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Comcast Still on the Fence With Becoming MVNO


Internet and cable company Comcast has been on the verge of launching its own wireless MVNO services for a long time. Earlier this month, FierceWireless reported that Comcast, despite its many moves and strategic deals, has “no current plans to enter the wireless market with its own offering.” It looks like the days of Comcast standing on the brink of launching a mobile service are coming to a middle.

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Microsoft Promises Flagship Phone in October

windows phone microsoft

You might remember in July when the company did some major refocusing and we all wondered if it signaled the end of Lumia devices? Well, according to an article by FierceWireless, it looks like Windows isn’t quite ready to completely bow out of the smartphone market. In fact, Lumia fans might soon be getting the flagship that everyone has been asking for.

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Pure TalkUSA Expands to Kmart, Sears


It’s always nice to see an MVNO moving up in the world and expanding beyond an online presence. It looks like AT&T MVNO Pure TalkUSA are now available not only online but also in more than 1,600 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide.

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TextNow Wireless Available at Fry’s Electronics

textnow logo

It’s always nice to see an MVNO moving up in the world and it looks like Sprint MVNO TextNow Wireless is doing just that. As of yesterday, the company announced that it will have a retail presence inside of Fry’s Electronics stores nationwide and that it will be offering two new devices.

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Republic Wireless Testing Cell-to-Wifi Handovers


Sprint MVNO Republic Wireless is built on the idea that consumers can (and should) save some money by using the Wifi networks that they already have access to for making calls. Needless to say, Republic gained quite a following with this model and several companies have adopted similar ideas including Google Fi and Touch Mobile. But, it looks like Republic is pushing the bullet yet again with its new “Salsa” project.

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Apple Considering Joining MVNO Race

apple logo

UDATE: Apple is now saying that it has no plans to launch an MVNO, despite recent reports. I guess only time will tell.

It’s absolutely no secret that Apple is a huge fan of controlling as much of the phone experience as possible from creating their own devices, operating system and app store. Well, according to an article by Business Insider, it looks like Apple is working slowly towards launching its own MVNO service as well.

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TPO to launch on Tuesday

TPO Logo

Last year, UK company The People’s Operator (TPO) raised funds to expand to the United States and in January officially announced that it would be launching this year with Sprint’s network. Well, according to an article by USA Today, TPO is expected to formally launch its US offerings as soon as next Tuesday.

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America Movil Considering Adding Roaming


Reuters reported on Thursday that Mexican telecommunications giant America Movil is considering adding some form of international roaming between Mexico and the United States for its postpaid and eventually prepaid plans. America Movil currently owns several of the largest prepaid companies including TracFone, Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile and Page Plus Wireless.

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Apple Dominates Smartphone Profits

apple dollar

Normally I don’t care to write much about smartphone profit shares for the various different smartphone manufacturers because, let’s be honest, unless you’re actually working for one of those companies you probably don’t really care. But yesterday I saw a slew of articles about Apple pretty much taking over the profits in the smartphone industry and the numbers are rather staggering. So I’m breaking with my usual here. Bear with me.

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Kill Switch Law Lowers Smartphone Theft


Last year, Reuters reported that nearly half of all crimes committed in San Francisco, Oakland and other major California cities involved smartphone theft. So, in response, California legislature passed a law that required that all smartphones sold in the Golden State have a ‘kill switch’ to render them useless if stolen. The law, which followed a similar law passed in Minnesota, was designed to curb the incredibly high rate of phone thefts in California. And it looks like it’s working.

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Study Shows Drivers Do More Than Text

text driving

I think most people can agree that texting while driving is a really bad idea. In fact, it’s been outlawed in almost all of the United States including the District of Columbia. However, smartphone users have not only continued to text, but have expanded to doing even more dangerous and ridiculous things with their smartphones while behind the wheel.

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Who Uses Prepaid Phones?


