List of Cheap, Basic Prepaid Cell Phone Plans – Under $10 a Month!

Nowadays, it seems everyone has a cell phone. What if you just want a really basic phone plan for light calls (“are you here yet?” “where are you?”) and emergencies? Or you may be thinking about getting an additional phone for grandparents, kids, or other relatives. The good news is now you can have all that convenience for less than $10 a month.

Here are the cheapest prepaid cellular plans with nationwide coverage assuming light usage. The benefits of prepaid are that there are no credit checks, no long-term contracts, and most phone taxes other than sales tax are already rolled into the cost instead of an extra $5 a month per line. They may even work with smartphones for people who are okay with data usage only where there is WiFi coverage (potentially home, office, and many cafes).

You may have never heard of some of these names before, but if you look under the hood you may find they use the same cell towers as the big companies (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint) all at a fraction of the cost.

With a T-Mobile Prepaid plan, you can buy 1,000 minutes for $100 that will last an entire year before they expire and you are required to refill. That’s $8.33/month. In addition, that will get you on their Gold Rewards plan which gets you 15% extra minutes on future refills and in future years you can buy as little as 35 minutes for $10 or 460 minutes for $50 and that will also last you an entire year. The Gold Rewards status lasts as long as you keep your prepaid account account, so in future years you could be spending just $50 a year or less.

New basic phones are about $25, and new Android phones start at $99 direct from T-Mobile. You can also buy a SIM card to put in an off-contract T-Mobile phone or any unlocked GSM including the Apple iPhone.

Page Plus Cellular (Verizon MVNO)
By purchasing bulk minutes from the Verizon Wireless network as a MVNO, Page Plus Cellular offers the coverage of Verizon and the ability to use off-contract Verizon phones (iPhones are blocked still I believe). You can buy a 2,000 minute card for only $80 that will also last an entire year before you are required to refill. Note that there is a $0.50 per monthly service fee charged on the 25th of every month deducted from the refill card balance. That’s only $6.67 a month.

Alternatively, you can buy 100 minutes for $10, which lasts 120 days after activation. That can result in only paying $30 a year ($10 x 3, though you still have a $.50 a month service fee which reduces your balance and thus minutes), but you have to watch your minute usage and renewal dates carefully. They also have a $12 recurring monthly plan that provides 250 minutes, 250 text mesages, and 10mb of data. Their own phone selection is limited but you can buy off-contract Verizon phones from eBay, just watch out for stolen phones with banned IMEI/ESNs.

H20 Wireless (AT&T GSM MVNO)
H20 Wireless sells 2,000 minutes for $100 that is valid for one year. Additional minutes are 5 cents, and additional texts are 5 cents each as well.

You can use old AT&T phones on H20 wireless. This also means you can rock an AT&T iPhone (can be locked, off-contract) and look like the cool kids but only pay $100 a year for service instead of $700+. Of course, you won’t have a data plan. (If you want data, check out StraightTalk where you can get a $45 Unlimited plan using AT&T iPhone via their SIM card.)

Kajeet (Sprint MVNO)
Kajeet is meant for kids and has built-in parental controls. But they do have a really cheap $4.99 a month plan that includes a dinky 10 minutes included. Additional minutes are 10 cents each, and text messages are 10 cents each as well. Not a bad option for very low usage.

You can buy a new Android phone from them right now for $99, but other than that the phone selection isn’t very good for cheap phones (important for kids that lose/break them often). The bad news is that the parental controls mean that you can’t just bring over any old Sprint phone either.

Other providers with good low-usage options (but not as good as those above in my opinion) include:

  • TracFone (MVNO for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) You can buy 800 minutes for $120 good for one year, which includes double minutes on all future airtime. You can later buy 120 minutes for $20 that lasts 90 days, or $6.66 a month.
  • PlatinumTel (Sprint MVNO) $10 for 90 days, with no minutes included. Instead, you pay a flat 5 cents a minute for talk, 2 cents per text, or 10 cents per MB.


  1. Here’s a big vote for Page Plus. I have had them for over 5 years, buying the 100 minutes for $10 three times per year. One important point is that unused minutes roll over and do not expire as long as you renew on time. On the standard plan (which is what the $10 or $80 cards are) you are charged individually for minutes, texts, and data, so you can use your balance any way you like. Also, any post-paid (new or off-contract) Verizon phone will work on Page Plus, but not their pre-paid phones.

  2. Could you review the best prepaid plan for data centric usage?

    • Hey folks, I have just subscribed to Republic Wireless and it is so cheap. Unlimited call and texts for 10 dollar a month. Try it

      • I live in fruitland park fl and on Republic’s map. it doesn’t look like there’s any cell coverage..and whose towers do they use? and did you get a new phone? or use your existinf hpone? how do I know if my lg Page Plus phone will work on Republic?

