Saturday, December 29, 2007
Whereas on the iDEN side of Boost Mobile, where walkie talkie and (sorta) GPS set the brand apart from the herd, is making a quicker and quicker fade; they're down to two phones, one of which has been around for...correct me if I'm wrong...long enough that if you got the Nextel version of this guy you'd be eligible now for either a full-blown upgrade or terminating your service. While the other model, the multi-colored i425, is nice and new, things look bad for Boost. I mean, they used to carry phones that were just as high-end as those on Nextel (case in oint: i885, i875, i860). Now...practically nothing. While Boost gets points for uniqueness in haing the thinnest iDEN phone out there on its service, and that for a mere $40, they lose them back when you consider that, on both GSM and now CDMA sides, the highest-end phone is a bit of a cheap trick: just your average camera phone with Bluetooth built in. Now Motorola makes decent phones, but if you don't need Bluetooth the Kyocera Cyclops is a higher-end phone, and if you do need it the candy bar Super Slice is everything but the flip...at half the price
Come on guys, we know you're dying to get everyone off your old iDEN network, but making the phones available with your prepaid option as lousy, or nearly so, as every other CDMA-based prepaid isn't the way to do it, considering that y'all are bleeding customers faster than you're picking up new ones (full disclosure: I use and love Sprint...don't get me wrong and think I'm some insane T-Mobile, AT*T or Alltel fanatic).
How about unifying your product line with the hybrid phones we already see on the contract side of the fence, and offer all current plans and features on the four hybrid phone models that, though none are bar phones, otherwise run the gamut from minimalistic to maximized? And sell them on the prepaid service for the price you'd get 'em for with a 1-year contract. And bump up the price if we're dealing with the unlimited service? You know, sell the now-discontinued Blend phone for a mere $50, the Buzz for $120, the Buzz+ cameraphone for $200 and the Deluxe for $400? And a bit more for unlimited? I dunno, just throwing ideas out there. Why are iDEN phones so darn expensive on-contrct anyway? You can get a Boost i855 for cheaper than a Nextel i850, And a i425 cheaper than the Nextel rough equivalent, the i325. Maybe Boost should continue the tradition with hybrid phones (aka PowerSource) priced equal or less than their plan-bound equivalents?
I probably hate the iDEN network more than Sprint does...but hopefully Boost Mobile doesn't have to get killed in the process of moving out of iDEN. Heck, I could even see them just trying to sell out of their stock of i855s, then i425s, in a transition to all-CDMA unlimited service (bad) or hybrid prepaid\hybrid\unlimited serice (good). But we'll see...let's just hope the chirp doesn't die on preaid before QChat comes out and takes everyone by storm.
Oh, and yes I know, when I get back up to Colorado I'll take some time to review the Boost Mobile i425.
Second, battery life is not yet included in this review, and reception judgments are shaky...I'll edit this post later on with appropraite figures if I can, but I don't have the data due to laziness so far on my part...I promise I will repent thereof ;)
Okay, to the first review, or rather comparison, of the Kyocera K126c...
...to the Kyocera K7 Rave. No, I'm not really kidding on this one. The screen might be formatted differently, have a color background and sport a Tracfone balance display, and the phone may be MUCH smaller overall, lending somewhat of a modern air to the affair, but otherwise you have something that is best shoved back into the 2002 drawer, leaving you rolling your eyes and wondering what Tracfone was thinking when they released this one.
Okay, not everything is wrong with it. From a cursory look and a friend's observation about his own K126c (in Net10 attire, which looks a little better) reception and voice quality seem to be above average on this old=looking phone, and the ringtones are still polyphonic, opposed to the monophonic, color-screen Motorola c139, Also, small may well be beautiful; the phone, while wider, takes up a similar amount of space to the much-loved predecessor to this hunka junk, the Nokia 2126\i. And yes, it's Single-Rate and Net10-capable if you buy that version, but that's assumed of any Tracffone since the release of the LG 3280.
Overall, I'm simply baffled why (no wait...maybe Tracfone is MAKING money on the phones right when you buy the...even if they do only cost a scant $15) the perfectly functional, highly-praised Nokia 2126 was replaced with...this. Let's just hope that Tracfone's next run of CDMA phones isn't another, deeper, look into the past, sponsored by they-who-are-buying-Sanyo :(. I mean, why couldn't Tracfone get a BETTER phone when getting Kyocera...I mean, you know, Kyocera makes stuff like Virgin Mobile's Wild Card that are t least halfway decent. Which counts out their K10 and everything before it in this day and age. Oh, and the Oystr.
Next, the LG 200c, compared a bit less bitingly to the LG 3280...
...which is still a better phone. If you're given an option of getting either the 3280 for $50 or the 200c for $30, which may well be your options at this point, get the 3280. It may be a little more bulky, and is a little older, and a little more expensive...but you'll thank yourself. Not that the LG 200c is a horrible phone...it, along with its Alltel cousin the ax-145, its Virgin Mobile cousin the Aloha and its name-our-CDA-carrier cousin of some similar naming scheme, is just an inexpensive starter phone with none too many features that has somewhat of a sense of class, as long as it's closed and you don't see that it's a basic phone. But come on, why the heck would you want to downgrade from the previous-generation phone?
For one thing, the "cool" internal antenna doesn't look to pick up a signal as well as that of the LG 3280, which in turn fared worse than the Nokia 2126i (which, admittedly, has rather good reception, especially for a phone with an "intenna"). My dad works out in the country and his new 200c, on Net10, has been found to be noticeably weaker signal-wise than the Tracfone bar phone that preceeded it. Wrong way, Forrest! Especially considering that the phone introduces no new eatures to the scene versus the Nokia 2126i, except maybe being a flip phone and having some way to buy airtime on-phone now.
But what about the external keys on the LG 3280, removable faceplates, and other such marks of a decent phone? Sorry dude, they're gone on the 200c. Volume must be adjusted with the regular keypad of the phone. Oh, and the speakerphone\ringer now has no outside ort. Come on, don't tell me this stuff was lopped off in the name of style and simplicity. Espeially considering that the 200c (which probably has as good battery life as the 3280, if not better...so that's one thing going for it) is the highest-end Tracfone you can now buy if you're in a CDMA area...the lower-end one is the aforementioned Kyocera K126c. In short, the highest-end Tracfone on CDMA is the lowest-end new phone if you're looking at Virgin Mobile (note that I said new phone; the Kyocera Marbl isn't new and tops the 200c feature-wise if not speed-wise) and is put to shame by pretty much any prepaid carrier nowadays. Come on, Tracfone, don't let your neglect of the CDMA side of things, or your relegation of it to second-class citizenship in favor of your big honking AT&T GSM deal, cast again the light on your service that it is expensive and uses outdated phones. God forbid.
But enough of my rant. Here's the third review, this time for a non-Tracfone (seeing as how it's a CDMA phone with a camera, and it's a Samsung, that's sorta implied): the Samsung u340.
First off, thak you Verizon. You have finally realized that your "Red" user interface is a step this side of pathetic. Maybe we want different brands of phones to look different when we use them, rather than everything, even high-end phones like the Razr Maxx Ve, adhering to the same dismal creed of interface that makes your phones seem so ancient.
Okay, so you still have a fair portion of your UI embedded into this phone. SIgnal bars are still sorta wierd-looking, some items are a little wierd, and ringtone choice seems shorted by the desire for the customer to download something for pay at Get It Now. But at least a Samsung phone seems a little closer to a Samsung phone. Or maybe you've just smartened up your UI like you did with the LG Voyager and ported it to the rest of your platform, creating something that is actually worth using in the process. Either way, I'm a bit happier.
But enough of my UI ranting. The u340 is a capable phone. Like the UTStarCom 7075 that I reviewed awhile back, it's just your average cameraphone when you get down to it, with few extra features to make it notable above any other phone. And its internal antenna may not do wonders for reception...it seems along the lines of the LG 200c...maybe a little better but nothing really grat...but for $40 you get a fair amount of phone on prepaid. Makes a good Page Plus phone, though there are better models for reception, talking and texting.
The phone is like recent basic Samsungs: relatively thin, rather angular, mildly good looking (this one came in blue though other colors may be out there) and decent, though not amazing, for ease of use and speed. The keypad, my dad complained, didn't seem too great on one-handed operation, and I tend to agree, but it's passable. The camera is okay, though unfortunately no picture messaging and no cable means no picture samples. It even has a "sketch" mode that turns your picture into a hopeless attempt at a line drawing, but I oerstate its hopelessness.
