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Effendi
11-11-2005, 09:23
From the idea of AdmiralAK on HowardForums ('http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=388055'), we try to do something very similar here too on PrePaidGMS.net.

The goal of this thread is to make a global overview of all the prepaid offers we have tried throughout the World.
Since our forum is divided geographically, we'll open a similar discussion in all the different rooms of the forum in order to have a smaller thread easier to read.

Here below I personally will add a list, with shortcuts, to all the reviews we are going to write.

Thanks to AdmiralAK I attach a template rtf document to use for the reviews, so we have a similar look for all of them which is easy to read. So I kindly ask you to download the template before writing any review, compile it and just copy/paste here on the Forum; it's very easy, so I think there's no need for further instructions.

Please write here only the reviews, for discussions about prepaid offers we can always open new threads, but I'd like to keep this one "clean" and with reviews only.

Thank you in advance and good reviewing! :beer:

<span><span>PrePaid Offers</span></span>

CANADA
- Fido ('http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=804&view=findpost&p=6438')

USA
- Tracfone ('http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=804&view=findpost&p=6440')
- 7-Eleven ('http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=804&view=findpost&p=6444')
- Oxygen ('http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=804&view=findpost&p=6445')
- Regional Operators ('http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=804&view=findpost&p=6443')

AdmiralAK
11-11-2005, 18:31
<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>
Country: Canada
Network Name: Fido
Website: http://www.fido.ca ('http://www.fido.ca')
Product Name: Prepaid
Owned by/Major partners: Rogers
Operational Frequency: 1900 GSM
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): $50 canadian
Prepaid Package Validity: 15-60 days depending on voucher
CSD access: No (according to sonyericsson setup wizard)
GPRS access: Yes
SIM applications: No
Manual included: Yes (English and French)
Refill amounts: $15, $20, $30, $40 (canadian)
Availability: Fido Stores and Fido website
Competitors: Rogers, SimPro, m-mobile

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

Buying:
The Good:
I was in Canada for 2 weeks so I decided to go the prepaid route since I would be calling local numbers. I bought my prepaid package at a Fido Store (in a mall in Montreal). Buying the package was relatively painless, and I also bought my first refill voucher there as well. The prepaid package had directions in both english and french and it was pretty helpful (even though I do not really read the manuals), and it included some startup time (how much I do not remember).

The Bad:
I had to fill out a form, give them my name, address, and local landline phone (hello?!). They did check my identification, they asked for my passport since I was not a resident of Canada. Also I found the price to be a bit high but the included time made it worth it.

Usage:
The Good:
Fido operates well in cities. I did not have any problems using my phone in Montreal and Ottawa. I also did not have any problems getting reception while in transit between the two cities. When I bought my package GPRS was not available to prepaid customers but evidently now it is. Fido Prepaid comes with Caller ID, Call Waiting, Voicemail, SMS (probably MMS too?).

The Bad:
If you want to go trekking though the mountains and the woods, away from the cities, Fido is not for you (and they tell you that). CSD is not offered by Fido either, I always like to have CSD as a backup just in case GPRS does not work. The last thing that I found annoying was that Fido prepaid has no roaming. I still had some credit on my account before I left but once I got back home I could not roam.

TIPS:
1) Know where you will be staying if you want to buy a prepaid Fido package, they will ask you
2) Stay in the cities, Fido has no reception out in the boondocks
3) If you want GPRS access please ask the Fido representative at the store to activate GPRS on your account when you buy the package.
4) When you are returning home, make sure to use up your credits in your account because you cannot roam on a prepaid account.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Since I stay in cities whenever I visit canada I found that Fido works well for me. I recommend Fido to any traveller that wishes to have Prepaid in Canada.

