Saturday, July 30, 2005

Happy Camper and Tracfone Promo

I just copy-and-pasted it from a post I made on a Tracfone Yahoo Group but here it is:

To start out, I'm a pretty happy camper with Trac now. Ihave 118 units on a Nokia 1221 which runs off the best network around here and has a local number too! It took a few hours to activate (it's running off a local provider so I guess that's OK) and it's cleaning up the voicemail from the previous user of the number but I can stand that.

When I added my refer-a-friend minutes (which gave me a cool 60 extra days too) I got a promotion box saying I could add minutes or days in increments of 30 for $5.

30 minutes for $5
60 minutes for $10
90 minutes for $15
30 days for $5
60 days for $10
90 days for $15

And any combination thereof such as

60 minutes/60 days for $20 (if there weren't any promos this would be better than just buying a 40-minute card if your due date is soon)

90 minutes/90 days for $30 (not quite the 100 minute card but it lasts longer. However I don't think that the extra days would be that great since the card you just bought would already extend 60 days so better to scale back and get 90 for $25 with 60 days of service)

Has anyone else seen this promo? I don't think it's too bad actually, if you just wanted to get more minutes or more days, although the days wouldn't be too important since you just added an airtime card to get this promo. But the units are pretty cheap (16.66 cents per) so you guys might wat to take advantage of this if it comes past.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Shutting Down...Sort Of

Due to the lack of time on my part, I will no longer be posting one article per day (starting yesterday ;) ). So now I can guiltlessly say that I will post whenever I get around to it. Which will mean sometimes, but not all the time. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Cingular GoPhone Pay As You Go: Expansive but Expensive, 3\5

Here's one provider we still don't have in our area: Cingular GoPhone. Their truly prepaid Pay As You Go plan only works on Cingular towers so I'd get no signal\Cignal because the only GSM towers around are T-Mobile and CellularOne.

Right now, $50 will buy you a nice, small, color Samsung phone with $10 of airtime included, but as you will see below this doesn't go that far. More money will buy you flip phones, camera phones or whatever you want if you stick the GoPhone SIM into a Cingular or unlocked GSM phone.

The minutes are 25 cents apiece and so are emails and multimedia messages. Text messages are 10 cents apiece. Yes that means to send and receive. Mobile-to-mobile, so I'm told is 10 cents a minute. You can even access the web, at one cent per kilobyte.

You can get cards that range from $15\30-day expiration to $100\6-month expiration, with the $25\90-day card being the least cost per month. However, if you can find an old $20 card (KIC cards work too) they also last 90 days so it's cheaper that way.

I don't know too much about GoPhone, but these are the basics. I hope this helps anyone interested.

NOTE: It's been said that the 52989 promo code on Tracfone may not double the 400-minute card. You may need to use the code 50911.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Referral Game

Here's a really quidck explanation of Tracfone referrals, how they work, what they do, and what double referrals can do.

First one guy puts in his Trac's serial number into an online form and sends (via that form) notes to some email addresses telling how great Tracfone is and to join. The person on the other end clicks on the link and activates by it. They get a set of 100 promo minutes and so does the other guy. Which act like regular 100-pack ESN minutes except the referred person doesn't get any extra days on his expiration I think.

Double referrals work similarly, except that both people are unactivated. Thus people can be both the referral than the referrer. It's that simple.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

More TracFun!

Here are some more promo codes I've run across:

53096 - Adds 30 days to your expiration date for any card, so your lowst cost per month can be $4.33 or so with a $13 40-minute card off of eBay (but it would probably be wiser just to get the 40 extra minute promo)

52989 - Doubles the minutes on 200 and 400 minute cards (usuable only once per phone); if you get a 400 card off of eBay for $65 (they're there) the minutes cost an astoundingly low 8.125 cents per! If you get a 200-minute card off of This Site for $38, your minutes will be 9.5 cents a minute! Not bad for less than $50 or less than $75 in airtime investments (T-Mobile $100 cards can be seen sometimes for $80, making for 8 cents a minute, but this is a pretty large cash layout for the price).

59585 - Adds 200 minutes to a 300 minute Double Minute card. On eBay these go for as low as $115, so along with doubling your minutes purchased on cards for one year (but I don't think other sweet promos apply :( ) you also get 500 minutes which makes each minute cost 23 cents. Not bad for a multipurpose 1-year card on a normally atrociously-overpriced carrier.

