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Smartphones Invade the Prepaid Market

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the contracts-cost dept.

Android 173

jfruh writes "When tech geeks debate the state of the smartphone world, they usually focus on the iPhone and its high-end Android rivals from the major carriers. But Android is rapidly entering the lower-end world of contractless prepaid phones that you can buy at 7-11 or Wal-Mart. 63 percent of prepaid phones sold in 2011 were smartphones, and while they might not offer cutting-edge hardware or easy customization, they do provide a smartphone experience without an onerous contract."

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Can't wait.. (5, Interesting)

aero2600-5 (797736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531409)

As soon as my early termination fee is low enough, I'm shitcanning AT&T and getting a pre-paid android. Probably going to go with Virgin Mobile. I've had success with them in the past.

Re:Can't wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531439)

I did precisely this when VM started carry the LG Optimus V. Phone was $179 (i think?) at the time, now it's $99. Decent phone, and very cheap plan.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531491)

Did the same thing. If you're really lucky, you can pick up a phone from eBay that's listed as "Bad ESN." I got lucky and picked up an Optimus V for around $50, because the ESN was deemed "clean" by VM when I asked.

This was about three months after they were first available.

Re:Can't wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531553)

Nice. I've had essentially no complaints with mine aside from slight Android bugginess. 3G through Virgin is not the speediest, but it gets the job done. Also, the Optimus has a super friendly modding community on AndroidCentral.. if you're in to that sort of thing. :)

Re:Can't wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531617)

But if you buy a phone with a "Bad ESN." isnt there a chance your getting a brick or something you cause for 6 months?

Re:Can't wait.. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531849)

ESN blocks are carrier based, meaning switching carriers as long as the phone is comparable will often avoid a blacklist. That said, buying bad ESN phones is like clicking on spam, it only promote more unwanted abuse (theif, faking of lost phone for insurance) though there are legitimate cases (found phone again long after reported stolen, found lost phone but no way to contact original owner).

But yes, you can get a defective phone, but that applies to all used and new phones bought (though mostly used). You'll simply have to either rely on whatever return policy is in place and vendor reliability/review/rating available. Bad ESN does not equal bad hardware, so that basically constitutes fraud if not described as such.

Cheap compared to (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531579)

Decent phone, and very cheap plan.

True, Virgin Mobile USA's $35 per month smartphone plan is "very cheap" compared to what the premium carriers charge, but it's still a lot more than the same carrier's cheapest dumbphone plan at $7 per month. I'd think the carriers would offer some way to gradually transition from a dumbphone to a smartphone. But Virgin Mobile USA's cheapest smartphone plan still provides ten times more voice minutes per month than I foresee using, given that most of my calls that aren't related to arranging a ride can wait for a land line whose bill I split with another member of the household. For someone who wants a smartphone as an upgrade from the combination of a dumbphone and PDA but isn't yet ready to pay $336 more per year, what U.S. carrier do you recommend? T-Mobile?

Re:Cheap compared to (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532075)

But Virgin Mobile USA's cheapest smartphone plan still provides ten times more voice minutes per month than I foresee using,

I would love a prepaid plan that had unlimited texting for, say, $10/month plus 15 cents a minute for every voice call and a 1GB of 3G data. I just don't really need voice on my cell phone any more.

Re:Cheap compared to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532081)

Who has a $7/month dumbphone plan?

Re:Cheap compared to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532283)

This AC does. I use Tracfone, and I'm going with a PAYG plan where every 90 days, I buy a $20 card worth 60 (or 120 due to my phone) minutes. That comes out just shy of $7/mo, and while the number of minutes I get are minimal, I rarely use my phone so it's a small fee to ensure I can call out when it's necessary.

Re:Cheap compared to (1)

Tooke (1961582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532175)

For someone who wants a smartphone as an upgrade from the combination of a dumbphone and PDA but isn't yet ready to pay $336 more per year, what U.S. carrier do you recommend? T-Mobile?

This is exactly what I did. I switched from my verizon cheapo dumbphone ($20/month for unlimited texting & $0.25/minute) and ipod touch to an exhibit 2 on T-Mobile ($15/month for unlimited texting & $0.10/minute). It doesn't have any data though, the cheapest plan with that was $30/month. It's not so bad since I'm usually in range of wifi, but I really wish I could pay for data the same way I pay for minutes.

Also, T-Mobile's service definitely isn't as good as Verizon's. It's not a huge problem though, I can usually get texts to go through. Sometimes they'll refuse to send, but I think it's due to a bug in android.

Re:Cheap compared to (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532339)

This is exactly what I did. I switched from my verizon cheapo dumbphone ($20/month for unlimited texting & $0.25/minute) and ipod touch to an exhibit 2 on T-Mobile ($15/month for unlimited texting & $0.10/minute). It doesn't have any data though, the cheapest plan with that was $30/month. It's not so bad since I'm usually in range of wifi, but I really wish I could pay for data the same way I pay for minutes.

Note that T-Mobile has 2 different $30/mo no-contract plans.

  • The one they offer in their stores is for 1,500 minutes or messages and the data starts throttling after 30MB.
  • The one offered at Walmart is 100 minutes, unlimited SMS and the data starts throttling after 5GB.

So if you talk very little and want a lot of data, the $30/mo no-contract T-Mobile plan via Walmart is pretty nice.

Re:Cheap compared to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532363)

T-Mobile. But the cheap "feature phone," register the SIM with that phone, then buy an unlocked but compatible T-Mobile smartphone (I'm going to bet you can still get a Nexus S via ebay and since they distribute those updates OTA via WiFi, you can even have ICS on it).

Transfer the SIM to the Nexus S. Turn off 3G (has added benefit of saving power) and then use WiFi for connectivity.

