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Old Jan 31 2012, 12:24 PM   #1
Priscilla
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Default Free Cell Phones?!

This has been bugging me for months! There is a company called "Assurance Wireless" that offers free cell phones in tv ads. They are available to people who get food stamps, SSI, and various other state aid, also low income. As far as I can tell this program is paid for by our taxes. I'd be okay with taxes paying for a landline in a house, because everyone needs that in an emergency, but since when did a cell phone become a "right" that everyone HAS to have?! Maybe I'm wrong, if so someone can convince me. Until then. . .
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Old Jan 31 2012, 02:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

In my state, you can choose to have either a land line(from our local phone company, at a reduced cost) or a cell (that is free from companies like Assurance), but you can't have both.
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Old Feb 1 2012, 11:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

If it would be for emergency assistance Iwould assume a cell phone being better than a landline.I also think a modern cell phone would be cheaper than a landline. Furthermore you can always see were cell phone (and its owner?) is, so with a cell phone you can be followed. If you claim you can't work and your cell phone goes to the factory each night...
In my country "second hand" cell phones are often reused. For today's modern youngster a two year old cell phone is antique
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Old Feb 1 2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

I doubt that there is enough manpower available to track someone misusing a free cell phone. There's already widespread cheating as far as couple living together unmarried so the woman can claim to be a "single mother" and get state aid for daycare/housing/food etc. Just one more thing, I guess.
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Old Feb 1 2012, 03:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

No manpower involved, Cilla, it's all computers. They keep track of us all.
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Old Feb 1 2012, 04:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Someone has to look at the computer info. If it was as simple as that there would not be so much welfare fraud over here.
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Old Feb 1 2012, 11:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

I would prefur a cell phone. If I am not home and Kibby had problems I can be reached. Also if someone is out and need help they can get help. If you fall in the back yard having a call phone will be MUCH more helpful then having a land line. If I am driving and break down it is better to have cell phone then having to walk (which has happened to me more than once) to find a land line. The free phones only come with 300 min. or less. It is for emergance use only.
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Old Feb 2 2012, 09:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

I bought my cell phone only to ask help if I am out and about. There is no internet or apps just a phone and that is enough for me.
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Old Feb 2 2012, 10:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

We bought ours too. I don't have the internet on it, it's just to keep in touch with family.

I guess I am the only one bothered by taxes paying for free cell phones? And, 300 minutes free per month is a LOT, to me at least.
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Old Feb 2 2012, 10:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

What about texting? Does it include texting? Everyone these days texts..... except me. They don't call; that takes "minutes", while texting doesn't. It's worse than talking while driving. Even out here in the middle of nowhere, where a big city is over 10,000 population, texting while driving is killing people in wrecks.
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Old Feb 2 2012, 12:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

I'd have to watch the ads again but I do think there was some amount of texting on top of the free minutes. You are right. We have a law here that you can only use blue tooth devises or similar when driving. No one follows it. I even see policemen driving along while on their phones.
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Old Feb 2 2012, 04:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Texting while driving is illegal here, and the ptb's are pretty tough on offenders. My daughter has a nifty device on the dashboard of her car she can put her phone into and have hands off use of it. I bet it becomes illegal all over pretty soon. What I don't know is if all phones are able to use something like this???

(or do I mean, p'stb???)
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Old Feb 2 2012, 11:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Here texting laws differ state to state. In Va if you are under 18 you can not use a cell phone while driving. Not sure about texting if you are over 18.
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Old Feb 2 2012, 11:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

According to the safelink web site https://www.safelinkwireless.com/Saf..._info/benefits

" SafeLink phones are not paid for by taxpayers or the federal government. TracFone Wireless pays for the phones and also the cost of promoting its SafeLink program to make sure that eligible consumers know about the program."
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Old Feb 2 2012, 11:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

In Tennessee, it is illegal to read or send a text while driving, but people do it all the time..my friend's husband is one that did get caught having both a low income land line and a free cell. they turned his cell off..
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Old Feb 3 2012, 05:51 AM   #16
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

In UK it is illegal not only to text while driving, but also to make a call unless you are using a 'handsfree' mode. There are moves to forbid this as well as it is claimed that it distracts your attention away from your driving.

