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UBI Resurrects Helio Brand

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UBI Telecom, a company that caters to Korean speakers in the United States, has officially resurrected and relaunched former Sprint MVNO Helio. Talk about a blast from the past right? Helio, for those of you who weren’t following us then, went through a series of complicated transfers when it ran out of money. It was picked up by Virgin Mobile, then subsequently dropped when Virgin was acquired by Sprint. Now, Helio is owned by UBI Telecom and is currently signing up customers again.

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Defense Mobile Ups Data

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I hope that everyone is having a really great Independence Day!! It’s all thanks to the US Military that Americans everywhere can take the day to have a BBQ, shoot off fireworks and generally just celebrate. So, today I thought it was especially appropriate to talk a bit about Defense Mobile, a prepaid wireless company that offers service to active and former US military members.

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Lycamobile Pushing PayGo Customers to New SIMs

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T-Mobile MVNO Lycamobile has been trying to get customers to switch from its “old” SIMs to the newer LM Plus SIM cards which offer different plans and services. Many people have been hesitant to switch because of PayGo differences between the SIMs, but it looks like Lycamobile is no longer giving PayGo customers an option.

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RingPlus Announces New Free Plan

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Sprint MVNO RingPlus has made several big changes in the last month or so including overhauling its entire plan lineup and introducing a new free plan that grants customers a limited amount of minutes, texts and MB for the monthly cycle. Yesterday, the company announced that it would be adding a secondary free plan as a promotional offering. Then, about two hours later, pulled the plan from the site and stated it would no longer be accepting new customers under that plan.

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GoSmart Adds $30 Unlimited Facebook Plan

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Like the highly-advertised MetroPCS, GoSmart Mobile uses T-Mobile’s network and is actually also owned by the Uncarrier. It’s easy to forget about GoSmart, as the company doesn’t have any particularly good deals or really all that many promotions and such for customers. In fact, we hardly ever write about it at all. However, it has come to my attention that GoSmart recently added a new plan to its lineup which might interest some Facebook users.

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US Mobile Plan Overview

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Launched in September 2014, US Mobile has a rather unusual plan structure which lets customers tailor the plans to their own needs. The company operates on the idea that customers shouldn’t have to pay for things they don’t’ really need (no matter how much we’ve been trained to think we do) and so aside from texting, there are no unlimited options. The company is owned by GSM Nation and runs on T-Mobile’s network. The company is actually set up pretty similar to Ting, except it is fully prepaid instead of postpaid.

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RingPlus Debuts New June Promotions

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RingPlus has debuted a number of changes and such in the last few weeks including a new plan lineup and the debut of a free plan for users. Now through the end of June, there are two different promotions aimed at new and current customers looking to make the most out of RingPlus.

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UVA Mobile Officially Launches from Beta

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If you’re looking for a T-Mobile prepaid carrier, then you have absolutely no shortage of options. However, very few MVNOs offer any kind of line sharing, and 2-line plans are hard to come by for the most part. Fortunately, if you’re looking for an affordable 2-line prepaid option, UVA Mobile has finally announced its commercial launch this month.

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MVNO vs. MNO : What’s the Difference?

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If you’re getting into the prepaid market, then you have two primary kinds of companies to deal with: MVNOs and MNOs. But, what are they, and which one is better?

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Puppy Wireless Gets LTE

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Puppy Wireless, the Verizon MVNO owned by Page Plus reseller Kitty Wireless, has been working on LTE for several months and recently announced the pricing to customers. Well, as of last week, it looks like Puppy supports Verizon LTE devices, albeit with a few kinks.

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RingPlus Debuts New Plans; Offers Free Service

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There have been lots of big announcements from Sprint MVNO RingPlus this week including the debuting of several new plans and a free service which will be available to everyone. The plans were first released Tuesday and RingPlus asked for (and acted on) customer responses to make the plans fairly competitive.

All of the changes are expected to go live this Saturday, June 13, 2015. Here’s a quick look at what to expect:

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Brightspot Pushes Customers to T-Mobile

 

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Last week, T-Mobile MVNO Brightspot Mobile announced that it would be closing at the end of 2015. There wasn’t a whole lot of information as to exactly what would happen to current customers, although we suspected that customers would be encouraged to make the switch to T-Mobile to avoid interrupted service. As it turns out, we were right. Here’s what you need to know:

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BYO Makes Major Plan Changes

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BYO Wireless, a Verizon and T-Mobile MVNO, made some major shifts to a its plan lineup late last week, including retiring two plans and adding two additional plans. Interestingly enough, all of this was done with absolutely zero fanfare.

