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.


Anonymous said...

Will the new tracfones (like the w260g and w175g) have mp3 ringtones like the w370?

Ian said...

Can't say for sure. Ask in the forums and you may be able to get a better answer.

Anonymous said...

$25 card is no more. At the very least it's not on their website (don't know about retail stores). One of two things is going happen with this card. 1) This will fade away, just like the $10 and $25 cards or 2) They will eventually expand it to 90 days with an increase in price to $19.99 and 60 minute card will go away. I just can't see them decreasing the number of days on the low end card. It would be a very bad move on their part.