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Prepaid Phone Plans

Phone plan shoppers want to see prepaid phone plans compared and reviewed, because the market is full of phone packages by the month, the day, and the minute. There are prepaid phone plans that require a contract, and those that require no commitment at all, where you just reload when you run out. Some plans have get complicated real quick and have a number of hidden fees, while others are remarkably straightforward and simple to understand.

In other words, the prepaid phone plan market is full of options for you and your family, which is the way an open market should be. Search long enough and you'll find the perfect phone plan for what you need. The price of all those options is a glut of information from a glut of competitors, which can get awfully confusing when you start trying to analyze the prepaid phone plan market.

So I want to compare some of my favorite and least favorite prepaid phone plans, to help you start to narrow down your choices. I also wanted to present a larger list of other industry names to consider reviewing on your own. So let's get started.

Prepaid Phone Plan Reviews

Prepaid Phone Plans Compared 2011Here are 10 prepaid phone plan reviews with a handful of notes on each. These cover a full range of options, from prepaid phone plans designed for the younger generation and full of free apps and cheap features, to plans built specifically for the senior phone user, without all the confusing little items and downloads the younger generation wants. Then there are the services for everyone in-between.

Net-10 Prepaid - Net10 is a subsidiary of TracFone based out of Miami, Florida. Net10 offers a simple prepaid structure and cheap pricing. There are no hidden rates. Calls to the directory are treated like local calls, unlike other services. On the downside, their phone options could be better, and there's no discount for weekend calls or night calls.

PlatinumTel Prepaid - Platinum Tel offers options to its customers, with a whole variety of different plans. They also offer QWERTY phones that actually work the way they're supposed to. If you text a lot, though, PlatinumTel's text messaging can get expensive. You'll be charged $5 a month for data, along with a charge per KB.
T-Mobile Prepaid - Is a true prepaid service, where you pay for refills and have no monthly bill. The rates are competitive, and the coverage is excellent in areas covered by the T-Mobile network. Don't buy the lower denomination refills, because this gets expensive and runs out quick for the money allotted.

AT&T Prepaid - It's no surprise the AT&T coverage is widespread enough to seem comprehensive, and you'll have a wide selection of phones to choose from. You pay for the privilege, though, because AT&T's rates are on the high end of the market.

Boost Mobile Prepaid - Boost Mobile offers a lot of cheap mobile web content, and a significant portion of it is free. Boost Mobile stands out with its downloads and content, so you can imagine they are appealing to a younger demograhic. This plan has a lot of downloads, and even patches in to Nextel's walkie-talkie service. At the same time, their phones (and all those apps) are naturally going to be expensive.

Verizon Wireless Prepaid - Verizon offers a huge network of coverage and a number of pay packages. There's even an option for penny texts. Watch out for their daily access charge, where you get charged a fee any day you use the phone. Tends to be an expensive phone service.

Virgin Mobile Prepaid - Virgin Mobile offers a pay-by-the-minute plan or a pay-by-the-month plan. You get nationwide coverage, including Alaska, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Refill cards are easy to find. Virgin prepaid offers a lot of features targeted at the younger audience. This might be confusing if you weren't born in the Information Age.

Kajeet Prepaid - Kajeet is a parent and child-friendly service with fair rates, uncomplicated plans, and a lot of parental controls. But the roaming is troublesome, the choice of phones is limited, and you have to pay a daily fee (like Verizon Prepaid).

Cricket Prepaid - Cricket has a true "prepaid without a contract" service, with flat rates and unlimited calling. No commitments, but the good Cricket phones come with expensive plans.

Jitterbug Prepaid - I've reviewed a couple of packages for the youths in the room, so I wanted to mention a service for seniors and/or Baby Boomers. They have phones with big button and a simple phone design, as well as a number of payment tiers. The per-minute plans tends to be expensive, though, and only the top-tier packages offer text messaging (big deal for most seniors) and voicemail (a much bigger problem).

No Contract Prepaid Phone Plans

Here's a look at some selected no-contract prepaid phone plans. I've listed the "pay as you go" plans and the more structured monthly plans side-by-side, so you can compare. There are one or two that are so expensive by comparison (about double) that I have a hard time believing anyone would use the service. They obviously do.

T-Mobile Prepaid - Pay as You Go: 10 cents a minute - Unlimited Calling Plan: $50 a month

Boost Mobile Prepaid - Pay as You Go: $0.10 a minute - Unlimited Calling Plan: $50 a month

Net-10 Prepaid - Pay as You Go: $0.03 a minute (select locations) - Unlimited Calling Plan: *Special

Cricket No Contract - Pay as You Go: None - Unlimited Calling Plan: $35 a month

Virgin Mobile No Contract - Pay as You Go: $0.20 a minute - Unlimited Calling Plan: $60 a month

T Mobile Prepaid - Pay as You Go: $0.10 a minute - Unlimited Calling Plan: $50 a month

Verizon Wireless Prepaid - Pay as You Go: $0.25 a minute - Unlimited Calling Plan: $74.99 a month

Metro PCS Prepaid - Pay as You Go: N/A - Unlimited Calling Plan: $40 a month

You'll notice that some of these carriers don't have a "no contract" prepaid phone plan to mention. Since these companies have some of the best monthly plans, I thought I would go ahead and list them. Also, this shows that some companies don't have or tout unstructured plans, so if you don't see a pay-as-you-go option available early in your search of a prepaid phone card website, move on and research another company.

More Prepaid Phone Plans

Here is a list of other prepaid phone plans to look at, if you want a full list of options. Some of these are found everywhere, while others are more obscure. That's the great part of the free market: more choices means better deals for you. Review all of these options and you'll end up finding the pre-paid phone plan that's perfect for you.

  • Alltel Wireless Prepaid Phone Plan
  • Boost Mobile Prepaid Phone Plan
  • Common Cents Mobile
  • Consumer Cellular Liberty Wireless
  • MetroPCS Prepaid
  • o2 Prepaid Phone Card
  • PagePlus Cellular
  • Ready Mobile Phone Card
  • Red Rocket Mobile Prepaid
  • Simple Freedom Phone Card
  • Simple Mobile Phone Card
  • STI Mobile Prepaid
  • Straight Talk Prepaid
  • Total Call Mobile Prepaid
  • TracFone Prepaid
  • Venture Mobile Prepaid
  • US Cellular Prepaid
  • Xtreme Mobile Phone Card

Prepaid Phone Plan Ratings

Every cellular customer is going to have different wants, needs, and expectations, so it's hard to give prepaid phone plan ratings suited to every reader. I've given enough information that you should be able to sift through and find what you need or want. As for a personal preference, I tend to prefer straightforward plans which do what they say they're going to do and don't have a lot of tacked-on fees and hidden surcharges. So I like what Net10, PlatinumTel, and Cricket are doing these days.

You might prefer a bigger selection of phones or the complete coverage that the cellular giants can offer. If so, you might have to pay a little extra or even put up with daily rates for every day that you even answer the phone. If you don't mind that, then I'd probably recommend T-Mobile or Virgin Mobile. For parents looking to buy a prepaid phone card for their kids, look at Kajeet and see if it gives you what you need. Whatever the case, this prepaid phone plan comparison shows there's a plan for everyone.

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