There are also a few databases of Tracfone promo codes. I got the first code straight from the database, and the other two are also in there. I got them from the first database; the second one lists the same codes you would find in your Tracfone's promotional booklet. The address is:

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Tracfone - More Info

I guess I didn't make things over-clear when talking about Tracfone yesterday. I've figured out that there are actually 4 categories of phones: low-end (Nokia) bars, midrange bars, high-end (or supposedly high-end) Moto bars and Moto flips. Here are the ntworks and their respective phones for each category:

Nokia 1221 - Low-end Nokia Bar ($35 or free with some promo or other)
Moto v120t - Midrange Bar ($20, available in stores only)
No high end bar
Moto v60it - Moto Flip ($60 new, $40 refurb, or sometimes free with a promo)

Nokia 2285 - Low-end Nokia Bar (same pricing as 1221)
Moto v120c - Midrange Bar (same pricing as TDMA version)
Moto C343 - High-end Bar ($50, available in stores only)
Moto v60ic - Moto Flip (Same pricing as TDMA version)

Nokia 1100 - Low-end Nokia Bar (same pricing as other low-end bars except less likely to go on cheap freebie promos)
Nokia 2600 - Midrange Bar (First Tracfone color phone, could be called high-end, $50)
Moto C155 - High-end Bar (wierd-feeling selection keys, $60)
Moto V170 - Moto Flip (Trac's only color flip phone, albeit small display, no external display, $80 or maybe slightly less at Wal-Mart)

Also, I got my promos mixed up. Here's what you have buying at full retail with the promo codes in effect:
1-year card - 350 minutes for $90, 26 or so cents a minute
40-minute card - 80 minutes for $20, 25 cents a minute

On eBay 1-year cards are routinely found for about $75 and 40-minute cards for as low as 13 so that's where 22 cents a minute on the 1-year card and 16.25 cents a minute on the 40-minute card. Hope this clears things up a bit. Right now, as you can see, 40-minute cards on eBay are cheaper per minute and per month than most ESN minutes deals so only use ESN minutes when there's nothing better; they can never have promos.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Tracfone: Service Can Be Cheap or Ourtrgeously Expensive; Bland Phone Seletion; Great Coverage 4\5

Here is the provider may dad will be using very, very soon (he already has the phone). For people who just want to buy and go, this is the worst deal on earth for prepaid phone service. For those who can take the time and effort to search for deals Tracfone is a gold mine, if you're willing to put up with a selection of old phones.

First, the coverage. Tracfone operates on the netwroks of other carriers. You heard me right, there is no "Tracfone" network. This means two things. One is that you'll probably get the most comprehensive coverage available for your area available with any prepaid provider. The other thing is you might not. Depending on which network you're on, you may not get a local number you want, or as robust coverage as you want. You may have to buy from a different zip code to get a phone with good coverage in your area.

About the phones now. There are basically three tiers of Tracfones: black-and-white Nokia bar phones, CDMA\TDMA flip phones and SingleRate phones.

The first is usually on some sort of sale, so you can get some sort of model for "free" (shipping, usually $5, applies, and so do taxes) with the purchase of a $20 or $30 refill card. I don't reccommend getting the CDMA phone, the 2285, unless you know you have great CDMA digital coverage where you live, as it cannot use analog. This is a big problem where I live, as almost every carrier has analog but CDMA digital is much more limited (though the conditions are improving). The TDMA phone, the 1221, seems to also be crippled, but its lack of a 1900 MHz digital band probably will not effect your coverage at all. The SingleRate (GSM) phone, the 1100, is usually less available on promotions, and is a very solid phone, with a user interface very similar to that of the old Nokia 51xx phones. You can also get these phones for $35 new, but shipping and tax makes getting new ones off of the Tracfone site uneconomical; get one from Wal-Mart instead.

An oddball fits in between the first and second categories: the Motorola v120. This phone is a solid phone, but it's not sold online any more. You will have to pick it up at a store (usually a Super Wal-Mart) for around $20. This is a great alternative to the Nokia bar phones, especially if your promotional phone is the Nokia 2285. If you can get used to Motorola's phone interface (which isn't too bad) this phone can be a definite winner, especially for CDMA users who are otherwise saddles with a phone that has subpar coverage features.

The second category is comprised of one phone: the Motorola v60i. It sells for $60 new or $40 refurbished. On the outside it has a Caller ID screen. On the inside it has a black-and-white display. It's no different than the Motorola v60 flip phones sold by quite a few carriers around the country, except that it has Tracfone programming on it. Right now you can get this for free (plus shipping of course) when you buy the $130 Double-Minute card.

