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

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

Post by corp_sharecropper »

I recently was in the market for a data only mobile plan for a laptop. Maybe I'm just old (only 40!) but I had assumed that "pre-paid" meant that you buy X# of GB of data (or X# of talk minutes if it's a phone) and you could use the service until you drained it of what you purchased.

Well, I don't think "pre-paid" means that to companies after looking into it. Everywhere I looked it seems to mean basically the same as any other monthly plan except that instead of getting a bill for usage at the end of a billing cycle you front the money before you even use the service. Why on earth would anyone be excited about that? What possible benefit is there? Is "pre-paid" simply a subscription for people who are deadbeats when it comes to credit? What's so tragic about just cutting off the service after one non-payment that these companies offer these faux "pre-paid" plans? The cost of administrating a whole other paradigm must be a wash vs just turning off service in arrears billing after non-payment.

I'm disgusted with the state of cable/phone/mobile, they clearly think we're all idiots. Unless I'm missing something.. what am I missing? 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?
SmallSaver
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by SmallSaver »

corp_sharecropper wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:53 pm Is "pre-paid" simply a subscription for people who are deadbeats when it comes to credit?
I wouldn't put it in quite those terms, but I think this is basically it. It costs time and money to chase down non-payers, most companies will allow you to go some time before cutting off service (nice for customers who get behind or forget to pay a bill). Being poor is expensive and a hassle.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by TJat »

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. With carryover I have 25gb banked

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

Post by Elric »

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

Post by tashnewbie »

With prepaid plans, generally if you don’t use the given monthly data amount, you lose it. Maybe there are some plans that allow rollover data? That sounds like what you want. Google might help.

I’m not a credit deadbeat. I like prepaid plans because they’re cheaper than comparable post paid plans I can use.
Jags4186
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Jags4186 »

The benefit is that most prepaid plans are significantly cheaper than post paid plans, don’t require a credit check, can be turned on and off as needed, and don’t have any surprise billings.

In combination with a few offers/deals I paid $200 upfront for 2 years worth of for 10gb/mo, unlimited talk, and unlimited text service with Mint Mobile. Going into year 2 shortly.
prd1982
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by prd1982 »

SmallSaver wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:57 pm
corp_sharecropper wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:53 pm Is "pre-paid" simply a subscription for people who are deadbeats when it comes to credit?
I wouldn't put it in quite those terms, but I think this is basically it. It costs time and money to chase down non-payers, most companies will allow you to go some time before cutting off service (nice for customers who get behind or forget to pay a bill). Being poor is expensive and a hassle.
Wow. I haven’t heard that description of prepaid in a long time. Yes, people with poor credit (not deadbeats) use prepaid. But so do a lot of people with middle-class and above income. Plans are usually cheaper because billing is simpler. Many of the plans are from smaller companies, who use the networks of the big 3. I would say that heavy users probably use post-paid. But people who don’t use a lot of GB can benefit from pre-paid.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by RickBoglehead »

Prepaid is for people who like budgets, and no surprises. Easily found via Google.

https://www.reviews.org/au/mobile/prepaid-vs-postpaid/
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by jackbeagle »

corp_sharecropper wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:53 pm I recently was in the market for a data only mobile plan for a laptop. Maybe I'm just old (only 40!) but I had assumed that "pre-paid" meant that you buy X# of GB of data (or X# of talk minutes if it's a phone) and you could use the service until you drained it of what you purchased.

Well, I don't think "pre-paid" means that to companies after looking into it. Everywhere I looked it seems to mean basically the same as any other monthly plan except that instead of getting a bill for usage at the end of a billing cycle you front the money before you even use the service. Why on earth would anyone be excited about that? What possible benefit is there? Is "pre-paid" simply a subscription for people who are deadbeats when it comes to credit? What's so tragic about just cutting off the service after one non-payment that these companies offer these faux "pre-paid" plans? The cost of administrating a whole other paradigm must be a wash vs just turning off service in arrears billing after non-payment.

I'm disgusted with the state of cable/phone/mobile, they clearly think we're all idiots. Unless I'm missing something.. what am I missing? 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?
I'll do you one better.

Postpaid plans, after a certain year (2010 or so, depending on carrier) now DO charge you a month in advance for any fixed monthly recurring charges. On carriers' websites it's still considered "postpaid" because the account has the ability to bill premium usage (international, overages) on the next statement, but your base plan charges are still paid in advance.

