Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tracfone Deal Alert

Just looked at Tracfone's website and the $80 1-year and $100 double-minute deals are gone. However, the Nokia 2600 is now down to $19.99. If you're looking for a GSM phone right now and don't need a camera or web browsing, get this phone!

?!? Tracfone Style

Tracfone refer-a-friend doesn't seem to be working correctly tonight...I just tried to send a refer-a-friend email...actually, two...and it seemed to go through...until I checked my email. Zip. Zero. Nada.

If anyone wants a referral, email me with your serial number and I'll see what I can do. But ESN minutes are, at least for the moment, not available. :( I'll update here when I get more information\things change etc...

As a side note, I got my two Slice phones in the mail from RadioShack today. If anyone wants one, email me. I'm thinking $27 shipped, plus using 8304569332 as the "referrer" when you activate.

I also received a review unit of the UTStarCom 7000 on Movida (thanks PrepaidWireless.com!). One small problem though: the ESN was invalid (ugh). Stupid Movida\UTStarCom. Once I get another, correct-ESN phone, I'll do a full review of the phone and service, and post it here. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

ESN Minutes - They're Available! Same with Refer-a-friend!

Just to re-stress to everyone, ESN minutes are available right now at $12 for 120 minutes. And the minutes can be added to with promo codes (58094 adds 60 minutes if you haven't used it already). So grab 'em while you can!

Also, if you're activating a Tracfone soon or have activated one on between now and last Wednesday, email me and I'll send you a refer-a-friendd email! You get 120 minutes, again promo-able, and I'll even take $2 off whatever you buy from me if you do get your minutes!

Just trying to help out...$30 worth of minutes for $12 is nice, and $30 worth of minutes for free, if you're a new Tracfone user, is even nicer! :)

Who I am...

Let me tell everyone a little about myself...

I am, as I said, fifteen years old and a seniopr in a small private school. Hopefully I am going to MIT next year with the ultimate result being a degree in Computer Engineering or the like, with Colorado School of Mines or Texas A&M as backups. I live in central Texas.

Just to let everyone know, I'm going to start putting specials on various phones that I have. A senior trip to Washington D.C. is coming up in May and I need money for that, and lots of it. So if you would like to support me\my site, buy a phone or two.

Okay...athat's the end of my shameless plug for my phone-buying part of the site, and my own life. Hope everyone has been well-informed with the podcast and the recent posts!

Tracfone Online Deals

I recharged the battery of my laptop so I can put up the other main thing I talked about on the podcast: the Tracfone deals on the GSM side of their website right now.

First off, free ground shipping is available for all orders that are $19.99 or more, which is a savings of around $5.50 per order, when tax on shipping is included. Which is always a good thing.

Second, if you make an order of $60 or more, you'll get a free "GiftBox and Universal Accesory kit". What this is I'm not quite sure, but it looks to include a case, headset and car charger, which is nice. However, even if you buy the maximum (3) order of $20 refurb phone deals, you don't get this kit and giftbox, as the order total is $59.97. Even if you buy the most expensive phone (the Moto c261 or the v176 on GSM, the LG 3280 on CDMA) you still won't get the kit. You have to buy one of the 1-year-card deal. Sounds like a "free phone with a contract" idea to me.

But hey, the deals are really good!

First off, and best, is the deal that just came online and will end today if it hasn't sold out already. In this deal you get a double-minute card and a red Motorola c261 for...hold on to your hats...$30 less than the price of the double-minute carrd alone! Needless to say, this is one heckuva deal...and you get not only free shipping on this deal but also a gift box and accessory kit! Grab this deal while you can...the total value of what's available right now in this deal is roughly twice what it's selling for...I'm likely in on this one!

Second, and longer-lived, the Motorola c155 and, more importantly (it's a better phone) the Nokia 2600, is available with a 1-year card...for $80! Yes, as in $20 less than the cost of the card alone! Again, this is a really good deal. You get a $30 phone, and a good $30 phone, and a new $30 phone, plus a 1-year card, for a good bit less than the card alone. This is a good deal too...and you get the accessory kit and free shipping in the mix. I'm probably not going to get this deal, but it's good nonetheless.

Third are the deals that have been around for awhile. The two-60-minute-cards-for-$20-with-a-refurb-phone deal is still going on right now, now with the Nokia 1100. It may be a barebones old phone, with only monophonic ringtones and a black-and-white screen, but it works great...better in fact than the Motorola c155...and that's what counts here. Which is good.

It seems that Tracfone's online site is really promoting phones, trying to get them off of the shelf with $20 or $30 discounts on airtime cards besides giving the phones away. Which sounds a lot like the "better than free" contract cellular offers, but it's prepaid...and you can take the card and put it on your old\own Tracfone. So in my eyes it's all good...

Though two one-year card deals, one with the refurb Motorola v170 (the color flip with the teeny display), one with the refurb Nokia 1100 (one word, why???) are available at the normal price for a 1-year card. Which leaves me scratching my head...but okay...

Last is the "phone ladder" that Tracfone has put into place. They seem to have put into play a system where, if you pay $10 more, you get a better (or more feature-rich, at least) phone, from $10 up to $40, then skipping to $60.Which is a neat idea.

The bottom end is the Nokia 1100, for $9.99, refurbished (all other phones in this lineup are new). However, this phone isn't eligable for free shipping, so it's actually better to get the 60-minute card deal in this case. But now Tracfone has a $10 deal.