      • Cyrus Barrow says:

        Would like to purchase a plan for 10.oo a month.

    • Uhhhh…AVOID REPUBLIC WIRELESS!! We had this service for nearly two years is it was THE WORST! NO CUSTOMER SERVICE!! This is a phone company that tells people that they don’t have a phone number for people to call in to get help if they need it. They try to use Facebook as a customer service center where you have to post incessantly to get someone’s attention at RW to help you. They use these ‘forums’ as a customer service bandaid where you are expected to post there until some answers you. They instruct you to fill out a repair/service ticket online but it takes them DAYS to respond to it. ATROCIOUS! Republic Wireless is a hot mess as they seem to have no idea on how to run a company. Ohh, they call themselves a cellular company, but the FCC only recognizes them as a landline company since they only do VOIP service offerings. They are like Vonage or MagicJack. They only offer ONE 4G phone, and you MUST buy THEIR phone, and it is forever LOCKED to their VOIP phone servers. My suggestion…pass on this company.

      • I’ve had this service for just as long as you….and they make it *very* clear at sign-up that there is NO direct customer service line.

        That’s why it’s so cheap. You get what you pay for.

        • I love my Republic Wireless phone. I haven’t needed customer service. It works great and I’m saving a ton of money. I have two of their phones.

          • rmarsolek says:

            republic wireless is amazing… i’m sick of mostly non internet or phone savvy people saying there service is terrible. i’ve had 3 phones for 2 years and pay 10 dollars a month each line versus THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS spent on any other carrier in the USA!!!

      • StevenV says:

        I’m afraid I’m going to have to agree that Republic Wireless isn’t all that great. They just announced some pretty hefty price increases that will be implemented soon and many customers on their forums are already talking about leaving. It would seem that they have fallen on hard times as they now only sell two phones and they are raising their price to $15/gb of data. RW really is no longer a value, as this price is approaching what the Big 4 sell it for. Plus, with Google Hangouts now allowing free wifi calls, there’s really no reason for anyone to be paying for a wifi-first phone service. You want to save even more, just make calls that way. People can also download any number of free wifi dialer apps from Google Play and turn your phone into a wifi phone for free when around wifi. Also, you have FreedomPop trumping RW big time with nearly 1,000,000 customers, while RW only has around 300k customers – according to internet articles. Then you have Google Fi who is undercutting RW by 50%. They are only charging $10/gb of data. Saving 50% is a huge amount of savings. I can see people leaving Republic in droves once Google Fi is completely ramped up in a few months.

        • I have Freedom Pop free . Had to buy their phone for $19.99, the only thing they use Sprit lines but unless you pay for full sprit service of only $3.99/ month you can’t always have service. I can call most places from my home but not from the car out and about.

      • Gearmoe says:

        I asked RW about the phones being unlocked as the law now says they have to be. Yet, I had always been told a RW was no good anywhere else. RW replied and said the phone was unlocked as per the law and can be used elsewhere.

    • I also have Republic wireless and love it. I set my parents up with service because they live in a remote area with no cell service but WiFi. The WiFi calling is crystal clear and the service is 25.00 for unlimited 3g, calling and texting. My family has the 10.00/month unlimited calls and texting. Why are people paying 80+ dollars/month for Iphones?

      • I have a factory unlocked 64 gig i-phone and travel a lot internationally. Whatever country I am in, I get a sim card (free everywhere except USA) and typically spend no more than $5-10/ mo. on pay as you go service. I make almost all of my phone calls and texts on Skype, Facebook messenger (yes, you can make phone calls from FB) and What’s App. People can call you using a local phone number on Skype (ex: I’m in India but they call a US number; it’s called Skype to go and NO I don’t work for Skype :-)) that is forwarded anywhere in the world for next to nothing or free if you are both connected to internet. When in the US I use whomever I want, currently $25 pay as you go for 30 days on Simple mobile (T-mobile) for unlimited talk and text.

  3. PagePlus for me, too. Their website isn’t very flashy or sleek, but it works fine. When you activate a phone, you get a rather irritating ‘you have $N left’ message every time you use it, but customer service will switch that off for you if you email them.

    Callingmart often has 5% off coupon codes for all these prepaid cards. Check

  4. I’ve been on TMobile for awhile, and it’s pretty good. One feature I particularly like is that you can switch between per minute and per day rates ($2 for calls/text/data). So whenever I expect heavy usage (>20min since I buy $100 at a time to get the 10c/min rate), or need data I can just switch over my plan for a day.

