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Best PrePaid Cell Phone Deal

Updated on October 15, 2010

A few years ago I went pre-paid cell phone deal shopping. After checking into every no contract cell phone deal I discovered the very best place to go through is.. T-Mobile. There is a certain way to do this though to really make it the best, most affordable mobile phone deal possible.  In order to get a cell phone savings that are worth every penny, you must be willing to pay for $100 worth of cheap cell phone minutes at a time. if you were interested till here but can't meet this amount read on just for enlightenment, but I haven't done the math for buying lesser value pre-paid amounts. The lower amount cell phone pre paid cards such as $20, $50, etc. give you less mobile minutes per $$ so it doesn't work as well. Plus it is most beneficial if you are willing to buy a sim card off e-bay and possibly a phone.. It took me about $170 to get into this but it is well worth it in the long run.

Here's How It Works..

T-mobiles pre-paid phone plan offers 1000 minutes for $100. That's .10 cents a minute,

First.. here is how T-Mobile wants you to do it with a no contract mobile phone.. You buy a mobile phone through them for the regular asking price usually somewhere between $40 for basic no frills, to $500 for the luxury models. You buy their "pre-paid" sim card that contains your account in a small little computer about the size of a nickel that is inserted in the back of your phone. The sim card it self can be purchased for about $50 directly from any T-Mobile authorized dealer just in case you already have a t-mobile phone. This sim card contains a few started minutes I believe around 60. Then from there you buy minutes as you need them.

Your cheap mobile minutes carry over every time you buy more.. say you have 30 left and your expiration date is in 2 months. buy $25 dollars more and your minutes you already have plus the ones you just bought all have a new expiration date of 90 days. Once you have made a purchase of $100 total worth of minutes you new expiration date is 365 days. all your minutes from now on whether you add $25 or $100 or whatever will carry out for an additional 365 days for as long as you have your phone.

Also text messaging is 10 cents to send, free to receive. I believe its 25 cents to send pictures (I do not have a camera on mine so not sure.)

this is nice and all but not much of a deal.

The Deal

Here's how to make it all work for you. This is the way I made it work for me.

First you need a cheap mobile phone and a sim card. I already had a t-mobile cell phone at the time so I purchased the sim card first. If you do not have one follow both of the next two steps at the same time.

Getting the Sim Card

go to, if you do not yet have a account at ebay yet, go here to sign-up. Do a search for T-mobile sim cards.

What you are looking for is an already activated t mobile sim card. DO NOT BUY A UNACTIVATED SIM CARD. How do you know you are getting the one you want.. read the persons feedback. Sim card deals sell tons of these and their feedback stands for itself.. Also make sure this is a legit seller and that he always comes through on his auctions.

I paid $12.50 for my sim card through EBay. it came with 125 minutes and the minutes had a expiration date of 3 weeks. Pay close attention to the expiration dates listed in the auction. you want at least 3 weeks. Most sellers are offering the same thing so look just for this... Do not worry about the phone number being local. When the sim card gets to you it will come with a phone number.. Mine was a CA number, I'm in WA. All I did was call T-Mobile's pre-paid customer service, told them I wanted to change to a local number, told them the area code I was looking for and they gave me one. No other questions, nothing that was it. Now you have your sim card with a local number that you basically got for free and paid about 10 cents per minute for what it came with...

T-Mobile pre-paid sim card, activated, 3 week+ exp. date, and at least 125 minutes.

You shouldn't pay more then $15 bucks for this ever! You may be able to get one for cheaper than i did or maybe a little bit more.


Getting The Phone

If you already have a t-mobile phone and like it you don't need a new one. Ask your friends if they have a older one you could use if it still works.. As long as its T-Mobile(or any other unlocked GSM cell phone), just by placing your sim card in it, it becomes your pre-paid phone without needing a contract plan whether it was one to begin with or not.

Walmart does have a t-mobile pre-paid phone that costs only $35. This is the basic no frills phone and will work fine and yes if you can do with that I would totally recommend it.. But.. I when I went to buy a new phone I wanted something specific. I had never had a flip phone and I really want one.. plus I was used to a color screen and had to have that. You can not buy a affordable phone that has today's current "cool" stuff on it in stores. I tried. Because you are not buying into a contract there are no free phones, no penny phones, and almost no deals except maybe a $50 off manufactures rebate on a $300 phone.. If your going for cheap, back to EBay shopping..

There are a few ways to do this. Either do a search for "t-mobile phone " or try "unlocked phone" YOU need to find one that is either of these two.. Your sim card will only worked in T-Mobile or a unlocked GSM phone. Unlocked GSM means that although it may have originally been used under another carrier, even as a brand new phone, it has gone through programming that allows it to be used by any carrier that uses a sim card.

Don't just buy the first phone you see. it took me 4 days of lengthy searching to find what I wanted. Most sellers that sell refurbished unlocked phones sell many of the same ones. The seller of mine did just this so I bid on a couple at different times and never went over $50. for the buy price. If I lost the auction I bid on the next making my largest bids just minutes before auction end. When I finally won it I paid with PayPal and received my phone within 4 days. (look for priority mail if seller is asking more than $8 for shipping.)



Getting The Minutes

So now you have your phone, your activated sim card with local number and non-expired minutes ready.. Now to get more minutes. If you buy lower amounts you get less minutes per $. The best and only way to make this work is to up front buy the initial $100 worth of minutes. There many different places to buy this. If you buy it in stores expect tax on top. Buy online though and usually its just the straight $100.

Online pre paid minute dealers can offer better discounts then if you buy your cards in the store. Stores such as gives a automatic 5% off making their $100 T-mobile TOGO phone card $95. Do a coupon search on google for the most current coupon codes. I have always purchased through cheapphonecards and used the code: cheap

after you apply this coupon you will pay around $91.25 for a $100 worth of pre-paid minutes. because it is a $100 card you will still get the 365 day period till they expire. On your first purchase it may take up to 48 hours I believe to get your code in your e-mail. I got mine in 4 hours. This is because they are verifying your credit or debit card. I used my account to purchase one for my cousin because he does not have a credit card and it took less then 20 minutes to get the new code.

When you receive your code call the number given to add more minutes and follow the directions entering the code given in your e-mail. You now have 1000 more minutes in addition to the 125 you got when you bought your sim card. That's it.. This works out to 9 cents a minute which unless you use your cell phone for all your calling, or you NEED those free minutes other plans offer, ends up being better then most contract service plans. .


So now you have your phone, your sim card, 1000+ minutes and don't have to buy more for another year. I could make a $100 minutes card last me about 4 months. Because I have added at least $100 to my sim account, my expiration date will always be 365 days since the last time I added more minutes.

Remember for the best deal always buy $100 at a time and find a dealer online that can offer regular discounts


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