For $20 you get the Motorola c139. Pass this phone up...unless you want crazily long (week-and-a-half) battery life at the expense of polyphonic ringers and call quality, and possibly your minutes (they've been known to disappear with this phone).

For $30 you get a choice: either the Nokia 2600 (very good) or the Motorola c155 (in the wors of Borat: not so much...and no, I haven't watched that movie). Just to stress what I said, the Nokia 2600 is a very good phone, pretty much equivalent to the Nokia 2126, except for GSM, and a little bit older. The 2600 may not have web and picture messaging, but it's a great phone for voice and text...text which is free to receive.

For $40 you get the Motorola v170. Again, this flip has a tiny screen. I'd pass this up in favor of the other deals, such as the deal on the Nokia 2600 which is $10 + tax cheaper. But to each his own; some people just need a flip...

For $60 your choice is between the Motorola c261 and the v176. I don't know about how good these deals are, but they seem to be pretty good deals, considering that they're the only web-enabled Tracfones. Also, the Motorola c261 has a camera and picture messaging...and it's thin.

That wraps up the current state of the Tracfone website deals, as far as GSM goes. CDMA hasn't changed, except for the free shipping and free accessory kit deals. And that finishes up the information I covered in the podcast...as promised, I covered everything here that I covered there. Hope this helps everyone!

Nokia 2126 Wal-Mart Sighting

As my laptop battery stands at 7% and counting down (I have about 12 minutes before, at 1%, this computer hibernates due to low battery), this is going to be a short post...but anyway...

At Wal-Mart Friday night, while I was waiting for a manager to pricematch RadioShack on the UTStarComm Slice (long story short: RadioShack in town didn't have them and Wally World wouldn't pricematch them so I went online and got two phones, shipped free, direct from RadioShack.com; the $19.99 promo stays in effect until, and including, the 26th), I noticed for the second time the new "inline" packaging for the Nokia 2126. I had first seen this packaging on the Motorola c139 and v176 (shipped to me and at RadioShack in a Cingualr area, respectively). Then I saw it on the LG 3280. Then I saw it at RadioShack on the Nokia 2126. THen I saw it at Wal-Mart.

Anyway, I checked the back of the package and saw that the phone still wasn't SingleRate (roaming is still 2 units per minute and texts are 0.5 units apiece). But on the front of the phone was a sticker: Get 60 minutes of free airtime upon activation ($18.92 value).

While 60 minutes of airtime isn't, in my opinion, worth $18.92 (as my previous sales of 60-minute cards for $12.50 will attest), it's a step up from the small 10 or 20 minutes included in Tracfones that aren't marked that way. Maybe Tracfone is trying, with certain phones, to recompense users for the loss of refer-a-friend. Whatever the case, another 60 minutes is always good, however you get it, so I thought this would be nice to point out.

LG 3280 Review (finally here!)

Everyone who did not get a chance to listen to the podcast, rejoice! Here is the main thing that probably everyone really wanted to knnow but might not have been able to access, due to the podcast being...well...a podcast: a review of nothing other than the LG 3280.

First off, I have to give this phone a rating as a solid option if you want to get into Tracfone, or rather want to get into Verizon's network, except on prepaid. Which is what you're doing with the LG 3280, because it's SingleRate. But more on that later...before I talk about that, I want to say a little bit about the other new things that the LG 3280, which incidentally is a rebadged, rebranded version of the Verizon (plus a bunch of regional CDMA carriers) LG vx3300, has to offer on the Tracfone scene.

The LG 3280 sets a lot of firsts for Tracfone. Besides being the first SingleRate CDMA Tracfone, it's the first Tracfone to be made by LG, and the first in five or six years to be made by a company other than Nokia or Motorola. I'm guessing that Tracfone switched to LG for CDMA, at least at this point, because Nokia is slowly but steadily moving out of the CDMA business, and while the Nokia 2126 (or 2125 or 2128...they're the same phone) is a solid phone with good features, it's getting a little bit old and will probably dry up stock-wise eventually. So Tracfone is introducing LG on the relatively high end ($50 for the 3280 vs. $30 for the 2126) early on to get people used to having a different user interface for their Tracfone. SingleRate is probably the carrot Tracfone is dangling to get people to make the switch. Why?

Because of a little, tacky sticker on the LG 3280 when you buy it, or rather what the sticker tells you. That sticker, sharing the glory with another clear badge telling the world that this is a Qualcomm (CDMA) 3G (um...2.5G thanks...1xRTT) phone, says two words: "OTA CAPABLE". At first blush, this may not be such a big deal. But this capability means that firmware upgrade may be applied to the phone, and thus new features added, "in the field". And new features are sure to be added...

I get this idea that new features are sure to be added for several reasons. The first is that the phone has a hundredths place in the airtime balance display. Right now this hundredths place isn't used for anything; everything is still conducted in tenths of units (texts) or whole units (calls). However, this system allows for fine-grained billing structures heretofore unavailable to Tracfone. Now Tracfone can instritute quarter-unit decrements with aplomb, or go to even smaller increments (pay-per-KB web access anyone, via a firmware update?). Or they can institute a dollars-and-cents mentality; a call will cost $0.15 a minute instead of 1.0 units a minute. Just thoughts...

The second reason is that, in the hundred and forty-four "info pages" of the Tracfone prepaid system, there seem to be mentions of web and picture messaging charges, a la Motorola c261\v176...with the same prices. If you have an LG 3280, these pages can be accessed by entering *#104, then hitting OK, and scrolling up and down from there. Interesting, to say the least.

