What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

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TheDDC
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by TheDDC »

Elric wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:05 pm
TJat wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:02 pm I have prepaid for ATT. can’t speak to the target demographic but I pay $45 a month for 4gb 4G data and unlimited talk/text for two iPhones.

I found this somewhere 40% cheaper than an equivalent contract that was mainly pushing unlimited data and leasing a phone. Perhaps those plans are geared towards spendthrift people that fall for the marketing that the latest phone is somehow a necessity.
My experience when I first got on T-Mobile was similar. The least expensive plan that met my needs was a pre-paid plan.
Exactly. I pay $15/mo. for 2 GB and unlimited talk and text with T-Mobile Connect. That is the lowest price plan on T-Mobile. It happens to be a pre-paid plan. I have had AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile pre and post-paid. I have always paid my bills on time. The most competitive option for lines that don't use heavy data will always be pre-paid. Also, if your phone is unlocked, you have access to a wealth of MVNO pre-paid carriers that ride the "big three" carrier networks.

-TheDDC
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Freetime76
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Freetime76 »

:D I am going to add “cell phone plans” to the short list of things to only talk with someone about if you know them very very well (religion, politics...).

The downside to prepaid that we didn’t like was the sudden cutoff and no way to refill it conveniently with no service nearby (I don’t remember the specifics, but it was a long while ago and caused a lot of stress on a road trip).

Also, we know a handyman (woman, actually) who uses prepaid (burner) phones. Her number keeps changing as a phone is lost or ?? That’s the other downside, for us.

The downside to “regular” billing was the fine print that said AT&T could still charge the full bill if I didn’t cancel fast enough. Again, I don’t remember the specifics, but I do remember being wicked pissed.


Speaking of 40 year olds living in bubbles - we don’t have cell phones at all. No reception at home, so what’s the point? (People would call or text and expect a response, and we wouldn’t even know until we went into town). The lack of interruption is priceless.
Please spell out new acronyms. Thank you.
TheDDC
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by TheDDC »

Freetime76 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:51 pm The downside to prepaid that we didn’t like was the sudden cutoff and no way to refill it conveniently with no service nearby (I don’t remember the specifics, but it was a long while ago and caused a lot of stress on a road trip).

...

Speaking of 40 year olds living in bubbles - we don’t have cell phones at all. No reception at home, so what’s the point? (People would call or text and expect a response, and we wouldn’t even know until we went into town). The lack of interruption is priceless.
Unlimited talk and text pre-paid plans don’t require minute refills, and the payment is done automatically via CC every month. For all intents and purposes you don’t notice a difference between a pre-paid and post-paid plan with T-Mobile. Can’t speak to other carriers.

As for “no reception at home” that is also not the case anymore with wifi calling on modern smart phones. This allows you to use your homes wifi signal to make and receive calls/texts with your cell phone.

-TheDDC
Rules to wealth building: 75-80% VTSAX piled high and deep, 20-25% VTIAX, 0% given away to banks, minimize amount given to medical-industrial complex
MrJones
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by MrJones »

cacophony wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:04 am In my experience, Red Pocket support has been superior to AT&T (no wait time and more efficient help)
Same here, vastly superior. Both via email and on the phone. Red Pocket seems to be making good of the advantage of being small and nimble.
jfave33
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by jfave33 »

There is this idiotic idea in the USA that somehow prepaid means you are a lazy good for nothing waste of space loser. Let me set that straight... it doesn't. You see on messageboards people wanting to change the name of their carrier on their phone from tracfone or whatever because they are embarrassed. Sad.

Some prepaid plans are better than postpaid plans. Take tmobile connect prepaid plans. $15 or $25 and they offer the same network priority as a postpaid plan starting at $70. Prepaid plans often are more transparent about fees. And some mvnos as they are called (operators who use the big networks but aren't them) have better customer service and better deals. There are also the branded ones that the big carriers operate - cricket, metropcs, visible - that offer great packages for less money. Visible for example offers unlimited everything to single lines starting at $25 with some caveats. Just because you pay in advance doesn't mean anything bad.

Quite frankly most people on postpaid are being taken advantage of. They are the chumps.

