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The CTIA I.T. & Entertainment conference is upon us, and from it we’re going to hear reports of new devices and services. Among them is Kempler & Strauss, which is producing unlocked, advanced handsets targeted at the prepaid space. Wireless Week takes a look at the operation. Pictured above is the Billionaire 7, a BlackBerry-like device with a full QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen. Next to is is the company’s take on a watch phone, something attempted in the past by many but successfully marketed by none. The device looks pretty loaded and pretty cheap. Details after the jump.
September 1st, 2009 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
Above are two phones which have recently passed through the FCC, and which could be headed for prepaid. The more likely one is the Samsung on the right. Phone Scoop notes that it’s a GSM device with Bluetooth, FM radio, and a 1 megapixel camera. If that’s not headed for prepaid, I don’t know what is. Could be a T-Mobile release, though you can’t rule out AT&T GoPhone. The one on the left is definitely headed for T-Mobile, a Nokia model equipped with a 3G radio. This makes me think it’s set for postpaid, as does the 3.2 megapixel camera. Still, it’s a pretty basic phone, and could certainly be attractive on T-Mobile’s growing prepaid service. Look for announcements of these two devices in the weeks to come.
July 1st, 2009 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
June 30th, 2009 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
May 19th, 2009 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
May 13th, 2009 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
February 26th, 2009 | Prepaid Phones | 2 Comments
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.
January 14th, 2009 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
December 29th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
December 15th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
December 1st, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
November 28th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
November 17th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
November 14th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
October 29th, 2008 | iPhone, Prepaid Phones | 12 Comments
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.
October 8th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 7 Comments
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.
October 2nd, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 3 Comments
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.
October 2nd, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 2 Comments
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.
September 25th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 29 Comments
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.
September 25th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
September 11th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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?
September 8th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 2 Comments
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.
September 4th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
August 29th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 2 Comments
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.
August 26th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
August 15th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
August 13th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
August 7th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 4 Comments
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.
August 5th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
July 31st, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 18 Comments
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.
July 15th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
“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.
July 14th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 2 Comments
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.
July 10th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
July 7th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 2 Comments
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.
June 17th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 2 Comments
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.
June 2nd, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
May 13th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
April 24th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
April 23rd, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
April 14th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
April 11th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.”
April 8th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 3 Comments
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.
April 8th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
March 25th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 2 Comments
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).
March 24th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 6 Comments
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.
March 17th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 1 Comment
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.
March 4th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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.
February 29th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | No Comments
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:
February 20th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 4 Comments
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.
February 15th, 2008 | Prepaid Phones | 6 Comments
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.