Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Forum!

Check out the link bar, because this website now has a forum! I'm running it inside the Go4Prepaid forums (Go4Prepaid is the sister site to this has been around longer and such) and hopefully it'll provide folks who come here a way to interact, ask questions and get answers about unlimited wireless service. So go on over there and sign up, or if you already have an account with the Go4Prepaid forums, roll on over and post. Hope you like it! Again, the link is to your right.

CricKet Coming To Vegas 5\13

Finally, direct, big-guy to big-guy competition comes to the unlimited space. MetroPCS recently opened up service in Las Vegas. Now CricKet is doing the same. Bot are using the AWS (1700 MHz) spectrum. Let's see what fireworks happen...I predict low phone prices for one.

CricKet Wireless Data, Now Buy-able online!

First it was AWS phones. Now it's mobile broadband. CricKet, in their EvDO markets (most of them, see here for details), is now offering cellular broadband prominently on their website. For $40 per month, or $35 if you have a phone plan with CricKet, plus a mere $59 for the Kyocera Passport modem (which will not work in AWS areas, by the way, and will not work with newer laptops or desktops as it's a PC card...just warning ya...probably best to wait until the UTStarCom USB modem comes around), you can surf at high speeds wherever CricKet EvDO service reaches. Just make sure to keep your usage "reasonable"...after 5 GB in one month who know what they'll do to ya, namely slow you down or cut you off.

Still, it's cool to see an unlimited provider striking out like this where nobody has really gone before: cellular broadband with no contract and at a price comparable to cable or DSL, albeit trading speed for mobility.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Sorry to make this post short, but I have a resolution tonight: go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Anyway, if you want mobile broadband looks like you actually have a nationwide, non-contract, possibly unlimited (though if you get Verizon you get the 5GB per month limit, grr) option for $59.99 a month, plus $65 (incuding shipping) for the modem: Millenicom ( Head on over to and hunt up the Millenicom forum for more info. People seem to like them and while the service ain't as cheap as CricKet's $35-$40 option (plus taxes I'd suppose, though I hear tell they're not nearl as high as taxes on regular cellular service) you actually get nationwide broadband without having to touch a contract. You could even sign up your own EvDO card, so if someone wants to donate their old aircard to you you're set. Or, more likely, if you buy a Sprint-equipped laptop and don't mind not getting a service credit you can get mobile broadband like it was WiFi: built in. I may actually do this...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CricKet's Data Plan, AWS Phones & Activation Fee

Two quick things...

1) Did you know that CricKet charges a $15 activation fee to start service on one of their cell phones? I'm not sur if\when it gets waived, but you don't see MetroPCS or Pocket Communications doing that. Then again, CricKet's phone prices are a little lower than the other two carriers' prices, at least online, offsetting the fee.

2) CricKet is now selling its tri-band (AWS capable) phones in other markets than Oklahoma City. They must've sold out of UTStarCom 7126's, as the phones available are the Samsung Spex and the Samsung MyShot. They're quite inexpensive ($70 for the Spex, $130 for the MyShot) all things considered, though the best thing they have is Bluetooth (and a 1.3 megapixel camera on the MyShot) so they're not giving pure gold away...still, it's nice to have "network-wide" phones

3) CricKet seems to be phasing out the Kyocera Passport modem they were using for wireless data in favor of the UTStarCom U100 USB modem, which is tri-band (read: compatible with Oklahoma City) and can be used on any computer, not just older laptops. It's also $99 instead of $59, but that's still not a bad price for a EvDO Rev. A USB modem. Data speeds seem to e in the 1-1.2 megabit range for download speed and the 250-400 kilobit range for uploads. The service is definitely Rev. A (marked by the decent upload speed) however it could be quite a bit better, particularly on downloads. Also, keep in mind that your $35 or $40 per month buys you 5GB of data at full speed, after which you're gonna be throttled. Don't know how bad the throttling will be but just putting that out there. So basically your high speed data access works out to about $8 per gigabyte (plus taxes so probably more like $9) or $7 (or $8 with taxes and fees) if you already have CricKet voice service. Not bad for web browsing, e-mail and such, but don't do anything more than download music (bought, not P2P...P2P uses more bandwidth) and maybe watch the occasional web video, lest you go over your allotment, which works out to a little over 166 MB per day.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

CricKet vs. The Big Guys, Revol Intros the Lingo

CricKet is, at the moment, making a point of how you can get "more unlimited" for half the price of other carriers. Now on their front page, they have a top-to-bottom comparison of all the major carriers' plans, and theirs. Verizon and AT&T are at the bottom, charging $100 per month for unlimited voice calling. Next up is T-Mobile with unlimited messaging thrown in. Aoev T-Mobile it gets interesting. Sprint is displayed...their $89 plan, that is. I guess the folks at CricKet are hoping that you don't look and see that not only is Sprint not quite 2x as expensive as CricKet's top-class lineup (which includes stuff that most people never use as out-of-the-ordinary extras, namely 411 and international texting)...Sprint's $100 plan beats CricKet's $50 plan, esoecially in the area of coverage. Sprint gets Push To Talk, mobile phone TV, high-speed web browsing and (I think) Sirius radio where CricKet gets mobile web (usually at 1xRTT speeds, meh), free 411 (how about Google SMS or 1-800-GOOG-411 or 1-80-FREE-411?) and international text.

