Cheapest Unlimited Data Plan (4G!)
Deciding What I Needed
My quest for the cheapest unlimited data plan started in May. I had decided I needed a new phone after my last one had ceased to work a couple months earlier. I started out by making a list of everything I would need in a phone, and I ended up searching for an Android smartphone because it seemed to fit my needs. I also realized that I use only 25-50 minutes/month on my cell, but I sent hundreds of text messages. Now, with a smartphone, I knew I was going to use a LOT of mobile data - for Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, e-mail, IM, and everything else. I could, in a worst case scenario, also supplement the voice minutes with VoIP or supplement the text messaging with IM/Facebook messages. So after considering all of this, I figured I needed a plan with at least 50 minutes, 500 text messages, and unlimited data.
And let me tell you, those requirements were EXTREMELY hard to meet.
I checked out all of the websites of major carriers - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-mobile, and even a few others. They had huge discounts on powerful phones - HTC One X, the newer Samsung models - but the plans, in my opinion, were far too expensive. One of the cheapest plans with unlimited data was $70/mo with 500 minutes and unlimited texting. The next plan down by a different carrier was $60/mo - and had 2GB data, unlimited voice, and charged 20 cents/text - and that simply wouldn’t do. After almost giving up, I decided to go into the small unexplored corner of the websites - the Prepaid plans. I had originally avoided this section because I had considered it to be a small section of pay-per-minute flip phones - and man, was I wrong.
What I Ended Up With
I found a plan that completely met my needs, that started as a deal between Wal-Mart and T-Mobile; if you bought an android smartphone from the prepaid section of either store (at full price), you could get a plan with 100 minutes, unlimited texting, and UNLIMITED DATA (with 4G) for only $30/mo. The catch - you have to get a phone marked “Prepaid” from either T-Mobile or Wal-Mart (although I heard from numerous sources you can later put the sim in any phone) and you have to get the $30/mo T-Mobile prepaid card with Email Delivery from the Wal-Mart site, available here. Also, the 4G data is capped at 5gb before it throttles you down to 3G - but that’s HARD to go over and at the beginning of the 30-day pay cycle you get put back up to 4G. The phone I got was the Samsung Exhibit II 4G (called the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit at other places because they put out a firmware update renaming it) on sale for $180. (It’s still only $190.) So, anyway, I thought I would just share this incredible deal with some other folks as my first Hub - hope it helps!