Saturday, December 31, 2005

Boost Mobile Experience or How I Joined the iDEN Occult or Happy New Year!

So I got $70 in BestBuy gift certificates. What better to spend them on than a Boost Mobile i415, then take the ad money from this blog that would have gone to getting the i415 and putting it toward an OCZ 1GB Rally USB drive (I had money in the bank so I went ahead and got the drive since I knew the ad money would be here in January, which was about half an hour from when I wrote this part of the post but almost there when I finished it about five minutes ago). I'm also getting, as a trade, a Boost i285, see my earlier posts.

The main things I got the phone for were. besides having a phone on the Nextel network, the Walkie Talkie and GPS features. In a minute I'll talk about both but just in case anybody was wondering why I got the phone. And yes, bunches of my relateives are on Nextel, though the ranks are thinning slightly in favor of such carriers as MetroPCS.

Anyway, the first thing different about iDEN phones in general is that they are larger than comparable non-iDEN phones, with the flips being more noticeably larger than the difference between bar phones. So my i415 is actually only a little smaller than a Nokia 5165. THe other thing differet in a bad way is battery life: take a phone on analog and put an extended battery on it and you get the 75 hours of standby and 165 minutes of talk time that is pretty common to iDEN phones. Also, netowrk outages seem more frequent than on other carriers; the Saturday, Sunday and Monday following the day I got and activated my phone were days of a cellular (though not data or walkie talkie) outage for I think all of Texas.

OK. Now for the good part, but the good part is mixed in with some bad. The first thing is walkie-talkie, which normally connects in less than a second and after the inital connect is near-instant as far as connection speed goes, though it takes about half a second for the conversation to reach the other end. But this speed is consistent whether you're calling close or from Texas to Florida or even New England. It's a neat technology, and it's what iDEN phones are actually built around. Small problem though: the normal connection times have gone for a vacation lately in Florida; due to wierd network issues it's been taking up to 3 seconds (!) to make the connection if you're not already in the walkie-talkie session (3 seconds of holding down the button before you hear the near-famous triple beep).

Now for the other thing where iDEN rules: GPS. As far as I know no other phone technology has capitalized so much on GPS as iDEN handsets. Like walkie-talkie, this service is exclusive enough to make its way into prepaid offerings. Every new or even relatively new iDEN phone is GPS capable, and your coordinates can be found fairly easily, if not always quickly and accurately, though I have gotten six-foot accuracy. There are several programs that use GPS for some purpose or other with Boost Mobile. Blister's location-based game Swordfish (at which I was for awhile last week first, then I dropped to econd, then I reinstalled the game and lost my ability to keep racking up points) and the driving directions king TeleNav come to mind. The latter, be forewarned, does not necessarily have up-to-date gas prices, though if you get one $1.50 "trip" you can access all of its features as long as you don't navigate to the completion of a GPS-guided trip.

That's about all that's unique to Boost Mobile. Unlimited internet is 20 cents a day, but there are workarounds for this, and the free section of the internet is relatively expansive, a little better than T-Mobile To Go's free T-Zones. If you want web access, STi Mobile is a better choice, with its faster network. If you have a cable, however, the Opera Mini web browser is one of those workarounds that gets you free web browsing, and the program itself is free so if you insist on internet and wamt something HTML capable Boost can do that.

RIngtones are played through the speakerphone of course, and as such are only telephone-quality. So if you were looking to play beautiful and subtle MP3s as your ringtone, you can do the MP3 part but don't expect anything coming out of that speaker to be beautiful and subtle, though you can expect it to be able to be deafeningly loud. A neat little button on the i415 and other new phones lets you easily switch between the speakerphone and the handset speaker, which is also OK quality and can be fairly loud, for such things as playing voice recordings (finally a phone that will do it!) and using java programs.

Speaking of java programs, the i415's java support is good to excellent, with the ability to suspend one app or two and run others or use the phone in another way with the app quicly reopenable. Also, where the LG 225 on STi only includes the demo version of Jamdat's Bowling 2, the i415 includes the full version. Yay Boost!

All other features on the phone are relatively the same as those on similarly-priced phones elsewhere, though they may be more customizeable, better, or maybe even worse in my opinion a term that could describe the Recent Calls function, which is a numbers-only (or contact info if the number is in your address book) affair without date stamps or the ability to see whether a call ws missed, called, or received.

Overall, the i415 and Boost Mobile\Nextel\iDEN in general has its good and bad spots. GPS is readily available but finicky (may or may not get a signal) and fairly inaccurate, walkie talkie is slow right now, and call quality on regular calls is bad in some areas due to a high-compression "6:1" codec in use. Reception is solid though since Nextel employs a stronger 800-to-900-MHz frequency (MIRS, iDEN's technical frequency name like cellular and PCS bands on "normal" phones, slips in all over the place due to its having to dodge cellular frequencies and public safety equipment), although tower buildout isn't any more than that of carriers like Sprint on their home network. My verdict is that unless you use walkie talkie almost exclusively you'll want to carry some other cell phone around in addition to any Boost phone, one reason being that the rates are farly expensive for calling non=Sprint, non-Nextel home (Partners doesn't count as Mobile To Mobile), non-Boost numbers during weekdays, though night and weekend rates, as well as Mobile to Mobile are a reasonable ten cents a minute. Oh, and walkie talkie is expensive. Anyway, I'd say have a second phone if this is your primary...

LG 225

FIrst of all, this phone is a tad smaller than the 5225, and though the design is certainly different and requires a little getting used to it's a good design and I think it makes the phone a little smaller too. It has an internal screen maybe a tad smaller than the 5225's but the interface is still pretty well thought out, plus it has the Verizon-style "Grid" option for displaying menu choices.

It's fairly easy to record a call in progress, or record a voice recording, or record a name to use with the voice dialing function. Oh, and you can use voice recordings as ringtones, which actually sound passable. Speaking of ringtones, you can use 3gforfree to download either your own or someone else's ringtones to this phone, which plays them very well. The handset volume in normal mode is nice and loud, though not quite as loud as the 5225, but then you have the full-duplex speakerphone which picks up well above where the normal speaker leaves off and gets pretty loud before starting to clip.

As for the camera, it's VGA but the interface is pretty good with +/-2 EV exposure compensation and very good image quality, as you can see from my photos on this blog. Very good for a camera phone of course; I won't ditch my Olympus C 5050 just yet. ;) The camera does low-light surprisingly well, though the photos onscreen look granier and less saturated than they are on a PC screen or (I guess) in print. THe camera doesn't do video, and photos will be rejected if they're above 100k (phone won't save them) and at the highest quality the phone only holds 13 photos but hey, that's what the online albums are for...

When it works (STi is having problems with them right now) the 10-cent-a-day (web is 19 and web and pictures together are 29) picture messaging package is pretty good and pretty cheap. You get unlimited sent and received picture essages, which can also include a 15-second voice recording and a 255-character text message. So yes, it's cheaper and bigger than text messaging if you send or receive a few messages per day. You can also send picture messages from the online albums on your phone (hosted at though for some reason the feature is broken right now (the whole picture messaging and albums function is broken currently). Uploaded pictures take a little while to display and pictures take a little while to upload or send but the service isn't agonizingly slow thanks to Sprint's 1xRTT network. It's just that you're uploading or downloading, if you selected the highest qual9ity and resolution on your phone, nearly 100k image files, and those take time.

The other component required for the online albums feature is [lain old unlimited web access, which the 225 does quite well. Pages load fairly quickly, even if they're bona fide, unconverted HTML, as long as they aren't too big. GMail Mobile works like a charm. Opera Mini won't run on this phone, but the included OpenWave browser is good enough so you won't be wishing for it at every turn. Oh, and 19 cents a day for unlimited net access isn't bad at all.

Picture caller ID, a self-portrait mode on the camera, and plenty of customization room round out this phone. It doesn't record video or play MP3s or radio, and the picture messaging service is shaky as of yet, but the phone is around $50 with a $100 rebate and all of its features work well, with great voice quaLity, good reception, and solid battery life. If you want a camera phone on prepaid and want full web access as well, this is much cheaper than the other offerings that provide you with these features (Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Cingular) and the phone is solid, whereas I've heard that the Audiovoxes aren't so hot and we all know what kind of battery life those bulky iDEN phones get (hint: not much). So while this phone could be a little better, it's worth the price before the rebate, and worth more than the price after.

Oh and yes, you can get this phone for free with a contract, if you want to join the dark side. But I have a feeling that picture messaging and web will be more expensive per month, plus you've got that ugly two-year commitment. On STi you only have to stick around for 90 days by making a phone call every 60 for them to ship out the $100 rebate.

Update to my selling...

I am trading my Nokia 3560 for a Boost Mobile i285. Therefore this phone isn't for sale any more :). My Beyond Wireless 5165 is still available however. It will be $10 plus however much airtime you want on it ($15 if you want $5, $20 if you want $10, etc.). Also to keep the phone active I'll make one call which in my roaming area would take four units. But anyway the 5165 is still for sale...or I can trade it for something...I'm looking for a CDMA phone with the 1900 band that I can activate on Verizon via PagePlus.

Friday, December 30, 2005

For Sale...

Oh and by the way, in order to make room for a shiny refurbished Motorola v170 and 250-minute card I need to get rid of a phone or two. Certain key people think I have too many phones.

So my Beyond Wireless phones, which are roaming where I live, are for sale. I'm going to add a $5 35-minute card to each of them, then make one roaming call to make sure the phones will stay active for 60 more days, and then they'll be ready for whoever gets them from me. THe phones will also include a Nokia home charger.

I'm selling the Nokia 5165 for $15 shipped anywhere in the US, and the Nokia 3560 for $35, also shipped anywhere in the US. The 5165 will come with around 30 units of airtime on it, and the 3560 will come with around 40. There are also a couple of monophonic ringtones on the 3560 that I sent it via SMS (Star Wars and MASH).

Both phones are in good to very good condition; I can provide photos to whoever wants them. The 3560 has some small wear signs on the front faceplate, but a new faceplate will make the phone as if nothing had happened. THe 3560 is an AT&T branded phone; the 5165 is SOC unlocked so it can be used on whatever TDMA or analog carrier you want.

If anybody has any more questions just email me at iansltx AT gmail DOT com (substitutions stop spam). This would also be the address to paypal me the money. I won't be able to send the phones until maybe the middle of next week as I won't be at home until then, but this also means that if someone wants it and pays for it that I can put a larger refill onto the phone.

I guess that's about it. Hope I haven't turned anyone off by this little ad ;)

Two Tracfone Promos

If you live in a zip code where Tracfone GSM service is available, now is a super time to buy in. Though the CDMA and TDMA phones on Tracfone are pretty much out of stock, leaving only the subpar Motorola v120s for "free" with a $20 card (now 60 minutes), the GSM sector has two great deals!

