Kajeet's prepaid no-contract plans start at $4.99 a month for basic service. There are unlimited messaging plans for under $20, and unlimited voice and text plans.
This plan keeps the phone active for the month without daily access charges and adds 10 voice minutes to your balance. Additional minutes and text messages cost 10 cents each. You can use this plan as a base and add money to your child's or your Kajeet wallet for extra calling time if you need it.
If your child needs more voice minutes rather than text messages, then you can choose the $19.99 Talk and Text plan and get 500 voice minutes and 100 texts per month. For $29.99 per month, you get 1000 minutes and 100 texts.
This plan offers 60 voice minutes, but it's special because it includes unlimited texting. This, of course, is going to be very popular. However, if your child is texting too much, remember that you can still set limits via the parental controls.
This plan offers 150 voice minutes along with unlimited text and picture messaging.
For $24.99, you get 300 voice minutes, unlimited text and picture messaging and unlimited use of the GPS locator service. This plan should be good enough for most kids.
For $50 a month, you also get unlimited voice minutes, unlimited messaging and the GPS locator service.
Mobile web access is not included with the Kajeet plans above. In addition, if you choose not to get one of the unlimited texting or messaging plans, then you can add messaging bundles separately.
The data rates are okay, but not great. The cost ranges from $4.99 a month for 50 MB to $24.99 a month for 1 GB. You'll only really need the higher amounts if you get one of the new Kajeet Android phones.
If you choose the basic or talk and text plans, you can add buckets of text messages so that you don't pay the higher per text charge. For example, 4.99 gets you 200 texts and 9.99 per month gets you 1000 texts. However, if you need more than 200 texts, it's cheaper to get the unlimited texting plan.
That there are no activation fees, which is still somewhat unusual in a full-featured provider. There are no termination fees either.
You can suspend your account for a limited amount of time such as when you go on vacation. This is at their discretion, so you can probably only do this a couple of times a year.
Now we can get to the phones. There will probably be strong opinions about which handset to get in your family! And it's likely that your child may know more about these phones than what I can cover, so this is just a quick overview.
Kajeet has pared down their selection to a few good smart phones. You can choose from two iOS models, the iPhone 5 and 4s, and a couple of Android models such as the LG G3 Vigor which is a 4G LTE phone.
These phones have a full array of features. You have to make sure they will be used wisely. You get help in the form of Smart Blocker technology that apparently restricts usage to approved sites and apps.
There is one plain touchscreen phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard, the LG Rumor Reflex.
Kajeet does not currently offer any basic candy-bar or flip-style phones - presumably because no one wants them. The used to offer the Samsung M300 reviewed here.
You can download an assortment of games and ringtones. They tell you how much it’s going to cost before you download it. Any download game or ringtone can be stored at their end in what’s called “The Vault”. If your child is running out of storage on the phone, he can move some games or ringtones to “The Vault” and download them later without charge. As mentioned above, all ringtones are "content approved".
Okay, so you've decided to switch your whole family over ;)
They have set up a website for recycling your old cell phone. You enter your information and print out a mailing label as well as an IRS form documenting your donation. You also get a confirmation email.
Dudeworld is an attempt to market these downloads, ringtones, etc. to the kids. The "Dudes" are a set of half-baby blob-like cartoon characters. Each character has a set of favorites activities, foods and ringtones. For example, one character's favorite "wallpaper" for his phone matches his skateboard.
This appeal to being cool by downloading the right ringtones, wallpapers etc., is not really in line with the rest of Kajeet's message about teaching children how to manage their phones and money responsibly.
Dudeworld isn't prominently featured on their website anymore, though the cute little munchkins that are on the site are, in fact, "Dudes".
Kajeet provides a well thought-out service that is worth considering for your 8-12 year-old child.
You might interested in these phones and plans, too.
This basic flip phone from Virgin Mobile is targeted at the teen crowd but feature some controversial content in the web browser home page.
This touchscreen Tracfone offers similarly low monthly operating cost with a nicer appearance.
Several Android phones are available for under $100 and can run Kytephone app for parental controls.