When you start to look MVNO’s, prepaid wireless and all the craziness that surrounds it, there’s one thing that matters most – will the prepaid guys give you as good of coverage as your current post-paid carrier does? Well, to answer that question, the answer is, most of the time. What you need to do is pick a prepaid carrier that operates on the same network as your post-paid provider. Then you need to make sure that you aren’t spending too much time roaming. Once you are done with that, make the jump and save some cash!
Sprint users have 2 basic choices in “national carriers” and a bajillion (yes, this is the technical term for how many networks resell Sprint service) regional choices. The two we will look at here are Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. Boost and Virgin both operate unlimited plans. Both run off the Sprint network and both now offer 4G WiMAX devices if you happen to live in one of those cities that has the now defunct technology.
Boost runs a very simple $60 unlimited everything plan with what they call shrinkage. Shrinkage is a deduction of $5 to your bill every 6 months your account remains active and paid. So at the 18 month mark, you bill has shrunk to $45 down from $60. It’s a great way to keep people long term and if you have Sprint coverage in your area, even Boost’s starting rate will save you $40 a month off Sprint’s regular service.
Virgin Mobile has three plan options for the smartphone user. The first is a 300 minute $35 plan. This plan also includes unlimited text and data. This plan, assuming you are a texter and not a talker, will save you $70 a month off Sprint’s regular plan. The second bumps the minutes to 1200 for $45. This is usually enough for most, but just in case, they also offer the unlimited everything plan for $55 a month. This saves $50 a month off Sprint’s standard rates.
AT&T has the same scenario as Sprint with two really good options to go nationwide with coverage. First, let’s not rule out their own GoPhone service. For $50 you get unlimited voice and text. Add $25 for 1GB of data and you have a very good smartphone plan for $75 a month. This is about $65 off their $59.99 voice plan with text and 3GB of data.
Red Pocket Mobile offers a few different tiers, $39.99, $49.99 and $54.99. These get you unlimited minutes, texts and MMS messages. They also include 25MB, 250MB and 1GB respectively. These plans will save you almost $80 a month off an equivalent AT&T plan.
H2O Wireless by Locus is another great option with plans that mirror Red Pocket until you get to the data portions. The $40 H2O plan includes 20MB, the $50 includes 500MB and the $60 includes 2GB. The savings on these plans could add up to as much as $1800 over the life of a 2 year contract.
Page Plus Cellular is one of the best kept secrets in the cellphone industry. Running off the Verizon Network, Page Plus offers a $55 unlimited Voice/Text+2GB of data plan on any Verizon Wireless 3G handset. So, for all you out of contract Verizon Wireless users, yes, it’s the same great coverage with a much lower bill. The $55 plan will cut your bill in half, even if you are on the lowest $39.99 voice plan that Verizon offers. Once you add that data pack for $30 and texting for $20, your savings will be around $55 a month.
There’s a few great options for T-Mobile users that don’t want to deal with T-Mobile’s 2 year deals. First, you can always roll to their Monthly 4G plans. These offer basic access starting at $30 a month. You can opt for a 1500 min/message plan or the 100 minute/unlimited data plan for that price. You can also make the jump to a Unlimited everything plan for $50 that includes 100MB of 4G data. Add an extra $10 to that one for 2GB of 4G data or $20 for 5GB of 4G data.
If you are just tired of T-Mobile support and want to move to someone else, SIMple Mobile offers some great options. For a $40 bill, you get unlimited everything with 3G speeds. For $60 you get unlimited everything with 4G speeds. Pretty simple billing for pretty simple plans. With deals like this you can save as much as $60 a month over comparable T-Mobile plans. The SIMple Mobile plans are also one of the few prepaid options that work with BlackBerry devices.