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Solavei, a T-Mobile MVNO, is already looking like a great deal...$49 a month (and no hidden extras) for unlimited voice, text, and data, with a 5GB soft cap. It's also one of the very few prepay services which includes conditional call forwarding (TMOB Monthly 4G doesn't), so it works with YouMail and Google Voice.

Now they're offering a ZTE Concord smartphone for $99, with a $20 per month rebate credited to your account over the first five months. That runs rings around a two-year contract with a $200 ETF.

They also offer credit to your account for referrals. That's a big part of their business model, since they seem to be a community-supported service with little or no direct support.

Linky: Solavei Free Android Smartphone Deal

Enjoy! Carl

Member Summary

ZTE Concord Android phone (30.39kB)
Thanks Valtron9000
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Thought it was a 4 gig cap? Then EDGE after?

I actually find the Solavei service to be a reasonable offering, and at $45 it would be a great deal, for me T-Mobile based service is as good as AT&T, and better than Sprint. I don't however care one bit for the Amway like marketing angle they are pushing. If they offer a good deal, and provide solid customer service, they will do well and make money, the way the operate now is going to turn more people off than it attracts, and that will be their downfall.

a. Is this true unlimited data- or is there a cap and/or throttling over 2/3/4/5 GB per month ???
b. What version of 4G are they offering ??
c. Do they offer roaming if they have no coverage in an area you pass thru/

Mobile Virtual Network Operators ("MVNO") in the United States are wireless communication retailers who lease wireless telephone and data spectrum from major U.S. wireless carriers. The MVNO then sells the "signal" to the public as "talk, data, and web" (at significantly discounted rates, without risk of overage charges or penalties).
MVNO companies sublease wireless from the major U. S. spectrum license holders such as Verizon, Sprint, MetroPCS (utilizing CDMA), AT&T, T-Mobile (utilizing GSM) or Clearwire (only 4G wireless Internet, no voice). Ultimately, this means the MVNO provides the public exactly the same product that the carrier sold to the MVNO.
"Prepaid" means the customer pays for services in advance, before the service is provided. (In contrast, "post-paid" carriers provide the service then require payment for services rendered). The prepaid subscriber advances the MVNO a flat set rate for the selected usage period (ranging from one day to 30, or by the minute applied against a deposit).
A main attraction to prepaid wireless is that the customer pays significantly less for service than post-paid subscribers, and all mobile phone related taxes and fees are included. Additionally, many GSM MVNO companies have BYOP programs ("Bring Your Own Phone") where the customer can use his phone with one prepaid service or another; in this situation the MVNO provides the customer a SIM card that when inserted into the customer's phone it is connected to the MVNO's network.
On the other hand, most prepaid wireless operators provide no roaming at all. Therefore, the coverage is not as good as post-paid subscribers.

It's 4G HSPA+ with a 5 GB cap, EDGE speed afterwards. Domestic voice roaming is included. Domestic data roaming is apparently at 2G speeds. I don't see that as a big deal for me, since domestic data roaming is off on my phone anyway, and if it's enabled, they'll cap it at 50MB. If I go over that, they shut off my data altogether.

I'm not sure I understand the Amway comparison. It's $49 per month, all up. You can get credit for referring new Solavei members. Is that how Amway works?

While the plan certainly has something to recommend it, the phone itself is crap. Android 2.3, single core older processor, low resolution screen (320x480), 2.0mp camera...

If they allow BYOD then its interesting, but as it stands, no point in 5gb of data on a phone thats outdated/slow with a screen that wont work with many modern apps.

Green for bringing the MVNO to the light tho

BYOD is allowed. I have that phone, it is very low end, but at least it's free at this point. I told everyone I'd just buy it off them and make them a deal on a better phone in their price range then eBay it if they didn't want it.

Can't complain too much about free.

It's ok for a kid or teen.

If someone would do a Cyanogen port it would be decent. I hope that happens.

