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Android Cellphones Communications

Smartphones Invade the Prepaid Market 173

Posted by timothy
from the contracts-cost dept.
jfruh writes "When tech geeks debate the state of the smartphone world, they usually focus on the iPhone and its high-end Android rivals from the major carriers. But Android is rapidly entering the lower-end world of contractless prepaid phones that you can buy at 7-11 or Wal-Mart. 63 percent of prepaid phones sold in 2011 were smartphones, and while they might not offer cutting-edge hardware or easy customization, they do provide a smartphone experience without an onerous contract."
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Smartphones Invade the Prepaid Market

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  • Can't wait.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aero2600-5 (797736) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:28PM (#39531409)
    As soon as my early termination fee is low enough, I'm shitcanning AT&T and getting a pre-paid android. Probably going to go with Virgin Mobile. I've had success with them in the past.
    • by garcia (6573)

      Probably going to go with Virgin Mobile.

      I have never had anything but poor experiences with them myself but I fully support anyone changing from one shitty carrier to another.

      Believe me, I get it. I hated AT&T and then I hated T-mobile. Honestly I don't mind AT&T now that I have a small business account (their reps are great and they have never overbilled me or fucked me over) but don't think that you're suddenly going to have a better experience on one carrier over another; they all suck.

      Best of lu

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>I have never had anything but poor experiences with Virgin Mobile..... I hated AT&T and then I hated T-mobile.

        Hmmm. Sounds like a case of PEBKAC to me. In contrast my first cell phone was bought in 1999 from Cellular One, who I liked. Then Cingular who I liked. And now VirginMobile who I like. They all offered what was advertised (cheap calling). $10/month for the first two, and $5 a month for VM. Why complain? Life's too damn short to waste on complaints.

      • Re:Can't wait.. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Alex Zepeda (10955) on Friday March 30, 2012 @10:56PM (#39531925)

        *shrug*

        In a previous life I dealt with Verizon Wireless and AT&T small business services. We had some questions about issues we were having with their respective data networks. VZW was straight forward and very willing to work with us. The AT&T account rep was clueless, and I had to wander over to broadbandreports.com to escalate an issue. The issue was escalated to some sort of "executive" support that consisted of "Why the fuck do you want me to call you?" and I just kinda gave up at that point.

        AT&T's residential service was worse for me. The place I'm at now originally had about eight lines on it, so there was a DAML... which meant no DSL or 56k dialup. Thankfully I had nice, expensive long-distance service because they slammed me when I signed up for voice service. Unfortunately, AT&T flat refused to offer DSL on the line to the ISP I wanted to use. So, yeah, I had to quite literally beg AT&T through broadbandreports (then dslreports.com) to provide service. Eventually they relented. Best they could do was G.DMT (no ADSL2, no U-Verse in this neck of the woods). Now that ISP is a proper CLEC and offers unthrottled ADSL2 w/ proper POTS service I'm AT&T free... I couldn't be happier. But AT&T, well, I've gotten countless calls and letters from them pleading with me to return.

        Look, I've had problems with VZW, and they were bad (some were illegal actions on VZW's part). But I've never once been forced to resort back channels to get the problems fixed. Likewise I've friends that use Sprint (back in the days when they'd charge you to call customer service) and T-Mobile. Nobody even comes close to being as consistently bad as PacBell/SBC/AT&T. With AT&T to get any level of decent support I've got to go to broadbandreports and whine until a sympathetic tech has the time to respond. AT&T can fucking rot for all I care.

        As for Virgin Mobile, I've been with them for about ten months now. So far so good. The coverage has definitely taken a dip since Sprint started carrying the iPhone. I've got an Optimus V and it's a great little phone and I've been working with a few people to firm up a port of CyanogenMod to it (wanna talk frustrating, try getting this stuff integrated into the Cyanogen tree). Better cell and GPS radios than my friends' Motorola Triumphs.

