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Freedom of Choice

A couple of years ago, we did a wacky (I mean creative) YouTube video called “Page Plus Gives You the Freedom to Control Your Cell Phone Bill.” It was based (loosely) on the movie Braveheart – the actor was running around in blue and white face paint yelling “Freedom!”

The video got a whopping 1,600 views – hardly viral. But despite the lackluster performance of the video, the concept of “freedom” still applies to no-contract (prepaid) wireless service from Page Plus. In fact, with new wireless customers choosing no-contract service over contract service by a ratio of 10 to 1 (Entner), it’s more relevant than ever. Here are four reasons why:

1. No Contract: Of course, not having a two-year contract is the most obvious example of freedom. People are realizing in droves that they not only can have the freedom of not being stuck in a two-year contract, but that no-contract service is actually cheaper than postpaid! The last statistic I saw was that over 25% of U.S. wireless customers are now on no-contract service, and that percentage is growing by 23% a year. Of course that still pales to other countries (in Western Europe, for example, 70% of wireless customers are on prepaid), but the point is that the trend is growing rapidly here in the U.S.

2. Switching Plans: The ability to quickly and easily switch plans is another “freedom” you have with Page Plus. Since your service is month-to-month, if you find that your plan isn’t big enough for your usage this month, you can simply change to a higher plan next month. And even better, you can even customize your service plan if your usage happens to fall between two plans. All you have to do is carry an extra cash balance on your account to be used for “overages.” For example, if you run out of data a couple of days short of your renewal date, but you still have voice minutes and texts left, you can continue to use more data at the overage rate of your plan and just pay for it out of your cash balance.

3. Control Your Budget: One of the primary benefits of no-contract service is that you have the freedom to control your budget. Because the service is prepaid, it eliminates the possibility of “bill shock” – the surprise postpaid customers can get when they (or someone in their family) rack up a huge, unexpected bill. With prepaid, there is no bill. You use what you pay for. Of course there are a couple of ways to continue your service if you run out of something (minutes, texts or data) – you can add cash for overages, as described above, or simply renew your monthly plan early. No matter whose cell phone you’re paying for – your own, or your teenager’s or college student’s – YOU control your budget.

4. Phone Selection: Some companies only let you use their phones on their service. They don’t have BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Or they’ll limit you to only use feature phones (not smartphones) on certain plans, or require you to pay for a data plan with certain smartphones. With Page Plus, you can use any of our phones on any of our plans. You can use any of the phones available directly from us or from our dealers, plus all the 3G CDMA phones that we’ve approved in the past. That’s freedom of choice!

So get out your blue and white face paint everybody, and celebrate YOUR freedom!

The Advantages of Page Plus’ Hybrid Payment System

The no-contract, prepaid world of cell phone service works a little differently than traditional postpaid. Traditional postpaid customers are used to receiving a bill every month for the services they’ve used in the previous month, and having to write a check and mail it, or pay their bill online. In prepaid, however, you pay upfront for a set amount of usage. People have their preferences for different reasons, but Page Plus combines the two into a “hybrid” payment system that combines the best of both worlds.

Let’s start with postpaid. For people who are not familiar with prepaid, this is the only way they know. You use however much talk, text and data services this month, and get billed for it next month. And of course there are all the additional fees, taxes and “overages” that can inflate your bill. So many additional fees, in fact, that a survey by the FCC determined that 30 million Americans – or one in six mobile users – has experienced “bill shock.” In traditional postpaid you typically get locked into a 2-year contract, and it is the most expensive option for service.

No-contract (prepaid) service works differently. You pay in advance for a monthly plan that includes a set amount of voice minutes, text/picture messages and data. When you run out of something, that service simply stops working until your plan renews the following month. (Except if you are a Page Plus customer, you can add an additional cash balance to your plan to continue using a service if you run out early). Therefore, prepaid customers do not experience the dreaded “bill shock,” and prepaid service is cheaper than postpaid.

Then there is the convenience factor. Some people want to get a cell phone bill every month so they remember to pay it. In prepaid, it is the customer’s responsibility to take the action of purchasing airtime and applying it to their account before their plan expires each month, or they will find themselves without service.

