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9. Comparison of Prepaid Companies’ Phones & Plans

Make A Fortune In Wireless Gold RushComparison of Prepaid Companies’
Smartphones & Plans


Comparison of Android vs. iPhone.

PREPAID SMARTPHONES
There are many non-smartphones in the prepaid world; in fact, until 2010, it was nearly unimaginable for a prepaid plan to offer a Smartphone.  Today, that scenario has done a complete 180:  smartphones are mandatory for prepaid companies to compete with the Big-4 contract companies.

What makes a wireless fone a smartphone?  It can download software and offers full internet capability, as if you’re using a computer, in addition to performing all other data tasks.

In the chart below, each company listed across the top is a clickable link to go to the company’s site.  See the notes below the chart for elaboration.  All prices have the idiotic $0.99 on the end, which I have omitted as a protest against such stupidity.  This page last updated June 6, 2011.

In June 2011, LightYear became the first prepaid company to carry the top of the line phones offered by one of the big-4 carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile).  In other words, those 4 have not shared their smartphones with any non-contract plan until now.  Furthermore, of those 4, other than Sprint, only AT&T has introduced a smartphone into its prepaid ‘GoPhone’ brand (in the graph below, on the far right).  Sprint offers 3 smartphones thru the two prepaid brands it owns, Boost & Virgin, but it’s breaking barriers with the LightYear arrangement, because LightYear is a wholesale partner with Sprint, but a completely separate company.

Phone Type LY Bst~ Vgn Ckt ST MPCS GoP
HTC Evo Shift (A) July —- —- —- —- —- —-
HTC Hero (A) $314 —- —- —- —- —- —-
Samsung Transform (A) $249 —- —- $309 a —- $299 b —-
LG Optimus (A) $139 —- $199 $179 —- $149 $179 c
Sanyo Zio (A) $199 —- —- $139 —- —-
—-
Samsung Intercept (A) $224¥ —- $179 —- —- —-
Samsung Prevail (A) —- $179 —- —- —- —-
—-
Huawei Ascend (A) —- —- —- $99 —- $169 —-
BB Curve 8530 (B) —- $179 $179 $229 —- $199 —-
BB Curve 8330 (B) $49* —- —- —- —- —- —-
Samsung Code (W) —- —- —- —- —-
$99 —-
Nokia E71 & 6790 (N) —- —- —- —- $189 d —- —-
Total # of Phones 15 21 6 12 16 16 25
Total Smartphones 5 2 3 5 2 5 1

Notes:
The notes below are arranged by company and then corresponding notes for each fone of that company.  Keep in mind the small letters for notes have different meaning than the capital letters mentioned that are used for the OS.

There are currently 4 types of Smartphone OS available in prepaid: (A) Android, (B) Blackberry, (N) Nokia (which is Symbian), (W) Windows Mobile.

Phones above are listed in order of value, based on both price and ratings.  Different models are grouped with phones based on similarities.

MIR“=Mail-In Rebate amounts below have not been subtracted from the prices above, so prices above will be lower after MIR is redeemed.

LY = LightYear (Wholesaler for Sprint, not owned by Sprint):  ¥= I recommend avoiding this fone, based on overwhelmingly bad reviews.  *= Refurbished (used); the BB Curve 8530 is the latest “Curve II,” and the BB Curve 8330 is the original Curve.
Bst = Boost Mobile (Sprint & Nextel):  ~= Boost is owned by Sprint but operates all non-smartphones on the Nextel (IDEN, 2G) network; Sprint announced they’re eliminating the IDEN network, but not until 2013.  One other Boost note:  the $300 Motorola i1 now has the Android OS, but because it runs on the 2G IDEN Nextel network, you can’t even watch Youtube videos on it, which 100% disqualifies it from being a smartphone, regardless of what Boost says.
Vgn = Virgin Mobile USA (owned by Sprint)
Ckt = Cricket (Leap):  a – Samsung Indulge, very similar to the Transform
ST = Straight Talk (Wholesaler for Verizon, owned by Tracfone):  d – Nokia E71 & 6790, both Symbian Smartphones, added Oct. 2010 – both fones are no longer available on Straight Talk’s website, but are on Walmart’s (and they’re so old, no reviews are on CNET).
MPCS = MetroPCS (MetroPCS):  b – Samsung Indulge, very similar to the Transform; $299 Samsung Craft not included because it’s not a smartphone.
GoP = GoPhone (owned by AT&T):  cLG Thrive