The third reason, or half-reason, is that the "Buy Airtime" function of this phone (!) is currently unavailable on the phone. Yes, this phone has the option, though unavailable at this time, to buy airtime directly on the phone through the prepaid menu...don't know the exact specifics yet but it looks good. A firmware update would be ostensibly required to turn this feature on.

I'm guessing thast Tracfone will, using this capability, add features and services and such to the LG 3280 (and future ohones) as they make better agreements with the underlying carriers. I'm digging it.

So we have here one advanced phone. And SingleRate takes things up a notch...

We're talking about real, honest-to-goodness SingleRate here. Whether your phone says local or roaming, you're still only charged one unit per airtime unit. And this is on CDMA, too. Text messages are also cheaper now, at 0.30 (note the extra decimal place, everyone) to send and receive, down from 0.5 units so as to be the same as the pricing on new GSM phone models. But the sweet fact remains that you can now go anywhere on Verizon's America's Choice II network (read: Verizon contract coverage) and talk for the same rate as...well...everywhere else. I'm not saying that Tracfone is cheap, but now nobody can complain about small local coverage...the US is your home area...all of it...beat that, Cingular (no wait...they can't hear me...the chainsaw they're using to raze the bar is too loud).

As you can see, I'm excited about SingleRate, since the phone will, albeit reluctantly, switch to our excellent local co-op's cellular signal (Five Star Wireless) and charge the same rate for calls and texts! Yay Tracfone!

But now to the phone...

I might as well start with what counts: reception, call quality and battery life. On all three, I'm impressed. My 3280 may not be able to cath a signal quite as well as my parents' Nokia 2126s, even with its stub antenna (Nokia always seems to make really good phones), but it works great nonetheless, with great call quality. The only dropouts and lost calls i've had are in naturally low-signal areas.

As far as battery life goes, I usually, with light usage, get six days on a charge. Which may be merely average for GSM. But it's really, really good for CDMA.Then again, there's no excuse for battery life to be anything but good, since the phone has no external caller ID display and thus has very little to power for most of the time the phone is on. But, nonetheless, six days on a charge is very good.

However, if the phone slips into analog mode (which it can do, as it is a tri-mde phone), you'll have to kiss good battery life goodbye. The phone simply doesn't last long on analog...but then again no phone does these days so I'm not holding this foible against the 3280.

Going on, the phone is designed well and feels solid, like the highst-end Tracfone should feel. THe Nokia 2126 set this standard and naturally, since it's more expensive, the LG must rise to this challenge. It does. However, the battery cover on my phone has developed a wierd discoloration on part of it. Nothing huge, but wierd nonetheless.

As far as features go, this phone is great for Tracfone CDMA but not so great everywehre else. It has polyphonic ringtones, which can be loud, and monophonic ringtones, which can be ear-splittingly loud, a la Nextel. Which is great for people that need that sort of thing. It also has a vibration motor in it, and the vibrate function is nice and strong.

The phone is a flip with a color internal screen but, as has been the case for every color Tracfone, has no external caller ID display. This omission might be due to the Motorola v176's not having such a display...thus Tracfone didn't want to over-promote their CDMA side. The typical extras, ranging from voice recording (including in-call recording of the other party...very useful for certain stuff) to using those recordings for ringtones, to voice dialing, to standard and tip calculators, to limited PDA functions, are all here too. However, games are wierdly omitted...firmware update anyone? The phone also has, naturally, two-way speakerphone, which can be used (again a la Nextel) to play voice recordings with...which is great; the Motorola v176 is reputed to have only a one-way speakerphone.

The phone isn't a Razr, but it isn't too thick either, and fits well in the hand and looks passable. Changeable faceplates are a nice bonus, and Tracfone includes two in the package. One is silver and one is dark gray. Both bear the Tracfone logo...but the faceplates are neat nonetheless.

The phone's screen isn't exactly huge, but it is bigger than that of the Nokia 2126. Then again, this phone is a flip so a bigger screen is to be expected...though the LG 3280 screen isn't as big as the Motorola v176's or c261's screen, at 128x128 (I think) vs. 128x160 (I know). But LG, as always, puts this real eastate to good use with a user interface that is quite useable. LG may not be as elegant as Nokia in making user interfaces, but it's a lot better than Motorola, Kyocera and UTStarComm and, being a former LG user myself (LG 5225 and 225, from STi Mobile), I'm fine with the UI LG puts on this Tracfone. It's clear, fast and pretty, so I'm not in the least complaining.

I guess that's it for the review of the LG 3280. Again, it is definately and always SingleRate, unlike any of the other CDMA phones, including the Nokia 2126, even with the new packaging (though the 2126 is still a great phone). If anyone has any questions about the 3280, just comment on this post and I'll answer them! As I said, I'm catching up here, except in greater detail, to what I said on the podcast, and I decided to start with something everone was wanting. So enjoy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Podcast Responses

Whew! That was a lot of feedback on my podcast! Keep it coming! I'm on a brief respite from a Boy Scout camping trip (which isn't that bad actually...the camping trip, that is) so I still won't be able to submit my 'cast to iTunes or make the podcast info page...those things will have to wait till tomorrow...but they will get done, and I'll respond to the comments now:
"8.1 MB? Ian, that is almost 1-2 hours of downloading on a dial up connection? You may wish to provide a text summary!~"

True, it's 8.1 MB. But take a look at the podcasts at www.twit.tv (big podcast place). They're all at least that much, of not waaaaaay more. Podcast stuff isn't really a dialup thing, though I myself just go to the local coffee shop (I'm there right now) to do all of my 'cast downloads and uploads. However, I did provide somewhat of a summery of the podcast topics that I covered, several of which I already talked about on the blog. The remaining topics will be put up here eventually, probably before the next podcast...