1. For people who don't want much of an upfront investment and don't mind a black-and-white phone, the Nokia 1100 is available with a $20 60-minute card "Free". What this really means is you pay for shipping and tax on the card's amount (another $7 if you include tax and ground shipping since the order is under $25, at $19.99) and get the phone as a result. In any case, $27 gets you a nice little Nokia 1100 (I've used it a little and think it's great for basic stuff, kind of like the Nokia 2126 ecept older and GSM) and a 60-minute card. If you can find just a 20-minute promo code for the card, you get a total of 200 minutes for $27, including referral minutes (email me). Not too shabby...

2. If you are willing to spend a little more (about twice as much as it turns out) you can get a refurbished (like the Nokia 1100 above and pretty much every other Tracfone promo) Motorola v170 flip phone "free" with a $50 250-minute card (formerly 200 minutes). Free shipping kicks in at $25 so this phone (you guessed it) only has tax to inflate its real price if you can wait a few days for it to arrive. THe nifty little secret of the Motorola v170 is that you can actually select the network you want to be on, subject to the phone's defaulting after a few minutes of idle to, if possible, to the home carrier's signal. This feat is best done with a Cingular-based sim card and service, marked by activation with the larger SingleRate map (the smaller one is T-Mobile). This little secret, which is free since roaming doesn't cost anything extra, helps if for example Cingular has "razed the bar" in your area as far as voice quality goes and there is a better carrier available. Aside from this, you also get a small-to-medium-sized flip phone with a color screen, though the internal-only screen seems only a little bigger than my LG phone's caller ID screen. And a 250-minute card. With a 50-minute promo code (which can be had) and referral minutes, you'll get 420 units of airtime with this phone...that's a lot especially since the package is around $54 (so you get an OK rate per minute wherever GSM service is available).

Interestingly, the price of these refurbished phones with their respective airtime cards are the exact same as those of new phones without the cards. I'll take the refurbs, thanks, as they're factory-spec and have a full warranty and look like new so there's nothing I really lose by going refurb except having to buy minutes later on.

Oh, and the promo lasts at least until next Thursday, and if it lasts to the next Friday it will last until the Thursday after since that's how Tracfone's website works. So you have a little bit of time to get the phone deals.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

100th Post! Ringtones on STi!

Well, here I am around midnight Eastern Time posting this blog's 100th post...:)

Anyway, I was notified of this really neat place called Or rather re-notified; I knew about it but had forgotten. The great thing about it is you can actually download, not just play or view, backgrounds and ringtones onto an STi LG phone. My downloads are now full of assorted ringers, both polyphonic and voice-type (an AK-47 :) ) from 3GForFree. You can also, after signing up, upload your own ringers and graphics for your phone...I'll probably do that soon.

Again the site is and yes, you can download stuff right from your phone just by using this address.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Just So You Know, Sti Isn't Sprint, Mobile-to-Mobile-wise

I now have a Boost Mobile i415, which I will talk about after a few more posts. Quickly though, Boost has 10-cent-per-minute mobile-to-mobile calling between Boost phones and other Boost, Sprint PCS or Nextel phones...well, some Nextel phones; Partners-market phones aren't included yet. Anyway, you alo have a minutes-remaining announcement at the beginning of each outgoing call with Boost. I had about $20 in my Boost account when I placed a call to my STi phone. If it was a Mobile-to-Mobile call it would have said that I had over two hundred minutes remaining. Insted, it proclaimed that I had a little over 100.

So no folks, just because STi or someone else runs off of Sprint's netowkr, it doesn't mean you'll get Sprint or Boost or Nextel Mobile-to-Mobile rates when calling to them or receiving calls from them. Boost owners be forewarned; it will be somewhat of a ripoff to call an STi phone, just like it would be to call a Verizon, T-Mobile or landline phone.

Nokia 2126

My dad got this phone on the 4th of December, as Tracfone was (and is) being very slow to ship out a replacement Nokia 1221. The service was with Verizon, which sadly uses the 1900 band here and thus has subpar coverage. THus I would rather\he would rather be o back on the Five Star Wireless TDMA network (CDMA is available now but Tracfone will have none of it) even if it meant going back to a Nokia 1221 (it will) because the reception is so much better. ANyway, now to the thing that does do well: the Nokia 2126.

This phone, which I posted a photo or two of awhile back, is basically the same as the Virgin Mobile Shorty or the MetroPCS Nokia 2116, except with a color screen and a color interface. So all the accessories that work on those phones will work on this one as well. Oh, and calls to *228 are both free and encouraged by TracFone, but don't expect any did not change my dad's phone's home\roaming area. Now to actually describing the phone...

First off, it's tiny! It's not a Razr but for $20 plus tax (what my dad got it for) it is one small ph6 Review!one. It is the typical Nokia bar, with power, send, end etc. keys in the normal arrangement. The up key on the phone has an interesting feature in standby mode though. One press turns the phone's bright LED flashlight, housed in the power button, on for the duration of the press. The next press, if done soon after, turns the LED on until a third press turns it off again. Ingenious.

Speaking of the up button, I have one small gripe about the mechanics of this phone: sometimes pressing the up button discolors the screen, probably because to make something this small with that little money you can't always make sure that things aren't overlapping in the least. This little annoyance isn't a deal-breaker though.

About the screen, four words sum it up: small, pixelated but super! Now how you can manage to have 96 by 65 distinct rows and columns of pixels on a screen a bit larger than a postage stamp I don't know exactly, but the fact still remains that the screen is beautiful! The interface makes use of both animation and color, and as with all color Nokias can be in a variety of colors that are nice and vibrant. And yes, you get that lovely cream of the crop Nokia interface. The interface sounds seem to have a CDMA, more utilitarian feel than the GSM sound sets on such Nokias as the 6010, but the ringtones are fantastic enough that the fact that you can't get any more than the preloaded 19 isn't so bad. Also, the vibration motor truly rocks this ultra-light phone's world, so you are going to feel the phone vibrate to the beat of the ringtone you selected. And speaking of ringtones, they can be nice and loud with the top-right-mounted loudspeaker, which also serves as the speakerphone speaker.

Which brings us into the more "practical" feature set. The speakerphone is good, though not perfect, especially considering the form factor it is packed into. There is clipping at higher volumes, but volumes can get pretty darn loud. The earpiece volume is a bit on the conservative (read "soft") side but it is definately sufficient. Speaking of voice-related features, the phone can record and store one minute's worth of voice recordings (as far as I know there's no maximum number of recordings so pick a length, any length, as long as it's a minute or less).

There are, of course, the usual extras for a modern phone, such as a calculator and date book, and both of these features are done well by Nokia, though I'll stay with a dedicated PDA or maybe a PDA\cell phone for now. There are a few good Java games on the phone, the standard fare of all color Nokias since the 3560. As Tracfone doesn't support anything more than voice and text messaging, the phone doesn't support anything more either, but it does both of these satisfyingly well. One gripe with text messaing though is that the message-sending process is somewhat backward, but again this is a forgiveable quibble.

Overall, this is a great phone that does perfectly everything Tracfone's network can do, and if any CDMA provider offered this phone as one of a bunch of "voice phones" as Sprint calls them, I would quickly pick this one if it wasn't too expensive...that's why I don't have the Verizon version, the $80 2128i ;). Reception, as I should have said much earlier, is very good, and battery life is superb as well. What more could you want from a phone geared toward voice and text as far as network-based services go? I don't want anything :). So when in doubt, buy this phone...and no, I will not let you go away alive clutching that horrible Tracfone called the Motorola c343 if the Nokia 2126 was anywhere nearby. :)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

STi Mobile Will Have Renyo Vi-2300

This phone doesn't have a camera or some other whizbang feature in that direction, but it has Sprint's walkie-talkie service, ReadyLink. And yes, STi will be supporting that feature when the phone comes out, which will be around January 24th, or so the STi rep told me Wednesday. Granted, ReadyLink isn't Nextel as far as connection speeds go, though Nextel seems oddly enough to be going slower lately for the initial connection time, but it is definately a walkie-talkie service with the added benefit of the phone's normal number being its walkie number so you don't have to remember an arcane series of digits and stars. Oh, and ReadyLink is a whole lot cheaper than Direct Connect, at 79 cents a day (whether you use it or not but you can always have it enabled or disabled) for both ReadyLink and web access. So the effective cost of ReadyLink is 60 cents a day, 40% of the cost of Direct Connect on Boost Mobile.

Small problem: not too many people are on ReadyLink while everyone with a Nextel or Boost phone has Direct Connect. But the cheapness of ReadyLink on STi will probably convince a few people to move over. Granted, the Sanyo VI-2300 isn't small, but its speakerphone looks big and "bad" and the phone appears to be well-built (and it's still not as big as a Nextel i730) so I don't think anyone is going to mind too much about the size.

In short, at the end of January STi is coming out with ReadyLink...woohoo!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

As opposed to other places, I’ll be open for the holidays J. I was let off from school on Thursday at 11:15 or so, and now I am on vacation, so now I have a good bit of time to blog with the latest happenings in the prepaid phone world. I’m also thinking about making a “static” part of this website so you can look up quickly the pluses, minuses and wierdnesses of prepaid services and phones that I have owned, own, or know a good deal about. Then again, I might not set it up…it all depends…

One thing I do know I’ll do is add quite a few blog entries over the next few days, so rejoice and show your rejoicing by emailing me or by clicking on a few ads that interest you…pretty much all of the money that those ads generate goes into my buying of cell phone stuff anyway so your clicks make for more content here.

Anyway, Merry Christmas and I’ll be posting a lot more soon…

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tracfone Lowering Rates!!!

I got an email today touting Tracfone's new lower rates. The best thing it does is for the 40-minute card, with effects on the 100, 200 and double-minute cards. The last three are nothing to shout about since I think they merely replace the coupon book that came with Tracfones before this month or last month or so, but the first is entirely new. Also, all the cards now are unlimitedly given those minute amounts (instead of one or four times as the coupon codes would let you do) and, best of all, you can add even more coupon codes on top of the cards, and of course all the minutes get doubled with a Double Minute card! Now to the facts:

40 minute card -> 60 minutes, $20, was 50 cents, now 33 cents a minute
100 minute card -> 120 minutes, $30, was 30 cents, now 25 cents a minute
200 minute card -> 250 minutes, $50, was 25 cents, now 20 cents a minute
Double minute card (300 minutes) -> 400 minutes, $130, was 43.3, now 32.5 cents a minute (not counting double minutes)

It looks as though the 400-minute, $80 card, will be dead soon, as now the $50, 250-minute card has the same cost per minute for less money. Then again, $50 STi Mobile cards still sell, and they don't have any promotions that make their minutes cheaper with larger quantities bought. Still, with the tiered price structure that Tracfone has I think the 400-minute card will go.

