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You've heard that Boost Mobile, one of the prepaid cellular phone services, got acquired by Nextel, which of course is now part of Sprint Nextel. Say it isn't so. Doesn't corporate prepaid cell phone service defeat the purpose?
Independent prepaid cell phone plan carriers forced the major carriers to offer prepaid wireless. Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile catered to the youth market, and Boost Mobile attracts youthful subscribers into the Nextel fold despite Nextel's unhip designs. Now that Nextel uses Motorola (which offers the iDEN technology for the Boost mobile crowd), Boost Mobile just got a little edgier.
With the major cell phone carriers offering a prepaid wireless plan to suit the not-so-frequent talkers, why should you choose Liberty Wireless?
Liberty Wireless is an entirely prepaid cell phone plan network. They offer prepaid cell phones free (or almost free with rebate) to new customers. But is Liberty Wireless a good fit for you?
One way to check out prepaid cell phones is to take About.com'sd Prepaid Service Quiz that asks you to look realistically at your cell phone usage--for example, how much you talk, which is always a good figure to know. About.com even offers a side-by-side guide so you can compare Verizon Wireless, for example, against another prepaid cell phone plan. No word, however, from About.com on how Liberty Wireless stacks up. It is, however, in the top ten of TopTenReviews.com. Plus, it's affiliated with Sprint, which may be a good thing now that Sprint has improved its network.
Cell phone provider choices just got more complicated.
Cingular offers prepaid cell phones called Go Phone. Like Liberty Wireless, Go Phone does not require a contract, credit check, or deposit. Monthly phone bills are eliminated, roaming and nationwide long distance are included, and carryover minutes are available.
Cingular offers two plans: Pay as You Go or Pick Your Plan. Prepaid phones include top name brands. Calls made while using the Pay as You Go plan cost 10 cents per minute with unlimited mobile-to-mobile and a $1.00 per day access charge. Pay as You Go cards are available for $15.00.
Pick Your Plan starts as low as $29.99 per month and has the option of unlimited mobile-to-mobile or night & weekend minutes. The monthly fee can be automatically deducted to ensure the account has a balance at all times without a disruption of service. Nationwide coverage is available.
What are the disadvantages of this prepaid cell phone plan? The new plan is an improvement over Cingular's old prepaid phone plan, according to Net observers. In addition, you get a $5 account refill bonus when you activate a Pay As You Go account.
Prepaid phone plans from the major carriers revamped fee structures after Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Liberty Wireless entered the field. What do you want to say? Say, "Thank you, independent (or formerly) carriers."
While prepaid phone plans can be confusing, T-Mobile starts you out with a cell phone (including a Sidekick) and $15.00 of airtime as a starter kit. Sound good?
Some phones include instant messaging, speakerphone, and Web browsing (based on the model). As with other prepaid cellular phone plans, T Mobile doesn't require a credit check or contract. It does tack on extra fees for text and mixture instant messaging.
If you don't like the T Mobile prepaid cell phone deal, perhaps having a gold card will help. T Mobile offers minute refills, and if you add $100 to your account, you become a Gold Rewards customer and receive 15% more minutes. Pay As You Go tip: Just make sure to pay attention to the expiration date of the minutes so they don't go to waste.
Can even a gold card save a system that PhoneScoop.com derided? If you keep track of your minutes and don't talk too much (you'd be surprised how quickly $15.00 worth of minutes can add up), you can Get More out of your prepaid cell phone plan.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|