If you’re looking for cheap cell phones without plans, I have some interesting news and information for you. I’ll provide you some advice on how to go about buying a cell phone without committing yourself to a plan, but I’ll also discuss a coming technology that you might appeal to you: the disposable phone.
Wireless service providers often create new and unique packages and promotions in an attempt to draw fresh customers. A typical approach is to offer a cheap cell phone packaged with preloaded air time and a few other alluring features. The catch is, however, that when you’ve used the preloaded talk time (or it expires), you need to subscribe to one of their plans to keep the phone operational. Ultimately, they want to keep you away from cell phones without plans… or make you pay a higher price for one.
Cell Phones Without Plans
So what do I do right now if my family is looking for cell phones without plans? First keep in mind it may be more expensive to choose cell phones without plans than to commit to one of the many offers cellular companies use to wrap you into their service, so these may not be the best cell phone plans for you; it all depends on your wireless needs.
That said the options and prices for prepaid or pay as you go cell phones has improved in recent years. Competition has increased offerings and created more pricing options with these types of “plans”. There are also a few new players in the game, which has helped increase the options for anyone who is looking for the cheapest cell phones without plans. These are essentially no contract plans that can be cancelled or stopped at anytime without penalty, so I use the term “plan” loosely.
If you currently have a cell phone already and you’ve been with the same carrier for a while, look for customer loyalty rebates and bonuses from your wireless provider first. Like it or not, loyalty often leads to the cheapest cell phone plans. If they can’t offer you anything worth your while, consider the following methods for finding cheap cell phones without plans.
- Again, if you’re currently with a wireless company, check one of their retail stores or their website. All the big players will happily sell you a phone without requiring you to buy into one of their plans. Can you stomach paying three times more the phone? Because that’s about what it will cost you as these are not typically the cheapest cell phones available. It’s a turn-off, yes, but it does ensure you that particular phone will be compatible with that wireless provider’s network. In many retail stores, you’ll find the plan-free price of a particular phone in small writing below the big advertised price.
- If you’re looking for a headset that is independent of any wireless carrier, you’ll need what is called an unlocked cell phone. An unlocked cell phone doesn’t have a SIM card (or a “subscriber identification module”). SIM cards are what associate specific phones with a specific company. Without a SIM card, a phone can be used on any network compatible with its features. When you join a company, that carrier will install their software and lock it. While an unlocked cell phone isn’t a necessity, it does give you a little more freedom when attempting to find the best wireless service without a contract.
- Scour the web for a selection of unlocked phones and cell phones without plans. Major sites such as eBay and Amazon often feature a wide range of auctions for unlocked phones. Don’t expect them to be cheap, but you might find a better price here than you’ll find in retail outlets, but you also don’t get the same customer service buying this way.
- Don’t hesitate to look through your local Craig’s List cell phone ads (craigslist.org), as you might find some great deals this way. However, please be aware that it isn’t unusual to find either malfunctioning phones or stolen phones through such channels. Just be cautious and use some common sense.
- And last but not least, don’t forget to consider prepaid cell phones. Many pay as you go or prepaid services offer affordable phones with no contract; you just buy minutes from the wireless provider as you need them or find a monthly no contract plan that fits your needs. Many of these phones provide all the capabilities of normal cell phones. In some cases the minutes for a no contract cell phone plan will cost you more than the same number of minutes in a contract, but if you use very little it can still be cost-effective way to use a cell phone without a plan. If you shop around a little you can likely find cheap prepaid cell phone plans that have a good network in your area and fit your needs. You can even find unlimited pay as you go plans these days that work with certain smartphones.
Disposable Cell Phones
I thought I’d also inform you about the coming of disposable cell phones. In the simplest terms, these plan-free cell phones would take the place of the old fashioned telephone booth. The idea is to have vending machines with cheap cell phones available for just a couple bucks. Technically, these will probably be pretty cheap cell phones without plans… if the concept catches on.
You drop in your coins, cash or slide through your credit card, then a small package drops just like a candy bar from a vending machine. The cell phone typically would be focused on local coverage and the talk time would vary depending on the amount you entered into the vending machine.
You could then just turn it on, walk off and talk. Of course, once you’ve used up your air time, the phone becomes useless and you’ll need to toss it. As you might imagine, that could get wasteful fast, so I sure hope they make this program recycle-friendly.
Operational mobile phones of this nature have been patented and manufactured, but full production will only begin when there is a clearly defined demand for them. The current plan is to provide these cheap cell phones in common public places such as airports and shopping malls as well as bus stations and train stations.
So until the plan-free disposable phones catch on, you’ll enjoy some other viable options when shopping for cell phones without plans. However, keep in mind that some of these options won’t actually be cheap; you may pay a little more for freedom. Cellular providers want you as a subscriber so you they offer deep discounts on their cell phones with plans.
If your situation requires that freedom, I really hope the information I’ve provided here on Cell Phones Without Plans helps you find what you need._____________________________________