What should CricKet really be doing? Well, first off making sure that nobody knows they aren't a national carrier, heh. T-Mobile's relatively lousy coverage pales in comparison to CricKet's footprint, or lack thereof (though it's getting better...I think they've caught up to 1995!). Then compare their plans to something with limited minutes and no features on one of he "big boys". Note to CricKet: don't compare with Sprint. Rumor has it they're giving away free kitchen sinks.

In other news, Revol now has the Kyocera M100 "Lingo". You know, the successor to the Strobe, the weirdest-looking phone ever? Anyway, it's ridiculously priced, at $229. Plus you have to pay for your first month of service, which isn't a requirement for other unlimited carriers. My suggestion? Get a non-local number, get the Samsung text-friendly phone on MetroPCS, and roam on Revol. Geez freaking Louise, this company needs competition. Or maybe a swift kick in the pants.

If you're browsing around Revol's site and see something called RevolPTT by the way, ignore it. The feature, which can be used on all Motorola phones but the v710, as well as the Kyocera K312 (sound familiar? MetroPCS is the correct answer) and KX444, looks to be the same lameness that MetroPCS will shortly perpetrate on its customers as "push to talk". How about this: all phones come with Push To Talk. Step one: select number. Step two: PUSH the Talk button. Call it Voice SMS or something, but the only real push to talk solution worth its salt is the stuff Sprint is selling (iDEN and QChat). Kodiak (AT&T and Alltel) sorta count though I think the service basically sets up a phone call between the sender and recipient. Verizon and Sprint ReadyLink? Almost as bad as MetroPCS and Revol. Thus ends the weekly push-to-talk rant.

By the way, if you find this site worthwhile please check out some other sites that Google is serving up to your right. Doing so gives me a sense of self-worth, if not net-worth, in regard to this site. Thanks!

Friday, April 11, 2008

CricKet To Come To South Texas May 5th

With the introduction of CricKet (AWS) service to Oklahoma City, CricKet has now put a date on expansion into South Texas on normal (PCS) spectrum. Yep, that's Cinco de Mayo. The plan is to take over Laredo, Brownsville, McAllen and Corpus Christi markets. If you thought that the first three markets sound familiar, you are absolutely right: that's where Pocket is right now. Looks like CricKet is trying to compete, tower-for-tower, plan-for-plan, with Pocket. Betcha it gets nasty sooner or later.

By the way, would anyone be interested in a forum for unlimited cell phone companies? Seems like there isn't really one right now. Comment on this post...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Kyocera K312 Online w\MetroPCS

Yep, it's post 101 on UnlimitedCellular. And there was much rejoicing.

Anyway, The Kyocera K312p "push to talk" phone has showed up on MetroPCS's website, though you can't uy it from there yet. The cost? $129. I'd go for a different phone since PTT is just a gimmick on MetroPCS but toeach his own.

CricKet EvDO Phones

Just in case you were curious, if you want a cell phone that does EvDO on CricKet, where they have that service, here are the ones. No Rev. A phones yet (nobody has 'em except Sprint anyway) but it's better than 1xRTT crud:

Motorola Razr2 v9m
Motorola Rokr z6m
Samsung r500's it. Enjoy your miniscule selection of high-speed phones. Then again, MetroPCS may not be any better, and Pocket doesn't even have EvDO...I still woner how well CricKet Ev works.

CricKet Releases AWS in OKC, Internet on EvDO

Sorry for yesterday, should've posted this information up then. Ah well...

First off, CricKet is live in Oklahoma City! No, the plan aren't any different from what you'd typically find on CricKet outside of Pocket territory. However the phones are definitely something new. As I predicted, you've got the same three AWS phones available on CricKet as you do on MetroPCS. However on CricKet they're marked up $20 retail, then down $50 online (looks like) for a net price of $30 less than MetroPCS charges for the phone. Well, except for the Samsung MyShot, which retails for the same as it does on MetroPCS, except an online discount makes the phone $130 instead of $150. Decent deal by me.

