Friday, December 12, 2008

T-Mobile and TuYo updates

On the T-Mobile front, a few things have changed on the phone lineups. The Samsung t109, a basic phone, is $50. The nokia 1680, a camera bar phone, is the same price. Currently T-Mobile has a promotion, however, that'll give you an extra $10 at activation, $10 after a month of service and $10 after another month of service, presumably in addition to the usual $15 in activation credit you get with a t-Mobile To Go phone, though I might be wrong about that last bit.

On TuYo, the largest t-Mobile reseller, you've got a Sony Ericsson z310a (review coming sometime in the future) for $90 (ech), the Motorola w220 for $50 (meh) and the Nokia 1208 (review coming eventually) for $30 (hmm). Rates are good, though; text messaging is a scant five cents per message at this point. You can also, for $5, get no-extra-charge calling to Mexico, Hondouras, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Finally, Club MAX is out, a loyalty program that is at least halfway decent. $50 in refills gets you a $5 bonus, another $50 gets you another 45, another $100 gets you another $10 and a final $100 gets you $20 additional added onto your account.

At that point, you're a TuYo VIP. Problem is, I'm not quite sure what that means. The website isn't set up to tell you, either. What I did find out though is that, for $3 per month, you can get 100 text messages per month, a decent discount from the already-cheap 5 cents per message on pay-per-use texting.

Gophone Loyalty Program Shrinks

In these troubled economic times (drink) AT&T is lowering the value of its Gophone program for people who have been on the service for awhile. This comes on the heels of turnig their "unlimited" $20/month data plan into a 100 MB/month plan, which is only enough for non-smartphones...just like AT&T likes it.

The change: after your first $100 refill 9where you'll get $5 as a bonus) you'll get $10 per $100 added. This is in contrast to the current program, which steps up to $15 and eventually $20, depending on how much money you give AT&T.

Of course, not many people knew about this loyalty program, but dumbing it down doesn't help AT&T's case, especially if Verizon decides to keep Alltel's U Prepaid system around after the impending merger.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tracfone Sweepstakes!

Nope, I'm not dead. Just have been very busy, and there hasn't been too much prepaid news lately. I think I'll do some phone reviews over the break...which will be starting in a little over 18 hours for me...but until then


Thanks to The Turk, it has been brought to my attention that Tracfone is giving five winners per month, for the next twelve months, Visa gift cards of various values: $500, $250, $100, $75 and $30. Nothing to sneeze at, especially 1st through 3rd prizes.

You don't have to have a Tracfone to enter the drawing, though you do have to fill out a short questionnaire about the phone plan you're on right now (oddly enough, Sprint isn't listed in the carrier selection dropdown, so I had to select Other). You can enter once per day, and anyone 13 or older can join the fun.

Nothing to lose, so far as I can tell. I'd say enter early, enter often!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Boost Intros i776, drops pricing to 10c/minute

Just so everyone knows, I'm still alive and kicking. Just ridiculously busy and\or a bad time manager. But to the news...

Boost Mobile has now lowered their talking rates so that now all calling is 10 cents per minute. Previously, only night\weekend\mobile-to-mobile calls were charged at this rate, and everything else was double. This leaves AT&T GoPhone as the only prepaid that has a really expensive per-minute plan, weighing in at a whopping 25 cents per minute, though VIrgin Mobile's per-minute plan is close, at 20 cents per minute, with the option to get a lot cheaper.

Note however that text messages are now charged 10 cents per message to send and receive, unless you upgrade to the $1/day plan, which includes unlimited mobile-to-mobile, texting and nights\weekends.

The other announcement: the Motorola i776. The usual features are there (GPS, Walkie Talkie, large chunky clamshell formfactor...which is slowly getting smaller...), as well as Bluetooth, a camera and a decently descriptive external display. The price, at $100, is a little on the high side for such a phone, however it's nice to again have a reasonably high-end phone on Boost's iDEN service again.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Page Plus Intros "New" Phones

Looks like Page Plus has come into 2006 or so; in addition to the old LG vx6100 ($60), the vx3200 ($20) and the vx4500 ($40), they now have the LG vx3300 (vx3200 + removable faceplates), the Motorola e815 (great phone, $60), the Motorola v710 (good phone, $70) and the Razr v3c ($90). Prices have been rounded up by 5 cents for readability, and I have to say that this is a small step in the right direction for Page Plus. But they do have two more years to go, at least, in phone models, before they're on par with...well...the phones that people actually use on contract carriers today.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trac Hack - 300 extra minutes

Looks like there's currently a trick you can use to get 320 minutes when activating a Tracfone instead of 20. See here:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tracfone LG 600g = Bluetooth-ness

Looks like we've got double-confirmation that the Tracfone LG 600g, so far their most advanced phone, can do Bluetooth file transfers. So if you're into that sort of thing and want a phone that uses all of AT&T's contract-class network, this is it...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Motorola w377 on HSN

No, the Net10 Motorola w377 does NOT have a 3.0 megapixel camera or video recording capabilities like HSN's website says, but it is a halfway-decent deal, at $100 for both the phone and a Bluetooth headset.

Virgin Mobile Changes Kickback Policy

Effective Tuesday (but only reaching my inbox today), Virgin Mobile has made a few changes to their Kickbacks program.

Instead of money ($10 if I remember correctly) it's now more like the Tracfone refer-a-friend plan of yore: you get minutes, they get minutes. 60 minutes, to be exact. Worthless if you have an unlimited plan, but awesome if you would otherwise pay 20 cents per minute.

The limit on referrals has also been increased, to 100 (!) per year. You heard me right: you could conceivably get 6000 minutes per year (500 per month) through Virgin Mobile referrals. Every person referred does have to activate online and add $20 or more to their account within 45 days, but that's still a nice deal. One more thing: you have to register for the promotion to get your referral code, which can be posted wherever. More private than a phone number, so "wherever" really does mean wherever.

To that tune, I'll be putting up a referral code up here the next time I review a phone. That way if you want an extra 60 minutes upon activation of your Virgin Mobile phone, you can get it. Information on the kickback program (with Go4Prepaid as the referrer) will be posted on the sidebar here once I get around to it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shuttles and Data Plans and Service Days, Oh My!

Nope, this may be post 711, but the Shuttle isn't available at 7-Eleven'll be coming to BestBuy with a price of either $80 or $100l, looks like.

Thanks to The Sweeper, nothing has gone unnoticed over at the Virgin Mobile HQ. Least of all their introduction of the Stereo-Bluetooth, music-playing, MicroSD-toting, rootin' tootin' red slider phone known as the Shuttle. Check out Virgin Mobile's page on it here. The Shuttle also has a page or two from Helio's book (they're part of Virgin Mobile now, remember?): Buddy Beacon GPS location. Very, very cool. Short of a keyboard, this phone has every feature a non-smartphone user on a contract plan could want.

Virgin Mobile has also introduced new data plans to the arena, making them pretty competitive in that realm (though they don't have an "unlimited" option like AT&T's GoPhone does). $10 gets you 20 MB of data usage, $20 gets 50MB. VirginXL usage (ringtones and such from Virgin Mobile's own system) don't count against the limit, and if you have a monthly plan data costs are halved. If you don't have a monthly plan, the $5 for 5 MB monthly plan still stands. Virgin Mobile has also increased the minimum amount for pay-per-use data from $1 to 1.50 for a day pass, but the data allotment has been increased from 500 KB to 1 MB.

What's interesting is that now an unlimited voice plan with unlimited messaging is $90, just like on Sprint, and 50 MB of data brings the monthly total up to $100. Granted, 50 MB of data isn't 5 GB (Sprint's soft cap) but for casual mobile web usage you won't go over 50 MB even on an EvDO-equipped phone (not that I said casual web uage, not putting music or video into the equation), plus Virgin Mobile's plan taxes and fees are less than Sprint's. So yes, you can get away with more and more these days on a prepaid plan, and if you're looking for a feature-rich experience with unlimited voice minutes Virgin mobile is it.

One thing: if you look at the title bar on your browser when browsing Virgin Mobile's data plan apge, it mentions 2G data. The Shuttle is 3G. Are there even better plans coming?

One more thing: if you buy a Wild Card, Slash or Shuttle from Virgin Mobile you, for a limited time, can get a full year of service when you activate. It looks like you have to add some sort of airtime card to the mix in order to do this, but that card could be as little as $10, and a year of service included with the phones is a goodway to keep people around and use all those high-end features the Shuttle (which will be out on the 28th, looks like) has to offer.

In conclusion, Virgin Mobile's red-rimmed slider phone brings the provider up in my estimation in compparison of all cellular providers, contract as well as prepaid.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Shuttle Has Landed

Looks like Virgin Mobile is coming out with the UTStarCom 8954, or Shuttle, soon. It's a slider phone and is rumored to have music and camera capabilities. It'll probably be in the $100 range and looks to be a replacement for the old Slider Sonic from Kyocera. The cost will likely be around $100. More info when tit comes out...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

AT&T Intros Samsung a137, Gives Out Handsets to Gustav Refugees

A&T is at it again. Among the new handsets aailable on their GoPhone prepaid service (Samsung a727, Nokia 2610 in silver, Sony Ericsson z750a etc.) is the Samsung a137. A smooth-looking non-camera-phone, the little guy, like the LG Flare on Virgin mobile, supports Bluetooth and has dual color displays. The price: $40.

In other news, AT&T is giving out (or probably has given out...the program started Tuesday) two hoursand Gophone handsets, each preloaded with 15 minutes of airtime, to victims of Hurricane Gustav. Not a huge loss, as 15 minutes of airtime is much less than what they typically hand out with new phone purchases, but it's a nice gesture and a phone with a little bit of airtime is better than no phone, right?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Boost Intros i776, Free Directions to Reboost Locations

Looks like Boost Mobile is actually expanding their handset lineup now. Dennis from (who has incidentally come upon an invite code to the awesome Skyfire mobile browser, good until August 30th) tipped me to the presence of the Motorola i776 on Target's website. No price, no online and no in-stock message for stores anywhere near me (to be expected) but it's coming. Engadget doesn't like it, but really you have to give Sprint\Motorola credit: it's a nice phone on what is, for Sprint anyway, a dying technology. The i776, like the i875 that Boost used to sell, has a lot of features (camera, Bluetooth, external color screen) though there are no external music controls on this one. But at least there's something available better than, say, the i855 (no Bluetooth) or the i355 (no camera).

According to Sprint's own roadmap, the phone will probably come out next month (Q4 '08), which isn't too bad. I'd say the phone will run about $100 on Boost Mobile, who is now subsidizing their phones at least a little, as oppoed to the days of yore when you could get a top-of-the-line i885...for $400.

