Kajeet

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/ Updated: April 19, 2007 4:36 AM PDT

Kajeet

Editors' note: Because evaluating wireless coverage requires experience with the network in a wide variety of physical locations, CNET does not rate wireless carriers. We can, however, tell you everything you need to know about the major carriers. We invite your feedback and ratings in our user opinions section; the more input we get from around the U.S., the better our users can evaluate coverage at a national level.

Kajeet is an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) tailored specifically for families. It provides fully capable phones to its customers, trusting that parents will set service limitations while children will learn how to use a real cell phone. Kajeet prides itself on its no-contract, no-fee service, and offers both monthly and pay-as-you-go options. It doesn't make its own devices, however.

The Kajeet service is primarily made up of two things: the Kajeet Navigator, which is a Web portal software application found on all its phones, and the Kajeet Configurator, a Web-based application that you can access from your PC's browser. The Configurator is key to Kajeet's brilliance: it's where parents can add a phone for another kid, set up approved and blocked phone numbers, decide who pays for which calls and what features, manage when phones can and can't be used, view calls made to and by their kids, check the balance in their Kajeet "wallets," and view the complete details of the calling plan. A Kajeet "wallet" is essentially where you put the money you use to pay for the service--parents can even allocate set amounts to their kids' "wallets" as a sort of allowance so that they can learn money management. Because Kajeet is a pay-as-you-go service, the wallet is also a handy tool to monitor the balance of your account.

There are four levels of access, which parents can toggle on or off. They are Free Sites (Dictionary, Google Maps, and Sports IQ), a select list of kid-approved sites, social networking and IM, and the open Internet. The first option is free while the others are $0.25 per megabyte. Kids are not charged when browsing their "my Kajeet" page for new ringtones and graphics, however.

Kajeet utilizes the Sprint backbone to deliver its service. It is compatible with a variety of previously Sprint-only handsets that can be purchased directly from Kajeet, including the Sanyo 2700, the Samsung M300, and the LG 125 . The cell phones' software remains exactly the same as it is on the Sprint versions, save for one primary difference: the Kajeet Navigator application. Essentially a sleek and colorful Web portal, the Kajeet Navigator provides access to a slew of music ringtones, wallpapers, and games. Each Kajeet phone should already come preloaded with a few of these things for free (our Katana came with four free ringtones and four free demo games), but you always have the option to download more for a fee. You can also purchase Nickelodeon-themed mobile content from such shows as "The Rugrats," "Fairly Oddparents," or "Spongebob Squarepants." The "Spongebob Squarepants" theme song costs $2.50.

Overall, we really like that Kajeet is trusting children with real full-fledged cell phones that will transition them easily into adulthood. The service also allows parents to easily control their child's cell phone usage via the Kajeet Configurator. It's a pretty decent service that lets parents teach their kids responsible cell phone usage; add that to its low pay-as-you-go pricing, and we think the Kajeet service is great for families.

Things you should know:

  • As a CDMA carrier, international coverage is limited.
  • There is no activation fee and no early termination fee.
  • It offers two payment options: Pay-as-you-go and monthly plans with no contract required.
  • It offers a few unlimited text bundles, ranging from $14.99 for unlimited texting and 60 minutes a month, to $50 for unlimited text and talk.
  • The minimum talk plan is $4.99 for 10 minutes a month. Kajeet also offers $9.99 a month for 1,000 nights and weekend minutes.
  • For those who don't want monthly plans, there's a Pay-as-you-Go option that's less than $10 a month ($0.32 a day).
  • Parents can use the GPS locator to find the location of their child's phone. The GPS service is free for the first month only; it's $9.99 a month after that.
  • Parental controls are free. They are easily accessible via the Kajeet Web site.
  • You can set spending limits for your children with a monthly allowance, and you can set time limits as well. You can also control your child's address book by blocking certain numbers.

Fast facts:

  • Coverage: Kajeet has CDMA coverage in every state, similar to Sprint's coverage area. Individual coverage will vary by location. For international coverage CDMA roaming is available in 26 countries.
  • Technology: CDMA; 1xRTT
  • 3G network: No
  • Streaming video service: No
  • Music download service: No
  • Push-to-talk: No
  • Prepaid plans: Yes
  • Family plans: No

  AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Nextel Verizon Wireless
Coverage map AT&T coverage map T-Mobile coverage map Sprint Nextel coverage map Verizon Wireless coverage map
Technology GSM; GPRS; EDGE GSM; GPRS: EDGE CDMA; 1xRTT; iDEN CDMA; 1xRTT
3G network Yes, UMTS, EV-DO No (coming in 2007) Yes, EV-DO Yes, EV-DO
Data plans Yes Yes Yes Yes
Streaming video network Yes, AT&T Video No Yes, Sprint Power Vision Yes, Verizon V Cast
Music download service Yes, AT&T Music No Yes, Sprint Music Store Yes, V Cast Wireless Music
Push-to-Talk Available, depending on phone model No Available, depending on phone model Available, depending on phone model
Analog roaming No No Yes Yes
Prepay plans Yes Yes No Yes
Family plans Yes Yes Yes Yes


  U.S. Cellular Alltel MetroPCS
Coverage map U.S. Cellular coverage map Alltel coverage map MetroPCS coverage map
Technology CDMA; 1xRTT CDMA; 1xRTT CDMA; 1xRTT
3G network No Yes, EV-DO No
Data plans Yes Yes No
Streaming video network No Yes No
Music download service No No No
Push-to-Talk Available, depending on phone model Available, depending on phone model No
Analog roaming Yes Yes Yes
Prepay plans Yes Yes No
Family plans Yes Yes No

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