media logos

Prepaid Phones

Could low-end smartphones be prepaid’s answer?

Over the past few years, prepaid has made quite the metamorphosis. Once a last resort for folks with poor or even no credit, it has turned into a true cost-saving alternative. It has its pros and its cons, but it is more useful for more people now than it was three years ago. So what’s the next step for prepaid? Well, in addition to unlimited calling plans, we’re starting to see some data plans emerge. What good is a data plan, though, without a proper device? Prepaid needs some low-end smartphones.

Read the full article →

Which of these phones will land on prepaid?

Above is one of four phones Samsung has added to its website. It’s the M2310, and as you can see it is a basic, basic clamshell. It offers little beyond a music player (with up to 8GB expandable memory) and a VGA camera. This makes me think that it could be slated for a prepaid release, if in fact it hits the U.S. shelves. If so, look for AT&T or T-Mobile, since they’re the GSM providers in America. Also making an appearance on the website, all of which are music phones: M2510, a slider with a 1.3 megapixel camera, the C5510, a slider with a 2 megapixel camera and up to 16GB expansion, and the S6700, with the same expandable memory but with a 3 megapixel camera. There’s absolutely no word on pricing or availability, but they’re headed somewhere in the not so distant future.

Read the full article →

Prepaid phones can help postpaid customers

Imagine this scenario: You’re toting around your cell phone, walking around a pool. Some wise guy decides to get a laugh at your expense and shoves you in — wallet, phone, keys, and all. While the wallet and keys will eventually dry, your cell phone might not recover. Sure you can stick it in a bag of rice, but even then recovery is not guaranteed. So what do you do then? Postpaid phones are expensive, especially if you don’t have an upgrade available. As Consumerist notes, a prepaid phone might be your best bet.

Read the full article →

New ZTE C90 passes through FCC

Remember when we learned that ZTE and MetroPCS would team up for LTE phones? Yeah, this is not that. It’s just the ZTE C90, which just passed through the FCC. As you can see, it’s a full QWERTY model, which should make heavy text messagers happy. It also has microSD support for up to 2GB, GPS, 1.3 megapixel camera, media player, and Bluetooth. It runs on hte AWS spectrum, so figure this to be another for MetroPCS, the only place we’ve really seen ZTE phones in the U.S.

Read the full article →

Prepaid getting better handset selection

Continuing on with our following of the mainstream media’s newfound obsession with prepaid wireless, we turn today to Bob Tedeschi of the New York Times, who writes on the topic of prepaid phones. Once upon a time, if you wanted prepaid wireless service you had to settle for a crappy, low-end phone. Even nowadays when you go into a retail store and purchase a prepaid phone package, chances are it’s coming with a mediocre phone at best. Yet many carriers have upped the quality of their handset offerings.

Read the full article →

New Motorola phone primed for Cricket and MetroPCS

See that? Yes, it looks just like almost every other Motorola phone to hit the market over the next few years. Yes, it’s the newest Motorola model to pass through the FCC. There’s no word on exactly which carrier will host it, but according to Electronista, it runs on the 1,700 MHz AWS band, the very same one used by rival carriers MetroPCS and Cricket wireless. So look for an announcement by either or both carriers in the coming weeks and months. While little is known about the handset, it looks unimpressive at first glance.

Read the full article →

Donate your old phone to charity

As we slog through the week between Christmas and New Year’s, news might be a bit light. So instead of just going dark, we’re going to talk about various prepaid issues. Today it’s phone recycling. Cell phones are always a hot holiday gift, and everyone is always excited to get a new one up and activated. But what about old reliable? Many times, an old phone can end up in a drawer or worse, in a landfill. While it’s always good to have a backup (you never know when your phone will get wet), you can find a way to put that old handset to good use.

