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.


So why is this (yet another non-cell-phone thingy) here? For the plain and simple reason that you can get, for next to nothing, next to everything! What this site is is a collection of sites where you can, by completing offers and referring friends, get anything from an iPod Shuffle to a laptop to $1050! The big thing about this site is that, not only does it have all these offers, but if you click the referral link on a certain offer (the site explains it, and the reason you click is to give someone else a referral which does no harm to you) then you're eligable to have your referral link on there until you have all the referrals you need etc. So take a look over there, as you can really get far towards getting your free [whatever] with this site.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Interesting Sprint plan

Here's an interesting, though Hybrid-type, plan that runs off of Sprint. ReadyLink, web and unlimited text are options, with PCS-PCS and 6pm nights\weekends included. Click the title to go to the eBay page for it.

For what you get the plan is pretty nice. I just found out that it has full roaming, just like the Fair&Flexible America contract plans. For $50 plus taxes ($5.99 so about $56 total) you get 300 minutes (Worth maybe $35) with unlimited nights\weekends starting at 6 ($10 addon in SPCS) and free PCS-to-PCS calling ($5 extra with Sprint). So You get $50 plus taxes worth of service for...surprise since we're talking no contract service here...$50 plus taxes!

Plus you can get ReadyLink, web and text messaging as addons. You'll probably need to bring your own phone though.

Notes to remember are that 411 and international direct dialing are prohibited (can cause account suspensions) and text and web are all-or-nothing (either you pay for unlimited or you get none). The plans also have taxes outside of the normal charges. I wasn't able to get the tax amounts on the extra features or the more expensive plans. If the guy who does the plans sees this maybe he can comment and add that info.

And yes, I did move this post up, since I had to renew the link anyway.

Boost Phones for $15+ Less Than Retail!

OK. So you're in Wal-Mart and see a nice shiny new Boost phone. You notice the model number, which says i415. You notice the price and it's about $78.66. You forget that there's tax and buy it only to realize there's another seven dollars in taxes! You return the phone a day later and get back your $85.

That's where this guy comes in. He has five (only five so hurry!) Boost i415s and five Boost i450s for sale. The great things about them are:

1. They are new-in-box models (they even include the usually-stripped-out simcard!)
2. They ship free to the lower 48
3. They're $15 less expensive than the SRP (Suggested Retail Price) and there's no tax to boot!

He has the Boost i415 for $65 here
amd the i450 flip phone for $85 here

I would get one of these in a heartbeat but for the fact that I don't have $65 to spend on any cell phone right now. Both, as said before, are $15 below retail, and there's no tax so if you have an 8.25% sales tax you're saving $21.60 off of street if you get the i415 and $23.25 if you get the i450! So if you want to go Boost now is just about the right time.

P.S. You can, with Nextel Connection Manager and the appropriate cable, connect either of these phones to your computer and as long as you have an active, web-enabled (20 cents a day) account you can surf the 'net with them, albeit at speeds of around 21.6 kbps as far as I've heard, which is a lot better than the 14.4 or even 9.6 kbps that I had heard earlier. I'm not giving links to either the cables or the Connection Manager because I'm afraid, along with others, that if this feature gets abused Nextel may find out and shut it off, so if you really want to find the cable and software you can through a quick Google search, but use it with a bit of caution. I don't want to be blamed for this suddenly going away :).

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Shorty, Now In Color, Coming Soon To A Tracfone Near You

Click the link above for the info page about the phone (start looking for links in my post titles; they'll be there a lot of the time). Yes, it looks like the king of old phones has released (well, almost released; it will probably be here next Friday) something that Virgin Mobile should've gotten: the Nokia 2126, basically the Virgin Mobile Shorty with a color screen and Tracfone software. This is Tracfone's second color CDMA phone, fifth color phone total (the other four are, in order of release, Nokia 2600, Moto c155, Moto v170, Moto c353, the last being the only CDMA model). And yes, this looks to be a Tracfone-only deal, like the Nokia 2600 has been for the past...year or two? Sweet...

ATF: Against the Flow

This is my youth group's website (click the title to go to it). No, it's not about cell phones but check it out nonetheless!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

More STi Fun!

STi Mobile just this past week (maybe yesterday, maybe a few days ago, but not any more than that) renovated their website. And guess what they've added? A camera phone!