I have to say that Tracfone is still one of the more expensive carriers on the block as far as cost per minute goes (everybody now is 25 cents a minute or below, even with a $20 card, whereas it takes a $30 card to get those rates) if you don't take advantage of promotionals. Of course, Tracfone is famous\infamous for its promos so you can fairly easily get 20 cents a minute on a $20 or $30 card (eBay has the former for around $14 and there are promo codes floating around). Plus they have refer-a-friend.

Even with these pluses Tracfone usually doesn't turn out to be the cheapest carrier around, but if they use a cerrier in your area that has an even more outrageous prepaid option, or none at all, and great coverage, it may very well be the way to go, now especially since their rates are a tad lower.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Boost Mobile Refills - Cheap Off Of eBay

The hotlink in the title is to an eBay auction that is selling two $20 cards (180 days of service; I will probably eventually get this) for $30. The same seller also has a $50 card for $40 and a $30 card for $24, and two $30 cards for $45. I'd say the two $20 cards are the best deals though, since it's not a large investment and you're getting minutes for 75 cents on the dollar. Careful though; it looks like if he doesn't get his payment before you apply the cards to your phone the phones are as good as dead, as the accounts will be suspended...still this airtime is cheap!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I Saw A Razr

Just a few minutes ago I saw the far-famed phone commonly known as the Motorola Razr V3. This was a totally real and working model too, not some display dummy. The guy who had it was on t-mobile and thus the phone had that logo inostensibly displayed on the back of the silver phone. The phone had its nice huge screen, the easily-covered camera, a metallic interface, and a wide, thin form factor as if a normal camera phone had been put in a squasher. I know, I'm a barbarian to have not seen in person a real razr until now, but now i know why people pay three hundred dollars for this phone. T-mobile actually sells this same phone on prepaid, without contracts or other such garbage, for $250. Cingular sells both the black and silver versions of this phone for $200 but as I do not have their towers where I live I couldn't get it if I wanted to. You can actually get it for just a little more expensive at so I would probably get it there. That is one sweet phone though... :)

This message was sent from a T-Mobile wireless phone.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tracfone Lowering Rates?!?

Sorry but I had to post this as well. When activating my dad's Nokia 2126 (yeah, the one that does analog) I got a nice green message as part of the page to the effect that Tracfone is now lowering its raes and they would be in effect the next time I refilled. when i added the refer-a-friend minutes a day or two later the same message cropped up and no rates had changed. Ha ha.

I have a hunch though that we Tracfone users will wake up some Friday morning (the customary time of Tracfone website renewal) to a fresh new rate scheme for Tracfone. Dunno whether it will be lower rates (Captain Obvious would think so), more features (doubt this one), longer expirations (doubt this one), or no more 2-for-1 roaming fees on CDMA and TDMA phones (maybe but doubt it), but something is definately brewing :) (notice I didn't make a pun with BREW as Tracfone doesn't have it...yet ;) ).

Boost Is Neat, Get Me A GoPhone and Nokia 2126

First off, Boost Mobile, I have heard, gives you $5 extra for actiating online. And $25 extra until the 31st. And $10 upon activation. So you get $40 to start with when you buy a new Boost phone. The super Target deal is gone now but a boost i415 can be had anywhere for $60, which makes the phone itself $20. Not too bad for something with easily accessible GPS, walkie-talkie and a color screen...It's on my wish list since the ad money from this site isn't coming in till January...

Second, in my area they won't even sell me a Cingular GoPhone. If someone was nice and charitable I'd PayPal them $30 (the price of the phone) to buy a Nokia 3120 GoPhone and have it shipped to my address (if you're interested email me). I'd give the money once the tracking info got sent me...and I would give the money...I really would like the Nokia 3120 :)

Third, there are some who have doubted even with the photo in the last post that the Nokia 2126 is actually analog-capable. Granted, Nokia's website doesn't show that it is analog but the fact remains that it has a specific option in the Settings menu (under Network > Phone Mode or something similar; I don't have the phone in front of me) called "Analog Only", the NAM programming menu (*3001#12345#) specifically represents AMPS (geek-speek for analog), I can put the phone into field test mode and it will actually show when I am on analog that AMPS is active, and (tying in with the former reason) the A beside the roaming icon, where normally a D (CDMAOne, the older variant of CDMA's network) or a 1x (1xRTT, the newer, better, high-speed, higher-capacity CDMA variant) would be, certainly doesn't stand for Apple ;).

If anybody still doubts I will personally email them cameraphone shots of the field test screens and such proving that the phone can do analog. That is, as long as your first part of your email doesn't have a period in it, as for some wierd reason this causes my cameraphone to just give me an error message and stop composing the message. More on that when I catch up with my life again :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Nokia 2126! AKA It Does Analog Ye Unbelievers! :)

My dad got this great phone Sunday. It is the nokia 2126 on tracfone which here runs on the fairly good verizon network. It is super small and has lots of features for the twenty plus tax my dad said for it. The photos are to prove that it does analog.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Shorty Marked Down

Is you can see wal-mart in my area has marked down the nokia shorty to the price of the tracfone color version of the phone, which i now have more on that later...

Friday, December 02, 2005

My New Cameraphone!

This is a photo of my new camera phone, which arrived yesterday. I am actually posting this from my phone, and the photo was taken by my phone, hence the usual subpar but acceptable quality of the photo. Yes, it is the LG 225 that arrived yesterday...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sansung x495 for T-Mobile: Now $60!

This phone is now $59.88 (plus tax of course unless you are in Oregon or something like that) at Target. It's a nice phone too, being a color flip with a nice big external screen, which appears to be that luscious technology called OLED :). Thus the T-Mobile To Go Samsung x495 is the lowest-priced color flip phone with an external screen available for prepaid, not counting my own LG 5225 on STi because of the rebate.

And if you want to unlock the phone, T-Mobile's policy is that after 90 days of service and if a refill has been purchased within the least 30 days they will give you an unlock code for whatever T-Mobile phone you have...useful of you have a non-Nokia model. I haven't satisfied the 90-day condition yet but when I do...I don't know...maybe I'll unlock someone's T-Mobile phone...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

STi Activation on the Web & Cheap Cameraphones

STi Mobile now has on their website an activation page for most of their phones, the notable exceptions being the Audiovox 8912 and the Sanyo 2300. But now if you want to activate your shiny new STi phone chances are you can do it on the web. I wonder if you get anything extra for doing so. I'll check when I reactivate my 5225 (I won't activate my 225 when it gets here per se, as I'll just be transferring the number over).

Also, the main thing I wanted to talk about is the price of cameraphones on prepaid. T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile and STi Mobile all now have phones that are under $110 with rebates and taxes. I'm not sure about cingular, but I think they're still above the threshold. Boost is expensive as well. Verizon too I think is still very expensive with their phones. All the other prepaids don't have MMS capability.

Anyway. You can get the LG 225 from STi for $40 after the rebate (of course; I got it last night :) ), and possibly the Audiovox 8912 (similar to the Virgin Mobile Flasher, which is $90 or so at the last time I looked) is cheap as well with a rebate. Virgin Mobile's Audiovox 8915 (aka The Snapper) is $100 right now, as is T-Mobile's Nokia 6101 if you buy it at Targett. The Motorola v330 is $110 with the rebat at Amazon...

eBay Deals!

I was surfing eBay for the umpteenth time today and saw three very good deals on refill cards, as well as an eBay store that I had seen awhile back and found really nice...

Net10 $300 card for $219 (making for about 7.3 cents a minute and $18.25 a month for 250 minutes a month)

Boost Mobile refill cards for 80 cents on the dollar ($16 for $20, $24 for $30, $40 for $50)

$250 in Free2Go refill cards for $110

This last item is great because not only can you get TDMA service for 11 cents a minute, but you may also get approached by Cingular (through a text message) asking you to switch over to their new GoPhone GSM service. You'll probably have to buy a phone and aritime, but you can get those for just $30 online. Once you get them, you can just take your whole $250 over to GoPhone and have normally-priced (vs. the ripoff Cingular usually is on GoPhone) minutes, text messaging, email and web (0.44 cents per kilobyte isn't that bad if you're using Cingular's higher-speed EDGE network).

And now for the store: Project Recell

These guys buy people's old phones from them, then sell them on eBay at low starting prices. For example, an unlocked, like-new Nokia 3595 GSM phone startes at $10 I think and has a Buy It Now option for $35 plus shipping, a price that can be found practically nowhere else on eBay for some odd reason...

They have an abundance of Verizon, AT&T TDMA, and GSM phones, so if you want to get a phone for, for example, PagePlus or Beyond Wireless, this is probably the place to go. I thought a little bit about bidding on several Kyocera Phantoms (KX414 I think), activating them on PagePlus, then selling them on eBay as PagePlus has a dearth of modern phones for sale.

Hope these deals help someone :)

Friday, November 25, 2005

I'm Getting A Camera Phone!

I ordered this phone off of CheapphoneCards a few minutes ago. It's a camera phone, which I used to consider a mere oddity that was totally worthless, but I'll talk about that later. After the rebate this phone will be just $40.29, plus it has a $10 card, a car charger and a leather case, the last of which I'll sell to somebody (I don't know who). I used refill18 to take the price of the phone down by about $11.70, thus making it this nice price. I'm selling my old phone (3 months old, LG 5225) for $20 net ($40 but $20 goes to a replacement screen as the external screen as I said before is sort of peeled and bleeding for absolutely no reason and LG didn't want to repair it except for $75). So the net cost of this camera phone, per se, is $20.29 to me. Not bad for a non-monthly prepaid phone, though I'll have to keep the phone active for 90 days before they process the rebate (no big deal; all I'd have to do is make two or three calls, and as this will be my main cell phone I'll certainly make more than that).

Anyway, as you can see the title of this post is a hotlink. It's to the PhoneScoop specificaitons page for the LG 225 (aka PM-225 by Sprint's naming scheme as this is a Sprint phone). Besides the camera, opposed to the LG 5225, I get a two-way speakerphone, improved battery life, analog capability (for emergencies; as of yet no analog roaming is available on STi but I can see them pulling that rabbit out of their hat as well with all the neat things that have happened lately) and a couple other smaller features that I've forgotten to mention but are still there.