"Great info. Comes through great with [DSL]. I'd recommend breaking it up into easier bit sizes--lots of information. The blog actually is nices because it can be referred to over & over & just for specific information looking for. Great job but doubt I'd use it much, I like the blog format the best. "

Yeah, the blog format is nice, but podcasts are fun, too. They're sort of targeted at different audiences. Don't worry about the blog, though. I'm definately keeping it :). I type about as fast as, in the end, I speak for podcasts.

"Is it possible to search on your blog? I am trying to find what needs to be changed to access the different carrier phones through Tracfone. The archive links are not working right now--at least for me so can't look manually either. Great site & I refer to it alot. "

If you're looking for info on how to Tracfone-ize other phones, you will find no info; it can't be done. But you can just use Google to search my blog (type in site=www.go4prepaid.info along with your query). I may switch over to BlogSpot as my host, so everything will work right and blog search will be easier; I can't for the life of me figure out why the archive links aren't working and switching back to BlogSpot would bring everything close together and thus remove room for error...

"How does one see the CDMA page vs the GSM phone page for Tracfone?"

In the URL of the Tracfone site you'll see "tech=GSM4" or "tech=CO" somewhere. CO shows CDMA phones. GSM4 shows Cingular phones (GSM5 shows T-Mobile, which is more limited). Just edit the URL, hit Go and enjoy!

"I like the availability of a podcast. You need to use a bit more emotion and appeal to create more interest. It would also be nice to have a text transcript. Break it down, take your time, give breaks, and add some more music."

Emotion and appeal...hmmm...appeal...give me an example of a podcast with particular appeal and I'll try to follow suit. As far as text transcripts go, I will cover, sometime or another, the meterial I covered in the podcast here on the blog. Breaking it down anhd taking my time seems to be hostile to those people on not-so-high-speed connections, but again I'll take suggestions in the form of podcasts I can look up to. As far as music goes, I'm probably going to get some more of that as time goes on. This is episode 1, so things will change :)

"Is that your voice or did you disguise it?"

That's my voice. I'm fifteen years old and I talk like that when I'm miced...only a slight change from normal...but yeah that is my voice.

"8.1mb on dial up shouldnt take that long.@56kb you should get at least 350kb per min so entire file should take like 25 min"

Wel...dialup is NEVER 56k, but yeah...this podcast isn't really THAT painful even on a dialup connection. It's about the size of a long song like Sufjan Stevens' Star of Wonder, downloaded via eMusic. (I like Sufjan actually, and I like eMusic).

Thanks for your comments! Have to go now...so see everyone tomorrow probably! By the way, I just ordered two Virgin Mobile UTStarComm Slice phones from RadioShack.com for a total of $43.28, including tax and shipping. THe Black Friday deal is online and is until tomorrow, so grab some phones while you can, and email me if you'd like to support this site by giving me a kickback!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Podcast - It's Up!

The podcast is up! The title is hotlinked to the MP3 file. If you want to use podcasting software, like iTunes, to get the podcasts, just point the software to http://www.memusic.org/go4prepaid/podcast.xml. I'll be putting it onto iTunes soon, and I'll have a podcast page up with links to the various episodes as well, coming later today.

In this esposide I cover all things Tracfone:
Tracfone's Refer-A-Friend Backdoor
Tracfone's Online Deals
Wal-Mart's Tracfone Rollbacks
BabbleBug's Tracfone c261 Deal
LG 3280 Review

So take a look, download it, listen to it, and speak up! Comment on this post with your views and reviews of the 'cast. Is the quality not good enough, audio-wise or material-wise? Should I keep doing this? Let me know! Hope this helps everyone!

THe Podcast - It's Coming!

Just letting everyone know that the first episode of the Go4Prepaid Podcast will be online today. Get iTunes ready; when it is up the feed will be at http://www.memusic.org/go4prepaid/podcast.xml! I'll post again when the podcast is actually online!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Podcast Coming...

Right now I'm in the research phase, but I should have the first Go4Prepaid podcast up by Saturday. Stay tuned...and tell your podcast-happy friends that there is now a prepaid cell phone podcast. I'm looking forward to trying the idea out.

When the 'cast does come out, I'd appreciate it if people would leave comments on the blog post related to the podcast, saying whether it's any good or not. One thing I will promise, though, is that either this podcast or the next one will have the long-awaited LG 3280 review in it.

Tracfone Deals - Refreshed!

Tracfone just updated their GSM website (SingleRate for the Tracfone-ites) and the results are quitte favorable. Gone is the refurbished Motorola c155 deal...and the Nokia 1100, albeit refurbished, is back in the running as the phone that comes with the two-60-miniute-cards-for-$20-plus-tax deal! Which is great in my opinion; the Nokia 1100 may be barebones, but it's solid.

