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Recently, Ultra Mobile, a T-Mobile MVNO, decided to revamp its services. While Ultra Mobile was the first carrier to offer unlimited international text, it seems the company thought there was still room to improve. Ultra Mobile has introduced a couple new plans, changed up its data service, added new calling destinations, and refreshed some of the more expensive plans — so I thought it best to just do an overview of what Ultra Mobile plans are looking like now.
September 24th, 2016 | Boom Mobile, Prepaid Services | No Comments
With the ever-growing list of MVNO options, and new ones sprouting up all the time, I thought it would be good to do an overview of Boom! Mobile. Boom is a fairly new MVNO that operates using all four of the main network carriers. It refers to the networks on its site as T, S, V, and AT&T—but by color coding them, Boom doesn’t leave much room for imagination! Boom has generated a lot of hype simply from its low priced plans, which all include voice and data roaming.
September 22nd, 2016 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
The People’s Operator (TPO), a Sprint and T-Mobile MVNO, made big changes to its plans last week. The company dropped a plan, added a couple, and changed the pricing on pretty much all of them, so I figured we could just do an overview.
September 11th, 2016 | MVNO, News, Prepaid Services | No Comments
There is a new T-Mobile MVNO that has sprouted up recently. Mango Mobile has made its debut, adding to the long list of prepaid companies that operate on T-Mobile’s network. Sharing an address with AT&T MVNO Black Wireless, it looks as though the companies share a father company—presumably Sohel Distributor Incorporated (SDI), a supplier of prepaid phonecards for international calling. I thought since new MVNOs appear pretty often, and so many are short lived, you might like a little overview of what Mango Mobile has to offer. Read on!
September 21st, 2015 | AT&T, Prepaid Phones, Prepaid Services | No Comments
AT&T doesn’t have any shortage of MVNOs and prepaid company options and while its Cricket brand is actually better than GoPhone, customers looking to stick with GoPhone can get a pretty good deal when they purchase a new phone and a refill at the same time.
September 11th, 2015 | MVNO, Prepaid Services | No Comments
There are a lot of different MVNO choices for customers looking for a good prepaid deal. But, for music and media fans, ROK Mobile is definitely worth a look. This little MVNO offers service through T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon but more importantly it includes music streaming with its plans. And, starting in 2016 the company has announced that it will also offer unlimited video service for customers.
September 6th, 2015 | FAQ, Prepaid Services | No Comments
I think that the word ‘unlimited’ is probably the most overused word in the mobile world. If you look at the plans, it seems like you can get just about anything unlimited — unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited international minutes and even on a few select plans, unlimited data. But, what do they mean when they say ‘unlimited’ and is it really unlimited?
September 2nd, 2015 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
Smartphones are one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with both friends and family, especially during the busy school year and the upcoming holidays. However, giving your child a smartphone can be a little daunting sometimes–after all, that’s a big step towards independence and requires a lot of responsibility to use properly. If your kid has been bothering you about a phone but you are still on the fence, here are some questions to ask first:
August 11th, 2015 | Cricket, Prepaid Data Plans, Prepaid Services | No Comments
You might remember that in mid-July the brief addition of a mobile hotspot page was spotted on the Cricket Wireless website, leading to a lot of speculation that the company, which thus far has prohibited the use of mobile devices as hotspots, might soon add the capability. Well, it looks like that day has finally come, albeit with some catches.
August 3rd, 2015 | MVNO, Prepaid Services | No Comments
Late last month, a new MVNO entered the market. Launched by Unified Signal, the new company offers services through several of the Big Four companies and has more plan options than you can shake a stick at. It’s pretty insane. Being as they are extremely new, I haven’t tried them yet (obviously) but we’ll go over some of the major details in case you’re feeling brave and wanting to switch.
August 3rd, 2015 | Callingmart, Prepaid Services | No Comments
August is here, which means that the school year is just around the corner along with sports practices, extracurricular activities and all of the hectic things that go along with it. So, Callingmart has announced a series of Back to School coupons today to help parents save a bit of money on all of those minutes you’ll need to organize during the coming school year.
June 2nd, 2015 | MVNO, Prepaid Services, Verizon Wireless | 4 Comments
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 Verizon 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 (Updated 9/4/15):
February 10th, 2015 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
If you make international calls through your prepaid phone, you have several options for how to pay for minutes. One of those options is SonarTel, a prepaid and postpaid international calling company that basically works similar to old-school international calling cards minus the physical card.