As to the reason I'm getting a camera phone, I "do" two other blogs besides this one and it would be really nice to be able to simply snap a picture and in just a few seconds have it publish to the blog of my choice. It's also cheap, at 29 cents a day and even this amount discounted and even zeroed out by reward points at CheapPhoneCards. The 29 cents also includes web browsing, or so the VCheapPhoneCards site says, so as I would want the web browsing package anyway picture messaging's net cost is just 10 cents a day. I'm not sure if unlimited text messagin is included in this fee, but if it is I'll surely use it :).

Just so everyone knows, I do have a normal camera, an Olympus C-5050 Zoom with 640 MB of CompactFlash cards (3 total). However, the camera is fairly large and a little under a pound with the batteries and card installed, so needless to say I can't quite take it everywhere. I can take a less-than-an-inch-thick, 3.3-ounce camera that also happens to be a cell phone pretty much everywhere though. Granted, the image quality of a camera phone right now, especially these early-generation 640x480 models, is a far cry from that of my camera but it is certainly bearable for internet posting and the portability factor is a big plus. I'll probably still carry around my camera many places but with the phone I'll probably be able to get snapshots and such that the bigness of a conventional camera wouldn't have afforded me.

So, to end the slight bit of a rant on camera phones, cameras certainly have their place in the world, as do PDAs, another function that some people have said cell phones would take over, but it's nice to have something that will take a picture, send it to a blog, surf the web and make a phone call all in a small package where a camera, a laptop or PDA, and even a small basic cell phone would not fit.

And to end all of this, yes I will post about my own experiences with STi and what looks to be a really nice phone for the price (though it's now free I think on

Tracfones Just Got Cheaper

I went on today, as every Friday they usually refresh the list of phones for sale with something different or cheaper. This time I was in for a nice surprise: the Motorola c155 phone is down to $30. I personally don't like the phone, as the screen is small and the navigation buttons are a bit too easily pushed, but the fact remains that it's now the lowest-priced color SingleRate phone available (the black-and-white Nokia 1100, which I would rather have, is $20).

The second, in my opinion better deal is with the Motorola v170. It is now $50, so you can finally afford the only color Tracfone flip phone. Granted, its screen is very small and it has no caller ID screen, but the phone itself is on the small side and if you want a flip phone that uses Cingular's contract-class GSM network this is it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Coupon Is Great, Virgin Mobile Shorty

Just to let everybody know, refill18 seems to work on everything in the prepaid phones and cards section of Which means you can get a nice little discount off the LG 225 camera phone $149 package. I think I will get that either today or tomorrow...

Also, I had a firsthand, though very fleeting, look at VIrgin Mobile's Nokia Shorty (aka 2115i\2116i). It has nice poly ringtones and is nice and small with an OK-sized screen but the fact that it's greyscale kind of threw me off. Granted it's $30, but hey. Tracfone has a color one of these for $20. I don't think that the blue backlight, or whatever color it was, kicked in enough to shed the dreariness of a greyscale screen paired with such a nice form factor. I hope Virgin Mobile comes out with a Color Shorty like Tracfone has; a color screen would make the phone hjust about right...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Note on the code and STi Web

I just got an email giving me the code that I already posted. It also said the code expires the 27th so get your refill cards soon because this promo may not last.

Also, when I got my phone back I nearly immediately activated web access. At 19 cents a day with the first 14 free for unlimited, faster-than-dialup access, needless to say I'm happy. When I get the LG 225 cameraphone (which will be soon) I'll most likely get a cable so I can have a nice fast always-on connection on my computer. And of course be able to directly transfer all of those pretty picutres I take if I'm not in the mood to send them over the web.

STi Coupon Code and My Phone

FIrst, the refill8 coupon code for CheapPhoneCards and STi Mobile has gone down to 2% now. In its place is refill18. Granted, the latter takes the 8% off the already-discounted card, thus making the discount a few cents less, but it's still very, very close to a full 11% discount so the party isn't over yet :).

Second, I didn't want to pay $75 to fix an $89 phone so my phone still has the inexplicably cracked and bleeding outer LCD, which has gotten a little worse, and a slight dark spot, which is getting less and less evident, on the inner LCD. I'm negotiating to get a new screen set for $20 though so when I sell this phone to a friend it will be just as good as the day I bought it.

Speaking of buying, the $89 rebate for the phone, which came back from Huntsville Tuesday, came in the mail Monday. That phone is now officially better than fgree, just like those TMIWireless Black Razrs with the two-year Cingular contract :)

T-Mobile To Go: My Experience

To start off, sorry that I haven't posted for ever so long. I'm here now to say that you can start clicking those ads again; I've got a lot to post tonight.

Last Tuesday my drama teacher gave me her "old" phone, a Cingular Nokia 6010. The battery charger didn't work but as all but one of my family's phones are Nokias that problem was easily remedied by using one of our other chargers. A few hours later the phone was, after just two tries, successfully unlocked and just waiting for a shiny new T-Mobile To Go simcard, which I got off of eBay with $30 of credit for $15 and which arrived in an envelope Monday. That evening I put the simcard in the phone, and as it was already activated the T-Mobile signal bars showed up right away.

A fairly quick call to 611 gave me a new, closer-to-local though not quite local number (I'll probably port in something later) and later I got the web and MMS settings. Still later I was happily surfing the free, albeit limited, T-Zones and buying Let It Be as a ringtone. I also sent a picture message (which for some nice odd reason was free) to enable my phone for receiving multimedia messages, then sent it several MIDI ringtones which arrived over the rest of the night and the next morning when I turned the phone on again.

Later that day I found out the bad side of T-Mobile To Go to its utmost, which granted isn't horrible but would steer me clear of it for my area, but for my area only as the service seems solid.

The thing I noticed with the phone was that coverage was very "fragile", probably due to my being in some wierd fringe coverage areas (even in the middle of town) and T-Mobile's operating on the less-persistent PCS 1900 frequency. It could've been the phone, but it would have to be a defect with that specific phone as the Nokia 6010\3595 (same phone, different faceplate) has one of the best RFs (reception ratings) of any phone of that network (GSM). This basically means that you can be ten feet away in the same atmosphere (either open air or in the same type of building with practically the same walls between you and the outside air) from a full signal and get practically nothing, along with the dropped calls and such that a one-bar GSM signal brings.

Due to this problem, I was double-charged for a ringtone that warranted a call to customer service to get sent correctly (and to kill the second charge). I'd have to say that their customer service is truly world-class though. I don't think I'll make T-Mobile To Go my main prepaid phone, as I got it mainly to have unlimited text messaging (STi is cheaper for voice since I can get 12 cents a minute in denominations as low as $10) anyway. But if T-Mobile's signal is good in your area and you want a wide selection of phones (any 1900-capable unlocked or T-Mobile phone will do if it's GSM) T-Mobile To Go is a superb option.

Outrageous Boost Mobile Deals!

I'm really sorry for myself since I passed this deal combo up but I may yet be able to get it. The first deal is only valid through Saturday, sdo you'll have to hurry, and is available only at Target though you may be able to get a pricematch elsewhere. The second deal is available until January 31, 2006 I'm pretty sure and isn't store-specific. Also at Target any Boost Mobile phone comes with a free Boost Mobile compilation CD, normally $6, if the CDs are around.

1. At Target and during this week you can get the Boost Mobile i415 phone for just $50, and get a $20 card for free to boot, thus making the phone really $30 including the $10 activation credit. So you can have as much as 6 months of service...

2. If you activate any Boost phone or reactivate any dormant Boost sim card ($15 I think) you get $25 extra credit!

So combining the two above promotions you can get $55 (maybe $45 but I think $55) of airtime and a phone for $50 plus tax, making the phone somewhere between $10 and free! The i415 is a nice phone too, not some Nextel freebie (read decrepit nobody-buys-it i205). It has a fair-sized color screen, GPS (go through the menus and you can get your coordinates, no fees involved), free MotoTalk off-network digital walkie-talkie through a hack from the guys at HowardForums (range is five miles I think but of course you can only talk to other MotoTalk-capable handsets that are in MotoTalk mode) and of course the thing that makes Nextel phones just a tad bigger than the rest: that $1.50 a day unlimited, lightening-fast Direct Connect walkie-talkie service that makes Nextel stand out from every other carrier.

Now to yell at our local Wal-Mart's manager enough to let me get this deal as a pricematch, or maybe even two of these phones so we can really do MotoTalk...

Monday, November 21, 2005

STi Developments

I was having a chat with an STi rep last night and I got these tidbits, some good, some not so good:

1. The rep said web is 19 cents a day. I've heard both 17 and 19 so I can't really confirm this, but just so everyone would know both reps that I've talked to have said it is 19 cents. I'll find out for myself when I get my phone back tomorrow and activate web browsing.

2. The rep said that picture messaging, at 29 cents a day, not only includes text messaging (pretty sure about that) but also includes web browsing! So if you have a camera phone and want web and will send a few picture messages each month by all means go for the picture messaging option.

3. The rep said that push-to-talk (aka ReadyLink) is 79 cents a day (!). This includes web access but, outside of the normal price for web access this service is 60 cents a day, or about $18 a month! Sorry, but I don't need walkie-talkie that bad. The fee is charged every single day but of course a quick call to 611 can turn it on and off. Granted, Boost Walkie-Talkie is $1.50 a day but Nextel Direct connect is faster than any CDMA-based system so far. Personally, there is no longer a hard choice between the LG 225 and the Sanyo 2300, STi's only phone so far capabl;e of ReadyLink.

4. STi's site will be updated "soon"...

5. There are several phones hiding out in Staples, the last of which will make it (maybe more) to STi's website:

Sanyo 200 (voice)
Samsung a660 (internet)
Audiovox 8912 (camera phone)
Sanyo 2300 (ReadyLink)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I Am Not Affiliated...

I was just looking at, seeing if it was available should I wish to upgrade to a real domain name. It wasn't (yet another phone card seller) so let me say one thing: they and I share nothing but the same. And sorry but I don't know who went online first...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Wal-Mart Deals In Person

I was at Wal-Mart a few minutes ago and found several neat deals and confirmed some others. Some have to do with postpaid, but there are prepaid deals too. There are also postpaid ripoffs...


1. Heard of Movida, the 20-cents-a-minute Spanish-oriented prepaid? Right now they're giving $45 worth of airtime, equivalent to 225 minutes, with at least their Nokia 2270 phone, which is $30, at least at my Wal-Mart. Calling the phone free the cost per minute would be about 13.3 cents a minute. Not bad for Sprint service with a free phone that doesn't need any rebates, though I wouldn't get anything beyo0nd the phone as STi's rates are so much better in the longer run, plus you get a fancier phone for free.

