Print 26 comment(s) - last by oxymojoe.. on May 18 at 12:49 PM

New prepaid offering is a Walmart exclusive

All across the country there are many users who are moving from landlines to cell phones exclusively. This trend will only continue and ultimately the landline will be uncommon in most homes. As the masses migrate to mobile devices many are choosing to go with prepaid plans rather than agreeing to long and constricting contracts with post paid carriers.

The major wireless carriers all recognize the potential in the prepaid market and have offerings in place for customers looking to use this sort of service. The catch for wireless providers is that the prepaid offerings are less of a moneymaker and both Verizon and AT&T are seeing subscriber numbers decline. Of the large carriers, Sprint is having the hardest time with massive losses and subscribers fleeing the network in droves. Sprint lost 250,000 customers in Q2 alone and posted a $384 million loss for the quarter.

Sprint and Walmart have announced a new prepaid offering that will be exclusively sold in Walmart stores called Common Cents. The plan is aimed directly at the value conscious shopper looking for basic mobile service and devices at a low price. When you normally place a call that lasts any increment over a round minute, the time is rounded up costing you more. That means a 1 minute 46 second call on a normal phone would cost you the same amount as a two-minute call.

On the Common Cents program, calls are rounded down. That means the same one minute 46 second call on Common Cents would be rounded to only one minute. Minutes cost 7-cents per minute and each text sent will set you back the same amount. Unlimited texting can be added to any device on the service for an extra $20 monthly.

Being a budget carrier, the mobile devices offered are far from high-end, but they are cheap. Examples include the LG 101 for $19.77 and the Samsung M340 at $39.77. Minutes can be purchased in most Walmart stores or online. A refill card will cost $20 for 30 days of service and 565 talk minutes with a $30 card adding 60 days of service and 848 minutes of talk time. Data access is a stiff $1 per megabyte per day. The service and handsets launch on May 15.

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Can they beat Straight Talk?
By iFX on 5/13/2010 10:38:04 AM , Rating: 2
Unlimited Data
Unlimited Voice
Unlimited Messaging
Unlimited 411

$45/month all inclusive.

I doubt it.

RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By frobizzle on 5/13/2010 11:08:18 AM , Rating: 2
Straight Talk, BTW, is owned by Tracfone.

RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By iFX on 5/13/2010 11:29:05 AM , Rating: 2
Not that it makes a difference. They use the Verizon network. I've been using them for months, service is excellent. You don't deal with Tracphone at all, everything is done through StraightTalk's website.

My wife doesn't use much data so she is on the 1000, 1000 plan (voice/messaging) which is $30/month.

We switched from Spring after using them for almost ten years. They wanted $99/month for their unlimited plan plus fees and shit which puts it at about $112/month - that's for a SINGLE phone. StraightTalk has the same exact service for $45/month all inclusive.

RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By Fritzr on 5/14/2010 6:22:36 AM , Rating: 2
How much is the actual bill after the taxes and fees are added in.

Remember the rates you pay for pre-paid load are the actual amounts. The rates advertised for post-paid and flat rate services often are only 50%-60% of the actual cost due to taxes and fees.

For comparison post the actual bottom line bill that is actually paid.

RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By iFX on 5/14/2010 8:27:25 AM , Rating: 2
For comparison post the actual bottom line bill that is actually paid.


RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By Fritzr on 5/14/2010 10:58:02 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks ... talked to too many sales folk who try to push their 39.99 'special' package and when asked have no idea what taxes and fees show up on their own personal phone bills :P

RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By EasyC on 5/13/2010 12:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
Great, show me a smart phone that can compete with a TP2 for them...


RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By iFX on 5/13/2010 12:15:05 PM , Rating: 2
I have the Samsung Finesse smartphone. Is it perfect? No. I can live with it though and it does everything I want it to (web/email/sms/gps-maps/pictures/contacts/etc).

If you feel the need to have a more capable phone be prepared to pay for it by the way of a higher monthly service cost.

RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By iFX on 5/13/2010 12:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
FYI, here is the Finesse. This guy is REALLY boring but he has some good info.

I can definitely live with this phone. Is it perfect? Of course not but it does what I need it to.

RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By theArchMichael on 5/14/2010 10:55:05 AM , Rating: 2
I think the "Straight Talk" you are referring too is similar to "cricket" here in DC. Price is similar though
Unlimited Data
Unlimited Calls
Unlimited Messaging
not sure about 411
$40 a month ~45 with taxes i think
Two complaints on these though:
-> Coverage is good in the city, and the suburbs, but can get a little patchy when your out in the sticks. Yet and still, I was impressed with their coverage map.
-> The "cricket phones" all suck, like there isn't one decent one. They are coming out with some cooler phones later this year, but most people just get CDMA phones originating from Sprint or Verizon and then unlock them.

RE: Can they beat Straight Talk?
By iFX on 5/14/2010 11:12:47 AM , Rating: 2
StraightTalk is a nation wide service and uses the Verizon network. Anywhere a Verizon phone will work a Straight Talk phone will work. I just couldn't see myself paying $225/month for two phones with unlimited plans from Sprint anymore. The same service for two phones is $90/month with StraightTalk.

Some people get hung up on the Walmart thing because they sell StraightTalk phones... I don't shop at Walmart so I don't know what they have, I bought my phone and service direct from the website.

There are a lot of people who look down on flat-rate wireless and assume the only people who use it can't get a contract due to bad credit. This is just silliness. My credit is excellent, I switched because Sprint was raping me for freakin' phone service, lol!

In the pat as you go market, Tracfone still rules
By frobizzle on 5/13/2010 9:06:43 AM , Rating: 1
10 cents a minute, 3 cents per text and the minutes roll over indefinitely as long as you keep the phone activated (Translation: Buy additional time periodically.) And best of all? They piggyback on Verizon's network so coverage is excellent!

The downsides? Extremely poor customer service. Limited International calling. Simple, no frill phones.

Depending on your requirements, Tracfone might be the best alternative.

By frobizzle on 5/13/2010 9:10:29 AM , Rating: 2
ARRRGHH! Should be PAY as you go market!

The ability to edit would be so wonderful!

</Wishful mode>

By Shadowmaster625 on 5/13/2010 11:30:14 AM , Rating: 2
How do you get 3 cent texts?

By frobizzle on 5/13/2010 12:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
I have the double minutes for life option (It was included with the phone when I bought it.) When I reload, I buy the 400 unit card for $80. With the double minutes, it becomes 800 units or 10 cents a unit. Text messages are deducted at 0.3 units per message thus the texts are 3 cents each.

$20 a month is crap
By Shadowmaster625 on 5/13/2010 11:28:43 AM , Rating: 3
It doesnt matter how cheap it is if you are required to spend a minimum of $20 a month. $20 should buy you minimum 90 days or all this is just blabber.

RE: $20 a month is crap
By Inspector2211 on 5/13/2010 1:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly my thinking.
I have T-Mobile-To-Go and it costs me $2 per month.


The $25 refill does not expire for a full year, once you have achieved "Gold status". Thus, $25/12 months in a year = $2.08 per month. This is the deal of the century.

(Prior to achieving "Gold status", the $25 refill expires after 3 months, thus the costs for the first year are roughly $8.50 per month.)

RE: $20 a month is crap
By Fritzr on 5/14/2010 6:42:24 AM , Rating: 2
10 cents per minute if you actually use your phone and buy only $100 refills. Anything smaller and the per minute cost goes up.

10 cents per text.

Tracfone and the new Wally World service beat this hands down unless of course the phone will be a dustcatcher on the mantelpiece.