Also new on the block is a $20 rollback on the Motorola c155 and Nokia 2600...with a 1-year card! In short, you can now get a new Nokia 2600 ($30 value) AND a 1-year card for $20 less than you'd be able to get the 1-year card alone for. You're saving a cool $50 on the whole deal. Same thing with the Motorola c155, except it isn't such a great phone.

In short, you're getting a great deal.

P.S. The Motorola c261s for $50 - a $5 coupon are still available, with the big possibility that refer-a-friend will net you 140+ minutes on them. Grab 'em while you can!

By the way...

Because of the refer-a-friend program, you can get 140 minutes with the Motorola c261. So you're getting a camera phone on Tracfone, plus 140 minutes, for $45 (with the coupon code). I'd say that's a really good deal. You can even add a promo code and give yourself even more minutes than 140 on the phone! In every way, you win. But there are only two of these phones left, so scroll down and order one now!

Refer-a-friend...It's Aliiiiiive!

Courtesy dave940 at HowardForums.com, refer-a-friend can very well be alive and kicking even now. Here's how to do it:

Use the following link:
1. Fill out the form to send invitations. Instead of clicking SEND,
click the PREVIEW box.
2. Click on the green box that says BACK.
3. You will see the "dear John" letter about RAF ending on Oct. 15.
Click the back button of your web browser.
4. You will see your RAF invitation filled out again. Click on SEND.
You should see the message saying that your invitation has been sent.

What does this also mean? Why, ESN minutes are now available again! Go to my minutes page and you'll see that I am now selling them for $12 apiece. Don't forget to email me with your phone serial number when you order.

Also, I'm getting in the phones starting Friday, and there are more than enough phones for the ESN minutes to go around. Then again, $12 for 120+ minutes is good. So preorder your minutes now...and enjoy refer-a-friend while it lasts!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A few Moto c261s for $50 shipped

I just made a deal with BabbleBug...

They have two (just two) Motorola c261 Tracfones available at $50 shipped. I take the order, they ship it. Likely faster than Tracfone's own site and even cheaper than Wal-Mart!

I'm getting a little bit off of this, so I can afford to subsidize. So in that vein, the first order gets a $5 discount via the coupon code "yournewmoto". Order quickly and I might not even have time to turn off the coupon for the second phone...who knows?

Anyway, here is the Google Checkout button to buy the phone...enjoy!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wal-Mart Rolls Back Tracfone Prices

On their website and at probably at their stores, Wal-Mart now has the Motorola c261 available for $50, in both black and red colors. Let the war of the camera phone prices be waged! Seeing as how Virgin Mobile has the refurb'd Audiovox Snapper for $40 direct from their website, and Target has it for $40 new at their stores, or will have it at that price Friday.

On a side note, the price of the Motorola c139 has gone down, too. By one dollar. Nonetheless, a rollback is a rollback, so now you can buy a candy bar and the phone isntead of just the phone itself, though I'd say the Nokia 2126 is a better use of one's money, especially since you can get it with two 60-minute cards on Tracfone's store for the price of the c139 along.

Speaking of Tracfone's online store, they themselves are still selling the Motorola c261 for $60 :(

And while we're on that topic, has anyone noticed that T-Mobile-based Tracfone areas don't have the Motorola c261 or the Motorola v176? Maybe because TMo and Tracfone still only have a voice-and-text agreement with each other? While Cingular also has a web\pix messaging agreement with the carrier?

Then again, if you want T-Mobile based service, you can just go with T-Mobile To Go; it has a good amount of roaming coverage now when compared with its contract version, if you're complaining about coverage, and it has web and pix messaging, for usually less than Tracfone (usually as in Tracfone has promos). Plus there's a larger phone selection.

But anyway, viva la competition! I'm personally looking forward to $20 camera phones on prepaid, preferably with Bluetooth tethering :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tracfone - Triple-Stacking Now Available

Just to let everyone know, Tracfone now lets you "stack" airtime expirations up to 180 days from when you add the airtime. So if you want to use 60-minute cards for getting a long time in service, you can now do that, up to half the time of a -year card. Nifty.

P.S. The $12 refill coupon code is no more, and neither are my 60-minute cards. I'm selling all of 'em that I get to elsewhere. I'll tell everyone when the cards get back in though, and if ESN minutes start working again I'll post about that too.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

60-minute card promotion!

Only for Sunday, and only for Sunday, I'm lowering the price of the 60-minute Tracfone cards, through a promotional code (aren't they fun!) that will, for one order per customer, lower the price of the refills to $12 apiece.

I only have eight cards left, and the coupon can only be used once per customer, so stock up on airtime cards while you can! Feel free to put this coupon code wherever online...

The code is "$12 refill", without the quotes and with the $ and the space. Enjoy!

Tracfone Deals...Better Ones!

Tracfone updated their phone lineup Friday. Here are the deals:

Free ground shipping on all orders of $19.99 or more ($5.36 savings including 8.25% tax)
Need I say more?

Free universal accessory kit and gift box on all orders of $60 or more
Small problem: the refurb deals, even three of them, as far as 60-minute card deals are concerned, don't quite add up to $60. So you have to spring for something more expensive to get the gift...more expensive by $10. Which means there's one less order of phones with two 60-minute cards included. Dang. But then again, if you're in for a 1-year card deal all is good.

Take your pick; buy a 1-year card and get any of these phones free:
Nokia 2600 - New (!)
Motorola c155 - New
Nokia 1100 - Refurbished (!?! but okay)
Motorola v170 - Refurbished

So you get a phone usually costing between $10 (Nokia 1100) and $40 (Moto v170) for zip when you buy a 1-year card. Sounds like getting on a contract plan to me, but hey, it works...and the Nokia 2600, new, is part of the mix!

