Friday, March 31, 2006

STi on Amazon, Virgin Mobile Pricing, Cingular 6010 Pricing

First off, Amazon now has STi Mobile phones. This company is becoming mainstream now, but their 10 cent daily fee is probably why, and that disgusts me. Amazon has, of course, free shipping on the phones, which cost $110 for the 5225 and $50 in airtime, or $150 for either the Samsung a820 or the LG 225 with $50.

Second, Virgin Mobile's Nokia Shorty and K10 Royale are both $30 now. If you don't need web or a color screen I'd definately go with the Nokia but the K10 has those two fairly pivotal features. At least the K10 isn't $50 any more. Also, I think I said this before but the Slider Sonic is now $180. Still a ripoff though in my opinion.

Third, the Nokia 6010 refurb is now $40 at the GoPhone website. Personally, that's too much for such a phone, considering T-Mobile has the same phone new for that price. Plus the T-Mo phone has 50% more airtime and a month more of service included.

Motorola c139 on Tracfone

Nowhere on Tracfone's website is any mention of the Motorola c257 or v176, but now there's a sleeker, more modren, closer equivalent and successor to the c155: the c139. The main benefits are that the c139 looks better, is a little smaller (though not by much), has a better screen (16 bit vs. 12 bit, one extra pixel tall) and has a good bit better battery life, clocking in with at least 8 hours of talk time and 16 days of standby time, with phonescoop's information saying it's even better (11.67 hours \ 18.8 days talk\standby times), versus 6.67 hours \ 12.5 days for the c155. Oh, and the phone can store 100 contacts on the phone itself, whereas the c155 has no internal memory for this purpose (everything's on the SIM) and has precious little memory otherwise (300k). Granted, I still hope that Tracfone will come out with the c257 (I don't really care for the v176 as it's pretty big but it'd be nice too) but this model is more in line with what they have already and if they price it like they are pricing the phone it's succeeding ($30) I'll bite, if only for the bttery life and the cheapness.

Here are some links to info about the phone:
Motorola (preview page)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cingular and T-Mobile Updates

First I'll start with the comparatively small news: T-Mobile's T-Zones internet is now snazzier-looking, though this means it'll load slower on ye olde GPRS phone. Anyway, there is now a search box on quite a few pages (though it just searches within the limited T-Zones WAP deck) and a new theme that includes the T-Zones logo and various outher eye candy. You can also mess with voicemail settings from the My Account screen now, and the FAQ section inclusdes a bit about national (not international) roaming! Problem is, this roaming, slated to be on Cingular and EDGE Wireless networks, is reputed by the rep I talked to to not be on yet. :( Well at least T-Zones looks nicer and is still free.

Second is the better deal here: Cingular now has quite a selection of phones available (refurbished but that's still great) on their GoPhone website ( at very nice prices. Before you go over there, check out DealKing and see if you can get $30 back extra from them, though that's about all I know about their promo. Here's the list (the last I checked) of what phones they have (I'm just looking at ones $50 and under), for how much, and how they're rates (by my experience and others')...

As a side note, only a few days ago they had the absolutely sweet, though refurbished, Nokia 3220 cameraphone available...for $40!!! I should've bought one, but alas I didn't. I beg of everyone to take a good look at the models they have and get them while they last, though as a consoling note I'm sure the Samsung c207 and Nokia 6010, and probably the Sony-Ericsson T290a will last for awhile...

Nokia 6010 - $30 ++++ - Tame phone, but a good one
Sony-Ericsson T290a - $30 ++++ - Again basic, but seems to be more feaure-rich, though in my opinion less user-friendly, than the Nokia
Samsung C207 - $30 +++ - It is reputed that the Java on this phone flat out doesn't work, but the fact remains that it is small...
Motorola v173 - $40 +++ - Right. This is the same thing as Tracfone sells, except a little cheaper and refurbished, Personally I'd choose elsewhere but if the shoe fits...
Nokia 6061 - $50 +++ - Normally you wouldn't be able to go wrong with a Nokia, but people have complained about low volume in this otherwise stylish basic flip.
Samsung x497 - $50 ++++ - This is a nice phone, no doubt about it, being a color flip with an external caller ID screen (the 6061 lacks the latter feature). But it is rather large; I've used one for a minute or two

