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 WalMart.com 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 sprint.com).

Tracfones Just Got Cheaper

I went on Tracfone.com 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 CheapPhoneCards.com. 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 www.go4prepaid.com, 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 light...um...er...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 stimobile.com. 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 UsedCellPhone.com. 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 STiMobile.com 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 go.blogger.com you can make your very own "Moblog" (Mobile Blog) in as little as one step: send whatever you want to go@blogger.com. 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 (yourblogname.something@blogger.com) 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 www.virginmobileusa.com 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 boardwalkcommunications.com 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 cheapphonecards.com, 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