So if you must have walkie-talkie and GPS Boost will soon have a more feature-rich, if not attractive, phone for ya.

Speaking of GPS, looks like Boost will allow use of its turn-by-turn directions software for free...if you're looking for a place to reboost. Of course, the only benefit to this is if you either don't have a credit card (in which case you would be able to add airtime to your phone by dialing *ADD) or you're looking for a random convenience store somewhere nearby, which you may or may not get with the Reboost locator. Stll, it's a nice touch.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Net10: w377 Coming Soon

If you're wondering when Net10 will come out with something comparable to the Bluetooth-enabled, hard-plastic-keypad Motorola w376 that is already on Tracfone, the answer is "soon". The Sweeper over on the forums just caught a glance at the Motorola w377, essentially the w376 with a different color scheme, on the Net10 phone activation selector, on the Net10 website. It'll bw a nice addition to Net10's lineup of phones and will probably cost the same as the w375 does now.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

TNT Meets VM

Looks like the Kyocera TNT (S200) is finally available, after a long period of vaporware, on Virgin Mobile's online store. Pushing the Marbl (K127) down to $12.99 and the LG Aloha to $9.99, this new phone on the block has looks reminiscent of the non-Virgin Mobile version of the Marbl: the K132 "Velvet". Except this time there's a narrow caller ID display on the soft-touch outside of the phone rather The phone also looks a bit higher-end, with styling cues from the Kyocera Deco S1000 such as a rounded-rectangle footprint with a single barrel hinge and big, contigious buttons. Of course, what I just said is simply taken from the photos on Virgin Mobile's website but it still makes for good buzzword bingo, right?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Quick Tracfone Deal

Just as an update to the parade of deals evinced by postings over on the forum, the LG CG225 is now just $59 over at Wal-Mart's online site. Granted, it has been seen for $50 on Tracfone's site, but with Wal-Mart you can get the phone shipped to a store for free, whereas Tracfone shipping deals come and go. Then again, the LG 600g may be worth the extra $20. More on that when I reiew that phone...after I review all of these other phones I have sitting around...after I finish my physics homework tonight.

Yep, it's that time of year again; I'm in school :/

Monday, August 18, 2008

iWireess, Now With More Phones & Plans

Looks like Kroger's Sprint-based iWireless brand is upping the ante a bit on features, making them a viable alternative to one of the mainline carriers (Virgin Mobile comes to mind) for certain applications...

First off, their phone lineup has improved, and all phones now come with $50 in airtime built in, a very nice amount to start off with so you can take full advantage of all the service's features right out of the box, no refill required. The phone pricing actually isn't that bad when you count the $50 in included airtime into the equation, and the variety is better than your typical Sprint-based prepaid:

LG 145 (aka LG 200c on Tracfone) - $50
LG 160 (almost aka Flare on Virgin Mobile) - $70
LG 150 - $80
UTStarCom 7025 - $50
Sanyo Katana II - $120
LG Rumor (finally a nice texting phone on prepaid for a decent price!) - $150

Before you mention it, yes, Kajeet also has the LG Rumor, but at $100 for the phone alone (plus $50 for the included airtime) this deal is a lot better. Plus there's a plan to use it: $19.99 per month gets you unlimited text messaging. Not as good as Virgin Mobile maybe, where $19.99 or even $10 (depending on your plan) gets unlimited messaging of all types, but iWireless' phone is better for the price, with an mp3 player, memory card slot and a non-Kyocera brand name.

iWireless has also redone their rate structure. All refills last 90 days, but that's not the big's the rundown, cheapest per month to most expensive:

1. 25 cent daytime minute with 10 cent nights and weekends starting at 6 p.m. (not a misprint, nights are 6 p.m. on iWireless!)
2. 15 cent anytime minutes, 10 cents per minute extra to Mexico
3. $4.99 per month plus 10 cent anytime minutes
4. $29.99 per month for unlimited nights and weekends starting at 6 p.m. (!), 10 cent minutes at other times

A quick analysis shows that if you use 100 minutes or more per month, the $5 a month plan is best. If you use mostly night and weekend minutes (2x or more as many as weekday minutes) the 25/10 plan is good up until 300 minutes per month. Or if you use 100 anytime minutes and 250 night and weekend minutes (or more) the $29.99 a month fee pays for itself. I like math ;)

EDITED: So, in short, you have a very good wireless service rate-wise with a few unique features (nights starting at 6 p.m.) and several decent phones to choose from (mostly LG) at a reasonable price. You can get them online (contrary to what I said before, thanks to offthegrid for correcting my egregious error) and the list of stores where they're available is rather large: King Sooper's, Kroger, Fry's (food, not electronics), Smith's, CItyMarket, Dillons, Ralphs, Food4Less, FredMeyer or QFC. Betcha the same company owns all of 'em.

But if you can, in many cases it's a better option than Virgin Mobile (free incoming texts, nights starting at 6 p.m., better phones, cheaper 10-cent rate plan, cheaper per-minute rate plan) or STi Mobile (better phones, better night-and-weekend plan, etc.). I've already recommended the service to a friend who has Virgin, and he may very well switch, since a King Sooper's isn't too far away here in Colorado.

Net10 Intros 1-year and 2-year Cards

Want a "set it and forget it" cell phone service that works anywhere and doesn't take $3-ish out of your balance every month? Looks like Net10 takes the cake here, though Tracfone comes close with its now-infinitely stackable airtime (Net10 also has infinitely stackable airtime)...

You see, Net10 now has 1-year and 2-year cards (thanks to The Sweeper for pointing 'em out!) at $200 and $400 respectively. Yes, they cost more than the early termination fee on a cellular contract, however these $200 or $400 fees actually give service for a year or two, instead of being the penalty for giving up service before a year (or two) is up.

The one-year card gives 2000 minutes, at the usual Net10 10 cents per minute face value. Like the $100 6-month card you get a total cost of $16.67 per month plus tax on the service, assuming you don't use up any minutes over the 2000 in one year. The two-year card, which has the same monthly cost, includes 1000 "bonus" minutes, lowering the rate per minute to a mere eight cents, with no other work required. This isn't as good as the $75-a-month 1000-minute plan also available from Net10, but the cost per month is much, MUCH less with the two-year card, and eight-cent calling with four-cent text messages is hard to beat even on a "real" contract.

Though of course if you buy one of these cards, you just made Tracfone very happy; $200 or $400 is more than enugh to subsidize the phone that you're using with their service, making a phone plus a one- or two-year card a decidedly non-loss-leader product.

But hey, this is a rather innovative, quite inexpensive per-month and per-minute development, so I'm all for it. Oh, and it's one less bill or refill to worry about...for two years!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

XSPCS & Movida Nights @ 7 pm

Yes yes I know I need to get some phone reviews up here but I have another rather large project I have to work on at the moment, so maybe tomorrow...

Anyhow, the newest Sprint reseller (or one of the newest; it appears to have been started in the winter of 2007) on the block is KDDI, the Japanese cellular carrier who has decided to call their service X/S PCS Mobile. You know, like X for eXtreme and S PCS for Sprint PCS? Anyhow, these guys have a slightly different mix of plans versus the average Sprint based MVNO, though under the friendly cartoon penguins nothing is too appealing.]

First off you have the phone seleciton: the LG 125 and 225 (seen 'em before everywhere), the Sanyo 2400 (halway decent but rather old)...and something resembling a modern, high-tech phone, the LG 350! The darned thing has Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera and an external display. No EvDO (not missed; X/S PCS Mobile doesn't have data support at all) but it can print pictures via Pictbridge, provided you have the right cable and a relatively modern printer.

Second, you have the availability: none online from a quick search, but it appears as though 6th Avenue Electronics and New Jersey Cumberland Farms locations have the phone. Refills are available anywhere Coinstar products are sold, which doesn't include places like (one of our sponsors, click the ad if you please)

The rates? Not great. All refills, even the $10 card, have the distinction of giving you 45 days of service time, however per-minute rates aren't anything to write home about in this age of sub-10-cent minutes: depending on the airtime card you get, rates vary from 11.1 to 12 cents per minute. The cheapest refill is, naturally, the largest ($50) however the most expensive one is the $30 refill but about a tenth of a cent!

But that's the regular plan...

A happy sunglassed penguin points out another X/S PCS Mobile (mouthful eh?) plan: unlimited incomiung. A $60 card, good for 30 days of service and 400 minutes outgoing, gets your service startedd (phones come with 80 minutes of service preloaded). Cheaper cards are available, but their expirations are so abysmal that the only card making monetary sense in this system is the $60 one. If any other card is chosen, you might as well just get an unlimited incoming and outgoing plan from Virgin Mobile, who runs on the same network, for $80 per month. Discounting incoming minutes and assuming you wanted to buy such cards, airtime rates vary from 13.9 to 15 cents per minute on the lower denomination cards; 15 cents per minute is the airtime rate on both $30 and $60 cards, with $50 again being cheapest.

In short, X/S PCS Mobile is only good for a VERY small and specialized group of people: those who don't use a ton of outgoing minutes but use enough incoming minutes (800+ by my calculation per month) to make unlimited incoming calling cheaper and more compelling than a product on the same network from a different provider.

In other news, Movida has added an option to their "Max Plus" plan: for $3 additional per month nights and weekends can start at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. This welcome option makes sense if even sixteen minutes of airtime are used in a month between 7 and 9 p.m., assuming those minutes would push you over what's essentially a contract-less "normal" cell phone plan with rollover minutes (don't sue me AT&T).

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Slash Price Drop

The Sweeper over at the forums just pointed out that Virgin Mobile has dropped the price of their Samsung m310 "Slash" phone by $10, to $69.99. It's unclear whether this is a permanent price drop, but you'd think so. The Slash is a decent phone (need to review it, have it sitting on my desk right now) but its price is significantly more than the Arc, which has similar features. This price drop brings things more in line, price-wise.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Go4Prepaid Turns 700, GoPhone Launches Breeze To Commemorate

Okay, so maybe they didn't launch the Pantech Breeze to commemorate this, the 700th post on Go4Prepaid (wow, that's a lot! Now to get to 1000). However the phone is available on GoPhone now, albeit at a rather shocking $100.

But hey, it does have Bluetooth and a camera so you can't knock the phone too much, though I don't see the camera anywhere on the phone picture. No wait, there it is, on the backside of the phone, near the battery and the speakerphone grill. It's back there because there's plenty of space back there, and there's plenty of space back there because the phone is rather big. The phone is rather big because it's aimed at older folks, with big buttons and big screens, plus a few dedicated "In Case of Emergency" buttons right below the main screen.