2. I saw the Nokia 2126. This has to be one of the neatest-looking budget phones out there. Personally, I don't like the slightly overstated look of the original Nokia Shorty (too shiny on the front) but the form factor is to be beat and the 2126does it right. I didn't see a price today but the Wal-Mart guy told me this little gem is $19.88 when I called yesterday so it looks very, very good. One small problem is it has a paltry fifteen ringtones, but there are probably some good ones in there.


1. I reconfirmed what I saw last time: at least my Wal-Mart is offering the Sanyo 2300 phone for free with a 2-year Sprint contract, or for $40 with a 1-year, or $190 without any contract whatsoever. I have a feeling this one is going to show up on STi sometime soon, since reps hinted about it last month, though I may have to search bricks and mortar stores to find it. It is on the large side, but has a super speakerphone (look at that lovely grill on the outside :) ), a nice big screen, web access and ReadyLink. I heard tell that the last is being offered (I'm assuming using this phone) on STi for 9 cents a day. If this phone comes in as free with a rebate, which it probably will, I'm going to have a heck of a time deciding which phone to buy, this one, which most likely has the great Sanyo reception that its phones on Sprint are known for, or the LG 225 cameraphone.

2. First, the neat thing about the new Sprint plans: both networks (Sprint and Nextel) now have an unlimited plan direct from the carrier. Granted, it's $200 a month but for Sir (or Madam) Talks-A-Lot (and I mean A LOT as Sprint\Nextel also has up to 4000 minute Fair & Flexible plans, though the tab for this is in the order of $150 a month) will love having no overages...EVER. Oh, and it looks like roaming is included on the Sprint plan so we now have a cell phone that you can talk on almost anywhere for as long as the battery holds out every day of the month and not worry about the bill being larger than...something... For $10 you can get unlimited Walkie-Talkie or ReadyLink, whichever technology (Nextel for the former, Sprint for the latter) you choose. Nextel has had an unlimited plan for quite a while now, but I'm thinking it was maybe $20 more expensive or so. Qwest also had an unlimited plan (they run off of Sprint) but it too was around $220 and limited to Sprint's home network.

3. Now the bad things about the new Sprint plans. On Nextel they have a Fair & Flexible plan for 1000 minutes, which is $56. Thank you very much, but for $50 I can get a plan on T-Mobile with half again that many anytime minutes. They also have a new lower end Power Connect plan (unlimited local Walkie-Talkie, otherwise like any other carrier's normal plan, with free nights and weekends, but no mobile-to-mobile) for $36, with a paltry 300 minutes. Again, T-Mobile has a similar plan (though without the free nights or Walkie-Talkie) for $30. For $4 more a month you get 100 extra minutes. Of course then you could just get T-Mobile's 1500 anytime minutes promo, which is about what "unlimited" carrier users call per month anyway. There is also the incredulously expensive $30-for-200-minutes Fair&Flexible deal on both Sprint and Nextel, as well as the horrendous $60-for-400-minute Sprint PCS Fair&Flexible family plan. If my memory serves me right you can get 500 minutes and the same features for $50 on T-Mobile, though I think SPrint Fair&Flexible is the America variety which means that up to half of your minutes can be off-network roaming.

And that's about all I found out at Wal-Mart tonight.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Virgin Mobile Flasher Cheaper than Expected!

OK, now there's a reason to get the Audiovox 8910 Flasher V7 again: it's $10 cheaper or so than The Snapper. That's right, you can get a cameraphone now for a mere $90, without any rebate junk either. For the extra $10 you get a louder ringer and AIM capabilities though...

Interesting though that now the Flasher is the same price as the Vox, which isn't even a camera phone!

Virgin Mobile Phones Cheaper Than Expected

OK. I just found out that The Snapper (Audiovox 8915) on Virgin Mobile's site is just $100 so no biggie that Wal-Mart has it for just a few dollars less. But there are also some neat deals that Virgin Mobile has pulled out of the closet or pulled out of the rollback bag:

1. The Slider Sonic is now $190, so you can finally buy a music phone that is very, very modern, albeit low-end in the scheme of things, for a moderate price. It says that you can transfer videos from the phone to a Windows XP-equipped computer, but I'm not sure about photos. Help anyone?

2. The Snapper, as has been mentioned, is now down to $100, so there's no longer any reason to get the V7 Flasher.

3. The Kyocera K10 is back down to its normal price of $50, after a brief stint of being a whopping $60.

4. The Nokia Shorty phone is now down to a reasonable $30, though the Tracfone Nokia 2126 is a much better deal in my opinion, at $20 or thereabouts at Wal-Mart, plus the latter is color and can come with 120 minute (the refer-a-friend deal strikes again; email me)

OLDER PHONES (they have golden oldies out now, I guess to clean out their moldy stock :) )

1. The Kyocera Slider is back for a little bit for a very reasonable $40. So if you want one of them thar sliding telephones, this one is cheap and in color.

2. The Audiovox 8500 is back at $35. SKIP IT! everybody says this isn't a good phone at all, and granted it's the cheapest Virgin Mobile flip phone by a long shot, but it is cheap for a really bad reason and I wonder why it isn't cheaper...they are selling refurbished models with a 90-day warranty, so if it breaks on day 91 :( for you

3. The Kyocera K7 and K9 phones are back for $25. Why you'd get the K7 over the newer K9 (which was only phased out this summer I believe) is uncertain but hey, both of them are there so take your pick.

Not that I reccommend Virgin Mobile or anything, but hey, their phones just got almost across-the-board a good bit cheaper...

Cheaper and Cheaper! STi and Wal-Mart and Cingular

First off, STi's web access, according to an actual user haydeno (HowardForums) is actually 17 cents a minute, not 19. I'll take that extra 60 or so cents a month, which brings the price down to the $4.75-$5.25 range depending on whether it's February 2005 or October...

Second, Wal-Mart has really cheap prices on phones, even with tax! The Virgin Mobile Audiovox Snapper (8915 really) is, along with the V7 Flasher (8910), $97.66 at my local Wal-Mart, a full FIFTY DOLLARS cheaper than Virgin Mobile sells it for online, and about 40 dollars cheaper with tax included at Wal-Mart. Also, if you're in an area without SingleRate Tracfones (Nokia 1100, Nokia 2600, Motorola c155, Motorola v170) at least, and possibly in other areas, you can get the new Nokia 2126 "Color Shorty" on their CDMA service for $19.88 or thereabouts, really really nice for a small, color phone that may be able, through *228 and hitting option 2 if you're on Verizon, to have the coverage of the largest home and roaming network in the US! :)

Third, Cingular has the excellent Nokia 3120 on sale as a GoPhone package for $29.99, including a $10 activation credit for their prepaid service. I'm pretty sure shipping is free. Nokia phones are easily unlockable, so this just might become my next T-Mobile To Go phone (instead of the Cingular Nokia 6010 given to me, or maybe I'll keep it).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

STi is Rolling!

First off, I found out that the reason we're not seeing payme25 on the LG 225 at CheapPhoneCards is that they don't get near as much of a margin on that phone. Too bad...but I guess when the deal is a little older STi will be a little more generous generous and thus we will se that code for this phone.

Second, I'm getting my LG 5225 back from Huntsville, Alabama and their perfectly understandable technicians (yay for them!), but alas, the external screen isn't repaired. I'm not paying $75 to fix something on a phone that I could get for $84.95 with an $89 rebate! When my rebate comes in I'll sell the phone for $30, loaded with ringtones and apps (all downloaded for free of course) and in its slightly incapacitated, but still highly useable, condition, unless I find someone who will repair it for $20 or so.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting: STi now has out web access and picture messaging...and both are unlimited! Both services are charged daily and though you get charged every day (even when you don't use the service) you can, with a quick call to customer service, turn them on and off as needed! What's more, unlimited picture messaging includes unlimited text messaging. Text junkies rejoice! IM junkies should just get web access unless they have the 225 cameraphone.

Pricing for unlimited web access (don't know about tethering but if it's possible with the phone it's probably possible with the service) is 19 cents a day, or around $5.70 a month ($5.89 on long months, $5.32 or $5.51 in February), and unlimited picture and text messaging is 29 cents a day, or $8.70 a month ($8.99 on long months, $8.12 or $8.41 in February). I'll take that :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Beyond Wireless and STi Greatness

A Beyond Wireless rep told me today that new, GSM or CDMA (didn't say which or what carrier it would be on) service would be out in about two weeks. Yay Beyond!

Also, I haven't confirmed this myself but a post on HowardForums says that STi Mobile now has web for 17 cents a day, web and picture messaging for 29 cents a day and walkie-talkie (Ready-Link) for 9 cents a day, all for unlimited access! As I said I don't know about this as I don't have my STi phone right now (being inspected\repaired in Huntsville, Alabama) but if it's true STi rocks once again!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Unlock It!

A few hours ago I unlocked a Nokia 6010 a friend gave me (Cingular brand) so I can now use it on T-Mobile. I got the free NokiaFree unlocking calculator and on my second attempt (I messed up royally the first time, using the wrong, site-based calculator) successfully removed the restriction from the phone.

Yes, I can unlock other people's GSM (and GSM only) phones as well, at least all GSM phones supported by NokiaFree's software. This includes basically all GSM Nokias, a lot of Samsungs, some LGs, some Panasonics, Sony\Ericssons and some Siemens phones, as well as some lesser-known models like Vitel, NEC and Maxon. Sorry, there aren't any Motorolas on the list; your black Razr stays on Cingular, at least as far as I can help you.

All you have to do is email me (iansl AT gmail DOT com, symbols replaced to kill spam) with the IME1 number of the phone (serial number, can be found under the battery or usually by pressing *#06# like you're entering a phone number), what make\model of phone it is, and what network it's locked to, and what country you're in. I'll send you all seven or so codes, along with my reccommendation of which to choose first, as most GSM phones only let you have 5 or so unlock attempts before they become un-unlockable by this means.

The only thing I ask in return for the unlocking is that if you don't have the latest version of Firefox, take a minute to download, via the link button on the right, it and the Google Toolbar. If you already have Firefox 1.0.7 (or later; I am using Firefox 1.5 Beta right now) then take a little time to click on a few ads that you find intersting. Thanks.

STi LG 225 Now On CheapPhoneCards!

CheapPhoneCards has finally come out with the LG 225 camera phone. There are two packages that they have. Unfortunately, neither of them have the deep discount that payme25 affords. I hope that CheapPhoneCards will fix that :).

The first deal (the link is the title of this article) is a more normal deal for CheapPhoneCards. For $149 (the price of the phone alone on STi, except that you can't get the phone alone on STi) you get the normal stuff (phone and $10 card) plus a car charger and leather case. They say they're worth $20 ($30 including the card). I say they're worth about $10. Anyway shipping is $5.75 here also, and there's only a 2% coupon (phone2) so you get a whopping $3 off of your otherwise-$154.75 purchase. So yes, the cheapest you can get the LG 225 cameraphone for right now is $151.75, $51.75 with the rebate, $41.75 if you count the card out of being the phone, $31.75 if you count the accessories out, but I wouldn't do that.