Oh and by the way, Cingular's $100 card now lasts a year. Finally they're in the game again in that respect, but their voice rates are still a good bit higher than they should be (25 cents vs. 10 cents or maybe a tad less with T-Mobile). So I'd unlock the Nokias with a code generator (if you don't have one email me with your model and IME1 and carrier if it's not Cingular and I'll get some codes back to you) or the other phones with a T-Mobile unlock voucher (*grin*) and put them on T-Mo. But then again, Cingular has a nice coverage footprint and un-limited (as in you can go wherever but you pay an arm and a leg for it) internet so I wouldn't throw out the Cingular SIM just yet.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

PagePlus Update

It seems as though PagePlus has given their airtime cards a few more minutes. The $25 card is now 200 minutes (up from 150), the $10 card is a minute more (71), and the $50 card has 25 more minutes (425 total). Considering the monthly fee and saying that you used the card for the full 4 months (thus $2 in monthly fees) here's the math:

$10 card -> 56 minutes -> 17.85 cents a minute
$25 card -> 184 minutes -> 13.6 cents a minute
$50 card -> 408 minutes -> 12.25 cents a minute
$80 card -> 780 minutes -> 10.25 cents a minute

All in all the per-minute rates aren't that bad, but CheapPhoneCards doesn't seem to carry them any more. Keep on the lookout for someone who does and gives a discount while doing so, then email me so I can put that info here.

Vaporware and Things To Come: Tracfone, STi, CheapPhoneCards

First of all let me start out with the last thing...I am as surprised as anyone else that CheapPhoneCards has gone a week without introducing really their new MVNO. I can't wait for it, as I barely use my STi phone and those daily fees really add up. Come on CheapPhoneCards, let tomorrow be the day that ReadyMobile's flatrate plan makes its appearance!

CheapPhoneCards has also increased the prices on their LG 5225 phones. So now an open-box 5225 is the same price as the refurbished, older 5350. I'd pick the 5225, even though it doesn't have analog (the 5350 doesn't have web access...). The new 5225s are now $89 (or $94 with the car charger\case extras) so with discounts they're $76.95, or $27 plus airtime Not horrible, but not great either.

Speaking of STi, the second topic: they're introducing a hybrid plan. Or rather re-introducing; back when their 10\12 cent plan carried a $1.95 monthly fee (about 6.6 cents a day) they also had a hybrid (aka postpaid-without-the-contract). This time, however, the deal seems a lot worse...100 minutes and unlimited nights\weekends for $49.95. Seems a bit odd, because the STi rep kept saying "5 cents a minute". Maybe it's 1000, in which case it'd actually be a quite good plan, for someone who would otherwise be on postpaid but doesn't like contracts. Overage minutes, reminiscent of Sprint's new Fair&Flexible plans, are 10 cents apiece. This plan will launch April 1st.

A second thing about STi: now all their phones come with $50 in airtime...except now it's phone-specific "starter" airtime so

a) You can't transfer phone-to-phone
b) It's an extra cost on STi's website if you buy a phone from there, making the phones rediculously expensive
c) The airtime is nonrefundable so if you hate your phone you might as well eBay it as most of your money is sunk into nonrefundable airtime

Then again the airtime may just start being included in earnest on the 1st, taking phone prices down to a sane level, but then again it might not, rendering STi wierder than ever.

Now to Tracfone: they are releasing new GSM phone models soon to very soon, or at least that's what PhoneScoop and LetsTalk think...

The Motorola c257 (I don't expect that Tracfone will get a camera phone for a few more years ;) ) is a likely, thin successor to the c155 wierdphone. It does have a nice big, bright screen (128x160, 16-bit, the same as the LG 5225 or LG 225)'s as thin as a CDMA Razr (maybe a little thinner at 0.59 inches), but the one pitfall is that its speakerphone is only one way, one pet peeve that made me migrate from my LG 5225 (listen only) to the 225 (two-way). It's nice to see Tracfone getting a pretty modern phone like this, probably for around $50 if the past is an indicator of future performance, and especially nice to see that the phone is thin.