Anyway to the OP the plan you want isn't really popular in the US. It is just one form of prepaid. Most prepaid plans just mean you pay before you get service. Advantages are usually lower cost and transparent pricing for practically the same service. No need to buy a full unlimited plan if you don't need it. They just offer more choice.
stinkycat
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by stinkycat »

ballons wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:03 pm Prepaid has two groups:
  1. PAYGO
  2. Monthly
Paygo was the way things were but has all but disappeared. It costs too much for carriers to bill like this and the absolute free fall in monthly rates finished it off. It still exists on MVNO's: e.g. https://www.h2owireless.com/plan/minute

Do you want to pay $100/GB when Tmobile charges $15 for 2.5GB?
I agree that the cost per GB is very high for H20, but I am on wifi about 99% of the time, so I still use the PAYGO approach. I mostly use google voice with the cell phone as a backup. Most years my cell phone bill is under $50 per year.
Starfish
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Starfish »

ballons wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:03 pm Prepaid has two groups:
  1. PAYGO
  2. Monthly
Paygo was the way things were but has all but disappeared. It costs too much for carriers to bill like this and the absolute free fall in monthly rates finished it off. It still exists on MVNO's: e.g. https://www.h2owireless.com/plan/minute

Do you want to pay $100/GB when Tmobile charges $15 for 2.5GB?
One of the interesting plans out there is the xfinity one, which uses Verizon + all comcast wifi routers. They have a per Gb option, and 1Gb is 15$.
https://www.xfinity.com/mobile/learn/plan
Makefile
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Makefile »

jfave33 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:37 pm There is this idiotic idea in the USA that somehow prepaid means you are a lazy good for nothing waste of space loser. Let me set that straight... it doesn't. You see on messageboards people wanting to change the name of their carrier on their phone from tracfone or whatever because they are embarrassed. Sad.

Some prepaid plans are better than postpaid plans. Take tmobile connect prepaid plans. $15 or $25 and they offer the same network priority as a postpaid plan starting at $70. Prepaid plans often are more transparent about fees. And some mvnos as they are called (operators who use the big networks but aren't them) have better customer service and better deals. There are also the branded ones that the big carriers operate - cricket, metropcs, visible - that offer great packages for less money. Visible for example offers unlimited everything to single lines starting at $25 with some caveats. Just because you pay in advance doesn't mean anything bad.

Quite frankly most people on postpaid are being taken advantage of. They are the chumps.

Anyway to the OP the plan you want isn't really popular in the US. It is just one form of prepaid. Most prepaid plans just mean you pay before you get service. Advantages are usually lower cost and transparent pricing for practically the same service. No need to buy a full unlimited plan if you don't need it. They just offer more choice.
On top of the points you make, the taxation can work differently for a prepaid vs. postpaid plan. In many parts of the US cell phone service has a 20-30% "luxury tax" once you account for the various municipal/county, state, and federal taxes/fees. Sometimes these may be higher or lower depending on whether it is prepaid. Further, some carriers like Visible and T-Mobile like you mentioned, do after-tax pricing so this can be quite an arbitrage if you are in a high-tax area.
Doctor Rhythm
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Doctor Rhythm »

corp_sharecropper wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:53 pm Why would I want to pre-pay for service in June, and then be forced to pre-pay again in July if I haven't used up all of what I pre-paid in June by then? Webster still produces dictionaries, do they not have a copy?
Maybe I misunderstood your question (rhetorical or otherwise), but I don’t see it as paying for (say) 5 GB of data. Rather, you’re paying for one month of internet access up to 5 GB. It’s like my prepaid monthly parking fee at work: It let’s me park one car every day in the garage for the month, but it’s not the same as buying 30-car-days of parking. If I work from home for most of the month, I can’t expect to apply the unused days to next month or park two cars. As others have said, the “buy 5 GB and use it up as you see fit” plan is uncommon these days. Our child was on a plan like that with Total Wireless, but it felt too restrictive when unlimited plans were just slightly more expensive.

My admittedly unfair bias is that traditional contract plans are what people choose when they don’t know any better, don’t care about costs, or just feel more comfortable with a brand name. Incidentally, we’re happy paying $30 per line for unlimited data on Visible (Verizon’s affiliated prepaid service).
bloom2708
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by bloom2708 »

Freetime76 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:51 pm Speaking of 40 year olds living in bubbles - we don’t have cell phones at all. No reception at home, so what’s the point? (People would call or text and expect a response, and we wouldn’t even know until we went into town). The lack of interruption is priceless.
You enable wi-fi calling when at home or on other wi-fi networks.

