(USA) GSM phones and prepaid service that support SMS

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I'm contemplating adding a "call-home" function to a mobile embedded
system. The only data to be sent is a set of GPS coordinates and
eleven bytes of status data. The easiest way I can think of doing this
is to put a GSM phone in the thing and send an SMS. Can someone
recommend a GSM1900 phone readily available on eBay that has an
easily-interfaced, well-documented serial port, and that can be used
with a cheap prepaid service that supports SMS?

Or perhaps someone can suggest a different option? What other radio
networks exist that cover the NY metro area and are cheap to access
infrequently (I don't want to pay a $50/month service charge)?

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