The Motorola v176 is a chubbier phone, a flip that's successor (probably) to the v170\v171 currently on Tracfone and Net10. Again, it gets a bigger screen (looks to be the same as the c257), upgraded looks (personally though I think the phone is pretty ugly but that may just be me) and a one-way speakerphone. Again, this will probably retail for $80 like the v170 did around the time it came out. Personally though, since this phone offers no real advantages over the c257 other than being a flip, I'd take the likely-cheaper bar phone.

It will be refreshing to see Tracfone stock these new models. I hope they'll do it soon. I kind of have my eye on the c257, if for no other reason than it's thin and is a bastion of free incoming SMS.

Now for some undocumented writing: the sweepstakes is still going on, and now there are two Nokia 5165s, each with a home charger and battery, as second prizes. As said before, complete an offer for the "FREE" link in the link bar at the righthand side of this page to enter. The first prize will most likely be my 225, along with its car charger, home charger, leather case, and $10 airtime PIN (I'll get the PIN when I send the phone to the lucky one-in-eight winner). But please enter soon; the sweeps ends May 30th, and if I don't have all eight entries by then I'm not giving out the prizes. So click on over and sign on; the 225 is a nice phone, even with STi's wierd rates.

Undocumented Writing 2: Virgin Mobile's Shorty and K10 phones are now around $30 at my Wal-Mart. They're $35 online, along with the Kyocera Slider (V5). The Slider Sonic is $200, and the Snapper is $100. This is a pretty good time to get a Virgin Mobile phone, but personally I wouldn't get a Virgin Mobile phone; the rates for EVERYTHING are too expensive and the $35 phones (Shorty, V5, K10), while OK phones, are starting to show their age (think the age of the GSM Tracfones currently available...ech).

Friday, March 17, 2006

New MVNO: Coming Soon To CPC!

I called CheapPhoneCards today because I needed to order another $10 STi card and the reward points mechanism wasn't working correctly. Well I got my card and this info about a super carrier that is coming out next week on CheapPhoneCards...

Movil Mobile (aka Movil Lista, see below)

13.3 cents a minute flat
No Expiration
Includes a Toll-Free Number (heh heh my phone is always local now), I'm guessing 1-866-xxx-xxxx
Text Coming Soon
Cingular Network (prepaid of course, but that's still big)
Phone *may* be free with a rebate (see below for a little more; the guy at CPC didn't know everything either)
Phone comes with 50 minutes (10 + 40 minute card)
Phone is nice and small, if basic (Siemens A56 is the first offering)
Free international calling to some countries (as in no extra cost above airtime)
Call Waiting, Caller ID, Voicemail, 3Way Calling, Domestic Long Distance (of course)

All in all the offering is pretty darn good. You get a number that's always local, no expiration date, and a large service footprint. It's voice only for the moment, so it's not a full-fledged STi replacement (no camera phones, no web access, no text yet) but for voice only you get a good deal. As far as the rebate goes here's what the guy sent me (probably a direct quote from Movil Mobile but he was somewhat usure about it in general):

"Movil Mobile offers a $39.95 rebate. You simply submit $40 worth of purchased Movil refill pins along with your rebate. You can purchase them upfront or over time. You have six months to submit your rebate."

In other words if the A56 turns out to be $40 then with the rebate will make it free. Not quite like a free LG 5225, or one with $4.05 back, but there's no active service period either so the rebate gets to you fast. I'm thinking from the wording that you buy $40 in airtime before six months are up, then write down the PINs on the rebate form as sort of proofs of purchase. You can of course add the airtime to the phone. Then you mail in the rebate (before six months are up) and get back the $40 you paid for the airtime, or around that amount. So I suppose you could think of the rebate more as $40 worth of free airtime than making a free phone, but you can think of it both ways and be happy either way...