Also, the Motorola c261 is still available for either $60 alone or free with a double-minute card. Sounds like a contract typa thing to me, but hey...it's a camera phone!

Here's the lineup of phones, stretching from $10 to $60
Nokia 1100 Refurb - $10
Motorola c139 - $20
Motorola c155 - $30
Nokia 2600 - $30 (good deal if you ask me)
Motorola v170 - $40
Motorola v176 - $60
Motorola c261 - $60

On the CDMA SIDe of things (geeky pun intended) nothing has changed, which is a good thing. The Nokia 2126 is still available for $20 refurbed with two 60-minute cards, and that's really all that matters. Though now with free shipping the LG 3280 is a good deal online just like it is offline...at least I think it's a pretty good deal.

Anyway, hope this helps!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tracfone Deals...New Ones

Actually, there isn't much to say here, except that Virgin Mobile now has competition...sort of...for the $10 phone. That competition is the Nokia 1100 if you're in a GSM area...but the Nokia costs $4.95 to ship, plus tax on that $4.95. The K7 Rave ships free. But then again, GSM coverage is a lot bigger than Sprint coverage. It all depends...yet the Nokia 1100 now sits on Tracfone's website, waiting to be bought refurbished for $9.99 plus tax, shipping and tax on shipping. I can't wait till they're back into being given out for zip with two 60-minute cards; the Motorola c155 is inferior...in my opinion...

Another sale is with the Nokia 2600...though the sale is the same as last time, to $30 down from $40. It's an okay deal for what kind of phone you get, I suppose. The Nokia 2600 is a good phone, ya know.

Last and maybe least is the Motorola v170. The flip phone with a tiny screen on the inside and no screen on the outside. For $40. At least it's not $50...

Red Slice, VM Stash

First off, some good\neat news...

Now available from BestBuy is a red version of the UTStarComm Slice. Dunno about anyone else, but some people, me included, think that the red plastic on the phone looks better\sturdier than the black plastic of the normal Slice. And it's red. But then again it's $50 plus tax and shipping (if your local BestBuy is a long ways away\doesn't have the red version of the phone\both of the above), whereas next Friday RadioShack will have the sufficiently good-looking black model for a mere $20 plus tax. But hey, people pay more for red stuff than black stuff, and more for black stuff than white or silver stuff usually. Just ask Apple ;) Oh, and the box of the Slice says "Red" in little letters above "Slice". Nifty...

That's the good part of this post. Now to the bad part: showing what a total ripoff Virgin Mobile's
Stash card is. Take as a contrast my personal bank account, which I'm changing soon to something even better...

I don't get any rewards, but the debit card is just $12 a year. No per transaction fees. And I only had to spend $25 to open my bank account, which has no monthly fees, no minimums, etc.

On the other hand, you have Virgin Mobile's Stash card. Which costs $6 a month...if you have a Virgin Mobile account! Otherwise it's $10 a month! Anyway, to add insult to injury, you can also opt for a per-swipe cost plan...at $1 per item bought! I use my debit card waaaaaaay too much for the first, and the Stash card costs as much in two months as my debit card costs in a year! And I'm complaining about my debit card costing, since another local bank offers a debit card for free ($100 minimum deposit).

Adding even more insult to injury is Virgin Mobile's "Rewards" program. Where they start you off with 200 points, if you spend $60 to put $50 onto your card. How much are these points worth? Zippo, until you spend $300 (your initial $50 plus another $250, plus per-transaction or monthly fees) using the card. At which point you have 500 reward points and can get...gasp...25 minutes of airtime for your phone! Let's see...$310 spend...minimum...for $4.50 in rewards. But wait...you paid them $10 to start out with...so they're still making money off of you!

It gets worse...you just get a point for every dollar you spend after those first 200 points in bonuses. So you're gonna hafta spend $500 (!) plus transaction and monthly fees (!!!) to get another $4.50 in airtime. And I'm betting that you're going to have to pay either the $5.95 monthly charge or $5+ in transaction charges to put $500 of spend on your card.

But wait...this isn't out of character for Virgin Mobile after all! *shrugs* Just don't get pulled in my this whopper that you actually gain something from using the Stash card.

I've Got Virgin Mobile Now...

...so if you're activating a phone do me a favor and say 8304569332 sent you, if nobody else wants you kickback.

But anyway my K7 Rave came in today so I'm messing around with it. When the battery runs totally down I'll post a review...honest!...and everyone will know how theis $10 phone fares.

OK. SO I'm shamelessly begging another bit of support from everyone. Here's what I have to give in return:

RadioShack is offering the UTStarComm Slice for $19.99 plus tax Black Friday (the day after thanksgiving). I wasn't too keen on this phone with its $50 price, but for $20 it is a steal. Considering it has a color screen and mp3 ringtones, as well as 1xRTT web access. And yes, for $20 I'm forgiving the hard-to-press keypad and glitzy LED status light.

So yes, there is now a truly good deal on a Virgin Mobile phone that can take advantage of most of the service's features (as opposed to the Rave, which can't do web access and such stuff like that). And if you get the phone because I talked about it (though you'll have to hurry that day because the phones will likely sell out quite quickly) maybe help me by sending me a kickback...since it doesn't cost anything.

