Cheap cellular and data for your iPhone, iPad and iPod!

It is official, Truphone is amazing and it's cheap, really, really cheap cell phone service!

In a world where jailbreaking and unlocking your iPhone is now a right, you would think carriers would catch on that the world is changing and they should  unshackle us from those chains of service contracts for cellular and data plans. 

Leave it to a little British start up, which just opened its doors this past January to make that dream a reality, enter Truphone ( my new carrier of choice for the iPhone and iPad (yes I said iPad), if you haven’t heard of them before remember where you heard of them first!

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Under the leadership of CEO Geraldine Wilson (former Yahoo) and tech guru in chief Jams Tagg (former FastMobile Europe) this little company is poised to redefine mobile VoiP by delivering quality mobile cellular and data services at rates so low you’ll have your jaw in a sling by the time you finish reading this.

So lets get going with the goodies!

Truphone offers two services the first being Truphone  a pure VoiP service with their (free) mobile app over a wifi connection (so this includes all iPads and most iPod Touch 2nd Gen later), this is kind of like Skype where making Skype to Skype calls are free but for a fee you can add calling to landlines and cell phones.  You can always call another Truphone for free from any Truphone appliation, or call out to a landline or cell phone this will set you back a few center per minute but this is where the similarity ends.

Truphone offers iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users (as well as other smartphones) a choice of three rate plans TruStandard, TruSaver and TruUnlimited, and I’ll break them down from “good” to “how the heck can they do that”?!

All of Truphone’s rates are without contract, an important selling point from my perspective. 

So what are you going to pay?  Calls using their base service TruStandard are just .051 cents/min to call a landline or cell phone in the U.S.  this is the cheapest pay as you go GSM service I can think of in the U.S., (compare to T-Mobiles prepaid at 1000 minutes for $100) the deal gets a bit sweeter with TruSaver with a monthly fee of $4 you pay just .021 cents/min to landlines and cell phones and get even more savings. 

But the real killer which made my heart skip a beat was TruUnlimited which for $17/month gives you free calls to landlines and cell phones in the US.  And.  Drum roll.  Free calls to landlines in 38 countries as of the writing of this blog, including Hungary!  Isten, Isten!  You can also call cell phones in 9 countries for free too, but it gets better!  

Truphone’s second service is a true GSM SIM card based cellular service, Truphone Local Anywhere. For that you’ll need an unlocked phone and you'll need to purchase their SIM card for $29.99 (and shipping is fast, less than a week.). You can then purchase bundles that are good for placing and receiving calls, SMS texting and data on a pre-paid basis. Do you want multiple numbers on one SIM card?  You can get that with Truphone Local Anywhere.  Do you want data? You can get that too at .50 cents/MB (and remember there is no contract) which is reasonable.  Rates for Local Anywhere  are as low as .15 cents a minute in the USA and .15 for to call a landline and .35 cents to call a mobile in the UK from the USA.

So what are the down sides?  Well there are few, but there is one big one for me, which is the limitation of area codes you get when you sign up for a new number.  Not all states are covered.  I have been told that you can port an existing number, but I've not yet done that.  I have been using my new SIM card in my iPhone 3G here in Maine for both cell calls and data without problem.

Do yourself a favor and  check out Truphone, it's a beautiful thing.

updated 8/16/10 after clarifications with Ritch Blasi

General Manager – Mobile and Wireless

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I'm a behavioral health professional living and working in Maine specializing in psychiatric rehabilitation. For years I've utilized mobile technology to improve the delivery of community based mental health services, and embraced the iPhone when it came out in 2007.

I am also a doctoral candidate at Franklin Pierce University where I have been researching the role of the Liberal Arts in American higher education.

I write as a guest for iPhone Life periodically with a special interest in helping other professionals (healthcare, education and government in particular) incorporate iOS devices into their work, and several years ago introduced the first iPhone and eventually iPad classes at Lewiston Adult Education in Lewiston Maine concentrating on helping other professionals interested in using and incorporating iPads into their work.