Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

by Todd

Welcome to Cheapest Cell Phone Plans. This is a consumer-oriented site created to help empower users to find and negotiate the best cheap cell phone plan for their needs.



In an effort to help you wade though the all the hype and find the cheapest plans available, below you’ll find a regularly updated section detailing the best deals offered by the main carriers. First, however, is a general tutorial on how to find the best, yet cheapest wireless plan for your specific needs. For carrier specific information on plans see the sidebar. This section is expanding so check back soon.

Use the following index to go to the section you need:



Choosing The Best Cheap Cell Phone Plan

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When people start looking for cheap cell phone plans, they are often overwhelmed with the various details and options hyped by wireless services. Should I use a prepaid cell phone plan or agree to a contract plan? And what about all those options and extras? Do offers involving free or cheap phones really provide the best value? In short, what’s the catch?

While lower rate plans and offers of cheap or free mobile phones may seem inviting, they don’t always represent the cheapest cell phone plans. For any single offer to claim it has the cheapest plan means that vendor also happens to know the nuances of your particular usage habits. Unlikely, isn’t it? It is important to realize that there is a lot more to finding the cheapest cell plan than just an advertised cost per minute.

You may also be wondering about the tactics you can use to save money on your monthly cellular bill. What’s the best cell phone plan for couples? Or should I consider a family plan?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. It isn’t easy to sort it all out. This site will help educate you so you can find the best yet most affordable cell phone plans for you, whether that means a cheap prepaid cell plan, an unlimited plan or a family plan.

Put in the simplest terms, the cheapest cell phone plan is the one with the lightest load on your bill at the end of each month that still meets your needs. Unfortunately, you can’t just use the promoted terms and conditions to define this bottom line.

Is Prepaid A Good Choice For You?

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At one time, prepaid cell phones were thought to be more costly than an equivalent in a contract plan. However, prepaid cell phone plans have evolved. There are a lot more options available now than there were even a few years ago and they now fit a variety of needs and budgets, even if you want unlimited calling or a smartphone. To find the best fit for your needs make a quick chart to compare prepaid plans.

If you only use your mobile for emergencies or for the couple of times you travel during the year, then a prepaid cell phone plan (also sometimes called a pay as you go cell phone plan or a no contract cell phone plan) could be an excellent option for you. In most cases, it doesn’t cost much to add a useful chunk of minutes or service time.

To find the cheapest plans per carrier, determine exactly how many minutes of call time you need. If don’t think you will use that many minutes, you might try an annual prepaid plan offered by companies like T-Mobile or Tracfone, where you pay a set amount (usually around $100) for a year’s worth of service and a set number of minutes (usually around 1,000 or even more with PlatinumTel plans); you can add more minutes if you need to during the year. Another decent option for people who don’t use that many minutes per month but still want a mobile for emergencies and specific occasions is the Tracfone’s 50 minutes for $9.99 plan.

If you’re a low-use cell phone customer, determining the right prepaid plan for you can be a little easier than for many other users. Determine how many minutes you will use in a month (be careful not to underestimate), then multiply those minutes by a program’s advertised cost per minute.

When searching for affordable cell phones without plans you need to think about how you plan to use the phone most. If you will be texting a lot consider a phone with a QWERTY keyboard; if you’ll be surfing the web look for a nice screen, but also consider battery life.

Consider these things before you examine different plans and contracts so you aren’t sold something you don’t need; instead you’ll be able to look for exactly what you know you want and need. This also applies when you are looking for cheap cell phone accessories.

To compare your cost per minute for a prepaid plan versus a contract plan divide the monthly cost of a contract by the number of minutes you’ll be using. Doing a good cell phone plan comparison can help you see how much you will pay for what you will actually get. Consider the risk of overage charges also as they can add up quickly.

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The Cheapest Cell Phone Plans May Be Your Friends’ Plans

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While it might be nice to do your own research and simply determine what is best for you individually, you should also consider the networks and services your family and your friends use. In recent years it has become more and more common for companies to provide free mobile-to-mobile minutes to customers using the same network or plan.

This way you’ll need less anytime minutes and pay less overall. Cooperating with friends and family is often one of the best strategies for landing yourself an affordable plan.

Family Cell Plans May Improve Your Value

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Family cellular plans empower you to share a common quota of minutes with multiple cell phones in the same family. Most will find this to be a great way to save money and often these plans even provide free calls among family phones. Don’t assume family cell plans aren’t for you just because you don’t have kids or kids old enough to carry cell phones. Often times these family cell phone plans provide great deals and opportunities making them the best cell phone plan for couples as well as families.

