More than one cell phone?
I recently replaced a cell phone without ending service yet on the clunky predecessor. Then I wondered if maybe I should have two working cell phones (different phone numbers) in case I lose one or in case the cell phone service providers’ equipment is on different towers. If one tower (or equipment) failed, there would be a back up. (I also have basic radios as a back up.) If money were not a limitation, would you have more than one working cell phone? Thanks!
Mike Hill - September 9, 2020
You know, I’ve made it a habit to hold on to old phones so that I could put the current sim card into it if my main one broke. Like a backup pair of glasses. But now I’m wondering if your idea to keep service on both isn’t a smarter idea. It’s a bit more money but you don’t have to get the full data plan or whatever. Maybe just voice. You might be onto something.
Essie Carroll - September 10, 2020
Yes, if I didn’t have to think about the cost. I might even get phone 2 from another provider so that if one went down, the other might still be up. Or maybe if one goes down they all go down?
River - September 10, 2020
I actually have a burner phone because I got tired of having a lapse between a broken phone and new phone (for multiple people within my family). You buy minutes as needed. But, the minutes do expire if you don’t use them – so it may be cheaper just to keep a basic service on an older phone.
Matt Black - September 15, 2020
I have two mobile phones: one for everyday use and a second for my BOB.
My BOB mobile is an older phone and while it doesn’t have service (and likely never will again), it serves a few purposes:
- Offline navigation (with complete offline maps)
- Encrypted document storage (ID, papers, etc)
- Guides, videos, and other downloaded reference materials
- Backup emergency cell service (it’ll work without a SIM)
- (eventually, I’ll be adding mesh networking for team use)
I can imagine a scenario where having 2 active phones could potentially be useful: If one is GSM (eg., T-Mobile) and the other is CDMA (eg., Sprint). If the GSM tower goes down, you could try the CDMA, and vice versa. That’s about all I can think of. So, for me, it seems like a waste of money to keep the second in service.
Robert LarsonContributor - September 16, 2020
This is a great idea Matt! I have a similar setup with an old smartphone in my BOB and it is a comfort knowing that I have a backup of all the things you listed above.
Can I offer a suggestion? For $0.99 you can buy a Mint Mobile trial sim card and keep that in your phone. It will just sit there unactivated and if for whatever reason you lose or break your phone, you can go to your BOB phone and open the Mint Mobile app and activate the free trial which will give you 100MB of 4G LTE data, 100 text messages, and 100 minutes of talk for 7 days. You can then keep up the service you if you want but hopefully you can get another phone and service plan with your normal provider within that time. But in a pinch, this may save you and allow you to call your family and tell them what is going on.
Mint Mobile works on GSM T-Mobile towers, so this won’t help you if those towers were down like in the above scenario that you talk about. But if you usually have sprint or verizon this could be a good backup.
Alisa Felix - September 18, 2020
I could maybe see myself doing this. I would need to replace the battery in one of my old phones though. I never got around to recycling it but I remember it being pretty unreliable toward the end.
Matt Black - September 18, 2020
If you have a mobile with a removeable battery, check out Anker’s battery replcements (available on Amazon). They’ve worked like charm for me for years.
Craig Carnahan - September 20, 2020
If your finances can support it (or your prep needs require it) , you might also consider either a satellite phone or a satellite messenger device. I have a Globalstar GSP-1700 phone with unlimited voice and data for $64.99 a month, and during National Preparedness Month (September) the satellite phone is free (with a one year service plan). Yes, I realize that’s $780 for a year, but that’s only around $2.14 a day for unlimited voice and data on a satellite service. I know that Verizon is always rated highly for back country service, but I’ve found many areas of AZ, NM, and UT with no service. That’s never been an issue with my sat phone.
If you don’t need voice, the Globalstar Spot X with BT costs $229.95, but monthly service plans (that can be turned on and off at your choosing) start out at just $14.95 a month. [removed by moderator]
As for handheld radios, I like my 10 watt Wouxun KG-UV9H a lot, especially with the cross-band repeat option and 999 programmable memories (we travel a lot). Having multiple states programmed in advance saves me a ton of hassle when driving all over the southwest.
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