The third category is what Tracfone is trying to capitalize on now. The phones run on GSM, which doesn't have nearly as much coverage as TDMA or CDMA, but if they say you can get the phone you can usually get some amount of coverage. Besides the Nokia 1100, they have the color Nokia 2600 (my faorite of their selection though the one-button selection interface bothers me for a decidedly high-end phone), a wierd Motorola color bar called the C155, and their only color flip phone (which incidentally has a pretty darn small screen and no external display) the Motorola v170. These three phones sell for about $50, $60 and $80, repectively.

Tracfone has its accounting system built into the phone itself, so you never have to double-dial and you can always roam with their service. You are billed in one of two ways, standard or SingleRate, the former for CDMA\TDMA and the latter for GSM. Standard billing means calls more than 15 seconds long (remember this tidbit), which include those to 411 or 611, are 1 unit per minute, unless you're roaming in which case airtime is eaten twice as fast. Text messages are 0.5 units to send or receive. SingleRate is more versatile in my opinion. No matter where you are (even in Canada!) calls are deducted at 1 unit per minute! So if you are going to Rogers Wireless or Fido territory in Canada, you've just found a really cheap way to call. This is because the Tracfone doesn't care what network it's on, so long as it's 850 or 1900MHz GSM. Text messages are 0.3 units to send and free to receive, so let the ringtones roll!

Now for the trap for unsuspecting people who just want to act normal: Tracfone minutes are EXPENSIVE! A new phone normally comes with 10 or 20 minutes, depending o whether it's activated on the phone (less) or on the web (more). A 40-minute, 60-day phone card costs $20, for a whopping 50 cents a minute just for local (not roaming) calls! 100 minutes is a slightly more bearable $30, 200 is $50 and 400 is $80 but who wants to spend $80 every two months on a pepaid phone, which will only give you 400 minutes? There is also a one-year card ith 150 minutes for $90 (think more expensive than the $20 card per minute) and a Double Minute card with 300 minutes and 1 year of effective (double minute and regular service) time for $130 (less expensive but still outrageous) which brings the other cards down to a sane level of expense.

But wait! Promos have arived! The 40-minute card can be doubled in minutes with the promotion code 54661. Promos on other cards are included in your welcome booklet with your Tracfone. And right now the 1-year card can have 200 minutes added to it to make the price per minute only about 22 cents (the code is 59647). Cool. :)

Before you activate the phone though have someone (like me) refer you. This will give them (and you) 100 minutes extra (and gives them 60 more days of service time). If you have two unactivated phones you can cross-refer them for an unbelieveable 200 minutes per phone! That's $50 saved...or is it? I'll tell you about that in a second, but if you want to activate a Tracfone send me an email at so I can get you the 100 minutes or (if you're reading this entry very soon aftetr I posted it) 200!

Enter eBay. On eBay you can find (among other things) Tracfone 1-year, double-minute and 400-minute cards that can be bought for about $15 off their normal price, or bid upon for even greater savings. 40-minute cards also abound, ranging from $13 to $15 for the good deals.

And then there's the phenomenon of ESN minutes. These little guys are sold by Tracfone as promotional minutes for probably $15 per 100. Sellers like LarrysCellForLess ( sell them for $17 or $16 per 100, depending on how many lots you buy (right now 100 and 200 are $17 per 100, while 300 is $16 per). The catch with these jewels is you have to apply them all at once (or so it seems) and you have to give the seller your phone's serial number and due date (to justify the promotional status I guess). But these are a great way to get cheap minutes without buying expensive cards.

A neat feature on SingleRate phones is you don't have to call or go online to redeem the minutes you got (from the store or otherwise) and key in the resulting VLN (very long number). Instead you just use the phone's rapid refill function to key in the card's number plus whatever promotional code you've found and your minutes are added that way. At least, it should work. :)

As you can see, Tracfone can vary from an overpriced coverage nightmare to a dirt-cheap, promo-ridden best-in-class prepay service. It all depends on the amount of homerwork you're willing to put into it. With just 40-minute cards or 1-year cards, coupled by their respective promotional codes, and the 100 minutes fromreferring a friend, Tracfone is a medium-to-good deal, so I'd sau gove it a try, but don't pay $100 for a Motorola v170 and 40 extra minutes. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Boost Mobile: Good Rates, Good Phones, Sweet Blackberry, Bad Reliability 3.5\5

With the opening of our local Super Wal-Mart Nextel announced eight or nine towers in our area, thereby opening up Nextel and, more importantly, Boost Mobile, for me. It opened yesterday, so why not talk about Boost today?