When you have several cellular phones in the family, you may discover that the finding the most affordable cell phone plan starts with putting everyone in the family on the same plan. In almost all cases you’ll have discounts like a lower activation fee — thus incurring much less expense up front — and second phones in these plans are often cheaper.

Currently, the AT&T (Cingular) family plan with two phones offers 1400 minutes for $89.99. Each additional line — up to five — is only $9.99 each. All lines share the same minutes. Now look at two separate cell phone plans with 450 minutes under the same carrier: $39.99 each! That’s a hair shy of $80 without nearly as many minutes. Then when you include a third line, you’ve nearly topped out $120 and you’re still shy of the total minutes available in the same carrier’s family cellular plan.

To sweeten the deal, many cell phone family plans also include bonuses, such as unlimited night and weekend minutes or free calling to family members or a chosen network of numbers.

Current Cheap Cell Phone Plans

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Cheap Cell Phone Plans

When searching for cheap cell phone plans look at all of your options and always read the fine print. For some cellphone users contract or unlimited cell phone options will be best, but for others prepaid or pay as you go cell phone options will be best. The offerings are always changing, for example pay as you go plans have improved in recent years. But with contract plans you may be rewarded for commitment; many of them offer unlimited night and weekend minutes and some offer unlimited to calls to others in your network. The headset itself is another important consideration that will impact the overall price.

Always look at the network coverage to make sure it fits your needs before you make a decision.

Note: These prices are subject to change. I will try to keep them up-to-date, but they could change often, so always check each carrier directly before making a decision. Keep in mind there are also additional fees including activation fees, taxes and other fees that may be added to the final price.

Cricket’s Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

Some might consider the cheapest cell phone plan advertised at MyCricket.Com for as low as $35 per month one of the more tempting options. This particular plan provides you with unlimited calling and unlimited texts within the U.S. And if you nudge your payment up to $45 a month, you will incorporate features like data, call waiting, video and picture messaging as well as other features. For $55 a month you can get a smartphone plan with unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data.

While the unlimited voice and text may sound temping it is important to note that roaming is an added charge for most plans so check the network map before you make a final decision. Cricket only offers monthly no contract cell phone plans.

Net10’s Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

Net10, a division of TracFone, only offers prepaid service, specifically offering cheap prepaid cell phone plans. The name stems from their 10 cents per minute nationwide call rate, although they offer some options that are less than 10 cents per minute. They offer handsets ranging from cheap phones starting in the $20 dollar range up to a couple of touch screen Android smartphones.

They offer two types of service, a monthly plan that doesn’t offer carryover minutes and pay as you go plans that offer a set number of minutes and service days that carryover if you keep the account active. All of their options offer talk, text and web/email service. Their cheapest plan option is $20 for 200 minutes and 30 days of service, but for $30 you get 300 minutes and service for 60 days, which may be a better deal for some. The best per minute deal is 900 minutes, 90 days of service for $60. Their monthly, no carryover minute plans include an unlimited plan for $50 per month or a 750 minute plan for $25 per month. Learn more at: Net10 Cheap Cell Phone Plans

Sprint’s Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

Sprint-Nextel’s Basic Plan, for $29.99 a month, provides you with 200 anytime minutes, unlimited weekend and night time calling starts at 9 pm, but this doesn’t include messaging. For $5 dollars per month you get up to 300 messages. If you simply need basic voice and you don’t need many minutes per month this may be the best cell phone plan for your specific circumstances. If you bump the cost up to $49.99 you get 450 anytime minutes and unlimited messaging.

StraightTalk’s Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

StraightTalk, also a division of TracFone, is definitely an option worth considering when evaluating the cheapest cellular plans. StraightTalk plans are all no contract cell plans; you can purchase service for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or 1 year at a time. Their cheapest cell plan offers 1,000 minutes and texts for $30 a month with 30 MB of mobile web access. They also offer an unlimited option for only $45 per month for talk, text and web.

They also have some cheap cell phones available, which is sometimes difficult to find with no contract cell phone plans. It is important to note that some of the phones are refurbished and some only work with their $45 unlimited plan. Phones and plans are available at Walmart or online at StraightTalk.com.

T-Mobile’s Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

If you are looking for cheap prepaid cell phone plans, no-contract plans or pay as you go plans T-Mobile has some good options. Their best deal is $100 for 1,000 minutes that are active for one year; this is perfect for an emergency or occasional use phone. You can add minutes during the year if you need to.