Prepaid phones are pretty awesome. You have freedom, choice, cheaper plans—what’s not to love? But, I find that a majority of my friends and family members don’t really use prepaid. I’m obviously in the minority, but exactly what kind of minority are we talking about? Have you ever wondered what the average prepaid user looks like? I did, and here’s what i found:

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1 in 3 Toddlers Use Cell Phones


It seems like children are getting their hands on smartphones at younger and younger ages. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a toddler with a smartphone in hand while in the line at the grocery store, or an elementary schooler playing a game on a phone in the parking lot. A new study was released earlier this week that indicates that smartphone usage is starting even earlier than anyone could have predicted—sometimes even before a child’s first birthday.

Researchers from the Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia conducted a survey of 370 parents from October to November 2014. In the survey, researchers asked parents how often and and at what age their children used smartphones, what activities they used smartphones and tablets for and why the parents gave children their smartphones. Their findings are, to me, a little shocking. Here are some of the findings:

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Missouri to Add 911 Phone Tax


The Missouri House of Representatives has passed a measure that will change the taxes that mobile phone users pay. The proposed bill will add a statewide tax of 3% on all phone sales. The funds from this tax will go towards upgrading outdated 911 services in the state.

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Bitcoins for Top Ups

I came across an article and a website the other day that advertised using bitcoins to purchase prepaid minutes at a discount. So, of course, I clicked on it. I mean, I’m all about saving money–that’s half of the reason I am even interested in prepaid phones in the first place.

Turns out there are multiple companies like Bitrefill and Piiko which sell minutes for prepaid phones at a pretty decent per-minute discount. The more you buy, the better your discount is. Top ups can be purchased for quite a few popular companies around the world and in the US.  Sounds good, right? Well, there’s a catch: you have to use bitcoins for all of your Bitrefill purchases, and bitcoins are far from stable.

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How Addicted to Smartphones Are We Really?


Smartphones are pretty much everywhere. They are prolific in a way that few things have been before them, and smartphones have, in some ways, taken over our lives. But, while we all know that smartphones are incredibly useful and that most people have one, an Internet analytics firm, comScore has released a report that puts into nice numbers exactly how addicted we really are.

So, to celebrate the proliferation of smartphones, here are some of the scary figures comScore released in regards to its study:

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One More Reason to Use Prepaid

T-Mobile was the first wireless carrier to make Equipment Installment Plans (EIP) popular, and since then all four of the main carriers have introduced the option. EIPs, as you probably know, are meant to allow customers to feel like they’re paying less for their phones by separating out the cost of the phone from the actual monthly plan. They’re pretty worthless, in my opinion, and unfortunately it looks like they’re here to stay.

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US LTE Ranks Low on Speed, High on Use

net speeds

LTE is awesome. I love nothing more than to see that little tiny green 4G next to my signal bars to let me know that I can browse, stream and do just about anything on my phone. But, what if I told you that despite the fact that you’re in one of the most LTE-connected nations in the world, your “super fast LTE” connection is, in global terms, not super fast at all?

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5 Apps We All Use


When we’re children, parents and guardians go out of their way to remind everyone that we’re all unique. Everyone is different, and we all do different things. You’re one-of-a-kind. No one else is like you.

As it turns out, when it comes to mobile apps, that’s nowhere near true. In fact, a new study shows that 61% of the time, most people are using one of the same five apps. I guess you can be original the other 39% of the time.

So, what apps are we all using? I bet you can name them, but here they are in order of popularity:

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Net Neutrality Overview


So, you probably read about it already but in case you haven’t heard, the Net Neutrality proposal passed yesterday with a vote of 3-2. There’s a lot of misinformation, bias and rejoicing going on over this issue. The FCC was rather tight-lipped about the specific details of the proposal prior to voting, but now that it has been passed, you can find it online fairly easily.

