How much do you pay for your cellphone bill? If it’s more than $50, you may be paying too much. Pre-paid cellular plans are gaining in popularity as consumers realize they can cut their cell phone bill in half.
The thought of paying $45 a month caught my husband’s attention when he saw the Walmart ad for Straight Talk. He wondered if it was really possible? The answer: yes and in speaking with people who use the service it’s pretty good service.
Walmart and Straight Talk are not in the cell phone business, but they are re-selling service on some of the major networks. There’s a lot of competition in this market, and the plans are attractive to many consumers because there is not a contract. You can come and go as you please.
The one tradeoff is that problems may be more difficult to resolve since you’re not dealing directly with the cellular network. Also, coverage may be spotty. Straight Talk’s coverage map looks very spotty, but people who use it say it’s actually really good. Before you hop into a plan, talk to friends and family members and check reviews online to make sure you’ll get the coverage you want and need.
Even the major carriers are getting into the no contract pre-paid plans. Most offer some version of the plan.
While most say “unlimited” talk, text, and data the data is typically limited. Straight Talk doesn’t give you a straight answer on data limits. Users say they don’t get throttled or limited if they stay below 2 GB. Other carriers make it clear how much data you truly get for the discount price. The amount of free data varies dramatically. T-Mobile’s $50 plan offers you 100 MB of 4G data and Boost Mobile offers you 2.5 GB of data.
With these plans, your phone selection is also limited. The companies sell some phones or you can buy an unlocked phone online. An unlocked phone means it’s not tied to a particular cellular network. It will work on any.
Most unlocked phones were typically older models one. This is changing as Google now sells its phones directly to the consumer.
Want to see if you are paying too much for your phone? Try online tools like Bill Shrink and My Rate Plan. Have your phone bill handy before you use the tools. You’ll need to know the number of text messages you send, minutes you spend on the phone, pictures sent and received, and data used.