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Best Cheap Prepaid Cell Phone Plans with No Contract (June 2016 Edition)

When it comes to phone plans, not everybody needs a traditional plan from the major carriers.  Whether if you are a foreign visitor travelling to the U.S. or simply do not use your phone much, a prepaid phone plan without a contract may just be what you need.  If you are in the market for a solid prepaid phone plan, take a look at these below:

MetroPCS

metropcs

It may seem rather strange that MetroPCS, a subsidiary of T-Mobile, offers better pricing and sometimes even service than T-Mobile itself. The main attraction of this service has to be their exemption of music streaming for data caps. This feature is called Music Unlimited and it mirrors T-Mobile’s Music Freedom.

The major pain point for users living in rural areas is the relatively weak network coverage provided by T-Mobile. The company has recently made efforts to improve the overall signal strength, but it still noticeably lags behind AT&T. MetroPCS was once running on their original CDMA network, but they are now fully operating on T-Mobile’s GSM network, ensuring compatibility with all T-Mobile devices.

Nice extra benefits of MetroPCS include the ability to use mobile hotspot will all of their plans and the option to pay $5 on $40-and-up plans to put Mexico or Canada in your home rate area.

Plans

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1GB of data.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 3GB of data.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 5GB of data.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited data.

Best Plan

The $40/month is easily the best plan that MetroPCS offers. 3GB of data should be more than enough for most users and unlimited talk and text makes the deal only sweater.

Pros

  • Affordable plans with high data caps
  • Discount rates for Mexico and Canada
  • Mobile hotspot on all plans

Cons

  • Weak signal in rural areas

Verdict

MetroPCS is a fantastic option for customers who have nothing against T-Mobile’s network and are in need of large mobile data caps.

Republic Wireless

republic wireless

Republic Wireless was the first American mobile virtual network operator, and the company certainly does a lot to continue as one of the best choices when it comes to prepaid cell phone plans. Their chief attraction is the simplicity of their offering and Sprint’s ongoing improvement of its network.

Everything starts with their “base plan”, which consists of unlimited voice and texting for $10/month. Customers can then choose how much mobile data they would like to purchase on top of it: 0.5 GB for $7.50, 1 GB for $15, 2 GB for $30, 3 GB for $45.

A great thing about Republic Wireless is the fact that the company refunds any unused cell data towards your next month’s bill. So, if you buy the 2GB plan but only use 1GB your bill is going to be $25, instead of $40. Depending on how much you can stick with Wi-Fi connectivity, this could lead to pretty great savings.

Plans

  • $10/month – Unlimited talk and text. No data.
  • $17.50/month – In addition to unlimited talk and text, this plan includes .5GB data.
  • $25/month – In addition to unlimited talk and text, this plan includes 1GB data.
  • $40/month – In addition to unlimited talk and text, this plan includes 2GB data.
  • $55/month – In addition to unlimited talk and text, this plan includes 3GB data.

Best Plan

The $40/month plan gives you quite a bit of data for a good price. If you force yourself to use Wi-Fi as much as you can, you could easily save plenty of money and turn this already affordable plan into an excellent deal.

Pros

  • Cheapest way to get unlimited voice and texts
  • No longer bans tethering
  • Uses two networks

Cons

  • Gets expensive after 3GB

Verdict

Republic Wireless is perfect for people who can mostly get by without cellular data. $10/month for unlimited text and talk is simply very hard to beat.

Cricket Wireless

cricket-wireless-logo

Owned by AT&T, Cricket Wireless stands on a strong and reliable network with great coverage in most part of the country. You can bring you own device and enjoy Cricket’s plans that are often much better than the ones offered by AT&T.

Their Autopay option allows you to save $5 each month on all available plans. What’s more, every line you add increases the amount you save. Four lines of basic service can cost you as little as $100.

Many people like to stay clear of AT&T because of their tendency to include many hidden fees that can tremendously increase the overall price of their plans. Cricket promises “no hidden fees”, which can give you, at least, some reassurance that you will really pay what you sign up for.

