Compare Plans Archives

Virgin Mobile

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Virgin Mobile LogoVirgin Mobile is now a subsidiary of Sprint. They provide two different types of monthly plans depending on what type of phone you need. The first plan, called PayLo, is geared toward basic phones. The second plan they offer, Beyond Talk, is geared toward smartphone users.

If you need a cheap, no frills phone to talk or text, then this program is geared toward you. Virgin Mobile provides seven different phones under the PayLo program, starting at $14.99. They offer three levels of plans: 400 minutes, 1500 minutes, and an unlimited minutes plan. For $20 per month you can get 400 minutes (texting and data are extra charges.) For $30 a month you can get 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, and 30MB of data. They also offer an unlimited minutes plan for $40 which provides unlimited talk and texts and 50MB of data access.

Beyond Talk
The Beyond Talk program is targeted toward smartphone customers and all plans offer unlimited data. The difference in plans is the amount of minutes they provide. Beyond Talk customers can choose between thirteen phones starting at $39.99. The first plan option is $35 for 300 minutes and also provides unlimited text messaging. The second is $45 for 1200 minutes and also offers unlimited texting. The third is $55 for unlimited minutes and texting. Again all Beyond Talk plans come with unlimited data.

Opinion: Virgin Mobile’s PayLo unlimited plan for $40 is one of the cheapest unlimited plans in the country. Their Beyond Talk unlimited plan for $55, which offers unlimited 3G/4G data is also a great deal.

Website: Visit the Virginin Mobile website.

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Compare Per Minute Pricing Plans

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When you know how many minutes of airtime a month you use, then check out the comparisons below to find the cheapest plan. We’ve gone through every cell phone provider’s plans to determine the cost at each level of minute usage. The average cell phone customer uses about 450 minutes of airtime per month, so we’ve compared the plans at 4 different levels of cell phone use.

  1. Compare 200 Minute Plans. Infrequent Use. If you are an infrequent cell phone user, if you only use your cell phone for emergencies or occasional use, then 200 minutes per month might be a level of minutes to consider. To compare the cost of 200 minute plans, click here.
  2. Compare 500 Minute Plans. Average Use. The average cell phone customer uses about 450 minutes per month. Most prepaid cell phone companies offer 500 minute plans, so this level of use would give you enough minutes plus a few extra for emergencies. To compare the cost of 500 minute plans, click here.
  3. Compare 1000 Minute Plans. Heavy Use. You will require a 1000 minute plan if you are a heavy cell phone user or if you use your cell phone as your primary phone (i.e. you don’t have a home phone.) To compare the cost of 1000 minute plans, click here.
  4. Compare Unlimited Minute Plans. Very Heavy Use. If you talk on the phone quite a bit, if you use your phone for business purposes, or if this phone is for a teenager, then you will need an unlimited minutes plan. Don’t worry – most prepaid unlimited minutes plans are actually cheaper than many contract plans. To compare the cost of unlimited minute plans, click here.

The great feature of prepaid cell phone plans is that you can easily add minutes when you use them up. If you use up your minutes before the activation period ends, then simply buy another card and refill your phone. If you find you are consistently going over your minutes at a certain level, then simply switch to the next level of use. The convenience of a prepaid cell phone plans is that, unlike contract plans, you can change your level of usage – up or down – at any time. You simply buy a different card.

Compare 200 Minute Plans

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How much will 200 minutes a month cost you?
Since the average cell phone customer uses about 450 minutes per month, we chose 200 minutes per month as an amount that an infrequent cell phone user might require. This was the hardest level of minutes to review. At this level of usage there is quite a variation in how companies offer their minutes. For example, the lowest number of minutes Straight Talk offers is 1000 minutes. Check the notes below since there are a lot of variations in how companies offer minutes at this level.

Cell Phone Plans Monthly Cost Notes
AT&T $20.00 a
Boost Mobile $40.00 b
Kajeet $24.99 c
MetroPCS $40.00 d
NET10 $15.00
Straight Talk $30.00 f
T-Mobile $30.00 g
TracFone $39.99 h
US Cellular $20.00 i
Verizon Prepaid $44.99 j
Virgin Mobile $20 k

PlatinumTel is the winner at the 200 minute level. They sell a 200 minute card for $10 .