Profit.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531907)

I concur. I have an LG Optimus Slider with Virgin Mobile. I grabbed it on sale (with additional coupons) for $99 back last summer. It does pretty much anything I would want it for, and the monthly fee is about as cheap as they come for mobile phones. Of course, that still makes it overpriced, but what are you going do? :P

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531913)

I wanted to add that the Optimus is super easy to root. There isn't much in the way of a community, but I have the optimized firmware and a pretty spiffy custom ROM running on it. It's a lot better than the throwaway GoPhone that I had been using for years before.

Re:Can't wait.. (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531509)

Probably going to go with Virgin Mobile.

I have never had anything but poor experiences with them myself but I fully support anyone changing from one shitty carrier to another.

Believe me, I get it. I hated AT&T and then I hated T-mobile. Honestly I don't mind AT&T now that I have a small business account (their reps are great and they have never overbilled me or fucked me over) but don't think that you're suddenly going to have a better experience on one carrier over another; they all suck.

Best of luck to you. I hope VM rocks it out and your prepaid account solves all of your problems but, more than likely, it's going to be more of the same with a different name.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531599)

Must be randomized hell, then. I hate to sound like a shill, but I only ever had ONE issue with VM, and that was when they'd double-billed me two months running. Of course, a phonecall later (and 3 - 5 working days), the refund was applied. At the time, I was doing the minute thing (because who TALKS on a phone, anymore, right?), and I ended up getting 300 "free" minutes.

Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon sucked the life out of me previously.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531733)

>>>I have never had anything but poor experiences with Virgin Mobile..... I hated AT&T and then I hated T-mobile.

Hmmm. Sounds like a case of PEBKAC to me. In contrast my first cell phone was bought in 1999 from Cellular One, who I liked. Then Cingular who I liked. And now VirginMobile who I like. They all offered what was advertised (cheap calling). $10/month for the first two, and $5 a month for VM. Why complain? Life's too damn short to waste on complaints.

Re:Can't wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39532603)

Life is too short for complaints but it's not too short to address others complaints. I call bullshit.

Re:Can't wait.. (3, Interesting)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531925)

*shrug*

In a previous life I dealt with Verizon Wireless and AT&T small business services. We had some questions about issues we were having with their respective data networks. VZW was straight forward and very willing to work with us. The AT&T account rep was clueless, and I had to wander over to broadbandreports.com to escalate an issue. The issue was escalated to some sort of "executive" support that consisted of "Why the fuck do you want me to call you?" and I just kinda gave up at that point.

AT&T's residential service was worse for me. The place I'm at now originally had about eight lines on it, so there was a DAML... which meant no DSL or 56k dialup. Thankfully I had nice, expensive long-distance service because they slammed me when I signed up for voice service. Unfortunately, AT&T flat refused to offer DSL on the line to the ISP I wanted to use. So, yeah, I had to quite literally beg AT&T through broadbandreports (then dslreports.com) to provide service. Eventually they relented. Best they could do was G.DMT (no ADSL2, no U-Verse in this neck of the woods). Now that ISP is a proper CLEC and offers unthrottled ADSL2 w/ proper POTS service I'm AT&T free... I couldn't be happier. But AT&T, well, I've gotten countless calls and letters from them pleading with me to return.

Look, I've had problems with VZW, and they were bad (some were illegal actions on VZW's part). But I've never once been forced to resort back channels to get the problems fixed. Likewise I've friends that use Sprint (back in the days when they'd charge you to call customer service) and T-Mobile. Nobody even comes close to being as consistently bad as PacBell/SBC/AT&T. With AT&T to get any level of decent support I've got to go to broadbandreports and whine until a sympathetic tech has the time to respond. AT&T can fucking rot for all I care.

As for Virgin Mobile, I've been with them for about ten months now. So far so good. The coverage has definitely taken a dip since Sprint started carrying the iPhone. I've got an Optimus V and it's a great little phone and I've been working with a few people to firm up a port of CyanogenMod to it (wanna talk frustrating, try getting this stuff integrated into the Cyanogen tree). Better cell and GPS radios than my friends' Motorola Triumphs.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532021)

Nobody even comes close to being as consistently bad as PacBell/SBC/AT&T.

My phone, which is on T-Mobile, does not receive text (SMS) messages from AT&T. This is 100% repeatable. It receives text messages from every other provider worldwide, but never from AT&T. I suspect this is because my number was with PacBell and I ported it to T-Mobile.

How do I solve this? I suspect that the only way to solve it is to take the number to AT&T for a month and then back to T-Mobile, but this will be a tremendous hassle.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532267)

It's possible that the problem is on AT&T's end. I know AT&T does not have MMS agreements with Virgin. SMS typically works tho. At some point it just goes beyond incompetence and becomes outright malice. IMO AT&T's far past that point of incompetence.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

thomst (1640045) | about 2 years ago | (#39532625)

My wife just received a come-on letter from AT&T that said she had been "choosen to receive" an "Android smartphone with NO CONTRACT and FREE SHIPPING!"

Of course, the fact that this Android smartphone she had been "chosen to receive" would cost her $129.99, plus tax, and that she'd have to maintain a credit balance in her AT&T account in order to actually USE this pretty dumb excuse for a smartphone AS a smartphone. (No data features for pay-as-you-go customers, naturally.)

Personally, I call that attempted fraud ...

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

squiggly12 (1298191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531593)

I bought a 3G iPhone from a friend for 50 bucks, got a go phone sim card, pay 60 USD a month for unlimited talk/text. I also unlocked it on AT&T network (unlockit.co.nz view it from safari) so I can buy data packages if I know I'll be needing it. Data packs are fucking expensive I think, 25 bucks for 500MB. BUT It does rollover as long as you renew before it expires. I'm currently sitting at 1GB.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532111)

I don't know where you live, but in the US, Tmobile has a $30/mo unlimited data and text, with 100 minutes. The phone I bought for it is shit, but you can get any T mobile phone and use it on this prepaid package. Its a pretty good deal if you ask me

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

squiggly12 (1298191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532203)

I looked into the TMobile deal and yes, I could go that way but I would only get Edge speed for data. I even looked into the WalMart straight talk, and all they talk about is "web". What the fuck is web data? Is it only data from a browser? Is it from push notifications? Is it witchcraft? I have no clue so I stayed with shitty AT&T pre-paid.