These regulations will effect both fixed and mobile broadband and will apply, for the first time, to wireless carriers as well as more traditional Internet companies. The rules are easily the most firm and strict rules yet enforced, and depending on where you stand, that might be a good or bad thing.

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Are Carriers Following Unlocking Policies?


Last year, all four of the main carriers promised the FCC that they would voluntarily change their unlocking policies to become more user friendly. The FCC outlined six guidelines that all carriers were supposed to follow including:

  1. Implement prepaid unlocking policies
  2. Implement postpaid unlocking policies
  3. Offer unlocked devices to active, overseas service members
  4. Post clear and concise unlocking policies
  5. Respond to unlock requests within 2 business days
  6. Notify customers when phones are eligible to be unlocked

Doesn’t sound too hard right? All four of the main carriers voluntarily agreed to follow these guidelines, which went into effect last week. Well, as it turns out, they’re not exactly holding up their end of the bargain.

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Smartphone Blood Testing Coming Soon


Image: Samiksha Nayak for Columbia Engineering

Your smartphone can do a lot of things. I mean, for a phone, it’s pretty smart. From playing games to unlocking your car, changing the channel or finally settling once and for all arguments over lyrics, the smartphone has become an incredible device capable of making just about anything easier–including blood tests.

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Prynt Case Valentine’s Promotion

Prynt love

A couple weeks ago I talked about a new case that hit Kickstarter and within 30 minutes reached its goal. This case, called Prynt, basically turns your phone into a Polaroid camera and will print off any image you have stored on the device instantly. It hasn’t launched yet, obviously, but as of this writing, the kickstarter has received more than 1000% of its original intended goal… so the odds are pretty good.

All of that being said, Prynt is currently running a promotion with the intent to give away a free Prynt case to one lucky winner. And the best part? All you have to do is snap a photo. Piece of cake! Here’s how to enter:

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SIM Unlock Laws Take Effect Wednesday


You might recall last summer President Obama signed into law that all carriers had to allow customers to unlock phones and take them to whatever carrier they wish. Well, that law is officially going into effect on Wednesday, February 11, 2015. This law goes for both MVNOs and primary carriers, from what I understand.

Here are what the current unlocking policies for prepaid devices with all four of the main carriers look like as of yesterday:

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Prepaid Subscriptions Decline in 2014


ShareTracker has released their study of 2014 wireless communications trends, specifically comparing customer growth in the postpaid and prepaid industry. And, as it turns out, prepaid customers have declined in the last two years, while postpaid subscriptions have increased.

Here’s a chart they released along with the report:

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Cablevision Launches WiFi Only Service in Feb

freewheel logo

Cable and home internet provider Cablevision has announced that it will be launching a new WiFi only phone service called Freewheel next month. While the service will be focused and advertised mostly in the company’s home state of New York, it will be available nationwide via the website. However, unless you are a Cablevision customer, the service isn’t really going to be that great of a deal.

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Wyoming Considers Prepaid 911 Tax


The state of Wyoming has brought forth a bill that would create a 1.5% tax on all prepaid phones and prepaid phone cards in order to better fund 911 emergency services and operations. Currently, the 911 tax is only charged to postpaid wireless and landline consumers in the state, although the emergency services are available to all.

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UK MVNO Announces Plans to Launch in US

tpo Logo

You might recall a few months ago, The People’s Operator (TPO), a UK based phone company, was raising money to launch their services here in the United States. Well, as it turns out, the campaign was a success and yesterday TeleoGraphy announced that TPO will be launching MVNO services here ‘in the spring.’

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Microsoft Debuts More Low Cost Phones


Despite Windows Phones fans clamoring for a new flagship from Microsoft, the tech giant has instead delivered two more mostly nondescript windows phone devices this week: the Lumia 532 and the Lumia 435. Neither device is really all that impressive, but they are definitely cheap–both phones ring in at under $100.

