Net10

Overall Net10 ranks pretty well for their coverage network, call quality and cheap cell phone plans. Like many wireless service providers they don’t have the best reputation for customer service, but since that is a common problem in this area, Net10 is a company worth considering if you are looking for basic affordable cell phone coverage.

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Net10 Cell Phone Plans

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Monthly Cell Phone Plans
Like StraightTalk cell phone plans, Net10’s monthly cell phone plans run on a 30 day schedule; the minutes on these plans don’t carry over. They offer three different monthly plans with the ability to enroll in Auto Refill to keep the plans active; with some plans enrolling in Auto Refill via the website provides a slightly discounted rate.



The cheapest cell phone plan in their monthly category is 750 minutes of talk, text, picture messaging, 411 calls and web/email for $25 per 30 days.

Next is the 30-day Monthly Unlimited Plan, which offers unlimited talk, text, picture messaging, 411 calls and web for $50. They offer this plan for $45 as a web exclusive offer on their site.

The third one is a 30-day Unlimited International Plan, which offers everything their Unlimited Plan offers along with unlimited international calling to over 1,000 destinations for $65. They also offer a web exclusive deal on this plan at $60.

It’s important to note that, like many other wireless service providers, Net10 unlimited cell phone service isn’t completely unlimited. If you look at the terms of service they specifically state you’re not allowed to tether the cell phone to your laptop or personal computer and use it for regular internet service.

Pay As You Go Cell Phone Plans

All Net10 pay as you go cell phone plans offer talk, text and web. To keep your Net10 prepaid cell phone active you need to buy more service time before the service end date. If you run out of minutes before the service date you can easily add more airtime and service time. Minutes on pay as you go plans carry over as along as you keep the service active. Here are the options they offer for pay as you go cell phone service:

  • For $20 and 30 service days you get 200 talk/web minutes or 400 texts.
  • For $30 and 60 service days you get 300 talk/web minutes or 600 texts.
  • For $45 and 60 service days you get 600 talk/web minutes or 1,200 texts.
  • For $60 and 90 service days you get 900 talk/web minutes or 1,800 texts.
  • They also have a web exclusive offer, for $100 you get and 180 service days and 1,500 talk/web minutes or 1,800 texts.

Basic Plan Details

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Here are a few of the plan details for Net10 cell phone plans:

  • No credit checks
  • No contracts
  • No activation fee
  • No roaming charges
  • International calling available
  • They use TracFone’s network
  • Rollover minutes on pay as you go plans
  • Auto-refill available, in some cases at a discount, or you can add more time online or with service cards at participating retailers
  • No family cell phone plans

Cell Phone Selection

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Cell phone selection isn’t known to be great with many of the cheap prepaid cell phone plans, but if you compare prepaid cell plans you’ll notice Net10’s selection isn’t too bad if you shop online. They offer a few different options from popular manufacturers like LG, Samsung and Motorola. Their cell phone selection ranges from basic refurbished cell phones to QWERTY slide keyboard cell phones and touch screen Android cell phones with a QWERTY slide keyboard. The most basic cell phones are priced in the $20 range and the high-end phones are in the $300 range, which is a little on the high side even for a no contract carrier.

Some of the phones come with minutes and 30 days of service, which helps make them a better deal. A couple of the lower-end $25 cell phones come with a $25 30 day plan, which makes it seem like you’re getting a free cell phone or free minutes (which ever way you want to look at it). Some of their Android phones require an Unlimited Monthly Plan, which makes the most sense for these smartphones anyway.

If you’re looking for cheap cell phones without a plan that you can take with you to a different carrier later it’s important to know that Net10 cell phones are locked and can only be used with their service. If you have your own unlocked cell phone however, you may be able to use it with Net10 cheap cell phone plans with a Net10 SIM card.


Customer Service

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Net10 has a pretty good website that allows you to take care of most of your basic needs like buying a phone, buying more airtime or activating your phone. They also have a good FAQ to answer most of your basic questions. If you need to call customer service however, you may not have such a great experience. Unfortunately customer service isn’t a strong point for Net10.


Fees

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Net10 has pretty low fees overall. They don’t charge an activation fee, they don’t charge extra for 411 or for roaming. While it’s not a fee it is good to know they round up minutes. If you talk for 2 minutes and 10 seconds you’ll be charged for 3 minutes.


Pros And Cons

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Pros

  • Straight forward, affordable plan options
  • Good coverage area
  • Under the established brand of TracFone

Cons

  • Customer service complaints
  • Net10 cell phones can only be used with Net10 wireless plans

Summary

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If you’re comparing the cheapest cell phone plans Net10 is an option worth considering, especially if you’re looking for a cheap medium or cheap low use cell phone plan. They offer straightforward plans at affordable prices with rates as low as $15 per month if you choose the $30 for 60 day pay as you go plan. They have a good coverage area and overall good call quality so they stack up pretty well in a cell phone plan comparison. Even though they don’t have a great customer service record they ranked number four in a J.D. Power and Associates survey of no contract wireless plans in March of 2011 for overall customer satisfaction. They were right behind their sister company TracFone.

One of the benefits of pay as you go plans offered by companies like Net10 is that they offer the flexibility to change your plan as needed to fit your budget and your cell phone needs at any given time. These pay as you go cell plans can also help you avoid cell phone bill shock because they don’t have overage charges.

If you are looking for an even cheaper cell phone option for occasional use you may want to consider TracFone cheap cell phone plans instead; many consumers consider them one of the best cell phone plans for light or occasional use. Overall the two are similar, but TracFone has a few different cheap cell phone plans including monthly value plans starting at $10 per month and annual pay as you go cell phone plans starting at around $100 per year. TracFone costs more per minute but less per month.

Net10 doesn’t offer family plans, but because they are affordable enough each member of the family can have their own separate plan if no one in the family needs a lot of minutes. Even if you don’t want to use them as a family plan you may consider getting your kids their first phone through a company like Net10. Using a prepaid cell phone plan is a good way for them to learn how to budget their voice and text time if you don’t have an unlimited family cell phone plan.

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