Re:Can't wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532275)

I'm using straight talk with an iphone 3gs and it works great. 3G works fine and push notifications, pandora, netflix, etc, can all work over the 3G connection. About $48 per month, including taxes

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532367)

I looked into the TMobile deal and yes, I could go that way but I would only get Edge speed for data.

T-Mobile announced that they are reallocating their GPRS spectrum which will bring 1900MHz support for their 3G/4G which will then work on the iPhone.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

hazem (472289) | about 2 years ago | (#39532663)

I had a non-smart-phone from Straight Talk. It did have a web-browser though, and that was how you could use "data".

However they now sell Android phones and I suspect any of the apps can access the data connection, just like it can with any carrier. You could always try it for a month. If you don't like it, take it back for a full refund. You'll only be out the $30 for the month of service.

You could also try Virgin Mobile. I'm currently using one of the androids and like it quite a bit. I ordered a newer model and tried it for a few days and didn't like it as much as my old one. I was able to return it for a full refund as well.

The risks of trying one of the prepaids is pretty low since you can easily return the phone if it doesn't work for you.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531693)

I don't entirely understand WHY it is as such, but it is ~$100/month for a prepaid Phone/3G contract with Verizon, which includes UNLIMITED data. And yes, it's still truly unlimited - no GB restriction listed.

And yet, I have to pay the $60 + $50/month for a regular phone contract with only 5GB of data, and that doesn't even include text messages($10), voice mail($3), phone insurance($5) or anything else they manage to charge me more for.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531703)

>>>Virgin Mobile

Yeah I'm not so sure why this "prepaid smartphone" deal is so surprising. Virgin Mobile has been offerered smartphones a few years now. You had to buy them up front, but the monthly fee was only $25, so worth it.

My VM phone is a cheap phone that was gratis (pay $40 initial airtime and the $40 phone is free). I like the company because they charge only 5 dollars a month for half-an-hour of calltime, which rolls month to month. I've now accumulated 660 minutes! (I make few calls, except for long distance or car breakdowns.)

Re:Can't wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531725)

Get the Motorola Triumph, just price dropped to 230$ from 300$

I have the Samsung Intercept(and the phone just kinda sucks, but it is android and whatnot, but lacks ram badly) so stay away from that.

Though the Triumph has a fairly good Cyanogenmod community working on it and I think they only major things they don't have working right now is wifi and camera, but they are still working on it. Let alone other ROM makers.

Re:Can't wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531807)

I've been with Virgin Mobile for over 6 years now and they've never let me down. Last year I got in on their $25/month for Unlimited Data thing and they let me keep the plan price when it went to $35. I use the Optimus V. Plenty of great Cyanogen-based ROMs for it with a healthy community, even has ICS in the pipes. I don't see any reason to pay more for a slightly fancier phone.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532139)

I recently had a heart attack and realized I needed a phone for emergencies.I went with the GoPhone which is AT&T. I pay $50.00 a month for unlimited voice, text and data but rarely use the data. Before the attack I didn't see the need for a cell phone much less a smart one. I still don't have a smart phone and probably won't get one but I will say my use of the cell has accelerated somewhat. The phone itself is a Nokia C3-00 which is more phone than I really need. I just don't see the use of having all that trash in a phone.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

hazem (472289) | about 2 years ago | (#39532673)

You could get a lot cheaper monthly plan from Straight Talk or Virgin Mobile. They also have very basic cheap phones. Straight Talk has a 1000-minute/month plan for $30/month. I'm currently paying $35/month to VM which includes 300 minutes and unlimited data and text.

Re:Can't wait.. (2)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532305)

    I'd say you should.

    I was laid off several years ago. At the time, I had already cancelled my personal cell, because work required that I carry theirs. When they laid me off, suddenly I had no phone. No way for people to call (namely, prospective employers).

    I was already researching prepaid providers, that I could send data over their network for telemetry of my car. It was just something I was toying with. I wanted to have it send GPS data, OBD-II data, and the occasional shot from a forward and rear facing camera.

    On the drive home, I swung into Best Buy. They were on the way, and had some dirt cheap phones. I think I spent all of $15 on the phone, and $30 for unlimited use.

    Most of my friends have gone to prepaid plans. They use a variety of providers. I'm still sticking with Boost. I've had a few smart phones with them. It meets all my qualifications. I get unlimited ... well .. everything. I can talk as long as I want. I can tether it as needed. When I want a newer, better phone, I just buy it. I don't get the special discount rate by contracting for an extra years, with the risk of upsetting them and paying overages. When they decide to screw with me, I don't want to be contractually obliged to pay early termination fees.

I could decide tomorrow that Boost is horrible, sell my phone on Craigslist or eBay, and start with another prepaid provider. The only advantage I have with staying with Boost is that they have their "shrinkage" plan, and I've been with them long enough to get a nice discount on my rate.

A few people have said Virgin Mobile is the best. nice. Except for the not so fine print.
http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/beyond-talk-plans.jsp?tab=tab2# [virginmobileusa.com]
"All Plans Include 2.5GB Per Month of Full-Speed Data"

Unlimited, as long as you use 2.5GB or less.

Boost doesn't mention it, because it seems they monitor just about nothing. The only active monitoring that they appear to do is watching for the end of your paid period. By the ToS, tethering can be considered a violation of the ToS, but it's by their discretion. They don't really care, unless it's your only connection, and your using it to download torrents, or some other high utilization activity.

I've tethered something like a half dozen times in the last year. When I've done it, except once, I was very satisfied with their speeds. A few times, it was because I was in a hotel with awful speeds. It's not my 25Mb/s FiOS line, but I can connect from any arbitrary location, including driving down the road (as a passenger, of course). The only time it didn't work was at the last space shuttle launch, and the cell network was pretty much saturated. We had an awful time even getting phone calls out.

