Thinking about getting a new cell phone or perhaps your first cell phone? There are basically two ways you can go.
The first is with a traditional cell phone plan. You pay for a certain number of minutes per month whether you use them or not. In return for signing a two year contract, you get a deep discount on your cell phone or perhaps a free cell phone.
The second option is to pay for your cell phone usage as you go. These are called pre-paid cell phone plans. There are no contracts to sign and no credit checks. You buy a special cell phone that is set up to work on a particular service and then you buy some minutes to go with your phone. It’s a little like charging up the phone. As you use minutes making and receiving calls, your balance goes down until you get low enough that you want to add more.
An advantage of the pre-paid approach is that you can adjust how much you spend on cellular service each month by how much you use the phone. If you only want a cell phone for emergencies and to occasionally use when you are out and about, a pre-paid cell phone plan is a good deal for you. You do need to add minutes to keep the service active, but you can do that monthly or by purchasing a bundle of minutes that’s good for a year or two. Unlike most traditional cellular service plans, the pre-paid service keeps your unused minutes accumulating until you want to use them. You might go weeks without ever using the phone, but all your minutes will still be there.
How much does prepaid cellular cost? A great value is the Net10 pre-paid cell phone service that has a flat rate of 10 cents per minute. Call across town and it’s 10 cents a minute. Call the other side of the country and it’s 10 cents a minute. It’s even 10 cents a minute while you are roaming.
How about texting? Text messages are a flat 5 cents each. You only pay for the messages you send and receive. If you are a modest text message user, this can be cheaper than paying for a bundle of text messages monthly and then not using all of them.
Are the Net10 phones expensive? Not really. You’ll pay anywhere from $20 for a reconditioned basic cellphone up to $80 for a slider with a QWERTY keyboard, MP3 player and 1.3 Megapixel digital camera and Bluetooth. There are a number of models in-between with cameras, Bluetooth and texting capability. That’s cheaper than most contractual cell phones that you’ll find in stores and without the 2 year contract.
If you are looking for a BlackBerry or high performance touch screen Web enabled smartphone, you want to shop the regular cell phone plans market. But if you want to have the security and convenience of owning a cell phone while being able to minimize the amount you spend on cellular service and the option of being able to stop using it without having to pay any disconnect fees, then consider Net10 pay as you go cell phones and service for an excellent deal.