The last couple of times that I came to the states, I ended up borrowing my mom's cell phone while I was here. She tends not to use it very much, and it saved me a little money. This time, however, I decided to get couple of phones; one for Yaow and one for myself.
My plan was to get some prepaid services for the time we were here, and then take the actual phones back with us to Thailand. That way before we returned next time, we could reactivate the phones and have phone service immediately upon entering the country. It would have been very handy to have had phones two years ago when we had to get in touch with my parents to tell them to pick us up in Dayton instead of in Cincinnati. I called my buddy Dave collect, and the company billed him $40 for a 2 minute call. He refused to pay.
I bought a Net10 prepaid phone with 5 hours of talk time for Yaow. Net10 charges ten cents a minute for a call. For myself, I went with a Cricket plan that had unlimited minutes for $45 a month. Yaow's Net10 phone was easy to set up and start using. Right from the beginning I had trouble with the Cricket phone. When I followed the instructions to use the prepaid service card that I had purchased, it didn't work. I had to call their representatives and speak to a non-native English speaker who seemed to be paid by the word and not by the hour. He was able to apply the credit to my account, but it wasn't a good sign of things to come.
Coverage on the Cricket network turned out to be very poor. Although their coverage map showed my house and my parents house well within the coverage range, I was frequently roaming. When I tried to make calls, I would frequently receive an immediate busy signal. I also didn't realize at the time that I was being charged for the roaming. Not knowing is my fault, but not providing coverage where you advertise it is their issue. I had a $5 credit on my account after I paid the first month plan, and apparently it was used in roaming fees.
I missed a lot of calls with Cricket. I would look down at my phone to make a call and see that I had 3 messages. This was a bit surprising since I had the phone with me the entire time and I hadn't heard it ring.
I knew my policy was coming to an end soon, so I went on their web site to make a payment to extend my service. Although the service was bad, it would only be for a few more weeks. Unlike the Net10 plan, where I was able to add time to Yaow's account in a minute, Cricket does not have a way to pay online. You have to buy a card from a retailer or call their representatives. I decided to call, since the last time I bought a card I had to pay anyway. After a few minutes with possibly the same speed talking representative as before, I interrupted and asked him to speak more slowly. Of course he spoke very, very slowly, perhaps out of spite. I tried to make a payment, but had maxed out the credit card that I was using. The one I was using had a small limit, but I hadn't activated any other of my credit cards. I hung up, paid off the balance on that card, and activated some additional cards that had been reissued when I was overseas.
I thought about calling Cricket back and adding enough time to get me through the rest of the trip, when I received a message on my phone saying that my service would expire in a week. I thought it was to expire the next day, but there it was in a text. One week left.
This morning when I went to make a call about my insurance, I had the message that there was not sufficient credit on my account. So I tried to make an payment via telephone, and after going through the entire process, I receive a message that the credit card charge did not work for technical reasons. So, I went to Walmart and bought another Net10 phone. I was going to try to port the number over, but I didn't know if it would work because I didn't have active service with Cricket.
My advice is that if you are considering Cricket Wireless, look into some other options. The coverage map did not accurately reflect the actual coverage, and their customer service and lack of web support made payments more difficult.