Re:Can't wait.. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532545)

A friend of mine did the same thing with one of those Walmart pre paid smartphones. Got a really nice Android phone for $129 and liked it so much he went and got one for his wife the very next week. The phone works great, apps run nice, and he only pays $45 a month for unlimited everything including web which is about half what he was paying under contract. After hearing his experiences i got one of those phones with the slide out keyboard for the oldest (he's a texting maniac) and i have to say its been pretty hassle free and a hell of a lot cheaper than the plans around here. Like you as soon as my termination fee isn't nuts it'll be goodbye contract, I mean why bother with the hassles and high prices?

News? (3, Interesting)

shift3 (911297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531415)

How is this news? I have had a Samsung Precedent from Wallmart (Sprint network, CDMA) for 4 months now... Decent phone... But you have to root it and install custom mods to get full use of it. Stock only hase android 2.2.3 if i remember... I am running AreaRom's 2.3.7 now... So much smoother.

Re:News? (1)

dalias (1978986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531489)

I see nothing wrong with having to root it (this is really the case no matter which carrier you get your phone from...to get rid of all their crapware if nothing else), but I'm waiting for GSM models. CDMA is useless for those of us who travel internationally. I also have no interest in prepaid carriers in the US, since their prices are too high. If you actually make a lot of calls, you can get much better prices sharing a postpaid plan with the minimal number of minutes with ~4 other people (close friends or family members) since basically all of your airtime (M2M, N&W, etc.) is not billed against your minutes. So I want a cheap Android sold by a prepaid carrier that I can root and use on AT&T's network, and without them detecting it as a smartphone and putting us on some ridiculous data plan.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531521)

In my experience, that is not the case. I had three prepaid phones, still 1/3 cheaper than a family postpaid plan with any major carriers.

Re:News? (1)

dalias (1978986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531781)

AT&T is $70 for 3 lines ($23.33/line) or $100 for 5 lines ($20/line). And that's with essentially unlimited usage (assuming most or all your calling is to other mobiles). The cheapest prepaid unlimited services I've seen are $45 or so per line.

Re:News? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531635)

How is this news? I have had a Samsung Precedent from Wallmart (Sprint network, CDMA) for 4 months now...

It would not be news if your purchase would have been the (only) one making 63% of the prepaid being sold - (then you would already know that 1 prepaid smart was available, so that this fact wouldn't be newsworthy). Since is not the case, now you know that yours is among 63% of others.

Indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531431)

I purchased a Huawei X3 for 99AUD (prepaid - locked but ulockable after a certain amount of top-up).

Great little phone, but occasionally I get a crossed line with a chap speaking Cantonese and there appear to be chinese government agents outside my hou

Re:Indeed (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531461)

Chickety-china, the chinese chicken.

Re:Indeed (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531679)

Chickety-china, the chinese chicken.

I'm fairly certain that people in the computer/IT world eventually go insane once they hit a critical age. Every once in a while you see bat-shit crazy posts. They usually come from ACs or users with really low UIDs. Someone should do a study on this; with government funding of course.

Re:Indeed (1)

general_re (8883) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531799)

Chickety-china, the chinese chicken.

I'm fairly certain that people in the computer/IT world eventually go insane once they hit a critical age. Every once in a while you see bat-shit crazy posts. They usually come from ACs or users with really low UIDs. Someone should do a study on this; with government funding of course.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC_q9KPczAg [youtube.com]

Re:Indeed (1)

sound+vision (884283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532007)

Get stoned, remember terrible music from the 90s, yell or type words onto the nearest keyboard. Sounds like something I'd do.

Re:Indeed (1)

Phil-14 (1277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531977)

Chickety-china, the chinese chicken.

I'm fairly certain that people in the computer/IT world eventually go insane once they hit a critical age. Every once in a while you see bat-shit crazy posts. They usually come from ACs or users with really low UIDs. Someone should do a study on this; with government funding of course.

This all goes to show how the universe is all ronzelle between.

My 3GS is prepaid with no onerous contract (5, Informative)

enjar (249223) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531475)

Buy used 3GS for ~$150. Get GoPhone SIM. Insert in phone. Change APN if you want data. It takes three seconds.

Prepaid smartphone. No onerous contract. No jailbreak required. Works fine with iTunes and App Store.

Slamming (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531597)

Buy used 3GS for ~$150. Get GoPhone SIM.

I've read horror stories of being "slammed" [wikipedia.org] to an expensive data plan once someone puts a SIM for a voice-only plan into a smartphone. Has AT&T stopped doing this, or has it never applied to GoPhone?

Re:Slamming (3, Informative)

spidr_mnky (1236668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531825)

They definitely do it. My girlfriend just bought a Fusion (marketed by AT&T as a pay-as-you-go thing) with the sole intention of ditching the sim card that came with it and using it on her existing AT&T voice only plan. Suddenly they tell her she has a data plan, and she's going to pay for it monthly. We're still working out exactly how to react to that, but yeah, they're apparently serious about it.

Re:Slamming (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531931)

They definitely do it. My girlfriend just bought a Fusion (marketed by AT&T as a pay-as-you-go thing) with the sole intention of ditching the sim card that came with it and using it on her existing AT&T voice only plan. Suddenly they tell her she has a data plan, and she's going to pay for it monthly. We're still working out exactly how to react to that, but yeah, they're apparently serious about it.

AT&T says, right up front, that their pay-as-you-go smart phones require a data plan. The lowest-end plan is five bucks a month - not particularly onerous.

I grabbed their first pay-as-you-go smartphone - an LG Thrive - when it became available last March. I'm not crazy about Android, but it certainly has saved me a lot of money versus the monthly T-Mobile plan I was on previously. And things generally work okay. But there are significant bugs in the month-to-month rollover code on both their SMS and data plans. Most months things will roll over okay, but count on once or twice a year having your balance simply disappear - and don't expect their Indian support people to be useful in rectifying the problem. The gophone support people are truly horrible - worst support I've ever dealt with, and it's not even close.

