Phone No Contract
Everyone needs a smartphone these days, there's just no getting around it. But a phone isn't much use without some kind of data plan, and not everyone needs a traditional plan from one of the big carriers.
Phone No Contract
And while most plans from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint/T-Mobile don't come with a formal contract anymore, they still have arrangements that lock you into a specific plan, at a specific price, for a specific amount of time. They're also "post-paid" plans, in that you agree to be held to specific terms and then pay your bill at the end of the month.
Though it's impossible for us to test every carrier in every location, these are the best no-contract and prepaid plans on the highest-quality networks that we could find. They won't be perfect for everyone, but we think these are the best no-contract phone plans available.
There are a couple of restrictions to be aware of, but they're the standard stuff: your traffic can be de-prioritized if the network is congested. Also, video streaming on your plan is restricted to 480p (DVD quality), though even the big carriers do this and it's not that noticeable on a small phone screen.
You can use your Visible data to act as a hotspot for another device, though speeds are limited to 5Mbps and you can only tether one device at a time. Otherwise, for both single lines, this is the best prepaid phone plan right now.
There are a ton of cheap prepaid phone plans, but Tello offers a lot for a minimal monthly cost. You can build your own plan, starting with 500 minutes of calls, unlimited texts, and 1GB of data per month for just $10. That's not likely to be enough for most people, but it's a great low-cost option if you only rarely use a phone. You can upgrade to a more manageable 2GB of data and unlimited calls and texts for just $14/mo, or 5GB of data for $19/mo.
The one hangup with this is you'll need a phone that supports T-Mobile GSM network. Tello will sell you plenty of them, though we think an unlocked/GSM-compatible phone like the iPhone SE or Google Pixel 3a offers the best value. It'll cost more upfront, but you'll be free to switch to another provider if Tello doesn't suit your fancy.
A single line of unlimited talk/text/data will run you $50/mo and includes 5GB of hotspot usage. But Metro really begins to pay dividends if you look to the higher-end plans, especially if you're switching over multiple lines. Metro offers a wide range of promotions, phone discounts, and other perks (like included Amazon Prime membership on some plans) to sweeten the pot.
Big-name carriers are hopping on the no-contract bandwagon, offering many of the benefits of a traditional phone plan at a fraction of the cost. One new service is from a Verizon-owned company called "Visible", which is offering unlimited data and no-contract plans starting at $30/mo. There are many smaller providers that offer similar or cheaper plans, though these range from carrier-like services such as Visible to third-party MVNOs that pre-purchase network access for their customers to use.
How to Activate?\n1. Purchase Device or Sim Kit\n2. Purchase Airtime Plan\n3. Activate online or call. Follow the step-by-step instructions on the red card that comes with your device.\nFor Total Wireless: Activate on TotalWireless.com or call 1-866-663-3633.\nFor Simple Mobile: Activate on SimpleMobile.com or call 1-877-878-7908.\n\n\t\t\tBenefits of a no-contract phone.\n\t\t\tWith a no-contract phone, you only pay for what you want while still getting quality cell service. You avoid hidden activation costs, 24-month contracts and cancellation or overage fees. You can even use your existing phone and have it ported to the no-contract service of your choice.
How to Activate?1. Purchase Device or Sim Kit2. Purchase Airtime Plan3. Activate online or call. Follow the step-by-step instructions on the red card that comes with your device.For Total Wireless: Activate on TotalWireless.com or call 1-866-663-3633.For Simple Mobile: Activate on SimpleMobile.com or call 1-877-878-7908.Benefits of a no-contract phone.With a no-contract phone, you only pay for what you want while still getting quality cell service. You avoid hidden activation costs, 24-month contracts and cancellation or overage fees. You can even use your existing phone and have it ported to the no-contract service of your choice.
Rob has 15+ years experience running price comparison & review websites that empower consumers to find the cheapest cell phone services, cell phone deals, home phone, and internet providers available. He has been published in Forbes, US News, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Inc.
By switching to a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO, you're giving yourself a ton of freedom. Freedom to switch whenever you want, freedom from contracts, and financial freedom. It's just a few of the reasons why we love them.