        • by whoever57 (658626)

          Nobody even comes close to being as consistently bad as PacBell/SBC/AT&T.

          My phone, which is on T-Mobile, does not receive text (SMS) messages from AT&T. This is 100% repeatable. It receives text messages from every other provider worldwide, but never from AT&T. I suspect this is because my number was with PacBell and I ported it to T-Mobile.

          How do I solve this? I suspect that the only way to solve it is to take the number to AT&T for a month and then back to T-Mobile, but this will be a t

          • It's possible that the problem is on AT&T's end. I know AT&T does not have MMS agreements with Virgin. SMS typically works tho. At some point it just goes beyond incompetence and becomes outright malice. IMO AT&T's far past that point of incompetence.

        • by thomst (1640045)

          My wife just received a come-on letter from AT&T that said she had been "choosen to receive" an "Android smartphone with NO CONTRACT and FREE SHIPPING!"

          Of course, the fact that this Android smartphone she had been "chosen to receive" would cost her $129.99, plus tax, and that she'd have to maintain a credit balance in her AT&T account in order to actually USE this pretty dumb excuse for a smartphone AS a smartphone. (No data features for pay-as-you-go customers, naturally.)

          Personally, I call that at

    • I don't entirely understand WHY it is as such, but it is ~$100/month for a prepaid Phone/3G contract with Verizon, which includes UNLIMITED data. And yes, it's still truly unlimited - no GB restriction listed.

      And yet, I have to pay the $60 + $50/month for a regular phone contract with only 5GB of data, and that doesn't even include text messages($10), voice mail($3), phone insurance($5) or anything else they manage to charge me more for.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>Virgin Mobile

      Yeah I'm not so sure why this "prepaid smartphone" deal is so surprising. Virgin Mobile has been offerered smartphones a few years now. You had to buy them up front, but the monthly fee was only $25, so worth it.

      My VM phone is a cheap phone that was gratis (pay $40 initial airtime and the $40 phone is free). I like the company because they charge only 5 dollars a month for half-an-hour of calltime, which rolls month to month. I've now accumulated 660 minutes! (I make few calls,

    • by penix1 (722987)

      I recently had a heart attack and realized I needed a phone for emergencies.I went with the GoPhone which is AT&T. I pay $50.00 a month for unlimited voice, text and data but rarely use the data. Before the attack I didn't see the need for a cell phone much less a smart one. I still don't have a smart phone and probably won't get one but I will say my use of the cell has accelerated somewhat. The phone itself is a Nokia C3-00 which is more phone than I really need. I just don't see the use of having all

      • by hazem (472289)

        You could get a lot cheaper monthly plan from Straight Talk or Virgin Mobile. They also have very basic cheap phones. Straight Talk has a 1000-minute/month plan for $30/month. I'm currently paying $35/month to VM which includes 300 minutes and unlimited data and text.

        • by penix1 (722987)

          See, I don't want to be limited in minutes for voice or text. Data I can do without (although I noticed that when I send say a picture to someone it uses the data connection to do it). I can't imagine anything more dire than running out of minutes right when I need the phone.

          Also, I live in rural West Virginia where sunshine has to be pumped in and even then we don't know what to do with it. We have whole counties where cell phones don't work at all. Hell, in some counties radios don't work either. So far A

          • by hazem (472289)

            Both VM and Straighttalk have unlimited plans for about $45... not much less than you're paying now. I can't speak to the coverage, but if you're good with what you have, there's not much point in switching just to save $5.

      • by russotto (537200)

        If you don't want to use data and don't use the phone much, the cheapest plan is probably the T-mobile prepaid; $100/1000 minutes, good for a year. Problem is they don't offer data with this at all. They used to offer it for $1.50/day (only on days you used it), but they killed it when the AT&T merger was proposed.

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      I'd say you should.

      I was laid off several years ago. At the time, I had already cancelled my personal cell, because work required that I carry theirs. When they laid me off, suddenly I had no phone. No way for people to call (namely, prospective employers).