Re:Slamming (2)

Renraku (518261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532011)

Their lowest plan is $5 a month. But for smartphones, you pay an extra fee. And for SPECIAL smartphones, you pay an even higher fee. If you want unlimited, you'll pay a higher fee, but unlimited really isn't unlimited so if you need more, you'll pay a higher fee. If you need less, you'll end up running over, and paying a higher fee.

That $5 will turn into $20+.

Re:Slamming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532097)

I use a iPhone 2G with a modified IMEI from some shitty flip-phone I got at a yard sale, so I get the cheapest data plan. I know it's old, but it's the only iPhone that you change the IMEI on, plus I only use it for email and web browsing and I'm usually around WiFi, so it's fine.

Oh yea. It's illegal to change an IMEI and I don't give a shit.

Re:Slamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532431)

I have an HTC Inspire and am using an ATT GoPhone SIM for voice usage and it works fine (I own the phone outright from a free 2G to 3G upgrade with no contract). An ATT store helped me set it up that way. In fact they did not change the SIM that was in my phone (was using a $40 unlimited voice plus $15 data per month plan), they just changed some settings on my account and it was now a prepay GoPhone. I think WiFi should still work but not sure I've tried it.

Re:Slamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39532701)

I recently switched from a dumb phone to an android device, I use orange UK and had chosen the "dolphin" package on pay as you go, which defines "unlimited" data as 100MB per month, the moment you pass that limit they appear to start charging you £2 per megabyte(the all time data usage on my girlfriend's t-mobile android phone would have cost her ~£9,000 at such a rate), with no daily limit, frankly insane. Once your account begins hemorrhaging credit due to data use, the clever trick of avoiding a contract suddenly starts to look as dumb as your old phone. The best part is that orange's own website for their dolphin pay as you go terms [orange.co.uk] state that this shouldn't happen, they'll give you up to 25MB per day for £2, rather than completely draining your credit silently...

A contract makes far more sense, as these sometimes offer 250MB data for the amount you'll need to top up by each month to get the paltry 100MB free data that orange offer on pay as you go, as well as more inclusive minutes and texts, of course dropping orange like a stone makes far more sense, too. I think i'll look into tesco mobile and t-mobile's £10/m contract offerings(available in both 1month and 12month varieties)

Re:Slamming (1)

enjar (249223) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532193)

I do use the data plan, so I've never gone without it. My bill runs around $25/month, part of that is voice minutes, the other part is data.

I don't mind the money because I do get value from it, but it's not the $80-100 that I would pay on contract. And I'm generally in wifi range at home or at work so I rarely use it. It also rolls over as you renew regularly.

There are situations where prepaid doesn't work well at all but I've been happy on prepaid for a while.

Re:Slamming (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532243)

I've read horror stories of being "slammed" to an expensive data plan once someone puts a SIM for a voice-only plan into a smartphone. Has AT&T stopped doing this, or has it never applied to GoPhone?

It's definitely possible.

Every GSM phone has an IMEI number, which is a globally unique serial number for the phone. It encodes the phone's serial number as well as stuff like model and submodel. This can often be used by carriers to determine if a phone will work on their network.

Sticking your SIM into a smartphone tells the carrier that you have a smartphone, and they can determine if they should be slamming you with a data plan. Of course, some carriers prefer to not tell you this and charge you per use - stuff like $0.05/kB (not kiB - note!), or roughly $50/MB (not MiB), in the hopes you'll add a data plan.

The only thing I'm concerned with though is Android. These are probably low end crapphones that barely run Android, and most likely stuck with 1.5, 1.6 or 2.1, maybe 2.2 if you're lucky...

Re:My 3GS is prepaid with no onerous contract (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531655)

You can get a more powerful Android phone new, so unless you have your heart set on Apple, there are probably better choices.

Re:My 3GS is prepaid with no onerous contract (2)

enjar (249223) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532155)

Power isn't one of my big requirements. I don't deny that there are better/faster/newer on the market, either. But the phones mentioned in the linked article are the low-end for the most part, and picking up a used 3GS might be price-competitive for someone looking at prepaid.

- the power of the 3GS is certainly enough for how I use it (play music, send a text to my wife, talk on phone, play games occasionally)
- I am generally in a wifi zone at home or work
- I don't talk much on the phone
- I already had all my music and podcasts organized in iTunes
- I already had the ipod mount in the car
- I was already on prepaid for a while, but I constantly forgot to charge the prepaid phone

It's also a good way to keep a handle on teen phone use. My co-worker has four 3GS's in his household (two adults, one teen, one tween) using this method and the total bill (includes data, texting for the teen/tween, voice) runs about $100/month for four handsets.

Re:My 3GS is prepaid with no onerous contract (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531681)

I use straighttalksim.com

$15 for the sim.

$45/month for service, Unlimited everything.

Designed for using your current sim compatible phone.

Re:My 3GS is prepaid with no onerous contract (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531763)

Straight Talk SIM (straighttalksim.com) is bring your own device (AT&T, T-Mobile or unlocked) and offers "unlimited" everything for $45 a month and even offers micro-sim cards. Uses AT&T's network and 3G bands.