I set one up for a friend, it's actually a pretty good starter Android phone, for free anyway. But yeah, they allow BYOD. As soon as my TMOB contract expires, I'm popping a Solavei SIM in my Nexus 4.

conncarl said:   It's 4G HSPA+ with a 5 GB cap, EDGE speed afterwards. Domestic voice roaming is included. Domestic data roaming is apparently at 2G speeds. I don't see that as a big deal for me, since domestic data roaming is off on my phone anyway, and if it's enabled, they'll cap it at 50MB. If I go over that, they shut off my data altogether.

I'm not sure I understand the Amway comparison. It's $49 per month, all up. You can get credit for referring new Solavei members. Is that how Amway works?


http://www.solavei.com/how-it-works/compensation

Probably this structure reminds of Amway.

careful ZTE has a reputation of having vulnerabilities (ie backdoors) built in to their phones
ZTE backdoors link

spdracer5g said:   I actually find the Solavei service to be a reasonable offering, and at $45 it would be a great deal, for me T-Mobile based service is as good as AT&T, and better than Sprint. I don't however care one bit for the Amway like marketing angle they are pushing. If they offer a good deal, and provide solid customer service, they will do well and make money, the way the operate now is going to turn more people off than it attracts, and that will be their downfall.
While I agree with you mostly, and myself have used words like "ponzi scheme" and "Amway" to describe Solavei in the past, now that I think about it there business model is just fine. You can sign up and use Solavei without playing any of that referral crap. They have it in place as a social advertising method that works very well on college campuses. I don't have any issue with that since none of that marketing is required to use the service.

So it's a bit tacky the way they market their service, but again it only involves you if you participate in it. No different than "friends and family" referrals that other carriers offer.

I'd probably get it if they offered 5 gigs of full speed data before throttling. I am on the T-Mo $30 plan (100 minutes, unl text, 5gig of unl data at 4G/throttled after) and works great. I use right at 5 gigs of data per month. With the refill cards totaling $28.50/month, it's better than Solavei, IMO. I ported my number to GV and have a work issued iPhone with unlimited minutes (and Obi at home), so the 100 minutes doesn't matter to me. All I really need is data.

Edit: This is the kind of thing that makes Solavei's strategy tacky. Some guy is selling a NIB 16gig Nexus 4. His ad states that you MUST activate Solavei as part of the sale.

L o L. This idiot is trying to strongarm you into processing a referral if you buy the phone. That's not how it works buddy.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=218&ad=23506803&cat=&lpid=&sear...

coolbreeze said:   spdracer5g said:   I actually find the Solavei service to be a reasonable offering, and at $45 it would be a great deal, for me T-Mobile based service is as good as AT&T, and better than Sprint. I don't however care one bit for the Amway like marketing angle they are pushing. If they offer a good deal, and provide solid customer service, they will do well and make money, the way the operate now is going to turn more people off than it attracts, and that will be their downfall.They have it in place as a social advertising method that works very well on college campuses. I don't have any issue with that since none of that marketing is required to use the service.

No different than "friends and family" referrals that other carriers offer.

Edit: This is the kind of thing that makes Solavei's strategy tacky. Some guy is selling a NIB 16gig Nexus 4. His ad states that you MUST activate Solavei as part of the sale.

L o L. This idiot is trying to strongarm you into processing a referral if you buy the phone. That's not how it works buddy.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=218&ad=23506803&cat=&lpid=&sear...


1. Heard of people at 6 gigs who haven't been throttled. That's hearsay.
2. The referrals for Solavei pay EVERY month plus bonuses within the first 60 days. They aren't limited to a dollar amount like Tmobile's prepaid which is I think $250, or a number of times, etc. What seems more fair?
3. That bit about the Nexus 4 sounds like every cell phone carrier out there. We'll give you this if you do that. What's the difference? Look at it this way: at least you can haggle with a Solavei guy. Some give cash, some make deals on phones, etc. At least there's no contract, no surprises, etc. You can cut whatever kind of deal you can come to. Trade phones, etc. What carrier does that? Although, the way it should be done is make them buy the phone at a premium, and then refund the premium part of it after 15 days. The return period is 14 days for Solavei IIRC. If they walk away, you made an extra $50. If they stay 15 days, they get $50 back or something.
4. Also, there's nothing extra to do or pay for if you want to be serious, semi-serious, or eventually refer 3 people over the course of time to start getting a check, unlike other home businesses that have extra fees, etc. If you have the service, you can refer people. It's built in.