The LG 5225 is still on there and free w\rebate and going strong (go to cheapphonecards though as you get a better deal there) but now they have actually two new phones. The LG 225 is a VGA (640x480) camera phone with analog capability. It's $149 plus the cost of a $50 card, but you get a $100 rebate so the cost of the phone is...yes, $20.99 less than the Sprint...$49 plus the cost of the $50 card.

As of right now you can't send pictures with STi and that phone but they will be able to get that functionality sometime in the near future; the functionality may come as soon as this week if it works off of PCS Vision, but if it doesn't it may be a bit longer until picture messaging is rolled out.

This phone looks neat but the initial layout is pretty high (you have to buy a $50 card with the phone so the price before rebates is $199) but it is a camera phone and they will eventually get MMS and probably get it cheap so you'll end up with a $50 camera phone on prepaid, a super achievement. Below is a link to the phone on;

The other new phone that STi has is the Samsung A460. As far as I know it can do analog, and it has an external display. It's the first official (CheapPhoneCards has a few Nokia 3589i's left) non-LG phone STi has had since they started with the Nokia 518x. The caveat about this phone is that it's not a color phone (an advantage, however, if you're in full sunlight a lot) and it's refurbished, though the latter is no big deal since refurb phones tend to be almost as good as new anyway. You can get this phone at CheapPhoneCards, and with the trusty payme25 coupon code and shipping included the phone, plus a $10 card, is only $44.95, making the phone $34.95 including shipping versus $39 on STi's website.

I learned from STi customer support that the LG 225 phone (apparently just a non-Sprint-branded PM-225 that they call by a slightly diferent name) doesn't come with a USB cable to transfer photos off of it onto a PC but that they should have it online sometime. Just a thought...I'll be looking for such a cable as I just might get this highly-rated phone for myself...just on some ads and it'll turn into a probably and then most likely and then Done| ;) And I can say the last thing since Sprint and Nextel are now one conglomerate.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Beyond Wireless and Simple Freedom Updates

I just checked Beyond Wireless ( and on their front page they have a "free" Nokia 5165 with the purchase of a $10 card. As it turns out, what you get is $10 worth of airtime and the phone for $10 + $6.95 shipping or so = $16.95. So $7 for the phone, $10 for 80 minutes of service, which is pretty good.

For anyone who needs an emergency phone this is great, as it will work practically anywhere (though roaming areas are getting slowly larger) and you only have to make a call every 60 days to keep it active. If Cingular or AT&T's TDMA networks are in your area then you have a very inexpensive prepaid phone.

I'd get one of these but for the fact that I already have two phones on Beyond Wireless (a Nokia 3560 and a Nokia 5165 which has become inactive I think due to it having no minutes on it and not having any calls placed since late June) and that they don't servicre my area, besides STi being fine (and so far free) for my purposes. But for those who are on Cingular or AT&T\Cingular's TDMA network this is a good deal.

One problem though is TDMA is not an actively pursued technology. That's one reason why they're pretty much giving away the phone (shipping is actually around the cost they quote) but it also means that, as Cingular devotes more tower bendwidth to GSM, the phone will encounter more and more busy signals, though it shouldn't get too bad too quickly. The phone should last into early 2008 (when some analog, and possible AT&T\Cingular TDMA will be turned off) if you want an emmergency phone or even a phone for light use.

Now for my little bit about Simple Freedom, the prepaid company that has home coverage in more places than any other prepaid carrier I think :). Besides their now having a 1-year, $100, 400-minute refill card now I have seen both the Nokia 6015i and Kyocera SoHo phones at my local Wal-Mart Supercenter. For some odd reason they don't sell well and the former was replaced by the latter, while the Nokia 3587i stayed stocked. The Nokia 6015i, while it was there, sold at the same nearly-$40 price as the 3587i, which is great considering that the phone has superb reception and comes with $10 of airtime.

The Kyocera SoHo sets a new low for the price of a color flip phone with an external display: roughly $70. It, as with all Simple Freedom phones, comes with $10 in airtime. Unlike the others, however, it comes in a green packaging and, obviously, is a non-Nokia flip. The rates are high for a prepaid service with no promotionals but that's from my 12-cents-a-minute perspective. Tracfone's 1-year card, for example, is $90 for (with the 100-minute promo code from the booklet) 250 minutes, a shockingly high 36 cents a minute even when not roaming.

