Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

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Swampy
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Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Swampy »

Had a T-Mobile multi-phone plan for years after switching from Verizon. Due to changes in my life, I am down to one phone/user.

T-Mobile 'offered' to put me on a single user cellphone plan and charge me the same as when I had TWO lines. No thanks.

Have heard of MintMobile and would like to know about other discount plans that Bogleheads may have experience with as well as input from others about their satisfaction with their provider, MintMobile and other cell phone providers - and which ones to avoid.

I am not a heavy cell phone calling, text or data user.
If I have seen further, it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.
funyun
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by funyun »

If you like T-Mobile, just switch to their prepaid. Plenty of options going down to $10 per line. We were on the $15 one that gave us 3 gigs of data. They go all the way up to unlimited which is still cheaper than the standard T-Mobile. Or, if you have xfinity internet, you can also pay just $15 per month and they use verizon towers.
niagara_guy
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by niagara_guy »

I use Tello (on the t-mobile network), about $12/month for unlimited phone and text and 1 gb of data (I think now you get 2gb). Very happy with Tello.
fulltilt
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by fulltilt »

Swampy wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:01 pm Had a T-Mobile multi-phone plan for years after switching from Verizon. Due to changes in my life, I am down to one phone/user.

T-Mobile 'offered' to put me on a single user cellphone plan and charge me the same as when I had TWO lines. No thanks.

Have heard of MintMobile and would like to know about other discount plans that Bogleheads may have experience with as well as input from others about their satisfaction with their provider, MintMobile and other cell phone providers - and which ones to avoid.

I am not a heavy cell phone calling, text or data user.
Mint is on the same network as t-mobile, but mint traffic is deprioritized during periods of congestion. Target sells mint SIM cards for $2. Pick one up and test it yourself.

I have had good luck with Straight Talk too.
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thriftynick
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by thriftynick »

Use this to find the least expensive plan that suits your needs:

https://prepaidcompare.net/#plans

There is also good information at reddit's /r/NoContract

I highly recommend Tello as niagara_guy did. My family and I are using Tello and RedPocket.
porridge
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by porridge »

How good or bad the MVNOs are will vary by your area. In my area the towers are heavily over subscribed, so most MVNOs are deprioritized and have very poor service.

T-mobile prepaid, at least two years ago, was an extremely good deal and bit of a hidden gem because it was prioritized the same as T-mobile postpaid. If you’ve been happy with the carrier up to now, I’d switch to that.
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Nicolas
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Nicolas »

I just shopped cheaper cell plans. I decided on US Mobile, unlimited minutes and texts with 10 gig of high-speed data and then slower speed unlimited data after that, per month for $15.

I’m not going to be watching movies with it so 10 gig per month is plenty, and since it’s unlimited I can still look up websites if need be if I go over the 10 gigs. There are cheaper plans with this company too but this one suits me.
https://www.usmobile.com/
Last edited by Nicolas on Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Mike Scott
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Mike Scott »

Tracfone prepaid plans have worked fairly well for us.
MathWizard
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by MathWizard »

TracFone either limited minutes calling ($125/year) or
unlimited calling/text 24GB/year ($192/year) data arrives over.
steadyosmosis
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by steadyosmosis »

Swampy wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:01 pm Had a T-Mobile multi-phone plan for years after switching from Verizon. Due to changes in my life, I am down to one phone/user.

T-Mobile 'offered' to put me on a single user cellphone plan and charge me the same as when I had TWO lines. No thanks.

Have heard of MintMobile and would like to know about other discount plans that Bogleheads may have experience with as well as input from others about their satisfaction with their provider, MintMobile and other cell phone providers - and which ones to avoid.

I am not a heavy cell phone calling, text or data user.
Another vote for Tracfone.
I bought a new phone last May from QVC, with 1 year/1500 minutes talk and text ... $50.00
Age<59.5. Early-retired. AA ~55/45. Taxable account, Roth IRA, HSA...all are 100% equities. 100% of fixed income is in tIRA. I spend from taxable and rebalance in tIRA.
madbrain
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by madbrain »

We just switched from T-Mobile to US Mobile last week. The first month is free.
Tello is not available in our area.