      I was already researching prepaid providers, that I could send data over their network for telemetry of my car. It was just something I was toying with. I wanted to have it send GPS data, OBD-II data, and

    • by hairyfeet (841228)
      A friend of mine did the same thing with one of those Walmart pre paid smartphones. Got a really nice Android phone for $129 and liked it so much he went and got one for his wife the very next week. The phone works great, apps run nice, and he only pays $45 a month for unlimited everything including web which is about half what he was paying under contract. After hearing his experiences i got one of those phones with the slide out keyboard for the oldest (he's a texting maniac) and i have to say its been pr
  • News? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shift3 (911297) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:28PM (#39531415) Homepage
    How is this news? I have had a Samsung Precedent from Wallmart (Sprint network, CDMA) for 4 months now... Decent phone... But you have to root it and install custom mods to get full use of it. Stock only hase android 2.2.3 if i remember... I am running AreaRom's 2.3.7 now... So much smoother.
    • by dalias (1978986)
      I see nothing wrong with having to root it (this is really the case no matter which carrier you get your phone from...to get rid of all their crapware if nothing else), but I'm waiting for GSM models. CDMA is useless for those of us who travel internationally. I also have no interest in prepaid carriers in the US, since their prices are too high. If you actually make a lot of calls, you can get much better prices sharing a postpaid plan with the minimal number of minutes with ~4 other people (close friends
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      How is this news? I have had a Samsung Precedent from Wallmart (Sprint network, CDMA) for 4 months now...

      It would not be news if your purchase would have been the (only) one making 63% of the prepaid being sold - (then you would already know that 1 prepaid smart was available, so that this fact wouldn't be newsworthy). Since is not the case, now you know that yours is among 63% of others.

      • I'm not sure about the USA, but a lot of people on this side of the pond use SIM-only prepay deals and buy second hand phones or get them as hand-me-downs. The fact that a lot of them (well, us - I do this too) have smartphones now is simply due to the fact that there are a lot more smartphones floating around. I replaced my ageing N80 with an HTC Desire a few months ago - not exactly top of the line, but it does far more than I need.

        As to people buying new smartphones, it's likely due to the lack of pri

  • by enjar (249223) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:37PM (#39531475) Homepage

    Buy used 3GS for ~$150. Get GoPhone SIM. Insert in phone. Change APN if you want data. It takes three seconds.

    Prepaid smartphone. No onerous contract. No jailbreak required. Works fine with iTunes and App Store.

    • Buy used 3GS for ~$150. Get GoPhone SIM.

      I've read horror stories of being "slammed" [wikipedia.org] to an expensive data plan once someone puts a SIM for a voice-only plan into a smartphone. Has AT&T stopped doing this, or has it never applied to GoPhone?

      • Re:Slamming (Score:4, Informative)

        by spidr_mnky (1236668) on Friday March 30, 2012 @10:36PM (#39531825)
        They definitely do it. My girlfriend just bought a Fusion (marketed by AT&T as a pay-as-you-go thing) with the sole intention of ditching the sim card that came with it and using it on her existing AT&T voice only plan. Suddenly they tell her she has a data plan, and she's going to pay for it monthly. We're still working out exactly how to react to that, but yeah, they're apparently serious about it.
        • They definitely do it. My girlfriend just bought a Fusion (marketed by AT&T as a pay-as-you-go thing) with the sole intention of ditching the sim card that came with it and using it on her existing AT&T voice only plan. Suddenly they tell her she has a data plan, and she's going to pay for it monthly. We're still working out exactly how to react to that, but yeah, they're apparently serious about it.

          AT&T says, right up front, that their pay-as-you-go smart phones require a data plan. The lowest-end plan is five bucks a month - not particularly onerous.