Verizon has the CDMA version of this phone, which they call the Coupe, and they sell it for $40 with a contract. Guess it might not be such a bad deal on GoPhone after all...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

BabbleBug's Phone Lineup

You may or may not know, depending on whether this is your first time here or not, that is one of the big reasons I can afford to buy (and eventually review) all these cell phones. They, and a little bit of Google advertisers, also pay for my regular (contract based 'cuz I need high-speed data on a very high-end phone and AT&T 3G isn't available where I live in Texas) cellular service and maybe a candy bar every once in awhile.

That said, BabbleBug also sells some decent products, namely calling cards, SIM card kits, prepaid phone airtime and prepaid phones themselves. Here's their lineup right now, without the "99 cent"

SIM Kits (all of them use AT&T's network and come with $1 in rewards that you can put toward future BabbleBug purchases)
AirVoice: $8 (unknown credit included)
GoPhone (AT&T "house brand"): $10 ($10 credit included)
Oxygen Wireless: $5 (50 minutes credit included)

Phones (include rewards equivalent to 1% of purchase price, except where noted)
Oxygen Motorola c168i: $50
Oxygen Motorola Razr: $120
Oxygen Pantech c300: $110
Page Plus LG vx4500: $30 ($3 in rewards included)
Page Plus LG vx6100: $40 ($3 in rewards included)
PowerLink semi-unlimited (see the post in the forums) LG 150: $75
PowerLink LG 5225: $70
PowerLink Nokia 6165: $90
Total Call Mobile LG 5225: $35
Total Call Mobile Nokia 3588i: $20
Total Call Mobile Samsung a660: $30
Total Call Mobile Samsung a300: $120

Reviews for some of these phones are on this site, while others have reviews that'll come in time. At any rate, if you want to buy any of this stuff, look to your right and scroll down; the link to BabbleBug is right there :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

LG 600, Super Slice Blue

Looks like the LG 600 camera flip Bluetooth external-screen phone is finally out; The Sweeper has gotten ahold of it and has a few pictures to show. I'll get it eventually, but only after I get all these phones I have sitting around reviewed!

View post

Also, it looks like there are now four colors of Super Slice floating around, black (normal), white (RadioShack), red (BestBuy) and blue (special edition). Geesh, you can change a phone's color but the phone will still have a UTStarCom brand name on it...hmm...that was a mixed metaphor to end all mixed metaphors. Anyhow, check the post out here. Note that you still can't get the Super Slice online, at least you can't right now (it was available awhile back though).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

T-Mobile, AT&T Phone Lineup Update

Looks like T-Mobile's two new prepaid phones, the Nokia 1208 and 2760, are available online for purchase now. The 1208 is $30, the 2760 is $90 (!). The Nokia 2610 is still available for $30, and the Samsung t219 and t429 are available for $50 and $100, respectively. You can also get the Motorola v195 for $30. No great deals here, just an update.

As for AT&T's GoPhone service, you can still get the Nokia 2610 for $25 with $25 in airtime, $40 with $50 in airtime or $80 with $100 in airtime. Or get the phone alone for $8, refurbished. The rather high-end Motorola v365 is also available, refurbished, for $60. You can also get the Sony Ericsson Walkman w580i, refurbished, in black or pink, for $100. Otherwise you're loking at AT&T's typical, though large, GoPhone lineup and pricing handset-wise.

Yes, I know, I have lots of phones to review, and in response to the silent question of when a review will come up, I have a Nokia 2610 sitting beside me for that very purpose. A 2610 that, mind you, was paid for by the site's sponsors, most likely by BabbleBug. So pay them a visit; they're what make these reviews possible.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Cell Guru Is Giving Away an i425

There's another giveaway affot, but it's not from here. Head over to the Cell Guru's site and you'll see that he's giving away a Motorola i425 to whoever gives him the best suggestion for spiffing up the site. So head on over and tell him I said hi :)

UPDATED: Net10 Intros Unlimited!

Looks like Net10 dropped a bit of a bomb on the cellular market today...see this post...

...or not.

Because I'm ecstatic...

That Net10, whose coverage mirrors that of Verizon on-contract or AT&T on-contract depending on where you are (in other words pretty much everywhere), and whose phones aren't downright overpriced or underpowered, has introduced an unlimited plan!

It gets better...

Not only is the plan contract-free, it also includes text messaging! Okay, so there's no mention of picture messaging so I'm assuming that they'll keep charging for that, but text is usually a $10 or $20 a month option on top of voice service, and they've included it.

The price? $79.98 per month.

The offer isn't available in all areas; it's GSM-only. But that's still great, because AT&T's coverage area (contract-class remember?) is HUGE. Also, text messaging is included in the monthly price, as is the otherwise-half-a-unit-per-minute web browsing charge. Subscription services (on Tracfone's limited mobile web), ringtones, graphics, games and MMS still aren't free, but on MMS you don't have to pay the data charge so messages are just 10 cents apiece. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Let's compare the current prepaid unlimited plans...

Net10 - $79.98 for talk and text, cheap MMS, limited web browsing full AT&T network
Virgin Mobile - $79.99 for talk, $10 extra for messaging (text, picture, IM, certain e-mail), Sprint network only
Page Plus - $60-$62 or $75-$77 for talk, depending on the area, Verizon network only
Others - Sprint network only, usually $70+ per month
Boost - $50 for talk, $60 for talk and text, $70 for talk, text and web, Sprint network only, limited to a single region

...and contract plans...where taxes and fees abound...

Sprint - $89.99 for talk and messaging (text, picture)
T-Mobile - $99.99 for talk and messaging (text, picture), $50 per month for additional lines, FlexPay may be available but with more expensive phones and slightly less coverage
Verizon & AT&T - $99.99 for talk only, $20 extra for messaging (text, picture, etc.), no additional-line discount, Net10 runs on the AT&T network for less!

So if you don't send and receive picture messages, Net10 could actually save you $40 a month over a CONTRACT plan with the same underlying carrier! That's not even accounting for the taxes and fees that are piled onto the contract plans, which would probably be around $20 per month. No activation fees either.

This, along with Virgin and Page Plus's options, are the first reasons that high-minute users might actually want to switch to prepaid rom a contract plan. If the word gets out, contract providers will have to play catch-up, which means good things for everybody.

Granted, Boost, CricKet, MetroPCS, other smaller unlimited carriers and in some cases Page Plus can provide cheaper rates for unlimited service versus Net10, but none of these can offer as much coverage, and Page Plus doesn't offer unlimited text messaging. The phones on everyone but Page Plus tend to be quite expensive as well.

Speaking of phone prices, here's Net10's current lineup:

$79.99 - LG 225 (camera flip w\external display)
$69.99 - Motorola w375 (camera Bluetooth though to my knowledge)
$59.99 - LG 1500 (flip w\external display)
$49.99 - Motorola w370 (flip)
$49.99 - LG 200 (CDMA flip)

There are other phones available as well (the LG 300 is available at Wal-Mart for $30 including an accessory kit).

One caveat of the plan is that you can't buy a card for it in a store; you have to buy online. Also it may not be available everywhere. Last, it's voice and text only until my testing (or someone else's) proves otherwise.

Whatever you make out of this, it's pretty clear that Tracfone has dropped a bombshell into the prepaid, nay, the whole cellular industry with this plan. There's no longer a coverage or price-per-minute sacrifice when making the jump to prepaid. Phone selection will likely follow. For the price of a contract activation fee you can get a "free phone" from Net10 with 300 minutes and 60 days to try out the service. That's longer than any contract provider's tryout window I've heard of. If you want a higher-end phone, you buy one for $70, something a contract provider would insist was $34.99. Granted, the Motorola w375 isn't a really high-end unit, but there's no contract either. Plus, the outlay on the phone now is reversed by the lack of taxes, fees and just plain monthly basic charges for the unlimited phone bill.

In comparison, $80 a month would likely get you only 900 minutes (with unlimited nights, weekends and mobile to mobile) on a contract plan, with no messaging of any sort, after taxes and fees are taken into account. Okay, maybe 200 messages, but not unlimited.

As I was saying, this whole thing is rather game-changing. Or maybe I'm just excited.

By the way, thanks to the forum members who spotted this, and if you're trying to figure out how to buy a Net10 phone online check this link out, You can get a refurbished Motorola c261 cameraphone (which is decent, see my review of it) for $29.99 including $30 in airtime. Very nice.

Thanks to The Sweeper for the information and the update! I guess this confirms that AT&T (and mybe T-Mobile?) is giving Net10 a very good deal on minutes because unlimited service is not available in CDMA areas, but still, this option is just great.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

STi Mobile Is Still Alive

It looks as though STi Mobile is still alive Not kicking, just squirming.

Anyhow, they've changed up their phone sales policy a bit, and messed with their plans. Here's the quick rundown:

All phones sold from STi's website come with $20 of airtime preloaded. Your options are:

Sanyo 200 (basic flip) - $40
Samsung a660 (less reliable slightly less basic flip) - $40
LG 225 (camera, web-enabled flip) - $65

Or get the phones for $40, $26 and $50, respectively, from CheapPhoneCards, which has a few small discount codes on the phones and packs in $10 of airtime with the Sanyo 200.

The messaging and data section has been taken out of the website, with rates for the services buried in the FAQ. Then again, the FAW still talks about older plans so I'm not sure what to trust. International dialing is at the forefront of the site right now however, and the rates are admittedly rather decent.

Their rate plans are:

8.9 cents/minute plus 9 cents per day
7.9 cents/minute plus 25 cents per day
$24.99 for unlimited nights and weekends starting at 9 p.m., 20 cents/minute otherwise
$29.99 for unlimited nights and weekends starting at 7 p.m., 15 cents/minute otherwise

Technically, airtime doesn't expire, but if you leave the service for long enough the monthly fees will eat it away.

STi isn't a particularly good deal now, nor has it been for awhile, unless you talk in some weird pattern that efficiently skirts around the daily fee, or you call internationally a lot and want to direct dial.