The second deal, which the first deal links to (look for Related Deals), gets you for $199 + $5.75 shipping the phone and a $50 card, just like at Except that they do have a 7% discount coupon (phone7) that brings the total price down to $190.82 or thereabouts. Not a great deal IMO but the phone itself is $40.82 with the rebate this way.

As for me, I'm waiting for my rebate to come in and maybe by that time they will have better deals on the phone, such as maybe being able to apply payme25 to the purchase...

Beyond Wireless: New "Free" Phones

They've discontinued the "Free" 5165 deal (actually it's $6.95 for shipping) when you get a $10 card, but Beyond Wireless now has four "free" phones that you can get with a $10 card, all fulfilled by They also have a facep[late store to personalize your Nokia 5165 or 5160 phone, or even your 5185 CDMA or 5190 GSM phone if you have one of those. Anyway, here are the phones that Beyond Wireless\UsedCellPhone are pretty much giving away with a $10 card:

Nokia 5160
On Nokia's Website
On Beyond Wireless's Website

Nokia 6160
On Nokia's Website
On Beyond Wireless's Website

Nokia 6161
On Nokia's Website
On Beyond Wireless's Website

Nokia 6162
On Nokia's Website
On Beyond Wireless's Website

Hope the last link works :)

Friday, November 11, 2005

STi Rehash #1

Okay. CheapPhoneCards is about to release the LG 225 camera phone that has already released. I'd advise getting it at cheapphonecards when it comes out there simply because you can get a bigger discount (with payme25) and only have to get a $10 card with the phone. Web access and picture messaging should be ready by the end of this month says customer support. But anyway let me rehash what STi is:

1) STi runs on the Sprint PCS network like Virgin Mobile
2) Rates are 12 cents weekdays, 10 cents nights and weekends, or 18 cents 24\7 with free international calling to tons of places
3) Airtime doesn't expire
4) Their phones can be inexpensive (LG 225) or even free (LG 5225) with a rebate
5) Text messaging is 5 cents both ways

Now some extra tidbits for STi\CheapPhoneCards users:
1) The coupon code "payme25" (no quotes) saves 20% off of STi phones; it will also give you an invoice with a normal-looking (no coupon applied) cost for rebate purposes (heh heh)
2) The coupon code "refill8" (again no quotes) takes the discount for STi refill cards from 3% to 11%. So in reality you're paying about 10.7 cents for weekday minutes and 8.9 cents for nights and weekends, even on a $10 card.
3) CheapPhoneCards' reward points system round down to the nearest dollar so you actually pay $8 in reward points (280 points) for a "normally $8.90" ten-dollar STi card.

One word about all this as I wait for my phone to be repaired (for no reason that I can tell my external screen wierded out and my internal screen seems to be suffering a little because of it): sweetmess :).

XE Mobile

This is an interesting carrier running off of Cingular's postpaid (read every GSM in the US) network. Text is free to receive, 10 cents to send. Voice has three different plans, or rather two types of plans, one with two options:

1) 20 cents a minute flat rate
2a) 50 cents per day the phone is used for a voice call, 15 cents outgoing, first 100 incoming minutes per month free, then 10 cents a minute
2b) Same as above except $1 a day the phone is used for a voice call and 250 free incoming minutes per month

The phones are expensive but there is an OK selection. They have the Nokia 2600 and 3200, as well as a the Motorola v180 (aka XEna) and Razr, at $50, $130, $100 and $300 respectively. So if you don't like Tracfone's SingleRate phones, or don't want to hunt for deals all the time, XE Mobile is a good choice.

Tracfone Nokia 1100 - Now $20

You saw it in Wal-Mart for this much. Now it's official: The Tracfone Nokia 1100 SingleRate GSM phone is $20, not bad at all when you consider that with a refer-a-friend promotion (email me) you're getting 120 minutes for that $20...16.66 cents a minute! And it has the coverage of Cingular, or T-Mobile if T-Mobile is in your area and not Cingular, and we're talking the contract plan here.

On a side not my Wal-Mart is selling the Nokia 2285 for around $20 right now as well, probably to move the stock for the new Nokia 2126. One thing I'm wondering here is whether Tracfone has a new phone up their sleeve, such as the long-rumored Nokia 2651 flip, which will push the 1100 out of retail existence for the most part and make the Nokia 2600 into the $30 phone.

Simple Freedom Online Bonus!

Click on the link above to activate a Simple Freedom phone (the Nokia 3587i or 6015i is usually $40 or so at your local Wal-Mart, or you can get the color flip Kyocera SoHo for abiyt $70) and instead of $10 (40 minutes, 20 roaming) you get a whopping $30.01 (don't know where that extra cent is for but 120 minutes nonetheless) credit when you sign up, putting SF on par with a Tracfone with refer-a-friend purchase, except that the Tracfone is usually cheaper for the phone and more expensive for the minutes. But if you want Simple Freedom and the Alltel and Verizon network capability it beings go for it!

Monday, November 07, 2005

SMS Stuff

Two quick things about SMS. Okay, three.

1. I was emailed by the marketing chairman of 4info, yet another SMS service a la Google and Yahoo. The shortcode this time is...what else...4INFO, and it has a few things, like sports scores and random drink (alcoholic) "recipies", that other SMS gateways don't have but personally I find 4info unattractive when compared with, say, Google SMS.

2. With you can make your very own "Moblog" (Mobile Blog) in as little as one step: send whatever you want to Believe it or not, this works on SMS as well, though your entries are short.

3. The alternative to this is Matil-to-Blogger, which lets you send text to a predetermined email address ( and it show up on the blog. If you can stand lack of confirmation and a few less characters on your message this is good for people who, like me, have annoying cell plans that cost to receive text messages.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

STi Phone Fun , Part the Second

First off, STi has finally put another rebate on their site for the LG 5225 phone. It's for the same amount, but you'll have to keep your phone active for 90 days before STi will start processing the rebate, up from 60 before this and 30 from the LG 1200 they used to have. So yeah you sort of have a 3-month contract to get your phone for free but all you need to do is make a call the day you get the phone and then about 30 days later, and then just for kicks a week later and you have, about 60 days later, your 90 required days for activation, and you eventually get your rebate. You don't even need to get another card if you don't want to.

Second: I may have confused the Samsung a660 with the Samsung a560 on what phones STi is going to release soon. The main difference is that the 560 doesn't have web access. I'm pretty sure that I didn't though, and that STi is going to come out with the a660.

Third, and last, is that I am now hearing that STi is going to introduce the well-reviewed, interestingly-built Samsung a600. No, it's not a downgrade from the a660; it's a full-featured cameraphone with a screen that can actually swivel around so the phone can be closed and yet the big screen can still be showing. Yay STi!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Virgin Mobile IM

With the two new phones (tne Kyocera Slider Sonic, which is incidentally not the Slider Remix, and the Audiovox Snapper, or 8915) Virgin Mobile has introduced they gave owners of these phones the gift of chat. More specifically, for $4 a month you get 150 messages on AIM, each subsequent 50-message chunk costing $1 (okay, $3.99 and 99 cents but hey). The AIM client is free. Cheaper than text? Probably. Cheap? Not really. Though you do get the first month's base 150 messages free.

Also, they have this thingamabob called Chat Park, which seems to be some sort of online community type of thing. 60 minutes of time or one week of service, again whichever comes first, is $3. OK...I'll pass on that one too.

To see for yourself go to and click on Ringtones and More.

T-Mobile To Go Unlimited Text!

You read the above title right. To get unlimited text on your T-Mobile-To-Go compatible phone (unlocked 1900-band-capable or T-Mobile) follow the below steps. Note that you'll also get minutes at a flat rate of 15 cents. Unfortunately you'll lose T-Zones access (news and such) but you can still check your balance by dialing *999 and hitting SEND (I'm pretty sure that's the number :) ).

1. Get a T-Mobile To Go sim card from a place like for about $14.
2. Run it down to below $10. This may or may not be necessary as one person did this at $10.80 so you can try step 3 before this but don't count on the transition working unless the balance is low enough. You can do this by...surprise...texting!
3. call T-Mobile Customer Care and have them convert your sim to the Sidekick To Go plan.

You can now send as many SMSes as you like and not be charged anything. Plus you have voice at a fixed 15 cents per minute. The reason this works is that the Sidekick To Go plan has this as well, except it charges $1 a day. What you get for that $1 is unlimited MMS and web access on your Sidekick, which is also pretty expensive. Anyway the reason you get text for free and no MMS or web is they won't\can't bill you for the Sidekick $1 a day part of the plan if the sim card is not in your Sidekick. The flip side of this, the side that doesn't allow web access, is that the Sidekick uses a different way of sending and receiving data than normal that, for web and MMS, aren't compatible with normal phones.

So you can't use this on your Sidekick if you have one. But you can use it on such text-friendly phones\devices as the ones below:

Motorola v100 (old but good for text, but don't do voice on this one, about $25 shipped)

Nokia 3300 (it's a music phone too with a color screen, about $55 shipped)

Have fun with this, especially for AIM over SMS (which works with T-Mobile To Go, or at least this type) and 411sms (I think that Google SMS doesn't work but no huge deal there as 411sms is about as good, just with a 10-digit number)

PagePlus Activation & Phone for Less

One eBay seller now has a PagePlus activation kit for just $10 with the same 100 minutes and 120 days (actually 30 above normal) for any Verizon phone. That's 10 cents a minute, a nice deal if you ask me :). Here is the link (that's the hotlink in the title as well):

He also sells a Kyocara 2325 with 71 minutes of airtime ($10 worth really) for $30. Here is the link to that:

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Boost Mobile Phone Pricing

Boost Mobile has lowered the prices for some of their phones, making them more available for public consumption without sticker shock. The i835, one of the smallest Nextel\Boost phones available (unfortunately that isn't saying too much compared to other technologies' phones), is now $150, as is the larger i730.

But the best deals are the i450, which is now $80, and the i415, which is $60, making it the cheapest Boost phone ever I think, which again isn't saying much in this era of $30 Nokia 2126s from Tracfone but is great if you want the features Boost Mobile affords. If you look around, you may even be able to find a copy of the "Europe-only" Opera Mini browser, which allows any phone with Java and internet access to view normal webages, albeit downloading everything that PCs would download (don't use this on GoPhone or any other carrier that doesn't have unlimited data).

