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 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 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 . 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 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 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 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 - $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 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 costs like $1800...$1400 of which I don't have yet!)


Anonymous said...

$5 a day on cell service!!!!! We do not use that much even when we are travelling. Somebody get these kids a landline.

I also tried the refer a friend and received an error message saying to call Tracfone. It must not be up and running yet.

Anonymous said...

If you have a Best Buy anywhere near you, the day after Thanksgiving the Virgin Oystr is going to be on sale for $9.95. I would have been interested in this phone, BUT ALL of the reviews I have read on it say the battery needs to be charged everyday, even if it isn't used, and the company knows about the problem, but can't really do much about it other than selling you a more expensive phone to replace it. Check the reviews at for this phone. All of the stores around me are selling it for $19.95, but also selling the Moto C139 Tracfone for the same and someone referd me, so I have an extra 120 +another 60 on top of the 20 that came with the phone. That Oystr seemed really cheaply made, as in junky. The Moto C139 feels nice in hand, and feels more sturdy.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to cut and paste this email I received from Tracfone today regarding their refer-a-friend program. Very sad news, indeed...

Dear Customer

Thank you for your interest in Tracfone. We are responding to your recent inquiry. I do apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced with our services. We are still updating the Refer-A-Friend program. At this moment we do not have a set time of when this promotion will be back again. Please check our website for any updates.
Customer feedback is important to us. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to call us. We appreciate your business and value you as a customer. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to service your cellular needs.

Thank you
Ariana Pintado | Tracfone Wireless, Inc.| Executive Resolution Dept.
1-800-876-5753 ext. 3148 |

Anonymous said...

I ended up with an Oyster after my real phone was stolen and I needed an emergency backup for little cash. I need to charge it every day, sometimes more than once a day if I actually USE it - and since it's my only line at the moment, I DO use it. I keep it on the charger when I'm home. Even then, if I take a road trip, it'll run out of charge before I get home. Pass on this one. It's not worth it, even at half price.