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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.

Clearly, phones with QWERTY keyboards are going to win out. We’re seeing more and more of them hit the market, which means that older models are getting pushed to prepaid. These are our focuses. While not all 12-key pads are created equal, none of them stack up to a QWERTY (and if you have one that does, leave it in the comments).

Kyocera Lingo

Carriers: Cricket

This innocent-looking phone flips open to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. Some might not like how the keyboard is separated, but regardless it’s a functional handset. The best part about it is the price: $59.99 after a $20 instant Web discount and a $100 mail-in rebate. For Cricket, that’s a great price.

Samsung Messager

Carriers: Cricket, MetroPCS

Like the Lingo, the Messager looks like your regular old candybar at first. Turn it sideways, though, and you can slide out a full keyboard. It’s in the standard Samsung style, which they use on other phones like the Gylde. This one is a multimedia phone, too, featuring an MP3 player and expandable memory slot. It’ll run you $199 on Metro, $179.99 on Cricket with a $20 Web discount.

LG Rumor / Scoop

Carriers: kajeet (Rumor), Alltel (Scoop)

As we saw above, kids aged 13 to 17 are the biggest texters. So it makes sense that kajeet would carry one of the premier prepaid QWERTY phones. The LG Rumor (or the Scoop) stacks up to the Samsung Messager, in that it has a camera, Bluetooth, and an MP3 player. it also comes close in price: $169.99. It goes perfect with one of kajeet’s messaging bundles. The Scoop (same phone, different name) will run you $79.99 with Alltel prepaid.

Kyocera Wild Card

Carrier: Virgin Mobile

The Wild Card is one of Virgin’s top models. It’s much like the Lingo in form, in both the 12-button exterior and the separated-QWERTY interior. While texting appeals to kids, as does Virgin Mobile’s service, the Wild Card seems to make an exception. I recently talked to a father of two who could not stop raving about his new Wild Card.

29 Responses

  1. Jim Says

    The Samsung T-459 Holic will soon fill the gap for GSM non-smartphone qwerty keyboard phones. Soon to be introduced for T-Mobile the price should be in the same ballpark and Samsungs are easy to unlock usually.


    Posted on September 25th, 2008 at 12:16 pm
  2. Joe Says

    Excellent, Jim. I was quite disappointed to not see any QWERTYs with T-Mobile. Any idea when it will be released?


    Posted on September 25th, 2008 at 12:23 pm
  3. Melissa E. Says

    T-Mobile Prepaid does have a Sidekick Prepaid plan but as you are paying full price for the Sidekick, it’s not very cheap. Also, the plan has a $1/day cost, so you can’t have the plan for less than $30/month.


    Posted on September 26th, 2008 at 9:14 pm
  4. Jonathan Woodruff Says

    It would be great if TracFone would have a QWERTY keyboard!


    Posted on October 11th, 2008 at 1:00 pm
  5. Kat Says

    TracFone and Net 10 both need qwerty keyboards!


    Posted on October 24th, 2008 at 3:48 pm
  6. t simoes Says

    WAt about the blitz from verizon


    Posted on November 27th, 2008 at 6:35 pm
  7. aquielle Says

    the texting phones r great my mom wont let me have one because i’m only 12 years old and she think i am to young do u think i should be allowed to get one


    Posted on December 1st, 2008 at 4:25 pm
  8. Benny Says

    Well, nice my friend… Someone will love this if I tell him about this. Thanks again…


    Posted on March 3rd, 2009 at 2:16 am
  9. Kaelin Says

    yah. im 12 2 and my mom lets me hav a pkone but i hav a really cheap TracPhone and it does nothing and i really want a Qwerty phone and i hav the money and it really sucks because she still wont let me buy 1.


    Posted on March 20th, 2009 at 7:07 pm
  10. Veronica Says

    i am 9 and my dad said i have to get a prepaid phone but these cost to munch my dad says my mom tried to talk to him but no good he just ran outside and almost broke the door


    Posted on May 25th, 2009 at 9:02 am
  11. daniel Says

    i love the wild card its the best


    Posted on June 16th, 2009 at 9:31 am
  12. Mike Says

    Unfortunately, none of these phones are available from the carrier anymore, and the ones that are aren’t available in my area… Big help this is…


    Posted on July 12th, 2009 at 9:47 pm
  13. Jessie Says

    Yeah, the Wild Card looks the best, but Net10 REALLY needs a full keyboard.


    Posted on July 14th, 2009 at 3:57 pm
  14. cierra Says

    i think prepaid fones cost more than regulare fones but makin reguglare fones prepaid is cool i got the iphone in prepaid it is so alsome i love more than anything but it cost alot of money the good part is that i got a lot of money lol any coments please send to my email adress [email protected] bye bye


    Posted on July 26th, 2009 at 11:39 pm
  15. scotty briggs Says

    the new lg banter from alltel is available with a prepaid plan.


    Posted on August 17th, 2009 at 9:39 pm
  16. Molly Says

    what about the samsung gravity 2 by T-Mobile. You can get it at best buy for like $140 no too bad.


    Posted on August 20th, 2009 at 10:39 am
  17. Jessie Again Says

    I think I’m going to get the samsung messanger.


    Posted on September 3rd, 2009 at 6:20 pm
  18. Jessie for a third time Says

    I actually think I’m going to look at the banter. I’m not sure, I’m still looking.


    Posted on September 12th, 2009 at 11:46 am
  19. Mrs McSweeney Says

    Searched for months for the best phone plan. Virgin Mobile now offers monthly minute plans for 10cents a minute with rollover minutes. I now have a camera and video Virgin Mobile prepaid phone at a cost of $80. With the purchase of a message pack $9.99, I can send photos to an email address, including international for only a penny. Can also send instantly a photo or video to any national phone no. for a penny, since the message pack is good for 1000 messages, including texting. I’ve done my homework, and this is unbeatable.


    Posted on October 11th, 2009 at 1:02 pm
  20. Jonathan Says

    the lg neon is the best prepaid phone out there


    Posted on November 22nd, 2009 at 12:29 pm
  21. kim Says

    metro pcs isnt here in tennessee yet. but it said they will be here in a few years. metro’s pretty good.


    Posted on December 2nd, 2009 at 7:53 pm
  22. lala Says

    um these phones are not very cheap so if you could find cheaper phones


    Posted on December 13th, 2009 at 8:41 pm
  23. emily kate atkins Says

    im dumb and fat and cant afford a nice phone send me a message on facebook please at emily kate atkins


    Posted on December 16th, 2009 at 5:09 pm
  24. jason Says

    Are all prepaid phones have sim cards


    Posted on January 12th, 2010 at 8:08 am
  25. kylie Says

    i’d like the samsung gravity to be on there u can get it prepaid at best buy in white and aqua


    Posted on February 15th, 2010 at 10:57 pm
  26. PramP Says

    Are there any Android pre-paid phones available now.


    Posted on January 5th, 2012 at 8:44 pm
  27. Kayla Says

    you guys didnt include straight talk or boost. these two i am the most curious about. I currently have verizon and am going to prepaid! which one is better between straight talk or boost?


    Posted on January 12th, 2012 at 9:38 pm
  28. Joe Says

    Kayla, when this article was written Straight Talk didn’t exist. Boost didn’t have any QWERTY phones at the time. At this time Boost is probably the better overall deal, but it really depends on what phone you want and what service is like in your area.


    Posted on January 13th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
  29. ron Says

    I have a Verizon prepaid had att no difference between the 2 I get drop call lousy customer service here in Lebanon Oregon my son has virgin works better than verizon


    Posted on April 2nd, 2013 at 8:54 pm

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