Here are some of BYO’s changes and their current plan lineup:

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Proven Wireless to Add LTE to Verizon Plans

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While Verizon MVNOs can easily boast having access to the largest network in the United States, Verizon has a history of being a little stingy with its MVNOs in terms of offerings and LTE access. In the last couple of weeks several companies have added LTE, including all Tracfone companies and Selectel. And, I heard a rumor that Proven Wireless might be soon added to that list.

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Selectel Wireless Gets LTE

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LTE has been spreading across the various MVNOs in the last few months like wildfire, and the most recent addition has been Selectel Wireless, which as of June 1 supports Verizon’s LTE speeds. This is pretty big news, as this will make Selectel the first non-America Movil company to get Verizon LTE.

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Brightspot Mobile Shutting Down in Dec

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Last month, we talked about some rumors that Target was planning on shutting down its T-Mobile prepaid wireless company, Brightspot Mobile. Well, it looks like the rumors were true and Brightspot will indeed be shutting down by December 31, 2015. Current Brightspot Mobile customers are being encouraged to switch to T-Mobile prepaid instead.

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Best Verizon Prepaid MVNO Plans

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Verizon has, undoubtedly, the best coverage in the United States with the largest nationwide network. However, it also boasts some of the highest prices for both prepaid and postpaid. A lot of people interested in taking advantage of Verizon’s coverage turn to MVNOs, but options are pretty limited.

If you’re looking to get on Verizon’s network but want to leave the high prices behind, we’ve gathered some of the best plan options available right now, depending on your needs:

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Univision, GoSmart Available at Target

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Two prepaid T-Mobile MVNO companies recently announced that they would be offering their services through Target stores nationwide soon. Univision Mobile and GoSmart Mobile are similarly priced and will join T-Mobile prepaid on the shelves of electronic departments in various Target stores in the United States.

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Will Total Wireless Get LTE?

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Tracfone’s recently launched Verizon MVNO, Total Wireless, has been available in Walmart stores nationwide for several weeks now. The service doesn’t currently offer LTE and according to our reader comments, has not had the best track record for customer service. But, there might be a small chance that it will be offering 4G services sometime soon.

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PTel, Giv Increase Top Data Cap to 10 GB

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T-Mobile MVNO PTel Mobile recently increased the data cap on its topmost tier for both itself and its charitable prepaid subsidary company, Giv Mobile. Effective immediately, customers on the $60/month plans will receive an additional 6 GB of data each month to a total of 10 GB.

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Puppy Wireless Releases LTE Pricing

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Puppy Wireless, a relatively new Verizon MVNO run by Page Plus reseller Kitty Wireless, recently announced that it would support Verizon’s LTE as of June 1, 2015, but didn’t have any ideas on exactly what the pricing would look like. Well, it looks like Puppy has formally released its LTE plan list, and for light users, it looks pretty nice.

Here’s the LTE plan lineup:

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Pure Talk Lowers Prices

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Pure Talk USA is an AT&T MVNO which uses a slightly unusual model. For a majority of its plan options, customers purchase a set amount of ‘minutes’ which are used for both minutes and sending text messages. Minutes are charged at a normal rate, but text messages are 3 for 1 minute, or 1/3 of a minute per text. Data is an add-on. Overall, the company is a pretty good deal for light users and with the recent lowering of several of its plans, the company’s model looks even better.

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More Verizon MVNOs to get 4G LTE

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Verizon’s list of MVNOs is pretty slim compared to the other four main carriers. And, while Verizon’s gigantic network has had 4G LTE speeds for quite a while, the only Verizon MVNOs that could access it were America Movil brands including Tracfone, Page Plus, Net10 and StraightTalk. However, according to Prepaid Phone News, two additional MVNOs may soon be getting this capability as well.

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Giv Mobile Reduces $35 Plan

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Giv Mobile, a T-Mobile MVNO, has lowered the price of one of its more popular plans this month in order to be more competitive versus other T-Mobile prepaid plan. The $35 plan, which includes 1 GB of high speed data with unlimited talk, text and low speed data, has been reduced to $30.

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Scratch Debuts New Smartphone

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Wifi calling plans are a great way to save money, but if you aren’t always covered by Wifi, then it’s nice to have a backup. That’s where Wifi first companies like Republic wireless and Scratch wireless come into play. These companies both offer specific phones that allow consumers to make calls, texts and browse the web for free when connected to wifi, but provide cellular connections as backups as well. There is, however, a catch.