Whether you're looking for coverage from T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon's network, you'll be able to find this with an alternative carrier. The cheap no contract phone plans they provide include everything you need.
Same cell phone service: You may be paying less, but this doesn't mean you're sacrificing great features. You can find unlimited everything plans easily. Usually, a no-contract cell phone plan comes with unlimited talk and text as standard, high-speed data, and mobile hotspot data features.
Unlimited talk and text messaging: It's never been easier to find a new unlimited plan. Pretty much all no-contract carriers include unlimited text and calls as standard with their cell phone plans. You can also find cheap talk and text plans without data.
International calls to Canada and Mexico: Keeping in touch with loved ones around the world has never felt more important, making international calling a must-have feature. Luckily MVNOs offer some of the best international phone plans, including free calling to countries like Canada and Mexico, plus discounted rates or affordable add-ons for other countries.
Multiline discounts: If you're used to your multi-line plan, low-cost carriers have got you. They offer the cheapest family phone plans out there. With many, you'll get a multi-line discount for each line added.
Tethering/hotspot data: Many low-cost carriers allow you to turn your phone into a hotspot and get another device online. Pick an MVNO with the best mobile hotspot plans and share your mobile hotspot data with other devices.
Basic plans: If you (or a loved one) only use a cell phone to make a few calls, send a couple of messages, and rarely go online then you can opt for a simply prepaid plan. You get basic cell phone functions, an allowance for minutes of talk, and usually around 2GB of data at a great price. Once you run out of your data allotment, speeds slow, but it's usually very easy to add on more.
Family plans: Need four lines or more? Many MVNOs offer group plans. Compare the best family phone plans so you can pick and choose what each family member needs or check out our review of the best phone plans for two people.
After comparing all these no-contract carriers you're still not sure, we're here to make choosing seamless. There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a no-contract phone plan, but there are things you can look at to find the best fit for you.
Call & text usage: First things first, ask what you need from a cell phone plan. Basic plans are great if you rarely your device, maybe you make a few calls and send a limited number of text messages a month. Perhaps you have loved ones abroad? There's a load of international options, such as unlimited international calling. Some carriers will include as many as 200 countries, including Mexico and Canada.
Boost Mobile, Tello, and Mint Mobile offer the best value no contract unlimited data plans with prices ranging from $25-30 per month. These prepaid carriers all offer massive savings when compared to AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, who charge $70-90 per month for unlimited data plans.
The vast majority of phone owners still buy phones from a carrier, but there's a lot more freedom and interest in no-contract and unlocked phones. This is good news for all of us because we now have more options than what you can get only in your carrier store. Some of which are quite affordable.
An unlocked phone is one that isn't tied, or "locked" to a single carrier. That means you can pop in a SIM card for AT&T, for instance, swap it out for a T-Mobile SIM, and it'll still work. There's no artificial barrier that keeps you from using the phone on any other network simply because the carrier wants to forcibly keep you (and your phone) as a customer.
But. That doesn't mean that every unlocked phone you can buy is free and clear to use on any carrier, especially if you're buying a global handset that wasn't intended to work in the US (like if it's sold in Europe and Asia, and you buy it on Craigslist or eBay). You'll still need to check to make sure that your preferred network is compatible with your phone (look into the phone's connectivity and band support).
For an overly simplistic example, if the carrier only uses band X and the phone only uses band Y, the phone isn't going to work with that carrier (you'd still be able to use it over Wi-Fi, of course). Depending on the technology, some unlocked phones you can buy will only work with AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. Others will work with all of the Big Four and their prepaid branches -- for example Boost and Virgin Mobile for Sprint, Cricket Wireless for AT&T, and MetroPCS for T-Mobile.
They can be, but there's a distinction. A no-contract phone is one that doesn't require you to sign a carrier agreement in order to buy and use it, so when the phone's paid off, it's yours. Most carriers now sell a no-contract option, either with our without a payment plan. When it's paid off, you can also ask the carrier to unlock it for you, so you can (potentially) use it with another phone network. 041b061a72