Example: You sign up for new service with "Wireless, Inc." and it's mid-June. Your up front costs are the half-month from now until the next month, as well as the next full month. This is NOT a security deposit. A security deposit may, however, be charged in addition to this. Legacy postpaid plans continue to bill MRC in arrears, though.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by sailaway »

I pre pay a year at a time to get what averages out to $15/mo.
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Monster99
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Monster99 »

I have a tracfone - I buy talk, text and data for a year and if you don't use all, you can roll it over when you buy the next year. Cost about $125 a year. I usually run out of text and can add 1000 for $5 during the year.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by plog »

what am I missing?
The world around you? Come on, you're 40, this can't be a shock to you.

I know you're probably just venting, but have you met people? Check cashing places exist. Payday loan places exist. $0 down car lots exist. Prepaid cell phones should not be surprising to anyone who's spent 5 minutes in this place. Stupid plans/programs/products/services exist because stupid people exist. In abundance.
yohac
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by yohac »

These days, post-paid generally means unlimited data, whereas pre-paid is usually limited data but at a much lower cost. So the choice mainly depends on your needs for data. We could certainly afford post-paid but we never use more than a gig of data in a month.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by runner3081 »

Guess I am happy to be an idiot for using Tello and RedPocket prepaid plans for our cell phones.

$9.01 per month, total for 100% of our cell phone needs.

With Tello, unused data rolls over, there is >8gb available for use now.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer »

yohac wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:18 pm These days, post-paid generally means unlimited data, whereas pre-paid is usually limited data but at a much lower cost. So the choice mainly depends on your needs for data. We could certainly afford post-paid but we never use more than a gig of data in a month.
pre-paid can also mean unlimitted data.. Mint you prepay for a year to get the cheapest price. it can be unlimited data. Mint though while uses the tmobile network, doesn't have all the roaming agreements that tmobile has.. So Alaska? i think not.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by HyperCat »

As others have said, they're usually cheaper... by a lot. And if you're resigned to paying a phone bill for the rest of your life, who cares if it's at the beginning or end of the month? Some serious judgment going on with equating them with bad credit or deadbeats.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by PaunchyPirate »

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

Post by theplayer11 »

$100/mth for 5 lines with 10GB each from Cricket. Why would I pay more with a contract plan?
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by MarkRoulo »

plog wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:17 pm
what am I missing?
The world around you? Come on, you're 40, this can't be a shock to you.

I know you're probably just venting, but have you met people? Check cashing places exist. Payday loan places exist. $0 down car lots exist. Prepaid cell phones should not be surprising to anyone who's spent 5 minutes in this place. Stupid plans/programs/products/services exist because stupid people exist. In abundance.
Also, some people just don't need many minutes or much data. Some people don't like auto-pay. And some people don't need many minutes and hate auto-pay. $100/year for 1000 phone minutes doesn't seem like a particularly stupid choice for someone who rarely uses 1000 minutes in a year.
2babogle
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by 2babogle »

If you're not a heavy bandwidth data user then you probably don't care. If you use your gigs, distributed evenly over the month, and you're in an area where deprioritization isn't a problem, then prepaid can be a real money saver.
Deprioritization is a problem for me in my area with my service so I have no choice but to post pay if I want to maintain my priority (i.e. throughput).
YMMV
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by brianH »

Prepaid from TotalWireless works for my usage. $27 a month after taxes for unlimited talk and text. Then, I buy GB of data for $2/GB which roll over. I never use much data off wifi, so my average monthly cost works out to less than $30/m for the Verizon network.

The other nice thing about prepaid is that it can be mostly anonymous.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by ballons »

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

Post by nisiprius »

I don't know whether you would call it a "prepaid" plan or not, and Tracfone has a large zoo of plans... they call it a "no-contract" plan. All numbers here are per phone.

When we were on Verizon we paid about $30 per month.

On Tracfone, when my supply of minutes, texts, and data starts to get low, I buy a "plan."

I don't remember the exact details from last time, but it was similar to what is showing now. I typically spend about $100 at a time. If I needed to buy one now I'd probably choose the $125 plan: 365 days, 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, and 1.5 GB of data. The last time I bought one was in early 2020 when we were expecting to go on a road trip which got cancelled. I usually run out of data fastest and I think I bought another 1 GB for $10 at some point. I currently have 792 minutes, 2,061 texts, and 2 GB of data remaining, and a service end date of 4/12/2023. The point is that I've spent perhaps $135 and, a year and a half later, am nowhere close to needing to top anything up.

I have not kept a careful log but I am pretty darned sure that I am paying something on the rough order of $150 once every couple of years, which works out to $6.25 per month. Let's say $10 a month.

