Updated as of 09/09/2015
My two-year contract with Verizon has been up for a little while now (hurrah!), and I was finally able to devote some time to figuring out how to move forward in the cheapest and most efficient way possible. Since I work online, having a smartphone is a real asset (and a partial tax deduction). If you are in the market for a smartphone as well, then read along to see what the current low-cost market is offering.
My Old Contract Terms
On my old contract, I was paying a staggering $83.23 per month. This plan included unlimited text, but only 450 minutes to chat and a limit of 2 GB of data each month. A travelling blogger can rip through that pretty quickly, and I’ve had to find ways to cut down on background data use in order to make it work.
My New Requirements
I am looking for unlimited talk, text, and data, on a plan that either allows me to use my current device, or gives me a close-to-free device. I also want to keep my phone number as it’s been with me for about ten years now (oh, the nightmare of changing my number on everything!). With these requirements in mind, here is what I found:
Note: I only list carriers that have coverage in my area. Also, this information may change at any time; these prices reflect research conducted starting on September 18, 2015.
|Carrier||Cheapest Plan with Unlimited Talk/Text/Data (monthly, Includes taxes and fees)||Can I keep my Old Smartphone?||Can I Keep My Old Phone Number?||Cost of Cheapest New Smartphone with Touchscreen|
|MetroPCS||$30/no contract*||Does not support my phone, but your phone may be supported||Yes||$19: Alcatel One Touch Evolve 2|
|Straight Talk||$45/no contract**||Yes, though have to purchase an activation kit for $14.99||Yes||$9.99: Samsung Galaxy Discover|
|Virgin Mobile||$35/no contract***||No||Yes||$29.99: Kyocera Rise* ($50 off for a limited time only)|
|Cricket Wireless||$35/no contract, with auto pay****||Yes, $25 activation fee required (for in-store, online has no activation fee)||Yes||$29.99: ZTE Sonata 2, Nokia Lumia 635, ZTE Prelude 2* (with activation)|
|Boost Mobile||$30/no contract*******||No||Yes||$19.99: Alcatel OneTouch Fling|
|Republic Wireless||$25/no contract*****||No||Should (but not 100% sure until you get an account…); you may be able to transfer your number||$129: Moto e (2nd gen.)|
|FreedomPop||No Unlimited; Free Plan includes: 200 minutes, 500MB of data and 500 text messages||Does not support my phone, but your phone may be supported||No||$149: HTV Evo 4G|
|GoSmart mobile||$30/no contract, with auto pay******||No, but your phone may be supported||Yes||FREE: Coolpad Flo* (after mail-in rebate)|
*First 1GB of data at up to 4G LTE speeds.
**For 30 day period, first 5 GB is at high speeds, and after that it is at 2G until cycle renews.
***1GB high-speed 3G/4G data
****First 2.5GB at high-speed
*****$10 for the Republic Refund Base Plan with $15 1.0 GB On-Net Cell Data Package. With the Republic Wireless Plans 2.0, you pay for the cellular data that you use and get paid back for what you don’t.
******Up to 2.5 GB/MO. of 3G Web. Unlimited 4G LTE Facebook access
*******2G of high-speed data. The plan cost will be $40 without Auto Re-Boost active on the account.
Want to get Out of Your Current Plan with No Termination Fee?
Even if you are in a contract, you can terminate early and get out of the fee by getting someone else to assume your cell phone contract.
In a future post, I’ll discuss which option I personally chose and why. For now, do you see any plans above that can beat your current plan?