Read the full article →

AT&T offers Pantech Slate to GoPhone

That’s the Pantech Slate, a full-QWERTY offering from AT&T which is now available without a contract from Go Phone. In addition to the keyboard, it has a 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, a Web browser, and a 176 x 220 resolution display (2.2 inch screen). The bad news: it doesn’t have a music player. If you can deal with that, then you might have a match with the Slate. AT&T is offering it at $179.99 with their Web discount. However, if you activate it with a data and/or messaging plan, you can receive a $50 mail-in rebate. The language: “Mail-in rebate requires activation on up to a $35 per month data or messaging plan.” Phone News notes that you can also get it if you maintain active service for 120 days.

Read the full article →

Motorola Hint hits Alltel U prepaid

You have to love it when a fancy-looking phone like this hits prepaid — and for a decent price. Though the device’s launch has been known for some time, we get official word from Engadget that the Motorola Hint QA30 has dropped. As you can see, it’s a sleek phone, though it looks a bit stubby. Out from behind the screen slides a full QWERTY keyboard for your texting and Web-browsing needs. It also features an MP3 player with expandable memory up to 8GB. You can nab it through Alltel U prepaid for just $119.99. Yep, that’s the no-contract price.

Read the full article →

Verizon launching self-branded CDM8950 on INpulse

It’s always nice when we get a new Verizon INpulse phone, since they don’t have a wide selection. The latest addition, which should hit shelves on December 3, is the CDM8950, a self-branded clamshell. It’s really nothing special, though it does feature EVDO, meaning you can get VZW services like VZ Navigator. Oh, and a 1.3 megapixel camera. Pic after the jump.

Read the full article →

Consumers want cameras on their phones

We know that prepaid camera phones are hot, but just how hot are they? According to a Strategy Analytics report, hotter than you might imagine. Turns out, consumers want a camera more than any other add-on phone feature, and are willing to pay the most for its inclusion. Given the prevalence of photo sharing and social networking sites like flickr, Photo Bucket, MySpace, and Facebook, just to name a few, this trend makes perfect sense. People want to capture the moment and share it with others, and this is eminently attainable with a cellular phone.

Read the full article →

Cricket, MetroPCS add Motorola VE240

Looks like Cricket and MetroPCS are doing more than a few things together. The latest is their dual announcement of the Motorola VE240. It’s a neat-ish phone, an MP3 candybar that features 1X data. It comes with the basics: Bluetooth, speakerphone, and even a dedicated music key. You can also use microSD cards of up to 4GB. The prices and availability will be determined by each company, though I didn’t find either of them yet.

Read the full article →

Review of the Virgin Mobile Arc (by UTStarcom)

We’re back today with our second handset review. A few weeks ago, we reviewed the Samsung Slash. Sticking with Virgin Mobile, today we’ll take a look at the Arc by UTStarcom. The phone launched in July, and has since come out in various colors. One poster on Howard Forums noted that a gold version is available at Target. I got the red one.

Read the full article →

Review of the Samsung Slash for Virgin Mobile

In what we hope will be the first of an ongoing series, we’ll start taking a look at handsets offered by the major prepaid carriers. First up is the Samsung Slash, available through Virgin Mobile USA. We covered the Slash when it was first announced, and even linked to a not-so-kind review. However, we’re not just going to take someone else’s word for it. We’re going to take a look for ourselves and check out what this baby can do.

Read the full article →

The hottest prepaid phones for teens this Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like…fall. In this day in age, though, that means preparations can start for the holiday season. If you head to your local retailer — Target, Lowes, Wal-Mart, you’ll begin seeing Christmas decorations, despite the fact that we’re a month away from Halloween. Since we like to get an early jump on things, we might as well take this opportunity to talk about hot prepaid cell phone deals for the holiday season. No, prepaid phones normally aren’t as glitzy as their postpaid counterparts. We’re sure, though, that we can find a few models that will light up the eyes of any teen as they unwrap it from under the Christmas tree.

Read the full article →

AT&T GoPhone gets Motorola RAZR in red

Remember the days when everyone had a RAZR? I hardly see ‘em anymore, but that doesn’t mean the cell companies aren’t selling them. Word is now, via Phone News, that AT&T will start carrying the RAZR in red. Apparently, they’d wanted to for a while, but couldn’t because of some strange exclusivity deal on the color with Sprint. Now that Sprint has discontinued the RAZR, it looks like AT&T is in the clear. You can get it now at AT&T’s website.

