updated 05:35 pm EST, Mon November 16, 2009
Simple Mobile launches in US
A new MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) launched today in the US in the form of Simple Mobile. The cell provider has its own pick of phones but emphasizes attaching the SIM card over its own devices; customers are encouraged to bring their own unlocked phones, including smartphones. About 180 phones have already been pre-screened, though it should work with other devices.
The plans emphasize voice over data and start at $40 per month for unlimited US voice. Adding unlimited worldwide texting raises the rate to $45, while $50 brings just 20MB of data; $5 more doubles that to a still-small 40MB.
Service should be available today in all "major" US areas and includes Hawaii as well as Puerto Rico. The first phones are led primarily by the BlackBerry Pearl Flip but include three Alcatel phones, the Nokia 6030 and the classic Motorola RAZR V3.
The launch is notable for the US as most MVNOs in the country have been limited to CDMA providers, where most devices are near-permanently locked to the carrier.