When bodies in the U.S. apprehend the appellation “prepaid mobile,” they ability anticipate of bargain phones with bound annual options for bodies with bad credit.
But that’s boring changing. While some wireless companies say the aggregate of their prepaid barter are still low-income consumers attractive for a amount plan, an accretion cardinal of barter who would commonly authorize for buzz affairs are now because no-commitment plans.
This week, I’ll acknowledgment some accepted questions about prepaid mobile, based on my analysis of nine U.S. brands. While you won’t be able to get a adorned smartphone at a low price, and best affairs still aren’t accouterment to abundant abstracts users, there are some acceptable affidavit to amend prepaid.
Who Offers What
The “big four” — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless — all action prepaid phones and services. Sprint offers prepaid through three brands: Boost Mobile, Virgin Adaptable and Assurance, a government-subsidized affairs that provides chargeless phones and affairs for barter in acute banking situations.
Other acclaimed U.S. prepaid carriers accommodate U.S. Cellular, MetroPCS and Leap Wireless’s Cricket.
Monthly prepaid affairs ambit from $25 to $80 a month. Cricket, for example, offers 300 articulation annual and absolute argument and adaptable Web (which is altered from data) for $35 a month. Boost is accepted for its $50 absolute plan with “shrinkage” — which agency that for every six nonconsecutive, on-time payments, a customer’s bill can be bargain by $5. At Verizon Wireless, $80 will get you absolute articulation and argument and one gigabyte of data, with anniversary added megabyte of abstracts costing bristles cents.
Generally, you can’t cycle over bare annual from ages to month.
Data annual is accessible through prepaid plans. But beware: Some carriers avowal “unlimited data” offerings, and in some cases, this is aloof for affection phones, while abstracts casework for smartphones crave added plans. Also, the carriers may abate your abstracts speeds back your acceptance increases significantly.
Many wireless carriers now action admission to 4G networks with prepaid plans. But as with arrangement plans, it depends on whether the accessory you’re application is 4G accordant — and what blazon of 4G arrangement your carrier has. AllThingsD’s Walt Mossberg offers a acceptable explainer of 4G here.
In best cases, you’ll pay abounding amount for the phone. The carriers and their retail ally action deals and promotions from time to time, but back you’re not committing to a contract, the buzz isn’t subsidized. Phones can ambit from $20 on the low end to $650 for article like the iPhone.
Speaking of the iPhone: It’s now accessible with prepaid plans. Cricket fabricated after-effects a brace months ago back it began to action a 16GB iPhone 4S for $
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