So overall the u340, which is likely in a Wal-Mart near you around $40 in price (that's what I got it for), is a decent phone and a bit of an upgrade from the UTStarCom 7075 due to Samsung's slightly better sense of cellular style and Verizon's new take of UI design. Again, if you're looking for a Page Plus Cellular phone this is as good a one as any that have recently come through Wal-Mart's doors. Though it's nothing spectacular...no Bluetooth, EV-DO or amazing user interface is to be found. But that's what you get for $40.
Well, hope this helps catch everyone up nfo-wise, review-wise, and generally etcetera-wise and gives people an idea about the Kyocera K126, LG 200c and Samsung u340. Since all three phones run on the same (Verizon) network, I'll be doing a recetion and battery life shootout between the lot, as well as versus that great old standby, the Nokia 2126. Then, in a few weeks, a feview of the Motorola i425, the thinnest iDEN phone ever. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
7-Eleven is offering two new prepaid mobile phone plans through its SpeakOut Wireless MVNO brand. One plan offers unlimited nights and weekends, and the second plan includes a lower per-minute charge of 15 cents for nationwide calling.
"We are enhancing the 7-Eleven SpeakOut Wireless program, while ensuring that it remains easy to use and affordable for consumers," said Brad Haga, 7-Eleven senior product director for business development and services, in a statement. "We've found that customers prefer flexibility and don't want a long-term contractual commitment. These two plans are among the most competitive prepaid wireless offerings available in the market today."
7-Eleven SpeakOut Wireless Unlimited Nationwide Nights and Weekends plan is available now for $40 per month. Features include: unlimited nationwide calling on nights and weekends; 200 peak-time minutes; 10-cent rate for peak-time voice calls, 5-cent 2-way text messaging; free voice mail, caller ID and call-waiting; all minutes carry over to the next month as long as the customer extends the monthly service with another $40 airtime card within 30 days. And special for the holidays, customers who purchase a Sanyo 2400 or LG 5225 phone will get a free $40 SpeakOut Wireless airtime card.
7-Eleven introduced the SpeakOut Wireless program in early 2004, the program is supported by Ztar mobile.
This is on the CDMA side only.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Also, once I'm back in Colorado, I'll be reviewing the Motorola i425 from Boost. This will be around a month from now. Between now and then I'll likely look at the Net10 Nokia 1600 and maybe another phone or two. Again, check back here or subscribe to the blog RSS feed to make sure you get the reviews when they arrive!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Anyway, they've also decreased most of their phones in price by $10-$20. For example, the Motorola w375, c261 or LG CG225 are now a mere $70 each. The LG 200c is $40...one third less than it was mere weeks ago at Wal-Mart when my parents bought their phones. The Kyocera K126? $20.
I may have to pick up a phone or two to review...these things are cheap!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
XE Mobile is no more. Or rather, will be no more effective the 31st of this month. My prognosis: their plans were rather hard to understand and changed relatively frequently, their cellular-centric features were just plain basic, their phone selection could be matched elsewhere, their expirations were lousy and they never, as far as I know, had a retail presence of any size. No real advertising either.
So with so few subscribers (I'm sure they didn't have many) they couldn't keep paying for large enough buckets of minutes or whatever to stay profitable and closed up shop. Honestly, they won't be missed, not that they're horrible anything, but just because the carrier itself is a relative non-event. You can only be a non-event if you activate, for next to nothing, whatever cell phones you come across and serve up minutes at cult-incuding rates...aka Page Plus. XE...didn't do this, and that's why they won't be around after another three weeks.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
No longer will Virgin Mobile customers have to spend time on the phone with customer service to activate their phones.
New customers, as well as current customers upgrading, will have their phones programmed OTA (over the air), eliminating manual input and errors that manual input have caused.
"At Virgin Mobile USA, we are continually working to enhance our award-winning customer service processes," said James Gamm, vice president of Information Technology for Virgin Mobile USA. "With Telespree, we focused on the device programming process, eliminating manual entry and any associated errors, creating an even simpler and more convenient consumer experience. Virgin Mobile USA customers can purchase a cool, new phone and get it programmed quickly, allowing them to begin using service immediately after activation without any hassles."
If anyone activates a phone on Virgin Mobile soon, please post a review of the new OTA programming in either a comment or on the Go4Prepaid forum (seen in the right sidebar.)
Sunday, December 09, 2007
I'm pretty sure Ian posted about Kajeet a while back on the blog, but I have a few things to say about this.
Around here (Missouri), it has actually taken off pretty well. It is advertised in many stores and many people are actually buying them. I've had trouble even seeing them in stores because they are all sold out.
You pay 10 cents per minute and 5 cents per text sent/received. The downfall, to me, is the daily access fee of 35 cents. One reason I think INPulse never really took off was because of the $1 access fee per day. Kajeet runs off of Sprint's network.
They do offer several multimedia features, including many from Nickelodeon. Phones include several LG's and Sanyo's, including both Katanas, and a Samsung and Nokia. Many of these phones are the same that are currently being used on Sprint's network. Prices range from $50-$100.
Coverage maps leave a lot to be desired, simply having a great coverage and no coverage color.
While I won't be jumping over to buy one, I'd love to get someone's opinion on Kajeet who does have or has used the service.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Second, Page Plus Cellular has a brand new look and feel. Well, really nothing has changed about anything they sell in terms of their absolutely amazing rate plans. But they did add a few new(er) phones, the LG vx3200, the LG vx6100 and the Samsung a670, all for $50 or less. Not too bad.
They also introduced a new rate plan: get unlimited nights and weekends (starting at 9 pm) for 99 cents per day. I'd personally snore through this, as it increases text messaging costs to well over a minute of airtime (15 cents per message vs. 12 cents) however someone may find it nice to be able to get nights and weekends on the cheap with this service. Seeing as how if you buy an $80 card the price for the feature drops to about 47 cents per day. Still, I'd rather have cheap text than nights and weekends that cost me a little more than eight regular minutes per day I have them available. I'm on a contract plan and probably wouldn't make such an addon worthwhile if my nights started at 9 p.m. (since I'm using Sprint they start at 7 p.m.)
Hope this news bit helps someone out there :)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Anyhow, first Tracfone...
Tracfone has a lot of new pormo codes! Go to the forum and click the Promotional Codes topic in the main board for the newest (HUGE) list. In time for Thanksgiving, Tracfone really outdid themselves in giving extra minutes for the money.
Also, phone deals are great right now. Though on the CDMA side it's just a free Kyocera K126 with a 120-minute card, a free LG 200c with a 1-year card and a free LG 3280 (in my opinion now a better phone due to its external antenna than the 200c...which I'll eventually review) with a double minute card, GSM zips are rife with deals.
For exampleL available in all areas, the Motorola c139 is $15 with a double-minute card or $20 with two 60-minute cards. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: the twofer is back. In T-Mobile areas, you also get your choice of the Motorola c155 or c139 with purchase of a 1-year card. Or the Motorola v170 with a double-minute 1-year card.
But best of all are the AT&T-land deals. In addition to the aforementioned Motorola c139 twofer deal, you can get a Motorola v176 free with a 1-year card. Or a Motorola c261 with a double-minute one-year card. Or, best of all, buy a 200-minute card and get a Motorola c261 for free. Of course, all of these "free phones" are refurbished, but the 200-minute card deal is just plain awesome. I don't think you can find a cameraphone with 200 minuets of airtime elsewhere for $40. Or pay $50 more and get a double-minute card to add to the fun. But wait...couldn't you just grab a $15 Motorola c139...yeah, it's pretty sweet in terms of Tracfone phone deals right now.
Now on to Net10...
...which hasn't changed their deals as far as I can tell. But they've added two phones: the reasonably midrange, camera-less LG 1500 for $59.99, and the all-new camera-packing version of the Motorola w370, this time in black, the w375...for $80. The w370 has been reduced to $70. So now you have a decent choice of cameraphones on Net10: for $80 you can get either a Motorola bar phone or a Motorola external-display-less flip (though the colored icons are really cool). Or for $90 get the LG 225, that does have an external screen. Sweet.
