Choosing the best prepaid cell phone plan requires you to compare plans. Unfortunately for most people comparing wireless prepaid plans doesn’t sound like a fun task.
Prepaid cell phones are a simple enough concept: paying for minutes only when you need them, rather than being stuck with a monthly bill and contract. What’s not so simple is deciding which prepaid plan is the best or cheapest cell ph
one plan for you. With more options than ever, you may have a hard time determining which of the plans fits your specific needs and budget. This doesn’t have to be a difficult decision, however, you just need a breakdown of the different plans that are out there so you can quickly yet effectively compare prepaid plans.
Compare Prepaid Plans: Verizon and AT&T
These carriers are popular because their names are so recognizable, but they are usually not the best choice if you are looking for a cheap prepaid plan. Verizon charges twenty-five cents per minute and twenty cents per text, double the price you’ll find with other plans or services. The other option that may be cheaper is to take advantage of the $2 a day plan, where you’re only charged on days you use the phone. If you constantly text but rarely talk, Verizon offers a twenty dollar unlimited texting plan.
AT&T’s prepaid cell phone plan, known as GoPhone, has some better pricing options, but they don’t have the best reputation for service. AT&T offers a ten cents a minute prepaid plan for voice and twenty cents per text.
Both Verizon and AT&T offer a $50 unlimited talk and text plan, but this is more expensive than some other available unlimited prepaid cell plan options. If you are truly looking for the cheapest prepaid cell phone plans available these providers probably aren’t your best bet.
Compare Prepaid Plans: TracFone and StraightTalk
The price per minute for TracFone plans can vary a lot depending on the option you choose. If you want the simple $10 a month plan you’ll get 50 minutes per month with texting included, which comes to 20 cents per minute (unused minutes carry over). If choose their best value annual plan you’ll pay $200 for 1,500 minutes for a year worth of service, which comes to about 13 cents a minute. Of course they have other options available as well, and they have an option to double minutes so you can get a better cost per minute.
StraightTalk cell phone plans are pretty straight forward, hence the name, making them one of the less complicated options to consider. Their cheapest prepaid cell plan is $30 for 1,000 minutes, which comes to 3 cents a minute. This includes text as well. For price per minute that’s pretty hard to beat, but if you rarely use your cell phone TracFone’s $10 a month plan may be cheaper for you overall — it all depends on your usage. StraightTalk’s monthly unlimited cell phone plan is $45.
Compare Prepaid Plans: Boost Mobile and Net10
Like other prepaid wireless service providers Boost Mobile has expanded their prepaid cell phone plan options. You can either go with a simple pay as you go plan that charges 20 cents per minute or 20 cents per text, the $2 a day unlimited option or their $50 per month unlimited plan. They’ve recently added a bill shrink option to their $50 monthly unlimited plan where you can shrink your bill by paying on time for several months.
Net10 offers a couple of options as well. The cheapest option among Net10 cheap cell phone plans is their automatic monthly refill, which includes options under 10 cents a minute with texting; the exact per minute price depends on the increment you choose, but you can find options as low as 6 cents a minute. They have a pay as you go plan that comes to $15 per month, which offers 300 voice/web minutes or 600 texts over a 60 day period. The other option is the generic $50 per month unlimited talk and text plan.
Compare Prepaid Plans: T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile
The price per minute can vary quite a bit with T-Mobile depending on the plan you choose, ranging anywhere from over 30 cents a minute to 10 cents a minute. Their lowest priced plan is $10 for 30 minutes that remains active for 90 days; the best value is their $100 annual plan that provides 1,000 minutes over a year. The other option is their pay by the day plans, where you only pay for the days you use your phone. For $2 a day you can get unlimited talk and text with T-Mobile.
As you compare prepaid phone plans Virgin Mobile is an option worth considering if you mostly use your cell phone for web, email and messaging. Virgin Mobile popularized the prepaid phone service, but they’ve changed with a growing market to offer new options. In recent years they’ve shifted to what they call Beyond Talk Plans that focus on web, messaging and email usage all available with no contract plans. For $35 a month you can get 300 minutes talk time with unlimited messaging and data, or for $55 you can get unlimited everything.
Another smaller but comparable prepaid cell phone carrier to watch in the future is Consumer Cellular. As they grow and improve, you may need to revise your cell phone plan comparison to include them. They offer simple, cheap prepaid cell phone plan options and they rate well in customer surveys from Consumer Reports. Their cheap plans are geared toward the occasional user with plans starting at $10 per month + 25 cents per minute, or $15 per month with 100 minutes. For more information their plan options and details read: Consumer Cellular Cheap Cell Phone Plans
Understand Your Options
Knowing what each different prepaid plan offers and costs should make your decision an easy one, but it is important to do your own prepaid cell phone plan comparison to make sure you find a service that’s a good fit. You now have the tools to compare prepaid wireless plans and choose which plan is right for you. And of course, one of the perks of having one of these prepaid phones is that you can come back at any time if your phone usage changes and select a new plan.
Keep in mind you can also find prepaid family cell phone plans. These types of plans can be a good idea if you have teens who can’t stay within their limits and you are tired of paying high overage fees.
Before you choose a prepaid cell phone plan check the network coverage. Even though you’re not locked into a plan or contract you don’t want to have to start over with your prepaid plan comparison because the coverage in the area where you need it isn’t very good with the carrier you originally selected.
While most people with cheap prepaid cell plans don’t opt for mobile phone insurance, if they spent a lot on their phone even though they have a cheap wireless phone plan they may at least consider it.
It is definitely worth your time to compare prepaid cellular plans to get the plan and rate that is right for you. I hope this guide helped you compare prepaid plans and review different deals in a way that led you to save money._____________________________________