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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
    mmtowns's Avatar

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    Default Prepaid carrier comparison

    I am currently on the Virgin Mobile $35/month plan (300 minutes, unlimited SMS & data) and my wife is on the $45/month plan (1200 minutes, unlimited SMS & data). I estimate she needs more than 500 minutes/month and is interested in buying a new phone, but the phones (aside from the iPhone which costs $550+) on VM do not currently interest her. So, we're now considering trying out a new carrier for her. I've been doing some research and thought I'd share it here...

    Virgin Mobile
    Plan: $45/month for 1200 minutes, unlimited SMS and data
    Phones: small selection of Android phones at a reasonable price; iPhone is $550+; no ability to bring in phones from other carriers

    Straight Talk
    Plan: $45/month for unlimited minutes, SMS and data (note: consensus seems to be 2GB data/month)
    Phones: small selection of phones; can purchase SIM card for $15 and bring any AT&T, T-Mobile or unlocked GSM phone

    Red Pocket
    Plan: $55/month for unlimited minutes, SMS and 1GB data
    Phones: can purchase SIM card for $10 and bring any unlocked GSM phone

    I also looked at Ting - the rates for one phone did not appear to beat Virgin Mobile's rates.

    I also realize that coverage (VM using CDMA-based Sprint towers to Straight Talk / Red Pocket using GSM towers) may change.

    Did I miss any details or competitive pre paids? Thanks in advance!
  2. #2  

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    Pageplus is working great for my wife. We bought a used Verizon Droid Incredible 2 on eBay for $165 and get great service through Verizon's towers for $55 a month. That's for unlimited talk, text, and 2 gb's of data (at 3g speeds). Depending on which carrier works best in ur location, its a great deal. If at&t or T-Mobile work well where ur at (check coverage maps), Straight Talk seems like the best deal as long as u can stay under the 2gb caps. That's not really a problem for us since we're on wifi most of the time anyway, and u can use data tracking apps like Onavo to keep track of ur daily usage. Now, with Straight Talk u will get hspa+ data if u get an at&t or T-Mo phone, which is close to LTE speeds, so if data speeds are important to u than this is def the way to go. Plus, its only $45 a month. That's definitely a better deal, just make sure u get good service in ur area. What I would do, and plan to once my Sprint contract expires, is look for a used GSM Samsung Galaxy S2 or a Galaxy Nexus on eBay and go with Straight Talk. Here's a good read on the best prepaid carriers and details on their services: http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011...plans.html?m=1
    Good luck!
  3. #3  
    trivor's Avatar

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    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    If you don't like used phones then the unlocked pentaband (both TMo and ATT 3G HSPA+) Galaxy Nexus from the Google Play can't be beat! If you can find a cheap Verizon 3G phone then PagePlus is great also if you need Verizon's coverage - $55 a month plus 2 GB data is a great price for Verizon's network.
  4. #4  

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    Quote Originally Posted by trivor View Post
    If you don't like used phones then the unlocked pentaband (both TMo and ATT 3G HSPA+) Galaxy Nexus from the Google Play can't be beat! If you can find a cheap Verizon 3G phone then PagePlus is great also if you need Verizon's coverage - $55 a month plus 2 GB data is a great price for Verizon's network.
    Agreed. Something else to consider is that most prepaids do not allow roaming, or charge a ridiculous amount for it.
  5. Thread Author  Thread Author    #5  
    mmtowns's Avatar

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    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by trivor View Post
    If you don't like used phones then the unlocked pentaband (both TMo and ATT 3G HSPA+) Galaxy Nexus from the Google Play can't be beat! If you can find a cheap Verizon 3G phone then PagePlus is great also if you need Verizon's coverage - $55 a month plus 2 GB data is a great price for Verizon's network.
    I had been checking out the Galaxy Nexus, but my wife is interested in an iPhone -- might end up buying a used 3gs OR wait until the next iPhone comes out when (hopefully) 4 and 4s prices come down a bit.

    Thanks for the tip!
  6. #6  

    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Think it'd be a good idea to add in T-Mobile offerings, and a clarification on Straight Talk:

    T-Mobile Monthly 4G
    Plans:
    $70/month for unlimited minutes/text and 5GB full-speed data (throttled to 2G thereafter)
    $60/month for unlimited minutes/text and 2GB full-speed data (throttled to 2G thereafter)
    $30/month for 100 minutes, unlimited text and 5GB full-speed data (throttled to 2G thereafter)
    Phones: Any GSM phone with 1700/2100mhz frequencies (T-Mobile bands)

    Simple Mobile
    Plans: $50/month for unlimited minutes/texts and "unlimited" (cap/throttle) data
    Phones: Any GSM phone with 1700/2100mhz frequencies (T-Mobile bands)