Page Plus takes the convenience factor of postpaid, and combines it with the less-expensive, no-contract advantages of prepaid, into a hybrid payment system that combines the best of both worlds. The system is called Auto Refill. With Auto Refill, you don’t get a bill that you have to pay, and you also don’t have to take any action to renew your prepaid plan each month. You simply set up an online account, register for Auto Refill, and your plan will be automatically renewed each month and charged to a credit card.

Many Page Plus customers find that setting up Auto Refill on their accounts allows them to enjoy the “set-it-and-forget-it” convenience factor of not having to worry about having to do anything to renew their plan every month. Combine that with the benefits of nationwide coverage, cheaper plans, and not having a contract, and why would anyone want to stay on traditional postpaid?

There’s Still a Need for Pay-As-You-Go Cell Phone Service

While many cell phone users today are on some type of monthly service plan that includes allotments of voice minutes, texts and data, there is still a fairly large segment for whom a “pay-as-you-go” plan is still the most economical way to go. These are the people who have a glovebox phone for emergencies, or have multiple devices for different uses, or whose minimal usage simply does not justify a large monthly plan of talk/text/data that they will never use. These “low-usage” people come from all walks of life, from children to the elderly.

Long before Page Plus Cellular offered monthly talk/text/data bundle plans, pay-as-you-go cell phone service was the only service it offered. While the demand for it has certainly diminished over time with the explosion of text messaging and data usage, there is still a sizeable niche for the pay-as-you-go crowd. It is still a very affordable option for those whose limited cell phone usage makes it the most economical way for them to go. For example, an $80 Standard (pay-as-you-go) plan from Page Plus provides 2,000 talk minutes and lasts for a full year. That’s just $.04 a minute. Or, at the very minimal usage, a $10 Standard plan provides 100 minutes and lasts 120 days.

While there are other service providers out there who also offer pay-as-you-go service, Page Plus remains one of the most competitive. For example, you may have seen TV commercials from Consumer Cellular that show a group of retirees sitting around a camp fire talking about how their monthly cell phone bill can be as low as $10-$15. But in a direct comparison, their pay-as-you-go service is not nearly as cheap as Page Plus Cellular’s. Since the Page Plus plan lasts for 120 days (only 30 days for Consumer Cellular), here’s a direct comparison for 80 minutes of talk time over a 4-month period:

Consumer Cellular

Page Plus Cellular

Monthly Service Fee

$10.00

$0.50

Per Minute Rate

$0.25

$0.10 (or less)

Total Cost for 80 Minutes Used Over 4 Months

$60.00

$10.00

 

As you can see, Page Plus is clearly the more affordable way to go, saving you $50 over a 4-month period compared to Consumer Cellular. And this is based on Page Plus’ highest per-minute rate of $0.10 – consider that if the $80 plan is used, the per-minute rate is just $0.04/minute, and the savings are even greater! So, if you fit into the low-usage group, you should consider no-contract, pay-as-you-go cell phone service from Page Plus Cellular for more affordable rates. To learn more, visit the Page Plus website at www.PagePlusCellular.com.

Do You Really Need Unlimited Data? Not Likely.

 

 

 

From time to time, comments crop up that “Page Plus needs to offer more data.” Some people actually believe – falsely – that they must have an unlimited data plan. In reality, however, the vast majority of smartphone users do not use more than 2 GB (gigabytes) of data per month, according to research firm NPD Connected Intelligence. The data was collected from smartphone users of Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. In fact, if you single out Verizon Wireless, only 3% of customers use more than 3 GB per month.

The “power users” in that 3% group simply tend to be more vocal about “needing” more data. They tend to stream a lot of audio and video, and don’t take advantage of Wi-Fi hot spots to supplement their cellular data usage.

And that’s strictly smartphone users. If you include feature (non-smart) phones, the average U.S. mobile subscriber uses just 450 MB (that’s megabytes, not gigabytes) of data per month, according to Q1 2012 data from research firm Nielsen.

We all need to analyze our actual data usage, use Wi-Fi when practical, and choose the plan that’s right for us. The Page Plus “55” plan, for instance, provides 2 GB of data per month, which is more than enough for 97% of people. Plus, it includes unlimited talking and unlimited texting, all for just $55 per month. So the next time you hear someone say they need unlimited data, you can do them a favor by showing them how they can save money, and at the same time get as much data as they are likely to actually need.