I was also told that this and ReadyMobile ( are the same company, just that this wing is newer and aimed at the Latin sector (don't worry; it and Movida and Tuyo Mobile, some other such carriers, speak English just fine). I was told that ReadyMobile is doing an overhaul right now supposedly to match its rate scheme with this one, which is nice because currently that wing's rates are pretty bad. This is good because Movil will probably get the somewhat nicer phones of Ready and Ready will probably get the same rates as Movil. The slight downside is that Movil may share the usage requirement of Ready:

30 days of inactivity (no calls AND no refills) - $3.95 fee
60 days of inactivity (same) - termination

But it's not that bad really, putting the carrier's policies in that arena with U Prepaid, whcih has a similar 30-day requirement (except no refill part; you have to call). It's not quite as good as Beyond Wireless TDMA or STi Mobile were, but they're both gone now (the former to technology going obsolescent, the latter due to ?greed?) and $1.60 a year isn't that bad.

In short, we've got pretty much of a winner here, recreiving the baton of unlimited expiration from a now-miserly STi Mobile or a now-aged Beyond Wireless TDMA. I'm getting it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

STi Sale! today put their LG 225 and 5225 STi phones on deep-discount sale! The paymecell coupon code still works on the LG 5225 bunbles, except now they're $20 cheaper, making the phone and $50 of airtime a cool $68.95. In other words, for $18.95 you get a very capable, if somewhat battery-sucking, color flip phone. The LG 225 is marked down to $99 with a $50 card but paymecell doesn't work so your price will stay around there when you add the paltry 5% or so in coupon codes you find on the website to the price. Still, aside from the airtime the phone is a cool $50 or so, not bad considering you could get it for maybe $10 less a few months ago...with a rebate that should arrive in the next few weeks. :) Rebates and STi junk fee aside, now is a great time to get a cheap phone on STi.

Oops! Double typo (in bold)

Oh, and CheapPhoneCards just put online a few open-box 5225s with $50 airtime cards. I'm on the brink of getting one; with paymecell they're $52.95! $2.95 with no rebates is superb for even a refurb color flip phone with external caller ID display, and this isn't even refurb!

Monday, March 13, 2006

STi on CPC, My T-Mobile To Go, AirVoice Disappointments

Sorry for the long period of nonposting. It's spring break and I've taken up with a vengence my other hobby: pure computeres (namely compiling five or so systems donated to me into two or so). Anyway, it looks though like I haven't missed awfully much.

First off, CheapPhoneCards now has the LG 5350 phone in stock, and has dropped the price of the LG 5225 by $10. They also have the LG 225 again. Small problem about the 225: there is no coupon code of any big value (cell4 takes 4% off but that's not much) for it. But with the 5225 paymecell still delivers a nice $19.80 discount, making the phone\card combo $84.95, $34.95 if you count the $50 card that comes with the phone at face value. Not bad, until you remember that you could get this phone for the same price with a $10 card a few months ago...and get $89 back with a rebate! As said, they also have the LG 5350 and it, like the 5225 and the Samsung a460, has the ability to be discounted by paymecell. As a result you can get a color flip phone with external caller ID (albeit old and refurbished) for $60.95 including $50 in airtime. $11 isn't bad for a color flip...

Second, the long-awaited release of My T-Mobile for T-Mobile To Go is here. Note the omission of an exclamation point. The offerings on the site are quite underwhelming if you ask me and practically everyone else. Sure you can see your balance and expiration date, and add airtime, and see what your phone is and what services you can get, but you can't actually sign up for any new services, nor can you see a call log online, which in my opinion and a lot of others' is the big point of online account management, My T-Mobile included. Sure, it's a nice perk, but I'd rather have sooner...

The third thing: T-Mobile is going to open up roaming (for the same rate as home calling) onto Cingular and Edge Wireless (!) for prepaid, thus filling in a good bit of dead spots that 1900 MHz signals can't reach. Also, they will have $1.49\minute Mexico and $0.49\minute Canada roaming. Others have said that they'll also get the same international roaming countries and pricing as postpaid customers, but unfortunately I don't know who to believe yet: them or the TMo reps I've talked to. They're also supposed to have a bigger, better version of T-Zones for T-Mobile To Go, including real (POP3) email, driving directions, chat and a whole bunch of other stuff, but again there are discrepancies (such as the site that says it has it and reps who say it's only for postpaid). I'll keep everyone posted.