Just for fun, I ran some numbers, and you'd have to use an average of 16 minutes per day (480 per 30-day month) to make the 7.9 cent per minute plan worthwhile over the 8.9 cent one. This would get you a $45.42 monthly cellular bill on prepaid service. The same number of minutes could be gotten on Virgin Mobile for between $24 and $36 s month, depending on how you buy your minute packs. The unlimited night and weekend plans? xTreme Mobile offers 9 p.m. nights and weekends for $18ish a month (60 cents per day) with 15 cents per minute calling during weekdays. STi's 7 p.m. plan *might* work for you if you use more than 80 minutes a month between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. (otherwise xTreme Mobile would be a beter fit) or if you use more than 3000 (!) 7 p.m. nights and weekends but less than 35 anytime minutes per month (otherwise Movida's Penny plan would be a better fit) or if you use a TON of night and weekend minutes but less than 135 anytime minutes (at which point Virgin Mobile's $50 plan, with 400 anytime minutes, would be a better fit).

Just sayin'. STi is great for special usage cases I suppose, but you probably aren't one of 'em.

UPDATED: Hear me on the Prepaid Podcast

I just got off of a Skype call with Joe over at Had a nice chat about prepaid phones, the situation in the prepaid market, that sort of thing. It'll be in this month's Prepaid Podcast, which should be out in a day or two. No, this isn't why I haven't posted here in awhile (with reviews of the phones I have sitting around), but it is something and the podcast is pretty good, so you might want to take a look.

UPDATED: Here's the podcast page on PrepaidReviews

Monday, July 14, 2008

Three More Phones, Target Promo

As if I didn't have enough stuff to review, I just grabbed the following handsets at Wal-Mart:

LG 300g (Net10)
Samsung u410 (INPulse -> Page Plus to test new services partly)
Nokia 1208 (T-Mobile)

The 300g (and included accessory pack) was $30, as was the Nokia 1208 (no accesory pack). The Samsung weighed in at $60; I've tested the cheaper u340 before and one thing it lacks is web access, something I need to test data on Page Plus.

A quick tip: I noticed a buzz on howardForums about a sale going on at Target stores this week: the Samsung u340 is just $20 there. Grab it while you can, so long as you're sure you won't miss web access when using it on Page Plus.

Friday, July 11, 2008

More Phones To Review

Well, I've been back from Philmont Scout Ranch (photos at for nearly a week and am off on another trip, this time to Florida for mom's birthday and to visit relatives and such. I'll probably get photos up of that trip in due time as well.

Anyway, since this blog, up until a few minutes ago, has been woefully lacking in new content, here's some additional news about the stuff that's in store, and about stuff that's happened in the prepaid space:

1. Page Plus Cellular will shortly be rolling out data and multimedia messaging. Rates appear to be .12 cents per kilobyte (about what Virgin Mobile charges on their monthly plan) and 40 cents plus data per MMS (very steep). The feature seems to be working for some people at the moment, but not for everyone, probably as a consequence of the variety of phones active on the service. Additionally, Page Plus seems to be reworking their minute decrementing system again so you may actually have to pay face value on stuff like text messaging and data rather than getting a discount on those services as well as voice minutes when adding higher-denomination airtime cards.

2. Verizon INPulse recently introduced a messaging package: $10 a month gets you unlimited "IN" messaging plus 250 messages to everyone else. Funny how that works...on Virgin Mobile with a plan of similar cost per month (one of the monthly plans, to be precise) I could get unlimited messaging for that much, to anyone. On AT&T GoPhone, or one of VMo's other plans, $10 would get 1000 messages to anyone. In short, the deal is only good if all your friends are on Verizon, and your usage patterns actually fit the very slim profile for which INPulse isn't absolute highway robbery.

3. The day before yesterday I got a brand new Virgin Mobile UTStarCom Arc in the mail (ordered it with overnight shipping). Seems like a decent phone. It also seems like Virgin Mobile is standardizing their user interface over all their phones, though their UI is more, erm, traditional and in my opinion better than the evil-ness that is Verizon's "Red" UI. Basically take a typical phone menu system (LG, Sanyo, Samsung or such) and slap a white-on-red pop-art-ish paint job on it and you've got Virgin's user experience. I'll also be grabbing the LG 300g bar phone in time for it to arrive at my destination, a few days away at this point. Will probably order it in the hotel tonight.

And yes, I'll be getting some actual phone reviews up here sometime. Apologies to everyone left hanging, annoyed, etc.

One last thing: make sure and check out my sponsors. They're what keeps this site going, buying phones, reviewing phones, etc. They pay for my cell phone plan, my mobile broadband and maybe an icee or two when I'm on the road :)

AT&T GoPhone Free Phones

Look in the "packages" section of AT&T's GoPhone website and you'll see something interesting: phones that are free or better-than-free with an airtime card. There are two ways that airtime is included, however. I've marked phones with an asterisk that have the airtime preloaded. The ones with no asterisk have the airtime as a separate card, for even more bonuses and savings!

LG CG150* - $40 including $25 in airtime
Nokia 2610 Refurb - $25 including a $25 airtime card
Samsung a117 Refurb* - $29.99 including $25 in airtime, $40 including $50, $80 including $100
Nokia 2610 Refurb* - $40 including $50 in airtime, $80 including $100
Pantech c120 Refurb* - $25 including $25 in airtime
Samsung a437 - $10 w\$25 airtime purchase

Pretty good deals, if you ask me. Granted, you may or may not have to open up a new line of service to take advantage of these deals, but they're really good anyway. Not bad at all in my opinion for a non-contract cell phone.

AT&T GoPhone Free Phones

Look in the "packages" section of AT&T's GoPhone website and you'll see something interesting: phones that are free or better-than-free with an airtime card. There are two ways that airtime is included, however. I've marked phones with an asterisk that have the airtime preloaded. The ones with no asterisk have the airtime as a separate card, for even more bonuses and savings!

LG CG150* - $40 including $25 in airtime
Nokia 2610 Refurb - $25 including a $25 airtime card
Samsung a117 Refurb* - $29.99 including $25 in airtime, $40 including $50, $80 including $100
Nokia 2610 Refurb* - $40 including $50 in airtime, $80 including $100
Pantech c120 Refurb* - $25 including $25 in airtime
Samsung a437 - $10 w\$25 airtime purchase

Pretty good deals, if you ask me. Granted, you may or may not have to open up a new line of service to take advantage of these deals, but they're really good anyway. Not bad at all in my opinion for a non-contract cell phone.

Virgin Mobile Intros UTStarCom Arc

In addition to introducing an unlimited voice plan called Totally Everything (see my post on for more info on that one) Virgin Mobile has switched up their phone lineup and added another handset into the mix: the UTStarCom Arc.

As you might have guessed, this little guy is a flip phone. It's rather low-end, basically a flip version of the Super Slice, with a VGA camera and Bluetooth as its most prominent features. Though it is not exactly the same in design, or in model number, the Arc looks like a UTStarCom Mini redone for Virgin Mobile.

At $50 the phone seems to be a flip phone option for Super Slice features, or a successor to the now-discontinued Snapper (made by Pantech for Audiovox which was sold to UTStarCom who is now spinning the company off as Personal Communication Devices). Needless to say, I'll be picking this little red up and putting it through the obligatory paces to see whether it's worth the money. Though I'd think it would be.

In other phone lineup news, the white Cyclops is no more, at least online. Instead, the Cyclops is available in red for $50, and includes 20 in airtime versus the normal $2.50. There are also a few phones that are free with airtime purchase: the Oystr with $10 in airtime, the Aloha with $15 and the original Slice with $20. The Super Slice, at least for now, is gone.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Motorola w175g, Motorola w260g (Tracfone GSM)

Sorry for the lack of reviews, everyone! Have been a bit on the busy side lately but I really wanted to get a bunch of material out before going on a two-week trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in new Mexico. Thus, a first look at some phones. Starting with the Motorola w175g and w260g, showing just how much $10or $15 can get you...

You may wonder why I'm reviewing two phones at once. Easy: the phones, aside from their form factors, are identical. Same screens, same interface, same everything. Though the w260g carries a $5 premium due to the flip versus bar design.

First, the differences between the two phones: the w175g is the typical featureless black bar phone while the w260 is a slightly less featureless black flip. The w175g does have a textured pattern on its back, but since the unit is made of hard plastic it doesn't really help your grip any. The keypad mimics that of the Motorola Razr, albeit at a much lower quality. It's essentially a big piece of rubber with ribbing to differentiate between rows of buttons. It's moderately useable. In terms of size and durability, the phone isn't exactly small or thin, but it's absolutely pocketable and the featureless black plastic probably makes it seem larger than it is.

The w260g doesn't have the textured back of the w175, but it does have a shiny black clamshell front. Similar to the w370, LEDs will light up for incoming calls and messages, and as a low battery alert or when the battery is charging. It's not caller ID but it's cool-looking and shows up better in the sun. Size-wise the phone is aagin not the smallest one out there, with a nearl-suqare, wide footprint, but it is pretty thin for a phone that doesn't have an antenna bulge at the bottom. The keypad on the w260g is quite a bit larger than that of the w175g (you have more space for such things on a flip phone) but it is also made of a single sheet of rubber and is thus not ideal for much more than typing in phone numbers and menu navigation.

Now to the stuff that is the same across both phones...

First off, the phone ringers get LOUD. Not quite as loud as the Nextel phones of old, but you won't be missing your phone ringing if it's turned up on high. However there is plenty of range on the ringer settings so if you want a quiet phone you can do that. The vibrate motor on both models is decent as well. One complaint I have about the ringer speaker is that it tends to distort at higher volumes and there's no bass response, but for $10-$15 I'm fine with ringer quality.

Call quality is decent as well. While in the little bit of informal testing I did actually experienced a cut-out in a good signal area (basically all of town) on the w260g call quality was solid. No call quality problems like the Motorola c155/c139. Voice quality on both ends was fine as far as I could tell, even when using the speakerphone; this is probably due to the CrystalTalk enhancement software on these phones, which I believe first came out for Tracfone on the Motorola w370. Again, no complaints here, though I wouldn't say these phones win any awards for clarity.

I'm not really sure about battery life as I only got the units in Wednesday but this type of phone tends to have really, really long life (a few weeks even) since there isn't much running and GSM is generally (or seems to be) more power-efficient than CDMA.

For user experience Tracfone has added a few more newbie-specific prepaid features. When you turn these phones o, before activation, you get a message telling you to activate, where to activate and the information you need phone-wise to do so. This information has now been whittled down to the phone serial number (no SIM ID anymore), and no code entry is needed. Once you click past the activation instructions you'll get a messag telling you, on the home screen, to turn the phone off and on again. This message disappears once your phone gets activated, the replacement being "You have 60 days until you need to refill" or similar, depending on today's date and the date you need to add more minutes. Nice touches for people new to prepaid, though for old hands a quick trip to the Prepaid menu to turn these notices off may be required.