To get the 1 year life for your minutes you have to pay $100 up front. A lesser load before you achieve Gold status expires in 90 days ... so you would need to buy 4 $25 loads (520 minutes) the first year or 1 $100 load (1000 minutes)

Why the leaving??
By Dr of crap on 5/13/2010 8:54:14 AM , Rating: 2
I keep hearing about the number of people leaving Sprint. I've had Sprint for over 8 years now and can't complain.
Never dropped a call, roaming is always there.
I also hear about their bad customer service. WHEN do you NEED to access customer service? I've done that maybe 4 times in all the years I've had Sprint, and it was only about my billing issues. And each time they fixed the problem.
This sounds like a great move on Sprints part, and i hope they make some extra cash.

RE: Why the leaving??
By mcnabney on 5/13/2010 10:00:57 AM , Rating: 2
I imagine where you live and where you go is well covered by Sprint. Congratulations, you have chosen the right carrier for your needs. Clearly that isn't the case for most people. Sprint has been losing customers and money for almost four years. Yes, it has been almost four years since Sprint showed a profit or gained customers from quarter to quarter. That is terrible!

And most people deal with customer service when they make changes to their accounts. I haven't had Sprint for a long time, but they were decent when I did. Apparently they have been terrible for a while, although AT&T has beat them to the bottom recently.

Ultimately, do you really want to do business with a company that doesn't know how to run one?

RE: Why the leaving??
By iFX on 5/13/2010 11:52:39 AM , Rating: 2
I was a Sprint customer for almost 10 years and I agree their service is great. I never experienced any service reliability problems with them.

I switched because someone else offered the exact same service for almost $70 LESS per month. The Sprint rep even told me on the phone that NO ONE in the business can match Straight Talk right now.

By jeffbui on 5/13/2010 8:39:38 AM , Rating: 2
Wal-Mart is certainly the best place to set something up like this although I can see people coming into this common cents area for customer service and billing disputes getting frustrated.

RE: Ingenious
By Hiawa23 on 5/13/2010 9:15:55 AM , Rating: 2
I dumped sprint/Embarq landline last October & went with Brighthouse who provides my internet, cable. The phone portion is only $20 extra/month unlimited America, which is so much cheaper than paying Sprint/Embarq for long distance calls. Walmart seems to be the perfect spot for this. For my cellphone, I use Metro PCS, $40/month unlimited talk, text, internet, which I think is a great deal & less than most other carriers.

By icanhascpu on 5/13/2010 1:06:07 PM , Rating: 2
Minutes cost 7-cents per minute

too many minutes!

By mindless1 on 5/16/2010 11:05:02 PM , Rating: 2
This trend will only continue and ultimately the landline will be uncommon in most homes.

Really? Lots of people see benefit in having both the landline and the cell line. Cell service is not always so reliable indoors, not always very reliable during foul weather, some TV services require a landline (or do you really want to pay cell rates for that too?), etc.

I own more than one hammer, more than one TV, PC, car, etc. Why not more than one phone line? It has to come down to economics, people may cut their landline if they need to find ways to limit their budget but to suggest this is some kind of evolutionary trend does not seem accurate.

FWIW, I like my computers connected by ethernet instead of wifi too, 'cept for the laptop so the point is I want a wired connection any time I am not on the go.

Oh yeah I forgot that OTHER reason. People who are on the phone a lot at home can save money using the landline instead of addt'l cell phone minutes, especially if they have bundled plans that reduce the landline rate (for example through the cable company along with ISP and TV).

Page Plus
By oxymojoe on 5/18/2010 12:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
Page Plus Wireless runs on Verizon and has 1200 minutes, 1200 texts, and 50MB of data for $29.95. I pay Kittywireless 29.05 per month total for that package. I mention Kitty because they have good online ESN checking, ESN swapping, and other tools that you can use yourself.

I like to upgrade my phone a lot before they become completely worthless by selling and buying new ones off eBay. Sold my Eris just in time before the Incredible devalued it, and bought my "new" Motorola Droid brand new for $245 because of the Incredible and Evo.

Some want to be one step ahead, but with phones, I prefer to be one step behind...ITS SO MUCH CHEAPER!!!

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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