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Scratch Wireless Drops Unlimited Offering

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Scratch Wireless is a Wifi-first prepaid company with a model very similar to the slightly more popular Republic Wireless. Customers can use services for free when connected to Wifi but the company also sells monthly or daily passes to access Sprint’s network as needed. However, it looks like Scratch has run into some trouble and will soon be changing the pass options available.

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Kitty Wireless Limited Time Discounted Device

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I received a notification this morning that Kitty Wireless has a limited time, limited quantity order for new Kitty Wireless customers looking to get both a new number and a new phone. Available immediately, consumers can purchase the LG VS840 4G LTE for $79.95 which includes both the device and one month service on Kitty Wireless’ $55 monthly plan.

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TextNow Offers Discounted Moto G, LG Optimus F3

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TextNow, an MVNO that uses both Sprint’s network and wifi coverage to provide service to its users, has discounted two mid or entry-level phones and I wanted to share it with you! I’m not sure how long these discounts will continue, but since the devices are refurbished it is probably safe to assume that it will only be for as long as supplies last.

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Proven Wireless Plan Overview

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 Proven Wireless is one of those many MVNOs that we don’t really talk about all that much. While the company itself doesn’t have the most competitive pricing, they DO allow customers to choose from any of the Big Four. Proven Wireless has been around since early 2014 and originally launched with only Sprint and T-Mobile support. Verizon was added in mid 2014 and AT&T added shortly after that.

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Is Target Shuttering Brightspot Mobile?

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Launched in 2013, Brightspot Mobile was a prepaid MVNO available exclusively from Target. The company didn’t really get a whole lot of press or fanfare and its plan offerings were mediocre at best. The company hung on for a couple of years, but now it looks like it, too, might go the way of the dinosaur.

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UVA Mobile Beta Launches on T-Mobile

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A new MVNO has entered the market today with a Beta launch and a kind of neat plan idea. UVA Mobile, a T-Mobile MVNO, is currently letting customers sign up for the Beta testing of its service and offering a couple of promotions for customers willing to test out the service. First, though, let’s look at the plans that UVA has to offer.

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TextNow Changes Plan Pricing

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TextNow, a Wifi/cellular network MVNO hybrid, has changed around all of its plans this week. Effective immediately, all four plans now include unlimited talk, text and low speed data plus a limited amount of high speed data. Formerly, these plans only included limited high speed data and limited minutes.

This change makes TextNow a far better value than some competitors, but I’ll let you take a peek at the plans and decide for yourself. Here’s what the plans look like right now:

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PureTalk Debuts Senior Plans

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PureTalk USA, an AT&T MVNO has debuted a series of new plans this week aimed at anyone over the age of 55. These senior citizen-only plans are called AddVantage and offer customers a low-cost prepaid plan with minutes that increase every month for the first six month–almost like a loyalty program.

Here’s a screenshot of how the minutes are expected to grow with each plan option over the course of the first six months:

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Giv Mobile Offers Free Month of Service

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One of the select few MVNOs that allow customers to donate to chairities, Giv Mobile is a relatively new MVNO that runs on T-Mobile’s network. And now for a limited amount of time, the company is offering new customers a free month of service on select plans whenever you purchase a new phone through the company.

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Ultra Mobile Debuts Data-Centric Plans

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Ultra Mobile, a T-Mobile MVNO focused on international calling, has introduced two new plans this week aimed at customers who want more data and fewer international calling options. These “Data Plus” plans are priced at $34 and $44 and offer limited LTE data with unlimited lower-speed data.

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Defense Mobile Loses Beta Tag, Adds Carriers

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Update: Defense Mobile has increased plan data and changed up the mobile carriers. Read more about current updates here.

Defense Mobile, a prepaid multi-MVNO focused exclusively for those connected to the United States military, has officially launched and removed its ‘beta’ tag this week. The company, which we talked about briefly a few months ago, includes service from three of the four major carriers—Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. According to Fierce Wireless, Defense Mobile is currently in talks with the T-Mobile as well, and that network will likely be available soon.

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Puppy Wireless Overview

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If you haven’t heard of Puppy Wireless, then you’re probably not alone. Launched by Page Plus reseller Kitty Wireless, Puppy Wireless is one of those hidden gems in the world of prepaid phones. The service itself is still being tweaked by Kitty Wireless, but despite the bugs I’ve seen nothing but good things about Puppy Wireless.