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another Wierd and Wonderful Hybrid Service: Bravo Cellular

I'm checking into this, but it is similar to INPulse in that for 99 cents a day you get unlimited night and weekend calling. Well, on INPulse you get unlimited night and IN calling but the concept is similar. Bravo uses the Sprint network like STi Mobile does and actually has some of the same phones STi does (LG 5350 and Samsung a460).

Howver, right now they have a promo that gives you unlimited calling for the 99 cents a day fee (I guess until November 1st). Text, as with STi, is 5 cents to send and receive. Bravo touts its international rates but you can find better deals on that elsewhere.

One last thing is that this is a very new service, hence the promo, and also for every daytime minute once they aren't unlimited (12.5 cents) and for the 99 cent daily fee (like INPulse it's whether you use it or not) there's an extra 13% tacked on. OK, if it gives you unlimited calling I'm fine with it...

Buy an INPulse phone and use it on PagePlus

Is there a BustBuy near you? If so, take a look to see if they have the Verizon INPulse Nokia 6015i in stock for $50. If they do, that phone is a prime candidate for PagePlus Cellular, a prepaid provider that runs off of Verizon's home network. Airtime veries from 10 to 14 cents a minute, depending on what denomination of card you buy (you can get them at, see the link to the right), and roaming is 99 cents a minute. Cards last for 120 days, and of course minutes roll over Check on eBay to get an activation with 90 days of service and 100 minutes for $15. There is a 50 cent per month fee (25 cents on the 1st, 25 on the 15th) but still this is a cheap way to get a modern phone that works off of the Verizon network. Or you can get a phone like the Nokia 3589i that has internet and use the internet for free, because of a loophole in the PagePlus service. No tetherting though :)

Beyond Wireless Fun

If you live in an area serviced by AT&T or Cingular's TDMA networks and don't mind getting a long-distance number, Beyond Wireless is still a viable option. Granted, you'll be getting older phones, but older also means cheaper. Right now, there are two promotions going on that will give you "free" (plus $7 or so for shipping) phones when you get a $10 Beyond Wireless card. You can probably activate the phones, then add the $10 card, for a total of 115 minutes for about $17, not a bad deal since it includes a phone in the mix, with no rebates involved. Your choice of phones is either the old-though-still-viable Nokia 5165, which does everything Beyond is good for anyway (voice calling and text messaging) or you can get the older Nokia 5160, if you don't want text messaging at all or the supply of 5165s runs out.

Tracfone Nokia 2126 Update

Sorry folks but the Tracfone Nokia 2126 is not a SingleRate phone. There is the 2x roaming fee and the 1\2 unit to send and receive text messages. It is a nice phone though.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The STi Experience

Firest of all I have to say that a lot of things didn't happen today that I thought would happen. First, no new phones were introduced, and the LG 225 cameraphone did not go live. Second, though text messaging started to be charged, no new services came out. Web, according to the reps, should be out at the end of this week, along with picture messaging.

OK. Now for really why I posted. I sent six text messages and received three today, thinking that they were free, as I didn't immediately get charged for them. As it turned out, there was actually a bug in the system, so the 45 cents was deducted later in the day. I can live with that.

At the time I was sending the text messages I also tried to call my mom's cell phone. As usual it was off, and, as luck would have it, Cellular One decided to give me a busy beep (for which I was charged) instead of the free-for-me "The customer you have called cannot be reached at this time" message. Twelve cents gone. I can live with that too.

Then, somehow, I might've or might've not pressed the 1 key and hit send. I don't think that I did it but there is a chance that I might have. That "One second call" cost me 22 cents. After about 45 minutes on the phone with a pretty helpful STi rep, most of which spent on hold waiting for STi's system to get everything straightened out, the 22 cents was refunded. Heym I didn't have to pay anything for the call (from my cell phone) and spent the hold time working on homework :).

I'm satisfied now. I just hope that they get the kinks worked out of text messaging and out of their accounting system. STi, if you're listening out there, or rather looking, we prepaid people would like an online account viewer like Cingular GoPhone has. Can you get it for us? :)

I maintain (and hope I spelled it correctly) that STi is a fine company to deal with on prepaid service. It is still my favorite. But keep in mind that if you get a text message saying that on X day X service will be charged X amount per X usage, you'd better believe it, though you might think you aren't charged for it at first on X date. Now about phone releases on websites I can't make that written-in-stone generalization, but still...

Discuss at the STi Forum

Monday, October 31, 2005

STi Services...Finally!

With less than two hours to go before their opening, I'm finally detailing what I've learned about what new services STi will release tomorrow. Sorry to say that the details are a bit sketchy on a lot of things here, but it was the best I could do with twenty-odd minutes on the phone with different STi reps over the past week :)

Text Messaging
Here is the one thing I know for a solid fact: they will start charging for this service tomorrow (November 1st) at 5 cents a message, both sent and received. I would have liked free receiving messages, even if it meant an increase in the cost of a sent message (10 cents to send even) but I guess I'll just scale back on my usage, which was until Saturday about 1\4 Yahoo alerts and 3\4 AIM over SMS. Tonight is the last night I will use the latter; I disabled the former Saturday. It would be nice if STi came out with a daily-billed or even monthly-billed unlimited text option but I don't think that will happen.

Picture Messaging
This is only available for the two camera phones due out soon to very soon, the LG 225 and the Audiovox 8912. I have heard conflicting reports about this but am sure that it will be relesed tomorrow, and I'm almost 100% sure that it will be, as text messaging has been, free for enogh time for STi to figure out how to bill it. I have heard that it would be either charged monthly as a package with web access and that it would be charged seperately, but both reports leaned toward a monthly billing system, which I wouldn't mind over much as I would probably be liberated to use it a lot when I get the LG 225 (when my 5225 rebate comes in and the 225 rebate becomes available).

Web Browsing
I have heard conflicting stories about this also, one saying that unlimited access would be for $1 (probably per day) or that it would be charged by the month. The former was from HowardForums, the latter directly from an STi rep. It too should be free for the first few days. I'll report on the speed and such of it tomorrow, as the LG 5225 is web-capable.

Ready Link
I'm very unsure about this, but one of the phones STi is going to release, the Sanyo 2300, has it so logically Ready Link service is in the pipeline. I don't know when, and I don't know how or for how much it will be billed, but it I'm pretty sure it is coming. If it is cheap when it comes, and if the Sanyo 2300 is cheap when it comes, I may jump for this and get my family and friends to get this phone also so we could all talk a little cheaper. :)

Calling Features
Right now STi only has Caller ID, but that should change soon. I do not think that Call Forwarding is in the works, but I know that Call Waiting and 3-Way Calling should both be out sometime soon. I'm pretty sure that they will be billed just like everybody else bills them. ;)

So there you have it, what is in store for tomorrow and maybe the day after. Discuss this and the upcoming phones in the STi Forum


Here's a sort of testimonial from a person who emailed me about possibly getting a Tracfone. That person may end up getting an STi phone...if Sprint covers the area that person lives in...but anyway here's a snippet of the message:

Thanks for the quick response...

Your site is awesome it is the only site i have found for the cautious shopper that provides answers to questions that no else one answers you can quote me on this or if you want me to write some testimonial for your site i would gladly do that too!


This person wanted to know the best way to get a Tracfone for a low-usage situation, thinking that he (gender-nonspecific ;) ) would get a Motorola v170 from OfficeMax and, after getting a referral (from me) add a 1-year card with a promotional code that would add around two hundred minutes to the 150-minute card.

I notified the person that for what the Motorola v170 was I didn't think it was worth the extra $30 over the Nokia 2600, a satisfactory bar-style Tracfone. Also, I wasn't sure that the promo code (mentioned here on my blog) was valid any more, so I advised the person to steer away from the 1-year card (which can be had for $80 at until some good promotional codes again became available. I also advised the person about the order in which to activate the phone and get the referral (you have to activate the phone through the link in the refer-a-friend email, then get the referral minutes).

The person emailed me back with the message of which I posted the above snippet, among other things mentioning that if the coverage was good he (generic again ;) ) would go with STi Mobile and possibly Simple Freedom. I responded with a quick thank you, then game my small bit of advice a little later: if you're covered with a cheap plan, use it. If not, do not.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

STi Phone Fun

Since I can never seem to be able to write that big STi post that I want to do, I have decided to split my info gleaned from STi Customer Service reps into two portions, one about phones and one about services that will be released on or about November 1st. I have already told about the Sanyo 200 and Samsung n400 (the latter of which is only sold in stores) so I won't re-discuss them here. I'll also put in a word or two about two phones that aren't exactly new to STi but have not been discussed here or have changed a little since the previous discussion.

Audiovox 8912

Yes, this is the famed-of-Virgin-Mobile Flasher camera phone. I don't know what the pricing will be but it will support web access and picture messaging, as well as text messaging of course. All without that obnoxiously high Virgin Mobile rate structure and obnoxiously wierd teeny-bopper theme. Granted, in my opinion Audiovoxes aren't the greatest phones in the world but I'm glad to see another camera phone coming to STi.

Sanyo 2300

Yes, STi is getting a Ready Link phone. Now to see whether they will offer Ready Link any time soon, and for a reasonable price. For that matter, will they offer the phone at a reasonable price? I don't know, but this phone would be the third most advanced STi phone on the market, next to the camera phones of course. If you want walkie-talkie service though this might be the phone that brings it to prepaid other than Boost Mobile. We'll see...

Samsung a660
This would be a good basic phone if so many people didn't say it wasn't. Of course your experience may pleasantly differ and STi will probably offer this as a free phone anyway so there isn't too much risk in trying it. It has web access and such stuff, though there's no external display (I will not upgrade to this phone) but it looks OK.

OK. Now to other phones that STi sells that I haven't covered or have changed since I've covered them...

LG 225
The only thing here is that, according to one rep, it won't come out, at least not immediately, with a mail-in rebate, putting it in line with other prepaid camera phones as far as price goes (Virgin Mobile Snapper, T-Mobile To Go Nokia 6101). I think they will get the rebate back online though, and once they do the phone will be cheaper to buy than it would be direct from Sprint on a 2-year contract! :)

LG 5350
I can't figure out whether this is a basic or advanced phone, but whatever it is, it looks like a good one. Granted, it doesn't have 850 digital capability, so if you roam you'll be on analog, but then again STi doesn't really allow roaming anyway so there's no big inconvenience there, especially since because of this you can credit-card-roam off of virtually anybody. This phone supposedly doesn't have text messaging, but then again it might have text and web and all sorts of fun stuff like that.

So there you have it, the new phones that will come out on STi Mobile in probably their entirety for the next month or so! :) Discuss this in the STi forum.

Tracfone Nokia 2126 is Out!