  5. You can get a tracfone for $10 and 120 min every 90 days for $20. Total is under $7 per month.

  6. Virgin Mobile PayLo plans have an auto pay option for $15 every 90 days. $.20 a minute. Not great if you need minutes. But if you are an infrequent user then the money rolls up to $400. Also, Virgin Mobile is the only carrier I know of where with the unused dollars you are able to buy new phones and/or accessories.

  7. redlenses says:

    I’ve had TracFone for years. Many of their phones come with double or triple minutes for life deals. When you buy a year’s worth of service ($80 on amazon) there is always a promo code you can enter to get 200 extra minutes on top of the double minutes meaning the one year service comes with 1000 mins or 1400 with triple mins. Also when you activate a year, they usually offer you a second year for $49. Additionally, if you buy a newer tracfone you can move your number and minutes over to the new phone immediately – so replacing / upgrading your phone is easy. Also when you activate for a year, all of your current minutes get extended for that year – so you never lose any minutes as long as you keep the phone active. Text messages cost .3 mins.

    If you don’t use a ton of minutes, and don’t need data, tracfone is the cheapest service I know of. I’ve had them for at least 5 years.

  8. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says:

    Do pre-paid cell phones help you build credit?

  9. @MAC – My parents actually use Virgin Mobile on that $15 every 90 days plan, but I couldn’t find it online at The cheapest I see on their site is $20 for 90 days with no minutes included (20 cents a minute). Is it an old grandfathered plan like their $25 Beyond Talk plan?

  10. @Jonathan. The $15 only kicks in once you switch over to auto pay. It prompts you to go auto pay for $15 once you have activated IIRC. Don’t believe it is a granfathered option. Have had these accounts for awhile so have been on auto pay for a long time.

  11. Really good list of cheap cell phone plans. These are great for kids or those who make limited calls. I love my iphone.

  12. @csdx regarding T-mobile – how do you switch between per minute and per day plans?

  13. So if you practically do not use it, then nothing beats T-Mobile’s $10/year once you have the Gold status. Is that correct?

  14. @Nicky I just log on to and there’s a section there to choose which plan you want to use, you can even choose to jump on a monthly plan too.

    @Vlad, if you’re looking to maintain a single number then $10/yr is the cheapest, but in exchange you’re paying more per minute

  15. Thanks Johnathan for the post. I pay for my parents cell phone and have been meaning to move them from post-paid to prepaid for sometime since I their plan seems to keep going up a little by little while my pre-paid plan just seems to be getting cheaper (I use pageplus). Reading your post gave me the push I needed to get it done. Figure I will be saving between $200 to $300 a year.

  16. Wow! I didnt know abt the 15 for 90days with virgin mobile either.

    I will try to switch to autopay.

    I am also considering to switch to the tmobile prepaid plan. But the initial phone cost and paying 100 the first year and 50 the following year. Is quite close to the 15 for 90 that virgin has.

    As soon as i get it start though. Will update if the 15 does kick in for me.

    • Im a prepaid phone guy! I started several years ago with Virgin Mobile, on the service in which they now call PAYLO.
      I seemed to like them until one time I really had to call 411 and a message came on saying I didn’t have enuf money in my “cash balance account”. I got ahold of a CSR. and I told her I had over 200 minutes left. She agreed but said I didn’t have sufficient balance in my Cash BalAnCe acct. I thought w t f.
      Long story short I dumped them like a hot potato. I’ve since had Tracfone and Page Plus and have been very pleased with their costs and when I call 411 their is no “separate” area where I need to put cash into like that stupid VMobile.

      • fwiw, Virgin Mobile has to have some of the most frustrating customer service around. I’m here trying to find an alternative.

  17. @csdx so if you can switch to the per day plan from the website, your per minute balance will still remain the same, for you to switch back to? thanks.

  18. Have been using TMobile Pre Paid for the last 5 years(me and my spouse).. always very good.. yearly I may spend $100 to $120(I use cell phone only for emergency and my cell phone number is known to very few of my family). I redirect Google voice calls to my cell or home as per the need. Others never know on which number that I am taking my google voice calls.

  19. I’ve used Mingo Wireless for several years. There’s a $100 package that gets you 2000 minutes – that’s 5 cents a minute, a refurbished Blackberry or Samsung, and free shipping. Minutes expire in a year and will roll over if you buy more. They offer a 30 day guarantee on the phone and will exchange it and pay for the shipping if you’re not happy. My experience with customer service has been extraordinary. The only drawback as far as I’m concerned has been the somewhat limited coverage of the Sprint network they use. Also, you will not be able to use RIM services if you get the Blackberry phones. I can’t speak with authority about the internet services since I’m not really an internet/phone user, but it’s worked just fine for the small amount I’ve used. There are several internet/data packages, but I don’t like them because they expire.