NOTE: Fido was owned by MicroCell, but they were sold to Rogers in 2004 (I think), so Roger's is not a real competitor, they offer sort of "sister packages". Fido still exists as a brand even after the acquistion

AdmiralAK
11-11-2005, 18:34
<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>
Country: USA
Network Name: Tracfone
Website: http://www.tracfone.com ('http://www.tracfone.com')
Product Name:tracfone
Owned by/Major partners: Operates on Cingular's Network
Operational Frequency: 850 and 1900 GSM
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): N/A
Prepaid Package Validity: 60 days and a 1 year depending on card
CSD access: No
GPRS access: No
EDGE access: No
SIM applications: No
Manual included: Yes (English)
Refill amounts: $20, $30, $40, $80, $100, $150
Availability: Tracfone website, K-Mart, Office Depot, and more
Competitors: T-Mobile, Cingular, Oxygen, XE Mobile, 7-eleven, CallPlus, Locus, POP, Net10

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

Buying:
The Good:
There are quite a few store that you can purchase tracfone from. You can get it online at the Tracfone store, at K-Marts, Office Depot stores, Rite Aid, Lowes, Dominics, Pak n' save stores, Travel centers and more. What I like too is that you can get a year validity on your minutes, something that is unusual with other USA prepaid GSM offers. You can activate the package online which is often quite simpler than talking to a human being.

The Bad:
The main bad thing with Tracfone is that you need to buy one of their phones in order to use their service. Yes they are a GSM provider but you cannot use another GSM phone. They have special firmware on the phone that goes hand-in-hand with the SIM card. Customer service is not that helpful, reports have said. They still seem to be a bit unfamiliar with the concept of a SIM and members reported having a hard time activating their account over the phone.

Usage:
The Good:
Your money has one year validity! If you are a frequent traveler to the USA you can come and go and your minutes have not expired! This service seems ideas as a backup phone to have with you, even if you have an account with someone else, incase your account runs out of money and you need to make a phone call, or send a text message. Since Tracfone is an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) and they operate on Cingular's network coverage is the same as Cingular, and since Cingular bought off AT&T they also inherited their coverage as well, so coverage on Tracfone should be pretty good. You do get Call waiting, Caller ID, SMS and voicemail capability. Cost is counted by measurement of units. For local and local area calls 1 units = 1 minute. For roaming calls 2 units = 1 minute. The higher the value the card you get, the cheaper it is to call per minute. Incoming Text messages are free!


The Bad:
You need to buy their phone!!! What good is it to have GSM and not be able to use your own phone with a prepaid SIM? You might as well go get a Boost Mobile (iDEN) , Virgin (CDMA), Verizon (CDMA) or even the CDMA version of Tracfone for a prepaid package (they offer CDMA prepaid as well) if you need to lug another phone around. The only thing redeeming tracfone and setting them apart from the three aforementioned prepaid non-GSM providers is the fact that minutes have a one year validity (some exclusions apply). Tracfone has special firmware on their phones to allow them to show the minutes on the display (woop-dee-doo! :P). What is further annoying is that phone you buy from Tracfone cannot be used on another network, so you cannot take it back with you, pop in your own SIM and be able to use your own provider with Tracfone's phone. Furthermore with Tracfone there is no data capability (no CSD and no GPRS).

TIPS:
None that I can think of ;)

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Unless you are a frequent traveler to the USA and do not need data access on your mobile phone them Tracfone might be for you. Their minutes take a year to expire so you have quite a long time and many opportunities to use your minutes. As a traveler, I would pick another provider for my provider while being in the USA. If you are a resident of the USA and want an emergency phone, something to have in the car in case your regular phone dies, or in case you get a flat tire, a blown gasket or some other mechanical or medical problem then this could be a very good phone for you.

AdmiralAK
11-11-2005, 18:36
This isn't really a review as it is mostly an overview of US regional GSM operators. Most (if not all) have agreements with major nationwide operators for roaming. If you are a student or a local resident you might find some of these operators useful if you are looking for a plan. Also useful if you are travelling in a specific area and you wish to get a local SIM for your collection (if you collect such things).

Network: First Cellular
Region: Southern Illinois
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: Funtalk and Unlimited Prepay
Website: http://www.firstcellular.com/pages/ratesNEW.php#nav_cont5 ('http://www.firstcellular.com/pages/ratesNEW.php#nav_cont5')

Network: Amerilink
Region: Northern Texas
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: ???
Website: http://www.amerilinkpcs.com/ ('http://www.amerilinkpcs.com/')

Network: CellularOne
Region: Illinois
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: on the go
Website: http://www.cellular1.net/prepaid.htm ('http://www.cellular1.net/prepaid.htm')

Network: Chariton valley
Region: North central missouri
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: ???
Website: http://www.cvalley.net/CVWS/chip.htm ('http://www.cvalley.net/CVWS/chip.htm')

