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RadioShack Black Friday Sales on Prepaid Phones

radioshack bf

Radioshack has released previews of their Black Friday sales in ad form earlier this week, and some of the sales are not half bad. I admit I was a little surprised to see the sales with all of the recent bankruptcy troubles that Radioshack was having earlier this year.

While there are only a few deals available for prepaid phones, Radioshack has announced that they will be doing price matching for holiday shopping along with offering credit cards for making payments on items and free shipping if your item isn’t in store. Here are the advertised offers:

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Black Friday Prepaid Phone Deals on

amazon bf

When you think Black Friday deals, you probably think brick and mortar stores. However, has decided to break the mold and is starting their online deals this week a little early. In fact, right now, is offering a whopping 50% off all no-contract phones as well as 35% off unlocked phones. Some of the deals are already available, while others will be available tomorrow, Thanksgiving or actually on Black Friday. In fact, they’re doing sales on various things this entire week, so if you’re looking for some good deals, then you might not even have to brave the crowd.

Here are some of the no contract phones that caught my attention:

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Black Friday Deals at Walmart, Kmart and Target

black friday

If you’re on the lookout for Black Friday deals on prepaid phones and don’t want to have to fight the crowd and traffic to get to an electronics store, then you should probably check out the deals going on at Kmart, Walmart and Target. All three have some pretty nice prepaid phone deals, although there are not as many choices as shopping Black Friday at Best Buy.

Here are some deals you can expect to find:

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Carriers Commit to 911 Call Location Accuracy


Imagine that you are looking for a lost koala bear in an area the size of an Olympic stadium. Now imagine the cuddly little guy is injured or unconscious and needs immediate medical care. That’s about the kind of challenge that faces your average EMT when you make an indoor call to 911 using your cell phone.

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Prepaid MVNOs Outrank Carriers in Consumer Reports


Image by Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports has published their annual review of cell phone service and, surprisingly, three MVNOs ranked at the top of the charts. Ting, Consumer Cellular and Republic Wireless all received top marks while the more traditional postpaid carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon were rated a little worse. Here are some highlights from the report:

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Best Buy Prepaid Phone Deals for Black Friday


bestbuy black friday


Best Buy is one of my go-to stores for most electronics. And, while they aren’t usually the first place you might think of to check out some prepaid phones, they actually have some excellent deals going on this year for several different carriers. Here are the deals they’ve announced:

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Reasons Not to Rent a Cell Phone


One of the downsides to prepaid phone plans is the lack of phone subsidies. While there are plenty of good sub $100 phones and even several phones in the $150- $200 range that have some cool features, if you really want all the bells and whistles then you should expect to pay upwards of $600 for a phone which is not only very breakable but likely to be outdated in a year or two.

Let’s be honest, how many people have that much money just sitting around?

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Net Neutrality Debate Explained


If you’ve been paying attention to the news (or Facebook) at all, then you’ve probably seen plenty of articles talking about net neutrality in the last couple of days. I’ve seen it praised by some, referred to as the “Obamacare of the Internet” by others and read notices from big telecom companies threatening legal action if certain measures are passed. It all sounds pretty scary and extremely polarized.

So, what exactly is net neutrality? Well, I admit that there are way more facets to the issue than I could cover in a simple blog post, but the issue is important enough that everyone should at least have an idea of what’s going on. So for those of you who haven’t been following the debate, or just want an abbreviated explanation, you’ve come to the right place!

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Wyoming Proposes Prepaid Tax


One of the nice things about using prepaid services is that many states don’t have a separate tax like postpaid accounts do. In fact, around 24 states have absolutely no tax on prepaid services, while the remaining 26 states have minimal taxes. However, Wyoming legislature is currently contemplating adding a 1.5% tax for prepaid cell phones and phone cards. The bill will be voted in next year and if passed will start in 2016.

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Microsoft to Announce First Lumia Device

You might have heard quite a bit of hullabaloo in October when Microsoft announced that they intend to drop the “Nokia” title from their Windows phones. The new phones are now being referred to as Lumia devices. The first ever Lumia device without the Nokia title is expected to be announced tomorrow, November 11. A teaser announcement was broadcasted by Microsoft late last week. The invite featured the tagline, “Microsoft is delivering the power of everyday mobile technology to everyone.”

