Cell Phone Plans: Prepaid BlackBerry Smart Phones
Owning a prepaid cell phone has its advantages. You have the freedom to stop service at any time because you are not locked down into a long term contract. If you choose to stop your service, you don't have to pay expensive termination fees. Some exceed $200! You also have more control over your usage. Most prepaid cell phone carriers have options that allow you to pay as you go. This allows you to choose a plan that caters to your needs. Sounds great right? What's the catch? That prepaid phone you're holding is ugly, old, and embarrassing! Most prepaid cell phone carriers offer cheap, outdated phones. You want something new. You want something hip. You want a BlackBerry.
BlackBerry smart phones are great phones for making calls, text messages, and typing emails. BlackBerry offers 2 ways to connect for service. BIS and BES. BES is mainly for business and BIS is for individual or personal use. Most carriers offer BIS for a small fee. In order to reduce confusion, carriers will label this something like “BlackBerry Hookup”. This extra charge is usually $10 per month.
BlackBerry smart phones are cool. Hip people use them. Sadly, not all prepaid cell phone carriers are hip enough to carry them. In the US, there are 3 major carriers that offer BlackBerry smart phones in their prepaid lineup. Verizon, Virgin Mobile, and Boost Mobile. AT&T and TMobile does not offer prepaid BlackBerry smart phones. I know I left out Sprint. I'll talk about them later.
Verizon Wireless Prepaid
Verizon offers BlackBerry prepaid at the most expensive price. They have a 3 tiered prepaid plan. Their lowest BlackBerry prepaid option costs $64.99 per month for 400 anytime minutes. This plan includes free nights & weekends, free mobile to mobile calling to other Verizon customers, and unlimited messaging. I assume they also offer unlimited data but it doesn't seem like Verizon is focused on their prepaid division. One of their pages was last updated 2009. Their next tier will cost you $84.99 for 900 anytime minutes and their top tier costs $94.99 for unlimited anytime minutes on top of their other features.
There are some advantages in choosing Verizon as you prepaid BlackBerry carrier. You get choices. Verizon gives you the most choices out of all the current prepaid carriers. You can choose from 3 different BlackBerry smart phones. The Curve 8530, the Storm2 9550, and the Bold 9650. If you choose the Bold, you can further choose if you want one with a camera or without. Another advantage of choosing Verizon as your BlackBerry carrier is coverage. Verizon has been known to have excellent nationwide coverage. It, arguably, has the best coverage out of all the national carriers.
Boost mobile have been offering BlackBerry prepaid service for a long time. Nicknamed the “BoostBerry”, this device have been popular among the frugal-minded consumers. Recently, Boost Mobile changed their prepaid structure. Before, they had choices. Now there is only one plan. You pay $60 per month for unlimited everything. This includes minutes, messages, and data. That's $24.99 cheaper than Verizon's unlimited plan. There is only 1 choice if you want a BoostBerry. That's the BlackBerry Curve 8530. The older Curve 8330 is not offered anymore on Boost Mobile.
"Shrinkage is a customer reward."
Boost Mobile now offers what they call “Shrinkage”. No, it's cold in your pants. Shrinkage is a customer reward. If you pay your bills on time for 6 consecutive months, you will get a $5 discount. So after you pay on time for your first 6 months, instead of paying $60, you will now pay $55. This discount continues up until you reach $45. If you are on time for 18 months, you will get an unlimited BlackBerry plan for $45. That's about half of what you would pay with an on-contract carrier. It's a good deal but be careful. If your account gets deactivated, you will lose this discount and will have to start over again. In terms of coverage, your BoostBerry will run on Sprint's CDMA network.
Virgin Mobile is the last carrier to offer prepaid BlackBerry smart phone service. Their plans start at $35 up to $70. For $35, you get 300 anytime minutes, unlimited messages, emails, and data. For $50, you get 1200 anytime minutes on top of the unlimited messages, emails, and data. Their unlimited plan cost $70. This includes everything. Virgin Mobile only offers the BlackBerry Curve 8530 but will get the Bold 9780 later in November. The Bold 9780 will come preloaded with BlackBerry OS6 while other prepaid BlackBerry smart phones are still using OS5.
"Virgin Mobile offers reasonable choices."
Virgin Mobile is not the best choice if you want an unlimited BlackBerry. That title goes to Boost. However, Virgin Mobile offers reasonable choices. They can hook you up with a BlackBerry cheaper than any other prepaid carrier. You can be rocking a slick BlackBerry and pay only $35 a month! Yes, you are limited to 300 minutes, but that's something you have to carefully think about. Are you a big talker or are you more of a texter? Virgin Mobile also uses Sprint's network. Some would argue that Verizon's network is better than Sprint's but I have not had any problems with Sprint. If anything, I believe the difference is marginal.
Other Things To Consider
Prepaid cell phones don't have to be old, ugly dinosaurs. These carriers are bringing cool BlackBerry smart phones to us and that's a good thing. I look back and if I could do it again, I wouldn't have signed a contract. I would've gotten a prepaid smart phone and saved a ton of cash. Hope you make good use of this hub and save yourself some money. Thanks for reading!
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