For the rest of the UI, you're looking at a typical Compal-made Motorola: close to the old Synergy interface but with slightly larger fonts so some options have to scroll, and a menu system where you have to be careful not to press the center button if you think that's "select" (it usually brings up another menu). Since these phones are basic units you don't get a media gallery to play ringtones and view garphics, nor do you get web, multimedia messaging or MP3 ringtones. You do, however, get quick access to most phone features either from the home screen (by pressing the shortcut-triggered softkeys or arrow keys) or the main menu. I wouldn't say these phones are as easy to use as the Nokia models but they're not all that difficult either.

Two things that stick out as user-unfriendly are volume changing and text entry, however. On the first point you don't have a volume rocker on the side of the phone, and neither do you have dedicated keys at the home screen. So it's a trip into Ring Styles (by a shortcut button if you have one set up), then a few more steps, to change ringer volume. There may be a quicker way, but I haven't found it.

For text entry, the problem is that Motorola uses their old iTAP system on everything with their branding on it. This exclused iDEN phones but includes the phones available on Tracfone. The implementation on these phones is particularly clunky; you don't hit "space" to accept a word and go on, you hit the "menu" key. Or something like that; guess I'm much too used to the smooth experience that is T9. The problem is that the alternative, multitap input, is downright arduous on the keypads these phones have.

So that's about it for the Motorolas w260 and w175. They're certainly worth the $10-$15you pay for them if you buy from Circuit City or the like, and they're fine "free phones" if Tracfone feels the need to bundle them with an airtime card or two. You even get a good signal and a boatload of MIDI ringtones in the package. But these phones ahve "basic" written all over them and their lack of any service other than voice and (rather hard-to-use) text pin their value squarely below $20.

Two phones down, a zillion more to go. Up next: the Motorola i425 from Boost Mobile (finally!).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Page Plus Cellular Adds Online Account Managment

Late to the party, maybe, but it's still very much appreciated...

Page Plus Cellular now has an online account manager with a decent array of features, though for some things (activation, phone and number changes) you either have to call them up or get ahold of a dealer.

What you can do, though, is a pretty good amount. You can update personal information, view and add to your airtime balance, enable and disable features like text messaging and voicemail, and view logs of all account activity. The last two things I can't even do on my Sprint account online! Okay, I can see how many minutes I've used per month and I can see call logs on my bill, but this is better.

Yet another reason to go Page Plus, especially with the Alltel takeover providing a gargantuan coverage footprint for such an inexpensive service. Once I get a little money from my sponsors (check them out, they're great!) I'll probably pick up another phone to use with Page Plus. Maybe the Samsung Juke; it's $110 at Wal-Mart's site right now...

Four Phones In, One To Go

The UPS truck arrived today with the T-Mobile Nokia 2610. Very snappy for "ground" shipping if you ask me. Also, the FedEx truck brought me the Tracfones from Circuit City. So I'm even farther behind on phone reveiws now, but I have a lot more stuff to post up here :).

The Virgin Mobile Slash from Samsung will arrive Friday.

I'll make sure to at least give non-battery-life reviews of all the phones I have right now before Sunday, when I head out to Austin, thence to Philmont Scout camp for two weeks. Which will be quite a task, considering how many reviews I've got to do, but that's my own fault.

Anyway, check back here soon for reviews of everything from the Motorola w175 to the Virgin Mobile Slash!

As a sneak peak, I must say that the w376 (Tracfone Motorola) is a nice phone, taking the strengths of teh w370 and improving upon them.. However if you want a loud ringer, the Motorola w175/w260 remind me of the old Nextel days. More later!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More Phones Coming!

So I've got a lot of ad money now, thanks to you guys checking out the various sponsors syndicated through Google as well as the great store. So I decided to do some phone-buying...

Since Tracfone won't let me buy from their site anymore, I went over to Circuit City's website and grabbed all three new Tracfones: the Motorola w175g, the Motorola w260g and the Motorola w376g. They should be in by the end of this week so I should be able to give everyone at least a first look...

Then I headed to Virgin Moile's website and picked up the new Slash slider from Samsung (say that three times fast). The funny thing is, that phone alone will end up costing me more than the other phones I bought yesterday, combined.

My last stop was T-Mobile's online store, where I picked up a Nokia 2610. It'll be free after a rebate, and was $30 before.

So that's five more phones to review and, likely, give away. Now to finish a big video editing project I've got going so I can review the phones I have had sitting here for a ridiculously long period of time...

Monday, June 16, 2008

AT&T GoPhone Free PhonesLook in the "packages" section of AT&T's GoPhone website and you'll see something interesting: phones that are free or better-

Look in the "packages" section of AT&T's GoPhone website and you'll see something interesting: phones that are free or better-than-free with an airtime card. There are two ways that airtime is included, however. I've marked phones with an asterisk that have the airtime preloaded. The ones with no asterisk have the airtime as a separate card, for even more bonuses and savings!

LG CG150* - $40 including $25 in airtime
Nokia 2610 Refurb - $25 including a $25 airtime card
Samsung a117 Refurb* - $29.99 including $25 in airtime, $40 including $50, $80 including $100
Nokia 2610 Refurb* - $40 including $50 in airtime, $80 including $100
Pantech c120 Refurb* - $25 including $25 in airtime
Samsung a437 - $10 w\$25 airtime purchase

Pretty good deals, if you ask me. Granted, you may or may not have to open up a new line of service to take advantage of these deals, but they're really good anyway. Not bad at all in my opinion for a non-contract cell phone.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Verizon Buying Alltel

So it looks like, for $28.1 billion, Verizon will buy Alltel, catapulting its coverage and user base to the largest in the U.S.

This means a few things...

1. All prepaid providers using Verizon's network will soon get a nice home coverage boost (namely Page Plus Cellular).

2. Nobody knows what'll happen to Alltel's pepaid plans. Maybe they'll stay, more likely they'll go away. They're too good of a deal for the likes of Verizon, it would seem.

3. The landscape on roaming will be changed. Alltel has GSM roaming for AT&T, T-Mobile, etc. With the Verizon takeover that may or may not stay around. In a few places Verizon has kept GSM turned on for roaming, previously used by a company they purchased, but it may or may not happen here.

4. In some areas, Alltel actually provides "Sprint" (Virgin Mobile, etc.) service. This might change when Verizon comes to town.

I'll post more information here as the changeover progresses. It'll mean more coverage for one carrier, sure, but less competition overall...we'll see how this pans out.

T-Mobile: New Phones, International Rates

Looks like there are some new phones headed T-Mobile To Go's way. Best Buy ( has a few models that I've talked about before...the Nokia 1208 ($30) and the Nokia 2760 ($70). The 1208 is comparable to the 2610, it seems...maybe a little cheaper on T-Mobile's side. The 2760 is your typical Bluetooth camera flip low-end phone.

In other news, you can get internet on T-Mobile To Go...but you have to go to Mexico or Canada to do it. In canada, it's a pretty penny (well, a penny and a half) per kilobyte and in Mexico it's $0.01 per KB. However it's cheaper to talk in Canada than in Mexico, with roaming rates of 69 cents per minute versus $1.49. You're better off getting a SIM in that particular country, but that's assuming your phone is unlocked, which it may or may ot be.

Also, MMS (if it's available) doesn't cost anything extra in Canada or Mexico vs. what it costs here. Neither does texting in Canada; 10 cents to send, 5 to receive. In Mexico, and in elsewhere, text messages are a whopping 35 cents to send, though still 5 cents to receive, apiece.

I still don't understand why T-Mobile To Go doesn't allow data access beyond their free (and admittedly okay) T-Zones.

New Tracfone\Net10 Phones, Available For Sale

Looks like the newest Tracfon\Net10 phones are available online now, for sale.

LG 300g (bar phone) - $30
LG 400g (not-as-ugly-as-I-thought flip phone) - $40

Of course, both phones include $30 worth of airtime.

Also, the LG 1500 + an accessory kit is available for $50, or refurb'd with no kit for $30. The Motorola c261 is available refurbished for $30.

On the Tracfone side...

Motorola w175 (bar phone) - $15
Motorola w260 (flip phone) - $30

Also, the LG 225 (with an accessory kit) and the Motorola c261 (without) are $50, including a double minutes for life card. Decent deal, I'd say.

EDIT: The Motorola c261 is actually $40. Even better deal!

Also, shipping is currently free for all orders of $35 or greater.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tracfone News Bits, Reviews To Come, etc.

First off, apologies for the long period of silence on here. It was more out of laziness and poor time management than anything else. I intend to remedy that. Yesterday the Flare was FINALLY sent, and today, after doing a few other writing-related things, and seeing Indiana Jones at my local theater, I'll get down to doing some phone reviews.

Speaking of phone reviews, I grabbed an LG CG180 from the local AT&T store (formally Dobson CellOne formerly Concho CellOne) with $25 in airtime for $40. The purpose was to test out the data speeds on AT&T's current network around here, which is EDGE but suffering from not-so-great backbone service due to former ownership by Dobson CellularOne. In the AT&T store itself speeds were decent, around 225 kbps, though latency (delay) on page loads was not too hot. However it seems like they had a mini cell site in the store, because my average speed tests on my iPhone (into which I put the AT&T SIM's a nicer phone than the CG180, heh) are around 70-80 kbps. That might seem decently fast, until you find out that 3G rom AT&T will be coming here early next year, and between now and then you have your choice of Verizon and Sprint EvDO, which is 10-15x that speed. Sorry guys, not impressed.

Yes, if you're wondering, a review of the LG CG180 on AT&T will follow relatively shortly.

In other news, Tracfone is releasing a few new phones. The LG 300g is GSM, runs on the Tracfone side of things, and looks to be a replacement for the Motorola c139 even more than the Motorola w175g is. The price will be the same as the w175g, looks like: $15, though Circuit City may sell the phone for $20. Though I'd think the LG would be more amicable to a promotion or two when such times come around.

Speaking of Circuit City, they'll have Tracfones soon,including another all-new one: the Motorola w376g! It looks like this phone, basically the Tracfone version of the w375 on Net10 (which is a cameraphone version of the w370 for all practical purposes), will have Bluetooth! Then again, Tracfone has culled Bluetooth from the feature sets of its phones before, so you can't be sure. But one can hope...and the price is right, at $50. I'll get it when it comes out, to review.

Last but not least in the line of phone information, the Virgin Mobile Slash is out! Well, at RadioShacks, that is. This cameraphone slider looks nice from what The Sweeper has posted over on the forums. Hmm, wonder if my local RadioShack franchise has it...