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First Dual-network Roaming Announced


One of the most important parts of the prepaid world is understanding that there are two completely different networks–GSM and CDMA–and they are not really compatible. If you use T-Mobile or AT&T, then you’re on a GSM network. If you use Sprint or Verizon, then you’re CDMA and no matter which side you are on, the other half of the spectrum isn’t really going to be available to you.

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Will Apple SIM Kill SIM Cards?

At their most recent conference, Apple announced that their new iPads would come with something called an Apple SIM. It wasn’t talked about a lot other than to say it would allow users to switch between carriers for services. However, that one sentence seems to have generated not only a little confusion, but also a lot of speculation about whether or not Apple’s new card will kill the SIM card as we all know it.

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Verizon Gains Millenicom Customers


Mobile internet customers using the popular Millenicom service got a nasty shock late last week, as the company announced suddenly that Verizon was taking control of their entire customer base and they would take no further part in customer accounts or internet service. A couple days later, most of Millenicom’s employees were laid off and the company is no longer responding to chat, email or phone calls.

To add to the confusion about the sudden announcement, Verizon is also staying mum about exactly what sorts of offers they will have for former Millenicom customers or exactly what happened. Consumers report that Verizon customer service reps don’t have any information yet and were unable to help alleviate the confusion.

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TPO Raising Funds to Expand to US

tpo Logo

The U.S. prepaid market might soon get a new competitor, according to Reuters. The People’s Operator (TPO), a prepaid and postpaid mobile phone service company, has announced plans to list its shares in London in order to raise enough funds to expand across the pond. TPO offers both pay-as-you-go and contract plans at competitive rates and is expected to utilize Sprint’s network here in the U.S.

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State Wireless Taxes Compared


Taxes on wireless transactions are a pain for prepaid and postpaid customers alike. But have you ever wondered how your state compares to others as far as tax goes?

Yeah, me neither. It’s not something I ever really thought about until I saw this report. The Tax Foundation did as study comparing this year’s wireless state and local taxes, and some of the figures were a little surprising. While these tax rates are mostly relevant for postpaid, prepaid customers still pay a percentage of these taxes so I thought I might take a sec and share.

To start, these are the top five states with the highest state-local wireless tax:

  1. Washington State (18.6%)
  2. Nebraska (18.48%)

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Prepaid Plans Gain Popularity in the U.S.


If you read this blog, then I’ll go out on a limb and guess that you probably have a prepaid phone or at the very least, you’re interested in prepaid phones. Now, it might be because you don’t use your phone very much or because you want a smaller bill. But whatever the reason, you most certainly aren’t alone. A recent report released by NPD Group shows that prepaid phones are gaining ground over the postpaid market.

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Smartphone Privacy Debate

phone security


If you’ve been watching smartphone/telecommunication news at all, then you are probably aware of the huge debate going on right now over smartphone privacy and encryption policies. And if you weren’t aware, well, now you are.

On Prepaid Reviews we mostly focus on new and emerging companies, phones and policies in the prepaid market as well as giving reviews (duh), tips and guides for prepaid users. However, occasionally something like this comes along that really has the potential to change the mobile phone industry, and it’s something worth keeping tabs on.

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Call Germany For Free Today Only


Today and today only is running a deal where all landline calls to Germany are free. This deal is in honor of Germany National Day and has been extended to all Germans living abroad and anyone who has friends in Germany. Call times are not limited in any way in honor of this holiday, but free calls can only be made to German landlines, not mobile phones.

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5th Largest Smartphone Vendor Headed to US

The Xiaomi RedMi, one of the most popular phones in the world, according to Strategy Analytics’ Country Share Tracker in Q2 2014
The Xiaomi RedMi, one of the most popular phones in the world, according to Strategy Analytics’ Country Share Tracker in Q2 2014

With all the excitement over Apple and Samsung devices, it is easy to remember that they aren’t the only ones who make fantastic phones. The popular Chinese smartphone maker, Xiaomi is rumored to have plans to extend their products to the U.S. and it might just give pause to the other smartphone vendor giants.

