The Best Plans Archives

Unlimited Cell Phone Plans

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Unlimited Prepaid Plans are for cell phone power users: people who use more than 1,000 minutes a month. I’ve ranked them on:

  1. price
  2. reception and coverage
  3. ease of use
  4. data coverage.

Note on data: These are all basic unlimited prepaid phone plans and some don’t provide data for smartphones.

straight-talk-unlimited-minutes-planStraight Talk
$45 a month
Straight Talk offers unlimited minutes, text, and web access for $45 a month. It’s a very straightforward plan and simple to set up. You can buy a phone online and then set up an account to charge your credit card every month. You could also do what I do and just go in to Wal-Mart every month and buy a Straight Talk phone card. There are no hidden fees or extra charges. Data is unlimited and is provided at fast 3G speeds. Straight Talk uses all 4 cell phone networks: Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile (click here for more on how to tell which straight talk phone uses which network.) I’ve tried many of the plans on this page and I personally use Straight Talk. It’s just so simple, cheap, and the coverage and reception are fantastic.
Website: Visit the Straight Talk Website

metropcs unlimited minutes planMetroPCS

$40 a month
MetroPCS is the cheapest unlimited minutes cell phone plan in the country. It’s very similar to Straight Talk in that all you need to do to set it up is buy a phone, then start buying phone cards every month. Data is unlimited, but only the first 500 MB is delivered at 4GLTE speeds. All subsequent data is delivered at 3G speeds. As the name implies, MetroPCS was originally developed as a cell phone provider in metropolitan areas. They have networks built up in cities across the country, but coverage in rural areas is lacking. The reason it’s not rated higher is that the reception and coverage can be lacking depending on your location. They are building up their network, but it may be many years before they offer the coverage that other carriers do.
Website: Visit the MetroPCS website.

$50 a month
Net10 has unlimited talk, text, and web for $50 a month. They sometimes offer online specials for $45, but you have to set up an account and tie it to a credit card to get that pricing. The coverage and reception are good. The plan is structured very much like MetroPCS and Straight Talk; straightforward and no hidden fees (unlike Verizon). Overall it’s a very good plan, but it’s more expensive than others.
Website: Visit the Net10 website.

$50 a month
Verizon offers their unlimited plan for $50 a month. That price is comparable to many of the other carrier’s plans. The coverage is fantastic, too. Verizon has the best cell phone network in the country and you can get a signal almost anywhere. The downside to Verizon prepaid service is in the fine print. There may be a $35 charge to activate your phone (online purchases offer free activation). If you let your service lapse without refilling your account at the end of the month, there may be a $35 re-activation charge. If you carry a balance to refill your minutes, and your balance expires: “Any balance remaining at expiration will be removed from the account.” Verizon will “expire” your balance meaning your balance disappears out of your account and into Verizon’s bank account.
Website: Visit the Verizon Wireless website.

The Cheapest Prepaid Cell Phone Plan

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What is the cheapest prepaid cell phone plan?
The average cell phone customer uses about 450 minutes per month, but many people require much less than that. Some people are infrequent cell phone users and might use a fraction of the minutes the average customer uses.

  • Phone Service For EmergenciesSome folks just need a phone to take on a vacation or a road trip.
  • Some people just need a cell phone to stick in their glove box for emergency use, just in case the car breaks down.
  • Some folks might want to put a cell phone in their child’s backpack so that their child can call if they need a ride home from school or practice.
  • Some people already have a home phone that they use frequently, but might need a cell for driving around town.

Unfortunately, traditional contract cell phone service from the major carriers can be extremely expensive. Also, most traditional carriers don’t offer low minutes packages. Those people who might only need 100 or 200 minutes per month are stuck with expensive plans, paying for more minutes than they need.

Fortunately, prepaid cell phone providers offer low minute plans that are both cheap and flexible. So what is the absolute cheapest prepaid cell phone plan in the country?

The cheapest cell phone plan for infrequent users is PlatinumTel. PlatinumTel bills itself as “The Cheapest Pay as You Go” cell phone service.

PTEL MobileTheir Real PayGo plan offers five cents per minute pricing. The great feature of the Real PayGo plan is that the minutes expire one year from the time you put them on your phone. You will have to buy a new card every 90 days to keep the phone activated, but if you don’t use the minutes from the previous card, they roll over. So for example, say you use 150 minutes out of 200 over the course of 90 days. You’ll still have to buy another card to keep your service active, but those extra 50 minutes will roll over to the next 90 days.

Now here’s the cool part: PlatinumTel sells a $10 card!

At five cents per minute, that gives you 200 minutes to use for every $10 card. The cards are good for 90 days. So, since you have to buy a new card every three months to keep the phone active, you’ll have to buy four cards a year.

That’s $40 a year for cell phone service! That’s certainly the cheapest pay as you go cell phone plan in the country.

$.05 per minute X $10 = 200 minutes
(4) 90 day cards X 200 minutes = 800 minutes
(4) 90 day cards X $10 = $40 per year phone service!

Compare & Save with the Cheapest Pay-As-You-Go Wireless Service, Real Paygo.

Now 800 a year is not a lot, but it will work for people who use their phone infrequently. (If you need more minutes than this, but still need a really cheap plan, click here.)