This week SonarTel reduced the per minute rates for seven locations:
October 8th, 2014 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
If all you are looking for in a phone company is good service, then you have four networks and easily more than 50 different options to choose from. Some of them have unusual options, like WiFi calling and free music streaming, while others are incredibly cheap with rates starting at $6/month. They all have the same basic coverage maps, depending on which carrier they offer so in the end it mostly comes down to whichever company has that magic combination of good prices, good service and convenience we all crave.
But what if you are looking for a company that does more than just sell wireless service? What if you want to give something back each month when you pay your bill? Well, as it turns out, there are companies that do that too. I am currently only aware of two MVNOs that promise to donate some funds to a charity/organization, but there might be more. The two main companies that I found are Credo Mobile and GIV Mobile. It is worth noting that Credo isn’t a traditional prepaid carrier, but all of their services are no contract so it is similar.
September 30th, 2014 | Prepaid Services, Telcel Usa | No Comments
If you’ve ever tried to make an international call, then you are probably aware that so many companies have positively outrageous international rates. For those who have loved ones living in other countries, it can become extremely expensive to keep in contact with friends and families.
So, to help you keep track of loved ones in Mexico, I’ve rounded up the top three prepaid carriers with good rates to Central America, Mexico in particular. As a note, some of these plans will also work in other countries for a reasonable rate.
September 23rd, 2014 | Mobile Data, Prepaid Data Plans, Prepaid Services | No Comments
Most of this blog is aimed at prepaid cell phone services, but there are also companies that sell prepaid data hotspots. One such Sprint MVNO, Karma, has announced the launch of their first LTE hotspot product, the Karma Go. Preorders are going on now and shipments are expected in December.
September 5th, 2014 | News, Prepaid Services, T-Mobile | No Comments
In case you missed their SIM sale from last month, T-Mobile has brought the prepaid penny SIM deal back! You can get up to five SIMs for one penny each until Sept. 10. There is a limit of 3 SIMS per order and no more than 5 SIMs in 30 days. Normally, SIMs from T-Mobile cost $10, so if you wanted to add more than one phone, the savings could be phenomenal.
September 5th, 2014 | Prepaid Services, T-Mobile | No Comments
With very little fanfare, T-mobile launched two new plans for their prepaid customers today, one priced at $45 and the other priced at $80. The $45 plan is an upgrade of a previous version, while the $80 adds unlimited nationwide data and a hotspot.
September 1st, 2014 | Prepaid Services, Tracfone | No Comments
I read today about a significant possible change to Tracfone‘s policy about transferring minutes and numbers between phones. After calling Tracfone, I’m still a little puzzled about whether or not this change is new, but as it is already in effect either way, I’ll go ahead and tell you about it.
August 29th, 2014 | FAQ, Prepaid Services | No Comments
The wireless industry is slowly changing as consumers are beginning to realize they don’t have to deal with cumbersome 2-year contracts anymore. In fact, when T-Mobile rebranded itself as the ‘Uncarrier’ and began advertising “no contract” and “contract buyout” deals, unhappy customers flocked to their pink savior, vowing to never again sign a contract. And the other carriers immediately took action and began offering the same ‘no contract’ postpaid deals that T-Mobile pioneered.
But are these ‘no contract’ postpaid deals any better than a regular 2-year agreement or a prepaid phone plan? I’ll put out my pros and cons, and you can decide.
August 28th, 2014 | FAQ, MVNO, Network Carriers, Prepaid Services | No Comments
We’ve talked about it before, but there is a huge difference between postpaid coverage and prepaid coverage. Networks usually boast about their area to postpaid customers but the prepaid segment usually doesn’t have the same level of coverage. To make it even more complicated, there are so many different MVNOs and prepaid carriers and choices to make all promising different speeds and the best coverage around.
So to help out, we have compiled the coverage maps of some of the largest prepaid carriers so you can compare and decide which is best for your location.
August 24th, 2014 | FAQ, Prepaid Services | No Comments
One of the cheapest ways to keep in touch with friends while traveling abroad is to use a prepaid phone instead of your normal phone. Depending on the country you are calling to or from, international rates can be extremely expensive with both prepaid and postpaid phone plans–if you have international calling at all.
Here are a few things to consider when you are looking to travel abroad:
August 21st, 2014 | MVNO, Prepaid Services, Verizon Wireless | No Comments
While nothing has been officially announced, Android Headlines has posted a rumor that Verizon might be expanding their LTE network to some of their MVNOs in the future. Currently, MVNOs on the Verizon network are limited to 3G and the coverage isn’t quite as fast or reliable as what Verizon postpaid customers enjoy. But, with two other smaller carriers expanding their LTE network to MVNOs, Verizon might not have much of a choice.