Virgin LG Optimus V (3, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531505)

I did a lot of research on this before Christmas for gifts for my kids. The best deal I could find is Virgin's LG Optimus V Android phone. Walmart sells these phones for $99, no contract. For $99 you get a heck of a lot - all the standard smartphone stuff - GPS, Wifi, accelerometer, capacitive multi touch screen, 3 megapixel camera, SD slot, etc. Now just as-is, with no service, you essentially have an Android equivalent to the iPod Touch. Netflix, youtube, pandora, etc, all play great over Wifi. My Walmart hasn't been able to keep these in stock for months. They'll get several in, and they are gone the next day.
    Then on top of that you can get service for $35 for 30 days, no contract. Unlimited data, unlimited texting, and 300 minutes of talk time. For my kids that is perfect. They mainly text and consume data. No standard carrier can come close to touching that with any contract plans. Literally, you're looking at DOUBLE monthly rates for the same plan (and you're going to have a data cap). For $50 a month you also get unlimited talk time.
    So this is the route I went for my two children that are old enough to need / use a cellphone, and it's worked out great.
    One note is that last week texting stopped working for almost a full 24 hours on all Virgin phones in my area. Neither sending or receiving would work. Then suddenly all the texting flooded both in and out when it started working again. I've never seen that happen with a contract carrier before.

Re:Virgin LG Optimus V (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531559)

One note is that last week texting stopped working for almost a full 24 hours on all Virgin phones in my area. Neither sending or receiving would work. Then suddenly all the texting flooded both in and out when it started working again. I've never seen that happen with a contract carrier before.

Wasn't just you: http://news.yahoo.com/virgin-mobile-customers-experiencing-nationwide-data-texting-outage-052409079.html [yahoo.com]

Re:I did a lot of research on this (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531589)

It depends on your timing.

I used to hate cell phones back when it was "OMG what if you needed an Emergency call?" Stupid pieces of junk.

Then I found an option to convert an iPhone to an AT&T GoPhone plan. Saved me $1500 so far. Because I never call anyone, but i dial my bank, and it doesn't autodial in my pocket and it had a calculator and Shredder (Chess) Mobile. End of Line.

Total Fees: about $300 per year.

Re:Virgin LG Optimus V (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531611)

My wife is the queen of finding online bargins. She got the same phone for (I think) like $50. I realize that I am almost never anywhere that doesn't have wifi. So I don't even pay the $30 a month. Never activated! I guess if I am not in a wifi hotpot then I don't have signal. If I know I will be somewhere w/o wifi for a while (on vacation or something) I can always pay $30 for one month then drop the service. I do need a phone though so I got a non-smart virgin phone in order to get their cheapo non data plan. I think I pay like $20 every few months. Not a lot of minutes but still more than I usually use. I guess if I wanted an even cheaper plan I could get skype on my optimus. The only problem would be that if I am not at a wifi hotspot then I wouldn't have cell coverage. Anyway, is it me or are most phone plans in the US insanely expensive?

Re:Virgin LG Optimus V (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531721)

My wife is the queen of finding online bargins. She got the same phone for (I think) like $50. I realize that I am almost never anywhere that doesn't have wifi. So I don't even pay the $30 a month. Never activated! I The only problem would be that if I am not at a wifi hotspot then I wouldn't have cell coverage. Anyway, is it me or are most phone plans in the US insanely expensive?

Saving $30/month... big deal.
I save at least $350 a week on hookers by simply jacking myself off.

The more you jack... the more you save.

Re:Virgin LG Optimus V (2)

Rufus Firefly (2379458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531851)

I picked up the Optimus V last mother's day for my wife who isn't exactly ... gentle with phones. (Let's just say that she couldn't figure out why she had all these black squares in her gallery--turns out she just throws the thing in her purse w/out turning the damned thing off and has taken many, many pictures of the inside of her purse...) The phone is a very solid phone, and all the prepaid (and contract) carriers have a version of it. Right now, the price is right at about $100, but I've seen them on sale lately for as low as $75.

Verizon can go piss up a rope, AT&T can lick my asshole; the only thing I miss with VM is the ability to roam, but anywhere Sprint has a tower, I have coverage.

Re:Virgin LG Optimus V (1)

jmaddington (2459974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531877)

My wife and I each have one with Virgin Mobile's 1200 minutes, unlimited text+data for $40/mo. Not the fastest phone, but we've both been really happy. Bonus: easy to root.

VM PayLo is all I need. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531539)

I have had Virgin Mobile for 5 years, unlimited data text and 300 minutes a month for $25 a month, mostly with simple feature phones. Got an Android VM phone a few months back. Now I have the full internet experience, apps from google, camera, music, player youtube, even Netflix! No contract, and a durable (dropped it a number of times) device, without paying for an overpriced contract that I'm locked into for two years. Yeah, I'm quite happy with this, why wouldn't I be?

Galaxy Ace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531571)

I switched over a few weeks ago. I paid 150$ for a Galaxy Ace, and it does what I need. I've disabled roaming, I only use the WiFi and I've loaded the applications I wanted without ever creating a Google account. The only down side is that I would have preferred this device to be a mobile computer with a true Linux experience instead of a lock-down appliance. I haven't rooted the device yet and I resent that I have to do this to fully own what I bought. (I will, I just think I shouldn't have to)

Tmobile and Walmart (2)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531595)

Im not sure if they still offer the plan, but Walmart sells the Samsung Exhibit II 4G [walmart.com] phone for ~$200. I picked up 2 for me and my girlfriend and they work very well with my tmobile employee account. When I bought these phones Walmart had a prepaid plan that offered 100mins, unlimited text and data for $30 a month. That is/was a helluva deal considering you could get your voip app of choice and effectively turn unlimited data into unlimited minutes.

Re:Tmobile and Walmart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532257)

Also. Walmart's $100 (or less) Samsung Dart. $30 a month for unlimted data and messages, 100 voice minutes. 5 Gigs of data until speeds drop. Totally worth it and no contract. PrePay the $30 before the monthly end of usage date, and you are golden.

Re:Tmobile pre-paid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532419)

I switched from T-Mobile's contract service to a pre-paid plan and dropped my monthly bill from just under $90/mo to just under $50/mo (with the $5/mo that can be saved by either going discounted cards or auto-bill) for unlimited everything.