          I grabbed their first pay-as-you-go smartphone - an LG Thrive - when it became available last March. I'm not crazy about Android, but it certainly has saved me a lot of money versus the monthly T-Mobile plan I was on previously. And things generally work okay. But there are significant bugs in the month-to-month rollover code on both their SMS and dat

          • by Renraku (518261)

            Their lowest plan is $5 a month. But for smartphones, you pay an extra fee. And for SPECIAL smartphones, you pay an even higher fee. If you want unlimited, you'll pay a higher fee, but unlimited really isn't unlimited so if you need more, you'll pay a higher fee. If you need less, you'll end up running over, and paying a higher fee.

            That $5 will turn into $20+.

            • Setting - Network - Cellular Data - Off

              That's the easiest way to avoid cell data overage charges. If you need it, you can turn it on; otherwise find a wifi spot.

              • by EzInKy (115248)

                So the best way to avoid cell phone overage charges is not to use a cell phone? In answer to your sig, yes! And cell phone companies depend on them for profit!!c

      • by enjar (249223)

        I do use the data plan, so I've never gone without it. My bill runs around $25/month, part of that is voice minutes, the other part is data.

        I don't mind the money because I do get value from it, but it's not the $80-100 that I would pay on contract. And I'm generally in wifi range at home or at work so I rarely use it. It also rolls over as you renew regularly.

        There are situations where prepaid doesn't work well at all but I've been happy on prepaid for a while.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I've read horror stories of being "slammed" to an expensive data plan once someone puts a SIM for a voice-only plan into a smartphone. Has AT&T stopped doing this, or has it never applied to GoPhone?

        It's definitely possible.

        Every GSM phone has an IMEI number, which is a globally unique serial number for the phone. It encodes the phone's serial number as well as stuff like model and submodel. This can often be used by carriers to determine if a phone will work on their network.

        Sticking your SIM into a sm

        • I can only speak to the LG thunder stuff (P500, Optimus One/V/S/M/C/U/etc, Thrive, Phoenix, Vortex, etc). LG released an official Gingerbread update for the Euro carriers, Sprint (okay, not a discount prepaid carrier, but still) released a Gingerbread update for the Optimus S, and CyanogenMod 7 (Gingerbread) is working on all of the phones. CM9 (ICS) has been ported to the more capable (ex: not Thrive, Phoenix, or Vortex). Otherwise these phones come with some variant of Android 2.2.x.

          Lousy follow throug

      • by darjen (879890)

        A couple months ago, I got a used iPhone 4 for my wife and put a GoPhone sim in there. So far it has not happened to me. I just add voice minutes as needed. I don't bother with data.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      You can get a more powerful Android phone new, so unless you have your heart set on Apple, there are probably better choices.

      • by enjar (249223)

        Power isn't one of my big requirements. I don't deny that there are better/faster/newer on the market, either. But the phones mentioned in the linked article are the low-end for the most part, and picking up a used 3GS might be price-competitive for someone looking at prepaid.

        - the power of the 3GS is certainly enough for how I use it (play music, send a text to my wife, talk on phone, play games occasionally)
        - I am generally in a wifi zone at home or work
        - I don't talk much on the phone
        - I already had al

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Straight Talk SIM (straighttalksim.com) is bring your own device (AT&T, T-Mobile or unlocked) and offers "unlimited" everything for $45 a month and even offers micro-sim cards. Uses AT&T's network and 3G bands.

  • Virgin LG Optimus V (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dan East (318230) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:40PM (#39531505) Homepage Journal