Later, people...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tracfone Cards For Sale - Delivery Within 24 Hours!

Just to let everyone know, I have ten Tracfone cards for sale, available right now through my Tracfone Airtime page. You can use PayPal, but Google Checkout actually works better for me...and probably you, too.

You see, the person I usually sell the airtime cards to backed out on that part of the deal. So I have ten airtime cards for the world at large to consume at a price that's much lower than you'd pay at Wal-Mart...but everyone already knows that.

But I'm just letting everyone know so everyone can take advantage of this offer. Hope this helps! But keep in mind that I only have ten cards so buy now...

Friday, November 10, 2006

I bought...

Today I bought the Kyocera K7 Rave on Virgin Mobile. Thte main reason is that I want a phone that has really cheap text and I may be able to get kickbacks etc. and thus get free minutes...

Which means that I'll have Virgin Mobile and the phone pretty soon and I'll post a review here! Also, everyone now has another way to support this site: if you want to activate a Virgin Mobile phone tell them I sent you. I'll have my number up here when I activate.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What Virgin Mobile Phone To Get?

Several people want to know what Virgin Mobile phone to get, judging from their comments on my recent posts. And they want good phones.

To which I reply that the Audiovox 8610 isn't a good phone. It's limited in features and overpriced...since you can get the refurbished 8915 (Snapper) for the same price. The Snapper is easily a much better phone than the plain-Jane Vox and since it's on this much of a sale I'd get it.

If you don't want to pay $40 for a phone, the Kyocera Oystr is good too, though sometimes it takes a second for menu commands to execute. But it's a solid phone for $20.

If you want thin, you may actually be able to put up with the Slice and its price tag, inordinate as far as Virgin Mobile phones go. Its wierd keypad is probably there just because the phone is so thin, as is the battery life. The user interface isn't great, but then again it's the same as any other Audiovox's so it's a "might-as-well" type of thing.

For cheapie phones, you can get them in abundance. The Kyocera K10 is color. The K7 Rave is really, really cheap. And the Nokia Shorty is just plain good.

If you're willing to shell out for a more expensive phone, my choice would be the Kyocera Cyclops or the Slider Sonic, depending on whether you want a slider\MP3 player or a phone with a 1.3 megapixel camera. Both are good buys.

Notice that I still left out the Switch_Back in my once-over of the phones. That's because $130 is too much to pay for just a phone with a QWERTY keyboard in it. At least in my opinion.

Hope this helps anyone going VM. If anyone gets a phone, tell Virgin Mobile...never mind, I don't have one of their phones yet. Guess that's my next purchase. :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tracfone and Virgin Mobile News...And They're Both Good! And other News...

First off, some news from Tracfone. And a lot of it...to make up for the fact that I haven't posted here in quite awhile.

1. The Motorola c261 is now $60 plus shipping and tax (and tax on shipping, naturally) on Tracfone.com. Let the price wars begin, and the consumer benefit! :) I may eventually have to pick one of these up, just to get another thin phone and one with pretty much full GSM coverage.

2. The Nokia 2600, which is a nice phone in my opinion, at least for just voice and text, is now $30 + tax\shipping\tax on shipping on Tracfone's website, down from $40, down from $50. If you don't like the Motorola c155 (I don't either) and are willing to pay $30 for a Tracfone this is a good bet.

3. The two-60-minute-cards promo is still going on in both CDMA and GSM areas. GSM has reveted to the Motorola c155 as their "free phone" (bleh but oh well; some people like a color Moto over a b\w Nokia). But CDMA is still plugging away with the excellent Nokia 2126. How excellent is it? I just ordered 6...that's how excellent :).

4. Refer-a-friend might be up again! Email me if anyone wants a referral. If it does indeed work, I'll start selling ESN minutes again. Yay for everyone! See for yourself...the refer-a-friend form is at http://www.tracfone.com/ota_sell_a_friend.jsp . Enjoy!

Now for Virgin Mobile news...

1. I reckon the battery life, with low to moderate use, for the UTStarComm Slice to be around 3 days. Apathetic for CDMA...until you compare it with the LG 3280, which lasts twice as long. But then again, bar phones keep their displays on longer than flips with no caller ID screen. But then again, PCS frequency only phones (aka the Slice & co.) *should* use less battery power...which leads me to conclude that this phone's battery life suffers from a case of a too-small battery...which can easily be explained by the phone's thinness. But anyway, I think I'll pass on laying out $50 on this phone right now...I don't text a ton so Virgin has not too much to offer to me...:)

2. Two phones are officially out now, the Slice and the Cyclops, both online.
2a. The Slice is...um...the Slice...I already reviewed it. And it's $50 online...not horrible for a phone that's actually thinner than the Motorola SLVR (trust me; I checked the specs and won a bet on those specs) but then again its keypad is darn hard to press.
2b. The Cyclops, by Kyocera, is $100 and Virgin Mobile's second Kyocera flip. More importantly, it's Virgin Mobile's first 1.3 Megapixel camera phone. Other than this nifty bit of trivia, its vertical outer display, and its quite moderate price tag (considering everyone else's 1.3 megapixel camera phone costs that much with a contract!) there isn't much news here. Except that the phone is moderately thin, too.