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RingPlus Changes Free Service, Plans

ringplus logo

Sprint MVNO RingPlus has made some pretty big changes in the last couple of weeks. Known for their ad-supported free voice service, RingPlus announced yesterday that they will be discontinuing the free service for some–but not all–customers. They have also tweaked nearly all of their plans, added two new plans and WiFi calling to their service profile. RingPlus also debuted a new “Matching Magic” plan that adds minutes for every minute you use. Like we said, a lot of changes. We’ll take things one at a time and try and get you caught up on your RingPlus news for the week.

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Moto X Pre-Ordering Starts Today

Moto X

Motorola’s new flagship phone, the second generation Moto X goes on pre-order today, Sept. 16. The phone is available on-contract through AT&T or unlocked (called the Pure Edition) which is meant for any carrier and comes with no contract. The Pure Edition version will cost $499 and on contract, it will be around $100.

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Global MVNO to Carry iPhone 6, 6 Plus


The MVNO Truphone has announced that it will offer the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on Sept. 26. While I am certain that all of the major MVNOs will carry the iPhone 6 eventually, Truphone’s announcement today is the first MVNO to confirm that they willl carry the new Apple product.

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Solavei Gearing Up For Phase 2


Solavei, the T-Mobile MVNO that declared chapter 11 bankruptcy this summer, has been undergoing changes behind the curtain and announced yesterday that they plan to launch their ‘phase 2’ services for growth and restructuring on Oct. 1.

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Cross-Network VoLTE in the Works

can you hear me now

Only a few months after several of the main carriers launched their own VoLTE service for making and receiving calls using 4G networks, AT&T is reportedly working towards VoLTE cross-network compatibility. Currently, users with 4G ready phones can only make VoLTE calls to others on the same network. If they can get the kinks worked out, then you might soon be able to make VoLTE calls to anyone on any network.

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North America Dominates Global LTE



A new report has been released looking at the global LTE market. The report examines each continent and determines how many LTE connections are available on that continent compared to the world. They also checked smartphone penetration and other factors. And, it turns out that if you want 4G speeds, then you should definitely live in North America.

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Motorola Offers Money For Your Old Phone

On the heels of the release of the Moto G and the information on the new Moto X, Motorola has announced that they are doing a trade-in deal. When you purchase a new Moto G or Moto X phone, you can send Motorola your old phone and they will give you money for it.

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MetroPCS Expanding Market, Making Changes


T-Mobile’s MVNO brand, MetroPCS is shaking things up again this week with a slew of changes including introducing service to 10 new markets, a solid date to close their CDMA network and double the data for some customers–no doubt in response to Boost Mobile’s new data options announced earlier this week.

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T-Mobile One Cent Prepaid SIM Sale


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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Phone Launch Roundup

I was going through my news feeds to decide what else to write about, and I noticed that there were several new phone launches that I hadn’t reported as I couldn’t find a date for prepaid launch. I counted a whopping eleven that have been released in the last week or so. Eleven! I guess the cell phone gods have spoken to phone manufacturers across the globe to let them know that September is the time to release new phones?

Anyway, I decided since there are so many new phones that all look so cool, I’d just lump it all into one post to keep everyone on top of what their options will be. A lot of these phones haven’t been released everywhere yet and won’t be immediately available for the prepaid market. However, most will slide to prepaid in a couple of months so it will give you something to look forward to!

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Overview of MVNO Market Analysis

Visiongain has released a new analysis of the MVNO market along with a forecast of what will happen in the next few years. I didn’t read the full report (which is 151 pages, and most of it delves into financial and investing technicalities that aren’t really relevant for non-business owners, not to mention it costs quite a pretty penny) but quite a few important bits can be garnered of their brief press release.

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Chit Chat, Solavei File Chapter 11

chit chat solavei

MVNOs are generally not the most stable kind of businesses, and this past summer saw its share of businesses closing and selling or being acquired by another company. Added to the list of companies not doing so well, both Solavei and Chit Chat have filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy this summer.

While not exactly the kiss of death, Chapter 11 is basically a company acknowledging that they cannot pay all of their bills. It’s a last-ditch attempt to reorganize the business and get back on their feet. Currently, neither Solavei nor Chit Chat have stated intentions to close and both carriers are still signing up new customers as of today.

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Refill Your Prepaid With Bitcoins

piiko logo

Prepaid phone users all around the world now have a new way to refill their phones. Piiko is a new prepaid mobile top up service that uses bitcoins to purchase minutes. Designed by Umbrellab to help spread the use of Bitcoins, Piiko currently serves customers with select phone plans in more than 100 countries worldwide.

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CA. Requires Smartphone Kill Switches

California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill yesterday which requires all smartphones sold in California to come with a ‘kill switch’ to render them useless if stolen or lost. According to a Reuters article, this new law was pushed by the high smartphone theft statistics in the golden state.

With the new law, all smartphones sold after July 2015 will be required to have the technology to be shut down remotely. The law received widespread support from law officials and lawmakers alike, in the hopes that smartphone theft will be reduced. It is estimated that more than half of all crimes committed in San Francisco, Oakland and other major California cities involve smartphone theft.

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FreedomPop, Major Carrier in Talks

freedompop logo

Nearly a month after the merger talks between Sprint and T-Mobile concluded, Sprint MVNO FreedomPop is undergoing formal talks with an undisclosed ‘major carrier’ over a possible acquisition of the MVNO. Fierce Wireless reported yesterday that FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols had confirmed the acquisition talks, but declined to provide details other than that FreedomPop was seriously considering the offer.

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iPhone 5 Battery Problem

iphone 5

If you own an iPhone 5 (or know someone who does) purchased between September 2012 and January 2013, then you may need to contact Apple to get a new battery. Recently, Apple announced that a ‘small percentage’ of their iPhone 5 devices have a faulty battery which may suddenly stop holding charge for as long as it should.

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FTC Warns of New Phone Scam

This article came across my email this morning and while it’s not super relevant for prepaid phone customers (it actually deals with phone contracts), I wanted to go ahead and spread the word because everyone knows someone on a phone contract.

The FTC has sent out a warning to consumers of a practice called ‘credit muling’ with cell phone and wireless contracts. The scam involves paying a victim cash to open up a wireless contract (or two, or five) and telling them that they can cancel the contract within the allotted time–usually a couple of weeks to a month. The scammer then takes the devices, unlocks them, sells them (for quite a pretty penny) and disappears.

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Incorrect Brightspot Throttling Reported


HowardForums users and Prepaid Phone News have both reported that Target’s MVNO, Brightspot Mobile, has been throttling users’ data incorrectly due to a glitch in the data tracking. From what it sounds like, this problem is mostly effecting the $35 plan users but might be might be effecting others as well, so I thought I would help spread the word.

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Miami Diabetes Patients Get Free Phones

The Miami-based Health Choice Network (HCN), TracFone and Microsoft have teamed up to give free prepaid Windows smartphones to some diabetes patients so they can better keep track of their appointments and health regimens. The program is only available to certain patients in Miami.

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Nokia Lumia 635 + FitBit Flex Sale


Microsoft has a deal going where if you purchase a no contract Nokia Lumia 635 (for T-Mobile or AT&T) with a Fitbit Flex activity band, you can bundle them together and get a discount of $50. Depending on whether you go with AT&T or T-Mobile, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 – $180, with the T-mobile phone costing a bit more for some reason. The Fitbit flex is available in black and slate, but the slate is listed as out of stock currently.

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RadioShack Closes No-Contract Wireless


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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ZTE Releases Nubia 5S Mini LTE

Nubia 5S mini LTE

ZTE has released a phone in the U.S. aimed at smartphone lovers and selfie snappers. The Nubia 5S mini LTE boasts impressive camera and hardware specs and in a surprising move, ZTE is marketing the unlocked version of their phone directly to consumers who want to BYOD to any network. It is available for preorder now on Amazon for $280 and shipping is planned to start next week.

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Changes for Selectel Wireless


Selectel Wireless, a Verizon MVNO, has gone through a few changes in the last few months: a data increase for one of their more popular plans, an increase in texts on another and a ban on activating non-Verizon phones. All of the changes have already gone into effect.

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Pantech Files Bankruptcy


The Korean phone maker Pantech has filed for court receivership on Tuesday, which is the South Korean equivalent of declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The third largest phone maker in South Korea ended the first quarter with nearly $1 billion in debt–nearly double its current assets. If the court receivership is approved by the bank, then Pantech will have one year to restructure their business model and get back on track before closing indefinitely.

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Texting 911 Coming Soon

By the end of this year, you may be able to text 911 from your phone to reach emergency personnel from any wireless phone or app with SMS messaging capabilities. Currently, this technology is limited to specific counties and areas across 16 states, with the exception of Vermont and Maine, where capability has been launched statewide.

For a full list of areas where text-to-911 is available, click here. “Bounce back” messages will be sent if users attempt to send a message where service is not available. This isn’t really specifically for prepaid or postpaid, and will eventually be available on all phones.

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ROK Mobile Available to Everyone

Rok Mobile

California-based MVNO Rok Mobile has finally opened its service to the public.  Formerly invite-only, Rok Mobile allows users unlimited music streaming and downloading using Rok Mobile’s app and other third-party music apps like IHeartRadio and Spotify. Customers can create their own personalized music playlists and download music through Rok’s App to listen to off line but downloaded music cannot be transferred to another device or accessed once service with Rok Mobile has ended.

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T-Mobile Business MVNO Opens

harbor mobile logo

Harbor Mobile, a new MVNO aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs launched last month. They use T-Mobile’s network and offer some pretty decent competitive pricing. Harbor Mobile currently has four plans and offers a couple add-ons like additional data and international calling. The plans are:

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, text, 1 GB high speed Data, unlimited slower speeds, hotspot
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, text, 3 GB high speed Data, unlimited slower speeds, hotspot
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, text, 5 GB high speed Data, unlimited slower speeds, hotspot
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, text, 5 GB high speed Data, unlimited slower speeds, 5 GB hotspot

SIM cards cost $10 and are mailed to you within a week of order. You can BYOD, but it needs to be a T-Mobile branded device or it must be unlocked and able to use GSM.

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Cellular One Closing in Wyoming, Montana

cellular one logo

Cellular One has announced that it will be shutting down services in Wyoming and Montana as of August 31, 2014. This will affect all MVNOs that use Cellular One’s service in those states as well. According to FierceWireless, Residents using Cellular One’s network will have to switch to a new carrier by August 31 to avoid service interruption. To facilitate the process, Cellular One has waived all early termination fees and is working with AT&T to allow customers to switch to that network. Customers who switch to AT&T will not have to pay any activation fees and AT&T is offering a $100 credit on the first bill for those who switch. Cellular One phones are compatible with AT&T’s network, but customers are not obligated to switch to the blue giant and may pick whichever carrier they wish.

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Get Out Of Phone Contracts With No Fee

Phone contracts suck. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement. You basically sign your life away for two years and hope that the service you agree to pay for works in the areas where you need it at a price that you can afford. But there are always hidden fees and always overages and always places where you get no service when you need it. Phone contracts suck.

So we’re going to give you a couple resources to help your friends and family out of dumb phone contracts so they can enjoy phone freedom with prepaid devices. A lot of these services basically just sign over your contract to someone else and a few cost a minimal fee to list your phone, but it is still a lot cheaper than paying upwards of $250 termination fee. It should be noted that most of these sites do not actually do any transfers–they simply match you with someone else. It is your responsibility to make the transfer with your carrier.

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How to Unlock Your Postpaid Phone


Last week, President Obama signed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, which makes unlocking your phone from your cell carrier legal. This is great news if you are getting out of a contract and wanting to go with a cheaper prepaid option, but the move has spawned quite a bit of confusion over exactly what it means to ‘unlock’ a phone. While I am not an expert, I can hopefully answer some of those questions.

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Truphone Seeking to Lose MVNO Label

In an effort to lose the MVNO label, Truphone has joined the GSMA this week as an Associate Member under the ‘Application Developer’ category. Why are they so against the MVNO label they have operated under for so long?

Well, in a article, CTO and founder of Truphone, James Tagg stated that, “the company doesn’t like to be pigeon holed into the MVNO bucket [because] the term immediately conjures in the mind…the marketplace as a technology-free company.” Fair enough. He also said that, “critics might define an MVNO as a pure branding and marketing machine that sells services to customers.” And that isn’t quite in line with where Truphone wants to be.

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