Prepaid Cell Phone Savings

Prepaid Cell Phone Savings

Just a few years ago there were only a couple “pay as you go”, cell phone plans available, and the prices were extremely high.

Today there are a wide variety of plans and price points, that make it a very attractive option, especially if you don’t want to be locked into a long term contract. With “pay as you go”, you can cancel or change plans at any time. Ultimate Flexibility.

The only downside is that you won’t be able to use the latest and greatest phones with prepaid (no iphone, or droid), without paying the full phone price up front. However, there are some nice phones available for low/no cost, and for those of you whose biggest concern is reliable service, and a low monthly cost, prepaid is an excellent option.


Net 10

Net 10 offers phones from Samsung, Motorola, LG, & Kyocera. These range in price from $19.99 for the Motorola V171, a very basic cell phone; to $79.99 for the Samsung R451C, which includes a Slider QWERTY Keyboard, Mobile Web, and a 1.3 Megapixel Camera. All phones include 300 minutes of air time, and 60 days of activation.

You can purchase additional airtime by right from your phone, online at, or at several retailers such as WalMart.

All airtime is 10 cents per minute (exluding any bonus offers), and options range from 200 minutes and 30-days of service for $20, all the way up to 4000 minutes +1000 bonus minutes (5000 minutes total) and 2-years of service for $400.

Net10 also offers a monthly rate plan with 3 different options.You can get 150 minutes/month for $15, 250 minutes for $25, or 400 minutes for $40. However, since these plans offer no savings over just buying the airtime as you wish, we don’t see much of an incentive to use a monthly plan.



Tracfone offers phones from Samsung, Motorola, & LG. Prices range from $9.99 for a basic Samsung T105G, to $124.99 for a Motorola W260g + a double minute card good for one year. On their own, a 1-year double minute card will run you $20 (a good deal to us). A double minute card allows you to automatically double the minutes you purchase on any card.

For example, if you have a double minute card, and then purchase a 400 minute card, it is automatically upgraded to 800 minutes.

Regular rates start at about 33 cents per minute (30 minutes and 30 days of service for $9.99), and go up to 1500 minutes and 1-year of service for $199.99 (13.3 cents/minute).



AT&T offers phones from Samsung, Sony, Nokia, & LG. Prices range from $9.99 for a refurbished Nokia 2330, to $129.99 for a refurbished Sony Ericsson W518a. Four different prepaid plans are available.

These include:

  • $3 Per Day – Unlimited Use each day you use your phone for $3/day. Days you do not use your phone, you incur no charges.
  • $1 Per Day Moble to Mobile – $1 each day you use your phone. Anytime minutes are 10 cents each.
  • $0.25 Simple Plan – No daily charge, just a set fee of $0.25 for each minute you use your phone.

AT&T GO Cards come in denominations ranging from $15 (30-days service) to $100 (1-year service).


Straight Talk

Phones available include those by LG, Samsung, & Motorola. The LG 100c is just $29.99, while the Samsung R18C will set you back $328.99.

Two plans are available:

  • $30/month gets you 1000 minutes/texts/pictures, and 30mb of web access.
  • $45/month gets you unlimited minutes/texts/pictures, and unlimited web access.


T-Mobile Prepaid

Phones include the Nokia 1661 for $19.99, and the Samsung t239 for $39.99. A few other phones in between those price points are also available.

Two payment plans are available: Pay as you go, and Pay by the day.

With Pay as you go, you’ll pay from 33 cents/minute ($10 for 30 minutes), to as little as 10 cents a minute ($100 for 1000 minutes)

Pay by the day is a $1 per day, each day you use your phone. This includes unlimited calls to other T-Mobile numbers. Other numbers are billed at 10 cents/minute.


Virgin Mobile Prepaid

With Virgin Mobile Prepaid, you’re able to select from a small selection of phones ranging in price from $9.99 to $99.99. Brands include LG, Samsung, Kyocera, & UStarCom.

Virgin offers Monthly Plans, Pay as you go, and “Texter’s Delight”.

Let’s start off with “Texter’s Delight“.  This is for those who love to text, but don’t use their phone to actually hold a real conversation with anyone very often. $14.99/month gets you 1000 text messages, and $19.99/month gets you unlimited texts. If you do decide to use your phone to talk to someone, it will cost you 10 cents per minute.

The monthly plans include:

  • $29.99 – 300 anytime minutes, 1000 night & weekend minutes
  • $39.99 – 400 anytime minutes, unlimited night & weekend minutes
  • $49.99 – Unlimited Anytime and night & weekend minutes

Text & Messaging can be added to any of the above plans – $5/month for 1000, or $10/month for unlimited.

Pay as you go:

$20 gets you 200 minutes, $30 gets you 400, and $50 is good for 1000 minutes. These minute packs are good for 30-days, and unused minutes roll over to the next 30-days of service.



If you’re looking for an “emergency only” phone, your best bet is the AT&T GO Simple Plan. If you want as many minutes, texts, and web browsing as cheaply as possible, go with Straight Talk.



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