I was using cell internet earlier today to check something in a store while I was shopping. It is the phone number I customarily give out for e.g. doctors' appointments. I mean yeah, I use the thing, not just for emergencies.

On our 2016 road trip we drove from the East Coast to Yellowstone and back, and many of the campgrounds were in areas with poor cell service. On the whole trip, more than eight weeks, there was only one time when we didn't have cell service and someone else did.

For me, the only serious downside to Tracfone is the 411 service, which, don't get me started. It is usually better to use cell internet and a Web search.

Some people might be put off by the cheap, outdated phones available. Mine is a $200-when-I-bought-it Samsung A10e = SM-S102DL, with 16 GB of storage, nominally 5.83 inches (but narrow), Android version 10.

So the reason I use this particular carrier and plan, which happens to be a "pre-paid" plan, is that for my personal pattern of usage, it costs about ⅓ of what a "regular" plan would cost.

Another detail is that it is a big life principle of mine to avoid any kind of recurring charge like the plague. It's not the splurges, it's the $4.99/month here and $11.99/month there. It seems to be a behavioral error that cannot be correct even when you know about it, to overestimate the size of lump sums and underestimate the accumulating total of recurring small expenses. It would probably cut my costs ten or fifteen percent to cave in and check the "auto-refill" box on Tracfone's order screen, but I don't.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Purdue »

theplayer11 wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:37 pm $100/mth for 5 lines with 10GB each from Cricket. Why would I pay more with a contract plan?
Same here.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Jim Burnham »

I can tell you one more advantage of prepaid plans: if someone is not able to discern when they are being scammed by a phone scammer whose modus operandi is running up exorbitant charges per minute on phone calls, a prepaid plan can limit the damage. A relative of mine got lured into a "Publisher's Clearing House" scam being run from area code 876 (Jamaica, I think). He was charging her $3.99 a MINUTE to talk about this supposed prize she had won from Publisher's Clearing House. But her prepaid phone account only had a balance of $50.00 so the money ran out after 12 minutes or so - and the credit card to which the account was linked was MINE - so she called me wanting me to replenish the funds so she could call the scammer back and secure her "prize"! Fortunately I was able to figure out what was going on and put a stop to it, because the guy had her ready to send him hundreds of dollars to claim that "prize".

If it had been a postpaid account I don't know if I would have found out in time to intervene and stop the scam; it could very well have gone on for a much higher phone bill and the scammer might have been able to close the deal and get her to send him all that money. So I now think prepaid accounts might be best for people who are perhaps beginning to lose some of their mental edge.

I do think there is a special place in hell for people who prey on older people.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Normchad »

Purdue wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:25 pm
theplayer11 wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:37 pm $100/mth for 5 lines with 10GB each from Cricket. Why would I pay more with a contract plan?
Same here.
I’m tempted. Do either of you think there are any important downsides with Cricket wireless?
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by UALflyer »

Purdue wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:25 pm
theplayer11 wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:37 pm $100/mth for 5 lines with 10GB each from Cricket. Why would I pay more with a contract plan?
Same here.
Prepaid tends to work well for non-critical, relatively low usage plans, as well as plans with very few lines. You do generally have to accept higher latency, limits on hotspot usage, limited customer service, etc...

Postpaid tends to work better for people who need prioritized service (for work, etc...), low latency, heavier usage, need for greater reliability, better customer service, etc... There are also a ton of situations where postpaid can actually end up being cheaper than prepaid, so it is very possible to have your cake and eat it too.
Last edited by UALflyer on Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

A pre-paid phone is also known as a burner phone. You can get one and activate it with absolutely no identification of yourself. So when you kidnap the Billionaire's daughter and call in the ransom demand, you immediately squash the phone or throw it in the river.

Watch just about any episode of Sons of Anarchy or the Black List and you'll see how burners are used.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by UALflyer »

Normchad wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:38 pm
Purdue wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:25 pm
theplayer11 wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:37 pm $100/mth for 5 lines with 10GB each from Cricket. Why would I pay more with a contract plan?
Same here.
I’m tempted. Do either of you think there are any important downsides with Cricket wireless?
Yep, which may or may not matter to you. From https://www.cricketwireless.com/legal-i ... ation.html "Cricket caps download speeds on all its rate plans at 8Mbps (LTE)/4Mbps (4G) except for the Cricket More Plan and data only plans." Likewise, "On both unlimited plans, Cricket may temporarily slow data speeds if the network is busy."

Your latency is also going to be higher than on the postpaid plans. You won't get the same deep device discounts offered by the postpaid carriers, discounts on other services, etc...

