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The Cellnet mobile phone advertised in the Sunday Telegraph 29/11/1998 said "Just buy vouchers....No contract, no monthly bills..."
The £99.99 cost included £30 call credit, and the small print required a minimum £20 to be added every 365 days.
I was in my 70's and bought one. My wife was especially reassured by it when she was driving alone.
Three years later in 2001 I apologised at renewal that I had to offer two £10 vouchers instead of £20. I was told the rules had changed and I need only add vouchers when my credit had dropped, it was then £55.41. So I didn't enter the long strings of coding, and I still have the two unused £10 vouchers.
The mobile became part of the car furniture, and after my wife died in 2005 I did not handle the Cellnet for a couple of years except to recharge battery at car service intrvals.
In 2008 the mobile recognised my pin no. but didn't put through my calls, and I found the service had changed. Via my home telephone I was advised to take the Cellnet into any high street phone centre and they would sort it out. The original contract was no longer operative.
I do appreciate that £20 pa may not be enough to pay for a seldom used 24/7 connection, but options open aren't always clear...
Tesco is well-known for value, but its pay-as-you-go terms require a minimum £5 monthly credit top-up. Elsewhere I have found terms and conditions that insist on at one paying call or text at least every 80 days. That may be reasonable, but if I forget to do so I lose all call credits. There are also sub-divisions of pay-as-you-go to suit varied needs. It makes sense that pricing is set to encourage calls,- not to leave equipment idle.
So I seek advice from the wisdom and experience of fellow forum members.
Could an alternative to my Cellnet be a netbook with WiFi or dongle? A friend suggested Skype on a laptop, but wasn't sure if it could offer BT access. Could I network through to my home PC to go further?
One temptation is for me to buy on eBay the Swiss-army style mobile bargain,.... built-in camera, mp3, even Sat Nav, and unlocked. Then fit appropriate PAYG Sim, if there is one. I expect calls to be pricey, but they will be be few and far between.
Putting aside capital outlay and price of call time, can I purchsae the access I first had for £20 pa, or not much more? With you help I shall be better infomed when I visit the phone shop. I welcome your comment.
I am Spartacas
You may be right. When I went through the small print yesterday, I found under general terms and conditions, section 3.8 titled "Keep talking". It said the use must include at least once in every 180 days either a charge for call or a text message.
This is only once in six months. I don't see it as a financial penalty but as clause that lets Virgin weed out the most infrequent (and unprofitable) users.
In spite of this, Virgin may me the best bet. Thanks.
I've a Tesco PAYG and I don't have to top it up every month. In fact it doesn't get topped up once a year!
At the time, I chose it because there was no minimum useage stipulation. Terms may have changed since of course.
I have had an Ericsson Vodaphone PAYG for about 10 years which lives in the car.
A daughter upgrading hers said ours was a brick and gave her old Nokia Orange to us.
Now we have two. Both have very occasional top-ups.
Easy to read the numbers on the old one and almost impossible on the Nokia.
Very poor signal locally on vodaphone adequate on Orange.
Both have old PAYG contracts costing a £10 top-up every few years, and both are conditional upon using once inside 180 days.
The Tesco p.a.y.g appliation form offer did imply £5 pm min top-up yesterday. No doubt Tesco will honour its longer-standing customers. As you say, terms may have changed. Thank you.
The 180 days is now shorter, but the worry for me is if I forget to activate, I would be unaware if my emergency mobile no longer worked...would be like carring around a dud fire extinguisher.
Your comment on signal pick-up ability is noted. Thanks.
I have quite a few Virgin SIM cards all with a small amount of credit on them that hasn't so far expired even after a few years. Get in touch via the yellow envelope with your details and I'll send you one with at least a fiver on it.
I am Sparticus
Thanks, you're very kind. I shall ask Virgin Mobile if they forewarn (by email?) of impending mobile cut-off for whatever reason. We could have driven around a year or two with a defunct Cellnet.
I use a old Motorola Savvy Walk-about T180 for occasional use with Cellnet connection (now 02), which had £5.00 installed free plus something like a £20.00 top-up on original purchase day (2001). It still as about £5.00 left before further top-up. The only comtractual stipulation is that I use the phone occasionally (usually 10/20 seconds check) so as to retain the network connection.
The same applies to another mobile that I have on the Vodafone network.
Regarding SIM cards, there are a number of these about, which usually are sold cheaper than the installed starter charge. But whether it is true, I was informed that some 'modern' SIM cards will not fit older mobiles, so it mat pay to watch out for this.
I'm on Virgin PAYG and never top up. They collect whatever I've spent each month by direct debit - usually about £2. The phone cost about £25 a couple of years ago.
I've been with Virgin Mobile PAYG since August 2000 to keep a mobile basically for emergency calls or receive/send very occasional calls or text messages.
So far it's cost me only round £50 in voucher credits in total (added £5 worth last weekend after previous credit lasted around a year); the credit on my phone is continuous and none is lost no matter how far back it extends.
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