  20. What about the svc phone? Its a tracfone like someone had posted before… but its designed “for seniors” aka being a senior value cellphone… but it really is just called that for marketing reasons. Its basically a samsung t155 and it is BEYOND simple. I pay seven dollars a month for it. That is Unbelievable and the service hasnt let me down yet.

  21. Pure Prepaid and PureTalk USA also uses the AT&T GSM MVNO. Minutes never expire.

  22. PureTalk USA is almost half the price of T-Mobile (per minute)! Angie, thanks for sharing this! Have you been using them much? What is your impression?

    • My husband and I have used PuretalkUSA for almost a year and are well pleased. Husband rarely uses his phone but has it for emergencies. He has 80 min/mo and texting for $5/mo. I have a 1gig data plan + the $5 talk and text. Total cost per month for both is $29.90. The prices they quote include taxes, etc.

  23. Hi has anyone else used the puretalk USA if so tell us about it Thanks!

  24. I have been using PagePlus for 5 months and I love it. The $29.95 monthly plan is perfect for me and I managed to get $20 refill pins off of EBay. I have no complaints!

  25. We have been using Page Plus since last November and could not be any happier. We were paying Verizon $120 a month for 2 cell phones with very basic coverage as we do not use our phones very much. We might use approx 250-400 a month on texts and calls each (my husband and I). Since switching to Page Plus, we have lowered our bill to about $28 total for both of our lines. I am currently on The 12 and it’s perfect for my usage. My husband does the $80 card for 2,000 minutes for the year. However, we will both be going on The 12 plan shortly, which will bring our monthly bill to less than $24. We buy our refills from Callingmart and get discounts each and every month, so they actually cost us about $11 each. Awesome, awesome deal. It can be a little difficult to get used to; how it works, etc., but there are great resources online that help you figure it out. We are so happy we left Verizon and went with Page Plus (which runs on their network!). :)

  26. @ Vlad & others. T-mobile plan is great for limited phone users. I paid $19.99 for a Samsung flip phone, ~$95 for ($100 card activated gives 1000 minutes and instant Gold status for a full yr. Then $10 a few days before the year ends and the clock starts over & all the minutes roll over for another entire year. At the end of that year another $10 and that’s 3 years for $135 that’s $3.75 a month… 4 years it’s ~$3.02 a month. Great for emergencies and fast converstation users or light light texting.

    If the AT&T or the Tracfones rolled over for a second year it would be great but… T-Mobile in that area has them beat for the casual, lighter or senior user.

  27. HI,

    Do you have any plan recommendations for the new I Phone 5?

  28. Looks like Pure Prepaid and PureTalk reduced their expiration periods to 30 days. So you need to pay at least $10/mo to keep your number. Once again T-mobile remains the cheapest carrier I know to keep a phone number with no or minimal usage (84 cents per month). If anyone knows better, please share!

  29. TracfoneReviewer says:

    I am a big fan of prepaid cell phones and I was just reading another article that said you could save around $1000 a year by getting an iPhone 5 with Virgin Mobile instead of Verizon or one of the other contract phone companies. Its crazy how much you can save using prepaid and being smart.

    • Your great, isn’t it Awesome…In Hawaii everyone on major tel with 800 dollar bills, my partner works for the feds and carries 3. I is a trac phone. He pays 40. A YEAR and has 400 min =7 hrs on the phone for urgent. He has a prepaid unlimited 4g that costs 35 or 45 a month, cheap, good business phone, Bought a brand new 4g tablet to 100. It has a app for phone-No Bill. Hope that works in the town and county folk. Time to save energy…. Best to all humans …. cheers and Aloha….

  30. all you people asking about using this plan or that plan on your iPhones ?

    buying $400 – $600 iPhones to use it for a few minutes a month and little or no web/data usage ? what’s the point of having a web enabled / app centric smart phone if you don’t use it… and how does it make sense to pay ridiculous money for a phone you rarely use ?

    I use a 5 or 6 yr old cheapo $20 nokia phone I got when I first switched over to pre-paid from monthly and it works fine with good reception and clear audio, what else do you need if you’re not using the apps and web ?

    looking for better bargains in usage charges is smart, using a $500 phone for your “light usage” or “senior plan” or “$15 for 90 days” type usage is just plain idiotic

  31. GetRealUnreal says:

    Unreal, thanks for that opinion.

    Unfortunately, you are totally wrong.

    The kind of $500 “phone” is for many people, as useful as a camera, videocam, notepad, organizer, entertainment device, video player, music player, schedule, alarm clock, thousands of books or e-books…. a little light usage as a phone is sometimes not the main use.