The great thing about pre-paid cell phone service is that if you run out of minutes, or use more minutes than you had planned, just simply buy another card. It’s that easy! Prepaid cell phone plans are so much more convenient than the expensive contract plans sold by the big cell phone companies. PlatinumTel’s Real PayGo rate is only five cents a minute, so it’s very inexpensive to add more minutes if you need them.

So check out PlatinumTel’s Real PayGo prepaid plans for the cheapest prepaid cell phone in the country.

Website: Visit the PlatinumTel website.

Photo Credit: sa8n

The Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans

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These are “The Best” prepaid cell phone plans. We’ve organized these plans, not by the cheapest, but by use. You might have a particular use in mind and sometimes the cheapest plan might not be the best for you.

  1. The Best Emergency Cell Phone Plan. If you just need a phone for emergency use only, check out this plan we consider the best. Click here.
  2. The Best Unlimited Minutes Plan. Most prepaid cell phone providers now offer per month unlimited minutes plan. Here are two we consider the best. Click here.
  3. The Cheapest Prepaid Cell Phone Plan. Maybe you only need a few minutes per month. This is the absolute cheapest plan that you can get. You won’t get many minutes, but you’ll only pay $40 a year! Click here.

The Best Unlimited Minutes Plan

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What is the best unlimited plan? Many prepaid cell phone providers are now offering 30 day unlimited minutes plans. The plans typically offer unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited web access for 30 days.

Unlimited minutes plans are ideal for cell phone power users – those people that use more than 1000 minutes a month. Many times these plans are far cheaper than traditional contract plans that might only offer 500 minutes. Here are two of the cheapest unlimited airtime plans that I consider “the best”.


MetroPCS offers the cheapest unlimited prepaid plan in the industry at $40. The drawback to MetroPCS is their coverage. As the name implies, MetroPCS was designed for metropolitan areas and large cities. The coverage does not extend out into rural areas. If you live in a large city and don’t plan to use your cell phone outside of metropolitan areas, then the MetroPCS unlimited plan is the best for you. Check out the MetroPCS website at

Straight Talk

Buy your Motorola Defy XT - Unlimited Everything
Straight Talk’s unlimited prepaid cell phone plan is $45. It’s the second cheapest unlimited prepaid plan in the country. While it is slightly more expensive than MetroPCS, the coverage is far superior. Straight Talk uses the Verizon network which has the best coverage of any cell phone network in the country. Your Straight Talk phone will work virtually everywhere. If you plan to use your phone in rural areas then Straight Talk’s unlimited plan is the best for you. Check out the Straight Talk website at

The Best Emergency Cell Phone Plan

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What is the Best Emergency Cell Phone Plan?
One of the main reasons people purchase a cell phone is so that they can have one for emergency situations. Some people don’t need a full time cell phone. Here are some situations where you might need a cheap cell phone, one that you’re only going to use in an emergency:

  • Maybe you just need a cell phone to stick in the glove compartment of your car in case it breaks down or you get stranded.
  • Maybe you’re a senior who needs to carry a phone around for emergency situations.
  • If you’re a parent, you might need a cheap cell phone to throw in your child’s backpack, in case they need a ride home from school or practice.


The Best Emergency Cell Phone Plan

Unfortunately, most cell phone plans from the major providers are very expensive and require lengthy contracts. Who wants to pay $50 or more a month just to keep a phone in their glove box that they only use for emergencies?

Fortunately, prepaid cell phone plans are made for this situation. With prepaid plans you’re not locked into a long contract. The other benefit of prepaid phones is that many of the carriers offer really cheap plans with a small number of minutes (for example 60 or 100 minute phone cards). These minutes usually stay active for much longer than a month.

One other benefit of prepaid cell phone plans is that many companies offer low cost phones. You don’t need a fancy phone with a bunch of bells and whistles just for an emergency situation. All you need is a phone that will make calls and possibly text. Many prepaid cell phone providers offer basic, low cost phone models sometimes as cheap as $10.

The Ideal Emergency Cell Phone Plan
So the ideal emergency phone plan would:
1) offer the cheapest no-frills phone on the market and
2) offer an inexpensive service plan with a small number of minutes.

TracFone has a phone and a plan that fits both of those requirements.

TracFone sells the cheapest phone in the industry for $9.99. It really is a no-frills phone, but if you are looking for an emergency phone, one that you can just stick in the glove box of your car and forget about, then the bottom of the line TracFone is exactly what you are looking for.

The cheapest airtime card that you can purchase from TracFone is $20 which gives you 60 minutes of airtime. Sixty minutes of airtime may be a minuscule amount for the average cell phone user, but in an emergency situation it is certainly enough to call a tow truck and to resolve any roadside emergencies.

The minutes on most TracFone service plans last for 90 days. So, every three months you’ll have to refill your phone to keep it active. A years worth of cell phone service is only $80 ($80 for four 90 day airtime cards).

So here’s the math:

(1) TracFone Cell Phone = $9.99
(4) 90 day service cards = $80
1 year + 1 phone = $89.99 Total

So check out TracFone’s prepaid plans for the best emergency cell phone in the country.

Website: Visit the TracFone website.

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Photo Credit: daveynin