When you need to replace a phone before your cell service contract is up the price for a new phone can be quite steep. As many of you pointed out Ebay is a great place to find a replacement phone and the price is much cheaper than buying one from the cell company. You just need to be sure that the phone you buy works on your cellular network. An even cheaper option is to find a friend or family member who has an old phone they no longer use and are willing to give to you. After a little asking around I found three different people with old Sprint phone they were willing to give to me. My new phone is an older model but it gets the job done and the price was right. It will get me through to the end of my contract and I can get a new phone for cheap then if I want to do so. With all the cheap phones available I can’t recommend getting the phone replacement plan the cellular companies sell unless you have an expensive phone and are unwilling to downgrade to a cheaper model if your phone is lost or stolen before the end of your contract. Even if your phone isn’t lost or stolen you might want to take advantage of a used phone online to upgrade from your current phone.
I found the activation process to be very easy. My experience was with Sprint but I would think other companies would have a similar process. I just called customer service and read them the ESN off the back of the phone and my phone was activated within a few minutes. You can also activate your phone online. Sprint has a step-by-step tutorial with pictures on how to activate a new phone. If you can follow simple directions you shouldn’t have any problem activating your phone online. The process is so easy I’m considering buying a fancier used phone and upgrading before my contract is up.