Note that the prices at https://prepaidcompare.net/#plans are not directly comparable.
This is because some plans include taxes & fees, while other plans do not. You have to click on the specific plan and look at the "Taxes collected" section.
I have found it impossible to get an estimate for taxes & fees from carriers before signing up for service. I know that taxes & fees are significant in our area, though.
We chose US Mobile because it was the cheapest available to us when considering the taxes & fee are included.
So far, it's been working, but we have only had it since tuesday. We have not setup the voice mail yet. There is no app for it.
Edit: the T-Mobile visual voice mail app actually works with US Mobile just fine.
Last edited by madbrain on Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
Swampy
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Swampy »

On average, I use less than 1 gig of data, send/receive 1-200 texts a month and talk for <250 minutes monthly. I am looking for the least expensive plan inclusive of taxes/fees and have no brand loyalty. US Mobile looks interesting due to coverage in other countries. I have occasionally taken extended overseas trips/cruises. That said, foreign travel is not a primary concern excepting the Caribbean and Canada, though I would like to avoid any nationwide/Canada roaming charges and be able to call Canada (and perhaps Europe on occasion) without additional fees.

I will be checking out everyone's suggestions over the next day or two as my T-Mobile account monthly billing cycle ends at the end of this week and I don't want to deal with them anymore.

Thank you!
If I have seen further, it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.
runner3081
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by runner3081 »

Tello
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Nicolas
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Nicolas »

Swampy wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:45 pm On average, I use less than 1 gig of data, send/receive 1-200 texts a month and talk for <250 minutes monthly. I am looking for the least expensive plan inclusive of taxes/fees and have no brand loyalty. US Mobile looks interesting due to coverage in other countries. I have occasionally taken extended overseas trips/cruises. That said, foreign travel is not a primary concern excepting the Caribbean and Canada, though I would like to avoid any nationwide/Canada roaming charges and be able to call Canada (and perhaps Europe on occasion) without additional fees.

I will be checking out everyone's suggestions over the next day or two as my T-Mobile account monthly billing cycle ends at the end of this week and I don't want to deal with them anymore.

Thank you!
It seems the US Mobile “Light Plan” would be ideal, unlimited talk & text and 1 gig of data per month for $6, all taxes and fees inclusive. You can’t get better than that.
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ocean
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by ocean »

Pure talk for years....never any problems....they use ATT towers and have all usa based customer service
Second Round
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Second Round »

steadyosmosis wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:52 pm Another vote for Tracfone.
I bought a new phone last May from QVC, with 1 year/1500 minutes talk and text ... $50.00
And another - use QVC or HSN (same company, overlapping offerings). I'm in my 5th year and paid $55-65 after tax, shipped, for a smartphone and a plan like that above (+1.5 GB data). I've just "upgraded" to a flip phone ($77 for two, gave one to mom) and am happier than I ever was with a smartphone.
gnujoe2001
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by gnujoe2001 »

If you just need a "standby" phone plan: Ultra Mobile PayGo $3/mo, for 100 mins, 100 txt, 100 MB. An annoying thing is while the plan is $3/mo, the reload options are $5/$10/$20, so if you don't want to keep a balance you'll have to do some common denominator math and set your calendar to reload.

Its not really prominently featured on their site, but the direct URL is https://www.ultramobile.com/paygo/
Ultra Mobile is owned by Mint Mobile and runs on Tmobile.

For light usage (less than what you'd use up on Mint), Tello. Pick a combination of minutes and data (unlimited txt included). If you "renew" before the 30 days is up, any data/minutes balance will carry over as long as the plan you're renewing into has data/minutes.
Tello is a TMobile MVNO. There is NO slow/throttled data after data is used up, but you can renew anytime for +30 days. --it used to throttle after allocation but a few months ago they went to hard limit with double data allocation per price tier.

Beyond that, Mint Mobile. After data allocation is exhausted, data is throttled to 2G. You can add additional data for the cycle but doesn't carry over. You can do 'introductory' for 3 months advance buy, and if you like it continue at 12 month advance buy to keep the same 'rate'.
madbrain
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by madbrain »

gnujoe2001 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:35 pm If you just need a "standby" phone plan: Ultra Mobile PayGo $3/mo, for 100 mins, 100 txt, 100 MB. An annoying thing is while the plan is $3/mo, the reload options are $5/$10/$20, so if you don't want to keep a balance you'll have to do some common denominator math and set your calendar to reload.

Its not really prominently featured on their site, but the direct URL is https://www.ultramobile.com/paygo/
Ultra Mobile is owned by Mint Mobile and runs on Tmobile.

