So…….you love your iPhone, but not the $100 per month plan and 2-year commitment? You aren’t alone, and you have other options including a prepaid iPhone. What if I told you that you can get practically the same service for only $45 a month, with no contracts? Read on.
WARNING: Please read through this post and do your research prior to proceeding with any change to your phone or plan.
You’re probably thinking, “It can’t be that easy, there has to be some catch.” Well, kinda. It takes a little bit of work, but the end result is $600 back in your pocket over the next 12 months. Isn’t that worth a little bit of effort?
Leandrea and I have have tried just about every type of phone, carrier and plan over the past ten years. Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, US Cellular….the list goes on and on. But about five years ago, we stopped and took a look at our actual usage. We were paying Verizon about $55 per month for a single flip phone with 450 min and a text plan. Our actual usage: about 100 min and 10-15 texts per month. Not exactly a good value for us.
So I started looking into our options. All the plans from the big carriers were about the same: about $40 for the entry plan, plus texting and taxes/fees. Not much chance for any savings there. So we kept looking, and I found the answer: Prepaid Wireless.
Now, I know what you are thinking: Isn’t that what drug dealers use to hide from police? Aren’t those plans limited to phones from 1998? Well, I don’t know…maybe the first one is true. But it doesn’t matter. Get the Prepaid stigma out of your head. The Prepaid offerings today are just too good to ignore.
Let’s take a quick look at the Prepaid carriers of today. With the exception of regional carriers such as MetroPCS and Cricket, most Prepaid carriers today are Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO). This means that instead of building their own mobile networks, they purchase time/data from the big carriers at a wholesale rate. They then sell that time to you and me at a reduced rate.
There are many, many MVNOs out there today. Each of the big carriers have them: Verizon (Page Plus), Sprint (Virgin, Boost, i-wireless), AT&T (Red Pocket, H2O) and T-Mobile (Simple Mobile). They all have their pro’s/con’s. We have tried a few of them over the years, and had a great experience with Page Plus. In fact, Leandrea’s phone was with them for almost four years. However, she was bit by the smartphone bug, and staying with Page Plus was no longer an option.
So we switched to an Android phone on Virgin Mobile (a Sprint MVNO). The plan: 300 minutes and unlimited data/text for $25 a month. Great plan, right? Well it was, when it worked. There were constant problems with the ability to access the data network. It would only work 50% of the time, and even then, the data speed was horrendously slow.
As we went through the Virgin Mobile trial, Leandrea kept looking more and more longingly at my (company paid-for) iPhone. However, we won’t pay $100 per month for a phone. It just isn’t worth $100 to us. So I started looking at Prepaid iPhone options. And I found StraightTalk.
StraightTalk is an MVNO that actually resells Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile service. In the past, their service was limited to their (poor) selection of phones sold only at Wal-Mart. The carrier that services your phone depends on the phone you choose and the area where you live. The plans are very good though: $30 for 1,000 min/1,000 text/30 MB data or $45 for unlimited everything.
Great plan, crappy phones. However, that all changed with the launch of StraightTalk’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. Now you can bring any AT&T, T-Mobile or unlocked GSM phone to StraightTalk and use it on their $45 plan.
Disclaimer: This post now contains affiliate links. We believe in Straight Talk’s service that we signed up as an affiliate. We truly want to help people save money on their cell phones and want to be completely transparent with all the information we provide. Coupons Are Great has no affiliation with any cell phone provider mentioned in this post. We do not get any referral or affiliate credits.