    I think the person who can’t fathom and spouts off calling others names is the one who is a little light in the illumination department.

  32. T mobile sim cards and prepaid plans suck. You run out of minutes quickly and cant receive calls. I stopped buying those.. simplemobile is the best!!!!

  33. Confused Grandma says:

    I use my cell phone for emergencies when I’m in the car away from my home land phone. I want to fine the least costly plan for the small amount of calls and time I use it. Thanks for any input someone has for me.

  34. My advice for someone that wants to save money on smartphone usage. Buy a cheap prepaid plan from one of the providers. 10 bucks a month isn’t bad for a few minutes. Go to Wal-Mart and purchase Internet On the Go mobile hotspot. It was 80 dollars when I bought it. You have to buy a plan also, but you get a free 25 dollar credit once the first card you purchase is gone. You have your choice on these cards on how long you want them to last. For 45 bucks you can get 8 GB data for 30 days or 4 GB for a whole year. I believe the 25 is good for 3 GB for 30 days or 1.5 for a year. Make sure you use the hotspot with your phone for your data usage. (You can connect to it and use skype and place tons of calls) Just a thought. It is on the Sprint network. The data is even cheaper than virgin mobile plus multiple people can use it. I have it now and love it.

  35. Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions. You have really given me exactly what I have been looking for and I am so grateful to all those who took the time to give their insight to this topic. Very, very helpful!

  36. Bryan Says:August 17th, 2012 at 11:39 pm “$10 a few days before the year ends and the clock starts over & all the minutes roll over for another entire year.”

    Bryan, please let me know T-Mobile URL stating “$10 for year”. I can not find it.
    Other than that, followings are cheapest I found so far.

    $5 for 90days. It means $20/year. $0.10/call, $0.05/text.
    Initial cost is GSM unlocked phone ($20), SIM ($9.99+$5 shipping)

    $0, if you do not use at all. $0.27/call, $0.17/txt.
    Initial cost is GSM unlocked phone ($20), SIM ($1.00+$0 shipping)

  37. Jonathan,

    Your math on the PagePlus is off. It comes out as low as $30 per year, not $36. That is because the 50 cents a month maintenance fee comes out of the $10 refill cards; it is not in addition to it. (And the $80 card would only be $80 a year, not $86.) Obviously you will have a bit less minutes due to the 50 cent charge.

  38. @Joseph – Thanks for the clarification on PagePlus, I’ll update the post.

  39. Thanks, Jonathan.

    Al, here is the T-Mobile URL describing how you can keep service active for each additional year for only $10 (after spending $100):

    Al, which carrier is $0 (free) for the service and .27/minute?

  40. Some things I do not have clarity on and would appreciate an opinion on!

    1. do I get a phone number and SIM card automatically when I order the handset and $100 from say tmobile? Or do I have to order a SIM card with it?

    2. Then I am not sure whether to buy a micro sim or regular one for the phone that I am purchasing?


  41. Answers to my questions above are:

    1. You get the SIM card with the phone which you have to activate when you receive it. Sometimes there is an activation fee, which can often also be waived. There are other instructions for switching your number to t-mobile as part of the process.

    2. Another piece of useful info is that the phone can be unlocked after 30 days.

    3. Any free credit supplied with the phone does not count towards the $100 gold status

  42. Ai, or other people!

    What is the carrier following these conditions??

    “$5 for 90days. It means $20/year. $0.10/call, $0.05/text.
    Initial cost is GSM unlocked phone ($20), SIM ($9.99+$5 shipping)” ??

  43. There is a brand new carrier (a T-Mobile MVNO) that started offering service in the U.S. in the past few weeks. They are a major and well-established MVNO carrier in Europe. (Perhaps the largest MVNO there?) It is “Lycamobile”. You can buy as little as $5 of service and it has no expiration date, you can use it indefinitely. The only qualification is that you have to make at least one call every 120 days.

  44. Can anyone tell us all if you can buy your own GSM quadband phone, insert a SIM and use on different cell providers? Question 2: Can a person pass loads to other users like in Europe?

  45. I’ve been with Virgin Mobile for some time now. It has been great. They billed me $16.17 every quarter direct to my credit card. But now they have jumped to $20 with a $400 dollar limit of credit. I am over $400 so I cannot top-up and cannot call out. Been nice Virgin Mobile but may be time to change.

  46. WJB Oregon says:

    I’ve read and studied for hours, but what seems best for?: A Blackberry phone with U.S.Cellular and want to save $. I need internet, email, and voice, but very limited use for all 3. What combo and plan would someone recommend for this? Need for usage may grow. We travel very little and use a lap top at home most of the time with WiFi (proper term?) coming from my desktop computer. Live in an area with good cell tower service.

