There's more than one way to save money on your mobile plan. Check out any or all these prepaid plan providers.
These providers are often MVNO's (mobile virtual network operators): like many of the major providers, they rely on the network of companies like Verizon, AT&T, etc.
Airvoice Wireless provides good rates and offers both CDMA and GSM phones. The phones are available only through local dealers, but you can buy airtime refills online.
Ampd Mobile had an interesting package of services targeted at young hipsters. It was quite popular, but apparently their customers didn't pay their bills.
AT&T ditched the GoPhone name after practically making it a synonym for a prepaid phone. Now simply called AT&T Prepaid, their plans cover the full range of options and are updated fairly frequently.
Beyond Wireless had a basic rate of 15 cents per minute plus different bonuses for buying different denominations of airtime cards. These bonuses lowered the rate down to about 9 cents per minute.
Boost Mobile focuses on their unlimited plans and lowers your bill if you stay with them.
Centennial Wireless offered service in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas? They merged with AT&T around 2013.
Consumer Cellular provides simple no-contract plans and reasonably priced high-quality phones and devices for seniors. These include smart phones and flip phones.
Do you use your cell phone a lot, but don’t want or don’t qualify for a standard cell phone contract? Cricket Cell Phone Plans offers several no-contract options ranging from $30 per month up to $60 per month.
Fit Wireless offered a free Android smartphone and 39.99 per month unlimited plan on Sprint network in exchange for taking short surveys a few times a week. There was a one-year contract.
GreatCall sells the large button Jitterbug cell phone for seniors. A well-thought out
phone and service incorporates advanced features in a familiar design.
i-Wireless prepaid cell phones are available at Kroger supermarkets throughout the US. Each phone costs between $30 and $70 and comes with monthly no-contract plans for individuals and families.
With a claimed airtime rate as low as 7 cents a minute, it's worth taking a good look at Jolt Prepaid Wireless.
This provider has two especially attractive features. You can get free incoming calls and free incoming and outgoing text messages on Jump Mobile as long as you're not roaming.
Liberty Wireless plans start at $30 a month for 300 minutes and a flat 10 cents/minute for any minutes over 300.
Out of Business. Mingo Wireless was a new no-contract/prepaid provider whose goal was to be community-oriented and provide excellent customer service. They even had a free plan that gave you 20 airtime minutes per month.
Mojo Mobile is a new and relatively expensive prepaid cell phone plan which offers free unlimited night and weekend minutes as long as you’re willing to spend at least thirty dollars a month.
NET10 features both a pay as you go plan with minutes that rollover as well as monthly no-contract plans with either 750 or unlimited minutes. Their smartphones require the unlimited plans.
Omni Prepaid offers a single prepaid plan which offers service at a cost of 14 cents per minute.
Page Plus Cellular used to be just a regional provider, but they've now expanded to cover most of the US with just a few pockets of roaming left. Their standard plans offer prepaid airtimes rates from 6 to 12 cents per minute. Airtime expires after 120 days.
PlatinumTel offers 5 cents per minute voice calls and other low rates on texting and mobile web data. They also have nights and weekends and unlimited and Android plans.
Red Pocket Mobile offers good rates to China and other Asian countries. Their unique feature is Chinese character text messages. Their unlocked Razr phone is a good deal.
Republic Wireless offers low-cost plans that include unlimited Data, Talk & Text. They use a new approach that combines phone and WiFi calling to keep rates low.
Revol Wireless offers unlimited monthly no-contract service for customers based in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Similar to Cricket, its plans start at $35 a month for unlimited talk and text.
Simple Mobile offers SIM cards and monthly plans for unlocked GSM phones.
Southernlinc is a niche wireless provider with a 127,000 square-mile coverage area that includes Georgia, Alabama, southeast Mississippi and northeast Florida. It has two prepaid plans which are described in the review.
The best (or worst) thing about STi Mobile is that it’s focused on talking (and texting) as opposed to downloading ringtones, music or games.
Straight Talk feature monthly no-contract plans from $30 a month. Like most plans, their smart phones require one of their unlimited plans.
Suncom Goodcall was a regional provider with a good 10 cents per minute prepaid wireless plan. You had the option of paying for a few extra features if you needed them. The plan served North Carolina, South Carolina, and portions of Tennessee and Georgia. They were bought by T-Mobile. The review was written when they were still independent.
Yes, T-Mobile also has its own prepaid unit with a Gold Rewards program.
Total Call Mobile used to offer customer service in Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Tagalog. Their plans cost 10 cents a minute.
Tracfone, along with GoPhone, is probably the most recognized name in prepaid phones. You can spend as little as $7 a month.
You can make a Western Union money transfer directly from your Trumpet Mobile phone. If you transfer money frequently, then this is a useful (if somewhat expensive) feature.
Tuyo Mobile is a prepaid cell phone service from IDT targeted at Hispanics in the U.S. The phones and airtime cards are sold online and at over 300,000 "bodegas" (small shops). Tuyo Mobile offers a combination of low domestic rates, international calling add-ons, and "culturally relevant content customized for 16 Latin American countries".
If you’re looking for a company that keeps its customers, then you may want to consider a US Cellular prepaid plan. They have a variety of plans, but their realistic plans start at $45 per month, for which you get some unlimited minutes.
Verizon has recently started to pay more attention to their prepaid customers by introducing better phones and plans.
Note: Site is down on 12/31/2011 thru 4/17/2012. Vingo Wireless offered no-contract unlimited plans starting at $29.99 per month. They had an interesting set of CDMA phones, so they were probably using Sprint's network. I had planned a review, but their site has been down. In fact, from what I can tell from their error page, they were using Weebly to publish their site!
Now owned by Sprint, Virgin Mobile offers phones and plans for the younger crowd.
Xe Mobile was a pretty good prepaid provider that has now gone out of business.