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Why You Should Consider Talk As You Go Wireless Service

Updated on January 23, 2013

Want to Pay Less for Cell Phone Service?

If you are searching for an affordable wireless phone option and just want to talk as you go and pay only for the time you actually spend on the phone, a prepaid wireless plan may just be for you.

The main difference between prepaid wireless and most of the standard wireless plans is that with most prepaid providers you have the option of just paying for time used. Not only that, many of them will roll your unused minutes over from month to month so you won’t lose minutes that you purchased just because you didn’t use them.

prepaid can save you money
prepaid can save you money

What to Consider in Prepaid Service

There are a few things that you should be careful of when shopping for a prepaid wireless provider. The first is the ability to carry over your minutes. This is quite common but still there are providers that don’t carry over everything, so make sure you won’t lose your minutes if you don’t use them by a certain date.

Second, there are usually expiration dates for your minutes unless you buy more minutes. What that means is that if you buy time today it might expire in 90 days, so if you don’t use them you will lose them unless you buy another pack of minutes that will extend your expiration date another 90 days. Of course, the length of the time period and the minimum number of minutes that you are required to purchase varies from company to company, so check it out well.

Third, check out the coverage. Many prepaid plans have great coverage nationwide. That means you really can use your phone from place to place around the country. Others are much more local, however, so they work great if you stay in your metro area but if you are a traveler you might not be happy.

Fourth, and the least important for many prepaid customers, is the phones. Most prepaid service providers offer phones that are just fine, but if you are looking for specific features in a phone like a music player or camera, you will want to compare across multiple providers.

Making a Phone Decision

Prepaid service is a great idea for many people. If you are a light cell phone user and just want the convenience or security of a phone that isn’t tied to an expensive contract that is there for you when you’re on the road, this is the plan for you. It also works well if you don’t plan to text a lot and when you don’t care about accessing the internet from your phone. If you do want to get frequent internet access or send loads of texts, you will find that a prepaid service is not your best choice.

Taking a little extra time to shop the terms of buying and retaining minutes, the coverage, and the phone will give you the best result when comparing prepaid service.

Best Prepaid Data Plans

Prepaid isn't just for voice service any more. Now, there are more and more choices for getting data in a prepaid plan, even unlimited data. Virtually every post-paid cell phone plan provider like Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T have prepaid plans, but to get the best value you may want to check out the competition. This is particularly true if you don't need totally unlimited data.

One great options is T-Mobile. While the service is only available around major cities and highways, if you live in that area, they offer a web special prepaid unlimited data plan that is as cheap as it gets. For just $30 you get the all the data you need with a very small bucket of voice minutes. This is a great plan for the heavy data, light voice user. Just beware of the places that you travel since coverage may not be there.

Another strong performer is Straight Talk. For $45 each month you get unlimited everything, but there is a twist with the data. The agreement indicates that only certain uses are allowed, but members agree that usage under 2 GB of data per month and you are good to go. More than that and they have the right to slow you down or shut you down, thought this seems to not be a widespread event. With a smartphone it should be simple to stay under that for most people, since WiFi is a valid option.

Users who like the Sprint network should check out Ting. It's pretty new but offers a revolutionary ala carte pricing option for service. You get to decide how many minutes, texts, and MB of data to prepay for and they will settle up with you each month. Check out their online calculator to see how low your bill could be.

The list goes on and on. Shop around and you are likely to find a great prepaid option that will feel just like your current plan.

Why are you considering a prepaid phone?

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