Bad news first: Boost Mobile runs off of Nextel's iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) towers, which means you can forget about roaming; there is none. The coverage area also covers only about 86% of the U.S. population. The network's voice quality on regular phone calls, especially ones with background music, can at times be nauseatingly computerish. And the phones have a somewhat annoying family resemblance, meaning that if you don't like one flip phone's interface you probably won't like any of the others', or the bar phones' for that matter. The phones are also a bit large for something that's still very actively marketed. And the phones are expensive ($60 for a black-and-white phone, $80 for a color phone, $180 for a color flip phone).

Now the good news...

Walkie-talkie! Walkie-talkie! Walkie-talkie! The voice quality for direct-connect (that's what they call it) is very good and all the phones support it (though the same stylized speakerphone grill on the same part of the phone gets repetitive). And if you're a talker, you'll like that $1.50 per day gives you unlimited nationwide service, something not found standard on normal Nextel plans. Also, the secret to Direct Connect is whoever starts the conversation gets charged for it, as long as the ocversation keeps going. So you may end up not having to pay anything unless you yourself start the session. Another thing about Walkie-Talkie is because of the iDEN network the transmissions, starts and stops are almost instant on both ends, just like a normal two-way radio (whose infrastructure iDEN is built on so no surprise there).

The second piece of good news is the rates are lower than quite a few prepaid companies'. They are all the same (although you can sometimes get larger-value cards at a large discount on eBay); 20 cents per minute peak, 10 cents nights (starting at 9) and weekends. So if you used the phone at those times you would have the one of the best prepaid deals available (well, INPulse has unlimited nights but costs 99 cents per day so you'd have to use 300 night minutes per month on it to be a better deal). During peak hours the rate isn't all that horrible either, being about the lowest Tracfone minutes go, cheaper than Simple Freedom or Virgin Mobile (unless you use 16 or more minutes one day) and less expensive than Cingular's Pay As You Go 25 cent and even 10 cent (if you use less than 11 minutes one day) plans.

You also get 10 cents outgoing\free incoming text messaging and, on one or two phones, multimedia messaging, though the messages can only be sent to other Boost Mobile or Nextel subscribers. You even get unlimited "wireless web" (WAP internet, essentially limited web browsing from your cell phone) for 20 cents a day, though this is charged every day unless you turn it off (I'm pretty sure but not 100% on this).

The phones, while expensive and on the large side, are relatively well-featured and modern, being about what Nextel gives their postpaid customers, at only a little more cost (and maybe even cheaper if you wanted to sign up for a 1-year Nextel contract, which adds $50 to the prie of any phone they have). They also have a few phones (or special editions of phones) not available to regular Nextel customers. You can even use regular Nextel phones, which can be cheaper if bought off of eBay than a similar Boost phone. Beware though thatif you ever wanted to (God forbid ;) ) go to a Nextel contract you'd have to leave a normal Boost phone behind; they're locked tightly to Boost and Boost only.

Now for the fun part. You can, via a cable and the Nextel connection software,browse the web through the Boost phones for free. You can also use a Boost SIM in a Nextel Blackberry and, using Reqwireless Web Viewer, access the full internet from anywhee a Nextel signal is available...for free as long as your Boost account is active.

So you have comparatively low rates, a walkie-talkie feature and a host of "undocumented features" that make Boost well worth trying, but phones that are on the large and expensive side, as well as subpar voice quality (on normal calls) and not-so-robust nationwide coverage keep it from going striaght to the top of the prepaid heap, though it offers local numbers practically everywhere it's sold, a nice plus.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Simple Freedom: Solid Coverage, Great CS, High Rates, Small amount of Services Offered; 3.5\5

Now for my first post the directly applies to only one carrier: Simple Freedom.