They have since lowered prices on their contract service, but it was still more expensive then their pre-pay service once you added in all the fine print when last I looked. Besides, it was repeated billing errors and those ever increasing "fees", on top of the extra cost of the base plan, that motivated my move from contract to pre-paid service in the first place. Even when I've reviewed the newer plans, there doesn't seem to be any strong motivators to pull me back from the freedom of non-contract pre-pay, into a fresh two year contract.

I get to choose whichever phone I want, and enjoy pretty much whatever Android experience I desire, free of hassles and billing issues. The only inconvenience was having to pop into a T-Mobile store to have them replace my old 2G sim card with a new 4G sim card - which was free. The $40/mo in savings over my prior plan meant that over two years, I could spend $240 on a used phone (craigslist) and still save about $720.

My service will drop from 4G to 3G after a certain amount of data, but I spend most of my months below that cap. I think I just break it on about 25% of my billing cycles.

Re:Tmobile and Walmart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532527)

I work at a Wal-Mart cell phone department. We still sell the Samsung Exhibit II 4G for $199. You can use them with at least Simple Mobile, Wal-Mart Family Mobile and of course T-Mobile without getting them unlocked. We also sell the Samsung Dart for $119.

I have an unlocked device. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531603)

Here in India, you can only buy unlocked phone. Carrier subsidies aren't available. So the prices of phones are very high. Because of this you don't see many smartphones. Iphones are almost non existent, cheap android phones are seen more though. I have a prepaid connection, non sms pack, no data pack, only 0.6 USD a month. With everything activated I have to spend just 3.6 USD a month. :D

Re:I have an unlocked device. (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531701)

I wish all phones were sold unlocked, and I wish all carrier subsidies were illegal.
The price of phones rises to absorb all the subsidy they can extract from the carriers.

The iPhone was a huge siphon, emptying AT&Ts pockets into Apples, making Apple the
richest company in sight on a phone that really does not cost that much to produce.
Now Apple are doing the same thing [cnn.com] to the other carriers [latimes.com] .

If people had to buy their own phones the net effect would be lower prices, or they would be buying other phones. Greece, like India doesn't allow subsidies. Apple isn't selling well [investorplace.com] there. If Apple cut its profit margin in half, they would open up vast new markets.

Some of the lower-to-mid level Android phones do well in those same markets.

Re:I have an unlocked device. (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532501)

Why should the government prohibit people from entering into a private contract for a legal product/service? Isn't that the opposite of what the government should be doing? If you don't want to get a contract, don't get one.

Right now in the US, you're perfectly able to get a pay-as-you-go phone (every supermarket or convenience store or electronics store will sell them), or you can easily get a cell phone with a contract. That is the ideal system.

Re:I have an unlocked device. (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#39532653)

The problem in US is that if you bring your own phone, your contract is not really any cheaper than if you got one from them with a contract - in other words, you're always paying the "subsidized" price, regardless of whether there's a phone to subsidize or not. That smacks of forced bundling to me, and given that all carriers do that, with the exception of T-Mo, it may well be regarded as cartel collusion to squeeze the customers.

Re:I have an unlocked device. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#39532651)

There's no need to make subsidies illegal, just force them to spell out what they really are: purpose loans. If you buy a phone from them, they agree to give you a loan in the amount of $X. However, it should be a separate obligation fully decoupled from the actual contract - i.e. you should be able to terminate the contract at will etc, so long as you keep paying out the loan. And, of course, once you do pay it out in full, that's it.

Re:I have an unlocked device. (1)

pmontra (738736) | about 2 years ago | (#39532713)

That's basically what happens here in Italy. Phones are unlocked and you can terminate the contact by paying it out at any time. I still prefer to buy my phone. I'm using a prepaid card for voice and I charge it with 9 euro every month for data which is a nice backup for when I'm not on wifi. I can stop it at any time.

Re:I have an unlocked device. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39531717)

Wow. What did the phone cost?

Re:I have an unlocked device. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532507)

I've got you beat. ^_^

I'm in the UK. I bought an Orange San Francisco (ZTE Blade) back in January 2011. 15 Minutes later it was unlocked, rooted, and had CyanogenMod installed on it.

I stuck my 13-year-old O2 "Pay Upfront for Life" SIM into it. With this i get 50 minutes of calls to other O2 mobiles or UK landlines per month, with no SMS and no data. All for nothing a month! Back in 1998/1999 (when mobiles companies were still competitive) i switched to this tariff for a one-off cost of £99. In the past 13 years i've only had about £10 of additional charges total.

I paid Upfront for Life and i'm damn well going to stay on this tariff until i croak.

The next time Fon has a free shipping offer on their routers i'm going to pick one up. This will give me free access to every other Fon hotspot and, since there are over 2 million of them in the UK alone, i should always have one available near me, giving me mobile data for all my devices.

Make sure it can do VOIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531691)

That way you can get cheap voip-to-pstn termination over wifi from outfits like voipvoip. About 0.019/minute. Gingerbread and Ice cream sandwich both have good built-in SIP clients, but not all phones can operate it well, or at all. I use an Nexus S.

Moores fucking law. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531697)

Slashdot = Stagnated.

Also Slashdot mods are still faggots for pink page banning people.

Why get a mortgage for a phone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531737)

Virgin Mobile has worked out great for me. $42/month for unlimited data, text and 1200 min (which I never get near). No plan and the LG Optimus V is nearly indestructible. Case in point, it fell out my jacket at a TSA checkpoint, through the rollers and smacked the floor at good speed. Back cover and battery went flying. I put it back together, turned it on and got the start up screen immediately. The lady next to me told me that if I had an iPhone I'd be SOL. It's on the Sprint network so it works everywhere in the US. It was about $100, no plan. I'm never going back on a plan. The $0.20 charge per text on most plans drives me crazy, I've solutioned text systems and there is virtually no cost to the carrier. Plus a multi-year plan for a phone? I have a mortgage on my house (unavoidable) and life (taxes). No f*&cking way I'm getting a mortgage on anything else. Best yet my employer supports mail and messaging on Android, so no need to lug around a BlackBerry as well. In a former life I was an economist, I really wonder what is keeping the prices sticky at the major carriers (smells like collusion).

no contracts in my country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39531853)

Where im from we dont have subsidized devices on contract. So ive always paired my data devices with prepaid sims. My tab is paired with 3g prepaid sim that charges around $8 for 3GB of data over a month whichever comes first. I think thats very reasonable. The speeds hover around 2Mbps down and 1Mbps up

Never again (3, Informative)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532039)

I've had an android phone (HTC Desire) on prepaid for nearly 2 years now. I've had mobile contracts three times over the years - twice in Australia and once in Britain - and every time i left the country long before the contract expired, and had to pay it out. I'll never get a contract again! Prepaid's cheaper anyway.