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UK Prime Minister to Ban Encrypted Chat Apps

uk flag

In the last few months, there have been a lot of articles, debate and general discussion involving the idea of smartphone privacy, what it means and how far the government can go.  Here at Prepaid Reviews, we even wrote a brief article explaining the debate for those of you who don’t really watch the news.

Well, as it turns out, the United States isn’t the only country questioning the idea of smartphone privacy versus public security. Earlier this week British Prime Minister David Cameron said that unless popular messaging apps with encryption abilities (such as Snapchat, iMessage, FaceTime, and WhatsApp) provide government backdoors for surveillance purposes, he wants to see them banned in the UK.

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Microsoft Introduces $29 phone


I don’t think anyone can deny that phone prices are pretty ridiculous right now. I mean, the iPhone 6 Plus, if purchased without subsidy and a binding two-year contract can easily run you almost $1000! Prices like that are not only out of the range of many hardworking people in first world countries, but in other places as well.

Well, Microsoft has joined Google in developing lower priced phones designed for emerging smartphone markets, and surprisingly, the phone looks pretty nice. I want preface this with the notice that this phone isn’t available in the United States right now. But, it might be soon. 

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Do Children with Smartphones Get Less Sleep?


A new study conducted at the School of Public Health at the University of California Berkeley shows that having a smartphone in the bedroom can lessen the amount of sleep a child gets even more than a TV. These small screens can not only reduce sleep time but also decrease the value of the sleep that children do get.

“Despite the importance of sleep to child health, development and performance in school, many children are not sleeping enough,” lead researcher Jennifer Falbe told WebMD. According to the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, pre-teens need at least ten hours of sleep a day, while teenagers need at least 9 hours.

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TCL to Resurrect Palm Brand


Chinese company TCL, owner of the Alcatel OneTouch brand, has confirmed its purchase of Palm, Inc. from HP and has issued a promise to Palm fans that their beloved Palm products will soon be brought into the 21st century. And, even more important, it will be done with advice from the community.

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Mariposa Rumored to Launch MVNO

Mariposa Logo

Business News Americas has reported that Mariposa Holdings, Inc. has announced plans to launch a MVNO targeting the United State Hispanic market, although neither an expected date nor name of the proposed company was announced.

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New FCC Complaint Website


I hesitated to even write an article about this, but with how frequently and easily new prepaid providers can go under, I thought it might be prudent. Today, the FCC has debuted a new online consumer help center to make finding resources and, should you need to, filing complaints much easier.

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Alcatel Announces Affordable Smartwatch


I fully believe that smartwatches are the future of the mobile market and while normally smartwatches aren’t something that I would cover on this blog (as they aren’t exactly prepaid), I can’t help but be excited about this one. Unlike its more expensive cousins, the Alcatel OneTouch Watch seems like the sort of thing that just about anyone–especially prepaid customers–would and could use.

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Apple Sued Over iPhone Storage

iPhone 6

When your average person runs out of storage space on your device–be it an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or laptop–the common sense thing to do is either delete something to make space, or to find alternative ways to store things (ie. cloud storage). But, now you have a new option: sue Apple.

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Apple Owned Holiday Smartphone Market

apple logo

Studies show that if Santa brought you a cell phone for Christmas this year, it was most likely an Apple product. Of course, with the recent release of the iPhone 6 and the first ever iPhone phablet, the 6 Plus, I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that holiday shoppers flocked to Tim Cook’s doorstep to complete their shopping lists. Apple probably has one of the most dedicated followings of any tech company in the market today, and it certainly shows.

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2014 Prepaid News Highlights


As 2014 comes to a close, I like to go back through the old stories and review the top prepaid news that we reported on this year. As it turns out, there were a lot of interesting things that happened including several companies closing, new companies starting and new issues, like smartphone privacy and kill switches became important.