Then your phone works at home and when in cell tower signal areas. :idea:
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familythriftmd
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by familythriftmd »

I have Verizon pre-paid and I am thrilled with it. The reception is good in our rural area and anywhere else for that matter.
It's also dirt cheap especially if you've had it for a while. I pay $25 per month with the auto-pay setup, plus about $3 or $4 for taxes and 911 stuff.
Why would you want to tether yourself to post-paid contracts when it also costs more money, anyway?
I wouldn't go back unless they find some way to screw it up.
UALflyer
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by UALflyer »

jfave33 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:37 pmThere are also the branded ones that the big carriers operate - cricket, metropcs, visible - that offer great packages for less money. Visible for example offers unlimited everything to single lines starting at $25 with some caveats. Just because you pay in advance doesn't mean anything bad.
A lot depends on what you mean by "anything bad." I like Visible's plan quite a bit, but would not describe it as "unlimited everything to single lines starting at $25 with some caveats." It is $25/month per line, which includes all taxes and fees and gets billed individually, and requires 4 lines or more on Party Pay. It is definitely a very good value, but there is a number of notable drawbacks.

Visible's mobile hotspot, while unlimited, is throttled to 5mbps. All mobile data on Visible is deprioritized and the latency is typically double or triple what you would get on a postpaid plan. Customer service issues are handled through online chat, so for some of the more complex issues, you won't be able to just call them to have a conversation. There are obviously no device subsidies like you can get with a postpaid plan. There are no additional services (such as internet, tv, etc...) that you can bundle for additional discounts.

If the above limitations are acceptable, it is an excellent value. At the same time, I provided a link above to an unlimited postpaid plan with AT&T (Visible's service operates on Verizon's network, so you need to compare the two in your area), which with 4 lines would run $35 - $37/line with all taxes and does not have the above limitations, plus comes with device subsidies. Once you amortize the device subsidies over, let's say, a 3 year period, your net monthly cost of a postpaid plan ends up being about the same or lower, and you still get all the postpaid perks. If you also end up using AT&T's internet and/or tv service, it'll come with bundling discounts, which will make things even cheaper. In other words, on a net basis, even Visible's unlimited plan, while an excellent value with Party Pay, isn't necessarily cheaper than what you can get with postpaid.
athenslb57
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by athenslb57 »

jfave33 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:37 pm There is this idiotic idea in the USA that somehow prepaid means you are a lazy good for nothing waste of space loser. Let me set that straight... it doesn't. You see on messageboards people wanting to change the name of their carrier on their phone from tracfone or whatever because they are embarrassed. Sad.

Some prepaid plans are better than postpaid plans. Take tmobile connect prepaid plans. $15 or $25 and they offer the same network priority as a postpaid plan starting at $70. Prepaid plans often are more transparent about fees. And some mvnos as they are called (operators who use the big networks but aren't them) have better customer service and better deals. There are also the branded ones that the big carriers operate - cricket, metropcs, visible - that offer great packages for less money. Visible for example offers unlimited everything to single lines starting at $25 with some caveats. Just because you pay in advance doesn't mean anything bad.

Quite frankly most people on postpaid are being taken advantage of. They are the chumps.

Anyway to the OP the plan you want isn't really popular in the US. It is just one form of prepaid. Most prepaid plans just mean you pay before you get service. Advantages are usually lower cost and transparent pricing for practically the same service. No need to buy a full unlimited plan if you don't need it. They just offer more choice.
This is spot on..... We use ATT prepaid for my wife's iphone and it works great. Actually, data on her prepaid iphone is faster than my postpaid company iphone on Verizon. We pay $300/year for unlimited talk/text and 8GB data monthly. Great deal in my opinion.
brianH
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by brianH »

Makefile wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:39 pm On top of the points you make, the taxation can work differently for a prepaid vs. postpaid plan. In many parts of the US cell phone service has a 20-30% "luxury tax" once you account for the various municipal/county, state, and federal taxes/fees.
What's interesting, with my TotalWireless plan, is that I can walk into Walmart and buy a $25 month card for my phone, and that's all I pay (+ sales tax I guess), but if I pay online through a scheduled payment, I get hit with a bunch of other taxes/E911 fees, etc. There's some kind of loophole with the refill cards that gets closed if you pay automatically online.

