear ...juneau?....
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.

  6. #6
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    Some carriers, like Verizon, shut their 3G systems down completely as they upgraded various towers. This forced customers to get new phones.

    My smart phone is a 4G phone so ATT still runs 4G service in most areas. What I have noticed is that in certain more populated areas the 4G service is really, really slow. We went to a Penguins Hockey game a few weeks ago and all tickets are E-tickets. The 4G service didn't work for me for over 15 minutes. Finally one of the helpful staff a PPG Place came over to help. He logged me in to the PPG WIFI and almost instantly I had the tickets.

    I suspect that in your local area the 3G service is still on and may go away at any time. If you are such a low use user, you may be able to purchase a phone with reloadable minutes that will keep the price per month down.

    I believe Cricket has plans as low as $25 per month.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patty Hann View Post
    The kicker is ... I pay $5 a month for what I need....
    I'm stumped.

    You said your carrier is T-Mobile, but on their webpage I can't find any $5 per month plans (or anything close really.) I figured I'd look up your plan and maybe find the restrictions, plans, and migration options and maybe find a better explanation. Either I misunderstood the T-Mobile part or they don't want the rest of us to know your plan exists.

    (In case you decide to contact customer service yourself, I know one way to save money is bundling services together. I wonder if your mobile phone, home phone, and internet service could be combined on a plan that is less or equal to the current total but keeps the services you want while future proofing you, for now, on the cell coverage technology.)

  8. #8
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    Look at Tello. $10/month, unlimited calling and text, but only 1 gig of data-- but it sounds like you don't care about that. I've never heard of it before, but multiple trustable review sites say it's OK. Older used phones are cheap on Ebay or Craigslist

  9. #9
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    Your carrier "should" warn you if/when your phone will stop working. Verizon gave us a few months or so notice when our old "house" cell phone was being sunsetted.

    Another option might be Consumers Cellular. There cheapest plan is $20 month (a little cheaper if you are an AARP member). I have a family member that uses them and has been happy.

    But if you're happy with what you've got, no reason to change until you are forced to. Just have a plan B in mind in case you just get bumped without (much) notice. It is only a matter of time until 3G is gone everywhere.
    --The bad news is: time flies. The good news is: you're the pilot.-- (Michael Altshuler)

  10. #10
    Booted Verizon out the door a couple years back. They wanted $120 for a new phone, plus $40 a month for 750 minutes. I have a flip phone which serves my needs, it says hello and goodbye. Went with a $20 phone from TracPhone, which happened to be same phone Verizon wants $120 for.. Pay $15 + fees and taxes for unlimited text and talk per month.

  11. #11
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    I found with a quick Google that there are T199s that use the 4G LTE network. Some, most?, carriers reallocated their 3G spectrum to support 5G, but the 4G spectrum is still dedicated to 4G.
    Last edited by Brian Tymchak; 03-01-2023 at 10:53 PM.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  12. #12
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    Lee, Roger, Paul, Bruce Brian...thanks for the phone/plan suggestions/info.
    David...see below...

    I got the service in 2016 when I retired.
    Whatever the deal was in the way of a payment plan option (back then) I can't recall.
    But the appeal was that I could buy monthly minutes starting with a minimum 30 minutes.

    And when I said it was $5 per month... I lied. It's really $3 (plus tax), i.e., 10 cents per minute. **
    ($5 seemed like typical ball park, number to use)
    And if I go over the 30 minutes I'm billed 10 cents per minute for the extra minutes. As along as I have a balance in my account I will still have service. No balance, no ring-y ding-y*** (beyond the 30 minutes.)
    And since the beginning I have never exceeded that 30 minutes per month. Phone is OFF until I need it, and I've only needed it on average once per year. It is for emergencies; that's all.
    I never check for [voicemail] messages. My friends have the number but they know not to contact me on it, unless we have prearranged it.
    I have no doubt that if I let my plan lapse I would never be able to re-instate it. And I'm also waiting for T-mobile to notify me and say my plan is going away (Not my service because of the 5G incompatibility, just the plan)
    But for now...the situation works for me.

    **
    T-Mobile pay as you go plan.jpg

    ***

    Last edited by Patty Hann; 03-02-2023 at 12:33 AM.
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.

  13. #13
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    Have you noticed a very long cotton string attached to your phone at one end and meandering out through a window crack into the night?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Borzelleri View Post
    Have you noticed a very long cotton string attached to your phone at one end and meandering out through a window crack into the night?
    No... no string ...... Probably one of my carrier pigeons made off with it.
    Last edited by Patty Hann; 03-02-2023 at 2:28 AM.
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.

  15. #15
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    Iowa USA
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    Hobbys are fun... until you get laid up with a broken foot bone like I am now. You are overlooking some good advice here, your phone and service is from the 1980's. Ditch the land line and get one of the offers suggested above with unlimited everything for like $30 per month.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Cloudray Galvo Fiber , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

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