August 20th, 2014 | MVNO, News, Prepaid Services | No Comments
RadioShack has quietly shut down its No-Contract Wireless brand and removed all of their phones and offers from their site. Phones from other MVNOs are still available, however. Customers who purchased a No-Contract Wireless phone in the last 30 days can get a full refund by contacting RadioShack.
August 20th, 2014 | FAQ, Prepaid Cell Phone Plans, Prepaid Services | No Comments
No-contract wireless prepaid plans have become more and more common and it seems like all of the four major carriers have monthly plans, prepaid brands or both. But as the prepaid consumer base grows, I have noticed a divide between the types of plans offered: pay-as-you-go reloadable accounts and prepaid monthly accounts. While the trend is quickly moving towards the latter, it is still possible to find pay-as-you-go plans without being grandfathered in.
And that leads to another question: Which is right for you?
Here are some pros and cons of each so you can decide.
August 5th, 2014 | Prepaid Services, Verizon Wireless | No Comments
If you hadn’t heard, Verizon has officially launched their LTE data service availability for prepaid customers. The service will be available for their AllSet prepaid plans, with plans featuring unlimited voice and text and 500 MB of data starting at $45 per month. Of course, other mobile carriers have offered LTE services for prepaid customers for several years but it’s nice to see Verizon is finally hopping onboard and no longer limiting prepaid phones to their 3G network.
August 5th, 2014 | Prepaid Services, Virgin Mobile | No Comments
On Thursday, Virgin Mobile USA introduced Virgin Mobile Custom, their no-annual-contract deal with completely customizable and tailored rate plans and parental controls. When you purchase a Custom phone, you can activate the device for $6.98 per line per month (up to five lines) on the Base plan, which comes with a puny 20 texts and 20 voice minutes. From there, you can choose to have unlimited talk ($18), text ($10) or both ($35) as well as various ‘add-ons’ that provide unlimited access to Facebook, Pandora, etc. They have plans that allow for 30 minutes of international calling to specific countries as well. Specific prices for those add-ons aren’t listed at the present.
April 1st, 2014 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
Nowadays the text messaging is becoming a more convenient way to reach friends, family and co-workers. Parents who need to reach their children and quick work updates can save families and companies a great deal of money eliminating the voice option.
May 14th, 2013 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
After a much-needed week away, let’s catch up on some prepaid wireless stories from the last week:
Sprint MVNO Zact brings custom usage. Do you use all the voice minute in your plan? All of your texts? Do you max out your data usage? Chances are you don’t. Zact, a new MVNO, aims to change that. They feature a sliding scale of plans that fit anyone’s patterns. When you go to their plans page you can pick a custom level of talk, text, and data. It sounds like a great concept.
November 16th, 2012 | Prepaid Services | 1 Comment
This was bound to happen sometime. A recent report shows that small prepaid carriers did quite well in the third quarter, increasing their subscriber totals by 23 percent. Where did those customers come from? While there are many sources, a large portion might have come from large carriers’ prepaid programs. Those numbers slipped 12 percent — and that’s including T-Mobile’s 365,000 prepaid adds, the great majority of which were with the main brand. The swing was great, indeed. Now that prepaid has become something of a mainstream option, consumers are starting to see the benefits of contract-free cellular.
July 16th, 2012 | Prepaid Services | 2 Comments
Contract carriers want us to sign our lives away. For some consumers maybe it makes sense to make a two-year commitment in exchange for a $200 or higher discount on a smartphone. But why in the world would anyone commit to two years for a mobile broadband connection? It seems like a long commitment for a service you might not use all the time.
June 19th, 2012 | Prepaid Services | 2 Comments
While one period does not represent a trend, we saw an interesting shift in the U.S. cellular market during the first quarter of 2012. Via Ars Trechnica, for the first time ever the number of postpaid subscribers declined. It was a mere 52,000, and the top carriers managed to add customers. But that’s a net loss overall. At the same time, prepaid has continued to add, now constituting 25 percent of the overall mobile market. While this might seem strange in the moment, it has actually been a long time coming. In fact, we heard a prediction along these lines four years ago.
