Now for the third-time's-the-charm mega digest, which probably answers most, if not all, of the questions you've had about prepaid phones :)
Let's start off with the $25 secret: how to get FREE Boost walkie talkie...
1) On your Nextel or Boost phone hit # * Menu Right to enter Debug Mode
2) Go down to Error Channel and turn it on
3) Clear both Resets and Flags
Remember to do this every time you turn your phone on though, because the Error Channel function turns itself off when you turn off the phone. So is that worth a few ad clicks? ;)
To access voicemail on a cell phone you usually just hold down the 1 key. But sometimes you have to program it. What usually works for the programming aspect is inputting either your own number or *86 (*VM). If you run into having to enter a passcode even when calling from your cell phone, insert a hard pause (T in LG terms
The Nokia 6061 may seem like a nice phone, by virtue that it's a Nokia, a flip and...um...a Nokia (yes, being a Nokia is very, VERY good). But it suffers from an undersized earpiece, which leads to bad, soft, sound quality. If it weren't for this tragic flaw I, and everyone else, would wholeheartedly reccommend this phone.
2126 tidbit: you can't unlock this phone per se. It's CDMA so it just can't be done. Of course, you could hook it up to a computer and reflash the firmware to that of the Nokia 2128i (Verizon's version) and go along your merry way, since actually the phone can go on whatever service it wants (it is SPC unlocked) but the big hurdle to overcome is that nice little airtime balance display and the software behind it.
2126 tidbit #2: Because this little guy is CDMA, SPC unlocked, and roams like postpaid due to its on-phone tracking of airtime, it will roam practically anywhere that has a CDMA or analog signal (it does analog). Of course, if you're off your own region's towers (for example, Verizon, south Texas) you'll get charged twice the normal amount per minute (two units per minute instead of one), but text messaging while roaming may very well work (I've used it while roaming before with a Verizon-based Tracfone roaming on Alltel) and the rate is the same as when you're in your home area. Nifty.
Anyone heard of Larry'sCellForLess? I have heard of it and even used it, but beware that he doesn't anser support requests AT ALL. I still don't know whether the extra bunch of refer-a-friend minutes ib ny dad's Tracfone came from him or were just a fluke...if the latter I've been cheated out of $15, kindof a steep price for a referral if you ask me. However, quite a few people have had a positive experience with this guy, and he does offer the cheapest Tracfone refills around besides free refer-a-friend offers...
Somebody wondered whether Cingular used to have nights starting at 7 p.m. It's definately possible that they ahd it as a promo some time or other, but not on traditional prepaid...though when the service was still AT&T-owned (well, it is now but anyway...) GoPhone could very well have had this feature.
So how do you get weather alerts on a Tracfone? You have two major choices: either send a text to Google SMS (46645 is the shortcode) with the word weather followed by your zipcode or city\state, or you can go to http://alerts.yahoo.com and set it up to send you weather alerts automatically. If your carrier doesn't support shortcodes you can probably use 411sms (http://www.411sms.com) for this purpose as well...I just don't remember the phone number you send it to as it is 10 digits.
So what's PagePlus voicemail? Four words: it works, it's expensive. Why expensive? Because you have to pay for when people leave you messages. So it's set to off when you start service with PagePlus; you have to call them to turn it on. To access voicemail I'm pretty sure you can just dial *86 as long as you're on Verizon's network (you wouldn't want to check your voicemail off-netowrk anyway...not at a dollar or two per minute). Or you can dial your own number from either your cell or a landline, with the latter waiting for your recording to come on, then hitting either * or # (I don't have a Verizon phone myself so I'm not sure) and thus getting into your voicemail that way.
So everyone's been wondering where to get lots of ood Tracfone promo codes. Well, just go to the database at http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/tracfone_users
But how do you enter these promo codes into Rapid Refill (aka Add Airtime using the phone)? Just put the code in right after your airtime PIN. It's that simple!
And the question remains: is there prepaid EVDO? The answer is for the most part a resounding No, though if you have the equipment you can use Verizon's EVDO for $7 a day if I recall correctly.
STi Mobile Tidbit #1: Web access, which is fairly snappy using Sprint's 1xRTT network (faster than dialup, maybe even twice as fast), is unlimited for 19 cents a day whether you use it or not on any given day. Remember though that the LG 5350 and 1200, and the Sanyo 200 and Samsung a460 can't do web; only the LG 5225, LG 225 and Samsung a820 can do it. But I've heard that you can, if you have the right cable and I guess software, tether the LG 225 to a computer and access the internet this way. If anyone knows more don't hesitate to email me; I'd rather not pass up faster-than-dialup internet for $9 a month (including the 10 cent per day ripoff charge).
STi Mobile Tidbit #2: The only ways to check your balance are to either call 611 and talk to a customer service rep, or listen to the balance announcement on an outgoing call.
STi Mobile Tidbit #3: Why are they so bad? Because they have a daily fee-for-nothing on all their normal plans, and their hybrid plan is pretty bad really. I mean, why did they have to add the 10 cent fee to a perfectly good plan (before February Plan 1 had no fee and has the same rates, except that international calling was not free to anywhere, though it was MUCH cheaper to everywhere).
Want a cheap prepaid with unlimited text? You have two options, depending on whether you're in T-Mobile or Alltel coverage. Maybe if you're in Verizon coverage it'll work too...
1) Take a T-Mobile To Go sim and convert it to the Sidekick II plan using a Sidekick 2 IME1 (serial number, just Google it). Then put it into a normal phone (anything as long as it isn't a Sidekick\Hiptop). The only things that will work will be voice (15 cents a minute) and text (free) which means no T-Zones or MMS, but this also gets rid of the $1 fee associated with Sidekick access. Enjoy...
2) Get an Alltel U Prepaid phone and set it up for the daily plan. Granted it's 75 cents a day, but you can choose unlimited text as one of the options and unlimited calls to a certain number for the other, then assign that number to a calling card (2.5 cents a minute or so to the continental US). Then talk away and text away!
So you want to unlock a Virgin Mobile Shory. You can most likely do it by going into the programming menu of the phone (dial in *3001#12345#) and set the SPC code to all 0's. But I'm not quite sure on this so please someone email me and set me right here.
Tracfone Tidbit: You'd have to reflash the firmware of a GSM Tracfone to get it to work on Net10, due to the latter's different rate structure (texts are 0.5 units both ways on Net10 as opposed to 0.3 units to send\free to receive on Tracfone) and suchlike differences. I'd say it isn't worth the effort; you can now get for around $40-$50 a Net10 Nokia 1100 with $30 of airtime included (all Net10 phones now come with that much airtime).
And thus ends the mega-digest. Hope this helps people...