Read the full article →

The best prepaid phones for text messaging

Text messaging is a craze. It’s more popular than even phone calls: Americans send and receive and average of 357 text messages per month against an average of 204 phone calls. It is especially popular among the younger crowds. Teens aged 13 through 17 send and receive and average of 1,742 texts per month, while holding just 231 phone calls. Even the coveted 18 to 24 demographic has texts ahead of calls, 790 to 265. Today, we’ll look through our pay as you go cell phone providers and see which phones stack up best for button tapping.

Read the full article →

Get the Sony Ericsson W580i Walkman on AT&T Go Phone for $110

The Sony Ericsson W580i Walkman phone has been available through AT&T Go Phone for a while now, but it always hovered at that prohibitive $160 price. Now we see, via dealnews, that AT&T has sweetened the pot with a $50 rebate. You can get it now at the AT&T website.

Read the full article →

First Open Development phone set to hit Verizon

Last November, I was shocked to hear that Verizon would be allowing third party applications and phones on its network. It just…it just didn’t seem like something Verizon would do at the time. Since then we’ve found out that the deal isn’t completely open, but it’s certainly an idea worth exploring. AirVoice Wireless, a prepaid wireless company, has developed the first handset. It will cost $69 and it should be available soon. The question is, on what service will you be able to use it?

Read the full article →

Virgin bringing the Shuffle

See those two not-so-great pics above? They’re the new Virgin Mobile Shuffle, or the UTStarcom 8954. I first heard it from Ian, but then checked out this thread at Howard Forums, which has some info and speculation. Looks like it will drop in the fourth quarter. The original post mentions that it’s an update to the Slider Sonic…so maybe it will have a music player? Rumors also have it coming with a 2 megapixel camera. And since we’re dishing rumors right now, the price looks to be $100, $120, somewhere in that range. We’ll have more info once it becomes official, or we hear more rumors.

Read the full article →

Samsung A137 hits AT&T GoPhone

Yesterday we got word about another Samsung AT&T Go Phone addition yesterday, via Phone Scoop. This time it’s the A137. It’s nothing special, but seems like a decent prepaid value for the dollar. And MP3 player, Bluetooth, aGPS, and a WAP browser, giving it access to MEdiaNet. No camera, unfortunately. It’ll only cost around $40, so if they throw in some free airtime, this can be a decent option. Flip-open pic after the jump.

Read the full article →

Sony Ericsson Z750 for $39.99 on AT&T Go Phone

Here’s a nice little deal, coming your way via CrunchGear. It’s the Sony Ericsson 750, a 3G clamshell phone featuring a 2 megapixel camera. It’s actually a music phone, too, supporting all the major formats (MP3, AAC, WMA, M4A, etc.). As such, it has an expandable microSD slot to go on top of the 32 megs of on-board memory. Not only is the phone cheap at $39.99, but it comes with a $25 prepaid airtime card, putting your net at $15. You could do a whole lot worse with a prepaid phone.

Read the full article →

Nokia 2680 headed for AT&T Go Phone

Looks like we’ve got some more prepaid phone talk today. And, like our previous discussion, we don’t have a clue when this device will hit shelves. This hit a few sources, but I picked it up from Gadgetell. It appears the Nokia 2680 slider has passed FCC muster, and will be headed for AT&T. How do we know this? If you peek above, you can see the AT&T logo. It features a VGA camera (640×480), which can take video clips — or at least it says so in the manual (pdf). It also features a music player, though I didn’t see any section suggesting the inclusion of a microSD slot.

Looks like the price tag will be around $115, but that’s anything but confirmed.

Read the full article →

Virgin Mobile launches TNT

You might have seen this elsewhere over the past day or so. We covered the Virgin Mobile TNT over a month ago. Looks like it’s ready for purchase now. You can nab it for $20. Not a bad deal at all.

Read the full article →

Deal: Nokia 2610 with $100 airtime for $80 with AT&T GoPhone

Today’s deal comes our way via dealnews.com. If you don’t have any prejudices against refurbished phones, you can get a Nokia 2610 from AT&T Go Phone, essentially for free. The package, from AT&T’s website, costs $80, and it comes with $100 in airtime. So you’re really getting a phone and a free $20 of airtime. Sweet deal.

Read the full article →

Bluetooth for your prepaid cell phone

So, it’s come to this. While the majority of states don’t yet have laws which ban cell phone handset use while driving, the trend seems to be moving that way. In July, California and Washington state added such restrictions. They join Connecticut, Washington D.C., New Jersey, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as states which completely ban the use of a handset while driving. Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Illinois have particular jurisdictions which ban the practice, though it’s not statewide. So what’s a prepaid user to do? Get a Bluetooth, of course. Problem is, it’s not as easy to find on the usually low-end selection of prepaid phones from most carriers.

Read the full article →

Nab the Web browsing LG CG180 from AT&T GoPhone for $10

I’ve been running across some prepaid wireless deals lately, and I thought I’d start passing them along. Today’s comes via a link from xpdig, a social news site which pretty much rips off Digg. Anyway, today we’re looking at the LG CG180 from AT&T Go Phone. It might look like a simple candybar, but it provides some bang for your buck — especially considering that the bucks are only 10, after a mail-in rebate.

Read the full article →

Verizon Blitz messaging phone to hit INpulse

That little guy right there? That’s the Verizon Blitz. It used to be the UTStarcom TXT8010, but now its been rebranded for the same of having a snazzy name. Engadget Mobile lets us know that it will be part of the INpulse prepaid lineup. Wal-Mart will carry it beginning August 8, with Best Buy piggybacking on September 28. It already looks like one of the best Verizon prepaid handsets, featuring access to VCAST Music, Bluetooth, 1.3 megapixel camera, access to VZNavigator, and a microSD slot. No price yet, though I suppose we’ll find out in the next few days.

Read the full article →

Orange France flicks their BICs

“So, what does your company do?”

“Oh, we mass manufacture pens and lighters, mainly. Oh, and prepaid cell phones.”

Yes, we’re talking about BIC, the ubiquitous pen maker. They’re taking a foray into the prepaid cell industry, though I can’t seem to figure out why. With so many companies fine-tuning their specialty, BIC is seemingly looking to expand theirs. Available through Orange Fracnce, the BIC phone — can we call it the bPhone? — is an entry-level phone for the carrier’s prepaid service.

Read the full article →

Cell phone trafficking attracts national attention

Nearly two months ago, we learned of the decision against a mobile phone trafficker. The conviction effort was spearheaded by Tracfone, a major victim in the trafficking game. The process is simple. Many prepaid phones offer starter kits, which include subsidized phones and a small helping of minutes. The idea is that future minutes will make up the cost of the phone. Traffickers, however, buy these phones in bulk, reflash or unlock them to work on other networks, and sell them around the world. So the real losers are the carriers. While we heard some rumblings of news two months ago, this story is just starting to garner national attention.

Read the full article →

The best in Motorola prepaid phones

It’s been a while since we ran our feature on the best Samsung prepaid phones. Now we go to Motorola, makers of the infamous RAZR. Back in 2005, that model propelled them to one of the premier handset makers in the country, even the world. Now, though, they’ve slipped. They’re sliding down the world rankings, and don’t seem to have a major device around the corner to pick them back up. Regardless, they still do have a number of useful phones out there, especially on the prepaid end. So let’s take a look through our pay as you go phone providers to see what they’ve got.

Read the full article →

TNT!: Another new model from Virgin Mobile

On Thursday, just before we headed out the door for the long weekend, we saw that Virgin Mobile put a new phone on the market: the Arc, a $50 basic clamshell. Later on on the weekend, we learned of another handset launch. This one is the TNT!, exclamation point included. It’s even more basic than the Arc, as it doesn’t feature Bluetooth. Just a full color interior screen and a monochrome exterior display. You can check out the full details at Virgin’s website. Neat-o picture after the jump.

