What if I told you that you could literally save $1000 by switching wireless providers? That you could also have more data, better coverage and a much simpler - prepaid/auto bill?
And that it equals more money in your pocket and more time for you? That it beats stressing and fighting with your cell phone provider trying to figure out what on earth your last cell phone bill means?
Millions of Americans are overpaying for their wireless service...
but I don't want you to be one of those! So I am here to help you save your money and find the right provider for you.
Most people don't believe me when I tell them that there are better, cheaper options... but they should. I save, my brother saves, my mother and father save, a handful of friends save, and my husband saves by utilizing one of the fantastic prepaid MVNO services available in the US. Ones that sadly you probably didn't even know they exist.
The big 4 aren't going to come down in price if people don't put pressure on them to do so. If you are willing to overpay for a contract, then by all means they are going to let you do so. They are after profit... not your well being. Don't forget that.
For most people, there are better options then the big 4. You can trust me on this, because I have truly tried every single one except T-mobile. On the list of Nicole's long history with cell phone providers:
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Virgin Mobile, Straight Talk, Cricket Wireless, TracFone and Net10
Yes I've had them all.
But first of all let me clear the air about prepaid brands before you stop reading. MVNO providers can provide just as good as DATA, COVERAGE, SERVICE, AND ALLOW YOU TO USE THE LATEST AND GREATEST CELL PHONE (of your choice) as any of the big 4.
YOU CAN EVEN GET ENHANCED LTE (depending on where you live and which network you pick).
So right now, pay attention and read about through the many options below and be prepared to switch providers TODAY!
You can thank me later.
The easiest way to break this down is by type:
There are the 4 big contract companies that dominate the post paid (AKA contract) market.. and you are most likely associated with one of them. They are:
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint
These four vary by speed, price and coverage. Especially coverage.
I'm from rural America so you knock off T-Mobile and Sprint if you live in the rural america as well - because coverage is soo limited. Once I actually received a free year of Sprint service... I ended up dropping it because coverage was horrendous! Safe to say that I went straight back to prepaid.
I literally paid to drop a free plan.. process that one for a minute. That's how bad coverage was outside of the city.
Verizon and AT&T both have exceptional coverage - but also a MUCH higher and quite misleading price. If they say $45/mo it isn't $45 a month... especially with taxes and fees. There are usually line fees (on top of what you are paying for data), activations fees, phone lease/finance fees and a tremendous amount of tax added on after you sign up.... not too mention some sort of contract (now its called a phone contract - rather then a wireless contract - more misleading). YUCK YUCK YUCK.
To emphasize this even further, I jumped on Verizon for one month (with my own Apple device) to do a Verizon VS Cricket test.
Long story short, I ended up paying $100 when I thought I was going to pay $60: $40 for data and $20 for the line, but of course, I forgot about the taxes, fees and activation cost to bring my own phone (and iPhone 6S I purchases directly through Apple).
My husband has our trusty Cricket Wireless plan and paid $35 FLAT! No line fees, no taxes, no overages, NOTHING. Simply $35. And traveling from Minnesota through Montana ...
HE HAD BETTER SERVICE, MORE DATA and BETTER COVERAGE. FOR $35.
No joke people. I paid 3 times what he did for worse service.
So that leads me to exposing (or informing) you of the MVNO plans.. these are prepaid.. may or may not include taxes and fees into the price (as mentioned above, CRICKET is ALL inclusive), and vary based on location. MVNO means Mobile Virtual Network Operator... but really it is simply prepaid and they rent tower space from the big 4 instead of building their own.
The MOST popular of these are Cricket Wireless, Straight Talk Wireless, Total Wireless (Verizon's new MVNO - so if you love Verizon this may be for you), Boost Mobile, Metro PCS, Virgin Mobile, TracFone, Net10 and the list goes on and on.
But for the sake of keeping this post limited - I am going to focus on JUST a handful of the ones I mentioned, because in my opinion, they are the best.
My Disclaimer - Below is a snapshot of select prepaid devices. I only select highlights - do not include everything - and am not responsible for the misuse, misunderstanding of any information. I am also not responsible for any changes by any of the networks over time.
AT&T Network - $35/Mo (autopay) - TALK, TEXT, 2.5GB LTE and taxes and fees INCLUDED in price
- Data plan intervals 2.5GB, 8GB, 10GB and Unlimited (throttled if used too excessively)
- Exceptional Coverage on the AT&T Network
- Mobile Hotspot is an option for $10
- $100 for 4 lines is the "family plan"
- Autopay discount
- Taxes and Fees included in the $35 price - yes that is absolutely all you pay.
- You can Bring Your Own Device or buy a top end phone (like the iPhone 7) directly from the website
- Financing options are available
Cricket is what my husband and I currently utilize. We LOVE it. Cricket Wireless has improved drastically once AT&T acquired it. Running off of the AT&T network allows us to have the Data Coverage WE NEED while also getting the service, price and data we WANT. May husband currently utilizes the 35$ (with family discount) 2.5 GB plan while I get the 8GB $45 plan. We pay $80 total (INCLUDING TAXES & FEES) for both lines (with everything included). Occasionally, I will drop down to the $35/mo plan when I want to save an extra buck - which literally takes 30 seconds on their website.
