Many people assume that these days, in order to have a cellphone they’re required to make a two year commitment to a major carrier. Currently, several prepaid phone companies are offering new features that can rival major cellphone carriers, especially when it comes to newer, more innovative pricing plans.
While not signing a two year contract offers a number of benefits, it also has some drawbacks that should be kept in mind. If you’re someone who is looking to save money and you don’t mind paying close attention to your phone’s usage for texts and minutes, you need a phone for travel or work, or just an extra phone to have on hand, then a prepaid phone might be right up your alley. There are a number of prepaid wireless companies that can offer you a variety of pros and cons when it comes to choosing their service, so here we’ll tell you what to look for in a wireless prepaid carrier and educate you on some of the top leading prepaid carriers in the business, some of which you may have heard of, and some that are known to be the best kept secrets of the prepaid cellular world.
How to go About Choosing a Prepaid Carrier
When it comes to finding the right prepaid carrier, most people will start with the obvious factor, when it comes to determining which carrier is right for them, and that’s the price. Take a look at how many minutes are available each month, the data limits and the texting limits. If you’re someone that spends a significant amount of time texting or downloading, then you’re going to need a plan that can truly offer you these features on an unlimited basis. Typically, these companies can offer pay as you go minutes for data and text, or they’ll offer it as a monthly prepaid package.
Not every company that offers prepaid packages will allow you to use your own phone, so the odds are that you’re going to need to purchase a new phone through their company. Some carriers will not allow you to use smartphones, and if they do you can expect these phones to be significantly more expensive than the prices offered by everyday cellphone carriers.
Each company will also have their own data limitations. Several of these companies may offer unlimited plans, however, be careful when choosing this type of package and read the fine print, as many of these companies will charge you additional fees, once you have reached a particular amount of data usage.
Find Companies that Offer Their Customers Extra Features
Since you aren’t required to sign a contract, many of these carriers will offer a number of extras in order to keep your as a customer. Companies such as Boost Mobile advertise their program that allows your monthly rate to be reduced every six months, if you pay your bill on time.
There are a number of prepaid carriers to choose from, and in order to save the most money you’ll need to determine what your needs are, in addition to the needs of your family.
T-mobile offers contract free programs that allow you to use almost any type of smartphone, although they do restrict their users data usage, but you really can’t beat a plan that’s fifty dollars a month.
The prepaid carrier Straight Talk also allows their customers to use their own smartphones and will only charge users fifteen dollars for a new SIM card. They currently offer a plan for under fifty dollars that allows unlimited use for talk, text and data.
Virgin Mobile also features affordable plans, with some coming in at under forty dollars a month. However, this company is also incredibly strict when it comes to going over the allowed data usage for the month, which means you could be looking at overage charges.
There is a new and little known prepaid carrier called SOLAVEI, which runs on one of the nation’s fastest 4G networks. Solavei offers unlimited voice, text and data for a low montly fee; you can bring your own phone provided it’s an unlocked GSM phone, and the most exciting part is you can earn money from your phone service when you share with family and friends.
According to consumers, Boost doesn’t offer much of a selection when it comes to top of the line, popular smartphones. However, if you’re not looking for something hi-tech and just need an extra phone for talk and text, then this might be the carrier for you.
Verizon and AT&T both have prepaid plans available and while they may not be as affordable as some of the other prepaid carriers we’ve mentioned, they do offer a much better selection when it comes to phones.
The Most Affordable Prepaid Cellphone Carriers
Consumer Cellular offers simple and affordable monthly plans that can fit any budget. This carrier has plans that start at ten dollars a month, although the plan doesn’t incorporate any minutes, charging customers twenty-five cents a minute.
H20 Wireless offers minute, daily, or monthly plans. Their monthly plans start off at twenty-five dollars a month and it comes included with a bonus five dollar credit for any international calls. Their forty dollar plan features 18MB of data, which is pretty impressive, when compared to some of the better known prepaid carriers.
The carrier known as Kajeet markets itself as the smartphone for kids. Every plan offered by this carrier features a number of parental controls that can be performed online. This will allow parents to monitor who their children talk to and text, as well as control the usage for text, talk and data. Their lowest plan comes it at under five dollars and features ten minutes of talk time and ten cents per text. Their twenty dollar plan features unlimited text and one-hundred talk minutes. When it comes to the cost of overages for data usage, these costs can be steep. The phones themselves can also be expensive, but there is a huge selection of basic cell phone and smartphones to choose from.
There are many people out there that feel that prepaid plans will give them more control over what they spend each month on their cellphone services. Without a contract, a person is able to change their plan at the end of each month, should they determine they’re using more texts or talk minutes than previously anticipated, and with this type of change they won’t be looking at steep monthly costs, which can often increase should they go over the allowed usage.