    I did a lot of research on this before Christmas for gifts for my kids. The best deal I could find is Virgin's LG Optimus V Android phone. Walmart sells these phones for $99, no contract. For $99 you get a heck of a lot - all the standard smartphone stuff - GPS, Wifi, accelerometer, capacitive multi touch screen, 3 megapixel camera, SD slot, etc. Now just as-is, with no service, you essentially have an Android equivalent to the iPod Touch. Netflix, youtube, pandora, etc, all play great over Wifi. My Walmart hasn't been able to keep these in stock for months. They'll get several in, and they are gone the next day.
        Then on top of that you can get service for $35 for 30 days, no contract. Unlimited data, unlimited texting, and 300 minutes of talk time. For my kids that is perfect. They mainly text and consume data. No standard carrier can come close to touching that with any contract plans. Literally, you're looking at DOUBLE monthly rates for the same plan (and you're going to have a data cap). For $50 a month you also get unlimited talk time.
        So this is the route I went for my two children that are old enough to need / use a cellphone, and it's worked out great.
        One note is that last week texting stopped working for almost a full 24 hours on all Virgin phones in my area. Neither sending or receiving would work. Then suddenly all the texting flooded both in and out when it started working again. I've never seen that happen with a contract carrier before.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      One note is that last week texting stopped working for almost a full 24 hours on all Virgin phones in my area. Neither sending or receiving would work. Then suddenly all the texting flooded both in and out when it started working again. I've never seen that happen with a contract carrier before.

      Wasn't just you: http://news.yahoo.com/virgin-mobile-customers-experiencing-nationwide-data-texting-outage-052409079.html [yahoo.com]

    • It depends on your timing.

      I used to hate cell phones back when it was "OMG what if you needed an Emergency call?" Stupid pieces of junk.

      Then I found an option to convert an iPhone to an AT&T GoPhone plan. Saved me $1500 so far. Because I never call anyone, but i dial my bank, and it doesn't autodial in my pocket and it had a calculator and Shredder (Chess) Mobile. End of Line.

      Total Fees: about $300 per year.

    • I picked up the Optimus V last mother's day for my wife who isn't exactly ... gentle with phones. (Let's just say that she couldn't figure out why she had all these black squares in her gallery--turns out she just throws the thing in her purse w/out turning the damned thing off and has taken many, many pictures of the inside of her purse...) The phone is a very solid phone, and all the prepaid (and contract) carriers have a version of it. Right now, the price is right at about $100, but I've seen them on
    • I'm using one of these on Virgin Mobile (sprint network), my wife too. Both are rooted. We get hotspot, greater speed, greater memory life from the rooting. They do everything we like, except there's no decent free podcast app, but I don't use the phone for music anyway, as I have an iPod touch. If I spent some time shopping and a few bucks, I expect I could cut out the iPod. The Map app crashes pretty often, which can be problematic when using GPS, and Sprint doesn't have the best coverage. We can drive fo
      • by pnutjam (523990)
        Have you tried Google Listen for downloading podcasts? I just started using it and it is nice.
  • by metalmaster (1005171) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:56PM (#39531595)
    Im not sure if they still offer the plan, but Walmart sells the Samsung Exhibit II 4G [walmart.com] phone for ~$200. I picked up 2 for me and my girlfriend and they work very well with my tmobile employee account. When I bought these phones Walmart had a prepaid plan that offered 100mins, unlimited text and data for $30 a month. That is/was a helluva deal considering you could get your voip app of choice and effectively turn unlimited data into unlimited minutes.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here in India, you can only buy unlocked phone. Carrier subsidies aren't available. So the prices of phones are very high. Because of this you don't see many smartphones. Iphones are almost non existent, cheap android phones are seen more though. I have a prepaid connection, non sms pack, no data pack, only 0.6 USD a month. With everything activated I have to spend just 3.6 USD a month. :D

    • by icebike (68054) * on Friday March 30, 2012 @10:14PM (#39531701)

      I wish all phones were sold unlocked, and I wish all carrier subsidies were illegal.
      The price of phones rises to absorb all the subsidy they can extract from the carriers.

      The iPhone was a huge siphon, emptying AT&Ts pockets into Apples, making Apple the
      richest company in sight on a phone that really does not cost that much to produce.
      Now Apple are doing the same thing [cnn.com] to the other carriers [latimes.com].

