OK. I lied in the title. STi Mobile will be last on my list of things I'll discuss and Cingular GoPhone will be first.
The big news with GoPhone is that you can get a refurbished (aka good as new though usually white-boxed) Nokia 3120 for $30 and I'm pretty sure free shipping. This phone is small and solid (I've finally found out exactly which phone model was, or rather were since there two of them, sitting on a table at a Cub Scout summer camp) and has quite a few good features. It's a Nokia GSM phone so you can unlock them for free at certain places that someone else will have to comment and tell because I don't remember. So for $30 you have a capable phone that runs on Cingular's network if you want it to, or (with a $10 sim card) T-Mobile's network if you don't.
The second item is that of a new Tracfone promotional code. I was going to post a code that would give you 100 extra minutes (aka double minutes) on a 150-minute, 10year card, but Tracfone's website hid the code from me when I went back to see what it was. Here's a better code though: 100 extra minutes on a 100-minute card: 55249. If you have a double-minute card, the 100-minute card would get you 300 minutes, so 10 cents a minute on $30 or however much discounted from a however much discounted store online (if you don't count the cost of teh card). I've covered double-minute promos before for 200, 400 and 40-minute cards. As with the 100 card, you can triple these minutes by either buying the double-minute card or paying $15 for one month of the double-minute prepay plan. So...
$65 + $15 = $80 for 400 x 3 = 1200 minutes; 6.66 cents a minute on a 400-minute card
$30 + $15 = $45 for 100 x 3 = 300 minutes; 15 cents a minute on a 100 minute card
$30 for 100 x 2 = 200 minutes; 15 cents a minute on a 100 minute card
$38 + $15 = $53 for 200 x 3 = 600 minutes; 8.83 cents a minute on a 200 minute card
$13 + $15 = $28 for 40 x 3 = 120 minutes; 23.33 cents a minute on a 40 minute card
$13 for 40 x 2 = 80 minutes; 16.25 cents a minute on a 40 minute card
As you can see, whether double minutes is owrth it depends on the value of the card. Without the double minutes, the 400 minute card with the promo is 8.125 cents a minute. The 200 minute card is 9.5 cents a minute without the double-minute plan. It all depends on what you want to pay for what you get...
And the last hot topic: STi Mobile. These guys run off of Sprint's home network (no roaming), similar to Virgin Mobile. Their rates are 12 cents weekday, 10 cents nights and weekends or 18 cents all the time with free long distance to bunches of countries. This already-good plan gets better because minutes never expire, and even better because you can get either a black-and-white flip phone or a color flip phone forfree after a rebate...as long as you buy a $50 card along with it. At least that's what the site says.
Actually, if you go to cheapphonecards.com, you can get the phone for free with the rebate with only a $10 card! $4.95 of this card goes to activation. The rest goes to between 42 and 50 minutes (depending on when you use them). The best part of this is that there is a 12% coupon on the phone that will make it (card included) a little less than $4 after the $89 rebate...including shipping! STi doesn't have text messaging yet, but they're working on it and it should be available this month.
So for $4 you get a color flip phone with an external display and $5.05 in airtime that never expires as long as you make one call every 60 days. Per-minute rates are very low, and text messaging is coming soon...very soon. And you get 92 or 93 cheapphonecards.com rewards points (plus 15 for registering on their site), which gets you about $3 in the rewards account. When you get enough points (you get 1 point for every dollar spent on cheapphonecards.com) you can buy your whole order with just reward points! (35 points per dollar) Nifty, since you can rack up those points by buying STi refills from cheapphonecards when you need them (you just need to buy the $10 refill; the price is the same across the board) and eventually get a free 83-100 minutes of airtime. Sweet, huh? So if you're counting the rewards money in you're getting the phone for less than $1...whoa...