You can't get these deals in non-AT&T areas (or zip-code-lookups rather, by changing tech= in your web browser to GSM4). But you can still get a Nokia 1600 with 300 minutes of airtime plus another $30 in bonus airtime (added in $10 blocks as you add airtime cards) if you so desire...for $30. On the CDMA side the Kyocera K126 is $30, and the LG 200c is $50, $10 less than my parents got theirs for at Wal-Mart. Though I wish Tracfone would come out with a truly signal-rich CDMA phone on Net10, because the LG 200c...isn't quite.
Anyway, hope this updates people with regard to the prepaid scene just a bit. More stuff coming later. And of course check out the forum! There's a ton of prepaid info there.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Sorry about the LG 200c review. I'll get that up sometime in the near future...
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Cool aside: right now my outside-window view (minus the parking lot) is like one of those snow-shaker bubble things. Finally, confirmation that I'm in Colorado :)
Anyhow, a few quick updates before I get back to work:
Looks like the Twofer deals have been replaced by 120-minute card and Double-for-Life deals, with the latter being randomly included in phones and the former being similar to what was happening before with twofer deals, except 50% more expensive...
On the CDMA side, you have three deals: the Kyocera K126C (new, who know...*sarcastic smiley*) with the 120-minute card, the LG 200c with the standard 1-year card and the LG 3280 with the 1-year double-minute card. The crazy thing is that all three phones look to be new...Tracfone isn't using this as a way to offload refurbished phones...yet...
On GSM, both the LG 225 and the Motorola c139 (!) are now available with double minutes for life (I don't think it's a card though) at no extra charge! Not that they're terribly great phones, byt the Motorola c139 is $15 with a $50-value card loaded onto the phone! Also, the Motorola v176 comes free with a 1-year card and the Motorola c261 with a 1-year double-minutes card. Both appear to be refurbished.
Additionally, for places that don't have AT&T service, the 1-year deal includes either a Motorola c155 or a c139, the double-minute 1-year deal includes a Motorola v170, and there is a 120-minute card deal...which includes the Motorola v170.
There have been a lot of things coming out with Virgin Mobile...
First off, the Marbl (down to $20) is now available in purple and sky blue in addition to black. Yay novelty...just wish that the Marbl was a faster phone. Similarly the Super Slice is now available in an all-red model (limited edition already!?!).
Second, the Wild_Card aka Kyocera M1000 is out in stores and will be online on the 24th. Seems to be a decent phone, especially for texting...
...which sadly looks to be going up to 10 cents per message either way in the very near future, with a slightly more expensive cheap-per-month plan that'll give you 6-cent texts as opposed to the current 4-cent-per-text plan. The higher-end text plans will remain unchanged, and a new $20-a-month unlimited plan will be intro'd in a day or two from now.
Aside from various deals, that's about it for Virgin Mobile...
Two quick things: the Motorola w375 (yes, the cameraphone version of the w370) is already available in stores and will soon be available online, for $80. Not too bad for a full-featured Net10 handset. The LG c1500 is now available on Net10's website, for $60.
Well, that's about it. Thanks for bearing with me...now back to homework and other such drudgery.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Anyhow, I grabbed the Net10 LG 200c for $60 today (as opposed to Tracfone's $30). Yes, Net10 now has CDMA phones in-store. So you can skip the daily fees of INPulse and get 10 cent minutes on a coverage area that's pretty near rock solid.
I'll be posting a quick review of the 200c up soon, however for now let's just say that it's a downgraded refresh of the LG 3280. It's a very solid phone, however it is missing a few 3280-specific features so you can see why it's priced at $30 instead of $50. But for basic users (Tracfone's audience, remember?) it's a slight bump up from the 3280. Again, I'll be talking more on this later.
About the WildCard, it is out at retail though not at Virgin Mobile's own website. Seems to be a decent phone (for a change considering it is made by Kyocera). I hope to get a hold of one for a quick review as well.
Speaking of Virgin Mobile, woe is the cellular industry; everyone is raising texting rates and it looks like Virgin Mobile is gonna follow suit, with an increase to 10 cents per text effective soon. There will be a 6-cent-per-text bundle pack and a new unlimited $20-a-month messaging pack (cool! reminds me of contract plans!) however I'm really sad to see the carriers nickel-and-diming (or in this case diming, in other cases really nickel-and-diming, in other cases dime-and-diming!) people to death on the occasional text. Someone needs to invent some other means of amazing cellular communication soon so the carriers will make texting chap again and start overcharging for a feature that is a bit less integral to the avid cellular user's daily life!
Though at least those of us\you who are on Tracfone and especially Net10 are safe; no bundles means that Net10 will now be the cheapest per text of anyone, at a mere 5 cents apiece, on Verizon and Cingular no less! Good deal, them thar on-phone airtime decreenters, though I'm sure Tracfone will find an insidious way to trick us out of our cheap texts when the time has come ;).
Well, off to other things now. Just letting everyone kow that I'm alive and at least partly well :). And that I go for prepaid (pun intended) more than ever now...I'm sticking a T-Mobile To Go SIM chip in my newly-unlocked, two-day-old iPhone and using the phone on my college WiFi network for the ultimate in both amazing experience and pay-as-you-go bliss!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Boost Mobile has intro'd a new phone and beefed up their more expensive plan. The Motorola w385 is the phone ($130 vs. $100 for the Moto c290) and the $50 plan is the one they beefed up.
About the phone, the $30 price difference is worth every penny. You get everything from a built-in camera to GPS with location based fun to an external display to a slimmer profile. Granted, this probably suffers from some of the same "cheapness" flaws that you could aim at the w370 on Tracfone, but I remember the w370 to be a solid phone overall so no big deal there.
As for the plan, the $5 difference between it and the regular "unlimited talk" plan is that you now get both unlimited text AND multimedia messaging, right in line with the $5 most other unlimited carriers charge for the privelege. Oh, and Sprint's network sends the unlimited carriers crying home to mommie in terms of data capability so far as I've seen...granted, the current boost Unlimited phones are 1x-only and the unlimited carriers have rumors of EvDO rollouts, but Sprint has a nationwide network where on 1x you can get double-dialup speeds. Versus CricKet or MetroPCS whose data services don't work out of their relatively small coverage areas.
But enough blabbing about this stuff...my point is that Boost intro'd a new unlimited phone and plan, and the world is just a tad better as a result.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Second, Net10 now has an option that actually costs less than 10 cents a minute! Pay $75 a month (though minutes roll over of course) and you get 1000 minutes...which makes for 7.5 cent minutes and 3.75 cent texts wherever you may travel in the U.S. And now with the introduction of the LG 200c and Kyocera K126c, wherever really means wherever.
Third, Net10 has introduced some pretty good deals otherwise. For example, the Nokia 1600, refurbished, comes with a $30 airtime card for a mere $30. geesh, I need to get one of these for review purposes, though I think I'll be getting in some other phones first (possibly the Virgin Mobile Super Slice and some T-Mobile phones).
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
www.itsyouriphone.com (my site; info on unlocking the iPhone, paid or unpaid, see the various blog posts)
www.freeit4less.com (partly my site; buy the iPhoneSIMFree software unlock for $45...and it does work)
www.hacktheiphone.com (other iPhone info, including hacking the iPhone to use on any variant of Cingular\AT&T...but not AT&T Wireless)
You can take a look at basically all of what Tracfone offers (minus the LG 3280 and the LG 3280 plus double minute card deals) here:
Also, Net10 is now selling the Kyocera K126C! $29.99 including $30 of "bonus" airtime. Interesting...finally CDMa is ten cents a minute prepaid anywhere...
Last, Best Buy now has the Super Slice in stock:
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I'll probably have to review the Super Slice. :) I'll go ahread and order it over the weekend I suppose...and maybe the Aloha after that...plus some T-Mobile phones...
Saturday, September 08, 2007
1. The Virgin Mobile LG Aloha was spotted, with no price tag, at Best Buy by Chris from the forum. Though there was no price tag, it's safe to assume it'll be sold for $35 (not $30) like everywhere else says. Now if only they'll get the phone up on the website!
2. Quick promo code for $10 added to your phone, which may or may not work: 7372007. Thanks logan!
EDIT: The_Sweeper picked one up for $34.99.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
1. On the Virgin mobile front, looks like the Super Slice is going to have a new Virgin Mobile UI. Wonder what it'll be...oh, and expected retail price in a few weeks will be $60. Not too shabby.
2. Net10 has the Motorola w375...just the name, nothing else...on their phone descriptions page. Maybe a mistake...it's the w370 plus a camera and Bluetooth...maybe not...