    Straight Talk
    Slight correction: you get to choose which service you want at time of purchase. You can either choose AT&T towers or T-Mobile towers. General consensus is that you get one or the other for data, and you get to "roam" on the other towers (get both networks) for voice.
    LG Nexus 5 / Galaxy S5 // T-Mobile / AT&T
    Last Ride likes this.
  7. #7  

    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Martonik View Post
    Think it'd be a good idea to add in T-Mobile offerings, and a clarification on Straight Talk:

    T-Mobile Monthly 4G
    Plans:
    $70/month for unlimited minutes/text and 5GB full-speed data (throttled to 2G thereafter)
    $60/month for unlimited minutes/text and 2GB full-speed data (throttled to 2G thereafter)
    $30/month for 100 minutes, unlimited text and 5GB full-speed data (throttled to 2G thereafter)
    Phones: Any GSM phone with 1700/2100mhz frequencies (T-Mobile bands)

    Simple Mobile
    Plans: $50/month for unlimited minutes/texts and "unlimited" (cap/throttle) data
    Phones: Any GSM phone with 1700/2100mhz frequencies (T-Mobile bands)

    Straight Talk
    Slight correction: you get to choose which service you want at time of purchase. You can either choose AT&T towers or T-Mobile towers. General consensus is that you get one or the other for data, and you get to "roam" on the other towers (get both networks) for voice.

    i thought Straight Talk was another prepaid on the Sprint towers just like Boost. i heard they have 1 phone that is working off Verizon towers but everything else is Sprint?
  8. #8  
    chunkcohen's Avatar

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    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by droid-newbie View Post
    i thought Straight Talk was another prepaid on the Sprint towers just like Boost. i heard they have 1 phone that is working off Verizon towers but everything else is Sprint?
    Andrew was referring to ST's offerings for when you bring your own unlocked GSM device.

    ST only uses Verizon/Sprint with the branded CDMA phones you buy from them.
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  9. #9  
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    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChunk View Post
    Andrew was referring to ST's offerings for when you bring your own unlocked GSM device.

    ST only uses Verizon/Sprint with the branded CDMA phones you buy from them.
    Also Note: You can also bring ANY att or Tmo phone right out of the box. It does not need to be unlocked. Just order the correct SIM card. They work right out of the box.
  10. #10  
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    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by cgardner View Post
    Also Note: You can also bring ANY att or Tmo phone right out of the box. It does not need to be unlocked. Just order the correct SIM card. They work right out of the box.
    You sure about that? It's my understanding that carrier-branded phones are SIM-locked by default and you would need the carrier to provide you with an unlock code first.
  11. #11  
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    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChunk View Post
    You sure about that? It's my understanding that carrier-branded phones are SIM-locked by default and you would need the carrier to provide you with an unlock code first.
    Yes I am 100% sure. It even says that on the ST web site.

    Support | Straight Talk

    "Bring an AT&T or T-mobile compatible GSM phone, or an unlocked GSM phone

    Make sure it operates on our compatible frequencies (850 and 1900 MHz)"

    Under #1. I have set them up for friends. Friend of mine bought my HOX and he got the ATT SIM and it worked without any changes on the phone. BUT it will NOT roam to Tmo and likewise with the Tmo SIM.
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  12. #12  
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    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Interesting. Good to know, thanks!
  13. #13  

    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Absolutely true, I bought a used at&t branded LG thrill from someone on Craigslist and got the straight talk sum card. And success, it works great with hspa+. At&t is the best in my area but mileage may vary.

    Sent from my LG-P920 using Xparent SkyBlue Tapatalk 2
  14. Thread Author  Thread Author    #14  
    mmtowns's Avatar

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    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Day #1 of Straight Talk for my wife's AT&T iPhone 3GS (via Craigslist) was today. Bought the AT&T sim card, changed APN settings and things seem to be working as expected.

    Thanks for replies, everyone.
  15. #15  

    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    When switching from AT&T to StraightTalk prepaid, is there anything special needed to keep your existing phone number or does it simply "stay with the phone?"

    Thanks.
  16. #16  

    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    You have to port the number when you sign up, either through their website or in store at Walmart. Its a very painless process, but just make sure u don't abuse their service by tethering or using too much data. They have been known to cut people off for that, in which case u would lose ur phone #.
  17. #17  

    Default Re: Prepaid carrier comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Airwolf79 View Post
    You have to port the number when you sign up, either through their website or in store at Walmart. Its a very painless process, but just make sure u don't abuse their service by tethering or using too much data. They have been known to cut people off for that, in which case u would lose ur phone #.
    They define too much as not much.

    Use more than 100mb in a day or 2gb in a month and it's a wrap!

    sent from the best smart phone (not phablet) on the worst network- the Galaxy S3 unfortunately on T-Mobile

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