Tuyo Mobile Review

Hopes to attract Hispanics Customers in U.S

Tuyo Mobile is a prepaid cell phone service from IDT. If you've been to one of over 300,000 "bodegas" (small shops), you've probably seen IDT's ubiquitious prepaid calling cards. Now they've created a prepaid cell phone service which hopes to attract U.S. Hispanic customers who frequent these shops with a combination of low domestic rates, international calling add-ons, and "culturally-relevant content customized for 16 Latin American countries".

Tuyo Mobile will have a tough time going up against the likes of Tracfone/Net10, GoPhone, and others which already try to provide low-cost services.

05/2012 Update: Tuyo Mobile has shut down

From their website: "TúYo service has been terminated as of May 1st, 2012. For a refund of your unused balance, please click on the link below. We have appreciated having you as a customer." Thank you. "


Azteca Mobile also went bankrupt

Azteca Mobile, another cell phone company that targeted Latinos filed for bankruptcy in March 2009 joining Movida which went bankrupt in 2008.


Coverage

When you go to look at their phones, you finally see a link to the Tuyo Mobile coverage map. As you can (could) see, it's fairly sparse compare to the major telecom carriers. Still, if you're in an area where they do have coverage you may be okay. Especially if you don't move around too much.

Rate Plans

There are two plans, "Plan 10" and "Nights and Weekends".

Plan 10

The Plan 10 offers 10 cents per minutes calling rates plus a 10 cent per call connection fee. So your effective rate per call will range from 20 cents per minute, for a 1-minute call, to 12 cents per minute, for a five-minute call, and about 11 cents per minute, for a ten-minute call. Minutes expire after 90 days unless you recharge before then.

Most of my calls tend to be just a couple of minutes during the day to my loved ones. So my effective rate would be pretty high.

Cards

You can add minutes is denominations of $10, $20, and $50. One good thing is that even if you purchase just $10 worth of airtime, it's still good for 90 days.

If you really only use a phone for emergencies, this may be a good deal, because you could spend just $10 about every three month to keep your cell phone active which comes to just under $3.40 a month plus taxes.

Nights and Weekends Plan

The Nights and Weekends plan costs $24.99 a month. For that you get 1000 night and weekend minutes per month. But it includes NO daytime minutes. You have to spend an additional 25 cents per minute for daytime calls. Ouch! If you spend a 100 daytime minutes a month, that's an additional $25. Making your total monthly cost closer to $50 a month. There may be better options for you if you are willing to spend $50 a month. Still, there are no contracts, which is a plus.

Club Max

Tuyo Mobile has a discount plan based on your cumulative airtime purchases. You get an additional $5 when you cross $50 of airtime, an additional $5 for the next $50, then $10 for the next $100, and finally $20 for the next $100 of airime purchase.

This does eventually lower your airtime cost, though it also tempts you to buy more airtime than you may need.

Auto-recharge

You receive a $15 airtime bonus when you sign up for auto-recharge.

Text messages

Text messages cost 5 cents each to send and receive, and international text messages cost 10 cents (which is pretty good).

You can buy a 100 message pack for $2.99, which is a good deal.

Phone Card

You can also use your Tuyo Mobile balance as a phone card. So if your battery dies when you call from another phone. There is a 2 cent per minute surcharge.

Making International Calls

Tuyo Mobile offers competitive rates for international calls to many countries.

$5 a month for free international calls

Tuyo offers a $5 per month add-on that allows you to make "free" calls to landlines in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. It's not really a free call since you are still charged your usual airtime rate. Depending on the country this may or may not be a good deal.

Mexico

Let's take Mexico as an example. The standard call rate for calls to Mexico landlines in Mexico City, Guadalajara, is 2 additional cents per minute. $5 divided by 2 cents is 250. So you would have to talk for more than 250 minutes a month to Mexico to make this worthwhile.

If you were on the Plan 10 plan, those 250 minutes would also cost you $25 of regular airtime.

If you were on the Night and Weekends plans, then if you call at night, then those 250 minutes could be part of your night and weekend minutes, but if you have to call during the day, then those 250 minutes would cost an additional $62.50

So this plan isn't really worth it for Mexico. But on the other hand, it is for . . .

Honduras

Calls to Honduras landlines cost an additional 20 cents per minute. So $5 equals just 25 minutes. So if you make more than 25 minutes per month calling Honduras, this is a great deal!

Guatemala

The rate to Guatemala is normally 8 cents per minute. So the $5 plan makes sense if you spend more than 60 minutes per month calling Guatemala.

Dominican Republic

The rate is 6 cents per minute. The $5 plan is worth it if you spend more than 84 minutes per month calling the Dominican Republic.

Phones

As of 2012, you can only buy their handsets in stores and not from their website. Below is a description of the phones they used to offer a while back. There are three Tuyo Mobile phones available. The basic open-face style Nokia 1208, the flip-style Motorola W220, and the Sony/Ericsson Z310A/Black camera phone.

Sony Ericsson Z310A

The only camera phone among the three. This Bluetooth capable phone has a VGA (low-resolution) camera and MP3 ringtones. Including the online discount, it costs $89.99

Motorola W220

This basic but stylish flip phone with external indicator lights costs $49.99 including the web discount.

Nokia 1208

This open face phone does the job of handling phone calls and text messages.

All three phones come with a standard handsfree headset (not Bluetooth).

TuyoMania

You can download Tuyo Mobile ringtones and graphics from the associated Tuyomania site.

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