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.


TS said...
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