In other news, for those of you who want high-speed internet wirelessly on the cheap, CricKet has something for you. Coming soon to all markets, and already in some markets (OKC coming soon) you can buy a modem for a mere $59 (! considering there's no contract) and start your service. The first month is free, though there is a $25 activation fee (do all CricKet phones have that?). After that, the cost is a mere $40 per month, with a $5 per month discount for existing customers. Considering that I'm pretty sure that CricKet's EvDO network is revision A (though I'm not 100% sure) it's a decent price to pay if you don't want to sign a contract for wireless data (CricKet is the first to do this to my knowledge) for decent speeds. If, that is, CricKet's network is up to snuff, which can be doubted. One caveat though: you get the Verizon-esque 5GB "soft limit" after which they may shut you off, have you attacked by samurai or something equally annoying...and yes, they seem to have ripped off Verizon's terms of service (no webcams, P2P...that will degrade network functionality). Par for the course, unfortunately...if you want to get really unlimited data, you have to sign a contract with Sprint.

One other thing about the 'net plan: looks like they're only offering a PC card right now for 'net access. No newer laptops need apply unless you want to get a USB adapter (which is another $40 or so)...though their pomotional image includes a USB modem (good!).

Overall, it's cool to see CricKet and MetroPCS rolling out AWS in a few markets it serves, though I don't get their unwillingness to offer the phones out of the AWS areas. Maybe they're losing money on 'em or something...a bad thing to do with an unlimited carrier. Ah well...

One more thing though: on the regular (1900 MHz CDMA) front, CricKet is offering some ridiculous mail-in rebates on several of its phones in plenty of markets. All phones more expensive than the Samsung Siren get a $100 mail-in rebate. All handsets less expensive get a $50 rebate, down to the Motorola w315. The rebate requires you to have had the service on CricKet for 45 days, but I gotta say "this is maaaaddnesssss!" So if you want CricKet, buy your phone now, and buy big. The Samsung r500 is a mere $80, the Rokr just $180, the Razr v3a only $80 and the Razr2 just $280.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pocket Gets The E1000, e815 (?) and UTS Mini Coming Up!

Looks like Pocket is first to the game, unlimited-wise, with another Kyocera phone: the E1000. Previously seen on US Cellular, this shiny little thing (they don't call it "Deco" for nuthin') is basically the Kyocera K342 Pocket already has (for $139...the rebate time period looks to be up), except newer, with more memory...and prettied up. The cost above the K342 is a mere $10, so if you were thinking about getting the K342 this is probably where you should be going. Hopefully I'll be abl to play with this phone a little in six weeks or so when I get back home to Texas, to see whether Kyocera has actually made something worthwhile (doubt it, but we'll see).

So how did I predict the entrance of this phone awhile back? By the media store online, of course. Well now they've leaked another phone or two. The first one, the Motorola e815, may have already been there, I'm not sure, but the Audiovox 8935 (actually the UTStarCom 8935) is new. What exactly is the 8935? Why, the Mini seen on CricKet of course. I didn't make a price prediction on the Kyocera E1000 last time, but I'll try my hand at predicting the cost of the 8935\Mini this time around: $129. Lower than the retail price of the Mini but higher than the online-only price, similar to the pricing scheme pursued by Pocket on other hones, where prices are either equal to or below retail, though not necessarily below the price including the online discount.

My take on things: bring on the phones! Just make sure they're not bad the Kyocera K132. I'm betting Pocket will be down to 11 phone models relatively soon, once they sell out of the older, low-end models. Then again, I could be wrong...

Friday, April 4, 2008

MetroPCS Intros Push To Talk, Has Revol Roaming...and other roaming...

Looks like Push To Talk is coming to MetroPCS in some capacity or other. The first phone to support it will be the Kyocera K312p, and other phones can be upgraded to do the same thing. Why? Because it's it's more like GimPTT.

Here's how it works:

1. To initiate a PTT session, the software app on the phone sends a special text message to the recipient.
2. The recipient phone calls back and the original phne uses Caller ID to tell that the callback is for the purpose of "PTT".
3. You pretend you're actually using PTT when you're really just doing a regular phone call.

Simple to implement, simple to extend to other carriers or whatever, but probably no better in speed than the Verizon Winforia PTT system (slow), Alltel's Kodiak system (slow to start, fine afterwords) or AT&T's Kodiak system (even slower to start, fine afterwards). It's probably similar in function to the Revol PTT system, and I'm not impressed. There are better ways to spend the $5 a month that this service will cost, once it's rolled out everywhere...and no, I don't want a Kyocera PTT phone either. In short, this ain't iDEN or QChat, so fuhgetaboudit.

