Your Guide to Low-Cost Smartphone Plans

Prepaid mobile phone carriers are often much cheaper than the major cellular providers. This chart outlines various prepaid phone suppliers and plan details.

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Prepaid mobile phone carriers are often much cheaper than the major cellular providers. This chart outlines various prepaid phone suppliers and plan details.

Smartphone Plans*

Company Sample Plan Phone Phone Price Contract Fine Print
Republic Wireless $19/month unlimited calls, text, and data (only plan available) Motorola Defy XT $259 No Connects via Wi-Fi most of the time; uses Sprint network
Virgin Mobile $35/month for unlimited data and messaging and 300 talk minutes iPhone 4 and 4S; various Android phones $40 to $450 No Plans as low as $20/month available; uses Sprint network
T-Mobile $30/month for unlimited text and Web and 100 talk minutes Various Android and Windows Phones handsets $150 to $650 No First 5GB of data at up to 4G LTE speeds
MetroPCs $40/month, unlimited talk, text, data with first 500MB at 4G LTE speeds; $50/month plan includes 2.5GB of data at 4G LTE speeds Various Android models; one BlackBerry handset $50 to $500 No Uses its own cell towers; currently merging with T-Mobile
Ting Build-your-own plan: minutes + text messages + data Various Android phones $60 to $644 No Free hotspot and tethering; uses Sprint network
Company Sample Plan Phone Phone Price Contract Fine Print
Straight Talk** $45/month for unlimited phone, text, data Various Android and other phones $80 to $400 No Service offered by Tracfone; uses either AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or T-Mobile wireless networks
Cricket** $25/month for 300 phone minutes plus unlimited text and data (at 3G speeds); $50/month service plan with unlimited voice, text, data (full-speed data up to 2.5GB) Android phones at $80 and up, iPhone 5 for $500 (in limited areas) $69 and up No Subsidiary of Leap wireless; uses Sprint’s 3G network; limited 4G coverage
Tracfone $10/month for 50 minutes plus text and Web Various feature phones $10 to $90 No Poor selection; mostly feature phones
Boost Mobile $50/month for unlimited talk, text, Web (2.5GB of data at full speed, then drops to 256Kbps or less for rest of monthly cycle) Various feature and Android phones $30 (feature phones) to $330 No Subsidiary of Sprint; uses Sprint network; “Shrinking payments”: for every six on-time payments, Boost lowers monthly payment by $5 (to as low as $35/month with unlimited plan)
Net10 Wireless $50/month ($45 with auto-refill) for unlimited talk, text, Web Small selection of Android and feature phones $30 (feature phones) to $350 No Tracfone brand

*All prices and fees subject to change
**Prices and fees vary depending on location and availability of service

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