PREPAID PLANS
The “Cost/Month” is for smartphone plans with unlimited talk/text/web. Unfortunately, most of the carriers have all kinds of fine print on their actual costs, so what we’re doing below is exposing the fine print and all costs, in order to compare similar features.

Phone Type LY Bst~ Vgn Ckt ST MPCS USC GoP
Cost/Month $60 $55 a $60 $55 $45 $60 $70 $85
Unlimited Talk/Text Yes Yes b Yes c Yes Yes f Yes Yes Yes
Unlimited Data Yes Yes h No No No Yes h
No No
Data Limit None ?? 2.5GB 1GB d ?? g ?? 2GB 400MB
Nationwide Network Yes Yes~ Yes No e Yes No No Yes
Internat’l Texting Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes
Tethering Yes No No No No No $25/m No
# of Smartphones+ 6 2 3 4 2 5 1 1
Free Service Available? Yes No^ No No No No No No
Carrier Network Sprint Sprint Sprint Leap Verizon MetroP USCell AT&T
Internat’l Calling $10  $10 $10

Notes:
Carriers not included in the chart above, due to lack of smartphones:  TracFone, Net10, Verizon.

Plans above are listed in order of phone value from the first chart, based on both price and ratings.

+= See Phones chart above for list of smartphones for each company.

LY = LightYear (Sprint)
Bst = Boost (Sprint & Nextel):  ~= Boost is owned by Sprint but operates all non-smartphones on the Nextel (IDEN, 2G) network; Sprint announced they’re eliminating the IDEN network, but not until 2013.  ^=”Shrinkage” plan allows cust. to reduce cost to $35/month with on-time payments over 18 months.  a – Includes $5 optional unlimited internat’l texting plan.  b – “Prohibited Uses: Boost Mobile services are provided solely for live dialogue between, & initiated by, 2 individuals for personal use ; hVague Terms allow wide latitude in company throttling of data or limitations of usage.
Vgn = Virgin (Sprint):  cCalls are limited to two hours.  If you are on a call for longer than two hours, the call will automatically terminate.”
Ckt = Cricket (Leap):  dRate plan contains a 1GB data usage level. Once you reach your usage level your speeds will be reduced.e – “We may limit or terminate your service without prior notice … if a majority of your voice and/or data usage is on a partner network during the previous month.”
ST = Straight Talk (Verizon) - f – “Straight Talk Unltd services are provided solely for live dialogue between, and initiated by, 2 individuals for personal use.” g – All phones are not smartphones except 2 older Nokias; regular internet access is not possible on all the non-smartphones.
MPCS = MetroPCS (MetroPCS) – hVague Terms allow wide latitude in company throttling of data or limitations of usage.
USC = USCellular
GoP = GoPhone (AT&T)


OS & TETHERING INFO
Our smartphones have the following OS (operating systems), with PDANet tethering software links for your help:

  • Android (Google) OS – HTC Hero, Samsung Transform, LG Optimus, Sanyo Zio (PDANet for Android)
  • Blackberry (RIM) OS – BB Curve (PDANet for BB)
  • Windows Mobile (Microsoft) OS – Palm Treo (PDANet for WinM) (even tho it’s a palm, it runs WinMobile)
  • Palm (now owned by HP) OS – Palm Centro (PDANet for Palm)
  • I checked online:  google “samsung instinct tethering” – several sites and Youtube videos tell you how to hack thru the Samsung Instinct’s OS (Samsung’s own OS) to setup tethering, but I haven’t done it.

The two that are easiest to setup for tethering are the Android and WinMobile – the OS on both is for computing, whereas the RIM and Palm are designed for cell fones only (altho the Palm OS is very easy to sync/connect with computers, in my experience).


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