Simple Freedom is, well, pretty simple. You pay 25 cents per minute for calls in a lot of the US and 50 cents per minute for calls from almost all the rest. Text messages are 8 cents to send or receive. They have one color phone that they sell at Wal-Mart for $50 and a black and white whone they sell at K-Mart and Sam's Club. There are three different values of cards that expire in sixty days ($20\80 minutes local, $30\120 minutes, $50\200 minutes). There is also a new $100 (400 minute) card that expires in one year. They used to have $25\90 day and $55\120 day cards at Sam's Club but now the $100 card is here so I guess they've discontinued them. Simple Freedom also sells monophonic ringtones for about $1 plus SMS costs.

The rates are on the high side but so is the coverage. You will most likely be in an area that is local and so you'll get the 25 cent rate all the time, since the local area covers at least 2\3 of the US. The roaming area is expensive, but no more expensive than other companies' roaming (if they have any) and takes the coverage up to that of Verizon and Alltel combined (Simple Freedom is run by Alltel, with a very good Verizon roaming agreement). Text messaging also may or may not work. In roaming you have to double-dial but this isn't too bad as all you have to do is just redial the number you want to call. Customer service calls, as well as 911, are free.

Their phone is a solid phone with good reception, and can roam on analog. But it is pretty much their only phone available. As said before, they only offer mono ringtones and texting is unreliable so you're mostly limited to voice, Caller ID and similar voice-related digital services.

Overall, I'd say Simple Freedom is the best choice for a lot of people, with very strong coverage and easy-to-figure-out rates. However, high per-minute prices (25 cents at least), unreliable text messaging, and a very limited phone selection make it a second choice for heavier, more variety-conscious prepaid users like me, as does the lack of local numbers in some places they have phones. But then again, their customer service will tell you that, so I give them a nice bonus there, and I'm pretty sure you can port in. Their (fairly small but comprehensive and simple) website is at:

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Computer Newsletters, Cell Phone News Site

Yesterday I meantioned getting big (15 pages or so) newsletters from Langa List or Kim Komando Show. These are two very good computer e-newsletters I subscribe to. Personally, I like Langa List better but I still think Komando's weekly newsletter is worth subscribing to. I no longer subscribe to the daily messages because they tend to clutter up my inbox even more than the weekly long newsletter,s (I haven't read any past about April 20th!).

Another newsletter I subscribe to is Internet Tourbus. This is usually less than half as long so I have zero sitting around in my inbox waiting to be read. I think that this is tied as my favorite newsletter (with Langa List). Just letting you know what I'd use MMS for :).

I don't subscribe to a cell phone newsletter, but if PhoneScoop had one I'd be on it in a flash. They are very good about posting the latest news in the phone\provider arena (excpt for maybe lesser prepaid stuff, but I can go to for that). I reccommend them wholeheartedly. Click below to go to the site, which also has a comprehensive database of phones and features the phones have, although the last time I checked the phone selection feature didn't work right.


Monday, July 18, 2005

MMS: SMS on Steroids

If you think SMS is a very limited-use service, you're right. Things can get a littlew cramped when you want to write more than a very quick note in the 160 characters provided, or if you want to write an e-mail to someone but only have about 110 characters to do it in. Enter MMS.

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. It allows for much longer, larger messages, which can be 50 to 100 kilobytes in size compared to SMS's 160 bytes. Thus, MMS can easily be used for text-based email, sending ringtones, audio or even small photos over the air. The two problems with MMS are universalness and cost.

MMS Universalness
It's getting better, but right now MMS is limited to a comparatively small sector of the cell phone market, at least compared with SMS, which is nearly universal. Also, if you wanted to send a message from, say, a Nextel phone to a Sprint phone you would have to use the phone's email address and even then the message might not be received. This is because not all carriers have made their MMS service interoperable with every other carrier. Sprint, Verizon, Cingular, T-Mobile and US Cellular can share messages between themselves, but other carriers, such as Alltel and Nextel, can't.

Of all these carriers, only a few offer prepaid plans with MMS. These carriers are Cingular, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile (run by Sprint) and Boost Mobile (run by Nextel). And Boost Mobile can't share its messages with the other three carriers. Also, Boost and Virgin Mobile only have a few phones that support MMS messaging.

MMS Cost
As of right now, unlimited MMS plans are few and far between, probably because MMS messages are much larger than SMSes and thus can clog cellular bandwidth much more easily. The only prepaid plan that has unlimited MMS is T-Mobile To Go's Sidekick plan. Otherwise, MMS usually costs 25 cents per message to send and receive. T-Mobile To Go allows you to receive them for free and send them for much less, depending on what size of card you buy. More on that in another post.