Network: Cincinnati Bell
Region: Ohio
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: iWireless
Website: http://www.cincinnatibell.com/residential/wireless/prepaid/ ('http://www.cincinnatibell.com/residential/wireless/prepaid/')

Network: Edge Wireless
Region: Oregon, California, Wyoming, Indiana
Partners: AT&T
Prepaid Name: ????
Website: http://www.edgewireless.com/products/rate.html ('http://www.edgewireless.com/products/rate.html')

Network: Einstein PCS
Region: Wisconsin
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: Big Talk
Website: http://www.einsteinpcs.com/airadigm/prepay/default.asp ('http://www.einsteinpcs.com/airadigm/prepay/default.asp')

Network: Iowa wireless
Region: Iowa
Partners: T-Mobile
Prepaid Name: MEGAtalk
Website: http://www.iowawireless.com/megatalk_payinadvance.asp ('http://www.iowawireless.com/megatalk_payinadvance.asp')

Network: Immix
Region: Pennsylvania
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: Prepaid
Website: http://www.immix.com/_page/rate_prepaid.htm ('http://www.immix.com/_page/rate_prepaid.htm')

Network: OneLink
Region: Illinois
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: Pay as you go
Website: http://www.onelinkpcs.com/prepaid.html ('http://www.onelinkpcs.com/prepaid.html')

Network: Corr Wireless
Region: Alabama
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: Prepaid
Website : http://www.corrwireless.com/prepaid.html ('http://www.corrwireless.com/prepaid.html')

Network: Westlink
Region: Kansas
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: SNAP
Website: http://www.westlinkcom.com/snap.htm ('http://www.westlinkcom.com/snap.htm')

Network: SunCom
Region: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia
Partners: AT&T
Prepaid Name: ???
Website: http://www.suncom.com/ ('http://www.suncom.com/')

Network: Epic PCS
Region: Kansas
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: Prepaid
Website : http://www.epicpcs.com/ ('http://www.epicpcs.com/')

Network: Indigo Wireless
Region: Pennsylvania
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: ???
Website: http://www.indigowireless.com/gsm.htm ('http://www.indigowireless.com/gsm.htm')

Network: Alaska Wireless
Region: Alaska
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: ???
Website: http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/usa/alaska.html ('http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/usa/alaska.html')

Network: Dobson
Region: Oklahoma
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: ????
Website: http://www.dobsoncellular.com/ ('http://www.dobsoncellular.com/')

Network: PSC wireless
Region: Georgia
Partners: ???
Prepaid Name: SmartPay
Website: http://www.dobsoncellular.com/ ('http://www.dobsoncellular.com/')

Network: Unicel
Region: New Hapmshire, Maine, Vermont
Partners: Cingular/T-Mobile
Prepaid Name: SmartPay
Website: http://www.unicel.com/zone46/store/service/step1a.html# ('http://www.unicel.com/zone46/store/service/step1a.html#')

AdmiralAK
11-11-2005, 18:37
<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>
Country: USA
Network Name: 7eleven
Website: http://www.7-eleven.com/products/product_d...id=1012&thumb=1 ('http://www.7-eleven.com/products/product_detail.asp?catalog%5Fname=7ElevenNew&category%5Fname=Cash+%26+Communication&subcategory%5Fname=Cash+%26+Communication&product%5Fid=1012&thumb=1')
Product Name: SpeakOut Wireless
Owned by/Major partners: MVNO on Cingular's network
Operational Frequency: GSM 850 and GSM 1900
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): There is no SIM pack available, Package costs vary (approx. price $80 for phone and SIM)
Prepaid Package Validity: 365 days from activation
CSD access: No
GPRS access: No
EDGE access: No
SIM applications: No
Manual included: Yes (english and spanish I believe)
Refill amounts: $20, $50, $75, $100
Availability: Available at 7-eleven stores
Competitors: T-Mobile, Cingular, Oxygen, XE Mobile, CallPlus, Locus, POP, Net10, TracFone


<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

Buying:
The Good:
You can buy a prepaid package at just about any 7-eleven store. There are reports that the phone that you get is unlocked.


The Bad:
There are no SIM-only packs. The SIM card that you get is a cingular SIM (weird...they did not even bother to rebrand it). Some people report that not all 7-11 stores have this prepaid package for sale.