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
1. The Net10 versio of the LG C1500 is out!
At $60 with $30 included airtime...which doesn't look to be "bonus airtime" like some of the other Net10 handsets, the price ain't bad for a color flip with an external screen. Now let's just hope it comes to Tracfone with such a sweet price...as in, including double minutes or some other such madness at this price...
2. Also at Wal-Mart, the Kyocera Cyclops is down to $50. Come on guys, put out those new phones now.
Monday, September 03, 2007
1. The Nokia 1100 is back on Tracfone's website...refurbished...for $9.99. Not a great deal but I'll certainly take it over the Motorola c139...
2. ...which is selling for the same "blowout" price at Office Depot. Which is nice...maybe they'll finally get rid of that phone.
3. At CDMA-stocked Family Dollar stores, the LG 3280 is a mere $20. I'd say it's worth every penny of that...
And now for the new stuff!
1. The LG 200C is now available on Tracfone CDMA...for a mere $30! Check your local CDMA-carrying store...try Wal-Mart or maybe elsewhere. Can't wait to get my hands on this one to review...
2. The Kyocera K126C is also out, for $15. Now whether it's worth that much is a very good question, but hey, it's another phone. Check your local Dollar General store if they offer CDMA...I'll bet my 3280 that these'll be available as a "twofer" deal in the near future.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
...well, now you can. I'm getting into the business of unlocking one of the most advanced phones in the history of mankind (one of the other ones is my very own Sprint Mogul which I won't give up for the iPhone ;P). Via software so it's less dangerous to do than the hardware unlocks.
I'll be doing the unlocks either via iPhoneSIMFree or UniquePhones, whichever offers me a better deal. The problem being right now that iPhoneSIMFree is going to cost anyone willing to sign up a boatload ($36 per unlock for 50 unlocks, minimum). Hopefully UniquePhones will offer me a better deal.
I'm saying that to say this: if you want to use an iPhone on T-Mobile To Go or whoever else that uses GSM for their network I'll be selling unlocked iPhones on eBay (my ID is littmanc) in relatively short order. Or if you want to just buy the unlock I might be able to do that too, though unnfortunately to recoup the initial layout there'll be a bit of markup there at first.
At any rate, the iPhone is now officially network-free risk-free though you'll be a little more money-free for the privilege. But hey, if you're gonna use the phone on T-Mobile To Go for a lot of WiFi-based apps and not very much talking, you'll make back your outlay versus paying homaage to the AT&T beast...
Nokia 2610 - $39.99 - Nice, small bar phone...I think I'll grab one to review and maybe keep...
Nokia 6103 - $59.99 - Nice camera-toting, Bluetooth-enabled flip phone...a bit older but nice and inexpensive...maybe I'll get it as well...
Also, all phones currently available except the 2610 (namely the 6103, the 6030, the Samsung Stripe and the Sidekick 3) include a $25 refill card when you buy them, so you start off with $40 credit on your phone (versus $15 normally) or, alternatively, you have a phone for $25 less than you thought you did :). Oh, and DealKing and FatWallet both will give you $5 back for using their links to buy the phone.
But yeah, I may have to get one or the other of these phones...I just hope T-Mobile won't be like AT&T and forbid entrance because my address is in a dorm (which still lets you get packages; you just havve to go up to the front desk and ask for them...),
Seriously, though, there's another reason besides the large mound of homework slowly growing smaller on my dorm room dresser: www.prepaidphone.com.
Yes, folks, I am their main "content guy" when it comes to the folks powering PrepaidPhone: the folks at PrepaidWireless, and then some. Granted, there are plenty of affiliate links to go around, but from browsing the site I have no problem with 'em and it's really neat to see what amounts to an end-all, be-all site for prepaid phone and service info, if you're looking to compare\look up phones and serices.
The site may seem a tad bare at the moment (or it may not...there's a TON of content on there actually), but I\we (we being myself and the rest of the PrepaidPhone team) are working on adding pretty much continually to the site so it will end up being pretty much the only site you need for prepaid info. Until of course you want to buy something at which point you'll be happily ushered off to an afiliate, whether that's eBay, AT&T or PrepaidWireless.com.
But anyhow it is already\is going to be a really, really great source for prepaid info so I suggest you stop over there and see what I've been working on :) It's definately worth a visit.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
1. Tracfone LG CG225 for $59.99 at Target.com ($20 cheaper than elsewhere, but no $50-value double minutes)
2. Another iWireless company, actually the first company to call itself iWireless as far as I know...a division of Cincinnati Bell...
3. T-Mobile revises minute rounding policies (you still get at least as many minutes as you're paying for with the refill, but maybe not as many extra)
And, last but not least...
4. Virgin Mobile is going to intro a LOT of new phones! All of which look pretty good...some of which we know about already...but some of which were heretofore unbeknownst and look sweet...
I'd post more information\commentary\etc. but I'm in a Physics lecture and messed up on yet another quick quiz question...:/...so gotta go...
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Anyhow, they actually offer decent plans and a good selection of phones. While I still can't figure out how they're able to get away with calling themselves iWireless and even using the old iWireless logo (CinBell has had an iWireless brand for awhile now) they're pretty neat...
Based at www.iwirelesshome.com, they offer two plans: 25 cent weekday minutes and 10 cent nights and weekends starting at 7 or $5 a month for 10 cent minutes all the time. In other words, if you're going to use 34 or more weekday minutes per month the $5 plan is better. Both neither plan is all that bad...considering everyone else's offerings...
Text messaging, like the good old days, is 10 cents to send per message and free to receive. Always a good thing.
The phone selection is pretty broad. Phones and prices are below...but note that you have to add at least $20 of airtime to the phones to start service. One good thing: airtime expiration is 90 days...
Sanyo Katana - $120 (cheap)
LG 225 - $100 (expensive)
LG 150 - $70 (expensive but possibly worth it)
Sanyo 2400 - $65 (expensive but probably worth it)
LG 125 - $40 (decently priced)
Nokia 2125i - $20 (decently priced)
UTStarCom 7025 - $20 (decently priced)
The phone selection has some rather unique phones in it (Sanyo 2400, Nokia 2125i, LG 150) and is not too expensive, and the rate plans (which operate on Sprint's network a la Virgin Mobile and STi) are decent. So if you jsut wanted to talk and text and didn't do a ton of both (thus not justifying a monthly plan from Virgin Mobile) this carrier is better than the big VM...especially since the phones aren't Kyocera junk!
But I'm definately keeping my eye on this carrier...
Locus Platinum (Verizon)
$10 - 83 minutes - 30 days (12 cents per minute)
$20 - 222 minutes - 60 days (9 cpm)
$30 - 428 minutes - 60 days (7 cpm)
$50 - 833 minutes - 90 days (6 cpm)
$100 - 2000 minutes - 120 days (5 cpm)
Looks like they're competing against Page Plus except with better per-minute pricing and shorter expirations...and no monthly fee. So now you can talk 500 minutes per month and pay $25 for it...no contract required. Sick ;) Oh, and these prices are not limited-time like the other pricing below, which extends from 8/1 till 12/31 this year.
O2 Wireless (AT&T)
$30 - 500 minutes - 6 cents per minute - 30 days
Rewards ups to $44 for 733 minutes - 4.1 cents per minute !?!
$50 - 1000 minutes - 5 cents per minute - 30 days
Rewards ups to $78 for 1560 minutes - 3.2 cents per minute !?!?!?!?!?!
I had no idea that these guys even bought the minutes as low as this price! Granted, you have to spend $250 on service to get rewards rates, but for an anytime minute plan (if you don't talk much on nights\weekends anyway) this blows even contract plans outta the water! Geesh...only a few $50 calling cards can beat the rewards rate on Oxygen! *shakes head* No, I'm perfectly happy with my Sprint SERO plan...but anyone wanting to try out prepaid...well...this is your opportunity to do it!
Locus Mobile GSM (AT&T)
I honestly don't know what's going on here, but I think these guys are also offering 5 cent minutes in one form\fashion or another. Insane, I tell you...
CallPlus Wireless (AT&T)
Looks like these guys have the same "ultra rate" offering as Oxygen, except without rewards and with a 25-cent-per-day fee. Still, 5 or 6 cents a minute is darn good!
POP GSM (AT&T)
See Oxygen, except without the rewards. Still, it's dang insane!