The fourth thing: AirVoice. Sorry people, but these guys have proved a disappointment. Their TDMA plan is no more and noncompetitive when compared with Beyond Wireless. Their CDMA plan is similar to Locus Mobile's fairly expensive Viva Wireless (short expirations, half-price night and weekend calling) except with more expensive rates and I think less local numbers (25 cents daytime vs. 18 cents). Their GSM service is plagued with the short expiration dates that are common to most Cingular-based MVNOs (Beyond Wireless GSM not excepted), contrary to my first impressions, and they don't offer any redeeming qualities (read: web access). Oh, and AirVoice Express's SMS is a whopping 10 cents both ways! Sorry to get people's hopes up on the GSM part of the service but I'm sad too...

OK. Now for the last thing: the Go4Prepaid Sweepstakes is still going on! I'm still waiting for 7 more people (3 for FreeiPodShuffle, 4 for FreeiPods) to complete their offers before May 30th. Let's get this thing moving; I have stuff to give away :).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

AirVoice GSM and CheapPhoneCards

First off, I have re-found a carrier that I had heard of nearly a year ago: AirVoice. Now they have a GSM plan (before they didn't) that's pretty competitive in reality. All airtime expires in 90 days, which is much better than Beyond Wireless if you buy their $10 card (despite my loyalties to that once-great carrier). Also their rates are pretty good, with the $10 card giving 70 minutes and their $100 card giving 1000, with $20, $30 and $50 cards in between. I'm 99% sure that they use the Cingualr network. The only problem here is finding a SIM card for their service; eBay seems to be the only place, though it is rumored that you can activate a Cingular SIM with them. I will try the latter action tomorrow. Their site isL

Second, CheapPhoneCards (see link at right) has resurrected the huge promotional values of their paymecell promotional code for the moment, giving a huge 20% off the STi phones they carry. This means that for $45.74 you can get both an STi Samsung a460 (not a great phone but a phone nonetheless) and a $50 airtime card...that's less than the price of the airtime card alone...with the "cheap" promotional code! Even with the daily fee I'll probably pick one of these up, put a $10 card on it, and give it to a friend, probably keeping the $50 card for myself, and reviewing the phone. The discount also applies on the LG VI-5225 packages, making the phone and $50 of airtime $93.74. Adding a car charger and leather case kicks the price up to $97.74. That makes the phone $43.74 (like $39.99 plus tax basically), which isn't bad at all for a color flip with an external caller ID screen. Now if only STi would kill the ten cent daily fee again we'd all be happy. I was also informed though that this code will, after a few weeks, go back down to 5% like its cousin payme25, so I'd say grab this promo while it lasts...

Friday, March 03, 2006

New Tracfone Deals

Gone are the free Motorola v170 with 250 minute card\Nokia 1100 with 60 minute card deals. Now the only deals in GSM areas are either of these phones are their being free if you get a 1-year card, which is now $100 but has a promo code for 100 extra minutes. I think that the v170 is refurbished while the 1100 is new. So you get 470 minutes (120 + 250 + 100) for $110 or so...not too great but not insane either considering you're getting a 1-year card in the mix. Personally I wouldn't buy; seems too much like a contract with a free junk phone to me, albeit a 1-year contract with a fee of $8.50 a month for 35 minutes a month, all paid in advance with no refunds...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sweeps Alert, Boost Walkie

Just as a sort of warning to everybody, FreePay, the company that has the Free iPod\Free iPod Shuffle promo, will kill my account on the 30th of May if I don't have ALL the referrals done by then. Not good. As a result, I need eight signups before then. Please complete your offers so that this whole sweeps won't turn into a flop. By the way, I will be using a different place other than FreePay for subsequent sweeps.

Also, Boost Mobile yesterday took 33.333333% off their walkie talkie rate, making it a much more bearable $1, the same as Cingular's unlimited Mobile to Mobile GoPhone. Looks like STi won't be as hard competition, plus all Nextel\Boost customers have a walkie number while most STi customers don't...