August 22, 2013
Think about all the times you have been part of the mobile phone debate. Where does the conversation usually end up? In my experience, it most always circulates around Verizon and AT&T. These two have long dominated the market, boasting the best coverage and plans available, but the winds of change have started blowing recently.
Perhaps the small misstep for Verizon and AT&T is that they both switched from unlimited to capped data, have long two-year contract deals, and insanely high monthly rates. Verizon’s bill estimates, when maxed out for talk, text, and data, hits $140 or higher. AT&T rings in at only $70 a month, but remember that they cap data at 2GB and charge $10 per 1 GB of extra data.
These behemoth companies might seem like the only choices in the consumer cellular market, but there are individuals and companies out there who are not afraid to stand toe to toe with them. These six cell phone carriers can give you everything you need – and probably more – without breaking the bank, and with no annual contract.
Boost’s Monthly Unlimited plan costs only $50 a month and includes unlimited calls, texts, and data. If you choose the Monthly Unlimited plan, you can also choose an option to shrink your payments. That is, if you pay on time for six months running, your bill drops to $45. At 18 months, you only pay $35.
In terms of phones, Boost has a nice arsenal of new phones. You can also bring in your old favorite if you want to switch to their service.
Cricket’s basic phone plan has you paying $45 a month tops for unlimited talk, text, and data while the smartphone plan is capped at $70 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data. Their network supports all Android, iPhone, and 4G LTE phones.
While Cricket does allow you to bring your own phone in, buying directly from them might be the better option. If you bring in a phone not coded to their network, not all of the features for your device may work properly.
GIV is a relatively new contender in the mobile phone game, offer a choice of plans at $40 or $50 a month. Regardless of which one you choose, you get unlimited talk, text, data, MMS, and global text. The different comes when you examine the high speed data: 250MB at $40 and 2GB at $50.
GIV offers various smartphone options, and you can bring your own phone in, no problem.
While Ting does not offer fully unlimited data, they do house a fully customizable plan option not to be found elsewhere. Choose the XS, S, M, L, XL, or XXL plan, or feel free to combine any of their aspects to maximize data, voice, or texts per your needs.
You can buy new or bring an existing phone in to Ting no problem, but they also offer a used marketplace. The phones are a lot cheaper, but there’s less variety.
T-Mobile has the strength of the Verizon and AT&T networks minus the baggage. For only $70 a month, before fees and taxes, you can get unlimited talk, text, web, data, and up to 500 MB of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot service.
Your old phone is welcome here as well, or you can purchase any of the models you might expect from a bigger-name carrier. Not only does T-Mobile have no annual contract, they also have no overage fees for their customers.
Their Beyond Talk plan costs only $55 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data. If you want to go lower, you can choose $45 or $35 a month, where the data and texting will stay at the unlimited level, and talk drops to 1,200 or 300 minutes, respectively.
Select from a healthy grouping of Android phones as well as the iPhone, which recently arrived on Virgin, or bring in your own phone for use on their network.
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