Ulysses S. Grant doesn’t want to pay your phone bill because fifty bucks is too much to pay. The battle over phone subscribers is well under way and I think lots of credit is due to the outspoken CEO of T-Mobile for starting a pricing war. Prices are not what they used to be, so if you haven’t compared your plan’s pricing in a while, now is a great time. I remember when my dad negotiated a special plan for 5000 minutes for $100 a month and that was considered a great deal.
There are four host networks in the United States – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. You can purchase service directly from them or use a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO
) which leases services from one of the four mentioned. My wife and I have received service from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Harbor Mobile, Freedompop, and Pure Talk USA. Some work better than others, but I prefer to stay away from contracts so I am able to switch if I find a lower price or want better service.
I think thirty bucks a month is a good number to shoot for. With four networks and dozens of competing MVNOs there is a certainly a fair priced plan that fits your needs. You want to find a plan that meets your needs for data, calls, and text that includes coverage in your area all for a good price. I will discuss a few plans which may fit your needs, but I encourage you to check out others that may work better.
- Freedompop: Plans are a la carte so you have to build it yourself starting at free for 500MB data, 200 minutes, and 500 texts. You can bring select phones and they use the Sprint network. There were months I paid as little $2.49 because I wanted voicemail, that’s right, it is an added service. The price isn’t what caused me to leave, but rather the service. I would occasionally have issues with my phone and getting to a customer service representative could take over 30 minutes. In addition the call quality was not great, but you could pay an additional fee for premium quality, which I still found lacking. If you use your phone very sparingly this plan may work for you and if it doesn’t pan out you can always switch and cancel after being on hold for some time. If you are going to sign up you can earn extra data each month by adding friends with the service which you can find on reddit or other places.
- Republic Wireless: Unlimited talk and text for $10 plus $15 per GB of data on the Sprint network. You also receive a refund on data you do not use which is great. One downside to this plan is you must get a phone through them and they only have Motorola phones, sorry iPhone people.
- Google Fi: Unlimited talk and text for $20 plus $10 per GB of data on Sprint and T-mobile networks. You also receive a refund on unused data. Only works for Nexus phones.
- T-Mobile Walmart Plan: This is my current plan. It costs $30 a month for 5GB of data, 100 minutes, and unlimited text. Great for people who use over 2GB of data and can go without many minutes. One downside to this plan is it doesn’t include the international data which you can get on other T-Mobile plans, however all phones are eligible.
I did not include the four network operators because they have many plans to choose from including with contracts or not. I have nothing against them and recommend you check them out and be on the look out for discounts. The carriers will often give you a discount if you are switching providers, are willing to get a family plan, or have a business line. When comparing prices with MVNOs be careful because the major carriers do not always make it clear what you are paying for and contract carry heavy early termination fees.
In case you are curious, my wife uses Harbor Mobile, but it is only for businesses so I haven’t included the details. Also, look out for deals on prepaid card from Target or other vendors which could reduce your bill another 10%.
Choosing a phone is not easy because you have over a hundred to choose from. I have stuck with Android based phones while my wife uses an iPhone. Since the difference between phone speeds now days isn’t too much I recommend purchasing a phone that is two models back since you can get it for a large discount and won’t depreciate very much. I have had an Galaxy S2, S3, and S4 all which were under $200 and often resold for $40 less than I purchased them for. My current phone is an Amazon Fire phone which I bought for $125 and it included a year of Prime. I installed Android on it and it fits my needs of email, eBay, and browsing. My wife had an iPhone 5C until recently when we were forced to get an iPhone 6 due to a Apple Pay promotion on our Discover card
which ended up paying for more than the phone’s cost. A good place to purchase phones is eBay Deals
, but you can seek out your own deals as well.