So if you need a phone for four months and want insane rates, grab O2 if you can find it. If you want great rates for a longer period of time, with a lower monthly minimum, you have Locus Platinum. Granted, Page Plus has a lower monthly minimum than Locus Platinum on all but the highest-end Page Plus refill, but if you want incredibly cheap minutes because you're going to use a lot of 'em, Locus Platinum beats Page Plus by about 12% on per-minute cost.
Now if only the mainstream carriers would lower their rates...
...and now for the promised tidbits. First off, Page Plus is rebranding soon, I hear. You'll be hearing\seeing more of them in mainstream media, but I also hear that the rates will continue to drop. I don't want to say anymore for fear that I've already said too much...
...and one more thing: check back here tomorrow. I have an announcement about something I've helped work on, related to prepaid...and it's big...
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
1. The 30-minute card is gone. Nice idea but I guess Tracfone didn't like the high cost per transaction, which means of course lower profit for them. Why they even had it is another question altogether but ah well...
2. There has been a report at the forum that the LG CG225 may need reprogramming so that you get what you paid for: double minutes for life. As in, it doesn't look to come with it...odd, huh? Just keep this in mind when you get one of these new phones.
3. Net10 now has the LG CG225, just a week or two after it came out on Tracfone! The price for this phone is the same across both providers, yhough the Net10 version comes with 300 bonus minutes (note, not free minutes anymore...more on that in number 5) instead of the double minutes for life found on Tracfone. Overall not a horrible deal considering the Motorola c261 is $80 as well.
4. Net10 has lowered prices on a few of their phones, which is always a nice thing. The Motorola v176 is now $60 and the Motorola c261, as mentioned, is $80. However, if you're in a CellularOne\Dobson (now part of AT&T...almost) user you're stuck with two relatively expensive phones: the Nokia 2600 for $40 or the Motorola v171 for $60. Oh well...pretty soon everyting will be T-Mobile or AT&T based.
5. Looks like Net10 is measuring the bonus airtime a new way. Now on the Nokia 1600, Motorola w370 and LG CG225, you get merely 100-minute bonuses on your first three refills, rather than 300 minutes outright with the phone. I'm supposing that this hasn't spread to other phone models, but I'd not be surprised if it has...:/
And now I'm caught up with prepaid happenings. On to other activities, which may or may not be related to prepaid, depending on how tired I end up being after I get ready for my second night at the dorm...
Which may well be enough for some people. Just don't use your phone too much, otherwise Liberty Wireless will find the plan too expensive and phase it out. But I hope not.
Liberty Wireless phones, since the plans are hybrid, are pretty inexpensive for prepaid, which is a good thing.
The only downside to LW's unlimited plan is that the $100 it costs (the cost of a typical carrier's 1350 minute postpaid plan, plus unlimited texting so really not a horrible plan cost-wise if you're going to use that many minutes) doesn't include taxes and fees, which include some wierd $4 "system access fee" that is, needless to say, rather underhanded\annoying. Then again, you'e got a plethora (would you say I have...a plethora?) of carriers that have $xx-without-taxes prepaid plans. So all you can do here is shrug and take the plan, or not.
Well, one other downside: this is Sprint-network-only. Which puts it in indirect comparison to the coverage-limited Boost Unlimited service that Sprint is rolling out in Texas and California, which costs half as much.
But at least there is a network-wide unlimited plan...
...though I have to start a quick rant here: someone who submitted a story to the Prepaid Press (a big news site on all things in the prepaid industry, from phones to long distance card to debit cards) said that prices would undoubtedly get lower on the Liberty Wireless unlimited plan as time went on. To which I say, uh uh. The cost of providing unlimited minutes is going to be high for Liberty Wireless, sorta the same with text messages, ince they're very likely still paying by minute and by text to Sprint. So I really DON'T see the price getting much\any lower...whoever wrote that article is...well...I dunno really...
Next up, developments on Net10 and Tracfone.
Anyhow, while doing work for PrepaidWireless (I'm doing a lot of that lately) I found out about Picante Mobile...right when they launched their service, which was about a week ago.
They're from the same company as ReadyMobile, Mojo Mobile, MovilListo, etc. except with a different tack on things...one that I actually thought about intro'ing if I had enough money to start an MVNO...you pay X cents a minute for anytime minutes, then buy unlimited night\weekend cards as you need them.
Granted, Picante Mobile, available at www.mipicante.com, doesn't have hot rates or anything; 12.5 cents a minute for anytime minutes. But hear me out:
Regular refills start at $5 (cool!) and all last 30 days with 12.5 cent minutes. Nice and simple.
The night\weekend cards start out at expensive per day ($5...cool again...for 3 days of unlimited night calling) and as you get more expensive get less expensive per day ($10 gets a week of unlimited nights and weekends, and $20 gets 4 weeks of unlimited nights and weekends). If these nights and weekends start at a reasonable hour (as opposed to ReadyMobile\Mojo Mobile's 10 p.m. nights\weekends) then all is cool. If not then...hmph...
There's also...get this...a one-year service extension card for a mere $20. Granted, it doesn't include minutes or anything but still, that makes Picante a nice "glove-box" carrier if Sprint's home network is enough for you in emergency situations.
The nights and weekends had better start at a decent time, and the rates are a little higher than a typical "hybrid" carrier's, and the phone selection is rather limited (Sanyo MVP, LG 5225, Sanyo 4900...okay phone but still rather limited) but I really like the idea behind this carrier's rate structure, hence my posting here.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
...and yes, I'll be back with more news and such tomorrow, sometime. I wrote this post because I was waiting for a odcast to download (CNet's Buzz Out Loud) over a rather slow hotel 'net connection. But I digress...
...coming soon, Liberty Wireless introduces an unlimited plan and Picante Mobile offers a prepaid model that, while more expensive than others, is one I had actually thought of as something someone should do...
Monday, August 13, 2007
Oh, and by the way, the short answer to the CDMA and GSM question, CDMA is what Verizon, Sprint, Alltel and others use. GSM is what is mainly used internationally, plus what is used by Cingu...er...AT&T and T-Mobile, plus other smaller carriers, here. There's a bit more tech to the whole thing than that, which I covered in a post awhile back...my how I love search boxes...
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Costco now has the Samsung t219 (TMobile-to-go) Value Pack for:$79.99 -
$20 instant rebate - $30 MIR = $29.99. The value pack includes the phone,
10 minute card, hands-free headset,vehicle charger, leather case.
Cool deal, thanks Steve!
By the way, Wednesday I begin my two-day car journey with family up to Golden, Colorado. Because I gotta be there Friday for some stuff...and Tuesday school starts at Colorado School of Mines. Wish me luck\pray for me etc. :)
Friday, August 10, 2007
1. The Motorola w370 is now available on Net10! After rolling out eyes and saying "it's about time!" we see that the phone is $80...not incredibly affordable but hey, it's $50 on Tracfone and comes with $30 worth of airtime so I'll give 'em that.
2. The Turk is keeping very good track of the promotional codes available, and coming up with new ones etc. See the list in its full glory below:
3. The Tracfone Motorola v170 at Wal-Mart.com has broken the $20 barrier. If you're at a loss as to whether to get this at that price or a Motorola c139 for $5 less, the v170 is the right choice. Though the twofer deal still includes the c139...darn it...
Second, I'm rethinking the reviews section again. I'll be putting up a new way to access the reviews section relatively soon, probably within a week, but for now just use the Google box to search for "review" without the quotes to find all the phone reviews.
Interestingly, looks like also that the double minute promotion is preloaded onto the phone. Now you can take that one of two ways: either they're offering a nice deal and giving you a flip cameraphone for $30, the same price as the Moto c261...
...or they may make a habit of doing double minutes included in their more expensive phones. Which makes this phone a ho-hum deal but makes the minutes some of the cheapest in the prepaid industry. Now a $40 refill with the 225...out of the box...gets you 10 cent plus 5 cent per "web minute" picture messaging...so even if you take a decently large picture and it takes forever (3 minutes) to send you're only out 25 cents, the same as you'd pay on another carrier's prepaid plan. Oh, and did I mention that this also means minutes are...at most...16.7 cents apiece anywhere GSM service is available, again out of the box? And you can get 'em down below 10 cents a minute without too much trouble (read: twofer deals and promo codes).
Or maybe I'm being too excited. Maybe they're just trying to keep the "twofer effect" from happening with the LG by preloading the double minute card, which it looks like they're doing, and basically making the phone $30 with a mandatory purchase of a double minute card, which isn't so horrible either considering that the going price for a basic flip cameraphone elsewhere is $40 (INPulse UTStarCom 7075, Virgin Mobile Snapper w\PayPal discount).
