Is a Prepaid Cell Phone Plan Right for You?

Is a Prepaid Cell Phone Plan Right for You?Here in the US, typical consumers are in love with their cell phones and Starbucks coffee, which means that we are willing to pay $1k a year plus for a smart phone cell service and another $5 every workday for our jolt of caffeine. In other words, for a mere $2k a year, we have become a country of Angry Bird playing caffeine junkies who can’t understand why we have gotten ourselves into such deep personal debt. This is amazing to me as other places like Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America have tried to cut their debt by buying less in general and opting to embrace prepaid cell phone plans, while only 10% of the North American population opts for prepaid plans.

I personally went to Straight Talk, a prepaid plan, that offers 1,000 minutes of talk time and 1,000 text messages for a mere $30 a month. This allowed both my wife and me to have personal phones for just $60 a month that are supported through the Verizon network and to eliminate the need for us to maintain a home phone line from AT&T.

But is a prepaid plan right for you? It all depends on what you use your cell phone for. If you need fast Internet access, email, access to Facebook and games, then a prepaid plan may not be right for you. However, Straight Talk does currently offer smart phones that use the AT&T network and in general the reviews are positive. These phones are manufactured by Nokia but do not offer touchscreen capability. The price, however, for these phones is manageable at $169 or less from Walmart, while their iPhone cousins are much more expensive. If you need more time for your account, you can opt for the unlimited plan that costs just $45 a month.

No matter which prepaid service you opt for, be sure to check and confirm that the cell phone company you choose provides satisfactory service where you live. As an example, prepaid service with AT&T is spotty where I live, but with Straight Talk we get a strong signal no matter where we are. Additionally, cell phone service, no matter who offers it in your area, may cause you frustration in the matter of dropped calls and the service provided.

Comments welcome.

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffnorris J Norris

    I have found is a catch-22 with prepaid. Meaning you spend the same as a contracted cell provided but the advantage is NO CONTACTS, you can change service plans at anytime without getting hit. The catch is the cheap phones you generally get, or the lack of phone options. There are many pre-paid that office $40~$60 unlimitted everything, but limited service areas. Best to check the coverage maps these providers has to make sure this is right for your needs.

  • http://twitter.com/rdeycaza Ricardo DeYcaza

    I suppose I cant complain I use a prepaid plan (it’s not really a plan) on my iphone, its 15 dollars a month, it multiplies it by 4, so I get 60 dollars worht wich is around 2 cents a minute, and same thing for text (wich I rarely use) and I need to use 15 from those 60 for my unlimited data plan, so all in all I get tons of minutes text, talk time and unlimited data for 15 dollars a month. I wished more people could enjoy that, i mean you do have to pay a lot for your devices, but the savings on the long run are way worht it, plus you only pay for what you use.

  • http://twitter.com/rdeycaza Ricardo DeYcaza

    I suppose I cant complain I use a prepaid plan (it’s not really a plan) on my iphone, its 15 dollars a month, it multiplies it by 4, so I get 60 dollars worht wich is around 2 cents a minute, and same thing for text (wich I rarely use) and I need to use 15 from those 60 for my unlimited data plan, so all in all I get tons of minutes text, talk time and unlimited data for 15 dollars a month. I wished more people could enjoy that, i mean you do have to pay a lot for your devices, but the savings on the long run are way worht it, plus you only pay for what you use.

  • http://educationipod.tumblr.com Education iPod

    I’m very happy that AT&T prepaid works very well in my area. Verizon prepaid is expensive and I can’t afford a contract.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YDH67CJH62UR5AUSRH33TOBXEE Jo

    It’s not 4G fast, but I am happy with my Android smartphone with Virgin Mobile service (provided by Sprint). Pretty much a price leader at a flat $25/month (NO extra fees!) for 300 minutes, unlimited texting and data (Web), with no contract.

  • http://twitter.com/DDeshields Dominique DeShields

    I use Boost for my husband and I. We generally only use the phone for very short calls, texts, mostly to each other. All calls and texts are .10 a minute. My $25 refills run about every 2 1/2 mths. Much cheaper than any monthly plan.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TMUXQMHQW2SH7Z37H5DXSH2W44 mrk rqz

    Hi Ron! Straight Talk is great for Unlimited Everything but I think you’re not maximizing your $30, LoL. Have you heard of PagePlus Cellular? It’s a prepaid MVNO company that uses Verizon’s network. You bring your own cdma phone. For $30 a month you get 1200 talk minutes, 2000 texts, & 100MB data! Just trying to help ya out :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000119946717 Erick Soto

    As much as I loved my Blackberry from Virgin Mobile, my area had real bad reception with Sprint. I would constantly get a “Searching for Network” at my own home. Being that Cricket is also no contract I went running back. But 35 a month on Virgin Mobile with 300 min and everything else unlimited ..WITH A BLACKBERRY is really a steal. If only the reception was better. =

  • Jordan Vasquez

    I’m using Android on a Prepaid Wireless Carrier. And I’m loving it! I use Virgin Mobile, which uses Sprint’s network, and I get coverage in most of my area. And it’s $25 a month for unlimited data/txt/web surfing and 300 minutes! Best deal ever!