Cell Phone Plans Archives


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NET10 Nationwide CoverageWhen NET10 started, they only offered straight 10 cent per minute cards (hence the name Net10.) They have recently started offering more options.

Pay As You Go
The base cards are $20 (200 minutes) and $30 (300 minutes.) They also offer 600, 900, and 1500 minute cards. The airtime on these cards expires from 30 to 180 days depending on the card.

Monthly Plans
Another option NET10 offers is their 30 day cards. These plans are similar to Straight Talk in the sense that you refill your airtime at the end of 30 days or whenever you use up the minutes, whichever comes first.

They have a 200 minute option for $15 and a 500 minute option for $30. These two cards allow you to carry over unused minutes to the next month. They also offer a 750 minute plan for $25 which is obviously a much better deal than their 500 minute/$30 card, but the minutes do not carry over to the next month. The first two plans would be good if you use just a handful of minutes a month.

Net10 also offers an unlimited plan for $50 per month which provides unlimited domestic calls and text. Their unlimited international plan costs $65. They offer a discount If you enroll in their auto-refill program (you register your credit card information with them.) The discount for the auto-refill program is $45 for unlimited domestic calls and $60 unlimited international.

Family Plans
Net10 is one of the few prepaid cell phone companies that offers discounts for adding additional phones to your plan. Their family plan offers unlimited talk, text, and data starting at $50 a month (for one line.) They discount $10 per additional line, so adding another phone will cost $90 a month.

Opinion: Net10 offers prepaid plans that are very similar to many other plans in the industry. The one plan that sets them apart is the 30 day, 750 minute card for $25. If you use less than 750 minutes a month, then this is the plan you want to go with. If you use between 750 and 1000 minutes per month, then go with Straight Talk’s 1000 minute $30 card.

Website: Visit the Net10 website.

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TracFone is the leader in the prepaid cell phone field. They offer a vast array of phones and plans at over 60,000 retail locations nationwide. TracFone offers many cell phones and airtime options. One of the benefits of TracFone is that they offer one of the cheapest cell phones for $9.99. They also offer one of the cheapest plans at $10.

Pay As You Go
With the TracFone Pay As You Go Plan, the minutes you purchase are good for 3 months. They will roll over, provided you keep your phone activated. To keep the phone active, you simply purchase more minutes. The phone tells you exactly how many minutes you have left so you have plenty of time to recharge your minutes. The plans are: 30 minutes for $9.99, 60 minutes for $19.99, 120 minutes for $29.99, 200 minutes for $39.99, and 450 minutes for $79.99. These are expensive minutes, but TracFone offers many bundles with the opportunity to double or tripple your minutes and extend your activation period. For example, for $19.99 you can buy a card to double all future minutes for life.

Monthly Value Plans
With a monthly plan your activation expires in 30 days (whereas the Pay as You Go activation expires in 90 days or more). The difference between TracFone’s monthly plan and other cell phone providers is that their minutes actually carry over to the next month if you don’t use them, but you still have to purchase minutes every month to keep your service active. Prices for the plans are 50 minutes for $9.99, 125 minutes for $19.99, and 200 minutes for $29.99. Again, these are very expensive minutes, but if you are on a budget and only use a few minutes per month then one of TracFone’s monthly plans might work for you.

Opinion: TracFone was one of the first prepaid cell phone companies in the country and they offer a wide array of phones and services plans. Unfortunately, while most of the other prepaid phone companies have been lowering their rates, TracFone’s per minute rates are some of the highest in the industry. If you use a lot of minutes then TracFone is a bad idea for you. However, if you use a small number of minutes or you just need a cell phone for emergency use, then TracFone is a great choice. Here’s an article explaining why TracFone is the best cell phone for emergency use.

Website: Visit the TracFone website.

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MetroPCS offers the cheapest unlimited minutes plan in the country. They offer three basic options, all of which provide unlimited talk, text, and data. The difference in plans is the speed at which the data is delivered.

$40 Plan
This plan offers unlimited talk and texting for $40 a month. Data is unlimited too, but only the first 500 MB is delivered at 4GLTE speeds. All subsequent data is delivered at 3G speeds.

$50 Plan
This plan offers unlimited talk and texting for $50 a month. Like the plan above, data is unlimited too, but only the first 2.5 GB is delivered at 4GLTE speeds. All subsequent data is delivered at 3G speeds.

$60 Plan
This plan offers unlimited talk, text, and data for $60 a month. This plan delivers an unlimited amount of data at full 4GLTE speeds.

The $40 a month plan is currently the cheapest unlimited minutes plan in the country. The great benefit of monthly plans is that if you need access to faster data download speed, you can always upgrade your plan for that month, and then downgrade the next. The downside to Metro PCS is their coverage. They have limited coverage outside of metropolitan areas and if you are traveling you may find coverage limited.

Opinion: MetroPCS is one of the best prepaid cell phone plans available offering the cheapest unlimited package ($40) in the country. The major downside to Metro PCS is their lack of coverage in rural areas. However, if you live in a large metropolitan area and don’t plan to travel much with your phone, then Metro PCS could be the best prepaid cell phone plan for you.

Website: Visit the MetroPCS Website

Current promotions and deals from MetroPCS:

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Straight Talk

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straight talk prepaid serviceStraight Talk is a simple and cheap cell phone plan. Straight Talk is trademark of Tracfone and is offered online and at Walmart retail locations.

They offer three plans:

1) 1000 minutes/texts/web for $30 per month or

2) Unlimited minutes/text/web for $45 a month.

3) Unlimited minutes/text/web and Unlimited International calls for $60 a month.

You can mix and match plans to suit your monthly usage. For example, if you typically use the 1000 minute plan and anticipate using more minutes next month, you could purchase an unlimited plan and then go back to using the cheaper 1000 minutes plan the following month.

They also offer the option of automatic refills with a credit card.

Networks and Coverage:
Straight Talk uses a variety of cell phone networks and technologies. The network you use is dependent on the cell phone that you purchase. Their primary network is Verizon (CDMA), but they also use Sprint (CDMA), AT&T (GSM), and T-Mobile (GSM).

Ideally you will want to purchase a phone that works on Verizon’s network since they offer the best coverage in the country.

How to tell which network your Straight Talk phone uses:

  1. Phone models ending in “C” use Verizon
  2. Phone models ending in “G” use either T-Mobile or AT&T
  3. All Nokia phones are AT&T
  4. Most Android phones use Sprint
  5. A few Android phones use Verizon. The box will have a red map with the phrase “Nationwide Coverage on America’s Most Reliable Network”.

Opinion: Straight Talk is the best all around prepaid cell phone plan available. While other plans are slightly cheaper, Straight Talk’s coverage is the best in the nation (if you purchase a Verizon based phone).

Website: Visit the Straight Talk website

Current promotions and deals from Straight Talk:

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