Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Info: Chinook Wireless

Based on the web at and physically based in Montana, Chinook Wireless, which used to be two carriers, Blackfoot Wireless and Three Rivers Communications, has switched to GSM (yep, they ditched their old CDMA network) and come out with two unlimited plans...and if you're interested in the Chinook story take a look at

Anyway, with this new network they've started offering unlimited plans. Interesting...the "big five" unlimited carriers are all CDMA...but if you're small enough, GSM may well do the job, and honestly you don't see manny small, rural carriers taking up GSM, so it's sorta neat...though I personally prefer CDMA...

But as I was saying, Chinook has two unlimited plans. Both look to require contracts, though the "no hassles plan" has just a one-year contract. This plan is $55 a month (the fee is pay-in-advance and looks to be a flat fee, including taxes and such), but includes only unlimited local calling. Long distance is 5 cents a minute (not too bad but not too great). Call Waiting, Call Forwarding and 3-Way Calling are $2 a month apiece. Text messaging and Voicemail are $5 a month apiece. Caller ID is included in the monthly fee.Roaming just plain isn't available.

The other unlimited plan, at $60 a month, is postpaid and includes all the features except text messaging, which is in this case free to receive and 10 cents to send per message. Long distance, again, is 5 cents a minute. And roaming is, again, not allowed, so far as the plan info states.

Phone-wise Chinook is less expensive, however. Unless you're getting the Treo 650, there's $100 or less difference between 2-year ocntract price and no-contract price ($50 difference between either and 1-year price, often less). This means two things: "fancy" phones like the Razr will not be cheap even with a contract, but then again they won't be horribly expensive without one. And if talking and texting are all you do, there is an assortment of phones that are free with a 2-year contract and $50 or less with a 1-year contract. So, though your first month isn't included and you're on a contract, you get, given the circumstances, a decent deal on a new phone. And since Chinook is GSM, you can always bring your own phone, presumably for free.

So, while not a traditional unlimited carrier (there is a contract, and it is more expensive than usual), Chinook does provide the unlimited option for people in its coverage area, which is always good.

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