For light usage (less than what you'd use up on Mint), Tello. Pick a combination of minutes and data (unlimited txt included). If you "renew" before the 30 days is up, any data/minutes balance will carry over as long as the plan you're renewing into has data/minutes.
Tello is a TMobile MVNO. There is NO slow/throttled data after data is used up, but you can renew anytime for +30 days. --it used to throttle after allocation but a few months ago they went to hard limit with double data allocation per price tier.

Beyond that, Mint Mobile. After data allocation is exhausted, data is throttled to 2G. You can add additional data for the cycle but doesn't carry over. You can do 'introductory' for 3 months advance buy, and if you like it continue at 12 month advance buy to keep the same 'rate'.
Note that Ultra Mobile, Tello and Mint mobile all charge some unlisted amount of taxes and fees. It is likely to be at least a couple dollars.
On my "free" Ooma VoIP line, the taxes and fees amount to $8.71 a month for one line. I'm in the process of looking for an alternate because of this.
gnujoe2001
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by gnujoe2001 »

[quote=madbrain post_id=7799974 time=1712022253 user_id=27444

Note that Ultra Mobile, Tello and Mint mobile all charge some unlisted amount of taxes and fees. It is likely to be at least a couple dollars.
On my "free" Ooma VoIP line, the taxes and fees amount to $8.71 a month for one line. I'm in the process of looking for an alternate because of this.
[/quote]

Affirmative. But relative to plan options the taxes didn't really weigh into my plan decisions, and its going to vary per state. Unfortunately its one of those you don't really know until you've made the deal. But I'll offer that my $6 Tello plan with a Colorado area code came out to $8.13. I guess one could optimize by selecting a low/no tax area code, but I guess I don't mind funding my local 911 service.
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vnatale
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by vnatale »

funyun wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:02 pm If you like T-Mobile, just switch to their prepaid. Plenty of options going down to $10 per line. We were on the $15 one that gave us 3 gigs of data. They go all the way up to unlimited which is still cheaper than the standard T-Mobile. Or, if you have xfinity internet, you can also pay just $15 per month and they use verizon towers.
I do have Xfinity internet and it was going to be $30 per month if there were two phones. The phones also have to be compatible with their system, which our two phones were not. I had to keep telling them that we were both satisfied with our phones and, thus, had no need or desire to spend $$$$ on phones to replace them.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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Callisto
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Callisto »

I'm currently on Mint and will be switching over to US Mobile. The problem with Mint is that recently, they went from a pay per use model for international calls/texts/data to an extremely expensive "unlimited" day pass.

US Mobile has very competitive prices among MVNOs, apparently has amazing customer service, and lets you select and switch between T Mobile and Verizon network.
wingman4uz
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by wingman4uz »

I just switched from a VZ prepaid plan at $34/month to US Mobile at $180/year (all inclusive). Better data and international plan. No issues so far.
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Swampy
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Swampy »

FWIW, it really is a pain in the @$$ to switch carriers having spent the better part of this morning doing it. Most of it was getting the port-out code from prior carrier. I was finally able to get E-Sim activation without waiting for an actual Sim card.

The reason I went with USMobile was for $10 a month inclusive of all fees, I got 2 Gigs of monthly data (well within my usage history, unlimited calls and texts in the US and (apparently) internationally - so I can be in touch with folks in Europe more often. The Light Plan with one Gig of data did not include international calling for $6 a month - so I 'splurged.'

Today served as a reminder of why switching plans is one of the last things I ever want to do again. Time will tell if this was a good move. In the meanwhile, I will enjoy the lower price for now.

Yes, I could 'afford' more, just like I could afford to eat filet more often than I do, but LBYM has been well ingrained in my behavior pattern.
If I have seen further, it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.
ser66
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by ser66 »

So many great suggestion. Help me to make a chose, with cell ph provider, please.
Have a Verizon for now
need unlimited talk and text only. no need fora prepaid.
Please help.
123
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by 123 »

We have a couple phones on individual Mint Mobile plans. We buy the prepaid renewals for a year at a time to get the $15 and $20 monthly rates. We understand they use T-Mobile network. If you present service is T-Mobile and you switch to Mint Mobile your connectivity will likely be the same, the only difference is the lower expense of a prepaid plan.

