Prepaid Cell Phones

July 5th, 2010 admin Posted in Telecommunications No Comments »

More and more people are switching to prepaid cell phones instead of signing up with one of the various mobile providers for a two year or three year contract. There are a lot of good reasons for this and some not so good. Prepaid cell phones appeal to many subscribers who need mobile service for some or all of the following reasons:

  • Do not want a contract
  • Temporary service
  • Do not make many calls
  • Want to pay as you go
  • Bad credit
  • Traveling in another country
  • Emergency calls only

If  you are the type of person who makes a lot of calls, sends a lot of text messages or uses the data services that the carriers provide, you will definitely need to subscribe to some sort of monthly plan which will usually involve a contract with your local mobile provider. Otherwise your monthly bill will be just to costly for you to be able to afford to make the payments on your phone.

However if you only need a phone for occasional calling or perhaps emergency calling, then a pay per use phone will be fine. For many people who are tired of long three year contracts that tie you to one provider, a pay per use phone is a great way to go.

Traveling In Different Countries

As a writer living and working in Canada, I frequently travel to the United States for a vacation and to visit relatives. Until recently I was very frustrated with my provider due to the high charges for using my mobile phone in the US even with a roaming plan. After speaking with a number of my American friends who were in disbelief at the high rates that we pay for local and long distance service, I decided to look into a US prepaid cell phone for use while I was traveling in the US.

Imagine to surprise, I was able to pick up a phone for $10.00 and $.13 a minute ( which by Canadian standards is cheap, although considered an expensive per minute charge in the US). I can use this mobile phone anywhere in the US, no long distance any where and I can make calls to international numbers from the US as well for the same low price!

It Gets Better

I was still concerned about my family having to place a long distance call to reach me on my new prepaid phone while I am traveling in the United States. It turns out that I can subscribe to up to three local numbers in Canada which my family and friends can call at no cost to them. The call will then be call forwarded to my US mobile phone at no additional charge. I just pay the regular  per minute fee that I would be paying if I was originating the call. Now how great is that?

I plan to call forward all of my local Canadian callers to my local number in Canada provided by the prepaid phone so that none of my business associates will have any difficulty in reaching me. By the way it also has voice mail as well and I can send text messages at a reasonable price as well. What a deal and convenient  since I can call a 1-800 number to make changes or I can sign on to a site on the internet and make my own changes to my service including purchasing additional minutes if needed.

Finally for the $10.00 I paid for the phone, I also received a car charger as well as a wall charger and a hands free ear bud with the Samsung phone. The phone is a basic phone, but it meets all of my needs for temporary service while in the US. For the record I use WiFi for all of my data communications while traveling so I do not need to be concerned with a data plan.

Equivalent Service in Canada for American Travelers?

There is no equivalent plan in Canada and the plans they do have are much more expensive. The least expensive phone I could find on the Bell network was $79.95 to purchase it and you had to buy your own car charger if you need this device for $39.95! What a difference!

Fees for making calls are $.30 per minute for local calls and $.40 per minute for Canadian long distance minutes. You also pay $.15 per text incoming as well as outgoing.

Not only are prepaid plans much more expensive in Canada than they are in the US you can quickly see that you might want to consider a monthly plan if you plan to be in Canada for any length of time. Also even if you only have the plan for emergency calls, you will lose any minutes that you have not used at the end of the expiration of your minutes.

Not a very good deal and the obvious answer is that we need a lot more competition. Speaking of competition, There are a number of other mobile carriers in Canada that offer prepaid services at slightly better rates. Some are as low as $10 / month and $.10 per minute. Still when you think about it, that is $1,20.00 even if you do not use the phone at all! How about that for a deal, just kidding. Perhaps it is a bit better than a regular plan.

Assess Your Calling Pattern

Before you renew your next 2 or 3 year contract with one of the carriers in the US or in Canada, take a look at your calling patterns and assess what your bill would have been had you been using a prepaid service. The answer for each person will be different since their calling patterns are can really vary a lot.

For some people, a prepaid phone will be totally out of the question, while for others it is a no brainer since they do not make many calls or send many text messages. You can compare your past calling pattern to see which type of plan might have been better for you. However you should also give some thought to the number of calls you will be making in the future as well. If it is the same , no problem, on the other hand if you will be making more calls and sending more texts than you did in the past, you may want to re-think the prepaid cell phone idea.

Comments and suggestions are welcome. Our readers will appreciate knowing about any deals you have found!