In other news, I just found out that MetroPCS has an agreement with Revol (the Great Lakes unlimited carrier) that if a MetroPCS phone enters their territory, you still get unlimited service at no extra charge. This is a nice extension of the MetroPCS Detroit market, and has been around for awhile. Though with prices for Revol service being what they are, why not drive up to Detroit, grab a MetroPCS phone (which is cheaper and better than what Revol has anyway), then use it in Revol territory? Unless you need a local number...

In real news, however, MetroPCS has intro'd a new PRL (preferred roaming list) on its phones. Dial *228 to update and you'll find that your phone suddenly prefers Alltel when roaming. Why? Alltel obviously made a decent deal with MetroPCS; roaming on them is a mere 24 cents per minute. Still not great, but a far sight from the 49-79 cents seen elsewhere. Also, in some areas it is rumored that, where MetroPCS is still setting up main infrastructure of its own, they'll let you roam on Verizon for free. Probably rather expensive for them, but nice considering that otherwise they would receive lots of coverage complaints as they built out their network.

Pocket Tops 265k, gets new network equpment

Pocket Communications has now reached 265,000 customers, doubling their subscriber count in a matter of six months or so. Seems like their low prices, decent network (compared with CricKet's at least, whcih I've heard is a wreck) and fine customer service is paying off. As such though, they're orking with another company to get their network outfitted with gear that can scale quickly and easily in the event of even more customer gains. Smart idea, adding capacity before the system grinds to a halt because of lack thereof. I'm looking forward to anything else Pocket might come out with in the future...they're doing a good job with their service right now and gaining customers faster than carriers tewnty times their size. and I think most customers are sticking with them, especially when you consider that their market, the prepaid one, is normally high-churn. Now if they could just get roaming worked out at a cheaper rate (maybe making a deal with Page Plus Cellular for both voice and text?) they've got it made. Heck, they could offer unlimited voice and text roaming access for $2.50 per day out of the flex account you can prepay with them, and they've got EVERYONE beat in terms of unlimited service in the area.

By the way, I saw one post talking about MetroPCS possibly buying Pocket. Don't know if it's true, but it'd make sense, as Pocket and MetroPCS's service areas don't overlap, though if MetroPCS did buy them they'd face stiff competition from CricKet in the same area for probably the first time on a large scale.

Nokia Intros AWS Phones, Bound for CricKet\MetroPCS by anyone's estimate

Looks like Nokia is testing the CDMA waters again, which I'm glad for. This time though, their phones are headed directly toward the recipients of the AWS spectrum, coming this fall: CricKet and MetroPCS. Or at least, I'm supposing that's why they have tri-band CDMA service with AWS capability.

On the one hand you have the relatively powerful 3606. With MicroSD support (including cards as big as 8GB), a 1.3 megapixel camera with a flash, stereo Bluetooth and a snazzy hidden external display, this little flip phone is a welcome addition to teh high end of CricKet\MetroPCS's lineups. Sure, you can get the Razr2 on CricKet but the Nokia will probably sell for around $200 and packs enough features that you won't miss the Razr2. Plus, Nokias are just awesome phones.

On the other hand, you have the much more basic Nokia 1606. No camera, no Bluetooth, no memory card slot and the presence of a flashlight indicate that this is probably a phone in the $100 range, maybe a little more expensive, but not by much. It's not such a great phone feature-wise, but hey, it's a Nokia, and with both low-end and high-end phones coming in the fall I'm happy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Boost Price Drops

Looks like prices have fallen to a more reasonable level on Sprint's Boost Mobile "UNLTD" service. Though the Motorola w385 is still $130, prices for the other phone models have fallen. The c290 is now just $90 to buy, and the high-speed-net-access, slim-and-stylish, powerful Motorola KRZR is now $180, down $70 from the opening price of $250, only $50 above the price of the w385.

Yes folks, you may be paying extra on the plan side for service like this, to the tune of about $10 extra per month over CricKet or MetroPCS. But on the front end, you get more phone for your money than on either CricKet or MetropCS...or any other unlimited, for that matter. As an example, the Motorola w315 costs $100 on CricKet, vs. $90 for the c290 (which is pretty close in functionality) on Boost. $130 gets you the w385, which would cost you $10-$20 more for simiar specs on CricKetMetroPCS. To top 'em all, the $180 KRZR is very much superior to everything below $200, or even more, on he other unlimited carriers. Certainly much better than the Razr v3a, which is a step far, far down from the v3m that the companies had offered in the past.

So now that phone prices are reasonable for high-speed or no-frills communication, I give Boost UNLTD an even more solid "buy" rating, though you might want to double-check the other guys' coverage footprints to see what works best for you, especially since Boost's coverage areas are limited to just a few Sprint markets (why, I don't rightly know).