Thursday, August 09, 2007
idk if your intrested but if you buy a slice,snapper, or cyclops and use code:PPBTS7 and pay via paypal you get 20% off
...thanks and hope this helps! This puts the Cyclops and Snapper at a mere 48 bucks apiece and the Slice at twenty-four...wow...
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Now whether this flip cameraphone is better than the bar-phone c261 is another matter, but I'll review it sooner or later. But the big deal is now you have a cheap choice of multiple cameraphones on Tracfone, and choice on prepaid is always a good thing.
EDIT: Yes, you do have to buy the bundle...the phone isn't $30 alone.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Hope you like this new addition to Go4Prepaid! Just click on Go4Prepaid + Greentel on the link bar to access the site!
Hope you like the new design!
Monday, August 06, 2007
I just looked on AirVoice's site and found a few things:
1) The daily fee is incurred only on days you use the phone (to talk or text). Like GoPhone's pay-per-day plan. Which makes the service not so horribly overpriced.
2) "Funny money" is still around, and this time minutes are set at 10 cents apiece. So while on the $10 card you're paying 30 cents for the first minute of each day, on the $100 card you're paying 24 cents and 8 cents per minute after that. Well...actually a bit more than that, more like 25 and 8.33 since you're getting a 20% bonus on airtime instead of a 20% discount (yay math) but it's still a better deal than you'd think.
3) Because of the daily fee (I guess) airtime expiration is now tiered. $10 lasts 90 days as before, but now $20 lasts 120, $30 lasts 150, $50 lasts 180 and $100 lasts a year. Granted, the best cost per month is still on the cheapest refills but when you can get good rates and good expiration on a high-demonination card like is now possible it's just plain nice.
So Airvoice didn't turn quite as evil as first reports said, though it's still not for everybody.
Second, GoPhone prices have fluctuated. Here they are:
Nokia 6030 (Refurb) - $10 (!)
Sony Ericsson J220a (Refurb) - $10
Motorola c139 - $20 (?)
Nokia 2610 (Refurb) - $10 (!!!)
Motorola c168i - $40 (hm...figures)
Pantech c120 (Refurb) - $20
Samsung a117 - $60 (new phone!)
Nokia 2610 - $50
Pantech c3b - $90
Nokia 6102i - $100
Motorola Razr Black\Silver - $130 (finally!)
Now that you've seen the price dros (or in the case of the Motorola, raises), let me make a shameless beg...
Thanks to The_Sweeper and Bill In NC for letting me review the Nokia 6030 and the Motorola c168i. I can't get AT&T phones here so that really helps...
...so I'm asking anyone else who has\wants to get one of the following phones...
Sony Ericsson J220a
...to loan it to me for maybe a week so I can review it. For this you'll get my sincere thanks for supporting this site...and probably more 'n' that. Again, thanks t everyone for coming here and showing your support for this site...I'm glad to ahve earned it!
first, I was actually able to test the phone, even though it has Cingular branding...because it's easy to unlock. In fact, it arrived to me unlocked. So I stuck my T-Mobile To Go SIM in the phone and went...
...and I'm overall satisfied with this phone.
Battery life is fine...I didn't charge it when I got it and it lasted...hmm...eight or nine days and it's still showing a bar of battery left. I'd call that impressive for a phone with a decently-sized color screen and that had a little bit of activity going on during its discharging.
Reception-wise the phone also seems fine Again, I'm faced with the dilemna that I now only have one T-Mobile SIM (sold the other some) but the reception does seem to be qite good where I've gone, even inside a big metal building where my Sprint Mogul (good at reception actually) and a friend's Cingular phone (actually the Motorola c168i at that point as I was lending it to her for review) were faltering.
On build quality, at first I thought this phone seemed a bit junky, but now it seems much less so. Granted, it's not quite built like a Motorola w370 or suchlike, but it's pretty well-built. Not too incredibly thin either, especially when compared with stuff like the Slice and even the c168i, but it's not too bad thickness-wise and the extra thickness means extra battery life. All in all the phone looks pretty and doesn't disappoint when it comes to how it feels.
Feature-wise, this phone is pretty much as full-featured as you can get without having a camera or mp3 player on the phone. As such, it uses Nokia's grid-style menu system, which isn't as fun as their single-icon version but it works. An interesting omission (at least on the Cingular version) is any decent number of ringtones...it was like using a Virgin Mobile phone, as far as how few the choices were. At least the speaker was high-quality, though not earth-shatteringly loud, and at least the phone supports mp3 ringers.
Maybe I'm ovelooking something, but the Nokia 6030 also seems to be a pretty solid phone for someone who dosn't need a camera or advanced features like that, and in this case you get a bit more solid platform in exchange for a bit thicker formfactor. And it's unlockable, and available on both T-Mobile and Cingular. Sounds good to me.
First off, since the phone is locked to AT&T\Cingular, I had to have a friend use her contract paln SIM with the phone for awhile. But that was fine...she came to the conclusion (as did I) that the phone was good for the prepaid audience...not a lot of features, but a pretty good phone anyway. Then again, her main phone is the Motorola Rokr...
Anyway, as to the things that count, reception seemed okay, though I couldn't really test apples to apples because I didn't have two people's Cingular phones (this one eing one of them) side by side to tell. From what I heard though, voice calls sounded very good on this phone, which is great for such a cheap device.
In the build quality arena this phone ain't bad at all. Everything feels solid, though the buttons are a tad small for my tastes. Then again, the phone is pretty thin and small in general, while sporting a decently-sized screen, so I really can't complain about button size. Heck, the phone even looks pretty cool, though the absence of a camera renders this phone decidedly basic. Oh, and it looks to be the first prepaid phone to bear the AT&T logo, which in my opinion i way cool compared with Cingular's jack guy...but all the logo animations in the world won't make me switch carriers :).
For battery life, this phone wasn't the shining star that some phones are, but it survived a respectable five and a half days on a full charge with maybe 40 minutes of talking and some usage of other funnctions, including plying through all of the phone's many polyphonic ringers, which I'll talk about in a minute. But as far as battery life goes, this phone, while not too amazing, is no slouch, especially for a thin phone.
Getting into the less pivotal features for a phone (in my opinion), this Moto is pretty much like the Motorola w370, except without the external display and with the UI tailored for the smaller, square-format screen. It still is definately Compal\Motorola, but there are some hints of phones like the v180 mixed in, which lends a decent quality to the UI. Though I'm not a fan of the way Motorola does their interface...nobody is.
One flaw I noticed, which also affected the w370, is that text messaging is not too easy to do on the phone's keypad, which is rather rigid, especially since the iTAP predictive text can't keep up with you if you're even a moderately fast texter. But maybe you can handle that...
Lastly, this phone has a speakerphone, which is nice and loud for ringers and such, but tends to be prety muddy and clips the audio a bit even at lower volumes. Wierd, but at least it's loud, and at least you have a large amount of ringtones to choose from.
Well, that's about it. I have no problem with this phone, other than the texting slowness and (for me) lack of features, but there are some people to which these problems don't matter. If these people also use an AT&T\Cingular-based service, whether GoPhone or otherwise (especially otherwise, since those carriers only need voice and text anyway), this phone may well be a great fit for them, and on top of that it looks good!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Oh, and this code expires the 13th or so...
Friday, August 03, 2007
About my prolonged absence, I was in Vidor, Texas...and as I write am on my way back from there...on a mission trip of sorts. In a nutshell, a large group from my small church worked to rebuild a hurricane-damaged (Rita) house and put on a "Backyard Bible Club" nearby. I was part of the team that did the latter. It was a great trip, though I didn't have much time for internet and was limited to 1x browsing...though it was obvious from the flickering of status icons on my phone that an EvDO launch was imminent...
But to the topic of all things prepaid...
First off, Tracfone has updated their website. Their phone buying module is now integrated into the design of their main website (for the first time ever) and promotions have been updated a bit along with the facelift.
I'd like to apologize for not reporting the short (maybe a day or two) usage of none other than the Nokia 2126 as the CDMA "twofer" phone...a real steal if you as me...but that hot deal unfortunately passed very quickly and we're again left with Nokia 2285s in that area. However Tracfone is now giving phones away with their double minute 1-year cards (going back to when the older double minute card was also pitched with free phones, with the same $139.99 cost), and the phones aren't that hat shabby. For CDMA areas, the free phone is a refurbished LG 3280. For AT&T areas it's the Motorola c261. For other GSM areas it's the Motorla v170. All phones but the LG are sold piecemeal for thirty bucks so it's really not a raw deal if you're wanting that much airtime anyway. This time around the "free" phones are halfway decent, especially when contrasted against the low-end twofer models.