Read the full article →

Reviewing the MetroPCS Kyocera K312P

CNET has reviewed the Kyocera K312P from MetroPCS. Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge deal. But this handset is the one that features their push to talk service, and is currently the only handset in the lineup which does so. Let’s take a look and see what CNET says about it.

Read the full article →

Reviewing the Samsung Slash

No, I haven’t been able to get my hands on the new Samsung Slash from Virgin Mobile. But our pals at infoSync have the skinny. And they’re not too impressed, though that’s totally relative. It might not stand up to higher-end phones, but for a prepaid phone through Virgin, it actually holds up pretty well.

Read the full article →

States consider requiring ID for prepaid phone

We know that Congress is aiming to put restrictions on prepaid phones. But how exactly will they do that? On the one hand, yes, you want to be able to have some idea of who is purchasing these phones. As has been noted by many, prepaid phones are widely used in drug deals. But to restrict the purchase of prepaid phones too much is to weaken the industry. It appears now that some states are looking to require photo ID when purchasing a prepaid phone.

Read the full article →

Are mid-range phones on the way out?

Yesterday, Forbes took a look at low-cost cellphones. So I thought it would be nice to share with the folks at Prepaid Reviews. But then I got to thinking about a theme I was hearing earlier in the month during seminars at CTIA. Carrier-subsidized phones is really a U.S. thing. Many experts and insiders expect this trend to fade away. So without subsidies, customers will have to think about exactly what it is they want and need in a phone. And it could become an all or nothing decision.

Read the full article →

First Alcatel phone hits U.S. MVNO

I actually saw this story earlier this week, but left it alone. Why? Because while it sounds nifty that Alcatel is launching their first phone in the U.S., I was a bit confused. See, they said it was going to launch on O2. When I think O2, I think the British carrier. Alas, My confusion has been corrected. It appears that they’re talking about O2, as in Locus O2, one of our featured pay as you go phone providers. So all the sudden, this is exciting news.

Read the full article →

Disposable handsets readying for Europe

Here’s something I missed at CTIA: American gadget maker Hop-on was showing a disposable GSM phone. To save on costs, the model doesn’t have an LCD screen. It seems like a gimmicky enough idea, at least gimmicky enough for a distributor to put in an order for a 10,000-phone test run. However, don’t expect the $20 phone to be in America anytime soon.

Read the full article →

Growing demand for prepaid phones in convenience stores

If you had to guess, where would you think a convenience store in Texas would make more money: At the gas pumps, or inside the store? With the cost of fuel nowadays, it might be intuitive to answer “inside the store.” According to Mary Sullivan, owner of San Angelo, Texas-based Town & Country, that’s not the case. She claims that in the year ending December 30, 2007, they made $52 million more in gross profits form in-store merchandise than at the pumps. “Sullivan says lottery tickets and pre-paid phone cards for pay-as-you-go cell phones have been big growth categories.”

Read the full article →

Another option for senior cell users

Ever since I wrote about Jitterbug and their outrageous 50-cents-per-minute rate, I’ve been hoping that an alternative phone would come out for senior callers. Yeah, Verizon has the Coup, which has special plans attached to it. Still, there’s room for competition. Verizon’s plan provides too many minutes for emergency-only callers, and too few minutes for grandparents who want to talk to their grandchildren. We might be seeing some competition down the road, though, as Clarity has announced an elderly-friendly phone.

Read the full article →

Nokia, Kyocera entering the AWS market

We’ve been hearing a ton about the Advanced Wireless Services market lately, mainly because Cricket and MetroPCS have rolled out networks. And where there are new networks, there need to be new phones to work on them. What we’ve seen so far is kind of unimpressive, at least by new-fangled cell phone standards. There’s no “awesome” phone among the three announced by Metro and Cricket. But with new players entering the market for AWS handsets, that might change pretty quickly.

