This month Walmart sent me one of their AT&T GoPhones to play with and tell you all about! If you weren’t aware, Walmart sells all kinds of cell phones, both regular and a bunch of great prepaid phone options!
The phone I was sent is an HTC Desire 610–it’s a smartphone and uses Android for it’s operating system. The phone retails at Walmart for $199.99–which sounds like a lot when you are used to “free phone with 2 year contract” type cell phones. Remember–with this you buy the phone and then you pay a low monthly fee to refill the minutes, so if you buy this phone and then the $45 plan I’m going to tell you about your total cost for your cell phone over the course of the year would be $740. The second year your costs would drop to $540. I’m paying $180 a MONTH for my current cell phone service. . .
The HTC Desire 610 is powered by a quad-core processor and 4G LTE connectivity. It has advanced photo editing capabilities (adjusting white balance, changing ISO etc) and automatic highlight videos that helps you show-off your photos and videos in amazing quality. There is a 4.7-inch screen, HTC BlinkFeed and HTC’s industry-leading sound property, HTC BoomSound. It has 8GB storage, and a microSD card slot up to 64G.
Basically it’s a pretty darn full featured phone!
I started out by taking the phone out of the packaging. Or rather I started out completely obliterating the packaging while trying to release the phone. Why do they have to make those things so darn hard to open up?
Inside the package you have the phone, charger cable and plug, a credit card sized card with the Sim card in it that you punch out to install, and some literature including a quickstart guide.
If you are transferring service over from another phone, you take your sim card out and use it in the HTC Desire. If you are starting up a new phone (new phone number) you punch the sim card out and slip it into the slot on the right hand side of the phone (you pry up the cover and slide it in). Then you plug in the phone and let it charge. Once it is charged you can turn it on. It does not have any “minutes” of talk, text or data yet, but it will power up.
The phone will automatically look for a wifi network–mine popped right up and I chose it and then entered my “key” (since we keep our wifi locked).
Next it gave me the option to import information from my old phone. Since my iPhone is bluetooth capable I was able to follow the directions (go into settings and turn on bluetooth on old phone, leave that window open then have the two phoens “talk” to each other) and have all my contacts loaded from my other phone. It was surprising ly easy and painless.
Once that was all done it took me through another few options. If you already have a Google account you can set that up and sync it. You can create an HTC account. You don’t have to do any of it if you don’t want to though.
After you are through all the options and to your home screen it’s time to actually activate the phone so you can use it to make calls 🙂 In the “quick start guide” it gives you sevearl smartphone plans to choose from–BUT WAIT–YOU WANT TO USE THE CODE FOR THE SPECIAL, WALMART EXCLUSIVE, $45, UNLIMITED TALK, TEXT AND 1GB OF DATA PLAN. That’s twice the data and unlimited talk (instead of 500 minutes) for just $5 more a month. You WILL NOT see this plan listed in your quick start guide. You WILL NOT see it listed as a plan option in your account. It’s kind of a super secret plan you have to know about from Walmart to use! The exclusive activation code will be found on a sticker inside of your GoPhone box.
Now on to how to activate.
To activate your plan you have to punch a special code/number in as if you were making a phone call. They all go: *123*Zip Code*Number# — so what you do is go in like you are going to make a phone call and type in *123*04429*06# (assuming your zip code is 04429 and your plan number was 06–except yours won’t be because the Walmart exclusive code is something different) and hit “call”. It should go through. . .then you will get a message telling you to power down your phone and power it back up in 10 minutes.
When I powered back up there was a text message telling me what my phone number was, and a temporary 4 digit pin so I could log onto the account to manage that phone. Remember, at this point you still don’t have any minutes added yet. You need to log on to att.com/gophone and log on to your account (that’s the new phone number as a username and the pin number as your pin/password).
It will then prompt you to change your password/pin. Once that is done, you can go in and use your refill card (or buy minutes using a credit card).
You can buy your refill cards at Walmart (either in store or online), or you can pay with a credit card. You can also set up automatic refills so you don’t have to worry about remembering to add minutes at the end of the month.
One thing to note on using the refill cards. Follow the directions on the back–the pin number won’t work unless you follow the directions and precede it with *888*.
There are quite a few steps to get it set up to begin with, but they aren’t hard. I know you can do it 🙂
Prepaid phones have really come a long way–they used to be sort of cruddy bargain basement phones, but now they are indistinguishable from the “plan” phones you can buy. As a matter of fact most of them ARE the same phones as the plan phones you can buy! The big difference is the cost. And as the frugal gal I am, you know that is a big deal to me!