Of course, TW gives a discount for scheduled online payments, so the difference only works out to about $2/month. Not worth my time to mess with refill cards.
zlandar
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by zlandar »

I got tired of being chained to a cellular company for 2+ years if they "bought" me a new phone. The prepaid plans are significantly cheaper because it's not filled with captive consumers. If I see a better offer from a competing provider I can leave whenever I want.
arsenal_fan
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by arsenal_fan »

Anyone know what's the cheapest plan for an iphone + apple watch (cellular) combo? Data needed per month is ~5-7 GB. In October, I'll be able to add another line, so even willing to listen to options for 2 lines + apple watch combo plans.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Steelersfan »

PaunchyPirate wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:34 pm I am by no means a deadbeat. I retired securely at age 56 with excellent credit. I also found the best plan for me was Verizon’s prepaid $40 Per month plan with 5gb of data and unlimited talk and texts. Since I’ve retired, I average about 1/2 gb of data per month. With autopay on, Verizon discounts me down to $35. I’ve had them now over a year, so I qualify for $10 off in Loyalty rewards. So, I pay $25 per month plus a couple dollars in taxes. And I’m on the Verizon network, which is the best where I live. I tried lower-cost T-Mobile-based alternatives, but their network is not great where I live.
Thanks for posting this. Verizon didn't tell me I could move to a lower cost plan with more data (of course) so as soon as I saw your post I switched plans, and got two more gigabytes of data as a bonus. I'll be saving over $100 a year. :D
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Padlin
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Padlin »

I have 2 prepaid phones. I buy like new used and autopay $29 a month for 2Gb from puppywireless, which uses Verizon's network in my case.

No idea what pricing is going with Verizon regular plans, but when I retred they were about more then $100 so I went this route. No complaints.
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jfave33
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by jfave33 »

UALflyer wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:54 am
jfave33 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:37 pmThere are also the branded ones that the big carriers operate - cricket, metropcs, visible - that offer great packages for less money. Visible for example offers unlimited everything to single lines starting at $25 with some caveats. Just because you pay in advance doesn't mean anything bad.
A lot depends on what you mean by "anything bad." I like Visible's plan quite a bit, but would not describe it as "unlimited everything to single lines starting at $25 with some caveats." It is $25/month per line, which includes all taxes and fees and gets billed individually, and requires 4 lines or more on Party Pay. It is definitely a very good value, but there is a number of notable drawbacks.

Visible's mobile hotspot, while unlimited, is throttled to 5mbps. All mobile data on Visible is deprioritized and the latency is typically double or triple what you would get on a postpaid plan. Customer service issues are handled through online chat, so for some of the more complex issues, you won't be able to just call them to have a conversation. There are obviously no device subsidies like you can get with a postpaid plan. There are no additional services (such as internet, tv, etc...) that you can bundle for additional discounts.

If the above limitations are acceptable, it is an excellent value. At the same time, I provided a link above to an unlimited postpaid plan with AT&T (Visible's service operates on Verizon's network, so you need to compare the two in your area), which with 4 lines would run $35 - $37/line with all taxes and does not have the above limitations, plus comes with device subsidies. Once you amortize the device subsidies over, let's say, a 3 year period, your net monthly cost of a postpaid plan ends up being about the same or lower, and you still get all the postpaid perks. If you also end up using AT&T's internet and/or tv service, it'll come with bundling discounts, which will make things even cheaper. In other words, on a net basis, even Visible's unlimited plan, while an excellent value with Party Pay, isn't necessarily cheaper than what you can get with postpaid.
Thing with visible is you don't need 4 lines to get it for $25. You can join any big group of random strangers and have your single line for $25. People in visible's groups are totally separate. It is a virtual group. Postpaid anything will cost $70-100+
But yet there are some drawbacks but visible is just one option there are others with different drawbacks which may work better for you. Even if you need priority att doesn't give any prepaid or resellers worse priority and tmobile's own prepaid has the same priority as postpaid as well. End of day they will all be cheaper than postpaid unless you have multiple lines which is a totally different game as postpaid carriers target multiple lines customers as their cash cow. Just think if they are targeting you they are milking you.
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