Tuesday, July 22, 2008

STi Mobile Is Still Alive

It looks as though STi Mobile is still alive and...um...squirming. 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.


Anonymous said...

STI Mobile is the best cell for a user like me who doesn't have much use for a cell but wants one with lots of flexibility. I don't use it much and it only costs me about $3.00 a month.

Minutes don't expire so when i'm not out much and don't need it, i might only pay the 10 cents a day to just have it. The coverage is really good, in fact my new phone allows me to use it evem at home (small rural NC town).

For anyone who just wants to have a cell for emergencies or periodic use it has the best rates i've been able to find and i've compared all the plans. I am usually covered monthly with an average of $10, sometimes $15 a month and only have to worry about making sure during really slow usage times that I make at least 1 call every 60 days and don't let myself leave my balance at $0 for more than I think 14 days because then i'd have to pay at $4.95 re-setup fee.

I've had mine for 2 years and have recommended to many people like me that use their home phone most of the time but need a cell just in case.

Lots of us disabled people are stuck at home a lot and don't need a cell very often. The only problem I've encountered is that the refill cards are not yet available in a lot of places or at least i haven't found them.

My little local neighborhood grocery has them so it's okay for me but I'm trying to find a nearby resource for a elderly friend that i gave my old phone to and I haven't as of yet.

I understand that Family Dollar and Rite Aid stores should all be carrying them eventually if not in actual card form then through a "receipt" like at my local grocer.

I'm really impressed with them and don't know why they're not more popular and am trying to get more of my friends to switch whose phones are always getting cut off because they really can't afford monthly cell bills or are paying way to much for their prepaid service.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Qiuwen said...

The best way to get the refill card for STI mobile is online, in my opinion. I've used cheapphonecards.com a lot, most of the time you can use the discount coupon for ~ 10% off. You can find other vendors by google stimobile

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster - STI Mobile is the best deal in prepaid phones out there. I have had mine for over two years and very happy with them.

Anonymous said...

I've also used STi Mobile for couple years now, for occasional calls. Some months when I don't use it, it costs me only around $5/month.
Now I lost my phone and need to replace it, so was checking if any better plans are available, but nope. I was unable to find a better deal anywhere, as a next closest phone requires minimum $10/month.