  47. Al,

    Where did you find the 0$ plan?

    “$0, if you do not use at all. $0.27/call, $0.17/txt.”

  48. Best MNVO I have found is AirVoice. my wife has been on them for 6 months now and i just switched. I love it. I had tracfone for my family of 4 for years and just got tired of lost minutes, hours on the phone with their barely English speaking customer service in India. Switching our phones and sims are a huge pain. AirVoice is based in the US with Americans answering the phones and awesome customer service. Use any AT&T phone including Iphone. AT&T network, $10 gives you 250 talk or 500 text which is .04 and .02 each or any combination of each. rollover minutes too. You can use data but it can be expensive but no problem as long as you have wifi. combine this with the Vonage app which is crystal clear calls on wifi at home and you cannot go wrong as long as you have at&t in your area. the alternative would be Pageplus for Verizon customers. Airvoice also has a $30 unlimited talk and text and a $35 unlimited talk text an 100 mb data. Other options too.

  49. Momwithtriplets says:

    I have three teenage boys. They text use the Internet, camera . Very minimal calling. I currently have sprint, which will be 30.00 a month plus tax unlimited data usage and free phone. Should I add 3 more lines and sign a 2 year contract or is there a better plan or prepaid phone out there?

  50. I have an unlocked GSM phone (the brand is called IceMobile) from another country. I want a very cheap plan for two months in the U.S. The PagePlus sounds great on its website, $10 for 120 days sounds great. How do I get a SIM card for a Page Plus plan?

  51. PagePlus is not GSM. Check out

  52. Just wanted to share a tip with activating our T-mobile phones for the inlaws. We bought our 1000 yearly minutes at Target using the Target credit card and received another 5% back on the original $100 for 1000 minutes.

    Thanks for all your work, Jonathan, I’ve saved lots of money over the years using your blog and this is my first post/comment.


  53. Celeste Rocha says:

    Hi! My name is Celeste Rocha I am 10 years old and my parents are thinking about getting me a phone. What kind of phones do you have?

  54. I have lycamobile, and the only big drawback is the service, which is T-Mobile’s network, doesn’t have a lot of coverage in areas that I travel too, a lot of dropped calls, poor signal in a lot of areas.Otherwise plans are cheap, but shop around for plan and good reliable service.

  55. Awwwkkkk! I was going to sign up for PagePlus’s “pay per day” thing (for my off-contract VZW phone that I beg my cousin to carry with her) but they no longer offer it. Seems like these days, great products are only great products while they’re climbing. Once they become well-known, they get degraded (I’m talking to you, Tazo, and to Reef, Levi’s, Nature’s Miracle, and even to the anonymous companies that make the little lasers I use for amusing my cats). We’ve got a system that provides big rewards only when zillions of people buy something, meaning if you want something different than what everyone else wants (or at least settles for), you’re dead in the water. But hey, once the super-secret TTP is passed, none of us will be able to afford to buy anything and we’ll all have to learn become DIYers anyway. In the meantime, I’m going to keep my favorite products a secret from now on.

  56. Platinumtel / Ptel now uses T-Mobile GSM and Not Sprint anymore. I think they have the best rate for most low-usage people who want to stick
    to the freedom of GSM.

  57. Sheila anderson says:

    I went to walmart to find the best pre-paid no nonsense plan. A lot was offered. Any suggestions?

    All I want is 1% texting! GPS 10% and calls about 600 minutes of talking a month.
    Thank you.

  58. ron pilkinton says:

    I have good service with my Verizon phone. However, I am starting a new service business. My intention is to not use my personal phone for business purposes. I just want to use a cheap, basic, no frills, type of phone as an answering service, I will then return messages from a different phone. Advice? Anyone?

    • A reader sent me this: “Google will give you a number, take your messages, and forward calls to any phone you own – including your house or cell phone. You can have your messages transcribed and sent to via email or text, and like any other message system, you can call and listen to them. All for no charge – you’ll just need to set up a Google account. “

  59. This post could probably use some updating. The tmobile per per day plans are an interesting alternative for some. My current three favorites for low cost phone service though are Ringplus, especially if you can get in on the free plans when they have the enrollment open, Republic wireless, if you don’t mind the upfront costs of the phone you will need to use them, and lycamobile, where you can keep an emergency line open for as low as 2 cents every 90 days. In addition they do not charge for calling toll free numbers, and allow for free incoming texts.

