I’ve had a T-Mobile prepaid phone since 2005. It worked well for me to pay by the minute since I don’t use the phone very much. But times have changed and I am feeling the limitations of that kind of phone plan, so I did a bunch of research to see what other kinds of deals are available these days.
If you look at the cost of all the contract plans versus the no contract plans, you have to wonder why everyone signs up for a contract. I guess they want the fancy new phones and to pay for them every month instead of up front. I decided right away to concentrate on the no contract plans.
The next decision is type of network. There are two major types in the US: CDMA and GSM. The rest of the world is GSM. I found this article informative: CDMA vs. GSM: What’s the Difference?
Since I already have a GSM phone, I was leaning toward the few options that would allow me to use it, but I could go with any of them if they provide good service at a decent price. Reading the PC Magazine Reader’s choice awards helped with that.
I compiled a list to help me sort it all out.
|$50||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited (basic phone)||text|
|$65||unimited||unlimited||1GB (smart phone)||text|
|Cricket smartphone||$50||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited, 1GB full speed|
|$60||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited, 2.5GB full speed||text|
|Straight Talk||$30||1000||1000||30MB||CDMA, GSM|
|Simple Mobile||25/15 day||unlimited||unlimited||text||GSM|
|$30||100||unlimited||unlimited, 5GB at 4G|
|$50||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited, 100MB at 4G|
|$60||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited, 2G at 4G|
Then, today I went into Best Buy to look at the phones and saw that their buyer’s guide pamphlet has all this in a nice chart, with the phones also.
By the way, our Best Buy store here has totally reworked the way the store looks, works, and feels. It is all streamlined and much quieter. I like it. The man at the middle hub desk said it’s a test store for the new way, one of only 15 stores in the country to get the changes so far. But they didn’t have very many prepaid phones in stock.
I figured that there are several choices for $40/month with unlimited voice and text, and I could use Simple Mobile with my existing phone while I decide if I want to upgrade to a fancier phone. After wondering if I needed to get a T-Mobile phone and get them to unlock it, I found out that Simple Mobile uses the T-Mobile network so it can use a T-Mobile locked phone anyway. So I made the switch and I’m waiting for my phone number to transfer to Simple Mobile.
I’ll look at the phones some more to find one that’s not too big but does web sites (so I can test on a mobile device). I like the newest phones and all their capabilities, but most of them are too big for me and too expensive and more than I really need.
Expect more phone calls or texts from me as I move from pay by the minute to unlimited!