OK, post about this already but Tracfone now officially sells the Nokia 2126 "Color Shorty", similar to Verizon's $29.99 Nokia 2128i, and (!) selling for the same price on! Granted, it's sans tax and shipping (another $7 or so) but still it's a nice basic phone, and perfect for Tracfone (they seem to have made it a habit to start getting phones that fit their service well). You can also get it on Amazon for $34.99, tax and shipping included, though you'll have to wait a little longer I think to get the phone.

The really interesting thing about this phone is that, though it runs off of the Verizon CDMA network, it mentions being a SingleRate phone (roaming is free). I haven't confirmed this but if roaming is free then Tracfone just became the premiere super-coverage prepaid carrier (a spot previously held in my opinion by Simple Freedom, with their combined Verizon\Alltel0tower home network and fairly inexpensive roaming).


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Go4Prepaid Forums Now Online!

There is not a companion forum to this blog, so feel free to discuss anything I post here and beyond. I will be turning off comments to blog entries, as the forums will serve that purpose and also to knock out comment spam.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

NET10 Deal!


While this lasts (a $30 card for $20) this is an outrageous deal (as Dell would say), since you can get 300 minutes for $20 a month (maybe even $10 if the rumor that is floating around about $30 cards lasting 60 days is true)...which is 6.66 cents a minute. I'll take that :). Now to convince someone the worth of it so I can test it out...

RAZR on prepaid!

Yes, you read the subject line right. T-Mobile To Go now has the silver Motorola Razr as a prepaid package. It's $250, which isn't too bad considering that there's no contract involved and you can unlock it fairly easily (refill with $10 or more on day 60, request a code on day 90). It's the same quad-band superphone that T-Mobile psotpaid and Cingular have, except that it comes with $15 in airtime on a T-Mobile To Go sim and the appropriate box and such stuff. With this powerful a phone on prepaid I think T-Mobile has something up their sleeve on services, and it[s looking good.

As a side note, T-Mobile now has two designer models (aka Limited Edition) of their Sidekick II device, and they too are on prepaid. The only problem is that they're $400...about $110 more expensive than the normal Sidekick II.

One last note, the nice little Nokia 6101 flip is $150 on T-Mobile To Go. Did I read it wrong or is that the same price as the phone with a 1-year contract? :)

SMS Q&A Continued

It turned out that Jaena (see the second post down from this one) is using a Nokia 1100 phone is a zipcode where Cingular had service. Thus the phone was on Cingular (Tracfone doesn't like to use T-Mobile but will if it absolutely has to) and the email address for sms would be as far as I know.

Sprint Phones

I've got a few things to say about Sprint phones in here. A few apply to STi Mobile as well I think.

1. So you know about PCS Vision (1xRTT, faster-than-dialup internet access from Sprint). Now you'll need to know about Power Vision, which uses Sprint's growing EV-DO network to give people super-high-speed (think a fast DSL connection; 400-700 kbps) net access, music access, TV access, etc., in the big-city areas where the network is deployed. Are there any phones for it? Yes; they're just not shown on Sprint's website yet, not from the phones page at least. One, the Samsung A940, has tons of neat features and is going to sell for $250 (I guess with a contract). It doesn't look like a Sprint Razr any more but still, it's pretty neat to see the juicy feature list on this phone.

2. OK people, let's make the nice new Nokia 3155i a dud so STi can get it. The color, B&W-external-screen flip is Nokia's first Sprint flip and looks like a neat treat, especially since it's free. That makes for two Nokia phones that Sprint has, as opposed to zero for Verizon now (is the 6015i still around for INPulse?)...go Sprint! It's pretty neat too to see what used to be on our insternal displays go to the external ones, namely the beautifully readable network name, signal bars and battery bars (generalizing with this and the T-Mobile Nokia 6101; I'll talk about it later), except there's no Menu Navi key label ;). Overall I think STi won't get this one; it will be too popular of a phone. I'd like to be proven wrong though, especially if they can keep the price (after a rebate of course).

3. This is a little less earth-shattering but (I guess to make room for the Nokia) Sprint's Sanyo 200 phone is now $20 (okay, $19.99 but I'll give you a penny) with a contract. Let's hope that STi lets us have it for a little cheaper (free with rebate anyone?) when they come out with it. Or do they want people passing it up for the $20-more-expensive LG 225 cameraphone?

Q&A: Tracfone SMS-to-EMail

Sometimes I'll put on here a question someone emailed me about prepaid phones and of course my is one of those times, ever-so-slightly edited...

Jaena wrote

I came across your topic abou SMS and you had some domain names for some of the services. Do you happen to have tracfone's?


I wrote

It depends on what your service is on Tracfone. You see, Tracfone doesn't actually own any towers; they just rent airtime from the carrier they deem to have the best coverage in whatever area and give customers phones that will work with that provider. If you can give me what zipcode your tracfone was activated in, and what type of phone it is, I can help you, as they use everything from US Cellular to Cingular to Alltel and Verizon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

STi New Features, Phones

After a nearly 16-minute call with a STi rep (my phone timer said 15:58 or 15:59, don't remember quite how long but it was just a tad under it), I found out several things...

1. They are rolling out text messaging as a test in certain markets. Right now it is free. The call before this a rep had actually turned on SMS for my account so...whopeeee! :) My AIM screen name, which I have now linked to my phone pretty much is...never mind...I don't like spim (spam IMs) ;)

2.Text messaging, along with web, call waiting and 3-way calling, should be out in 30, or at most 45 days. For the first, that means everybody will start having to pay for it :( but the guy said the rates should be the best in the industry, and with what I've seen so far from STi I'm inclined to believe him.

Web will I'm guessing cost something too, but I don't know how they'll charge (by minute, by kilobyte or by time period, as in day or month, or a VirginMobile-like hybrid of the latter). Call waiting and 3-way calling are probably going to cost just the same as everybody else's (airtime for both calls and suchlike) so no biggie there. Now, if they'll only get call forwarding... ;)

3. New phones will be coming out about the time the LG (PM) 225 cameraphone will ship (the 21st he said). I'm thinking this last comment is why I\anyone hasn't seen the 225 on CheapPhoneCards, or anywhere except for on CheapPhoneCards, yet. Probably when the 225 gets shipped, at the very lest these other two phones will come online with CheapPhoneCards, with the good possibiloty that the cameraphone will too.

One is the Samsung SPH-N400, a unique flip-up (not quite flip, not quite bar either) phone. The phone has OK reviews and seems to have a pretty good feature set, but the phone's software looks a little on the shaky side. But for an interesting way to get a "flip" phone with a color "external" display this phone is just plain perfect. I expect to see it like the A460 is now, a rebadged, refurbed, second-tier phone available for a relatively low price ($50 maybe) with the purchase of a $25 card and with no rebate.

Samsung N200 (as STi calls it) on PhoneScoop

The other phone that they're going to introduce is the Sanyo SCP-200, aka Sanyo 200 on STi's website when they pit it on there or Sanyo Voice Phone 200 on Sprint's site. It looks like the type of phone to eventually replace the LG 5225 as the carrier's Free-After-Rebate phone. The big thing about this phone is that it's a Voice Phone, as in it can't access the internet through PCS Vision at all. But it can still do text messaging and works terriffically as a phone or so the PhoneScoop reviews seem to say. Of course Sanyos are the phone of choice for Sprint PCS because they are the carrier's reception kings as far as phones go. The Sanyo also has a nice big speakerphone grill on the outside of the flip (no display though :( ) which means that yes, you get a first-rate handsfree phone in the package. I still don't like the absence of an outer display, the fact that the inside display isn't the huge screen that the Sanyos in my opinion are famous for (it looks to be the size of my 3560's) and that it doesn't have web. But for those who need a phone, this is it :).

Sanyo 200 on PhoneScoop

Oh, one more thing. Sprint has lowred the LG PM-225's price to $40 after specials. STi lost one bragging right but is still pretty darn cheap with their phones.

PinExpo...They've Got Deals

As a preamble, if you don't mind look in the adbar on the right to see if there's a PinExpo link there and click on that one to get to the site. Doing so gets me AdSense money and helps support this site...since it's free for me right now figure that one out ;)

OK. So why is something besides CheapPhoneCards being advertised on my blog? Because, in some cases, PinExpo is cheaper than CheapPhoneCards, and in some cases PinExpo has cards that CheapPhoneCards doesn't. Interestingly, though PinExpo is owned by Locus Telecommunications, CheapPhoneCards offers what Locus-type cards they do have (Locus Mobile, CallPlus, Oxygen) at more deeply-discounted prices.

For example, Oxygen Wireless is discounted anywhere from 1 to 11%. With the "cheap" coupon code you can get nearly 20% off of Oxygen at cheapphonecards. Other Locus-family cards are discounted 10 to 15% on PixExpo, while you can get $20 and $40 Locus cards on CheapPhoneCards at nearly 35% off and $20 CallPlus cards (and maybe other denominations) for nearly 30% offf (!).

That's not to say that CheapPhoneCards has the momopoly on even those cards. Yes, the "cheap" coupon code takes 5% off of any airtime purchase but I'll have to wait and see whether PinExpo has coupon codes too. If they do have coupon codes that get prices low enough I just might go with them for whatever airtime purchases I have to make.

The one thing that CheapPhoneCards carries and PinExpo doesn't are cell phones and cell accessories, all of which can either be discounted by "payme25" (20%) or on the Oxygen Wireless phone "oxygen25" (25%). Also, CheapPhoneCards has a rewards program aht has allowed me to get about $15 worth of airtime and accessories (a headset) free plus they sent me lots of accessories for my STi phone, see the relevant post. So then again I may not totally turn away from them...

OK. Now to the hard figures of where PinExpo has major-brand stuff (namely Boost Mobile) that CheapPhoneCards doesn't, and where PinExpo beats CheapPhoneCards' price on stuff (not counting reward points on CheapPhoneCards' side, which give you roughly 2.75 cents reward money for every dollar purchased, which is rounded down for rewards points purposes, and gives you about $3 worth of points for every person you refer to their site)...

One last thing: some of these are "sales" which may (or may not) go away. If they go away I don't reccommend PinExpo any more, except for Boost refills ;)

Boost Mobile-They have it (3-7% off), CheapPhoneCards doesn't
Liberty Wireless-They have it (1-7% off), CheapPhoneCards doesn't (not too big a deal)

Cingular-12% off on cards above $15 (CheapPhoneCards is 9.75% I think)
Omni Prepaid (on Verizon)-7-15% off (CheapPhoneCards doesn't have, 15% off is for $10)
PagePlus (on Verizon)-6-12% off (CheapPhoneCards is either a flat 7.9 or a flat 9.75 percent, this is only a good deal for the $50 card)

As you can see CheapPhoneCards still has some good deals but PinExpo has some better ones at the moment.