June 7th, 2012 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
For as long as cell phones have been in the main stream, we’ve had plans featuring buckets of minutes. It was revolutionary, in fact, when Sprint moved to an unlimited calling scheme a few years ago. Others followed suit, but their plans are quite expensive. Yet voice usage has declined lately, leaving carriers scrambling for ways to retain revenue. Their idea, according to a Wall Street Journal report (via FierceWireless), is to replace minute-limited plans with a single unlimited tier. If that sounds familiar, it’s because many prepaid carriers currently employ the same tactic when it comes to voice.
What we missed in prepaid: Virgin Mobile, ZTE Merit, Samsung Appeal, Voyager Mobile, GameStop, Page PlusMay 29th, 2012 | Prepaid Services | 7 Comments
I was away on vacation last week, and due to a few technical issues we couldn’t get Pam, who contributes to the site, to fill in. Oh well. We did miss a few things in the last week, so let’s run them down bullet-point style. We’ll be running at normal capacity, starting about nowish.
May 4th, 2012 | Prepaid Services | 1 Comment
The above photo is a promotion from Ting, an MVNO of the Sprint network. Each day this month they’re going to pick one person and let him or her out of a postpaid mobile phone contract. All you have to do is visit Ting’s Dump Your Contract Month site and fill out the form. Each person is limited to one entry per day, and Ting will pay any early termination fee of up to $300. That’s a pretty sweet deal. After reading the official rules, it doesn’t appear that the winners are obligated to purchase Ting’s prepaid wireless services. Though, if you’re out of your contract you might consider it. They have some interesting deals.
April 20th, 2012 | Prepaid Services | 3 Comments
With AT&T announcing new GoPhone data pricing, it’s time to take another look at what the big four carriers are offering in terms of prepaid data. The industry is obviously growing, and big carriers are catching onto that. Even Verizon has grown savvy; next week they’ll unveil an $80 smartphone with a new data plan. So, which one of T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon provides the best deals for consumers?
April 3rd, 2012 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
When we post news of a new phone release from a prepaid carrier, there’s a good chance that it’s a smartphone. That’s for a few reasons. First, low-end phones don’t get as much play. You don’t see a press release or an Engadget post when Tracfone adds a new low-end phone to its lineup. Another reason, though, is that prepaid carriers are simply carrying more smartphones. They’re making inroads, too. According to a research report from Stevenson Company, 29 percent of prepaid phone purchases in 2011 were smartphones.
January 10th, 2012 | Prepaid Services | 4 Comments
As with all things in life, 911 services cost money. While our general tax dollars help fund 911 dispatch services, there’s also a specific tax on your phone bill that funds 911. This has extended to postpaid cell phones, wherein each phone line is charged an e911 fee. This helps fund not only the dispatch, but the technology necessary to locate users. Until recently, prepaid wireless users were exempt from this tax. There was just no easy way to assess it. A few years ago, however, some state legislatures decided to begin charge e911 fees. This comes at the point of sale of prepaid refill cards. It’s pretty easy to see, even with scant description, why this is unfair.
November 8th, 2011 | Prepaid Services | 2 Comments
The day has finally arrived. Last week we heard about Republic Wireless, a service that advertised a deal that seemed too good to be true. For $19 per month they advertised unlimited voice, text, and data. They are technically an MVNO of the Sprint network, but their business model centers more on WiFi connections than on cellular signal. That is, when you’re connected to WiFi all of activity gets routed through that signal rather than the cell network. It’s an interesting proposition for sure, but we’ve seen deals like this in the past. Can Republic hold up as a viable service? Here are the details.
November 2nd, 2011 | Prepaid Services | 1 Comment
Republic Wireless, a new MVNO operating on the Sprint network, plans to make a splash when it launches next week. Like many other MVNOs, they’ll offer monthly unlimited talk, text, and data services. Their edge: a price that no one currently approaches. They’ll charge just $19 for the service, effectively cutting in half the current best plans on the market. We’ve seen this before, of course, so it’s natural to question whether Republic Wireless will take the market by storm or it will bust.
July 1st, 2011 | Prepaid Services | 1 Comment
The 700MHz spectrum auction, which we covered heavily at the time, didn’t figure to produce many new carriers. The big guns, as expected, grabbed the bulk of the airwaves, leaving very little for newcomers. One of them was Cox, the cable provider. it appears, though, that it’s using its MVNO agreement with Sprint more than its own network. As FierceWireless’s Mike Dano reports, Cox plans a prepaid offering in the future. It’s not known how widely they’ll roll out and market the service — in fact, little is known at all. But it’s coming, and from the sound of the quotes it won’t be too far off.