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The Future of Cell Phones

March 10th, 2008 admin Posted in Telecommunications No Comments »

The future of telecommunications, and more particularly, cellular technology, is changing every year, month, and day. With the onset of wimax technology, we’re going to be seeing new frequency bands used in the consumer market. This means even more choices for businesses and consumers alike.

Right now I’m personally on a new Iden network and using radio dispatch via a Motorola Harmony system. This is a fantastic technology that is mostly used by Boost Mobile and Nextel in the United States. It’s hard to believe that Iden technology may already be soon phased out, but if Wimax continues to develop, and Motorola continues to be very picky about who gets access to their Harmony, Melody, and Big Iden switches, more and more carriers will be moving to Wimax.

Carriers have enough work trying to get their businesses off the ground considering all of their local, and federal regulations that create seemingly endless hurdles to get over (depending on the country, state, city, or county the carrier launches from). Wimax is presently open air if you can get approved for your frequency spectrum and your band map.

I don’t like to post reviews on handsets or cell phones that I’ve never used myself, so I will review three Iden PTT (push-to-talk) handsets that are made by Motorola.

The Motorola i605

Motorola_i605Motorola makes the finest cell phones, and handsets in my opinion, and I believe their Iden technology is the best you can use. This is all my opinion of course, and arguably supported by many in the telecommunications field. The i605 is a robust handset that Motorola manufactured with business owners in mind. The i605 is a larger handset (cell phone) than most consumer intended cell phones. It has a larger display which is easy on the eyes, and of course it has a little more weight to it. This is great for those of us with over 40 vision, but not so great for your teenager. The display is not inset so it’s vulnerable to scratching and scraping. This is not a handset that should be carried around in a purse, or used by a careless teenager. This is a handset that would be ideal in an office enviroment when managment and dispatch staff keep tabs on employees in the field. I would go so far as to say that you wouldn’t want the i605 used in the field either. I would use the i605 in the offices, and use the little i415 style phones for the field staff. These little handsets are reviews below.

Don’t get me wrong – the i605 is a tough cell phone with all of the dispatch and PTT advantages that all Iden handsets have. You could let your service employees in the field use them as well, depending on the nature of your business, but it’s a little bit bigger and heavier that what most employees would like to carry around with them.

The Motorola i415

motorola_i415The Motorola i415 is the perfect solution for businesses and and carriers. The clarity of the speakers, and the ease-of-use factor makes it a superior push-to talk cell phone. The display is protected in it’s fundamental design which is recessed a little bit to avoid easy scratching and scraping of the LCD.

The i415 is very light and achieves the perfect compromise between large key buttons, and compact-to-travel considerations. This handset is also a tough little bugger which can withstand dropping, falling, and flying. The i415 is perfect for teenagers and also perfect for workers in the field who treat their handsets rough. It’s truly a rough-and-tumble life for cell phones in most applications, and having a handset that can “take a beating” is very important.

The buttons are large enough that it’s easy to use for text messaging (for the kids), and they’re large enough that your over 40 employees won’t have eye strain when they use it. It has all of the functions we love to have when using a push-to-talk handset on an Iden system. These are not expensive handsets either – bang for buck, this is on of the best handsets you can could possibly use.

The Motorola i855

motorola_i855If you’re a cell phone carrier that uses  Iden technology, and you are providing PTT  phones to the average everyday consumer, you will want to sell a line of pretty cell phones that keep up with the market trend.

Flip phones are a big deal for many people, although I can’t stand them myself. I don’t like having to flip open a phone to answer it or use it. I don’t like buttons that don’t stick out, and I don’t want a camera. (just my personal feeling on cell phones)
Anyway, there are more people wanting flip phone these days than any other style. The i855 by Motorola gives users all of the PTT features described in the above reviews, and that are found on any Iden handset, but it also has a camera built in. Cell phones with Cameras are a big hit these days, and you need to have this feature on some of the handsets you provide to customers. If you are lucky enough to be using and Iden switch and Motorola technology, than the i855 is a perfect handset to provide to your average consumer.

As I mentioned above, I don’t like flip phone for various reasons, but so far from using the i855 I can see only two things I don’t like about it. One that it’s a flip phone, and Two that the button keys are flush the handset as all flip phone are. I like the buttons to be protruding over the profile of the handset. This makes it easier and faster to dial someone up, and god forbid if you have to text a message off, it’s not nearly as painful as say a Blackberry (yuck!)

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