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Univision Includes Cuba in International Calling

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No doubt in response to the Boost Mobile plans designed for those interested in calling Cuba, Univision Mobile, a T-Mobile MVNO, has re-targeted its excellent international calling services to Latin American countries. While none of this is actually new (these changes were announced in February) the web page now officially labels Cuba as a country that users can call at the rate of roughly $2 per minute for no additional fee.

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TextNow Plan Overview

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There are so many Sprint MVNOs and so little time. One of those often-overlooked companies is TextNow, a little company that launched a few years ago. Owned by the same company that also owns Touch Mobile, TextNow offers Wifi calling through an app, and offers monthly plans that are pretty competitively priced.

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Selectel to Offer International Calling

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Selectel Wireless, a Verizon MVNO, has soft launched its own international calling program this week. Although it doesn’t show up on anywhere on the website and is only available for purchase by calling Selectel Customer Service, international calling should be available right now.

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What MVNOs Use Sprint?

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While Sprint and T-Mobile are currently vying for third largest wireless carrier, no one can deny that Sprint has way more MVNO options than pretty much everyone else. So, if you’re looking to make the switch to a Sprint network without having to deal with Sprint’s mediocre customer service, here are some of your options:

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Kitty Wireless Offers 50% off Page Plus SIMs

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With its excellent customer service and good prices, Kitty Wireless is a popular option for anyone who wants to switch to Page Plus’ service but doesn’t want to deal with Page Plus customer service. And now for a limited time, Kitty Wireless will be selling Page Plus 4G LTE SIMs for 50% off the normal price.

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iWireless to get LTE

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Regional carriers aren’t something that we normally cover here at Prepaid Reviews, but today we’re making an exception for iWireless, a carrier that operates primarily in Iowa and some parts of the surrounding states. Why are we making an exception, you might ask? Well, because this tiny little MVNO has announced it will be offering LTE to its customers and any big step like that is worth writing about.

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What MVNOs Use T-Mobile?

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T-Mobile is not only one of the smallest of the Big Four carriers, but it’s also undeniably the fastest-growing. Part of that growth is from the carrier’s unusual no contract model and its MVNOs. Because T-Mobile doesn’t have a contract on their postpaid plans, the only real difference is when you pay and the level of customer service. Still, if you’re looking to avoid the big corporations and want to take advantage of T-Mobile’s network then here are your options:

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What MVNOs Use AT&T?

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Next to Verizon, AT&T has the most complete network in the United States. Unlike Verizon, AT&T actually has a decent number of MVNOs who resell its service. So, if you’re looking to take advantage of AT&T’s awesome coverage but don’t want to deal with the carrier prices, then here are some of the more popular options:

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What MVNOs Use Verizon?

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By far, Verizon has the fewest number of MVNOs, while Sprint has the most. This is a little interesting as both Sprint and Verizon utilize CDMA networks. However Verizon has, arguably, the best network in the United States. If you’re looking for a MVNO that uses Verizon’s network but doesn’t have Verizon’s ridiculous prices, then here are some of the more popular choices:

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Giv Mobile Lowers Prices

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Giv Mobile, one of the two MVNOs that donate to charity with each monthly payment, recently slashed prices on two of its top tier plans and added data to the lower-priced plans. While not the cheapest available, Giv’s plans are far more competitive now and pretty well reflect the options offered by parent company PTel.

Here are what the plans look like right now:

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Solavei to Aim at Hispanic Market

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Despite almost a full year of next to no signs of life from Solavei, it appears that the company is still doing well and functioning. Earlier this month, the company finally announced that it would partner with Netherlands-based company ASPIDER and planned to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of April.

Well, it looks like in addition to some compensation changes and restructuring of the company overall, Solavei has also decided to set its sights on the grossly under-served Hispanic market both in the US and abroad.

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Kyocera Launches Phone Recycling Program

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Because prepaid phones are generally a little less expensive than their more expensive contract counterparts, there’s probably a good chance that you have at least one old device sitting gathering dust in a drawer somewhere. However, phone maker Kyocera wants to help consumers recycle their unused devices with a new program called ‘Take Back.’

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New Service for Seniors Launched

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On Monday a new Sprint MVNO launched with the goal of helping seniors and those over 55 stay in touch with the loved ones and medical services that they need. Launched by Emveno, this “telemedicine MVNO” offers pay as you go and monthly phone services as well as 24/7 access to healthcare providers.

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