Lots of people – including you, perhaps – often think that having an iPhone will be costly – especially for your monthly spending. The smartphone doesn’t come cheap and you certainly also need to consider the cost for the carrier. But guess what? How would you say if you can have an iPhone without having to spend loads of money for your monthly spending? There are some real facts that most major carriers don’t want you to know, because once you find out about it, you will switch carrier for good.
You don’t necessarily have to depend on the major carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, or Sprint because you can always turn to MVNO. MVNOs are the alternative smaller carriers that buy from the big ones and then resell the service to consumers with a lower price; we’re talking about really low rate here. If you want to save up money, you have two options to make: you can buy the unlocked iPhone (new or used) and add it to the MVNO carrier or you can simply buy the locked phone directly from the MVNO carrier.
However, if you still opt for major carriers, that’s totally up to you. Besides, there are some perks and advantages that you can enjoy from these major players. Of course, if you are ready to switch providers and try different prepaid plans for iPhone – that are believed to be more affordable – there are some options that you can opt for.
Few things you need to know about MVNO carrier
Although there are some benefits that you can enjoy from having the more affordable iPhone service from MVNO carrier, there are also some flaws that you have to anticipate.
You may have to deal with big termination fee when you are still under contract.
Keep in mind that you can’t move the used Sprint iPhone to MVNO carrier – any of them. Although the company doesn’t say anything about this, it is believed they have special protection software to avoid customers from migrating carrier by using their device.
You may deal with the data speed problem. It is a common issue when you migrate carrier. For instance, if you move from AT&T to Verizon, you may not be able to enjoy the (supposed to work) LTE or HSPA+ speed. Instead, you can only enjoy 3G speed.
Different carrier uses different sizes for their SIM cards. iPhone 5 uses the so-called nano-SIM while iPhone 4 uses the micro SIM. However, there are ways to convert the SIM cards into the right size.
Prepaid Plans from T-Mobile
If you use data traffic quite often, the service from T-Mobile may suit your needs well. By spending only $30 per month with unlimited SMS and 100 voice service, you can enjoy lots of fun features. However, if you are willing to spend up to $60 or $70 per month, you can even enjoy greater perks, such as unlimited services for everything. You can see the plan for ‘pay by the day’ scheme as they don’t really advertise their plans invisible mode.
The pro: By only spending $30, you can really enjoy everything. But if you are willing to pay higher, you can even enjoy better service including better network connection and value.
The con: The company’s performance on data connectivity isn’t so good. Its maximum power only reaches 4G network, so there s no LTE speed. Although T-Mobile plans on having LTE network, any device without the chip won’t be able to achieve the LTE speed.
The worst condition: Most of iPhone variants – expect the 5 – have limited data speed which reaches 2GB only. The 3G connection can’t work well because of the issue with 1700 MHz band. You need to check whether your region is included as the one affected by the issue.
Up to now, it is the only MVNO carrier that comes with full usage and function of Verizon for iPhone 5. Although Verizon doesn’t allow iPhone from leaving the service, many of its users have been activating the service of PagePlus Cellular from their Verizon handset. However, since the company is obligated to provide the service within its network, you can expect your device to run well. There are three basic and main plans from the PagePlus:
The $30 a month package for 3,000 MMS or SMS, 1,200 talk minutes, and 250MB data
The $40 a month package for 200MB data, and unlimited text and talk time
The $70 a month package for 5GB data, and unlimited text and talk time
The pro: The data speed and coverage is quite nice since it is using Verizon network
The con: The service offered is considered quite expensive
The worst condition: It is a crime that Verizon wants to block iPhone from using the network
Price and additional cost: The unlocked Verizon phone can’t be purchased outside eBay. It is usually sold in unlock mode and a slot for SIM card is included. However, when the contract terms aren’t met, the company can relock the device. If you consider using another variant, you only need to spend $550 for iPhone 4S. Moreover, there is no extra cost either.
Prepaid Plans from Straight Talk
Since this carrier operates on T-Mobile and also AT&T network, you need to have different cards for each of them. If you use data traffic quite often, the $45 per month plan with unlimited service will be very good for you. it seems that this carrier also provide codes for the Verizon handsets although it is not likely that they provide one for iPhone.