I've done this for a while (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532065)

I bought a smart phone privately second-hand and put it on a prepaid plan for a while. I had to get a bit sarcastic with the guy at the service desk before he agreed to spend the two minutes to activate it (He says, "we can't do that" ... I'm not stupid, I know that smart phones are just phones with extra hardware and software).

I have my smart phone on a voice/text contract now, but only because I need to roam every once in a while (I'm in Canada, our service providers SUCK, there are no prepaid options that allow you to roam internationally).

I don't know what I'm going to when this phone dies, though. It's a CDMA phone and the providers here (again, they suck) refuse to activate a 3G/4G phone without a rape-my-wallet data plan.

Why sacrifice your phone? (3, Insightful)

batistuta (1794636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532337)

The article implies that if you go pre-paid, you have to put-up with a low-end phone. Why? Can't you get a top-end unlocked Samsung Galaxy S2 to use with your pre-paid? Sure, it will cost you 600 dollar. But you will not have to pay 80 dollar/month on your plan. And the best: if they screw you, you can just dump them and switch provider while keeping your phone.

The ability to change carriers easily is great for competition. Look at how it worked in Europe: you can get a line at zero cost per month. Add 4 euros per month and you have unlimited calls within your network. 10 euros/month for data plan. And some give you at the same time an airbag for a maximum of 40 euros/month, so you never pay more than that no matter what. If people moved out of the big carriers, same thing will happen in the US.

Re:Why sacrifice your phone? (1)

xlsior (524145) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532417)

One big difference, is that pretty much all of Europe uses the GSM standard, and you can use your phone on another network just by sticking a different SIM card in.

In the US, most phones are SIM-less, and there are different protocols, standards, and frequencies in use by the various carriers. Only a couple of the carriers are physically capable or interoperating with eachothers equipment, and all of them are throwing up roadblocks to customers wanting to switch away and still use their current phone. It's a captive market, and unfortunately there is very little incentive for the carriers to push for change.

Americans are forced in contracts? (5, Insightful)

i ate my neighbour (1756816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532497)

In actually free parts of the world, we can buy any smartphone without any contracts. Obviously, initial cost is higher but usually worth in the long run.

Re:Americans are forced in contracts? (2)

the plant doctor (842044) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532575)

You can still buy one that's unlocked, not on contract, obviously as you noted the initial cost is higher, but it's possible.

When I still lived in the States I had a Nokia 5800 and N97-mini, both were bought on the open market, not at the cellular provider and they worked just fine.

Re:Americans are forced in contracts? (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | about 2 years ago | (#39532743)

And then, as has been mentioned in other threads, you probably ended up paying the same overpriced monthly cost as someone who got their phone for "free" from the same contract.

Re:Americans are forced in contracts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39532765)

Contract-free cellphones are easily available in the US. It's too bad your "free" country makes it illegal to get a subsidized phone. In the US there's the principle that the government shouldn't tell people what to do unless there is some good cause.

Walmart Cell phone dept (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532509)

I work in one of the bigger high traffic Wal-Mart stores in the cell phone department. The majority of the phones I sell are Straight Talk which is TracPhone that is Wal-Mart branded. The main down side of their service, at least for my area, is the two smart phones offered is on sprints network which isn't the best coverage area. But I still sell between 20 and 40 Straight Talk smart phones a day. They now sell sim cards on their website (hopefully in stores soon) that can be used in an AT&T, T-Mobile or Unlocked GSM phone. (Phone must operate in 850 and 1900 MHz bands). I have not got to use one yet, but that seems to offer a lot more options. We also sell Wal-Mart Family Mobile (which is really just T-Mobile service). Funny thing is Wal-Mart repackages the T-Mobile phone for this service and then charges more for them. Example Dart is $119 on T-Mobile, it is $149 for Wal-Mart Family Mobile, every phone is over prices. Then you have to buy a sim card separate for $25.. What I do is sell people the T-Mobile phone and put the sim in that phone to save people about $30.

If I didn't work at Wal-Mart I would most likely go Simple Mobile for my area, it's $40 a month and the sim can be used in a T-Mobile phone or unlocked GSM phone. Virgin also has some reasonable plans. I am just hoping AT&T and Verizon will start letting prepaid smart phones on their network for around $50 a month, that is the main annoyance at the moment.

Color me surprised (2)

the plant doctor (842044) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532559)

I knew I couldn't be the only one. Granted, I live in the Philippines now, but I am from the States

I have a Nokia N9 that I bought outright and just go pre-paid on it, previously had a Galaxy S. One of the best things for me about pre-paid here is that I can just turn the network on, use it and turn it off. There's a set fee of 5 pesos/15 minutes of use. I rarely use it with all the WIFI around, but when I need it that's pretty cheap and easy to do and the coverage here is very good. Now if only the American providers would adopt something more like this rather than forcing smart phone owners to an "unlimited" contract.

welcome to 2 years ago (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532599)

no shit, where is the story?

here is your headline ... "Nerd has not bee out of the basement for too long, thinks that they have to pay a minimum of 70 bucks a month to get a shit phone that dies in 4 hours"

Youc FAIL it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39532705)

There8 'are
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