Last but not least in the news area, take a look to your right. No, not at the ad of BabbleBug this time (currently this site's main sponsor) but at the Creative Commons badge below it. Yes, this site is now licensed via Creative Commons, and with my particular license, in order to copy content, just make sure to cite Go4Prepaid as the source, don't use the info for commercial purposes unless you check back with me, and pass these license conditions on to whoever reads the content you lifted from this site. Sound fair Cool...a lot cooler than a copyright, for sure...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Net10 Deals

They've done it again...Net10 has a lot of refurbished phones so they're unloading them at prices that contract carriers would call "FREE!!!1!" without flinching...remember that all phones come with $30 worth of airtime preloaded...

Motorola v170/v171 - $19.99*
LG 1500/Motorola c261/v176 - $29.99*
New Nokia 1600 - $29.99*
Nokia 1600 w\extra $30 card - $30***
New Motorola v171 - $39.99
New Motorola w375/LG 1500 - $59.99
Motorola v176 w\extra $60 card - $60**
New LG CG225 - $79.99

* This phone costs the same or less than the airtime on it
** This phone costs less than the airtime on it plus the airtime bundled with it
*** Both of the above

All things considered, it's a good time to buy a Net10 phone, especially if you want a cameraphone; the c261 is effectively free refurbished. Or grab the refurbished Nokia 1600...just counting the airtime alone you're getting sub-six-cent minutes!

Coming soon...

Apologies for the long period of silence. I'm now over a week out of school (yep, I'm now a sophomore at Colorado School of Mines) and I need to get back to work here. Expect reviews of a half-dozen phones, and if you're waiting for that Flare you won, I'll get that out to you. Very sorry for the silence, the wait, etc. Once I have all these phones that are sitting around reviewed, I'll give some of them away and buy some others to review. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...

While you're waiting, check out the forums for the latest information and deals on prepaid service. If you have any questions, the folks over there are quite helpful.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

T-Mobile Deals and Amazon Steals

First off, thanks for your support in visiting this site and the sites of my sponsors. If you're new here (a majority of people are) then welcome. If not, then welcome back. Glad to have you.

Second, T-Mobile has put their $25-refill-with-purchase-of-a-prepaid-phone promotion into full swing again. Well, I take that back; the three Samsung phones recently introduced don't include the card. However, the brand-new-to-the-prepaid-site Samsung t429 slider does! The phone, which gets you Bluetooth and a camera, as well as that $25 refill, is $100...and in case anyone is wondering, yes, this means you can get the Nokia 2610 for free if you count in the airtime that's already on the phone, plus the airtime that's on the card. Sounds like a sweet deal to me...check it out here...

Third, Amazon looks to have some decent deals on various phones, mostly by way of rebates. For example, if you want to pick up the LG Aloha for $2 after rebate, you can...just pick up some other stuff to net yourself free shipping. Find out more here.

Thanks to the folks at the forum who dug this stuff up!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tracfone Mother's Day Special - LG 225 On The Cheap

The Sweeper has found another Tracfone deal, though it's pretty easy to catch. Browse to the Tracfone website and type in your zip code to order. If AT&T provides service in your area, you'll see at the top of the page (well, after the banner announcing free shipping for orders above $35) a $49 deal: the LG 225, complete with the usual Double Minutes For Life, plus a car charger, headset and phone case...all for a mere $50, $30 less than the phone has been going for alone! It even looks like the phone is new, with no mention of being refurbished anywhere on the site. I'm not sure on the quality of the phone, as Tracfone doesn't like me (if someone could loan me the unit for review that'd be great!) but it costs the same as the Motorola w370, which has less features and no accessories. I'd call this one a win...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

T-Mobile's Pay Per Day plan is out!

Looks like the T-Mobile Pay Per Day prepaid plan is out! No Gold Rewards, but true to the preliminary news it has 7 p.m. night calling and mobile-to-mobile for $1 per day (only on days you use the phone) and 10-cent calling otherwise. Not sure about airtime expiration, but the plan seems to be a good one for people who talk more than less, and the old plan is still available if you want that. Again, choice is good, and now that all four carrier-brand prepaids (INPulse, Virgin Mobile, GoPhone, T-Mobile To Go) have an unlimited M2M\Night&Weekend option available, the real competition can begin. Wait...I think so far T-Mobile wins vs. Verizon and AT&T, and ties with Virgin Mobile. Sound familiar? That's sort of what's happening on the unlimited (contract) side of things, except there Sprint is better than everyone else.

T-Mobile Sidekick for $150 on prepaid

Thanks to the folks over at HowardForums, I've found a sweet deal at BestBuy's website for the T-Mobile Sidekick ID. Someone may have mentioned this before on my own forums, but anyhow the phone is $150 and includes $30 in airtime, enough for a month of Sidekick service. Granted, the ID doesn't have a camera, but $150 is a decent price to pay for T-Mobile's only phone that allows unfettered data and messaging (well, except for any other Sidekick)...

T-Mobile To Go Gets More Phones

Looks like there's some more phone choice on T-Mobile To Go. Okay, if you want to split hairs you could say that, with the activation kit, you could put the service on any of these phones anyway (or on the iPhone, if you wanted...that's what I'm doing right now) but now you can get a few more (slightly older) phones preloaded with prepaid T-Mobile goodness at a decent price...

Samsung t319 (camera flip) - $40
Samsung t619 (1.3 megapixel camera music Bluetooth flip, with MyFaves if you ever need that) - $50
Samsung Trace (take the t619 and turn it into a thin bar phone) - $50

This nearly doubles the lineup of T-Mobile To Go phones, at least ones available on their website (which speaks more to To Go's lousy lineup than anything else, what oh well), and more selection is always a good thing. The prices are decent. I'd say it's all good...and yes, I'll eventually review those phones, though at present I have no fewer than FIVE phones to review (Aloha, Super Slice, Shorty, Samsung m300, Pantech c300) and after that I want to grab the cheap stuff (AT&T GoPhones) so the new T-Mo To Go phones may have to wait until summer.

Then again, if I get enough sponsor revenue I'll go ahead and order 'em.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tracfone News & Phone Reviews

Sorry for not updating as often as I'd like. I'll probably not be updating until this weekend in any large way, by the way. Then starting Friday I'll probably be gone until the Wednesday after that...and sporadic until Sunday following because of school winding down, tests, the realization that I need to focus heavily on school and actually get things done, etc.

But there are a few news items that are pretty important...thanks to BabbleBug (check 'em out via the link on the righthand side of this page) for one piece of news and to the folks at the forum for the other.

But before I get to the news, (from whom I get the odd visitor every day or two) has a podcast up. It's monthly, and production value is what I'd like to call "meh" but the guy did score interviews with higher-ups at both Page Plus Cellular and CricKet's data team. He also talks a bit about T-Mobile's FlexPay service, which is basically what you'd call a "hybrid" on any other carrier...except T-Mobile charges you full price for the phones and contract price for the plans.

But the news...first, Tracfone...

1. They now have a 70-minute card for $19. The reason it's more minutes and slightly cheaper than the 60-minute 90-day card? It lasts a mere 60 days. The card seems poised to replace the $20 60-minute card (I don't see a reason why Tracfone would keep both of them around, though I hope they would) with a rate that's actually lower than the rate on the $25 90-minute card (27.1 cents per minute versus 27.8) but higher than the $30 card (27.1 vs. 25). Of the four cards in its price vicinity, it falls in the middle as far as minute usage per month, though its cost per month is toward the higher end...

$19 - 35 min/month - $9.50/month
$20 - 20 min/month - $6.67/month
$25 - 30 min/month - $8.33/month
$30 - 40 min/month - $10/month

On the other hand, if you are just running low on minutes and just need more minutes rather than expiration, and would rather spend less money than more, the $19 card works well. Especially with the double minute card.

2. The Tracfone w175g is now out. Hopefully it will replace the c139's a much better phone from what I can see. Then again, at the same price ($15) you're not going to get a ton of quality no matter what. On the other hand (spoken like the guy from Fiddler on the Roof) it's a much nicer phone than its CDMA counterpart, the Kyocrap...Kyocera K126c. Likewise, though in lesser measure, the upcoming Motorola w260 on GSM (price: $30) looks a bit better than the LG 200c that is its CDMA price counterpart, though the 200c's price has tumbled recently.

That's the Tracfone news. Now on to the stuff from BabbleBug. though I have to mention in passing that the LG Aloha is now available in purple (slightly less girly?) as well as the original white. I promise, I'll review the darned thing soon, and I'll send out the LG Flare to its winner soon. Sorry about both things...

So about BabbleBug: they've sent me two phones (thanks guys!) from two different prepaid carriers. One has a lot of on-box branding but no on-phone branding, the other has no on-box branding (or even box in my case) but a little on-phone branding. The former is the ridiculously small Pantech c300 from Wireless (Locus Mobile). Once you take the phone out of its O2-branded packaging (which is much easier to get into than the typical blister pack) it looks like they just grabbed a bunch of Cingular phones and resold them...the phone comes complete with Cingular menu options, the ringtone and the big "jack" on the center button. The other phone is from Total Call Mobile, and it's a little bigger but still nice and slim: the Samsung m300. It's quite an achievement for a small prepaid provider to get a phone on their network while the parent carrier is it, so props to Total Call for that. Then again, both of these phones are priced pretty high, though for their feature sets and age I'm not complaining.

I'll be reviewing the phones soon (possibly sooner than the three Virgin Mobile units I have sitting on my desk right now) I hope, and my thanks goes out to this site's primary sponsor, BabbleBug, for letting me use 'em. Stay tuned for a boatload of reviews...and I gotta sign off now lest my productivity takes another dive :/

P.S. Support this site so I can get even more phones to review, so this place can become THE prepaid phone review source...and so I can give away even more phones, even some higher-end ones. Like, seriously high-end ones.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tracfone Bundles...They're Near You!

Thanks to The Sweeper and the Turk, another news bit for Tracfone has come floating in. At your local Wal-Mart may well be sitting a bundle of fun that includes a Tracfone (Motorola v170 or LG 200c, depending on whether you're in a GSM or CDMA area), a car charger, a headset and a case for the phone. The price? The same as the phone itself would normally cost.

This is a good deal for everyone I'm thinking. The idea behind it on Tracfone's end is probably to give out $10-$15 worth of accessories that would get people to use their phones more, so they could get the money back several times over when it comes time to buy a refill. Sly business model but if it works they'll keep it, and people will get free stuff with their phones. Not a bad deal in my opinion :)

T-Mobile To Go Anew?