Usage:
The Good:
On-network time is claimed to be 20 cents per minute (which I guess is good for prepaid). There are customizable graphics, and ringtones available. CallerID, Call waiting, three way calling and voicemail are included. SMS messages are 10 cents. Your minutes are valid for 365 days (wow!). The coverage is the same as cingular's - which I consider quite good. The phone comes pre-activated, and the battery is charged! The manual has the mobile's number printed on it.

The Bad:
Customer service is not always available. Users report that they got the answering machine when they called (out for lunch maybe?). No data available, no CSD, no EDGE, no GPRS. Calling internationally an international SMS are questionable. There are also reports that the per minute charge varies by the network you are registered with (hmmm...sounds fishy).

TIPS:
Get a prepaid package from an area near to where you will be staying or you will incur roaming charges!!!!

FINAL THOUGHTS:
I've got mixed feelings about this prepaid package. The rates seem pretty cheap, but I do not know if one is able to call internationally, or SMS internationally. It seems like a pretty cheap calling plan, if you get the package in an area where you will be most of the time. The phone is reportedly unlocked, so you can sell it on ebay, or give it to your buddy, or use it as your backup for your other providers (it is 1900/850 only though). Thanks to VladS for the info.

AdmiralAK
11-11-2005, 18:39
<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>
Country: USA
Network Name: Oxygen
Website: http://www.ecallplus.com/index_files/Oxygen.htm ('http://www.ecallplus.com/index_files/Oxygen.htm')
Product Name: Oxygen
Owned by/Major partners: (MVNO on Cingular)
Operational Frequency:GSM 850 & GSM 1900
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): $39
Prepaid Package Validity: see notes
CSD access: No
GPRS access: No
EDGE access: No
SIM applications: No
Manual included: Yes (English)
Refill amounts: $20, 40, 60, 100
Availability: Online website
Competitors: T-Mobile, Cingular, TracFone, XE Mobile, 7-eleven, CallPlus, Locus, POP, Net10


<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>

Buying:
The Good:
You are able to buy this package online, and theoretically have it be shipped abroad before you get to the USA (if you live abroad that is). The starter kit has a SIM-only version which works in any unlocked GSM handset that supports the network's bands

The Bad:
I have not been able to find any local distributors of this package, and as such it is available only online, and even then you need to call a 1-800 number in order to obtain a SIM-only pack

Usage:
The Good and the Bad:
Well, you dont seem to have GPRS, EDGE or CSD access, so I assume no MMS.
More good and bad for the pricing:
http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=663417 ('http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=663417')


FINAL THOUGHTS:
There seem to be better prepaid packages out there, but if you are here only for a little while, international dialing might be better than other sources.

mackdad23
30-07-2006, 05:39
<span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'>Quick Facts</span>

Country: Dominican Republic
Network Name: Orange
Website: http://www.orange.com.do ('http://www.orange.com.do')
Prepaid Card Name: Orange Card
Frequency and Technology: (GSM 1800/1900)
Prepaid Package Cost (Just SIM): 250 RD$
Documents needed: Passport
Prepaid Package Validity: 3 months
CSD access: No
GPRS/EDGE access: Yes
UMTS access: No
SIM applications: No
Manual included: Yes (language?) Spanish
Refill amounts: 60, 100, 200, 500
Availability: All Orange Stores
Competitors: only GSM operator in country

<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>More In-Depth Information</span>
Any Orange Store will sell you the Prepaid sim
<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Buying: </span>
Very easy to purchase
The Good:
All the Orange stores sells the card, Sim last 3 months without a recharge, The 250RD$ gets you 100 RD$ airtime.
The Bad:
Recharge only last two weeks
<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>Usage: </span>

The Good:
Your Comments Here
Very good coverage all over the island. Most places sell the recharge cards.
The Bad:
Your Comments Here
I ran into network capacity problems during peak times.
<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>TIPS: </span>
Your Tips Here
Most Orange stores will unlock your phone to sell you the service. Since the network is dual band 1800/1900 most US and European phones work on the network. System allows text msg to US numbers.
<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>FINAL THOUGHTS: </span>
Your Comments Here
This is the only service to avoid the outrageous roaming fees from your home country.