But, this doesn't apply to the emergency services who are allowed to use phones/radios whilst driving at high speed!

It strikes me that instead of forbidding phone use while driving, it is time to train drivers to do it in a safe manner.
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Old Feb 3 2012, 07:12 AM   #17
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by P'ter View Post

It strikes me that instead of forbidding phone use while driving, it is time to train drivers to do it in a safe manner.
i.e. by PULLING OVER AND STOPPING!

There's really no other safe option.
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Old Feb 3 2012, 08:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Exactly, Kath!
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Old Feb 3 2012, 02:16 PM   #19
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Same here P'ter. And the fines are appropriately hefty.
You can't even have the cell phone in your hand while driving.

Cilla, it's not people wtaching and not people watching computers. It's just recorded and available for use. Have you never watched a police series in which they can track someone by their cell phone? That's no Science Fiction, that's reality. That and much, much more. But if you don't believe that, that's OK It you have a cell phone, even when its off, you carry a trannsmitter device. Period.
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Old Feb 6 2012, 06:19 AM   #20
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Hence the growing use of 112 as the mobile emergency number.

They can locate fairly exactly you by your mobile.
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Old Feb 6 2012, 06:50 AM   #21
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

112 has been an alternative emergency number since the days when mobiles were about the same size and weight as a brick, if not earlier. It's the EU standard, I think.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/112_%28...hone_number%29
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Old Feb 11 2012, 11:16 PM   #22
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

In The United States it is required by the FCC that All cell phones can be used to dial the 911 emergency system. No call plan, Minutes or phone number are needed to use the phone for this type of call. The Phone just has to have a good battery with a charge.

http://andreas.com/faq-cell911.html
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Old Feb 12 2012, 07:32 PM   #23
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Priscilla...

I'm 29. Most of my generation live with only a cellphone; that is, many of us have NEVER had a "land line" in our adult lives. I, personally, have NEVER had a land line. Cell phones became common just as I exited high school in 2001.

I also have been very poor at times. A few years back, maybe 7, I invested in a very cheap cell phone that I could put prepaid minutes on. I only dump minutes on there when I'm job-hunting or NEED to use a phone. I'm LUCKY in that I had the cash to do so when I really needed a cell phone; my very first cell phone had been provided by my employer, and when I no longer worked there I had no phone at all for a while. I still have this phone, and it has helped me get jobs I otherwise wouldn't have had a shot at.

When you are dirt poor, having or not having a cell phone with minutes on it is the difference between being able to job-hunt and not being able to. Having a land line is not a given like it used to be. If you take a walk around the neighborhood, you'll see gaping holes were pay phones USED to be. It's very hard to find a payphone these days. They're no longer profitable, so phone companies have been ripping them out. So if you don't have a land line, and there's no pay phones around, you need to have a cell phone.

We're actually very close to a point (in Chicago at least...I don't know about the rest of the US or world) where you HAVE to have access to a working computer connected to the internet to be able to get a job that's more than entry-level retail and unskilled labor. Over the past 10 years, I have watched physical paper classified ads get slimmer and slimmer. Jobs are out there, but they're all on Craigslist, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, or via Linkedin. The ones still on paper are looking for desperate suckers who are so poor they don't have access to the internet to look for real jobs.

So, very realistically, a cellphone is a necessity to be able to get out of poverty. And, if you don't have a computer with internet at home, you pretty much need to have a local library with free internet if you want to get a job.

To give some background on myself...I ran away from home at 16 (abusive uncle), and went into a youth home until 20. I went to school to get my High School diploma, but also went to work to pay for rent, clothes, etc. I started out earning $5.25 an hour stocking shelves. When you're that poor, getting the tools you need to be NOT poor (such as a working phone, and an internet connection so you can hunt for better jobs) is very difficult.

So don't look down on people who get assistance to get a hold of SUCH a powerful tool as a cell phone. A single cellphone with minutes on it can allow a person to do a half hour or hour phone interview, which will then get them an in-person interview for a job.