Next on news bits, Verizon has bought Unicel...or rather its parent compsny, following relatively closely on AT&T's acquisition of Dobson CellularOne. Except Verizon is converting Unicel's underlying technology to CDMA so its coverage areas, and subscribers, will be native Verizon property, though thankfully GSM roaming is still gonna be possible, as it's a cash cow for VZW. What this means is that Verizon prepaids, as well as CDMA based providers that roam on Verizon, will get a boost in coverage. Specifically Tracfone and Page Plus, which is cool. Especially since it's a win-win situaton what with GSM service sticking around.
Even though I prefer Sprint to Verizon for substantiated fanboy reasons...go VZW!
Lastly, Amp'd isn't dying totally...it's turning into a zombie, in exactly the style of SunRocket, by being acquired by USA Telecom and being "integrated" (turned into, for all practical purposes for all emaining subscribers) Prexar Mobile. How that name rolls off the tongue I dunno, but their offering I'm sure has the designers of Amp'd rolling in their graves...
First off, a probably unrelated news bit knocks one of the four Amp'd phones out of commission: bugs (?) have led Verizon to decommission all Motorola e816 "Hollywood" phones. PC Magazine loved this phone when it came out and I'm wondering what in the world the problems were that knocked this phone off the network...at least, now that Amp'd is gone. But hmmm...
That leaves basically Slider Remixes, Razrs and a few Q's to convert to Prexar, or even if you were in a contract leave for elsewhere. Prexar's offering is slim: plans that at first glance are like Verizon proper's. Except they might be a little cheaper, they eschew mobile to mobile and night/weelend minutes are earlier (7 p.m.) and limited to 3000 a month. Text messaging is 10 cents per message a la carte, or available in bundles that, when compared with Virgin Mobile's offerings, are downright ripoffs. Mobile to mobile can be had but it's just Prexar to Prexar...in other words it's probably not worth having. Phone choice is...um...bad, with four available phones at retail prices (what you pay if you want a bare non-contract phone on postpaid) unless you sign a contract. And even then the prices are lousy.
To top it all off, the deadline to pick your Prexar plan was a few days ago...I really think there were only a few thousand people who made the switch to a service this featureless compared with the provider that just vanished from under their feet.
One last thing, and now I'm off my Prexar soapbox: Airvoice changed their rates just recently. They're now flat-rate and fee-driven...ten cent minutes plus daily and monthly fees. Twenty cents per day to be exact. I would personally defect to Net10 if you use a fair amount of minutes, or Tracfone if you don't, as the fee structure on the new Airvoice doesn't look good considering the alternatives. Though you can use whatever compatible GSM phone you want on Airvoice...the point is that things have changed rate-wise and you may want to consider looking elsewhere because their focus cost-wise has changed as a result.
Well, that's it for now...reviews for the Nokia 6030 and Motorola c168i coming soon!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
For starters, I noticed that the construction of the Motorola phone actually beats that of the Nokia, but that's probably only because the send\end\softkeys on the Nokia are big blocks of plastic that extend to the phone's edges rather than typical buttons as seen on the more conventional Motorola. I also gotta say that the term "basic phone" has been redefined with these phones...I wouldn't mind carrying one around if I needed to keep my Mogul safe elsewhere, either style-wise or feature-wise...
...though of course I still would use my Mogul as my main phone as these two models...well...they don't run Windows! :)
Let me end with a shameless plug: support this site! Thanks to you two guys who sent me the phones...everyone else can support this site by posting in the forums when there's news that I haven't gotten yet, and clicking on sponsored links in the mean time. And of course if you have a friend that might find this site useful, by all means tell them! Thanks a bunch everyone for helping make this such a great, highly-visited site!
Friday, July 27, 2007
But I'm posting from my phone anyway. Because T Wal-Mart...at least my local store...has marked their stock of Slices down to $24.74. Five bucks less than the cost of the phone elsewhere. Interesting...
According to T-Mobile, all systems for re-upping users prepaid phone minutes
(online, phone-based, and refill hotspots) are not only currently inoperable,
but have not been functioning correctly for the past three days. As a result, no
minutes can be added to customers phones, but T-Mobile says that users of its prepaid service can continue to
make calls from their phone with no charge until at least 11 pm tonight, even if
they have no minutes remaining. The company hopes to correct the problems
they're having by this evening, and we'll bring you more info as it becomes
available. In the meantime, use this freebie to catch up with grandma!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
But here's the site;
This guy has AT&T and T-Mobile activations, Tracfone airtime cards, Beyond Wireless GSM refills, Jolt Mobile refills, Jolt PCS (different plan...hybrid on Sprint) refills, BeyondWireless and T-Mobile SIM cards, the Motorola c139 from Beyond Wireless and all the Page Plus services you need (activate, ESN change, phone number change). Most products are marked down from retail, and some are significantly marked down (for example, 8% on Beyond Wireless and Jolt Mobile refills). In short, looks pretty neat...
...speaking of this site and Beyond Wireless GSM and Jolt Mobile, I talked with the guy who owns the site and since he's a direct dealer for Beyond GSM he knows what's happening over there: Beyond GSM is going bye-bye. He still has some SIM cards and phones available but activations are going to dry up. The replacement? Jolt Mobile. Interestingly, their website is www.joltwireless.com.
But anyhow, Jolt Mobile now pretty much mirrors Beyond GSM ( didn't they use to be a hybrid plan or something a year or two back?) on everything, except resellers on airtime get same-value refills as buying direct, the branding of course is a bit different...and airtime varies from not as expensive to more expensive per minute than Beyond...and none of it lasts as long as on Beyond GSM, even when compared with third party sales on Beyond!
To expand, the $5 refill gives 30 minutes and 15 days of service...the same as the "retail" version on Beyond. But the $15 refill, while giving the slightly higher 114 minutes provided with Beyond's web-buy card, lasts only 30 days, making the low-expiration $5 card the least expensive card per month, with a lowst monthly cost of $10 unless you include the grossly overpriced 1-year card (available on both carriers).
The $30 card on Jolt Mobile provides a little less 20% more minutes than...um...the $25 card on Beyond Wireless, purchased via web...making the $25 card a better buy all around, because the $25 card on Beyond lasts a month more than the $30 card on Jolt...the cost per month in this
case is 2x as much!
The $50 card melds the minutes of the web card on Beyond with the lousy expiration of the store-bought card...the only card that has actually gotten better with Jolt is the $100 card, which retains a subpar 90 day expiration but gets an amazingly insignificant 14 minutes extra. So it looks like Beyond GSM wasn't cutting it with retailers because the website was undercutting them, so Beyond Wireless moved completely out of the low cost per month arena (remember the no-minimum-minutes TDMA service?) to level the retail-direct playing field. Blech. Oh, and they offer newer phones (if you can call black and pink Razrs at $20 above eBay cost an advance...or overpriced LG c1300s, Motorola c139s or Motorola v180s for that matter). But personally I wouldn't mind if everyone suddenly realized that at least the GSM-based arm of Beyond Wireless (and I'm inclined to say the CDMA wing too) has become quite uncompetitive...and left. I mean, Locus Mobile offers better rates on their plans and they were expensive compared with Beyond Wireless when both were TDMA. But that's obviously not the case now...
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
First off, the Virgin Mobile announcements, three of them:
1. Virgin Mobile has a new plan: 10 cents when you're talking with Virgin Mobile customers, 20 cents with everyone else. Basically, if you use more than 20% of your minutes (yes, only 20%) calling Virgin Mobile customers, and don't use a lot of minutes anyway...or sped less than 35 minutes a month talking to non-Virgin Mobile customers, this is a really good plan believe it or not. Sorta reminds me of Boost Mobile's pay as you go plan...except that nights and weekends aren't discounted. Still, it's a nice addition if you ask me. Choice is always good.
2. You know the LG Aloha that I talked about a few posts ago? The basic, cool-looking LG flip phone that Alltel also has (running on their U Prepaid service)? Well, now Virgin Mobile lists it as coming soon". Again, it's a basic phone but it's gotta be a world better than the Kyocera Marbl, and likely for the same price. Interesting how Virgin Mobile is converting a bit more to LG and such while Tracfone is...well...read on...but first take a look at the Aloha on VM's website...