  60. What’s wrong with TracFone? NOTHING is wrong with TracFone! We’ve had two of them for 8 years, and rarely exceed $100/year each even including buying new phones, and despite the fact that we used them exclusively for 3 months a year. My phone has double minutes too. Deals show up on your phone, you don’t have to hunt them down. Lots of phones to choose from too. And NOTHING TO SIGN.

  61. Davey Pockets says:

    Have you tried republic wireless? Been with them for a year and very happy with them.

    Unlimited minutes $5 per month.

    Unlimited min and text $10 per month.

    Unlimited everything $25 per month! And no contracts!!

  62. Nice posting, and I am going to investigate H20 if they really have five cent service.

    GoPhone from AT&T is OK at 10 cents a minute ($100 a year for 1000 minutes) and unused minutes “roll over” to next year. We’ve been on it for four years now with no complaints. We don’t use cell phones much.

    The transition was painless. Called AT&T and while on the phone (landline) I could watch my cellphone convert to AT&T GoPhone service.

    It has voice mail and will send you a text (no charge) after each call, saying how much the call cost and how much $$$ you have left.

    We went from spending $1200 a year to $200 a year, for two phones. It was quite a savings!

  63. I am going back to my roots and use drums and smoke signals.

  64. I have been using PagePlus for 5 months and I love it. I have no complaints!

  65. Hi, Jon, my grandson gave me a SAMSUNG net 10 with a sliding keypad. what do you advise for the cheapest deal , I use about 35 minutes / month and a few texts, thanks for your advice, Tom

  66. I use magic jack with my iphone. You can’t get any cheaper than that. It is unlimited service via wi-fi. For out wi-fi service, I use h2o with the same iphone. Yes, I have 2 phone numbers on my iphone. One with the magic jack app and the other with h20. With h20, I use the $10 for 90 day prepaid. I only spend $40 per year for cell phone usage. This does not include the cost of magic jack.

  67. I have a Samsung flip phone and use net 10 service. Call me old lady if you like. It has a camera and I can receive texts even if it is a challenge to type texts to others. I love my landline. No dropped calls, clear calls, etc. Honestly, the cell phone is for long distance calls and infrequent calls when I’m on the road. Sounds like I pay too much at $30 every two months. I have 3000 minutes built up that will only get used if some teenager I know loses their phone and wants to use mine for awhile. Some grown folks I know use the cell phones like teens. These people make me want to throw mine in a very deep river somewhere. You all have given me some other options for service and I say thank you.


  68. Has anyone used Ting for phone? Thinking of switching to them in March. $6 per line and pay as you go minutes 1-100 @ $3 and so on.

  69. Thanks for the resource. I was very unhappy with my recent AT&T/iPhone experience and will definitely bookmark this page for my next cell phone adventure!

  70. Christina Rallis says:

    Does anyone know how to get in touch with this company? I’ve attempted all day to get in contact with them without any success.
    The company is called Magic Jack.


  71. Finding out the basics is the most important thing I think most would agree.

    Also from reading the comments, it seems most people become BIASED to “their” plan or company.

    And, people tout WiFI without figuring in the cost of internet into their home and the WiFi Router you had to buy and the monthly internet costs.

    If you want cheep, Google Voice gives you a USA number then you can direct incoming calls to any phone, cell or landline, free generally (as the pump it over the net and they are everywhere in the USA).

    Cell service is provided by the big four – 1) Verizon, 2) AT&T, 3) T-Mobile, 4) Sprint. If your getting cell service it is through one of these, but resold by many MVNOs.

    The predominant Worldwide cellular service is tech is GSM.

    If your phone is unlocked (from a specific company) you can insert a GSM SIM Card and get service.

    As with most things, the more you buy AT ONE TIME the cheaper it is – think costco, sams, ect.. Same applies to VOICE, TEXT, and DATA.

    Most people want a phone number you can be reached at any time – if you do not need this your in the minority. THen people want to be able to call out anytime, and as well send / receive texts, and finally, data for smartphone to use to access the net over cell –

    IMHO it also matters where your at and the cell tower coverage, most of the big 4 have good coverage over the USA but large “holes” exist. and if your in one, you got no cell service. Maybe you can find a WiFi and go over it (which is just going over the internet)…

    These basics come to the following conclusions – Verizon is most expensive, coming to ATT&T right on their heels. Sprint is next, and the cheapest is T-Mobile.

    The commercials on TV mamny people base their purchases on are marketing and it is not all “true” – as they bend definitions and lie to US constantly. Customer Service is important as if you have a problem as a paying customer most of Us expect to be able to resolve it in short order. That is now always the case with MVNO. I again, think for most people, for most situations a Google Voice number with a cheap T-MObile prepaid is as cheap as you can get for anytime calls in or out and texts. You can add data.

