Friday, July 11, 2008

More Phones To Review

Well, I've been back from Philmont Scout Ranch (photos at http://www.picasaweb.com/iansltx/philmont2008) 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 :)

4 comments:

davea0511 said...

Great website, good info, thx!

I'm very interested in PagePlus prepaid data plans. I hope they work with phones that can be tethered. I can't seem to find any pre-paid data plans on phones that can be tethered. The sidekick pre-paid data ($1/day) for example has the modem disabled so it can't be tethered. If you know of any tethered solutions for prepaid internet on my laptop please share the info!

Ian said...

ould be to get an aircard, NOT a tethered data plan with one of these guys, simpl because their data plans cost too much...

AT&T GoPhone with the unlimited data plan makes a great Aircard plan, at 1\3 the cost of a contract aircard plan. Just buy an AT&T aircard, pop the SIM into it from your GoPhone (with the unlimited data plan enabled ahead of time), make sure your APN is wap.cingular (normally it's isp.cingular) and try to connect with a blank username and password. It should work.

For 3x that price per month, you can get Milenicom, which is (again, bring your own modem) unlimited data over Sprint's network. Pretty good deal considering what you get, and that AT&T's "unlimited" plan is "soft capped" at 5GB, so you may or may not hear from them if you go over.

As far as Page Plus goes, the data plans weren't fully turned on the last time I checked, but that may have changed. At any rate, if you can tether a phone on Verizon, you can also do so on Page Plus. Just keep surfing and downloading to a minimum; those per-kilobyte charges add up quickly, especially if you have an EvDO phone!

davea0511 said...

Thanks for the info. Yeah, I'd almost never use it - I don't travel much and I do everything at home, but when I'm out and about it'd be nice to hop on the net in a squeeze. I probably wouldn't need more than 5 Mb/yr in fact. I think I'm an anomaly - most people who'd even use the service would probably use a ton more.

So it sounds like PagePlus is the way to go for me, but if I used it more ATT would be the bomb. Then there's Boost ... who knows what's going to happen to them.

Ian said...

You might also be able to use STi Mobile, albeit at 1x speeds and a 12 MB/week limit...