Again, all of this may or may not matter to you.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Dottie57 »

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.
This is me on Verizon. Prepaid is cheapest. No contract. After 9 months. The cost goes down from 35 to 30. Strictly have his plan because it is cheap and Verizon is only network to have 4> 1bar when in my condo.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (cellphone plan).
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by coachf »

I switched from a contract to pre-paid with AT&T simply because I was paying $90 per month with my contract where now I pay around $38 dollars per month with tax. I also tend to not spend a ton of time staring at my phone and I am also not overly concerned with having the newest phone available.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by tim1999 »

I'm under 50 with a credit score over 800 and I've had prepaid wireless my entire adult life. It works out to be considerably cheaper on a monthly basis compared to a post-paid contract plan, at least the last time I checked. I use 5GB or less of data per month so I don't need unlimited. Back when prepaid plans had a restriction on number of voice minutes per month (except free nights and weekends) a 200-minute prepaid plan was sufficient for me.

Currently I have Verizon prepaid and pay about $55/month including all taxes/fees for 7GB of data.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by starboi »

corp_sharecropper wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:53 pm I recently was in the market for a data only mobile plan for a laptop. Maybe I'm just old (only 40!) but I had assumed that "pre-paid" meant that you buy X# of GB of data (or X# of talk minutes if it's a phone) and you could use the service until you drained it of what you purchased.

Well, I don't think "pre-paid" means that to companies after looking into it. Everywhere I looked it seems to mean basically the same as any other monthly plan except that instead of getting a bill for usage at the end of a billing cycle you front the money before you even use the service. Why on earth would anyone be excited about that? What possible benefit is there? Is "pre-paid" simply a subscription for people who are deadbeats when it comes to credit? What's so tragic about just cutting off the service after one non-payment that these companies offer these faux "pre-paid" plans? The cost of administrating a whole other paradigm must be a wash vs just turning off service in arrears billing after non-payment.

I'm disgusted with the state of cable/phone/mobile, they clearly think we're all idiots. Unless I'm missing something.. what am I missing? 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?
In the olden days the cell companies would charge all kinds of fees, taxes, overage charges, roaming charges, long distance charges, out of network charges, 911 fee, etc. With prepaid, you know exactly what you are paying. Also, some people have bad / no credit and may not qualify for post paid service.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by rantk81 »

I think Cell Phone companies were most accurately described by the character played by Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 4.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Kagord »

I think the selling point is pretty obvious. With a prepaid plan, I can drive down the road, open the window, and start throwing dollar bills out of the car a few times a day. If I had I major cell network plan, I'd I'd have less cash in the bank at end of the month doing this, so I probably wouldn't partake in this activity.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Nicolas »

I pay $6.75 a month for my prepaid cell plan with Tracfone. My wife pays the same for hers. We’ve been doing this for four years. We never run out but we’re light users.
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by gobel »

OP comes across as living in a bubble. Not everyone has a credit history. You typically need credit to get a postpaid plan as with many other things. I remember even having to put a deposit down for hooking up utilities when starting out. Does a 40yo really not realize this?
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by 123 »

Postpaid plans are marketed to people who want to use credit. They pay a higher charge due to the ability to finance the phone that is connected (usually) with the plan. This minimizes their immediate out-of-pocket cost to (usually) have the latest phone.

Postpaid plans can also provide the convenience of consolidated household billing for family plans. To me that often comes at a high cost.

Prepaid plans, especially those offered by MVNOs, are cheaper because often they don't operate any retail stores. Retail stores have a lot of overhead.

We use prepaid plans (Mint Mobile) because they are so much cheaper than postpaid plans. The cell phone towers are the same, our Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile. We have never noticed any shortcoming whatsoever in getting service through an MVNO like Mint Mobile.

We buy our phones for cash and buy prepaid service for a year at a time because its so much less expensive that way.

Postpaid plans with monthly billing might be necessary for business purposes, particularly if an employer is reimbursing the costs of the plan. Hey, if someone else is paying I don't really care what it costs.
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random_walker_77
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by random_walker_77 »

Prepaid works particularly well if your data/minutes needs are modest and you buy your phones outright. I'm by a computer on wifi most of the day. Normally, I'd use 250MB/month, and this past year, it's been more like 40MB/month. A $5/month prepaid plan from redpocket (by way of ebay) serves me very well.