What You Can Do
Because MMS has a much larger size limit for its messages than SMS, you can do many more things with it. Like SMS, MMS lets you send and receive e-mails. Unlike SMS, MMS e-mails can be as many as twenty-five pages long, enough for even those computer newsletters like Langa List and Kim Komando (I'll tell you about these later). Or you can send a picture or two, though they will probably be greatly downsized to 160x120 pixels or similar, unless they're already that small. So don't expect so be able to print an MMS photo, but they're fine for cell phone backgrounds. You can even send audio attachments, though they can't be very long or very high-quality since I'm almost positive that MMS only allows wave attachments, which can't be compressed. The last thing you can do with MMS is send ringtones. Not one-note ringtones mind you, but full melody ringtones, in MIDI format. So go ahead, send James Bond to your phone. Just make sure the ringtone is small enough for the phone to handle it (I'm pretty sure most phones top out at 15 or 16 KB). Just as you can send these things to your phone, so can your phone send text, pictures and sound to other phones (if your carrier is interoperable with the other phone's carrier) or any me-mail address.

So, just when you thought your phone was worthless because you couldn't get the full Star Wars theme song sent to it, you've been saved by least if you're using someone like T-Mobile To Go. If you can't send or receive MMS, yes you're missing out but console yourself; one of these days...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Wonderful World of SMS

OK. Here's my first real post and it doesn't have to do specifically with Tracfone, Simple Freedom, T-Mobile To Go or any prepaid (or postpaid) service in particular, except part of it DOESN'T have anything to do with T-Mobile To Go and ALL of it doesn't have anything to do with analog phones or plans (of which there are a few out there, blech). More on T-Mobile To Go later.

What Mean SMS?
So what does SMS mean anyway? It's an acronym for Short Message Service. Short Message means that you are limited to a small amount of characters per message, usually 140 or 160. This is good enough for a quick not, an instant message or a search query, but don't even think about using SMS to write a book or send a letter. It's not made for that. The Service part means that you have to have a capable phone to use it, plus a carrier willing and able to provide it. If your phone and\or service is analog only or is using a very old digital network you can't use SMS. You also may not be able to use it while roaming on an uncooperative carrier's network. You can send\receive SMSes to\from other phones that can do SMS, which means you can talk to 95+% of the cell-phone-toting world without saying a word, to wear out a worn-out cliche even more.

SMS Costs
Some carriers (all but one postpaid) will offer unlimited text messaging for a set rate per month, which may be as low as $3 (our local carrier Five Star Wireless, at least the last time I checked) or as high as $20. Unless you really need to use your phone as an instant messaging station or something very similar (or they offer unlimited text messaging for $3 per month), these plans aren't worth the money. That's because, on a pay-per-message basis, most postpaid carriers (and a few prepaids) cost 10 cents per message to send or receive. And who really wants to use postpaid anyway? Most prepaid carriers give you free incoming text messaging. verizon costs five cents per message to send and receive, versus other carriers' ten. T-Mobile To Go's text messaging is usually significantly cheaper than 10 cents per message. They also have a device and plan with unlimited text messaging (among other things) for $1 per day. More on T-Mobile To Go in another post.

Email Over SMS
One often-overlooked thing about SMS is that your phone has its own email address. It can receive short emails adressed to its ten digit phone number @ your carrier's text messaging domain, as well as send short emails to any email address. For example, if someone had the phone number 555-555-5555 with Sprint PCS you could send an email at Below are some other carriers' domain names:

Nextel -
T-Mobile (except for Sidekick) -
T-Mobile Sidekick -
Virgin Mobile -
Verizon -
Qwest -
Cingular -
AT&T\Cingular Blue -
Boost Mobile -
Alltel -
Simple Freedom -
Tracfone - depends on which provider you're with; I'll cover this in a later post

I'm pretty sure these are the correct addresses. If they aren't please comment and tell me.