June 28th, 2011 | Prepaid Services | 3 Comments
We’ve seen many states adopt laws that charge prepaid users fees for 911 services. It seems fair enough. Prepaid customers use 911 services just like postpaid users, and postpaid users have a 911 fee added to each month’s bill. The problem comes when trying to assess who pays and who does not. Ideally everyone would, but states simply do not have that type of jurisdiction. As with many other states that have implemented 911 fees for prepaid users, Georgia will add a fee at the point of sale, amounting to 75 cents per card purchased. Unfortunately, that doesn’t address the entire issue.
April 5th, 2011 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
When we started this site, and even when we started the blog, pay-as-you-go was the primary focus in prepaid. Monthly plans were the domain of the postpaid carriers, and while many prepaid services offered monthly plans, it always seemed as though pay-as-you-go was more popular. That, apparently, has changed. Phil Goldstein of FierceWireless reports on a J.D. Power and Associates study which shows that 49 percent of prepaid users are now using monthly plans, up from 30 percent in 2008. Why the change?
November 10th, 2010 | Prepaid Services | 2 Comments
There’s an interesting read at TheStreet.com about how prepaid cell phone services sold at Walmart — namely Straight Talk — could be a viable option for small businesses. The author notes that the addition of two smartphones to the Straight Talk lineup put the company on small businesses’ radars. Still, it’s not an ideal solution. As the author says, ” Just don’t ask it to be a legit smartphone with all the attendant apps and fancy features.” How much, then, can handsets such as the Nokia E71 help small businesses? By providing an incremental step up the technological ladder at a reduced price?
November 8th, 2010 | Prepaid Services | 3 Comments
We’ve seen this trend going for the past year, maybe year and a half. People are switching from postpaid to prepaid. We see it in the quarterly earnings reports, where a number of companies — notably Sprint and T-Mobile — are seeing bigger prepaid adds than postpaid. We’re also seeing both Verizon and AT&T with growing MVNO subscribers. We could see more in the future. According to a recent survey, 20 percent of wireless customers will swith to prepaid within the next six months. That seems like an awfully large number, but it’s not one the prepaid sector should bank on.
October 25th, 2010 | Prepaid Services | 1 Comment
Overall the third quarter did not end well for Verizon. The nation’s largest wireless carrier added just under a million customers while its biggest rival, AT&T, added nearly 1.5 million. One big swing comes from carrier-branded prepaid additions. Verizon lost 137,000 prepaid subscribers, while AT&T added 321,000, a swing of 458,000 subscribers. Where Verizon gained was in subscriptions from resale partners. Verizon added 550,000 resale partner subscribers, while AT&T added 406,000.
October 12th, 2010 | Prepaid Services | 4 Comments
Things are changing in prepaid, especially for major carriers. For them, prepaid used to be an afterthought. They all offered plans, mainly to capture value at the margins. But now that prepaid wireless services have gained some steam, the big carriers are starting to pay attention. We’ve seen each of the big three — Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile — revamp their plans in the past few months. We’ve also seen Sprint make major strides with its two prepaid brands, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, and also add a third, Common Cents. But how do those offers stack up against one another?
October 5th, 2010 | Prepaid Services | 1 Comment
In the American telcom industry — or at least the media covering it — the acronym MVNO is viewed negatively. Everyone thinks back to the spree in the mid 00s and how so many of them failed. ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile, and Amp’d Mobile just headline the list of virtual operators — those that buy minutes wholesale from major carriers — that closed shop. But if you look around, there are plenty of MVNO success stories. In the future there should be more. Back in 2008 I talked to Alex Besen of the Besen Group on the Prepaid Podcast. In it he predicted that MVNOs would succeed more when the wireless penetration rate plateaued. He’s looking more right on that. Now he’s made another prediction about the US MVNO market.
September 28th, 2010 | Prepaid Services | 2 Comments
We spend most of our time touting prepaid services for their advantages, which are numerous. But as with all services, there are downsides. It wouldn’t be fair to play up only one end the of the issue, so today we’ll turn to Bill Snyder of CIO to discuss eight “gotchas” in prepaid wireless plans. Most of these are pretty basic, and a few of them are downright moot. But it’s worth the read, especially if you plan a switch to prepaid. After the jump we’ll go over a few of them.
September 1st, 2010 | Prepaid Services | No Comments
Some days the news brings one item remotely related to prepaid wireless. Other days we’re flooded with news. That has been the case lately. Here’s a rundown of all the stuff we haven’t yet covered today.