If I were using a regular post-paid plan from a major telecom, I'd probably be being more than $5/month just for the taxes, regulatory fees, and administrative charges. Even if buying more expensive unlimited plans, prepaid means fixed costs and no extra taxes and miscellaneous fees.
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slowandsteadywins
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by slowandsteadywins »

Hi all,

I was grandfathered into a legacy Sprint Unlimited Kickstart plan, that is now T-Mobile's Tax-Included Kickstart plan. $30/month flat, unlimited data, texts, and minutes. I don't see myself leaving this plan for the price point, but I still keep an eye on the market for better deals.

My favorite sources for comparing phone plans are:

https://www.bestphoneplans.net/
https://www.reddit.com/r/nocontract/
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amd2135
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by amd2135 »

$600/year extra in our pockets is the main selling point. The plan our two lines are on (T-Mobile Simply Prepaid) has the same domestic coverage and network priority as the $$$ Magenta plan.

As a plus, our cheaper plan has double the tethering quota- great for internet outages when working from home. We couldn't possibly justify a more expensive postpaid plan that's actually worse for us.
BogleMelon
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by BogleMelon »

OP I pay $53 monthly including taxes and fees for 2 prepaid Version lines (unlimited calls and text and 5Gb each), can you tell me where else in Version plans where I can find a deal like that?
Also contracts and end of month bills often come with a “gotcha” fees every now and then.
You prepay your grocery before consuming it. You prepay your doctor the copays before the medication work and before seeing him, you prepay Amazon before shipping, Netflix before watching and so on. What is the problem again?
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cacophony
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by cacophony »

I currently pay ~$8/month for 1 GB LTE + 1000 minutes/texts on the AT&T network via Red Pocket. Prior years I was paying about $14/month for 5GB LTE + unlimited minutes/texts. It's been incredibly reliable and the few times I've needed customer service to do something on my account they've been great. Unless somebody needs 100 GB/month of LTE data, I'm not sure I understand why anybody would pay the much higher price for post paid service.
Invest4lt
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Invest4lt »

When I switched from pre-pay to post-pay on T-Mobile, the service agent indicated that my data speeds and coverage will be improved. They indicated that the pre-pay phones had a lower priority or other limitations when connecting to the towers. I found it hard to believe, but in my experience service did improve. I noticed a difference several times. For instance, when a plane lands and everyone jumps on their phone, at busy airports, and on crowded freeways I would often get network busy issues that ended when I switched.
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JoMoney
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by JoMoney »

*shrug* My experience has been different. For 2+ years now I've been on a pre-paid plan that's $99 a year with 1gb of data monthly and unlimited text and voice.
It's not a "subscription" to anything. If I don't take action to buy another year (or switch to another plan) the service ends. The company (an MVNO) has prepaid monthly plans and data only plans that I assume operate the same way.
The selling point for me was it's cheap and doesn't commit me to any rolling contract.
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celia
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by celia »

corp_sharecropper wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:53 pm What possible benefit is there? Is "pre-paid" simply a subscription for people who are deadbeats when it comes to credit? What's so tragic about just cutting off the service after one non-payment that these companies offer these faux "pre-paid" plans?
You don’t have to be a “dead-beat” or “idiot” or “stupid” or a cost-conscious budgeting Boglehead to benefit from pre-paid plans. But if you are poor, a minor, or on Medicaid, this is how you can get/ benefit from a phone, that you might need for a potential employer to contact you or getting help in an emergency. In some states, Medicaid also has a plan to provide a basic phone so that you have a chance to get the things you need (a job, health care, contact a relative). Not everyone uses their phone for entertainment or unending talking to friends. Sometimes, it is a lifeline for those who do not have other options.
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JoMoney
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by JoMoney »

^ I do think you need to be cheap, if it was just being "poor" one could qualify for the free/extremely low-cost federally subsidized plans

https://www.assurancewireless.com/lifel ... ne-service
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cacophony
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by cacophony »

corp_sharecropper wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:53 pm ...what am I missing?
What's your current cellular plan and how much do you pay for it?
Starfish
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Re: What exactly is the selling point of "pre-paid" cellular/mobile plans?

Post by Starfish »

I have prepaid Verizon plan. My credit score is over 800 and my NW is in two comma club.
Prepaid is for people who have enough money to buy a cell phone and it's much cheaper. 5GB Verizon is 35$, 10GB is 45$, I don't think there is any post paid plan close to this price.
If you want a plan by the gig, one option is xfinity, plus you have acces to their wifi routers which are everywhere.

It's true that the state of communication services and providers in US is laughable. I go yearly in Eastern Europe and 5-10y ago one could find options available which only now appear on American market but at 5-10x the price. One can buy a 5E SIM in the airport with practically unlimited data at high speeds. Try that in US.
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