3. Phone prices are falling again! I may have to buy something of Virgin Mobile's, especially if they don't have tax in my area, just to have an active Sprint phone...or a phone with good text rates...or some other such excuse...here are the deals:

  • Kyocera Oystr - $20 - This cheapie flip with a fair-sized screen is $10 cheaper online than it is at Wal-Mart...even with included ground shipping
  • UTStarComm Slice - $50 - I just mention this again since it's out of stock! Whoa, what a demand!
  • Audiovox "Vox" 8610 - $40 - They call this a special deal? Okay, this phone of auld is $10 less than in stores, but still it's a passer-upper for the moment.
  • Nokia "Shorty" 2115i - $15 - Want a cheap Virgin Mobile phone that just works? Don't mind having a black-and-white screen? This phone has the primo-ness for the job at a nice price :)
  • Kyocera K10 "Royale" - $15 or $20 w\$20 of airtime - Wow, they must really be trying to get rid of this phone. Which is okay, sine it's not an outstanding phone in any specific area, beside the fact that it's web-enabled. But hey, the price is pretty much right...especially if you like the concept of a "free phone".
  • Audiovox 8915 "Snapper" - $80 or $40 refurbished - New, the price on this phone isn't something to write home about. True, it is well below $100 and it's a camera phone, but that's no biggie. What's really big is that the phone's price is cut neatly in half...yes...in half...by the fact that it's refurbished, if you buy refurbished. Meaning that for the same price as the Vox 8610, or twice the price of the Oyster, you get a halfway decent camera phone with flash, speakerphone and caller ID display. Halfway decent meaning it's made by Audiovox, but that's forgiveable considering the price...less than I paid for a flip phone with no caller ID screen, let alone a camera, the LG 3280.
  • Kyocera Slider Sonic - $100 - Considering that you get not only a phone but a cameraphone, MP3 player (based on MiniSD cards) and videocamera\video phone all in one slider form factor for this amount of cash, I'd have to say that this little number is a good buy, even if it's getting a little old. Heck, it's what they're selling on Amp'd, basically, for the same price...after a mail in rebate!
  • Kyocera Butt_Ugly...er...Switch_Back - $130 - Sorry, but I still think this phone looks dorky. But I suppose a miniature keyboard has its uses if you're really, really into texting and want to burn up your Penny Texting's 1000 monthly texts in the first ten days of the month with an ease unknown to man. But the phone still looks horrible.
  • Kyocera K7 "Rave" - $10 - Yes, you saw right. $10 shipped will get you a utilitarian, dated pass into the world of Virgin Mobile. Forget a color screen, polyphonic ringtones, vibration alert, web...but then again if you just want to talk and text and maybe use your phone as a flashlight (the K7 has one) this may be all the phone you need, at a glove box friendly price...but for the fact that Sprint PCS isn't exactly your glovebox provider...ech...back to the drawing board...

4. Anyone heard of Audio SMS? Me neither, but the Kyocra Cyclops and, soon, the Switch_Back, will be able to do it. Think of it as SMS, except with voice, except free for now for the first hundred messages per month (10 cents per message after that). Free until July '07, that is. But it's a neat concept, and a fair reason to get that $100 phone that Virgin just came out with. Hey, Audio SMS is a gimmick, and gimmicks are fun, right?

5. Ever heard of Suger Mama? Where you spend a bit of your time on wacky surveys via text or web to get free airtime for Virgin Mobile? Well, it's getting better slowly...and it's a nifty way to get a minute or two here and there. Not saying that it's efficient over a dialup connection, but it's interesting. There is a cap on how many minutes you get per month (35 I think) but that's okay. It's an interesting thing to do anyway...seems like Virgin Mobile is focused on being the "interesting" prepaid.

6. Virgin Mobile just did a slight overhaul on their refer-a-friend program. Now, the maximum number of friends you can refer per year is 12 (up from 10) but you only get $10 on the first one ($20 for each one thereafter). The catch is that your friend needs to add $15 to his\her account within 45 days of activation for you to get the minutes. But hey, you can get $20 off of just $25 for the Kyocera Rave and some airtime...which is darn good the way I look at it!

Those are all the Virgin Mobile announcements I have right now...but I have a few other noteworthy things to say:

1. Amp'd has released their own version of the Motorola Razr v3m. For $200 after a $100 mail-in rebate if you're going for prepaid. Which isn't that bad really. Especially since it is, in fact, the Razr.

2. A few friends are on Virgin Mobile. On has the Kyocera K10 Royale. One has the Oystr. Both are just kids; one is 13, one is 12. I know, I know, this should be in the Virgin Mobile section, but bear with me...

The friend with the Oystr used an astounding (to me) $9.80 in the past five days. Right...that's practically $2 a day on cell service. 40 minutes in the last five days. 30 texts.

The friend with the Royale used up the 50-for-$2 text option I enabled for him...in one day! *scratches head* Kids these days. If I remember right, his phone got topped up to about $33 on the 1st of the month. Now it's $5.76. That's $27 used over five days!

The moral of the story: for every person like me who barely uses any minutes, there are kiddos out there who should be on a different plan...WAY different. I'm going to see if I can help these two out...with all the money they're pretty much throwing away on the phones they could do stuff in Boy Scouts...lots of stuff...they're both new entrants into it (I'm an Eagle Scout). Anyway, I see here the moral of keeping track of your prepaid stuff.

Well that's all for now. Hope everyone's enjoyed reading this. If you have, click some ads and help me pay for phones and, eventually, a senior-class trip to Washington D.C. this spring (no kidding...it costs like $1800...$1400 of which I don't have yet!)