Visit the PlatinumTel website to check out their phones and plans.

a. AT&T charges 10 cents per minute.
b. Boost Mobile charges 20 cents per minute.
c. 300 minute card.
d. MetroPCS only offers an unlimited minutes plan.
e. 200 mintues. PlatinumTel has a flat rate of 5 cents per mintue. This is their $10 card. The next card they offer is a $20 card (400 mintues.) Texts and data usage are extra.
f. Straight Talk only offers a 1000 minute plan and an unlimited plan.
g. 160 minute card for $30, 400 minute card for $50.
h. 200 mintue card.
i. Ten cents per minute. Note that US Cellular has a $50 one time activation fee.
j. Verizon has a 450 minute prepaid plan.
k. Virgin PayLo 400 minutes.

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T-MobileT-Mobile offers two basic plans, a pay as you go plan and a monthly plan.

Pay As You Go
The pay as you go plan offers minutes that expire after 90 days. The card options are 30 minutes for $10, 160 minutes for $30, 400 minutes for $50, and 1000 minutes for $100. The 1000 minute card is active for one year.

Daily Plans
Many of the major carriers are copying AT&T’s daily plans. Basically, you only pay for days that you use your phone. These plans are great if you know for a fact that you’ll only use your phone a limited number of days during the month. The $1 a Day plan gives you 10 cents per minute talk and unlimited text. The $2 a Day plan gives you unlimited talk and text, along with unlimited 2G web. The $3 a Day plan gives you unlimited talk, text, and 4G web access.

Monthly Plans
The monthly plans offer minute options that expire after thirty days and range from $30 a month up to $70 a month. For $30 you can purchase 1500 minutes and texts – any combination of both, and 30 MB of data. T-Mobile offers a second $30 plan that gives you only 100 minutes of talk, but unlimited texting and unlimited web access. T-Mobile offers 3 unlimited monthly plans that give you unlimited talk, text, and data access; a $50 plan, a $60 plan, and a $70 plan – all with varying amounts of 4G access.

Note on T-Mobile’s Data Plans
T-Mobile offers their data plans at a blazing fast 4G speed. But here’s the catch: You only get that 4G speed up to a certain data usage and then it converts to 2G speed. So, for example, the $50 unlimited talk, text, and web monthly plan gives you 1000MB of data usage at 4G speed, but if you use that up before the end of the month, then your web access drops down to 2G speed. You still get unlimited web access, but at a lower speed. The more expensive plans give you more access to the 4G speed.

Opinion:The pay as you go plans, which range from 30 cents per minute to 10 cents per minute, are expensive. The monthly plans are about average for the industry. The unlimited plan for $50 is not the cheapest unlimited plan on the market, but it’s also not the most expensive. The one possible benefit to T-Mobile, though, is that their data access is at 4G speeds. While other companies promote Internet access as part of their unlimited plans, the access speed is closer to dial up than to high speed Internet access at 4G.

Website: Visit the T-Mobile website.

Compare Unlimited Minute Plans

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How much will an unlimited minutes plan cost me per month?
Since most cell phone customers use about 450 minutes per month, an unlimited minutes plan is good choice for a VERY heavy cell phone user. Most prepaid cell phone companies offer unlimited plans, and they can be significantly cheaper than contract plans. Most of the unlimited plans are straightforward – you pay a flat fee for unlimited talk, text, and web access for a 30 day time period.

Cell Phone Plans Monthly Cost Notes
AT&T $50.00
Boost Mobile $50.00
Kajeet $50.00
NET10 $50.00  a
PlatinumTel $50.00
Straight Talk $45.00
T-Mobile $50.00
TracFone N/A b
US Cellular $50.00
Verizon Prepaid $60.00

There’s a tie for the winner at the unlimited minute level. You can get unlimited talk and text for $40 a month from these prepaid cell phone companies:

MetroPCS’s unlimited plan includes unlimited talk, text, and web access. That’s a great price since many of the more expensive plans above don’t even include texting (I’m looking at you Verizon.) Virgin Mobile’s unlimited plan includes unlimited talk  & text but only provides 50mb of data access.

Visit the MetroPCS website to check out their phones and plans.
Visit the Virgin Mobile website to check out their phones and plans.

a. The price drops to $45 a month if you enroll in the auto-refill program.
b. TracFone does not offer an unlimited plan.

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