A Beginners Guide to Cheap Mobile Phone Plan

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If you need to buy a new phone, a down-market device and a cheap carrier such as Mint Mobile, Tello, or Consumer Cellular will do just fine.

If you want the best cheap mobile phone plans, you should be looking for a plan with great coverage and fast service that costs less without skimping on data or cool features.

Pay as you go

Often priced based on daily rates, they can be the least expensive cell phone service available. They are ideal for light users and anyone with bad credit who doesn’t want to be locked into bi-monthly payments. They can also be suitable for temporary situations such as relocating for a job or travel.

Small carriers and MVNOs typically offer lower rates than the Big Three. These include prepaid carriers like Mint Mobile, US Cellular, and Consumer Cellular; and cable company mobile ops such as Comcast Xfinity Mobile and  ZAR casino online Charter Spectrum Mobile. All of these brands offer service on their regional cellular networks or piggyback on the networks of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile (which now includes Sprint).

For instance, on the MVNO Repocket, hosted by T-Mobile, you’ll get unlimited calls, texts, and 1GB of data for $10 a month; however, those on cheaper T-Mobile MVNO plans cannot get priority access to data when demand is higher, and your usage could stall or slow down considerably after you reach a data cap.

Prepaid

Prepaid mobile phone plans enable extra flexibility in that one has control over the amount of data, minutes, and texts they have access to. Thus, they come in extremely handy for budget constraints, especially to ensure that a student, a young user, or anyone really stays away from drowning mid-way through the month. These are also useful for having a trial run with a carrier before buying into a contract.

These plans are almost identical to postpaid cellular plans (where you pay after usage for the minutes, texts, and gigabytes [GB] of data you have used) in that they require you to pay upfront for the minutes, texts, and GB of data you think you’ll need. However, prepaid plans usually have lower rates and don’t require a credit check.

You can get a prepaid plan from a primary carrier – ATT, T-Mobile, and Verizon – for as little as $30 a month, although you will be getting a cheaper model phone. Those on the prepaid plan can have their data speeds reduced if they pass a certain data threshold (after 30 GB, for example). That may be an issue for some users — especially for groups of users. For example, the many families who need the fastest mobile internet possible. A prepaid phone also makes perfect sense for people without a credit history who might not qualify for a contract-based phone.

MVNOs

MVNOs and prepaid carriers aggressively undercut their more established cell phone provider hosts by providing incredible discounts on your service. T-Mobile’s network is the cost leader, so MVNOs such as Mint Mobile and Google Fi use T-Mobile’s service. US Mobile operates on both T-Mobile’s and Verizon’s networks. Its unlimited plans with 35GB of high-speed data before your speeds are de-prioritized provide outstanding value compared with some of its other budget-friendly competitors that curb speeds when you use more than the allotted LTE data plan.

Moreover, MVNOs usually offer more plan options than the Big Three. You can get limited data or shared data plans. And most MVNOs will have one or two unlimited plans for the inevitable heavy data users among us. Last of all, many MVNOs – including Ting and Mint Mobile – allow you to bring your blog own phone, so switching is simple. In fact, if you’re satisfied with your service but want to cut your bill in half for one month and then revert to your current provider, then try an MVNO for that month and only that month.

Contracts

When looking for a cheap mobile phone plan, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. What is more important to you? Are you an avid video streaming user for whom data caps are crucial, or are you looking for the best rate or extra features, such as tethering, streaming subscriptions, and line rental? There are also different contract options available – ranging from no contract to paying for your plan in installments over 24 months.

 In general, the least expensive mobile phone plans come from MVNOs that skip over the overhead costs by leasing access to the networks of the big three full-service carriers – ATandT, Verizon, and T-Mobile, which absorbed Sprint in 2020. Those are certainly the networks you’ll get access to if you go with an MVNO such as Metro by T-Mobile, Mint Mobile, or Google Fi, as long as you bear in mind that MVNOs are generally deprioritized during periods of high usage and not likely to offer anywhere near the same perks as ATandT, Verizon and T-Mobile do. It’s the major carriers, for instance, that have been locked in a raging smartphone pricing war with discounts reaching the genuinely astounding. But even if you’re looking to get the cheapest possible mobile phone plan, or just that mobile phone plan that free iPad thanks to the pricey contracts that were involved.

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