There have been many times while I've been on trips when my owning a cell phone would have been very handy. Sometimes one needs a phone when one is at my folks' cottage at the Lake. And of course, trying to find people in and around airports has been made far far easier thanks to mobile phones. So with these concerns in mind, I spontaneously bought a Virgin Mobile Pay as you Go phone. My regular monthly phone bills are rarely more than $25, so I didn't want to spend an additional $20-$40 a month on a cell phone. I liked the TracFone like what dad got, but it costs $100 a year to keep it running, and that's not including the cost of phone calls. The Virgin phone, OTOH, is only $20 every 3 months or so (or every 5 months if you don't mind your phone being inactive for awhile) and that includes the phone calls. Yes, the calls are expensive. 25 cents a minute for the first 10 minutes in a day, plus 10 cents a minute after that. But this is a phone for vacations and emergencies. I think I can handle it.
And I discovered when I got it home that it's the perfect phone. Click here. Now type in "45373" into the zip code box. Look at the map. Notice that gray blurb just above and to the left of Dayton? Yup, that's where my home town is! So people will NOT be able to use my phone to find me when I'm in the area. ;-) They can only contact me when I'm in Troy or Piqua or at the Lake or in Chicago, etc etc. How's that for a perfect mobile? (This was not my original plan in buying the phone, but it's something that I think I can live with.)
It does seem to have good coverage in all the big cities that I tend to visit. Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Boston, LA, etc. So it should work fine on my trips around the country. And, as I wrote earlier, it works at the Lake. (I called both elsaf and Judi from the Lake. Left a message with their respective services and Judi returned my call. (Elsa is at work, I believe, and thus in a dead spot.) Oh, Judi, turns out it does charge for incoming. But I'm now at the 10 cents a minute stage for today, so that's OK.)
The phone uses Sprint's network, so it's all digital. But there is no roaming. I believe dad's TracFone does do roaming (with twice the cost per minute). When I listened to the phone messages that I left on my home answering machine, I was amazed by two things. The first, that I thought it was my mother and it took until the second call to actually realize it was me. The second, that it actually was very clear. Cool!
Oh, another reason why I opted for the Virgin phone rather than the TracFone - it's a much cooler cell phone. I went for the swanky AudioVox 8610 so I'd get full color and stereophonic ring tones. I found the ideal ring tone for my phone, too. (See the "current music" to find out what it is.) And someday I'll be in an area where my phone works and I can download the ring tone. ;-) Oh, it has two games on it as well. Blackjack, which is OK, I guess. And something called Magic Hexa, which is rather fun. Sort of like Tetris and Super Bubble Pop.
So, there ya have it. Trina's finally joined the 21st Century. Are you happy now, Judi? ;-)