IM over SMS
If you have friendz online u can IM with ur fone 2. :) Well, at least if you use Yahoo Messenger or AIM. MSN Messenger Mobile seems to cost extra. For Yahoo Messenger over SMS, here are the commands:
Sign In - in (ID) (password)
Sign Out - out
Send IM - to (ID) (message)
Add Buddy - add (ID)
Delete Buddy - del (ID)
See who is online - get
Three cheers to Yahoo IM for making their mobile messenger very simple. All you have to do is send these commands to the shortcode 92466 (YAHOO) and it will send a confirmation or other message back, except for the IM command.
AIM is a bit harder. I'm pretty sure you can get the thirty-eight-page manual (you read that right) for the service by clicking links from The reason for the length is you send messages (many times blank) to different shortcodes to perform different actions. AIM's command set is more extensive than Yahoo's but all of the extra commands can easily be done without. Also, shortcodes very by carrier and aren't usually five digits. So if you have a Tracfone you must figure out what carrier it's on before you try to use AIM. Personally, I think I might pass up AIM over SMS; it seems a bit too complex for even nerds like me ;).
T-Mobile To Go doesn't support shortcodes, at least not the 5-number kind. This means that Yahoo Messenger and possibly AIM are out the door. Never to fear though; on every new phone T-Mobuile sells instant messenger software for all three big services (MSN, AIM, ICQ) is preloaded and works off of SMS anyway.

SMS Alerts
If you have free-to-receive SMS, sign up for SMS alerts to get the latest news, stocks, weather and even email subjects for free! The only place I know of that does this is Yahoo Alerts ( but there may be others. What you do is sign up for whatever alerts you want using your Yahoo ID (including new Yahoo mail notifications; that's where the mail subjects comes in), then Yahoo sends the alerts to your phone's email address. This gets slightly clumsy, as email headers take up about one screenful of the SMS alert, but it works fairly well, and you can't beat the price if your incoming SMS messages don't cost.

SMS Search
The two guys outstanding in this field right now are Yahoo and Google. They concentrate on different things, but together they span everything from horoscopes to weather to stocks to driving directions to business and person lookup to plain old web search. You can even send a message to Google SMS to see if that iPod in Best Buy is really the cheapest price out there. To find out more about Google SMS, visit their informative info page at To find information about each program from your phone, just send "help" to the appropriate shortcode, YAHOO (92466) for Yahoo and GOOGL (46645) for Google SMS. If you're using a carrier that doesn't support shortcodes (such as T-Mobile To Go), 411SMS and Symphonic are similar services that use a regular phone number instead of a shortcode. Go to or (I'm not sure if I spelled the latter right; it may be "synphonic" or "synfonic") for more info on these services.

So that's pretty much all there is to know about SMS, except for these little points:

1. If you want to send more than a very short note, abbreviate. Replace "you" with "u" and "later" with "l8r" to get more words into the message. Ask any teenager who uses instant messaging software (yourself maybe?) and they'll tell you how 2 do it ;).

2. A very few phones have what's called "Linked SMS" which means that, through some special codes as part of the message, you can make an extra-long SMS (usually up to around 460 characters) and have it sent (and billed) as two or three short ones. This is nice if you want to leave a longer note, and are willing to pay for the extra space.

3. You can download ringtones to your phone via SMS. I've had great success doing this for free (I have free incoming SMS) on my Nokia phone. For free ringtones (single-note only) visit, but watch out for the popups!

OK. I guess that's all on the SMS front. Maybe tomorrow I'll talk about super SMS, aka MMS. But ththththththththat's all folks as Bugs Bunny would least for now.


Welcome to my newest blog, about prepaid cell phone service. I've been researching and researching...and researching...cell phone service since maybe nine months ago. I've tried out a few prepaid services even. Here I'll tell you what I know, what I've gathered from four of the five corners of the web ;) and tell you what my guesses are on what's to come in the arena (marked of course as guesses). I hope to keep this reasonably current, not to forget about it, etc. but then again I may totally foeget about it. That's why I'm putting links to a few places in my first post, so if I don't say anything beyond this you will still have somewhere else to turn if you want cell phone service or are tired of fifty dollar fees for minimal minutes.

Cell Guru
This guy has a very comprehensive (though not perfect) list of prepaid companies on the market today, as well as some prepaid service provider information, as well as little bits about postpaid providers.

Howard Forums
I'm part of this online forum that talks all about cell phones and cell phone service. I'm also probably the second highest poster in their Prepaid discussion forum, so if you have a question just post it there and if I don't give the answer someone else will.

So here we go into my newest blog. Enjoy!

P.S. I may sometimes venture into subjects not directly related to prepaid cell phone service (like Google SMS or Yahoo SMS). I might even talk about postpaid (heaven forbid I know but ah well) service or (on a very rare occaision) things unrelated, at least not in any sort of a direct way, to cellular phone service. Don't worry though. These excursions will still be factual, or marked with big capital letters saying that they may not be, and will have something to do with something to do with cell phone service.