Cool Technology of the Week


In many crime solving police procedural programs (NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds etc), the perpetrator has used an untraceable, disposable cell phone.

But what is a disposable cell phone and where do you buy one? I’ve never seen one in my travels.

The answer – Walmart

The vendor – TracFone

The idea is that you buy an inexpensive phone (there are many options ranging from $15 to $50 dollars for Motorola and Samsung phones) and then prepay for minutes – 60, 120, 200 without any contracts or bills.

The minutes are a single rate plan – national, international and roaming at local call rates.

The only hitch is that the minutes expire after 90 days or you can buy 400 minutes good for one year.

Since there are no contracts, you can use the phone as much or as little as you want, when you want. You just add minutes as needed. The features of the service include

* A GSM phone

* A single Rate Plan – Call nationally, internationally or roam at local call rates

* Nationwide Network Coverage

* Features text messaging, voice mail, free caller ID, free call waiting

* Bluetooth Wireless Technology

* Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) Rating: M3

* Battery life with up to 7.5 hours of talk time and up to 10 days of standby time – it is rechargeable, so you do not toss it when the battery runs out.

* TracFone Airtime Balance Display shows you how much airtime you’ve used and how much is left, so you control your costs

*Includes up to 20 minutes of starter airtime upon activation

A full featured cell phone without a contract for $15.00 That’s cool!

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3 replies »

  1. I’ve used the TracPhone for a few years for my occasional visits to the US. It works great and is very economical if you don’t talk a lot. I’ve even used the Cingular equivalent (GoPhone) for a while.
    I Europe, these pay as you go phones are much more prevalent.
    Cell companies would prefer to lock you into a long term contract with a ‘free’ phone but these turn out to be very expensive. For most people, the pay as you go phones are cheaper than monthly contracts unless you talk a lot.

  2. Uhmmm … maybe I have watched “The wire” too passionately, but if these phones are commonly used as disposable devices (as you seem to admit), I find them extremely uncool, for several reasons.