Why I Still Have a Dumb Phone


I confess: I have a dumb phone.

Sad Phone

My dumb phone makes me sad.

People who know me think it’s hilarious that me–the “gadget queen,” as they call me–doesn’t have a fancy phone and can barely operate the simple prepaid phone I do have. The other day, there was a tiny icon on my dumb phone’s tiny screen and my sister had to tell me what it meant (it was muted) and then I couldn’t even figure out how to unmute it–my sister had to help with that, too. I guess it gets muted a lot, because I almost never hear my phone ring so most of my calls go to voice mail. Did I mention I hate my cell phone?

So, why do I have a dumb phone?

Living in the country prevents me from having a smartphone and its requisite data plan. Until very recently I could not even get regular cell phone service at my home. Although I do now get a cell signal here in my house from at least one provider, most cell phones are useless here–just ask my friends and relatives. So, for years, my husband I have used basic dumb phones under a prepaid plan, which costs us  each about ten dollars a month buying the minimum of refill minutes per cycle.

Even now that we can get Verizon signal here at the house, we can’t justify a smartphone plus data plan. For one thing, it makes no sense to get rid of our landline since it is bundled with our DSL and the cost is negligible. By having a landline at home, the only time we need to use our cell phones is when we travel, for emergencies, or on the rare occurrences that our home phone goes out. We each have to recharge our prepaid minutes every 90 days with a minimum of $30. Even so, neither of us comes close to using that amount of airtime, and between us we probably have a surplus of over $300 in prepaid airtime, ever-increasing. Just on my phone alone, I have over $200 in accumulated rollover airtime credit!

Smartphone Dreaming

Still, I would love to have an iPhone. I keep my iPod touch on me always, and it would be wonderful to have one less thing to carry when I am out and about. My dream is that last summer’s rumors will come true and Apple will finally release a (stripped down?) version of an iPhone that is compatible with Verizon’s prepaid plans. Cricket has already announced a prepaid iPhone , and Sprint’s Boost Mobile is also rumored to be introducing a prepaid iPhone , so here’s to hoping more providers will be offering prepaid iPhones soon. Not that I am a huge fan of Verizon–it’s just the only wireless provider than I know works at my home. Unfortunately, I have little confidence that Cricket or Sprint provide coverage to my rural home area, and they still require a data plan, even though it’s prepaid. What I’m looking for is nothing more than an iPod touch with basic phone capabilities that can be used with a pay-as-you-go-plan without forcing me to buy an expensive data plan. Is that too much to ask?

And while I’m dreaming, it would be great if I could apply some of my accumulated minutes to the purchase of this dream phone!

This post on Gizmodo caught my attention: How Many of Your Friends Still Use Dumbphones? It’s comforting to know there are still lots of people using dumb phones for good reasons. Hit the comments and let me know if you’re one of the minority dumb phone users, and why. And if you know of some way to make my smartphone dreams come true without getting saddled to a data plan, I’d love to hear it!

Follow Ups:
A Dumbphone Dilemma
A Smart Phone Decision: iPhone on Page Plus Cellular

About Sue

14 Responses to “Why I Still Have a Dumb Phone”

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  1. Jennifer says:

    I only use a dumb phone too! I got a text the other day and couldn’t figure out how to reply!

    • Jennifer says:

      I should add that I use a dumb phone because of the cost. I spend about $10 per year keeping my minutes on the pre-pay plan I have. If T-Mobile offered a pre-pay iPhone, I would be sorely tempted, but I don’t use my cell phone enough to justify an expensive contract.

  2. Shelley says:

    There are definitely times with a dumb phone makes sense. What you and Jenn describe sounds less expensive than my mom’s Jitterbug plan. I tried to get her to switch, but she wasn’t budging. Maybe I should send her this post.

  3. Jacci says:

    I’m seriously considering ditching my iPhone as part of all the downsizing I’m doing but I’m grandfathered in on AT&T right now so I have unlimited data. So sweet. But, sigh, all good things must come to an end (and if they ever get around to ending the unlimited like they have been saying for years I’ll definitely dump it).

    • Jenniferenn says:

      Man, I hear you about the downsizing! We’re down to two netflix at a time (from a high of 6) and the only reason we haven’t gone lower is because we like being allowed to stream to two devices at once.

  4. John says:

    A smartphone would be a great way to dip your foot in the Android pool!

    • Sue says:

      John, You want to sponsor me for it? hehe! Nothing against Android, but then I would have to re-buy all the apps I have for iOS.

  5. Linda says:

    I too have a dumb phone. I am proud of the fact that it costs me $60 per year to keep it going (it makes use of Virgin Mobile’s prepaid plan, $15 every 90 days). I use d all that money I saved to buy an iPad.

  6. Dru says:

    Well Miss Sue…..I DO have a smart phone. I “think” it’s great…but not too sure because I can hardly see the screen 🙂 (jk) Even though I am not a habitual texter….I do like the texting option.

  7. Barbara Bolen says:

    This is so timely – just yesterday I was looking to replace my dumb phone and was stunned by the lack of options and the glaring lack of quality.

  8. Margaret says:

    I didn’t want to switch to the smartphone (this past Dec) but we can’t get internet from any provider here. Then I learned that my smartphone would give me internet service on my desktop/laptop. Yipee, finally light … I’m using my smartphone as the modem. Great service too.

    • Sue says:

      That’s a good reason to get a smartphone, Margaret! I may end up saving to do something like that for the rural property we have in GA. How is it working out for you? Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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