Travel to most countries around the world, and when you arrive at the airport and step into a convenience store, it's pretty safe to assume that you'll be able to pick up a SIM card and data plan for a reasonable price. By contrast, the most common business model in the United States is to offer a phone at low or no cost but lock customers into a contract for two years. Customers are often left paying a bill of over 50 dollars a month for the most straightforward data plan. If they're lucky, they won't get any surprise charges on their credit card bill. For those who travel internationally, it's often necessary to purchase a new phone or a pricey world band phone, because the more common wireless technology network in North America, CDMA, is rarely recognized abroad.
SIMPLE Mobile is trying to shake things up. Offering a SIM card and easy-to-understand talk, text and data plans, the company aims to make the process of owning a phone and mobile plan a little more straightforward. A 40 dollar per month prepaid plan gets you 1GB of data at 4G speeds, with unlimited talk, text and even international text. Unless you're watching a lot of YouTube videos and plan to upload large documents with your phone, that's probably more than enough for basic use. Expecting a heavier month for calls? Just shift the plan for the next month. It's easy and flexible, as it should be.
Although SIMPLE Mobile isn't offered everywhere in the US, it runs on the TracFone Wireless network and is available in most of the country, especially in urban areas. If you have an unlocked phone with a SIM card slot, it will probably work. Even a tablet like a 3G iPad should work on the network, though you might need to purchase a micro SIM instead of a regular SIM. This means you can browse the web on a much larger screen and not have to worry about hunting for wifi all the time. And since phones that support SIMPLE Mobile run on the world-friendly GSM band, you won't need a new phone abroad; you could even just turn on their international plan for the month you travel.
To promote their new service, SIMPLE Mobile recently launched Change Your Game, a web site focused on people finding creative ways to the change the game in art, music, athletics, business and, in their words, "really anyone who has a vision of how they can change their life." They've kicked it off with two cool features from popular Arizona filmmaker Levon Maestro [spelling?] looking at the skate and street art scenes in Los Angeles, which have famously changed the street culture game around the world.
If you're reading Core77, you've probably done something in a creative field that's changing how people do things. And you probably have friends who do this too. Want Maestro to feature your work and share it with the world? Change Your Game is inviting anyone to submit a short, 30-second video that's recorded directly on their site via web cam (this equalizes things a bit, since filmmakers would get the upper hand otherwise!). Every approved video gets featured on the site, and one person a week until October 27 will win a new tablet or phone—an HTC Smartphone, LG Smartphone or even a Google Nexus Tablet. The most outstanding responses will get a visit from Maestro himself.
So check out the site—the videos are an awesome peek into LA's continuing influence—and then think about how you're changing the game in your field. We'll be back in a couple weeks with an update and look at some of the cooler videos you've sent in.