Their cheapest contract plans include 500 anytime voice only minutes for $34.99, with unlimited text it’s $39.99 — these plans include unlimited night and weekend minutes with night minutes starting after 9 pm and unlimited T-Mobile to T-Mobile minutes. For $49.99 you get unlimited talk and text. You can add some limited data service (for social networking) to the unlimited talk and text starting at $59.99 per month; better data options are available for a higher price.

TracFone’s Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

TracFone is a worthy competitor to consider when looking for budget cell phone plans. TracFone cheap cell phone plans generally rate pretty well as far as value and network coverage area and like StraightTalk they offer affordable cell phones too. They only offer prepaid or pay as you go cell phone service, no contracts.

TracFone’s cheapest cell phone plan is the lowest level of their Value Plans, costing $9.99 per month for 50 minutes; the next step up is $19.99 per month for 125 minutes. All of their Value Plans include talk, text, email and web, but they don’t have great phone options to support web service. The minutes rollover if you don’t use them as long as you keep your account active, and if you need more minutes you can buy them at any time.

If you’re looking for the best value you may want to consider their cheap prepaid annual cell plan options. Their best value plan offers 1,500 minutes for $199.99 for a year of service, but you can get cheaper options with less minutes. You can buy additional minutes during the year if you need to.

Verizon’s Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

Verizon Wireless is known for their strong network, but not as much for offering the cheapest cell phone plans. That said Verizon’s Basic Plan is their cheapest cell phone plan available. They offer 450 anytime minutes for $39.99 a month, but this basic plan does not provide data transfer or texting without incurring greater cost. If you don’t use your cell phone for data transfer or texting, this is a decent plan with a strong network. However, some people will find better value in their unlimited voice plan for $69.99 per month.

Messaging can be added to any plan. Options start at twenty cents per text or $5 for 250 texts and they step up from there up to $20 per month for unlimited texts.

When searching for the cheapest cell phone plan make sure you choose one with a network that suits your needs. Cheap cell phone plans are worthless if they don’t provide service in the areas where you need it.

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Cell Phone Family Plans

Whether you are looking for a plan that is cheap or one that fits your family’s needs best you want to compare the options between different carriers. Different carries have slightly different options, including different advantages and disadvantages. When looking at cell phone family plans it is also important to read the fine print. Most family cell plans come with a two year contract so you want to make sure it’s a good fit.

Here are the details from some of the most common family cell phone plans, but keep in mind your geographical area can impact your satisfaction with these plans. Make sure the carrier you choose has good network coverage in the areas you’ll be using it most. […]

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Prepaid Cell Phones

With prepaid cell phones you buy your minutes before you actually use them. Basically, you buy credit to use a provider’s network so you can avoid a contract and the recurring bills that come with a contract plan. They are often referred to as a “pay-as-you-go” plans.

With most wireless service providers, you can add credit, or minutes and service time, to your prepaid phone account at any time. This can usually be done by purchasing a prepaid card in a retail store, adding minutes online or using your credit card to buy the additional credit directly through your cell phone provider. In most cases you buy an allotment of minutes that has a service date that expires. If you don’t buy more minutes before this date you will lose any remaining minutes and your account will lapse, but with most service providers if you add more minutes your unused minutes will carryover. […]

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Senior Cell Phone Plans

Some seniors are pretty tech savvy and intrigued with new technology, but others feel intimidated by it. For those who are intimidated by it, the right senior cell phone can help provide their children with peace of mind that their parents can get a hold of them in an emergency situation. After all a cell phone isn’t much good if the person feels uncomfortable using it.

Luckily there are a few companies who realized there was a need for easy-to-use headsets that offer features like large, easy-to-use buttons, larger screen text and clear, loud sound. Some of them even offer an emergency feature that helps the cell phone user quickly start auto calling a pre-set list of phone numbers in the case of an emergency. There are a few different companies that offer senior friendly cell phones and plans, some of which are pretty cheap. Here is a list of the most common options along with their price and basic features.
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StraightTalk

Many people who are looking for cheap cell plans with a lot of talk, text and data all in one simple plan are looking at StraightTalk cell phone plans. StraightTalk is a trademark of TracFone and offered at Wal-Mart as a low cost option for people who need to use their cell phone on a regular basis. The generous amount of minutes on their plans make it difficult to complain about the talk and texting limits, but for some people the data plans aren’t all they claim to be.

Like any wireless service provider they have their pros and cons. The options look good in print, but are they all they are cracked up to be? For some people they have been a great find, but for others they have been a disappointment. Here is a list of their pros and cons including their biggest strengths and biggest weakness. […]

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