The only thing lacking with Mint Mobile is the ability to go into a store for assistance. But their website and phone customer support works fine. I wouldn't pay $200+ more annually for the ability to walk into a store for support but it might be important to some folks.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
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Nicolas
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Nicolas »

ser66 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 2:59 pm So many great suggestion. Help me to make a chose, with cell ph provider, please.
Have a Verizon for now
need unlimited talk and text only. no need fora prepaid.
Please help.
Just go with US Mobile and pick the plan that works for you. I think they’re all unlimited talk and text. You won’t regret it.
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tetractys
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by tetractys »

Anybody mention Red Pocket? You can pick any network and rates are good. This year for me it’s $111 with tax for 1000Mb data, international, unlimited talk and text. I don’t need unlimited data because we also have home internet. There are many plans.
Last edited by tetractys on Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
madbrain
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by madbrain »

tetractys wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:14 pm Anybody mention Red Pocket? You can pick any network and rates are good. This year for me it’s $111 with tax for 1000Gb data, international, unlimited talk and text. I don’t need unlimited data because we also have home internet. There are many plans.
1000 Gb of data ? I find that unlikely.
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tetractys
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by tetractys »

madbrain wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:22 pm
tetractys wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:14 pm Anybody mention Red Pocket? You can pick any network and rates are good. This year for me it’s $111 with tax for 1000Mb data, international, unlimited talk and text. I don’t need unlimited data because we also have home internet. There are many plans.
1000 Gb of data ? I find that unlikely.
Check it out then. 500Mb is less. You can look up their plans where you can purchase them on EBay or on their website; but I think EBay is discounted more.
Last edited by tetractys on Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kodoma
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Kodoma »

I use Visible, runs on Verizon's network. Got an monthly intro rate of $15 for the first year, now a flat rate of $25 a month all taxes included and I can use it as a hotspot too. No stores but everything easily done online. No issues with it.
madbrain
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by madbrain »

tetractys wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:30 pm Check it out then. 500Gb is less. You can look up their plans where you can purchase them on EBay or on their website; but I think EBay is discounted more.
I did. I am only seeing 1GB, 5GB, 20GB and unlimited options at https://www.redpocket.com/plans . Not 500Gb or 1000Gb.
I'm not finding any 500 or 1000 Gb plan on ebay either.
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tetractys
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by tetractys »

madbrain wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:34 pm
tetractys wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:30 pm Check it out then. 500Gb is less. You can look up their plans where you can purchase them on EBay or on their website; but I think EBay is discounted more.
I did. I am only seeing 1GB, 5GB, 20GB and unlimited options at https://www.redpocket.com/plans . Not 500Gb or 1000Gb.
I'm not finding any 500 or 1000 Gb plan on ebay either.
Oops, that should be 1000Mb. And I believe there are more plans available on EBay, or at least there used to be.
vbdoug
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by vbdoug »

I have two iPhones with two different plans.
Mint mobile for $210 a year including all taxes.
Red pocket. Free. With lots of hoops.
Ependytis
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Ependytis »

niagara_guy wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:06 pm I use Tello (on the t-mobile network), about $12/month for unlimited phone and text and 1 gb of data (I think now you get 2gb). Very happy with Tello.
Repeated entry.
Last edited by Ependytis on Wed Apr 03, 2024 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ependytis
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Ependytis »

niagara_guy wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:06 pm I use Tello (on the t-mobile network), about $12/month for unlimited phone and text and 1 gb of data (I think now you get 2gb). Very happy with Tello.
+1

However, mine is $14 plus taxes and 5 gb of data.
Ependytis
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Ependytis »

niagara_guy wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:06 pm I use Tello (on the t-mobile network), about $12/month for unlimited phone and text and 1 gb of data (I think now you get 2gb). Very happy with Tello.
Repeated entry.
OffgridSooz
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by OffgridSooz »

I have a T-Mobile talk and text (no data) prepaid plan for $3/month that has a 30 minute maximum (I don't remember the text maximum), there is a per minute/per text charge (don't remember how much) for exceeding the limit. So if you truly don't use your cell phone much, which is my case, as far as I know this is the cheapest plan.
Skip Towne
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by Skip Towne »

I've been using Xfinity Mobile - as an add-on to my cable internet service. They use the Verizon network, so you get that degree of coverage and reliability.