For every biased fantasy of drug-dealing addicts running around with cutting edge iPhones and Android smart phones they somehow magically leech off of taxes and government funds is a person like me...young, who grew up in a crappy situation, and, at one point or another, had to get back on their feet on their own without many adults around to help. In this situation, a gift of a cell phone is like someone literally handing you hope. Or maybe it's a single mother with a bunch of kids, who was maybe on the ex's phone plan but now needs a cell phone of her own because adults of my generation often don't have land lines anyway. Or maybe it's an elderly person who had their benefits cut and getting rid of a land line and its monthly bill and getting a prepaid cell phone for emergencies was the better, cheaper option. Or maybe someone is in a homeless shelter, where you can't tie a land line anyway. There are legit scenarios where real people who are struggling need help, and a cell phone is a very, very powerful tool to getting on your feet.

A cell phone is NOT a luxury. And we're very close to the point where having a computer with internet access is also NOT a luxury, but a necessity if one wants to access more opportunities for learning and jobs.
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Old Feb 13 2012, 10:46 PM   #24
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Old Mar 6 2012, 06:33 PM   #25
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Cell phones and computers are necessities in 2012. Sorry.

A few months ago, I cancelled my land line -- I'd been hanging on to it as an "emergency" number that I probably only ever had to use once in anything approximating an emergency -- so that I could funnel those bucks towards my cell phone instead. Given that I use a smartphone (well, it's an Android, so it's not THAT smart of a phone -- not as smart as my iPhone was), it's essentially a computer I take with me EVERYWHERE. I use it less for making phone calls than I do for texting, tweeting, and Facebook updates; but I also use it to keep up with LinkedIn, check my bank account in a pinch, etc.

I lost my job a couple of months ago. DAYS after, I invested in upgrading my PC operating system to Windows 7 -- because having an up-to-date computer is crucial if I'm going to get another job. My resumes and cover letters, my portfolio, my LinkedIn profile, my email -- nearly every way a potential employer would reach out to me is digital. I found my LAST job through Twitter, and the job before that, through Craigslist.

And if an employer decides to call instead of email? Then I want my phone on me.

Remember the fuss everyone kicked up after Barack Obama was elected, and he insisted he wasn't giving up his Blackberry? The government had to find a way to make his phone secure enough for him to use, because he literally could not function, couldn't do his job or even keep up with his family, without it. These aren't luxuries anymore. They're essential tools. Yes, even for old fogeys (my 63-year-old writer dad has a Droid for his personal use and a government-issued Blackberry for his job, as well as a personal laptop and a desktop Mac).
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Old Mar 6 2012, 09:59 PM   #26
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Having a computer and being able to get on line is important for school work.

My 7 year old niece was expected to use the computer to find out and do a report on Benjamin Franklin. It was assumed that she had a computer at home & that her parent could help her look up infor. She had to wait until the weekend, when she went her father's house, to do the report. Her mother, Melissa, does not have a computer.
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Old Mar 7 2012, 05:49 AM   #27
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Most libraries have computers these days, don't they?

[Of course, not everyone has acces to a library, which is another problem in itself...]
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Old Mar 7 2012, 06:33 AM   #28
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Our library has a bank of computers for public use (so long as you have a library card) that you can book in to for up to 2 hrs at a time, it also has a drop-in facility (up to 20 mins) and a separate bank of comps in the kids' section (witrh extra security).

It also runs computer training classes.

On top of that one is allowed to take in one's own lappy and log on to their net.
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Old Mar 7 2012, 10:11 AM   #29
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I agree with Cat. I could function without computer and cell phone... but not in todays society.

As for the landline, why discontinue that? Here we have choices and whn you have a landline based on VOIP it could even be free. Mine is, it comes with the top internet connection I have (120Mb fibre). Well, I do pay a little but never over 7 dollars a month and I keep it because using that line to call abroad (UK and USA mainly) is much, much cheaper than doing that with the cell phone. Because that's the usualy drawback of only operating cell phone (here in Europe); it is still far more expensive than a landline.