3. Oh, and the "Slice II" from UTStarCom for Virgin Mobile is also on their website now...also listed as "Coming Soon". Its name? The "Super Slice". Not highly original, but it's an apt description. Better features include a built-in camera, a bigger, higher-res screen, a raised keypad for less painful texting\dialing for those of us with larger hands, Bluetooth (ooooh! aaaah!) and the high=emd software features like IM and Email that aren't on the original Slice. All this while shaving 0.01" off the thickness of the phone (cool!), making it actually a decent bar phone that wouldn't even be embarrased on a contract plan. I just wonder how much it'll cost...speaking of cost, the original Slice is down to $29.99 in both colors on Virgin Mobile's website, which is cool if anyone needs a dependable basic phone. Anyway, here's the link to VM's Super Lice description:
And now for the two Tracfone news bits...one bigger than the other...
1. For starters, Tracfone now posts the LG C200 as "coming soon" on their website. Yay...a new CDMA phone! But wait...this is the same phone that Alltel and Virgin Mobile are coming out with (you know, the Aloha). But I don't mind...it's new, it's CDMA, it's at least a little more stylish than the LG 3280...and it's SingleRate. See it here:
2. Saving the "best" for last, Tracfone is...and no I'm not kidding and this isn't Virgin Mobile...going to carry a Kyocera phone! Of course, it's a CDMA phone, and this one's decidedly low-end...the "color" display is clearly described as being black-and-white with a pretty background. Oh, and you only get 10 ringtones...at least they're polyphonic. Is this going to be a $10 phone or something...just wondering...at least it's small and looks halfway decent. The model number is the K126c...you can gawk at it here:
And last but not least, the Net10 news...
They're getting CDMA! I know this because the same two phones mentioned for Tracfone...well...they show up as "Coming Soon" on Net10's site as well. Except with different color schemes so both look nicer, especially the Kyocera. Interestingly, the Kyocera is marked "not available in all areas" (I guess Trac doesn't make a lot of money on CDMA compared with GSM) but the LG model isn't. MMisprit or not? I wonder...but at any rate I'm glad the choice of CDMA is nwo available for Net10.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
So what I'm asking is, if someone very supportive of this site would send me either of these three phones for a quick review, after which I'd send it back with my sincerest thanks. Again, it's just because I can't get the phones myself that I'm asking.
If anyone's interested, thanks and let me know!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
First off, so far I haven't found out where to get an unlocked iPhone to do that with...
...so what you're left with is a phone that WILL NOT WORK until it has been activated. You have two choices for activation: the contract plan (with the iPhone data package) and GoPhone Pick Your Plan (with the iPhone data package).
Once you activate, you have a fully functional iPhone. Until you put another SIM (not another carrier's SIM...another SIM) into the iPhone. At which point it wants you to activate that SIM through the same process. Or you can ignore that notice and use everything on the iPhone except stuff that requires network access (calling and EDGE). I repeat: even other Cingular\AT&T GoPhone\contract SIMs won't work in an iPhone until they're activated with that iPhone.
I have heard, however that the iPhone may be unlockable, so that you can even circumvent the "must be activated" restriction. But I haven't seen it yet and for now you gotta activate with some sort of plan...on AT&T.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Second, a bit better news: the Motorola c261 cameraphone on Tracfone is...gasp...$29.99! Making it the cheapest prepaid cameraphone on the market that I know of. So if you're in the market for that sort of thing, now's a good time.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
On the Tracfone side of things, the LG 3280 is...until at least the end of July...$20 at Family Dollar stores. My advice: pick it up already! Granted, it may not have quite the reception of the Nokia 2126i but it is SIngleRate, it is a flip phone and it's not a piece of junk, so it's definately worth $20.
Monday, July 16, 2007
...oh, and they connect your call for free...nice if you're calling from somewhere where long distance isn't free...heh heh...
The number? 1-800-GOOG-411
The website? http://www.google.com/mobile/goog411
Well, I might as well just jump in…here’s my review of the UTStarCom CDM7075…
First off this phone is first and foremost a Verizon phone. In fact, there is no sign of UTStarCom branding until you open the back of the phone and look at...or under...the battery. The user interface is the now-typical Verizon "red" version...the only trace of anything else is the ringtone selection. So basically this is the most carrier-branded phone I've ever laid hands on. This is not completely horrible as the Verizon UI is fast enough on this phone and pretty efficient, but in my opinion there are a lot of prettier, easier UIs out there…VZW’s incarnation on this phone is decidedly bare-bones, even dated. And the phone itself doesn't even have any games on it...though a fifth of the user interface is devoted to making you buy games, ringtones and more.
As to the qualities that really count, this phone does reasonably, though not exceptionally, well. In the build quality area, the phone is decent, though the keypad has very little travel and is rather large for my tastes (between keys), making text messaging a chore more than usual (combined with a slightly foreign user interface for texting, though of course it’s very familiar to anyone who has used pretty much any Verizon phone in the last few years). On the whole, this phone seems to me like a retooled, newer overall version of the Audiovox 8910…in short, that phone done right. Unfortunately, this still leaves you with a pretty basic phone.
Voice quality is okay, though not anything to write home about it. Then again, Verizon uses the 1900MHz network where I am and I don’t think they get great signal anyway…yet I still think that an extended antenna should help matters just a little more than it does with this phone. Then again, 190MHz doesn’t really get a boost from an extendable antenna, and the phone does support analog networks, something that’s good for a Page Plus Cellular phone as that way it can serve as a backup for your favorite high-end phone (like the Razr or pretty much any PDA phone).
Battery life sticks out to me as not bad at all…I think the phone lasted a week…albeit in standby mode most of the time…before turning up dead. Really not bad for a CDMA phone. Then again, this phone doesn’t have any real power-drinking features…it’s just a basic phone with a black-and-white external display…so it should last awhile, given its relatively large battery…
As to features, again, this phone is tooled for taking advantage of all the buy-able stuff Verizon has. Meaning that it can support MP3 and polyphonic ringtones, and has a decent (for 640x480 shots…and Verizon’s camera UI isn’t too bad either speed-wise) camera. But if you’re looking for any high-end features (unless you consider MP3 ringtones, a camera or an average-quality\loudness speakerphone high-end) this isn’t your main phone. But hey, Page Plus doesn’t support anything right now beside voice and text, and when they come out with web it’ll be compatible with this phone (which has web access…that’s all I know as I wasn’t able to really test it) so this phone fits the bill at a palatable price.
Speaking of Page Plus, activation was quick, support was easy to access (no wait time or not much anyway) and the service is really dirt cheap for voice. Not quite so much for text messages…you should get Virgin Mobile if you text a lot and want prepaid…but I can’t argue with $80 buying 1400 anytime minutes, useable (and roll-overable) for the next four months, minus a few minutes for the 50 cent monthly fee. The only annoying thing with the service is I think that leaving voicemail costs airtime (or something outrageous like that) and the “minute lady” makes your outgoing calls about fifteen seconds longer than they need to be…though thankfully this mixed blessing doesn’t charge for while it’s talking.
So, overall, the CDM7075 is a fine basic phone for Page Plus and the like, but you’ll have to put up with incessant Verizon branding everywhere on the phone until Page Plus releases their own version (I’m guessing they will). But hey, for $40 you get a speakerphone, mp3 ringtones, a camera, web browsing, an external display and in general a phone that isn’t a total piece of junk. I’m all for that.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
By the way, I'm now on a contract plan with Sprint (in dad's name). I'm on the $30 SERO plan, meaning that everything is unlimited (nights and weekends starting at 7, high speed data....which is available in my area...mobile to mobile, text messaging, picture messaging, video messaging) except for daytime minutes, and I have 500 of those. And if I go over my minutes it automagically adds 50 more for $5. My phone? The HTC Mogul...a little over $300 with tax but not too bad on price considering its internet is pretty much faster than my home internet and will be faster in every way once Sprint rolls out a software upgrade for the little wonder. I'd take the Mogul over the iPhone any day of the week...but I digress prom prepaid...
By the way #2, I'll be reviewing the UTStarCom\Verizon CDM7075 tomorrow probably, so stay tuned! It also sounds like I'll be getting in several phones for review from BabbleBug soon so even if there isn't any prepaid cellular news next week take a look here!