If you own your phone, you can pay by the gig -what I do. I usually use one or two gigs a month for $10-20/month
scrabbler1
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by scrabbler1 »

I pay about $63 a year for a low-end Tracfone. It's $50 a year for the service time, but I have to buy airtime, too (they used to allow only the service time, not any more). I buy the cheapest airtime card which costs $10. I use my cell phone very little, so this works fine for me. The phone itself cost about $50 which I had to replace a few years ago when I had to upgrade to 4G.
wellboy99
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by wellboy99 »

Skip Towne wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 7:30 pm I've been using Xfinity Mobile - as an add-on to my cable internet service. They use the Verizon network, so you get that degree of coverage and reliability.

If you own your phone, you can pay by the gig -what I do. I usually use one or two gigs a month for $10-20/month
Price will go up starting 5/1/24.
JohnSlackIV
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by JohnSlackIV »

Swampy wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:45 pm On average, I use less than 1 gig of data, send/receive 1-200 texts a month and talk for <250 minutes monthly. I am looking for the least expensive plan inclusive of taxes/fees and have no brand loyalty. US Mobile looks interesting due to coverage in other countries. I have occasionally taken extended overseas trips/cruises. That said, foreign travel is not a primary concern excepting the Caribbean and Canada, though I would like to avoid any nationwide/Canada roaming charges and be able to call Canada (and perhaps Europe on occasion) without additional fees.

I will be checking out everyone's suggestions over the next day or two as my T-Mobile account monthly billing cycle ends at the end of this week and I don't want to deal with them anymore.

Thank you!
Another recommendation for US Mobile.

I switched two lines to them a year and a half ago and have been very happy ever since, no issues. I'm on their $25 a month per line unlimited plan, we have two lines and pay $50 flat (no additional fees). One single line on AT&T used to be more $$ for much less data, even with a corporate discount.
almostretired1965
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by almostretired1965 »

MathWizard wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:47 pm TracFone either limited minutes calling ($125/year) or
unlimited calling/text 24GB/year ($192/year) data arrives over.
If you are a light user, there are ways to get annual plans on Tracfone for around $20 to $25 per year.
MathWizard
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by MathWizard »

almostretired1965 wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:42 am
MathWizard wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:47 pm TracFone either limited minutes calling ($125/year) or
unlimited calling/text 24GB/year ($192/year) data arrives over.
If you are a light user, there are ways to get annual plans on Tracfone for around $20 to $25 per year.
I've not been able to get that but currently have the $125/year with minutes and data plus one extra year of service (no extra minutes or data) for $50/year, so $175/2 years

I should note that you have to buy your own phone, which makes plans like TracFone cheaper, while many of the traditional cell providers bundle in the cost of a phone (with higher cost due flagship phones). My wife and I buy phones , hers is an iphone 11 bought new, and mine is an iphone SE 2020, again bought new.
SunnySideUp
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by SunnySideUp »

I'll give a thumbs up for the Hello Mobile $5/mon unlimited voice, unlimited text, 500MB/mon data (T-Mobile network) w/hard cap, pay month-by-month plan. I've had it for a backup phone/line for over a year, and it has always worked when I've needed it (not very often). Data speed is the usual MVNO deprioritized T-MO: usually moderately slow but sufficient.
almostretired1965
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Re: Least expensive cell plan for ONE phone

Post by almostretired1965 »

MathWizard wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 11:14 am
almostretired1965 wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:42 am
MathWizard wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:47 pm TracFone either limited minutes calling ($125/year) or
unlimited calling/text 24GB/year ($192/year) data arrives over.
If you are a light user, there are ways to get annual plans on Tracfone for around $20 to $25 per year.
I've not been able to get that but currently have the $125/year with minutes and data plus one extra year of service (no extra minutes or data) for $50/year, so $175/2 years

I should note that you have to buy your own phone, which makes plans like TracFone cheaper, while many of the traditional cell providers bundle in the cost of a phone (with higher cost due flagship phones). My wife and I buy phones , hers is an iphone 11 bought new, and mine is an iphone SE 2020, again bought new.
To get it for the lower price you basically need to find the eBay offering from Tracfone for the bundled orbic phones. It's a crappy flip phone, but each come with 1200 min, 1200 texts, 1.2gb data, and one year of service. Typically 2 phones for $40 to $50. I basically move my number to each phone in succession then back to the original phone. Afterwards I have 2 more years of service on the original phone. All of this can be done online. The Orbics are then recycled. Have executed this three times now and last I looked a few months ago the deal was still available on eBay.
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