Isn't the whole point of Solavei the whole referral thing? If you are not interested in the referral model, you can just get Straight Talk for t-mo (it's not capped at 2gigs like the at&t one) for $45 or less with coupons and whatnot.

So people think it's okay to sell a contract-free unlocked phone, for a heavy premium over retail, and demand that you sign up for their referral scheme?

This guy isn't running a Cell Phone Shop. Sure he can request whatever he wants from the buyer, but to direct them to sign up for some referral thing they may not need (hence having the phone contract free and unlocked) is pretty sketchy.

Guess I'm alone on this. That's fine by me.

Update Dec 25th: Just read another report from a friend on Facebook who is at SIX gigs and hasn't been throttled. Netflix, speedtests were mentioned.

Sorry, it's ugly formatting. I'll clean it up later for my use, been meaning to make a comparison anyway. This isn't exhaustive.

Re-attacked on the tethering. They say no data only devices. Nothing but phones. Tethering supposed to be coming. When will the carriers get that data is data? Stop screwing your customers. Just soft cap it and be done. It's my loaf of bread, let me slice it how I like or whatever.

This is the official answer. YMMV. It's pretty openly discussed in the community, and I've never heard of a warning. I think this is the 'wink nudge' category, but again, YMMV. Technically the contract mentioned only not using it as a modem and tethering. Making your phone a hotspot might be defensible if it came down to it until/unless they change the verbiage. I don't see how they would detect an Android tablet vs. Android phone either. IMEI maybe. I know people who have used Android tablet/iPhone a bit and nothing has been said.

Solavei has a few things better than Straight Talk:

-4GB soft cap
-pretty sure Straight Talk data speeds are managed based on what I read, Solavei tested the higher for me than postpaid. No mention of it in either TOS that I could find though.

Doesn't appear throttled to me out here. I don't have a ST SIM to test.

Down speeds were:

Tmob: 5291KBPS down 1474 up
Solavei: 7744KBPS down 831 up

Test machine was HSPA 42 Nexus 4 in the burbs in Houston. This was with two bars of 'H'. I imagine they are comparable but one person has both APNs in his phone and switches because he claims on is faster up and the other faster down.

-Roaming: Straight Talk says Mobile Web Services will not work outside the Straight Talk GSM Area. Solavei is "(including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) " Everything works, but you might be on EDGE only data. This is the same as T-Mobile postpaid. (Traditional contract.) Text/Calls/Data all fall into that same area.

-Conference calling included

-Call forwarding included. Can be done from the settings in your phone. No mention of it on Straight Talk

One Thing I didn't like in the Straight Talk terms:
"You further agree that Straight Talk may assess a $10 fee, or such other fee as authorized by law, each time a payment is declined by your credit card issuer." OUCH!

A wash might be the Pay as You go International Rates for each. $10 minimum on Solavei, UK is about 2 cents. Dig into that I did not.

I *THINK* that ZTE phone they are giving for free is SIM unlocked which might be handy.

Stated as Coming:
"The following services will be available after our Nationwide Launch:
◦ Wi-Fi Calling
◦ Visual Voicemail
◦ International Roaming"

There may be some other stuff, but it's not much more money but has more features. Typical conundrum. The referral program on top of that means to me that $49 plus tax isn't unreasonable. Personal taste, but a little legwork reduces your bill every month. Tax varies from $0 to a high of $7.31 personally.

They've added some features I won't bore you with since we're just talking from a potential customer perspective, and it appears they listen to customers based on the words I've heard.

This kind of falls into something like a franchise: one Starbucks might be horrible, bad service and coffee, but you love to go to the other one.

Your Solavei gal/guy is good, calls you back, knows what they are doing, flashes their own ROMs, etc. or they might be an ignorant PITA. As for price/features, it's pretty close and almost boils down to personal choice. I also don't like Wal-Mart. Or Amway. No accounting for taste I guess.



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