FOR LATEST RATE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
[EDIT - newer rate post HERE]
[unlimited rates listed HERE]
Many companies have changed there pricing plans, and others have come available since my last post. So I will provide several options for those of you who are looking for cheap cell phone service.
I recently just switched my $50 unlimited iDEN Boost Mobile account over to a $60 unlimited CDMA Boost Mobile Blackberry account. If you are interested in a smart phone, this is going to be the best value. No contract, and unlimited talk, text and 3G EVDO internet access, as well as push e-mail.
For those of you who receive any sort of public assistance Tracphone has a product that will provide you with a free cell phone, and minutes called Safe Link. This service is subsidized by the government, just as the lifeline service for land line telephone service is. More information is available about how to qualify, or apply for the service at there website here https://www.safelinkwireless.com/EnrollmentPublic/home.aspx You can purchace additional minutes from Tracfone if the included minutes are not enough for you, but IMO Tracfone prices are confusing for the average consumer (for the best rates you need to buy a double minutes card), and the rates (even for the double minutes) are rather high, compared to other providers.
Tracfone however has two other products/brands, that I also highly recommend. First is Net10, you can purchace a phone for $30, occasionally on sale for $25 - and the phone comes with $30 (300 minutes) of free calling credit. I consider this brand a great choice for a "throw away" or single use phone. If you purchace a phone from there website, you can get a refurbished phone with 300 minutes, plus 300 bonus minutes for a total of 600 minutes for $30. This is the best deal that I have found anywhere for a phone and minutes, but defeats the purpose if you plan to use the phone as an untraceable "throw away" since a throw away phone should be purchased with cash. Net 10's unlimited plan is too expensive to bother mentioning, but there per minute rate is 10 cents per minute always, and 5 cents per text message. Minutes are normally good for 60 days.
Straight Talk is the latest Tracfone product that I have become aware about. It offers one of the best rates for cell phones. They are available at Walmart, or online at http://www.straighttalk.com/ You can get a $30 per month plan with 1000 minutes, 1000 texts and 50 MB of data, or $45 for an unlimited plan. Most people will do just fine with the $30 plan.
Virgin mobile is another company owned by sprint (like boost mobile and nextel) they have unlimited voice plans for $50, or you can pay between 5 to 10 cents per minute if you buy a minute pack, or 20 cents per minute if you do not buy a minute pack. Minute packs expire in 30 days, but unused minutes roll over. For the texters out there, they have an unlimited texters plan for $15 per month, that does not require any voice plan. Minutes with the unlimited text plan are 10 cents per minute (unless you purchace a minute pack with a better rate)
[EDIT: Virgin Mobile recently changed there pricing structure, and not has plans from $25 to $60 all plans include unlimited text and web]
ATT Go Phone have gotten into the cheap prepaid war, although not the cheapest, they are still competitive, and they are a large reputable company. ATT Go Phone offers a $60 unlimited text and talk plan.
Page Plus Cellular is also another good budget minded cell phone company. For $30 you can get 1200 minutes, plus 1200 texts and 50MB data (that is 200 more texts and voice minutes than Straight talk's $30 plan) They also have an unlimited plan for $40, but that only includes unlimited talk and text, only 20MB of data comes with this plan.
I believe TMOB also has a $50 range unlimited plan, but I do not care much for TMOB... perhaps they are a better company from back in the day when I was a customer. If you have a favorable opinion or experience with them, then you can head over to there website and see what they are currently offering.
I am not including Verizon, because they still do not understand the prepaid market, with providing $3 or $4 PER DAY unlimited service, which would be more than double anyone else current prepaid offering.
I am not including Metro PCS - because the PCS stands for Pretty Crappy Service - the same reason why I am not including Cricket, or any other regional cellular companies.
For those saying wait, I forgot Sprint, you are mistaken. I included Sprint TWICE. Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile are both owned and operated by Sprint for prepaid customers. Sprint does not market a low price alternative to there contract plans under the Sprint name.
If you have a cellular company that I did not mention here, that you think deserves mention, or a comment about a company - good or bad, feel free to leave a comment.
Also if you are looking at getting a Virgin Mobile phone... look for one of my other posts, where I have a code to get both of us 60 free minutes.