RadioShack Launches Its Contract-Free Wireless Service

Last month, a series of leaked screenshots revealed RadioShack's plan to team up with Cricket Communications and launch its own pay as you go wireless service. On Wednesday, the electronics retailer confirmed the rumors with the launch of two new feature phones.

Previously, shoppers could find a number of phones with varying carriers after walking into a RadioShack store. Now they'll also be able to find two Huawei phones offered directly by the company.

The "feature" phone for the service, the Huawei Pillar, costs $39.99 and comes in a $25/month or $35/month package. The phone boasts a basic QWERTY keyboard with a camera and internet access.

The cheaper of the feature plans comes with 300 voice minutes while the $35 plan comes with 1000. Both phones come with unlimited texting and internet access, but only the smartphone plans and phones offer 3G connectivity.

The first smartphone launching under the service is the Huawei Mercury, costing an initial $149.99 with two offered plans: $50/month or $60/month. Both plans feature unlimited voice and text but the $60 plan offers 2.5 GB of full speed 3G data in comparison to the $50 plan's 1GB limit. Powered by a 1.4 GHz single core processor, the Android 2.3 device comes with a four-inch display and eight-megapixel camera.

Although there are only two phones currently on offer, RadioShack promises two more devices by the end of the month. With its current line-up, RadioShack's phones are far from the specifications of modern smartphones, and may still be pricey on the monthly scale. But for anybody looking to ditch the cumbersome contracts of larger wireless carriers, perhaps RadioShack's future phones will be more appealing.

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Tuan Mai
Tuan Mai is a Los Angeles based writer and marketing manager working within the PC Hardware industry. He has written for Tom's Guide since 2010, with a special interest in the weird and quirky.
  • punahou1
    The article is somewhat misleading as it does not identify who really owns the wireless backbone. If you research Cricket Communications you will find out this is just another Sprint offering. As a result, if you are in an area that cannot access the Sprint towers this service will not work...
  • bustapr
    i really hope they dont remove virgin mobile(another sprint branch) from their store. after all, who in their right mind would choose this radioshack thing over virgin mobiles $35 unlimited 3g/4g data plan (throttled at 2.5gb). i dont understand what sprint is doing here by teaming up with radioshack and having sprint and 2 other contractless providers in the same store...

    *all this is assuming what punahou1 said is correct
  • Shin-san
    Android phone on Sprint. Nothing much new, even though the $25/mo price is notable.

    Virgin Mobile (despite the name) has an unlimited plan for $35/mo, and Cricket has an unlimited talk plan for $35/mo as well. So, they'll have to stay competitive. There's also not-very-known T-mobile and AT&T prepaid plans
  • 4745454b
    Because AT&T's prepaid plan is a joke. $50 a month for unlimited phone and text, NO data plan. That would be another $25 for 1GB. $75 a month for a GB and unlimited phone/txt? Thanks for the savings AT&T.
  • Just another BS cellphone plan. Who cares about talk and text? I care about Data, and it's capped at 1gb, then 2.5gb's for $60.00? Jesus... Just include everything as "Data" (ie roll voice text and data into one) and charge either a basic 2gb-3gb plan for $25, or an unlimited, no caps plan for like $35 a month! We are SOOOO far behind the rest of the world here in the US when it comes to technology like this.