November 4, 2006 spout

Pay As You Go Phones For the Boys

Back in writer avoidance mode, I did some research into PAYG phones for the boys based on some recommendations from friends, colleagues and Wikipedia. This is what I found:

Company Entry-Level
Phone Cost
Initial Airtime Additional
In My Area
Virgin Mobile $20 $20 (100 minutes) $11/hour uncertain
T-Mobile ToGo $30 $10 (30 minutes) $20/hour good
Firefly Mobile $80
(no keypad)
$7.50 (30 minutes) $15/hour reported
Tracfone $20
(shows time left)
$40 (120 minutes) $20/hour reported
Boost Mobile unknown
(bad website)
(bad website)
$12/hour reported
Cingular GoPhone unknown
(bad website)
$10 (40 minutes) $15/hour +
$1/day for usage
Verizon INpulse $70 $10 (100 minutes) $6/hour +
Net10 Wireless $40
(shows time left)
$30 (300 minutes) $6/hour reported

Assuming I trust my kids to call whoever they want (so long as they pay), it seems clear that Net10 is the way to go. It’s effectively $10 for the entry-level phone (because it comes w/ $30 of free airtime) and $6/hour for more time after the first 300 minutes are gone. Plus, the Net10 phones show the amount of time left on the account, so the boys can monitor it themselves easily. Neither AT&T Wireless or Cingular has good reception in my area, so who knows what the reception would be, but for $40, it wouldn’t be expensive to find out and they sell them at my local Safeway…