So what is the catch? With Cricket you get LTE data - but it is throttled at fast speeds (exceeding 8 mbs)... Most people, including myself, can't even notice a throttle.
Verizon Network - $35/Mo (base plan)- Talk, Text & 5 GB data and fees included in price
- With autopay - $57 for two lines with 5B of Data
- Exceptional Coverage on the Verizon Network
- 10$ for an extra 3GB of Carry Over 4G LTE data
- No data $25/Mo plan also available
- 5% Discount for autopay
- You can Bring Your Own Device or buy a top end phone straight from their website
- Phone Financing Available
I use to ignore Total Wireless as an option, but once they added 4G LTE I am seriously considering switching. You get more data for your money - on the best network in the country. So you HAVE to love that. The only downfall is that they don't allow portable hotspot directly from your phone - you have to buy a separate device to carry around, which truly isn't a big deal.
So what is the catch? They, too, throttle data. They throttle to 4mbps (more then cricket) but from most peoples review's.. it sounds like the speed seems even faster then other MVNO's.. likely due to Verizon's coverage and infrastructure (and who even knows how much speed throttling happens unless you abuse it).
Verizon, AT&T and Sprint Network - $45/mo Talk, Text, 5GB 4GLTE Data, Fees Included
- $1 Autopay Discount or Prepay Discount
- Variety of Coverage Options
- Data plans from 100MB to 10GB (30$, $55) also available
- You can Bring Your Own Device or buy a top end phone directly from their website
- Phone financing options available
Straight Talk is probably one of the oldest, most reliable and well known MVNOs that exist. It has been around for awhile as a Walmart special.. however, don't let its association with Walmart fool you. It offers fantastic service (you can find a plan on any network you want) and a great variety of plans to boot. I have jumped on the Verizon & Straight Talk networks using this phone.. and was very pleased with both. As far as I know, there is also no speed throttling (in the limits of your data plan).
Sprint Network - $30/mo Talk, Text, 2GB 4GLTE data (with autopay), Unlimited Music Streaming
- Unlimited data for $50/mo (including unlimited talk and text) - Video and Music mobile optimized
- Unlimited family plans for $30/mo per main line and additional lines
- Significant Extras including Unlimited Music Streaming, Boost Wallet and Boost TV
- Portable (non-phone) WiFi hotspot and plans available
- You can Bring Your Own Device (BYOB) or purchase any top end (or cheap) phone directly from their website
- Voice Roaming Available
Boost receives a lot of advertising (at least it does here). I personally don't have any experience with Boost Mobile, but I've heard great things. It runs on Sprint but has some fantastic extras (like unlimited music streaming) and a lot of options for both single and family lines. If you live in any major metropolitan area... then I highly recommend you look into it.
Sprint Network - $35/Mo for 5 GB 4G LTE - Enhanced LTE speeds in select markets - Unlimited Music Streaming - TAXES and FEES included
- $45/Mo for 10GB of 4G LTE data
- Sprint Network - Limited Coverage in Rural Areas
- Additional data for $5 - $10 (1-2GB)
- Mobile hotspot (direct from your phone) available
- You can Bring Your Own Device or buy a top end device straight from their website
- Voice Roaming Available
Virgin Mobile has grown since I use to utilize it 5-8 years ago. Back then, I loved the amount of data I received and the fact that I could have a smart phone all for 35$/mo. At that time, I never dreamed I could even afford a smartphone (as a college kid who had never had a cell phone in her life). Long story short, I eventually switched to straight talk because of the larger coverage (and being in rural North America). Since I left... Virgin Mobile has grown to offer exceptional data allotment, insane speed and awesome devices for the same super low prices. If you don't need rural coverage (your content with the Sprint Network) and want the fastest speeds, then I highly recommend Virgin Mobile.
T-Mobile Network - 30$/mo for 1 GB 4G/LTE data, Taxes and Fees INCLUDED in price.
- 3GB 4G LTE for $40/mo, 8GB 4G LTE for $50/mo, Unlimited 4G LTE for $60/mo
- Family plans available (3 lines for $110)
- Unlimited music streaming
- You can Bring Your Own Device or buy a top end (or cheap) phone directly from their website.
- Voice Roaming Available
Metro PCS is very similar to Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile - coverage is limited but speeds are excellent. The big difference is that Metro runs on T-Mobile's network (its only MVNO as far as I know). If you prefer T-Mobile over Sprint, then Metro PCS could be the new provider for you. Its $30/mo for 1 GB is also enticing for those low mobile users (or who have access to wi-fi most of the time). If you have T-Mobile currently, then I highly recommend you look into Metro PCS to save you money. They also have some fantastic deals going on - such as free data per month and free phones for the entire family (cheaper phones however).
I would like to note that data in all of the above networks gets throttled (2 mbps) after you use up your allotted speed. This simply means that when you go over on data... there are NO OVERAGES. Also, you can always pay extra for more high speed data if you need it.
Have you tried any of these networks? Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Please feel free to contact me regarding any questions or testimonials on these networks.. I would LOVE to help you out.