Not everyone needs, wants, or can afford a super-fancy smartphone. And a two-year contract costing upwards of $100 per month? Ouch!
If you're looking for mobile communication on a shoestring, AT&T has the Samsung SGH-a107 GoPhone for $9.99 shipped. No activation fee, no contract, just 10 bucks out the door for a simple cell phone.
Simple, and prepaid. Although you can spend $60 or $70 per month for unlimited talk/data plans, AT&T also lets you pay as you go: $2 per day for unlimited talk and texting, or just 10 cents per minute for occasional calls.
An option like this might be ideal for, say, an 11-year-old who wants to let you know she's going to a friend's house after school, or needs a ride home from soccer practice.
That's assuming she can endure the stigma of carrying such a no-frills phone. The SGH-a107 has no camera, no music player, no Bluetooth, no external display. It has a keypad, and you can talk into one end and hear out the other. In other words, it's basic, reliable transportation--phone-wise.
And cheap! How can you beat $10 for a no-contract cell phone? (For what it's worth, the regular price is only $20. I'm not sure how long AT&T will be offering this discount.) If you've had any experience with this model (which, admittedly, CNET found to be merely "decent"), let me know in the comments.
Bonus deal: While you're on the AT&T site, there's another deal worth checking out: the AT&T Mobile Hotspot MiFi 2372 for free. (Shipping is also free, though you do have sign up for a two-year contract.) Data-plan options include $35/month for 3GB or $60/month for 5GB. (The former is actually pretty good.)