Re: Cell phone options
Well if you want Internet that automatically means you are getting a more expensive phone. At least $250 or so. And it may be a poor mans Internet, that is, filtered by the company.
For full Internet, you'll be getting a Windows-type phone, jumping over $300 likely. The one I just got has Windows Mobile 6 and so I can get full Internet access, but it's a $500 phone.
If you can do Internet, you can likely do games as well, which may be more useful to pass the time. However, you can get cheaper phones with games that do not have Internet.
To access G-mail, you will likely need a Windows or Palm based phone with Internet access and a browser. That slims your choices down a lot.
As for providers, most offer "data plans" which is your Internet time. And I doubt any go down to one hour a month. Mostly likely it is divided by megabytes used, not time spent online. For example, you could be reading a super long web page which is 5K but takes you 6 hours connected to read it, and they charge by the 5K, not the six hours. Data plans can be anywhere from probably $20 to $45 or more ADDED to your regular voice plan. SMS (text) messaging is usually also an addon for $5 or $10 more.
You are looking at needing a $400+ phone, a 1000 minute voice plan that is likely at least $50 or $60 (will have 3-way, call waiting, forwarding usually). Tack on another $30ish for data. Tack on $5 or $10 for text and there you have it.
I am on Verizon. I have a 400 minute plan for $35, plus $45 for unlimited data (Internet access), and $4.99 for insurance on the phone which cost $500 (or $250 after my rebates as a new customer).
My very first bill just came in, with activation fee and so forth, and is just shy of $200 bucks! My regular monthly bills will be about $85 for all that. And that $85 doesn't even give me ANY text messaging! Every message in AND out will cost me. Unless I add another $5 for 200 messages a month. That would give me a $90/mo bill.
The plus is that I have a uber-cool phone running Windows so i can load any programs I want, games, Internet apps, instant messaging programs, utilities. It has wifi so even without a data plan I can get online in a hot spot. And yes, I can get G-mail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and even POP3 mail if I want to.
I guess your best bet is to find a phone and get some type of all-in-one data/voice plan.
One thing though, since you haven't had a cell phone before, what makes you think you'd automatically need 1000 minutes? I've had a cell phone for about 6 years and I've gone over my 350 and 400 minute plans maybe two or three times. Because remember, all those voice plans come with free night and weekend minutes, and most have free in-network calling, so all my Verizon to Verizon calls are free. You have to calculate how many daytime minutes you use outside your network. A thousand may not seem like a lot, but it is. It works out to 30 minutes a day. You'd think you could talk 30 minutes a day, but at least for me, I don't. Most calls are quick, and free, or at night.
Well that's enough of that, happy hunting!
Vigilante: When will Pixie realize she digs me Mononoke?
Mononoke: Maybe never.
Vigilante: I don't know if I can live with that Mononoke.
Mononoke: Would you like to know? Try it.
Mononoke is not being nice.