Read the full article →

Survey to show cell phones empower people

At 1:30 EDT today, the results of a survey of 1,005 Americans, and a separate one of 110,000 prepaid cell users, will be revealed. Nicholas P. Sullivan, a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be presenting the results. So what should we expect to hear? That the cell phone can be and is a powerful income-generating tool for low-income individuals. Well, at least that’s the interesting part. They’ll also talk about how a large percentage of Americans have used cell phones in emergency situations (with an 81 percent penetration rate, that’s unsurprising).

Read the full article →

The ins and outs of prepaid SIM cards

Right from the outside, some prepaid cell users might be saying “what the heck is a SIM card?” Legitimate question, actually. Though SIM cards are commonplace for some of us, for others they’re completely foreign. This is because SIMs are not used by CDMA networks — they’re only used by GSM and iDEN networks. For a fuller explanation of GSM and CDMA networks, you can check out an oldie but goodie on Prepaid Reviews.

Read the full article →

Virgin launches LG Flare

There has been much focus over the past few days on Virgin Mobile. They didn’t fare too well in the latter part of 2007, causing their stock to decline. And there was also the matter of an ad capitalizing on the scandal of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer. Lost in that fray was the release of Virgin’s first phone with a Spanish language interface: The LG Flare.

Read the full article →

Boost Unlimited gets Motorola KRZR

Boost Unlimited has been growing rapidly over the past nine or so months. They’ve picked up hundreds of thousands of customers (sometimes to the detriment of their “PayGo” division), and have expanded their services area to nearly a dozen new markets. The one consistent complaint, though, is that they have almost no handset selection. This is par for the course for Boost, who offer just three handsets on their “PayGo” side. On Boost Unlimited, they only had two, but now they’ve picked up a third: the Motorola KRZR.

Read the full article →

Guess the top 10 mobile phone makers

A bunch of articles circulated this morning regarding the top 10 mobile phone makers in the world. The spin on nearly every one of them: Apple entered the fray at No. 10. This is remarkable, since they have only one handset, and just started selling it in June. But it is the iPhone, and it’s been pretty damn popular so far. But after reading through four or five of these and seeing that they’re for the most part the same, I started to wonder: Where’s the list? They give us an idea of who places where, but no one lists one through 10. So here we go. There will be blanks, but this is how the articles shake it out:

Read the full article →

The best in Samsung prepaid phones

The year 2007 was a milestone for Samsung. Long a small player in the mobile phone industry, they surpassed Motorola to become the world’s No. 2 handset maker. This was on the strength of their growing almost four times faster than the market as a whole. They’re still a long shot from No. 1 Nokia — In fact Nokia shipped more handsets in the fourth quarter than Samsung, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson combined. So Samsung should enjoy its spot at No. 2. And to celebrate Samsung’s rise to prominence, we’re going to go through our prepaid phone providers to see which Samsung models they offer.

Read the full article →

ZTE C88 handset debuts on MetroPCS

I was just talking about ZTE yesterday on Going Cellular, in relation to their dealings with Sprint and WiMax handsets. But for now, we’ll have to settle for the initial model from the Chinese phone maker, the C88, which has debuted with MetroPCS. The company is looking to make a big splash in the US, even saying that they think they can top handset makers LG, Samsung, and Motorola.

Read the full article →

The best in prepaid camera phones

As we know, it’s tough to find a cheap prepaid phone. But while prepaid phones might not be cheap, you can usually find full-feature models. And that’s what we all want, right? Yes, some providers have crappy selections of refurbished, out-of-date phones, but others have large selections of the phones you want. So we’re going through all of our pay-as-you-go phones to see which ones bring you cameras.

Read the full article →

The end nearing for Motorola’s cell phones?

Here’s something I never thought I’d be reporting: Rumors are making their way around the Web that Motorola, now the world’s No. 3 handset maker, is considering dropping out of the cell phone business completely. This would allow them to focus efforts on government projects and big business ventures. Once again, this is just a rumor. It could just be some drummed-up speculation based on the company’s 2007 results, or it could be a leak from internal conversations. In any event, it’s tough to imagine a wireless world without Motorola.

Read the full article →