Five Low-Cost Mobile Phone Plans
If you have only occasional use for a mobile phone, it makes little sense to sign a two-year contract and pay high monthly rates. There are no-contract, prepaid phone plans that can provide anything from simple voice calls, to texting, to Internet access on a pay-for-use basis. And a basic phone doesn’t cost very much. Here are some options to consider if you're looking for an inexpensive cell phone plan...
"I'm Not Gonna Pay a Lot for This Mobile Phone Plan!"
Remember those old Meineke Muffler commercials with the tough guy insisting that he wasn't gonna pay a lot for his muffler? If you're looking for ways to save money on your mobile phone bill, you might be feeling the same way.
If you use a mobile phone only occasionally, the four major carriers are not for you. I visited Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T stores recently, asking for their cheapest no-contract options for someone who only uses voice and text maybe five days a week. The answers ranged from $35 to $50 a month, plus taxes and fees. That’s just not worth it!
Sure, there are “pay per day” plans where you pay a flat fee for one day’s worth of calling. But what usually happens is that you pay five bucks or more to make one phone call. Prepaid calling is priced too high per minute by the major carriers, who really want you locked into that two-year contract. So there is no help for the frugal in the top tier of the phone industry.
In the second and third tiers, where people say, “Who?” when a company is named, you can find calling and texting plans that are designed to generate modest revenue from modest users. Here are five low-cost cellular plans to consider.
Republic Wireless is a well-kept secret. All the talk, text, and data you want can cost as little as $5/month up to a maximum of $40. There is no contract. How do they do it?
Republic’s phones are engineered to use available WiFi and VoIP technology to carrier most phone traffic essentially for free. If your Republic phone is within range of a WiFi access point it can access, connectivity costs Republic nothing so it can charge you very little. When you move out of WiFi range, Republic’s phones automatically switch to Sprint’s cellular network.
Most homes and offices have WiFi these days; odds are you use a phone at home or work most of the time. So a substantial portion of your traffic can be carried free of cost over WiFi. Only the Sprint cellular portion of your usage is costing Republic and you any money.
Republic’s five dollar option limits you to WiFi only. For $10 a month, you get unlimited talk, text, and data over WiFi plus talk and text only over Sprint’s cellular network. If you need mobile data capability (when out of Wifi range), twenty-five dollars per month adds 3G data, and $40 kicks you up to 4G speeds.
Kajeet has a number of plans designed for minors of different age brackets and (presumed) needs. Parental controls come with all phones and plans. A “starter plan” for young children is designed for emergency use and checking in with parents briefly. Only ten minutes of talk are included for $4.99 per month. Text, data, and GPS locations are priced a la carte and are not especially cheap. Progressively more expensive plans add more minutes and make text and data unlimited. The price scale maxes out at $50/month for unlimited talk, text, and GPS plus 2GB of data.
H20 Wireless has phones starting as low as $25 and service plans starting at $30 for unlimited talk, text, and MMS messages, plus 500 MB of data. Unlimited data comes with a $60 plan, and you get some international calling credits.
Consumer Cellular was rated number one among budget carriers four years in a row by no less a judge than Consumer Reports. The company’s plans start at ten dollars per month plus 25 cents a minute, or you can buy a plan with a specified number of minutes: 200 minutes ($15/month), 500 minutes ($20/month), 1000 minutes ($30/month), and up to 5000 minutes ($60/month). Text and data plans can be added for additional cost. A variety of phones are available, including a $35 Motorola flip phone, and both and Apple and Android smartphones ($150-$150).
Tracfone is popular with budget-minded low-volume phone customers. The company has a number of voice, text, and data plans starting at ten dollars a month. No contracts are required, and unused minutes carry over from one month to the next. Tracfone is also known for doubling and even tripling the number of minutes you get per dollar on select deals.
As a bonus, I'll mention that SafeLink Wireless offers free phones & free minutes to low-income people who are currently enrolled in programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, TANF/Welfare, or SSI. SafeLink offers up to 250 minutes and 1250 text messages per month. SafeLink Wireless is a U.S. federal government program, funded by those "Universal Service Fund" fees you see on your phone bill each month. (This is sometimes referred to as the ObamaPhone program, but it's actually been in existence since 1996.)
But wait... there's more! Several readers have said "Why didn't you mention Ting?" Well, I did, in a previous article. You can read more about that in my article Ting! Save Money on Mobile.
Of course, this is not a complete listing of all cheap mobile phone service providers. There are several other options to consider, including Net10, Straight Talk, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile's Paylo.
Have you found a great deal on low-cost mobile phone service? Share it with othere here! Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 7 Jan 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Five Low-Cost Mobile Phone Plans (Posted: 7 Jan 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved