Low-Cost Options for Cell Phone Service

Recently I wrote about 5 ways to save on your cell phone bill. One of the strategies I talked about was to consider a lower-priced carrier. Over the past few weeks I learned of two other companies offering no-contract cell service, so I want to elaborate a little on my original post.

Some of the companies I mentioned before include Straight Talk, Virgin Mobile and Metro PCS. Each of these offers no-contract service for both light users and those who need unlimited talk, text and web. The other two competitors I want to mention are Page Plus and Republic Wireless.

Page Plus has been around in its current form since 2000 but only recently started offering an unlimited talk and text plan for about $40 a month. With Page Plus, you can choose a basic voice plan with the option to add a text plan, or you can choose a bundle.

Their cheapest bundle, called “The 12”, offers 250 minutes, 250 texts and 10MB of data for $12 a month. Plans step up from there, ending with the most generous plan, “The 55”. This is equivalent to their $40 unlimited talk and text plan, except you get 1GB of data for an extra $15 a month.  Page Plus uses the Verizon Wireless network.

Started in November 2011, Republic Wireless uses technology that differs from traditional cell phone companies. Realizing that much of our cell phone use occurs when we’re in range of a WiFi signal, they developed a phone that routs calls, texts and data use through wireless internet signals whenever possible. When you’re not in range of WiFi they run on Sprint’s network.

The only phone they offer right now is a very basic Android phone for $199, which includes the first month’s service. Each month thereafter is $19 and no contract is required. If you don’t mind a basic smartphone and spend a lot of your time near WiFi, this could be for you.

When you consider the range of options for low-cost cell phone service, there’s not really a good reason to lock yourself into an expensive contract with one of the Big 4. If your contract is expiring soon, take a look at your cell phone usage. Could one of these players offer a better option?

Photo by learnvest.com

14 thoughts on “Low-Cost Options for Cell Phone Service

  1. Very interesting post.

    I myself live in Canada, and the only low-cost options we have here aren’t very reliable. A few of them lose service in downtown Toronto, let alone in the rest of Ontario. The only one that is any good so far as available bars is Virgin Mobile, but they are terrible when it comes to customer service in Canada, and I will personally never deal with them again. I’m hoping someone will start a provider that fills in those problems here because although my carrier is fantastic with their service, they aren’t giving me all that great of a price.

      • The big ones are Rogers, Bell, Telus and Fido (not as big as the others). I can’t speak for Bell or Fido, though I’ve never heard anyone complaining about their cells being down with those companies. Rogers is okay aside from the occasional dropped call. I’m with Telus, and the only problems I’ve ever had with reliability occurred when I was in very rural areas.

        • I’m glad you found a reliable cell provider. Some of the providers here are horrible with reception and customer service, but if you want an iPhone or certain other new phones you don’t have too many choices.

          Thanks for stopping by!!

  2. Our plan is too much. It’s around $130 now. We don’t really use the phone either and have the smallest amount of minutes that an AT&T plan will offer.

    • I meant to also say that we also have around 5,000 in rollover minutes, and that’s the maximum you can have. So a ton expire every month. We don’t know a lot of people who don’t have AT&T, so we don’t use a lot of minutes.

    • Since you don’t use your cell phone too often, a no-contract plan might work better for you. The Page Plus plan I mentioned gives you 250 minutes and texts a month for just $12.

      Are you with AT&T because of their national network, or just out of habit?

      • Purely out of habit. But does the Page Plus include unlimited minutes? Because I do call people, it just never extends out of the unlimited minutes time (and with AT&T, you get unlimited minutes to people who have AT&T as well).

        • Page Plus does offer an unlimited plan for calls and texts for $40 a month, which is a good deal if you don’t use a lot of data. If you do use data, they have a $55 plan that includes unlimited talk and text with 1GB of data.

  3. I pay about $130/month for two phones (Verizon) that include the basic 450 minutes/month calling plan and unlimited data. I’m not too crazy about the cost but we do use a lot of data. (I use Netflix a lot on my phone; my guy plays a lot of games since that’s the industry he’s in right now.)

    • Unlimited data is increasingly hard to find with the big carriers. I think Sprint is the only one that still offers it to new customers. It can be really tempting to stay with them because of this.

      Have you checked out Straight Talk? They continue to update the list of smartphones they offer. Many of them run on Verizon’s network. You can get unlimited talk, text and web for $45 a month. They offer this same plan for $499 a year, which comes out to $41.58 per month.

  4. Pingback: That was an adventure…not! « My Loopy World

    • I agree. I’m with one of the Big 4 because of a family plan, but I’m planning to switch when our contract is over. It seems like the non-contract players are getting better each week, with the smartphones they offer and their networks.

      Thanks for your comment!

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