      If people had to buy their own phones the net effect would be lower prices, or they would be buying other phones. Greece, like India doesn't allow subsidies. Apple isn't selling well [investorplace.com] there. If Apple cut its profit margin in half, they would open up vast new markets.

      Some of the lower-to-mid level Android phones do well in those same markets.

      • by kamapuaa (555446)

        Why should the government prohibit people from entering into a private contract for a legal product/service? Isn't that the opposite of what the government should be doing? If you don't want to get a contract, don't get one.

        Right now in the US, you're perfectly able to get a pay-as-you-go phone (every supermarket or convenience store or electronics store will sell them), or you can easily get a cell phone with a contract. That is the ideal system.

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @02:53AM (#39532653) Journal

          The problem in US is that if you bring your own phone, your contract is not really any cheaper than if you got one from them with a contract - in other words, you're always paying the "subsidized" price, regardless of whether there's a phone to subsidize or not. That smacks of forced bundling to me, and given that all carriers do that, with the exception of T-Mo, it may well be regarded as cartel collusion to squeeze the customers.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The government should support market transparency, to allow the market economy to do its work. When products and services are made so convoluted that most people can't compare any two products in a meaningful way anymore, then this hinders competition. One of the theoretical prerequisites of the free market theory is an informed customer. One of the tools that are most frequently used by companies which don't want to compete fairly is information asymmetry.

          The cellphone business is not and can not be an unr

          • by EzInKy (115248)

            A requirement that forces companies to disclose a one on one comparison between its and its competetors products would go a long way in ensuring the goal of informed buyers buying fully disclosed products. Nowadays though it seems only the ones hiding the most get the most.

        • by EzInKy (115248)

          Too preserve free markets? The way it is today those who project the illusion that they away the most for free bury those who actually give the most for free.

        • by icebike (68054) *

          Why should the government prohibit people from entering into a private contract for a legal product/service? Isn't that the opposite of what the government should be doing?

          What makes you think its a Legal Product or Service?

          What if your house loan or car loan required you to make payments long after the load was paid off, for the life of your car/house? Would that be Legal?

          That's exactly what happens when you get a phone under contract. Your monthly bill does not go down after the contract is completed. And in a lot of cases (most cases actually) you can't even take your phone and go elsewhere for service. Even if you manage to remove the carrier locks, getting that Veriz

      • There's no need to make subsidies illegal, just force them to spell out what they really are: purpose loans. If you buy a phone from them, they agree to give you a loan in the amount of $X. However, it should be a separate obligation fully decoupled from the actual contract - i.e. you should be able to terminate the contract at will etc, so long as you keep paying out the loan. And, of course, once you do pay it out in full, that's it.

        • by pmontra (738736)
          That's basically what happens here in Italy. Phones are unlocked and you can terminate the contact by paying it out at any time. I still prefer to buy my phone. I'm using a prepaid card for voice and I charge it with 9 euro every month for data which is a nice backup for when I'm not on wifi. I can stop it at any time.
    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Wow. What did the phone cost?
  • Never again (Score:4, Informative)

    by WillKemp (1338605) on Friday March 30, 2012 @11:34PM (#39532039) Homepage

    I've had an android phone (HTC Desire) on prepaid for nearly 2 years now. I've had mobile contracts three times over the years - twice in Australia and once in Britain - and every time i left the country long before the contract expired, and had to pay it out. I'll never get a contract again! Prepaid's cheaper anyway.

  • I bought a smart phone privately second-hand and put it on a prepaid plan for a while. I had to get a bit sarcastic with the guy at the service desk before he agreed to spend the two minutes to activate it (He says, "we can't do that" ... I'm not stupid, I know that smart phones are just phones with extra hardware and software).

