Man holding a noncontract cell phone on a busy street

How to Choose the Best No Contract Wireless Cell Phone Plan

Though having a cell phone is necessary for most people, sometimes dealing with a cell phone contract can be a hassle. While there are a wide variety of phone plans available, it can be difficult to find a good plan without having to sign a contract. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for a no-contract phone plan.

Brand-name doesn’t mean better.

While signing with a well-known brand can be tempting, keep in mind that big brands won’t always offer the best deals or the best service. There are many good small brands that offer no contract phone plans, such Straight Talk or Boost Mobile. These smaller companies will often use the same service as some of the large corporations but will offer the benefits of a small business to your cell phone experience.

Cheaper can be dangerous.

When looking at no-contract phone plans, don’t choose a plan based entirely on a cheaper price. You may be pulled in by a cheap monthly payment but you will likely be hit with charges for going over limits on texting, minutes, or data later on. Contracts lay this out very carefully for you, but no contract plans may try to sneak in fees later on.

Know your cell phone needs.

Often, smaller phone companies offering no contract phone plans will provide service through one of the large phone companies (AT&T, Verizon, etc.). Pay attention to the information you see about the amount of coverage offered from the larger providers. Some providers offer different speeds on different services, so it all depends on what you need you phone to do.

Smaller companies may have restricted options for what phones you will be able to receive with their plans. Make sure you balance your cell phone needs and what phones are available with the prices offered by the various companies.

Do your research.

Knowing what to look for is important, but knowing where to look is equally important. Here is a quick look at a few of the best cell phone plans that won’t make you sign a dotted line:

  • T-Mobile: A large company, T-Mobile offers a fairly solid unlimited prepaid phone plan. For only about $50 a month you will have unlimited talk and text with 500MB of high-speed data. However, one important thing to keep in mind is that your internet will get slowed down after using 1GB.
  • Straight Talk: A favorite of many because of the simplicity, Straight Talk gives you the option of providing your own GSM phone when signing up for their service. They simply mail you a $15 SIM card and then you are set to have unlimited talk, text, and data for only $45 a month.
  • Virgin Mobile: Offering a competitive price of only $35 a month, Virgin Mobile offers 300 minutes of talk with unlimited text and data. While the price through Virgin Mobile is much lower than some, users who reach more than 2.5GB of data a month will begin experiencing slower data speeds of somewhere around 256 Kbps.