Also, Simple Freedom has both Verizon and Alltel networks (and I'm assuming the newly acquired Western Wirelss network) as home territory, with practically everything else as 50 cent roaming, which isn't very expensive considering that Verizon-based prepaid roaming is 69-99 cents a minute.

One bad thing about Simple Freedom is text messaging doesn't work reliably if you activate on the Verizon part of the network (which includes where I live), you apparently can only get Alltel phone numbers (Verizon-area people may not get a local number) and you can't port phone numbers in. But the coverage and solid phones are undeniably a pro to this service, especially now that the SoHo has shown that Alltel is serious about giving prepaid users some phone to be moderately proud of.

More Unlimited Calling Madness

As far as the unlimited calling thing goes, similar can be done on any postpaid (or prepaid) with unlimited M2M AFAIK, albeit incoming calls that are weekday non-M2M will deduct minutes or cost. For examply, the $50 VZW EasyPay package plus the eBay card gets you unlimited outgoing on Verizon's own towers for $80...and no contract. The $40 plan on Verizon Wireless will get you similar, except across the whole network and with a contract. Cingular's GoPhone Pay As You Go $1 plan costs $60 a month plus incoming non-M2M calls (10 cents), unless you get the airtime cheaper than face value. Just thoughts...

Sprint and Nextel Deals

I know this isn't a postpaid blog but it's interesting to know that Sprint and Nextel actually have some cheap plans! On both you can get the new Fair & Flexible for $30 with 200 minutes. $35 now buys 400. On Nextel, for the first time as far as I know, local walkie-talkie is pay-as-you-go, at 15 cents a minute. It is billed by the second so even if you use it you won't pay too much. Nationwide Walkie-Talkie is included in this cost I think, also a first that I know of, so it's cheaper than you might expect in this respect as well.

The bad thing about the new F&F plans is that $5 only gets you 50 minutes now, so even if you stop at 50 minutes you're only getting 10 cents a minute on overages, rather than the former excellent 5 cents a minute. I suppose though that the additional 100 minutes on the $35 plan makes up for this somewhat, raising the voice minutes for $40 to the national average (VZW, Cingular, and smaller carriers) of 450 minutes. Plus I'm pretty sure the Sprint plans have free roaaming (for up to 1\2 of your minutes).

One other intersting thing I've figures out is how to get unlmited voice calling on Sprint.

1. Get a Free Incoming 300 plan for $50 with Sprint
2. Get the Mobile-To-Mobile Package ($5 I think)
3. Get one of those unlimited calling cards off of eBay ($30 for one month I think) that has a Sprint M2M number
4. On weekdays use the unlimited calling card's Sprint mobile to mobile number to make all of your calls with
5. Get a 12% discount with Sprint (email me for the guy's email that can hook you up with it and 1\2 price for the first two months)
6. Enjoy unlimited calling (albeit on weekdays through a calling card) for maybe $90 a month...anywhere on the Sprint network. Qwest Wireless charges well over $100 (maybe even over $200) for unlimited Sprint-network calling. Don't you feel like a bandit ;)

SIte Changes, Virgin Mobile Slider Sonic

As you can see, I've changed by blog template to a, much nicer in my optinion, layout. I have also put Google ads on the righthand side of the blog, which I thought was OK since there was nothing there before anyway. SO with this in mind, click on an ad or two and see where they lead...

Also, I've learned that the sensational phone from Virgin Mobile, the Slider Sonic, is actually not the same as Kyocera's super-featured Slider Remix on other carriers. THe camera on the Slider Sonic is only 640x480, versus the Remix's 1.3 megapixels, and the screen isn't as good on the Sonic as on the Remix. Granted, it is a slider camera phone that can play MP3s, but I'd rather just get a camera flip phone (the AUdiovox Flasher and Motorola v330 come to mind; one is $100 and the other is $109 after a rebate) and put the other $140-$150 that I've saved toward an Apple iPod Shuffle 1GB and maybe an accessory of some sort. That's right...the Slider Sonic isn't worth $250...or even $150 in my opinion.