It seems that the guys over at (learned about the site via The Sweeper) have bug up a new T-Mobile "hybrid" plan that's coming in a week or so, April 30th to be precise. It actually sounds a lot like the lower in Verizon INPulse or AT&T's $1 a day GoPhone, and is a better deal than both, though data still isn't to be found. They're also intro'ing two basic Nokia phones.

The new plan will be $1 a day on days you use your phone. What you get for that dollar is unlimited nights (no weekends) starting at 7 p.m. (better than INPulse's 9 p.m.) and mobile-to-mobile (similar to GoPhone and Verizon, just with a smaller mobile-to-mobile base by about 60%). Anytime minutes that aren't to T-Mobile customers will run you 10 cents apiece. Text messaging pricing won't change...I believe it's 10 cents to send a message and 5 cents to receive at the moment.

The new phones are the Nokia 1208, a very basic bar phone, and the Nokia 2760, a rather low-end cameraphone flip. I'm sure they'll be inexpensive and I'll probably even take the 2760 over the Alcatel Oxygen Wireless will be rolling out soon. Then again, neither phone is impressive, unless the 1208 is free with an airtime card and all you do is talk, with a text or two mixed in.

I don't think T-Mobile will discontinue their old (good) prepaid plan, and I hope they don't. This is no replacement for a regular prepaid plan but it's a definite addition to their lineup, and more hybrid variety is always good!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What Do You Want Me To Review?

Welcome to the 666th Go4Prepaid post. No, I'm not evil, just making an observation.

Anyway, please comment on this post on what phones you want me to review soon. It looks as though ads are going to generate about $80-$90 this month, though with your support of BabbleBug and whoever-puts-their-Google-ads-up-top it could be more. With that budget in mind, what does eveeryone here want reviewed? Specific models please. I'm thinking of grabbing a phone or three from T-Mobile To Go or AT&T GoPhone this time around unless people really want otherwise.

By the way, sorry to the winner of the LG Flare for my not having shipped the phone out to you already. I'll try and do it tomorrow. Things have been rather busy for me lately.

EDIT: Looks like AT&T's pricing gives me plenty of models to review. How's this sound for a lineup? Refurbs would be bought when available.

Nokia 2610
LG CG180
Samsung a117
Pantech c3b
Pantech c120

Whew, that's a lot of phones to review. Then again, I have to review three now.

Locus' O2 Wireless In The News for Intro'ing Alcatel Phones

They sell you 1000 minutes a month for $40. Their website isn't quite set up yet to reflect this. Their phone selection makes you think you're in a third-world country. They're O2 Wireless (aka Oxygen, powered by Locus Telecom, no relation to O2-by-Telefonica in Europe and such), and they're now selling Alcatel phones.

These guys somehow made it onto the front page of PhoneScoop today with the E206a, which actually has a decent set of features, ranging from EDGE to Bluetooth to a camera. I doubt that most of these features will be useable in the near future though; Locus' agreement with AT&T, on whch the O2 service runs, has so far been voice-and-text-only. Then again, things could change. On the other hand, Page Plus cellular still hasn't rolled out data, and they said they'd do that a year ago.

So please don't excited about this handset, whose screen and keypad are reminiscent of the Nokia 1600, but with a lesser-quality user experience (but without the call answering bug, see my review). I'm pretty sure Alcatel is a no-name for a reason, though that probably means the E206a will be quite cheap for someone...if not for the consumer then for Locus, which would help them to keep the 1000-for-$40 plan running.

As for me, I'll take a Nokia phone any day of the week. Or a Moto c168i. Or a Pantech. Or an Alcatel review unit to dissuade me of their inadequacy (hint, hint).

Movida: Not So Dead After All

Looks like Movida got purchased by the cell phone supply chain company APC Wireless. That means they aren't going out of business, and I don't even think anyone noticed any service interruption. The word from APC is that customer service will improve and other things will stay constant. I tend to think though that APC, leveraging its relationships with phone makers, will eventually intro newer phones into Movida's lineup, which is good unless they're Kyoceras. Even then let's hope that Kyocera has learned something from Sanyo, from whom they recently purchased the mobile phone division.

No Slash For You

Looks like Virgin Mobile cancelled my order for the Slash. Looks like it won't be out for awhile then. Sorry everyone...guess I'll be reviewing the three phones I said I'd review in the near future. I'll order some GoPhones and such to review when I get back to Texas, where AT&T will actually send me stuff rather than saying "you haz a PO box you cant play". Grr.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Shout-Outs and A Suggestion Box, Plus a Net10 Deal

Sorry for not posting recently. It's been busy. To update on the purchase of the Virgin Mobile Slash, I've got nothing. The order is "submitted" but that's it.

A few things to tide people over between now and when I release either something more newsworthy or a review of one of the three phones sitting on my desk right now (Aloha, Shorty, Super Slice)...

1. Net10 is having another nice sale on one of their phones. This time they're giving away a Motorola v176, complete with 300 minutes of "starter time" when you buy their $60 600-minute 120-day airtime card. Seems like a good enough deal. It can be found here (thanks to The Sweeper for the tip!):

2. Want something covered here that has to do with prepaid service (like maybe a review of some T-Mobile To Go phone or AT&T GoPhone...or information on some weird prepaid service?) Comment on this post and I'll see what I can do. I'm slightly "better connected" than the average Joe on these things, thanks to my working with a few of the companies that sell the various providers' airtime and phones, so I may be able to get an inside scoop on something. Plus, thanks to your visiting sponsors' sites, I can buy phones to review and such!

3. Most of my traffic here comes from Google, with the second-biggest traffic source being direct hits from a bunch of loyal viewers (thanks!). The remaining 7.31% (over the last month, as of this writing...I have Google Analytics embedded in every page, and no, I'm not maliciously tracking your every move, don't worry) are non-search, non-direct hits. Here's a shout-out to a few of the people who give me a visitor or two per day...and yes, Google search makes up well over 90% of the search-driven hits to this site, in case anyone wants to know:
  • HowardForums - The largest cell phone forum on the 'net as far as I know...I'm a proud member, my username is iansltx
  • PrepaidPhone - Powered by and a little bit of Yours Truly, you've got various info on prepaid phones and breaking news, with little news overlap between it (mainsteam) and myself (less in, no news snippets or press releases)
  • Cell Guru - The home of the prepaid and hybrid comparison charts for cell phone service, as well as various bits of information about phones, providers and cellular news in general. If you like this site, you'll like the Cell Guru's.
  • PrepaidReviews - Probably the biggest prepaid-focused site on the 'net, with seventy thousand unique visitors per month (wish I had that!), with a nice amount of reviews by various people on prepaid cell phone service from just over two dozen providers. They also have a comparison tool, a (mainstream-ish) blog and a few articles on prepaid service in general.
  • PrepaidWireless - I've done some work for these folks, who, like this site's main sponsor, sell prepaid phones and airtime.
Moral of the above story: there are some very informative sites on prepaid phones and service out there in addition to mine (heh) and if they link to me I'll probably mention them at some point or other :). Seriously, check out their sites...they're quite useful and complement this site well.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Net10 Intros 450-minute card, Tracfone to carry Motorola w260g

Looks like there's a little news on the Tracfone front today. First, Net10 now has an online special on an interesting airtime card. Their new, online-only, 450-minute card lasts 90 days, providing a denomination between the 300-minute, 60-day and 600-minute, 120-day cards. On the Tracfone side of things, you've now got the 90-minute 90-day, $25 (as seen in Wal-Mart) card online.

In bigger news, Tracfone is queuing up another phone for their lineup: the Motorola w260g. Okay, it isn't that big news...aside from being a tad thinner and shorter than the Motorola w370, and coming in black instead of silver, and costing $30 instead of $50 (with double minutes for life thrown in) there's nothing different between this phone and the Motorola w370. Maybe this is a slight downgrade, sort of like the LG 200c vs. the LG 3280.

As a side note, the suggested retail price for the Motorola c261 is now $30, a far cry from the $80 where it started...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Few Updates\We have A Winna

First off, apologies for the long wait to announce contest winners. Have been busy lately, and will continue to be busy for the next several days, meaning I probably won't be able to ship the phone 'til sometime next week. That said, the winner is Danamark!

Before everyone beheads me for his not posting on the forum, he did leave the nice comment that follows, which is a really good tip that nobody brought up so far as I know:
Tip for buying "pay as you go phones" from local store.
All those Electronic, et al., ads that you find in the Sunday paper can be found on-line at:

Here are this weeks Sunday ads for Virginia for prepaid phones..

Not cheap enough for you? Just wait for next weeks ads. :)

Also, while looking at the newer phones at Virgin Mobile,
looks like they are offering new Pay As You Go Plans?

Great job, man. Check your Private message box on the forums. I need info on where to send the phone to...

If you didn't win this time around don't worry about it. I've got three other phones I need to review (Super Slice, Aloha, Nokia Shorty), all from Virgin Mobile..though if someone wants to make a bid on the Shorty (including charger and case) I may sell that phone instead of giving it away. Also, I have to talk with MyMinutes about the Aloha, as to whether I can do a giveaway there. At any rate, the giveaways will not cease and there will be at least three phone reviews up here in the relatively near future. Not this week much to do. Maybe next week, or the week after. Check back here, and don't forget to support this site's sponsors! Especially since Babblebug (this site's biggest sponsor currently) may let me borrow some of their stuff for review. Thanks guys!

Guess that's about it news-wise. Now let me check my mail to see what the heck is happening with the Slash I ordered...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

AirVoice Ramps It Up

Looks like AirVoic Wireless has upped the ante on long-term prepaid CDMA (Verizon) service by just a bit. Their $50 refill now lasts a whole year. This wouldn't be as big of a deal if it weren't for the fact that Page Plus Cellular's $50 refill lasts a mere 120 days (the closest competitor) with the same amount of airtime...and the fact that Airvoice doesn't look to charge a 50 cent per month service fee that Page Plus does. Granted, off-network roaming is a rather shocking 11x the price of regular talk, but if you are in Verizon's service area and find that the biggest refill you're getting is $50 on page Plus, you may need to take a look at AirVoice Express.

EDIT: Looks like the monthly fee is $1. Nevermind.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Virgin Mobile Deal Update

A few more deals for everyone...

  1. Target has the Aloha for $10 now.
  2. Target has the Wild Card for $79 now (not too bad...though just 99 cents off the previous price).
  3. RadioShack has the Super Slice for $39 now.
  4. Circuit City has the Super Slice for $37 now.
  5. Circuit City has the Cyclops for $37 now.
That's it for now. Got a lot of non-phone-related stuff to do today :). As always support this site's sponsors!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Wild Card and Super Slice Reviews at CellGuru

The Cell Guru has reviewed (in a nutshell) a few of the phones he has, namely the Virgin Mobile Wild Card (Kyocera) and the Super Slice (UTStarCom). You can check out his reviews below...

