Call Me, Maybe

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.

 price voice text data int’lal type
AT&T $25 250 unlimited 1 cent/5KB text GSM
$50 unlimited unlimited unlimited (basic phone) text
$65 unimited unlimited 1GB (smart phone) text
Boost $50 unlimited CDMA
$60 unlimited
Cricket PayGO $25 300 unlimited web CDMA
$35 1000 unlimited web
$45 1000 unlimited data
$50 unlimited unlimited data
$60 unlimited unlimited data text
Cricket basic $35 unlimited unlimited
$45 unlimited unlimited unlimited
Cricket smartphone $50 unlimited unlimited unlimited, 1GB full speed
$60 unlimited unlimited unlimited, 2.5GB full speed text
Jitterbug $15 50
$20 100
$40 400
$80 unlimited
MetroPCS $40 unlimited unlimited unlimited CDMA
Net10 $25 750 CDMA, GSM
$50 unlimited unlimited unlimited
$65 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited
$15 200
$30 500
PagePlus $12 250 250 10MB
$30 1200 3000 100MB
$40 unlimited unlimited 100MB
Ready $25 500 50
$45 900 100
$50 unlimited unlimited
Straight Talk $30 1000 1000 30MB CDMA, GSM
$45 unlimited unlimited unlimited
$60 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited
Simple Mobile 25/15 day unlimited unlimited text GSM
$40 unlimited unlimited unlimited text
$50 unlimited unlimited unlimited 4G text
Tracfone $10 50 CDMA, GSM
$20 125
$30 200
Tmobile $30 1500 talk&text 30MB GSM
$30 100 unlimited unlimited, 5GB at 4G
$50 unlimited unlimited unlimited, 100MB at 4G
$60 unlimited unlimited unlimited, 2G at 4G
Verizon $50 unlimited unlimited unlimited CDMA
Virgin $20 400 .15/text 1.50/MB CDMA
$30 1500 1500 30MB
$35 300 unlimited unlimited
$40 unlimited unlimited 50MB
$45 1200 unlimited unlimited
$55 unlimited unlimited unlimited

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!


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