The pro: The package plan is the best bargain that you will get. If you use lots of voice minutes, text messages, and data, the monthly pricing is certainly your best bargain. Moreover, if you want to pay up front, you can get discounts. For instance, if you pay in advance for a full year service, you may only spend $41.50 a month.
The con: Finding AT&T SIM card for Straight Talk is quite difficult. You can try finding one at eBay, Walmart, or Craiglist. If you still can’t find one, you will have to use the T-Mobile SIM card.
The words condition: There is none as this MVNO carrier is considered the best.
Price and additional cost: You will spend $650 for a new and unlocked iPhone 5. You may also have to spend some extra cost in your attempts to find the SIM card for AT&T network.
Prepaid Plans from Virgin Mobile
The coverage power of this carrier depends greatly on the area where you live since it is using Sprint network. The connection can be very good, bad, or in between. The carrier has three main plans for their customers:
$35 a month package for unlimited LTE data, text messages, and 300 minutes voice data.
$45 a month package for unlimited LTE data, text messages, and 1,200 minutes voice data
$55 a month package for all unlimited services
The pro: The overall service from Virgin Mobile is considered one among the best. If you want to have great replacement program, responsive customer service, and also great Sprint coverage with LTE speed, you certainly need to choose this carrier.
The con: There are some flaws when you get services from this carrier:
If you decide to buy the service, you can’t migrate to another network.
You can’t unlock the device from the Virgin Mobile – or Sprint – network. Basically, the handsets from Virgin mobile will be locked to the carrier and there is no ways that you – or anyone else – can change that.
Price and additional cost: You will need to spend $550 for a new iPhone 5S with 16GB capacity. Or you can spend $440 for iPhone 5 with 16GB capacity. There is no extra cost.
Prepaid Plans from Cricket
If Virgin Mobile is using Sprint network, Cricket is using the CDMA Sprint network. The carrier only offers a single package, which is a $50 package per month with unlimited services for everything.
The pro: The unlimited package is very good and nice. If you are a busy data user, this package will suit your needs just perfectly. However, some reports say that the CDMA Sprint phones are better when used inside the buildings.
The con: The company doesn’t allow their users to use other networks for their device. They also don’t allow other CDMA devices to be used on their own network.
The worst condition: It is not easy to find Cricket iPhone since such device isn’t always available in major markets.
Price and additional cost: If you want to buy iPhone 4S from the company’s official website, you will likely spend about $400 to $500. If you want to buy iPhone 5, you will have to spend $650. But the company won’t show prices if you aren’t considered eligible. There is no extra cost.
Prepaid Plans from Ptel
This MVNO carrier is using T-Mobile network. Their plan is unique, known as the PAYG – Pay As You Go. They are also known for their reluctance in rounding up data and voice usage. If you don’t really mind with the T-Mobile network and you don’t often use your smartphone, the plan from this carrier will be just perfect for you. The service works well with all variants and models of GSM capable iPhones. The PAYG plan covers:
$10 for 60 service days, with the balance expire after a year
$20 for 90 service days, with the balance expire after a year
$30 for 120 service days, with the balance expire after a year
$40 for 150 service days, with the balance expire after a year
$50 for 180 service days, with the balance expire after a year
$100 for a year without the balance ever expire
The pro: The PAYG service is great and no nonsense at all. With the unlimited service, you can expect for the best. Although you can’t really compare their service with the Cricket or Straight Talk, the pay and go rank is considered among the best.
The con: Be prepared to experience poor data coverage when you are traveling since Ptel doesn’t have any agreement with AT&T concerning data roaming system.
The worst condition: If you are a busy data user, you won’t be happy with the overall service from this carrier.
Price and additional cost: You need to spend $650 for iPhone 5 with free microSIM card.
Which carrier offers the best prepaid plan for iPhone?
It all depends on each person’s usage, location and network coverage when using MVNO carrier. Meanwhile, Straight Talk seems to be determined to deliver the best value. If you are cost sensitive, this one is perfect for you.
Two things to keep in mind:
If you want to get an iPhone, don’t go signing a contract if you don’t wanna get ripped off. Pay up front for your phone instead.
If you already have an iPhone, you can swap your SIM card to a cheaper MVNO carrier.
Which prepaid plan you’re currently using now? Let me know your opinion in the comments below.