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Total Wireless Now Available at Target, Dollar General

Total Wireless was launched in 2015 by America Movil brand Tracfone as a Walmart-exclusive brand. The MVNO, which uses Verizon, had a bit of a rocky start and was plagued with the issues that tend to follow America Movil brands. However, despite still bearing the “Only at Walmart” brand on its site, the service has been spotted at Target and Dollar General stores nationwide.

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TPO Mobile Adds New $15 Plan

TPO Mobile, a Sprint and T-Mobile MVNO, has added a new plan to its lineup. The $15 per month Gentle Plan adds an option for customers who don’t use their devices as frequently. The new plan is the only TPO plan without unlimited text.

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Best Cellular Increases Data, Decreases Prices

Normally when an MVNO makes changes it is pretty incremental. Data goes up. Prices go down. New international locations are added. However, it looks like Best Cellular, an MVNO which offers plans from all four main carriers, has gone above and beyond and both increased data and dropped prices on several of its plans.

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Prepaid Faceoff: Ultra Mobile VS Cricket Wireless

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With the massive number of prepaid MVNOs and carrier options, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of it all and even harder to compare and decide which company is the right one for you. So, every once in a while we’re going to go through and do a Face-off of two popular companies, comparing plans and services to help you better decide.

Today, we’ll look at Ultra Mobile and Cricket Wireless. Cricket is one of AT&T’s prepaid brands, while Ultra is an international calling-centric T-Mobile MVNO.

Here’s how they compare:

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Twigby Drops Prices on Plans

The list of Sprint MVNOs to keep up with is vast—more than 30 at my last count—so occasionally we’ll miss some. One such MVNO is Twigby, which launched early last year. The company offers buckets of data and voice, much like Consumer Cellular or Ting, along with unlimited texting. And, it looks like the company changed its pricing pretty recently.

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Real Mobile Increases Data on AT&T Plans

Real Mobile, an AT&T and Sprint MVNO, recently made some changes to the data allotments for its AT&T (GSM) monthly plans. The Sprint (CDMA) plans, unfortunately, are unchanged. The changes are all for the good, and help make the MVNO more competitive in the market.

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Scratch Wireless is Back in Business

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Scratch Wireless, a Sprint Wifi-first MVNO, stopped signing up new customers in April 2016, stating that it needed to overhaul its businesses and services. Now, nearly 10 months later, it looks like the company is up and running again with some new rates.

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Charge Drops Text and Data Plans

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Charge, a data-only Sprint MVNO, launched some experimental voice and text plans to compliment its data-only profile. However, it looks like the experiment has ended, and Charge has quietly phased out these plans in favor of sticking with a data-centric model.

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Ultra Mobile Launches LTE Data Customization

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Ultra Mobile, a T-Mobile MVNO known for its international prepaid calling options, announced a new way for its customers to control data used for streaming media on mobile devices and for other media use. Called “Data My Way” this new feature allows customers to set a preferred loading speed in order to help conserve data.

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TextNow Launches BYOP, Offers 1 Month Free

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TextNow, a Sprint MVNO which uses a combination of Wifi signals and cellular signals for service, has announced that it now supports users activating their own phone on the network. This is a pretty huge step for the company, which previously had limited customers to purchasing a specific TextNow device

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H2O Increases Data, EasyGO Reduces Data

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H2O Wireless and EasyGO, both mobile subsidiaries of Locus Telecommunications, recently made some changes when it comes to data allotments. It is a little bit strange, though, that while H2O increased its data allotments, EasyGO actually decreased the amount of data that comes on the $10 add-on card.

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EcoMobile Offers New Plan Lineup

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One of the smaller MVNO’s, EcoMobile, recently changed its plan lineup. The company previously offered 3 different plans, with talk and text points that could be added up and converted to additional data. It seems that now Ecomobile has decided to go with a more traditional style of plans as well as increase the options.

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Scratch Wireless Changes Service

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Scratch Wireless, a WiFi first MVNO that also operates on Sprints network, recently restructured its service. Previously, customers would pay a flat monthly rate of $9.99, and purchase passes for network minutes and a text/data bundle.

