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Re: Prepaid Cell Data Plans (was: Mobile Tor stuff)

>  T-Mobile has 3 prepaid plans: "Pay as you go", "Pay by the day", and
>  "Flexpay".

>  Anyways, I thought I should report on all this research. I've been
>  waiting so long for the day when I could walk into a store, give
>  someone some money (hell, any amount!) and get ... access. You have
>  no idea how many times I've walked into stores prior to this year and
>  tried to give someone a bunch of cash, only to have them tell me my
>  money was no good there because I wouldn't let them xerox my ID, run
>  my SSN and sign a contract.

I've been doing some prelim on this too. I can buy a t-mo prepaid voice
cell for $20 and activate it fully anonymously on pay-go or pay-day plan.
They don't even ask for a name, which I think is awesome and totally
inline with what a business should be, providing a good/service without
hassling the consumer for anything unnecessary to that end.

However, when I inquired about flexpay, every place I asked wanted
positive ID [self-serve purchase and activation was not available] and
they required a credit card as the only means of refill... not store bought
minute/refill cards. I wanted flex-pay because the minutes were much

Are you saying you've found flex-pay does NOT require these things any
longer? That would be good news to me.

My minute usage was nearing the Boost and Virgin $50/mo unlimited zone.
Boost had gsm phones. Virgin had what appeared to be non-gsm phones.
I've not switched to either yet. The other carriers voice plans were not
competitive with the above three.

I think it's important when people talk of this subject to also specify:
- Requiring real credit cards vs. anonymous debit cards [refillable or not]
- Positive ID / verified real world data [mailed bills, etc] vs.
supplying random
data that is never checked.

Also, I've run into prepaid 'no-contract' 'plans' from various providers that
were two sided. One plan was more expensive and could use store bought
refill cards. The other less expensive one required a 'credit card'... typically
on file, not just on customer demand... as the only means of refill. You can
see this if you detail the kiosks/flyers at any Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc.

Thank you for starting this topic! Although it's not necessarily
directly related
to Tor, it certainly is of interest to Tor users, for exactly the same
good reasons
that Tor is of interest. I hope others can pitch in with their
experiences pursuing
anonymity with various carriers.

I do think the USA is finally beginning to catch up with the rest of
the world in
this area. Provided no draconian ID law is enacted, it will continue to be a win
for consumers and business. Consumers like simplicity and freedom, and a
business that provides agressive service to that end will prosper. Hopefully
the days of contracts and ID's preventing giving your phone away to others
or switching to more suitable services are ending.

> Or, if you prefer to send all of your data to the NSA[1,2], AT&T now has

Certainly it's safe to assume that, by cooperation or otherwise, various
agencies already have said access to all Tier-1 providers.
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