Beyond Wireless GSM was another smaller prepaid cellphone service that offered an interesting mix of features. It seems to have shut down and the only thing I can now find is a Canadian subsidiary of Rogers Wireless with the same name and another local site that repairs cellphone. Here’s a quick rundown of what they used to offer.
Note: The company seemed to be related to Jolt Mobile which does still exist.
On their website, you could choose from a few refurbished (or as they call it: “like new”) Nokia and Motorola phones. They also offered Siemens and LG phones, but when I checked they did not have any of those “like new” phones in stock. The phones were the simple and reliable kind. For example, there were no camera phones.
In retail stores, however, you apparenlty had a much wider selection: everything from the standby cheap Motorola C139 to the Motorola RAZR V3. You could guess at their entire selection by looking at their list of downloadable manuals for all their phones.
For online purchases, Beyond Wireless’s basic rate was 15 cents per minute plus different bonuses for buying different denominations of airtime cards. So when buying the higher priced airtime cards, you got more “free” minutes as calculated against their basic rate.
The cheapest amount of airtime you could buy was their $5 airtime card which gave you 40 minutes. Beyond said you got $1 “free” for buying the $5 card for a total value of $6. If you take $6 divided by 40 minutes you get a rate of 15 cents per minute.
If you bought their most expensive standard airtime card for $100, you got 1110 minutes, giving you an effective rate of about 9 cents per minute. Beyond said that was like getting $66.50 free, because 1110 minutes at the rate of 15 cents per minute would cost $166.50.
For retail purchases, you got smaller amounts of “free” airtime bonuses. So the $5 card only got you 33 minutes ($0 bonus), and the $100 card 926 minutes (a $39 bonus instead of $66.50).
So, if it’s possible, you should have definitely bought airtime online.
Beyond Wireless GSM airtime cards expired after either 15, 30, 45, 60 or 90 days depending on the airtime card. However you could also buy a one-year airtime card.
You could buy a one-year airtime card online for $50 which gave you only 113 minutes but extended you service period to one-year. A $15 card purchased online gave you 126 minutes so you were paying roughly $30 to $35 dollars to extend your service period to one-year. This compares pretty well to Tracfone, for example, which at the time charged you $49 and no minutes to extend your service for one year. (Though Tracfone also had other deals such as one year cards with minutes or one-year cards with double minutes for life, etc.)
It cost you 10 cents to either send or receive a text message. This was somewhere between average and a little high. If you were going to do a lot of texting this was probably not the plan for you.
The Beyond Wireless website touted “30 days of unlimited international calling available. Access to over 70 countries and 400+ locations”. However, nowhere else on their website was there any further explanation. I suspect that, like Tracfone, they arranged to provide calling to certain international locations at no additional charge. That is, you are charged the regular airtime for these calls. After 30 days, I suspect there was some kind of surcharge.
Their phones were a little pricey on the low end, but their rates were not too bad. If you did choose them at some point, you can let me know about your experience via the feedback.
Here are a few other companies that let you use your unlocked GSM phone with their plans.
As long as you're okay with using one of their unlimited plans, you can go ahead and use a Straight Talk SIM card with your phone.
As you can probably tell from their name, Simple Mobile lets you do the same thing.