Sorry to hear you lost your job, Cat. Hope you get a nice new one soon.
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Old Mar 7 2012, 11:11 AM   #30
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Like others have said here, cellphones are a necessity today if you want to get out of poverty. That's why programs giving out free or cheap cellphones to the poor are a good thing. Talking on a landline phone is pretty cheap here although unlike in the US local calls, except for emergency services, have never been free. However, cellphones are everywhere. When I started first grade, I was given a watch. Most kids who are at all able to take care of their own stuff (i.e. not liable to lose it as soon as they get it), get a cellphone with a prepaid plan and a monthly limit. I don't know a single person under 65 who has a landline. I know plenty of six year olds with their own cellphones...

I'm sorry to hear you lost your job Cat. I hope you find a new one soon.
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Old Mar 7 2012, 08:27 PM   #31
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I have to agree with others here. We gave up our landline, well actually it was Vonage, which is digital phone service over our internet connection. But anyway, we gave it up to save the $34 a month we were paying for it. We use a prepaid phone, at 10 cents a minute. Neither of us (dh and me) talk on the phone very much, or for more than a few minutes at a time, so we are saving money doing this - not a lot, but over time it adds up and we have somewhere else we are putting that money. And we would be giving it up next year anyway because of some plans we have for when dh retires.

Our older son works from home so he does have a home phone, which is also a digital I think. Our younger son only has cell, and was out of work for 7 months. I doubt he would have been able to get his new job without it. If you can only have one phone, it definitely makes more sense for it to be a cell. I sort of think that before long, few people will have home phones.
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Old Mar 7 2012, 08:34 PM   #32
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This girl literally blogged her way out of homelessness. Not sure what other evidence one would need to argue for the redemptive power of a computer!
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Old Mar 7 2012, 09:54 PM   #33
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

In order for Melissa to take Madison to the library she would have to take her other two kids ages 2 & 3. There is no way she could help Madison and keep the other two out of trouble.

Madison goes to a school where most of the other kids have a LOT more money then she does.
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Old Mar 7 2012, 10:12 PM   #34
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

The only reason I have a landline is for my DSL connection. I won't pay for satellite internet, which still requires a landline for upload, and cell-based internet is not an option for cost reasons. Besides the fact that we have two desktop PCs. Keep in mind that we live far enough from town that we are at the limit of range for DSL....... and it's a VERY small town, so cell usage is rather limited. As recently as last year, AT&T could not provide me with cell phone internet here.

So for now, the landline stays.
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Old Mar 7 2012, 10:19 PM   #35
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Makes sense to me, Draco. I'm guessing you don't have cable internet available. That's what we have.
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Old Mar 8 2012, 12:47 AM   #36
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I still have my landline, wouldn't be without it, but do have a little prepaid TracFone that I carry. It does everything I need it to..
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Old Mar 8 2012, 07:37 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevia View Post
Makes sense to me, Draco. I'm guessing you don't have cable internet available. That's what we have.
To have cable internet, first you have to have cable available.
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Old Mar 8 2012, 08:17 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
To have cable internet, first you have to have cable available.
That's what I figured!
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Old Mar 10 2012, 06:48 AM   #39
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

We have a landline here as well as mobile (cell) phones. We found that having a mobile phone came in handy on several occasions for the following reasons - 1. when darling child was in hospital for several months, it meant that hubby could chat with me about his progress, 2. when my dad passed away nearly 12 years ago, as my mum didn't have one, she borrowed mine so that she was able to chat to family members until she got a chance to use a landline which was cheaper to use then a mobile at that time and 3. darling child getting lost in Melbourne - 11 y.o had familiarity around Nanna's suburb but not in CBD, hence why we've found it useful, since then, there've been other occasions too.

Here's something to think about, my parents' generation would have used one of the following at some stage in their life:





In my generation, a case of:





Now as for my teenager's generation, it goes like this:

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Old Mar 10 2012, 01:05 PM   #40
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Default Re: Free Cell Phones?!

Sputter... your parents? I used all those too :-)
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