Find out whether you should be a Straight Talk, Tracfone, or Net10 user. Do you use your phone a lot, a little or go both ways? These plans are all targeted at three types of users who differ in terms of how they use their cell phones.
Straight Talk users have a choice of three monthly plans. The $45 unlimited plan gives you unlimited minutes, messages and data include web. For an additional $15 you can also have unlimited international calling.
On the other hand, the $30 plan gives you 1000 minutes, 1000 messages and 30 MB of data.
So your minimum monthly cost on a Straight Talk phone is $30. These plans are great deals if you talk a lot (use almost 1000 minutes a month) or use a lot of data (for the $45 plan). The $45 plan is a requirement if you get a Straight Talk smart phone where you'll need a lot of data.
You're likely to be a Straight Talk user if you know your usage never dips low enough for a pay as you go plan.
Tracfone users can take advantage of the lowest monthly fee among the three services. It can cost you as little as $80-$100 a year if you don't use the phone much and buy the lowest airtime cards or buy the one-year card which works out to less than $9 a month.
Your airtime rates are a little higher. You can lower your rate by searching for the best current promo codes. Tracfone handsets themselves are now pretty good and include both touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard phones from Samsung, LG, and Motorola.
But what if your usage varies over the year? Then you might consider Net10.
Net10 users have the option of choosing and even switching between pay as you go plans and monthly plans. The pay as you go plan costs 10 cents or less per minute and about $15 per month. You add airtime cards to your phone or you can set up auto-refill.
However, if your usage goes up, then you can switch to a Net10 monthly plan. The $25 Net10 monthly plans gives you 750 minutes or (not and) messages. Data is also charged per minute. The unlimited plans give you unlimited minutes, messages and data. Net10, too, has a few Android smart phones available which must be used on their unlimited plan.
So for example if your usage will be higher at some times of the year and lower at other times, you can consider Net10.
This Straight Talk, Tracfone and Net10 comparison should help you
decide if one of these services is right for you.
Many providers now offer the option of a purely pay as you go plan or a monthly plan which may included unlimited minutes or data, though the latter is less common. In addition to the major plans listed in the menu, here are a couple of smaller providers that have similar options.
If you want a prepaid plan at 5 cents a minutes or a monthly unlimited plan at $40 then you should consider Platinumtel (PTel) which runs on the T-Mobile network.
Speaking of T-Mobile, they recently acquired MetroPCS and appear to be greatly expanding their presence.
If you prefer the AT&T network, then Red Pocket may be an option for you, though they cost a little more.