So, if you’re feeling a little nostalgic, or somehow missed out on updates this year, here are some of the top stories in the prepaid market for 2014:

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Vodafone to Launch MVNO


Vodaphone, the United Kingdom based telecommunications company, announced on Monday that they intend to launch a MVNO venture using T-Mobile’s network. Vodafone America, the subsidiary of the companies that services the United States, Canada and Latin America, announced that the new MVNO will cater to Vodafone’s muntinational corprate (MNC) customer base–specifically those either based in the U.S. or who have a ‘strong presence’ in the country. A solid date for launch has not been announced, but the company stated it is aiming for a fall 2015 launch.

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Burner Offers PayGo Disposable Numbers


In this increasingly digital world, everyone has multiple identities spread across dozens of platforms. Most people have more than one email account but, strangely enough, having more than one phone number is uncommon. At least, for now.

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LTE Coverage Progression Animation


In 2010, when LTE was first launched, only 7.5% of the total US population had access to the now-standard 4G speeds. Now, in 2014, roughly 99.3% of the US can enjoy faster speeds. But have you ever wondered how it happened? Well, now you can watch the virus-like spread of the LTE network across the US with this cool animation.

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Best Cyber Week Deals for Prepaid Phones


When most people think online holiday shopping, getting up at midnight on Cyber Monday probably comes to mind. And, while you can get some excellent deals with that tactic, many of the savings will extend all through cyber week. Here are a few of the best deals this cyber week for prepaid phones from various carriers.

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE – $294.99 (reg. $599.99) from Cricket Wireless
  • Motorola Moto G – $39.99 (reg. $79.99) 12/1 only, from Boost Mobile

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Cyber Monday Sales on Prepaid Phones


Well, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are both over, but the deals certainly aren’t! If you’re looking for some fabulous deals on prepaid smartphones, but didn’t make it out during the holiday rush, then check out these awesome Cyber Monday deals–many of which will go all through the week!

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Top Ten Black Friday Deals for Smartphones

black friday

Electronics are easily one  of the most popular items for Black Friday shoppers with deep discounts available on just about every kind of electronic you could want. One of the hottest items this year will likely be the new iPhone 6, but for those of you looking for a slightly more affordable alternative, there are some pretty excellent deals today.

Here are my personal top ten Black Friday Deals on smartphones:

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Black Friday Prepaid Phone Sales Roundup


It’s finally here! That time of the of the year when half of the country cooks the exact same meal on the exact same day, and then eats way too much of it. Then parades and football and giving thanks…

And then…


Just in case you missed all of the articles we’ve sprinkled over the last couple of days, here is a list for all of the Black Friday deals we’ve rounded up–many of which start this evening. So grab your shopping shoes and go get some savings! 

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Black Friday Deals for Prepaid Phones at Cricket


As Black Friday draws near, more and more companies are beginning to advertise the incredible deals that customers can expect this holiday shopping season. Cricket Wireless released both Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping promotions for this year, and while there are only a couple, they are definitely worth checking out.

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Get Free Stuff Today from Verizon


You might recall a couple of weeks ago, Verizon announced that they were going to make today “Connection Day” by giving out some free goodies to anyone and everyone, regardless of network. So, today (and today only) here’s the list of free stuff you can download and other offers:

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Black Friday Deals for Smartphone Accessories

black friday

Buying your loved one a new prepaid smartphone is all well and good, but what if you’re looking to get some sweet accessories like a case or a bluetooth headset to go along with it? Well, turns out that Black Friday has plenty of those sales as well. Here are some of the better deals I found from Amazon, Best Buy and Radioshack:

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RadioShack Black Friday Sales on Prepaid Phones

radioshack bf

Radioshack has released previews of their Black Friday sales in ad form earlier this week, and some of the sales are not half bad. I admit I was a little surprised to see the sales with all of the recent bankruptcy troubles that Radioshack was having earlier this year.

While there are only a few deals available for prepaid phones, Radioshack has announced that they will be doing price matching for holiday shopping along with offering credit cards for making payments on items and free shipping if your item isn’t in store. Here are the advertised offers:

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