Plans

  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2.5GB of data.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 5GB of data. Includes unlimited Int’l texting to 38 countries and free data roaming in Canada and Mexico.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of data. Includes unlimited Int’l texting to 38 countries and free data roaming in Canada and Mexico.
  • $70/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited high-speed data. Includes unlimited Int’l texting to 38 countries and free data roaming in Canada and Mexico.

Best Plan

The $50/month option is definitely the best way how to get the most out of this provider. The high data cap it comes with would cost you much more with many other providers and the inclusion of unlimited international texting and free data roaming is a nice cheery on top of this delicious cake.

Pros

  • Plenty of data
  • Free roaming in Canada and Mexico
  • Auto-pay discounts
  • AT&T network

Cons

  • Throttles to 8 Mbps
  • Limits tethering to $50 and higher plans at a cost of $10 extra.

Verdict

Compared with other plans on this list, Cricket Wireless is definitely suited more for heavier cellular data users and people who frequently travel abroad.

Ting

ting

Ting does things completely differently from any other prepaid carriers on this list. This dual GSM/CDMA carrier powered by Sprint’s network and T-Mobile’s networks doesn’t force their customers to buy allotments of minutes or dollars each month. Instead, Ting simply bills their customers for what they really use, according to blocks in its rate chart.

This makes the service perfect for people who don’t use their phone consistently throughout the year and also for those who are willing to a bit of micromanaging to cut down on their data, text, and talk usage.

Plans

  • Ting uses their signature “pay for what you use” philosophy. The company has abolished standard plans with a convenient chart, which ensures that you only pay for what you really use.
  • The basic price of $6/month doesn’t come with any talk, text, or data. It merely allows you to connect to their network.
  • You are then billed for what you use, starting at $3 for 100 minutes, $3 for 100 text messages, and $3 for 100 MB of data.
  • For example, $81/month would give you 2100 minutes, 4800 texts, and 2 GB of data.

Pros

  • Added a second carrier
  • Great customer support
  • Rates high in reader surveys
  • Never pay for what you don’t need

Cons

  • Gest expensive after 2 GB

Verdict

Ting is the best option for people who use their mobile phones inconsistently. Throughout the year. Seasonal workers, students, contracts can all benefit from Ting’s cost-effective nature.

Conclusion

All four plans listed in this article offer a fantastic combination of services and features with prices that are hard to beat. Each is suitable for a slightly different type of user, so a careful evaluation of your needs is the main step toward choosing the right one.

Ting Opens Its GSM Beta Test To All

Ting Logo

Ting, the small and very cheap prepaid carrier, is now opening up its GSM network for beta testing. Ting announced last year that they would be launching a GSM network and now it is coming to fruition.

Previously, the GSM network testing was invite-only, so it’s nice to see the beta opening up. Since a beta test for a cell phone network is odd, Ting’s Senior Content Manager Andrew Moore-Crispin took to their blog to explain why they have this program.

“We’ve been hard at work on Ting on a GSM network. We’ve sent out invitations in the thousands with a majority of people taking us up on the offer. We’ve used the feedback we’ve received from our intrepid testers to further refine the activation process and the way we confirm that devices are compatible. Another thing we’ve been working on is making the switch from the CDMA to the GSM network easy for those that want to move their service or one of their active numbers from one to the other.”

Ting’s previous cellular network was CDMA only on Sprint, so with the addition of GSM anyone can bring any unlocked device to the network. Based off the coverage map, it appears that Ting is using T-Mobile’s network for GSM so if you live in an area with good T-Mobile coverage you should be good to go.

To participate in the beta, you just need to purchase the Ting GSM X1 SIM card and activate it with your unlocked device. Since the GSM network is currently in beta testing, be warned that you might have occasional issues.

Source: Ting via Android Central

Sprint reseller Ting to start selling the Samsung Galaxy S5 on May 5

Sprint reseller Ting to start selling the Samsung Galaxy S5 on May 5

The Galaxy S5 has already found a place on the lineups of most US carriers, and now, the device will be making its way to Sprint reseller Ting, making it the first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to stock Samsung’s latest flagship. Ting will start stocking the phone from May 5th, before larger carriers like Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, and will sell the device at $599, around $50 less than other carriers. (more…)