Another Prepaid Bites The Dust: Movida!?!

Yep, looks like the folks at Movida, after cycling through a few plan options, have gone bankrupt. They said that Sprint was charging them too much to use the network. I think the more likely case is that Wal-Mart was taking too much money on the front end out of the phone purchases, but either way they're dead. Guess the Hispanic audience wasn't large enough, or some other such problem. I'm just surprised that a company with such a large retail presence (read: Wal-Mart) would fail after only a few short years of being out there. Oh, right...we're in a recession or something...

...though I've been talking with the folks at BabbleBug and they said they can work something out for former Movida customers to switch over to Total Call Mobile (same network, 10 cents per minute, 5 cents per text, 90 day expiration on airtime, cheap international calling) at prices that are really, really nice. Click on over to BabbleBug if you're a victim of Movida's bankruptcy...the info on this concilliatory promotion should be up pretty soon.

Virgin Mobile News and Deals

Todays news bits are all about Virgin Mobile.

First, they've revised their phone lineup. They've phased out some of their older phones and done a discount deal on others that aren't quite so old, but are going to be phased out soon enough...

In the phase-outs department, the Oystr is gone (good riddance) as is the Switch_Back (see Oystr).

In the deals department, there are three phones available for "free" with airtime now. There's the Kyocera K10 Royale that has been there for awhile now, with $$9.99 in airtime. Now there's the LG Aloha (didn't they just introduce that phone?) with $14.99 in airtime. Last, there's the Slice (the original one) free with $20 in airtime. Out of the three I would definitely go for the Slice, but it's neat to see the stairstep offerings there. What's weird though is that the Marbl is still $14.99 with the usual $2.50 in airtime included.

But wait...the news ain't over yet...

According to some quick work by The_Sweeper over on the forums (thanks!) Virgin Mobile is intro'ing a Samsung phone, and a slider no less, in the quite near future. I had actually heard of this awhile back on HowardForums in some capacity or other, but ow it's semi-official, though the pictures on the website have been taken down (though The_Sweeper grabbed them so they remain). The m310 "Slash", sporting the new, more subdued, Virgin Mobile look (as opposed to the utterly twelveyear-old-girly LG Aloha) gets you a camera, Bluetooth and a decently slim 0.7" thickness, as well as the usual VMo stuff like web and applications. At $79.99 the camera had better be 1.3 megapixels, but the fact that it's a more name-brand affair than the other $80 phone, the Kyocera Slider Sonic (which has been out a little this side of forever), is a point on the pro side of things.

In even more news, though this pertains more to this site than otherwise, the LG Flare giveaway ends this Sunday, so post a tip or comment or question on the forums to enter yourself! Remember, this phone comes with more airtime than you'd get if you bought it regularly, and it comes activated and ready to enter now!

Also, I will be getting the Super Slice in for review in a few days, as well as that old, beloved Nokia Shorty, courtesy the Cell Guru (paid for by ad revenue from this blog's sponsors, and whoever-uses-Google-AdWords).

LAST NEWS FLASH: I just bought the Samsung m310. If Virgin Mobile doesn't just cancel the order due to the phone being a bit of a pre-release marketing-wise right now, I should be getting it around the time I get the Super Slice and the Shorty. It's a rather expensive phone for the likes of poor blogger-me so if you wouldn't mind supporting the folks who support this site, I'd really appreciate it. Might even be able to give the phone away, if I don't become too attached to it ;)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Aloha Everyone!

The folks from the UPS dropped something else off at my dorm today: the LG Aloha from Virgin Mobile, provided for me by the generous folks at, who sell that sort of thing. I just did some quick comparisons between it and the LG Flare that  got last Monday (battery still isn't dead yet!) and a review will be coming shortly. Probably in the next day or two. To start off though, I must say that this phone is, as expected, practically identical to the LG 200c on Tracfone, though the software is a bit different, as is (to a small extent) the styling. One thing's for sure though, and that's the striking resemblance between this l'il guy and the Tracfone LG 200c that I reviewed awhile back...they're the same model of phone and it shows.

By the way, the main sponsor of this site is still BabbleBug, so check out their selection of airtime, phones, calling cards, SIM kits and other such goods by clicking the banner to your lower-right. Though I must say that they don't sell Virgin Mobile, Buzz Mobile or AT&T GoPhones quite yet, and MyMinutes does, hence the source of the Aloha for review. Thanks to both of them for supporting this site, especially BabbleBug, who has sent me phones for review in the past, and is paying for the ad banner you see on the site right now.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Virgin Mobile Switches Its Audience With Tracfone

In an unprecedented step of policy, to combat falling stock prices, Virgin Mobile will be focusing heavily on the core market of any sane cellular company: talkers. Tracfone seems to be doing just the opposite.

Effective today, Virgin Mobile will be discontinuing all phones higher in feature set than the Super Slice, with the Super Slice's existence still in question. Text messaging bundles will stay around, but a new website theme suggests that the main arm from now on will be voice calling, in this recession economy of ours.

Virgin Mobile's minute plans are being emphasized more and more, and rumor has it tat an unlimited option will be available in a few short days, though pricing remains a mystery. Rumor also has it that Virgin Mobile will be re-introducing its Shorty phone, though this time it'll be with a color screen. Sounds like something I've seen know, the Nikia 2126i from Tracfone?

Which reminds me: Tracfone is doing something even weirder. They're now tailoring their phones and services to the teeny bopper audience, with cheap phones and data-heavy services. In an unprecedented collusion with Virgin Mobile, Tracfone will be exchanging all its stock of Nokia and Motorola phones for Virgin Mobile's Kyocra...Kyocera and UTStarCom models. That means that the K126c on Tracfone will be here to stay. It looks like Tracfone has also secured a deal with Alcatel for cheap yet seemingly full-featured GSM phones, since Virgin Mobile is CDMA-only and Tracfone seems to still want to keep up their GSM service.

Effective immediately, all Tracfone promotional codes are void, the airtime cards now carrying a dollar denomination rather than a minute one, except for special "minute plans" where airtime, when purchased in bulk, is still less expensive. The Net10 brand seems to have survived intact, though it will be exclusively LG phone-wise for the forseeable future, to avoid tarnishing all of Tracfone's reputation with subpar phones. After all, Carlos Slim wants to get even richer off of the service, which is larger than the third and fourth largest cellular carriers in Mexico, combined. Then again, Slim (who owns the company that owns Tracfone) owns the company that owns the largest cell provider in Mexico anyway.

Look for garish-colored packaging on Tracfones near you, as well as more sensible-looking, ower-end but higher-quality Virgin Mobile phones. It's odd that Virgin Mobile would discad the main benefit of the Sprint network, data, in favor of a voice-centric model, but then again rumor has it that roaming agreements Tracfone has worked out over the years of its existence are being transferred over to Virgin Mobile in exchange for help on setting up data services and data roaming agreements to make Tracfone's CDMA arm experience a rich one.

Weird, but who am I to say what's riht and wrong in the cell industry? And who am I to write an article about the two big prepaid companies like there's actually something going on with them today?

Yes, folks, it's April 1st. Happy April Fools' Day!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Phone Reviews - Coming Soon!

It sure looks as though I'll soon have reviews of all the shiny new Virgin Mobile phones under my belt. Or most of them at least. Between paying for the Flare out of the ad money gathered for this site from Google and the great folks over at BabbleBug, getting the Aloha on loan from, and now (again from ad money) getting the Super Slice from the Cell Guru, he reviews are pouring in. Add to that the review of the Net10 Nokia 1600 and you've got a lot of phone reviewing from right here. Maybe even beating out PhoneScoop on review density, and I'm a one-man band ;). Then again, they also have a lot of stuff that I don't...

So anyway, reviews for the Super Slice and the Aloha will be coming up in the next week or two, and another phone or two will follow. I may be able to get a review unit for another sweet phone from BabbleBug, but it hasn't been confirmed yet (supporting them always helps with such matters) and, once the ad money permits, I'll be laying out the cash for the Virgin Mobile Wild Card, though reviews of the Motorola w175g and the LG 400g may come between now and then.

Thanks to everyone for their support, and please keep on with it; I'm putting 100% of the money earned this month on ads back into the site for phone reviews and the new domain name,, so please keep the support of this site going, both for BabbleBug and whatever Google might be serving up above this post. If your friends might have need of this site, tell 'em. If you have any questions about stuff, check out the forum and you'll probably get an answer there. Or drop me a line.

In closing, remember that there's a giveaway going on right now! Head over to the forum and post something useful, whether it's a question or a tip, and you're entered into the giveaway. The prize is the LG Flare that I just reviewed, brand new and with about $9 worth of credit (more than you'd get with it at a store), so it's worth shooting or, especially with the great odds :). Good luck in advance!

Friday, March 28, 2008

And we have a domain name again!

This time, the domain, which is this time (and should be live shortly, and point to this site) will be in my name, so what happened to (non-renewal by a friend leading to it vanishing and being taken up by some link farm-ish thing) won't happen here. I'll hopefully get eventually as well, but at least there is now an easier way to get here than the usual Enjoy!

LG Flare Giveaway

Yes folks, it's here. I'm giving away the LG Flare I just reviewed (a fine phone for voice, I must say), for free, and the contest to get it starts now and ends 11:59:59 PM Mountain Time, Saturday night, April 5th, 2008.

Okay, so it isn't as much of a contest as a plain old giveaway with an entrance requirement. The requirement: post during the giveaway period to the Go4Prepaid Forum with something of value (I determine this subjectively but it's easy to do...anything from a spotted Tracfone deal to a promo code to a tip on some new carrier or phone available). Also, if you don't mind checking out this blog's sponsors (don't realy care about the ads on the forum just yet...they aren't mine...) that'd be great. Do this and you're entered into the giveaway. At midnight, Sunday morning, I'll figure out who won and private message them via the forum so they can claim their prize.

That's about it. Again, the prize is a shiny new LG Flare flip phone, which I reviewed last night, loaded with about $9 in airtime (I had to top up $10 on it so it has more on the phone than when I got it out of the box). Total value, including tax: $40-ish. Post on the forum to enter and best of luck to you!

P.S. MyMinutes (thanks guys!) said they're sending the LG Aloha to me today for review. Look for something here soon about it! Also, look for a review on the UTStarCom Super Slice from Virgin Mobile in relatively short order as well.