While Scratch Wireless is still working with the same basic concept, there have been some major changes made. Customers now are required to pay an annual fee of $69 ($5.75/month) in order to use a device on Scratch’s WiFi network. This annual fee will grant access to unlimited texting, both on WiFi and the Sprint network, as well as unlimited WiFi calling.

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Univision Mobile Adds 5 New Plans

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Shortly after Ultra Mobile updated its plans, the company added five new plans to the lineup of its subsidiary, Univision Mobile. Univision seems to be trying to focus on a larger audience, featuring three different types of plans.

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Pure Talk USA Discontinues $5 Senior Plan

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Recently, AT&T MVNO Pure Talk USA switched up its senior plans. Previously kicking off the Senior AddVantage plans with a $5 plan including 80 minutes, the company discontinued the cheapest option. The new plans now begin at $10.

With these new plans, Pure Talk is also running a little promotion. Until December 1, anyone on the AddVantage plans can refer a friend and receive a $25 gift card, so long as the friend stays active on the service for two billing cycles.

Let’s take a look at the AddVantage plans:

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Tello Overview

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Tello, an MVNO of Sprint, is a fairly new prepaid company that is ready for the competition. The company mainly prides itself on “no fees whatsoever” being involved with its service. I thought since new MVNOs appear all the time, and many are short lived, you might like an overview of what Tello has to offer.

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Expo Mobile Increases Data but Still Falls Short

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Recently Expo Mobile, an MVNO of Sprint and Verizon, increased the data allotment on three of its unlimited plans. The company did this at no extra charge, and it’s clear they are trying to keep up with competition—although I think the effort still falls short. It also looks like the T-Mobile GSM service has been discontinued, so only Sprint and Verizon phones can be activated.

Here is the lineup of plans, post-changes:

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Ultra Mobile Revamps Plans

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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.

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Boom! Mobile Overview

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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.

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TPO Mobile Makes Big Plan Changes

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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.

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Mango Mobile Overview

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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!

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GoPhone Offers Phone Rebate with Refill

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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.

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Rok Mobile to offer Unlimited Video Streaming

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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.

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FAQ: Is ‘Unlimited’ Really Unlimited?

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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?

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10 Questions to Ask Before Giving Your Child a Phone

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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:

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Cricket Offers $10 Hotspot Add-On

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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.

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Unified Signal Launches MyTime Wireless

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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.

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Callingmart Back to School Coupons

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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.

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Best Verizon Prepaid MVNO Plans

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

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Carriers Offer Free Calling to Nepal

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In the wake of the devastation in Nepal, where an earthquake destroyed several cities this weekend and has killed more than 4000 people. To try and help people connect with loved ones, all four main American carriers have announced that they will be waiving international calling and texting fees to Nepal from the United States, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and other US territories.

Both prepaid and postpaid carriers as well as several other companies are offering the discounted/free calling through mid May. Here is the formal list of companies:

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SonarTel Prepaid Drops Rates for 7 Countries

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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:

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Support Charity With Your Prepaid Service

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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.

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Best Prepaid Plans to Call Mexico

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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.

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New Prepaid LTE Mobile Hotspot

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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.

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T-Mobile One Cent Prepaid SIM Sale

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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.

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T-Mobile Adds New $45 Prepaid Plan

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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.

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Tracfone Changes Minute Transfer Policies

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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.

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No Contract Postpaid Plans: Worth It?

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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.

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Prepaid Coverage Maps Compared

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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.

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Using a Prepaid Phone Internationally

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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:

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Verizon MVNOs Rumored to Get LTE

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.

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RadioShack Closes No-Contract Wireless

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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.

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Choosing a Type of Prepaid Plan

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.

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Verizon LTE Network For Prepaid

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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.

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Personalize With Virgin Mobile Custom

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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.

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Prepaid Text Only Plans

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.

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What we missed: AT&T prepaid, Zact MVNO, Consumer Cellular

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.

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Smaller carriers, MVNOs, taking prepaid business from big carriers

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.

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Why you should get a portable hotspot with prepaid mobile broadband

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.

Today Cricket updated its mobile broadband pricing. (Via FierceWireless. This type of prepaid mobile broadband connection is best utilized with a portable hotspot. Here’s why.

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Prepaid picking up pace: 25 percent of U.S. mobile phone users on no-contract plans

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.

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