A couple of people have alerted me to a deal that might interest many people. (Thank you to Chris, JLL, Dorothy, and Kelly for taking the time to share this deal with me either via comments, or the “about” page.)
HSN is selling the TracFone LG 500g with Triple Minutes for Life (life of the phone), along with 1300 minutes, for $100. This deal is apparently valid for today only (Saturday, July 30, 2011), so you’ll need to act quickly to take advantage. Click here to find that deal.
The LG 500g (click here for the review page) is a solid basic phone with a QWERTY keyboard and mp3 player, among other features. And even ignoring the value of the phone itself and the TMFL benefit, 1300 minutes for $100 is a pretty good deal (a rate of 7.7 cents per minute). So I think this is a very good deal if you’re in the market for this type of phone.
I also thought it was worth considering the value of TracFone compared to Straight Talk at this point. One commenter, “marcopolish,” asked how these two services stacked up, so I decided to do a little analysis using the TMFL TracFone against Straight Talk’s $30 plan. Here’s what I came up with:
It’s tough to compute a break-even point above which Straight Talk is a better value, since different people will use different ratios of talk/text/data. Really, if you’re talking a lot, or texting a lot, or browsing a lot, or some combination thereof, Straight Talk is going to be a better value. But let’s look a little more closely anyway.
Just for example, let’s say you bought TracFone’s 1500-minute bundle – available only from Tracfone.com – and added it to a TMFL phone. The cost is $200, and the minutes are good for a year. Assuming these 1500 minutes will triple (which they should, since they do indeed double on DMFL phones), you’ll get 4500 minutes to use over the course of a year. This averages to 4.444 cents per minute (ignoring sales tax).
Now let’s compare that to Straight Talk’s $30 plan. Let’s say you had $30 to spend on your cell plan each month. If you were buying TracFone airtime at 4.444 cents per unit, you’d get 675 minutes (to be split between talk and text). But if you instead spend that $30 on Straight Talk, you’d get 1000 minutes, 1000 texts, and 30mb of texts.
So in this analysis, assuming TRIPLE minutes for life, the break-even point is somewhere around 675 units per month. Figure that a text counts as half a minute, since that’s the rate charged on the LG 500g in this HSN example. So the 675 figure might also be calculated as 500 minutes and 350 texts, or 200 minutes and 950 texts, etc. If you’re using more airtime than that, you’ll save money by going with Straight Talk. But this can all change depending on what denomination of card you buy, whether you have Double or Triple for life, and how you use your minutes.
I hope you’ve been able to follow along with my math. If you have a different analysis of which is a better deal, I’d love to hear about. Please let me know about it in the comments section below this post.