Going,Mobile,amp,#40,Part,#41, DIY Going Mobile (Part 2): How to Get In


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This article may be used freely on your website as long asit remains intact, including author byline and resourcebox and links. We would appreciate it if you would notifyus when it is used: < mailto:[email protected] >Going Mobile (Part 2): How to Get In on the Wireless Revolution -- Without Credit Checks or 2-Year Commitmentsby Donna Schwartz Mills< http://ld.net/?americanglo >In Part 1 of this series, we explored reasons why some homebusiness owners choose wireless phones for their telephoneneeds, and how to find a carrier that works for you. (SeePart 1 at < http://www.family-content.com/articles/data/20020924130604.shtml >In that article, we focused on standard wireless serviceplans in the United States, where the customer agrees inadvance to pay for a minimum amount of airtime monthly --for a period of one or two years. Before the customer signsa contract, he or she is subjected to a credit check andmay be required to leave a hefty deposit to get started.This could pose a problem for the new home-basedentrepreneur who may be strapped for cash and credit poor,and making a one or two year commitment may not be thewisest choice for someone in the start-up phase.These individuals may want to check out the new prepaidplans springing up in the U.S. Most of these are using amodel popular in Europe, which work like this:* Customers buy a service package consisting of a telephone and a prepaid voucher for airtime (ranging from $10 to $25).* Users are charged for the calls they make and receive up to the amount of prepaid airtime.* When a customer runs out of airtime, he or she can "top up" the account, either by buying more time online or over the phone with a credit card or paying cash at a local store for another air time voucher.This kind of service requires no credit checks or long-termcommitments; customers may quit at any time.Most of the major U.S. wireless providers have introducedtheir own versions of this kind of system and have recentlybeen joined by European and Australian players getting theirfeet wet in the American market. In fact, industrystatistics indicate that this is the fastest growing segmentof the wireless market. You should also note that even the large national carriersmay not be offering their prepaid plans in your area. Docheck out their websites for more information.Here's a rundown of some of the prepaid plans currentlyoffered in the U.S.:AT&T Free2Go< http://www.attws.com/personal/prepaid/index.jhtml >The nation's largest telecommunications company offers adizzying array of services, including this one. When youpurchase a Free2Go package at $99.99, you get a Nokia 3361TDMA Digital multi-network phone, battery, charger & headsetand a voucher worth $10 in airtime.Once again, you need to carefully analyze your callingpatterns. AT&T offers a choice of a "Home Calling Plan,"which gives you one rate for local and long distance callsand another rate for roaming... and a "Nationwide CallingPlan," which gives you a higher, blanket rate (but does notcharge extra for roaming).AT&T's pricing has an additional wrinkle in that yourper-minute rate will vary depending upon the amount of yourprepaid vouchers. If you buy just a $10 Local Plan voucher,your airtime will cost you 50 cents per minute... but thatdecreases down to 12 cents per minute with a $100 voucher.Be sure you do the numbers very carefully before you buy!One nice thing about AT&T's plan is that if you have an oldphone lying around that is compatible with their network,you can just go down to one of their dealers and pick up aFree2Go Starter Kit at no cost - all you pay for is yourairtime to get started!BoostMobile< http://www.boostmobile.com/home.htm >This Australian company is currently testing its new U.S.service in California, with plans to go national in 2003.Their youth-oriented advertising is targeted to teenagers,but that's no reason why their parents might not beinterested, if the service is good.Boost offers a nice selection of Motorola phones on theNextel network, which means that their service also includesNextel's nifty Direct Connect "walkie talkie" type feature(renamed by Boost to Boost2Way). The downside of usingNextel's network is the coverage, which is not as wide assome of the other major carriers. Boost's phones alsofeature some nifty games (as noted above, their targetmarket is the teen segment).Packages range from $99 to $399 (for a model with a colorscreen - the better to play those games with).Airtime ranges from 35 cents per minute during peak times(Mon-Fri, 7:00 a.m - 9:00 p.m.) to 15 cents off-peak(anytime else). Boost doesn't charge for domestic longdistance or roaming.Cingular PrePaid< http://www.cingular.com >Opt for either a Nokia 3395 or an Ericsson R300z, both for$99.99. You also get $30 in airtime credit, which ischarged at 35 cents a minute during peak hours and 10 centsa minute off-peak. You also get a 10 minute mobile-to-mobilerate when calling another Cingular customer.Long distance and roaming is included, but only within yourhome network. Calls to Canada and Mexico are an additional15 cents per minute - unless you opt for Cingular's "MyCircle" plan (available to Western states customers), whichgives you a break on Mexico, Central America and otherinternational calling destinations.TracFone< http://www.tracfone.com >This company has quietly been building itself into a leaderin the U.S. prepaid field. They offer a selection of threedifferent Nokia digital phones, starting at $79.99 (andincluding 30 minutes of airtime).As with AT&T, your per-minute cost will vary according tothe cost of your pre-paid voucher, ranging from 26 cents(when you purchase the -- minute card for $79.99) to 60cents for a $17.99 voucher (the lowest cost card). On topof that, the lower cost cards have a shelf-life of 60 days..which means that if you do not renew them within that timeperiod, your phone number will be deactivated. While thatwould not happen to me or anyone *I* know (all talkers!),if you decide to go with TracFone as your carrier, youshould look at two other card options:The Plus3 card is good for 365 days and comes with 100minutes. Every time you renew the card you receive anadditional 20 bonus minutes. For the same price of $94.99,you can get TracFone's Annual card, which is also good forone year and gives you 150 anytime minutes.TracFone also offers a $7.95 monthly autopay program whichguarantees that your phone will never be deactivated.Verizon FreeUp< http://www.verizonwireless.com/ >Verizon's current package includes a Kyocera 2135 phone and$15 of airtime for $99.99. They also offer you 200 BonusWeekend Minutes every time you "ReUp" for $50, and 50 bonusminutes when you renew for $30-$49.99.Rates are 30 cents for weekend minutes, and 15 cents forMobile to Mobile and nights and weekends, as long as youremain within their network. Domestic long distance isincluded. Off network (roaming) rates are 99 cents perminute. Cards expire in 30 to 120 days, depending upon theamount of airtime purchased. Virgin Mobile< http://www.virginmobileusa.com >Richard Branson, who may be the world's coolestentrepreneur, has put the Virgin logo on everything frommusic to soft drinks to train service and airlines. For thelast couple of years he's been building a market for mobiletelephone service with cachet - and has now brought his actto the U.S.Virgin is offering two prepaid packages with names like"Party Animal" and "Supermodel." The only difference betweenthem are the models of Kyocera phone. They also include $10in airtime and access to "Virgin Xtras" -- through apartnership with VH1 and MTV, you can get music news, checkshow listings and vote for favorite songs and videos rightover your phone. (This kind of cross-promotion makes sensefor a corporation that still earns quite a bit of revenuefrom the music industry, and should have wide appeal toteenagers and young adults).Virgin Mobile is on Sprint's nationwide network, so coverageis pretty good in the areas where the service is offered.Rates are good too, and refreshingly simple: 25 cents aminute for the first 10 minutes, after which it drops tojust 10 cents. This rate holds throughout the U.S. andapplies whether you've paid for a $10 voucher or a $50voucher - it's all the same. This is one to watch.There may be other companies currently offering prepaidservice and it is certain that others will enter the marketafter the publication of this article.The thing to remember with prepaid plans is that if you dochoose to go this route, your airtime will cost you more perminute than if you go with a standard contract plan. It ispossible that rates could come down as the field becomesmore competitive -- but right now, if your credit is goodand you can afford a 12 to 24 month commitment, a standardplan will be the best one for your budget.In part 3, we'll look at some of the new phones on themarket and which features may make the most sense for you. Article Tags: Wireless Revolution Without, Revolution Without Credit, Without Credit Checks, Going Mobile, Wireless Revolution, Revolution Without, Without Credit, Credit Checks, Prepaid Plans

Going,Mobile,amp,#40,Part,#41,

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