    I have my smart phone on a voice/text contract now, but only because I need to roam every once in a while (I'm in Canada, our service providers SUCK, there are no prepaid options t

  • by batistuta (1794636) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @12:56AM (#39532337)

    The article implies that if you go pre-paid, you have to put-up with a low-end phone. Why? Can't you get a top-end unlocked Samsung Galaxy S2 to use with your pre-paid? Sure, it will cost you 600 dollar. But you will not have to pay 80 dollar/month on your plan. And the best: if they screw you, you can just dump them and switch provider while keeping your phone.

    The ability to change carriers easily is great for competition. Look at how it worked in Europe: you can get a line at zero cost per month. Add 4 euros per month and you have unlimited calls within your network. 10 euros/month for data plan. And some give you at the same time an airbag for a maximum of 40 euros/month, so you never pay more than that no matter what. If people moved out of the big carriers, same thing will happen in the US.

    • by xlsior (524145)
      One big difference, is that pretty much all of Europe uses the GSM standard, and you can use your phone on another network just by sticking a different SIM card in.

      In the US, most phones are SIM-less, and there are different protocols, standards, and frequencies in use by the various carriers. Only a couple of the carriers are physically capable or interoperating with eachothers equipment, and all of them are throwing up roadblocks to customers wanting to switch away and still use their current phone. It'
    • That's great, unless you're in the US. To date there is no phone that will work on more than 1-2 carriers, and most that do are not capable of the fastest data connection (think dial-up speeds). Until LTE is fully rolled out AND we get a phone that can span the frequency range from 700-2400 MHz AND the carriers agree to use compatible SIMs, it won't happen.

      The closest thing you can get today is an iPad Verizon LTE model, which will do both Verizon's CDMA and LTE network along with the "standard" GSM up to

  • by i ate my neighbour (1756816) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @02:01AM (#39532497)

    In actually free parts of the world, we can buy any smartphone without any contracts. Obviously, initial cost is higher but usually worth in the long run.

    • You can still buy one that's unlocked, not on contract, obviously as you noted the initial cost is higher, but it's possible.

      When I still lived in the States I had a Nokia 5800 and N97-mini, both were bought on the open market, not at the cellular provider and they worked just fine.

      • by Anonymus (2267354)

        And then, as has been mentioned in other threads, you probably ended up paying the same overpriced monthly cost as someone who got their phone for "free" from the same contract.

    • by wytcld (179112)

      In America you can buy a phone from TIng with only a month-to-month contract. But the phone basically will only work on TIng (which uses Sprint's and Clearwire's networks). So it's still a bit of a commitment and up front cost. The monthly cost though can end up far cheaper than being on the big carriers' contract plans, even factoring in the initial cost of the phone, since Ting charges for actual use each month. And the phones Ting offers are some of the better Android models, as compared to the prepaid s

  • I knew I couldn't be the only one. Granted, I live in the Philippines now, but I am from the States

    I have a Nokia N9 that I bought outright and just go pre-paid on it, previously had a Galaxy S. One of the best things for me about pre-paid here is that I can just turn the network on, use it and turn it off. There's a set fee of 5 pesos/15 minutes of use. I rarely use it with all the WIFI around, but when I need it that's pretty cheap and easy to do and the coverage here is very good. Now if only the Americ

  • If you are going to go with a pre-paid provider that runs on Sprint's network, go with Boost instead of Virgin Mobile.
    I am currently using Boost with a ZTE Warp, and was previously on Virgin with the Optimus V.

    The ZTE is a MUCH better phone, hands down.

  • There is actually a fair bit of flexibility out there if you dig around.

    When I went looking for a new phone for my daughter, I discovered that Verizon would NOT activate a smartphone unless you get the very expensive data plan, no matter if you own the phone or get it from them. I think around $80 per month.

    I did a little research and found Page Plus Celluar. They use the Verizon system/cell towers so coverage is pretty good. No contract, and have a pretty good data/text/phone plan for about $30 per month.

    I

    • by Frankie70 (803801)

      Page Plus Celluar will activate the phone with any of their plans

      Why not go GSM - then no one has to 'activate' your phone.

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