    Some others are cheaper but it is a tradeoff of cost vs service — and NEVER extrapolate things — that if X is 5 , then X x3 is 15, as it is not always the case THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS.

    FInally, those people wanting 10 mionutes a month for an “emergency” phone for like older parents and stuff, get a regular line added onto to your phone agreement as one thing you MUST know is, if they go to use it and need to make a call, will it work? I found not always, making a problem into a tradgedy (as you got to use stuff to make sure it is 100% functional, not using a phone for weeks then needing it in an emergency is going to result in a tragedy…use it daily, weekly to make darn sure it is there when you need it — bad surprises at the worst possible moment…..go by Murphy’s law…..

    Just my exp. – bottom line is you get what you pay for (but you got to do your homework, talk with others and READ THE AGREEMENT to avoid getting ripped off/gouged (like Verizon and ATT&T do)…


  72. Is wifi dangerous? I recal lreading it is, which makes me wary of Republic, which has very cheap wifi–and I don’t know what other companies use it regularly or under certain conditions.

    • Scratch wireless is another Wi-Fi first company. Buy their phone for $100.00, all calls, text, and data is free while on Wi-Fi. You can also purchase buckets of cell calls and data when away from Wi-Fi. I never heard of it being dangerous.

  73. Anna Rector says:

    I just looked on the Page Plus website, and I can’t find the 2,000 minute card for $80 that lasts a year. Can you tell me where to look on their website? Thanks!

  74. is there cheap phone provider here in Canada?

  75. Does anyone have experience with Freedom Pop?

    • I dated a girl who briefly worked there. Made it sound like the company was not run very well and customer service wouldn’t be much help to you.

  76. Check out TextNow. They’re a Sprint MVNO. The service is not perfect but you get unlimited talk, text and data for $18.99/month including all taxes & fees without any commitment (no contract). Their service can also work in areas where Sprint has no coverage (such as overseas over WiFi). I haven’t found a lower priced all-in-one deal yet. They also have free phones with free shipping during certain times of the year (like Black Friday and the holidays) but some of their low end phones go for as low as $5 or $10 without a contract. You can always bring your Sprint device (but check with them first) or purchase one of their higher-end Android phones for a discounted price. They don’t sell Apple iPhones to use their service without WiFi yet. Check out their website for more details. The service is not bad for the money you pay. Also check out the App Store or Google Play for their app if you want to try their service for free.

  77. Informative and well written! Thanks!

    There are some NU “kids on the block” NOW.
    One is Ezkonnect a undlerling for Tmobile’s underling Ultra Mobile.

    I’m NOT affiliated with Ezkonnect in any way, cept I have their $19 /mo plan for 5 months so far, on Tmobile towers with their newest bigger GSM footprint, which I now get 3 bars in an ALL brick home.
    You might get more… or less…. depending where you be.

    Lowest Plan is the….
    $19 /mo plan which includes
    *Unlimited Talk to the USA and 11 International Destinations
    *$1.25 Call Anywhere Credit Unlimited Global SMS
    *100MB of High Speed 4G LTE
    *Unlimited Global SMS
    Special for new customers.includes 1mo. (above stuff) with Sim card…. $18.50

    Next Plan UP is their $29/ mo, and includes. . . .
    *Unlimited International Talk & Text Unlimited
    *International Calling To the USA and Over 60 Countries
    *1,000 Free Minutes to Over 15 More Destinations
    *$2.50 Call Anywhere Credit Unlimited Global SMS
    *4G LTE Data 1GB of 4G LTE Data Nationwide Coverage UltraUp More 4G LTE Data

    But if you pay in advance ……
    3 mos than the price goes to. . $74.00 = $24.66 /mo
    3 mos than the price goes to. . $127.99= $21.33 /mo
    A prepaid year= $228.00 = $19.00 /mo

    They have Online Chat and PH # for CS.

    JUST do a search for ezkonnect…. as I don’t need to do ALL the work…!

    Happy celling to you till we meet again…..LOL!

    • OPPS, me fingers are old and can’t type..

      The sentence above that says…
      3 mos than the price goes to. . $127.99= $21.33 /mo

      Should say…
      6 mos than the price goes to. . $127.99= $21.33 /mo

      But most could have figured that our alread! Huh? LOL!

  78. Linda Buchanan says:

    I don’t think T Mobile offers that plan anymore. Their deals are much more expensive now. I have a Tracfone plan. Very reasonable but terrible customer service. This summer I tried to switch phones, it took me over two weeks and many many calls. I recently had to add more data time and that took five or six calls to customer service. But they do have the cheapest rates that I have been able to find. Hard to recommend them when their customer service is so bad. T Mobile had MUCH better customer service.

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