The Cheapest Smartphone Service Plan in the U.S. ($19 per month)

by webmaster on October 29, 2012 · 5 comments

On the article Cheapest Smartphone Service Plan in the U.S. ($19 per month)

Many people are shocked when I tell them that my smartphone’s service bill—which includes unlimited texting and unlimited data—is $25 per month. That rate, by Virgin Mobile, isn’t available anymore, but the good news is that you can still purchase a $35 per month plan from Virgin or an even cheaper, $19 per month plan from Republic Wireless.

Here’s the catch: Since you don’t sign up for a contract, your phone purchase is entirely unsubsidized, and you’ll have to pony up the full retail price. For example, a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S is $100 with a 2-year contract from Verizon Wireless. The cheapest plan, at $80 per month, offers 300 megabytes of data per month and unlimited talking and texting. The same phone model, when purchased with a Virgin Mobile plan, costs you the full $650 and offers unlimited data and text but only 300 minutes of talking.

Some back-of-the-napkin arithmetic, though, shows that the Virgin Mobile plan begins producing significant savings after the first year. The Verizon plan is an additional $45 per month. Let’s assume, for simplicity’s sake, that the Verizon plan’s limited data and the Virgin Mobile plan’s limited voice minutes cancel one another out. (Obviously, the actual importance of either is determined by your personal phone-use habits.) After one year on the contract, the Verizon plan is an extra $540—virtually equal to the $550 difference in the phone model’s purchase price.

Real savings begin in the second year and will continue to accrue year after year, and the savings are even quicker to come—and much more pronounced—when you consider cheaper models of phones from Virgin. While many Android-based smartphones can be had for free when signing up for a 2-year contract with the big phone companies, Virgin Mobile offers some for as low as $50. So, when matched against a free phone on Verizon’s cheapest plan, you can net a savings of $490 in the first year alone.

UPDATE 11/19/2012: Republic Wireless, a start-up service provider, is now taking pre-orders from the public on its new phone; with a service plan costing $19 per month–and offering unlimited voice, texting, and data, no less–it is without a doubt the cheapest smartphone service plan in the U.S. Granted, only one phone model is currently available (the $250 Motorola DEFY XT), but the rock-bottom price-tag on the service is still astounding.

Photo by: Andrew Magill via a Creative Commons attribution license


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twitter affiliate marketing July 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
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webmaster July 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm

twitter affiliate ma said

Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is excellent, let alone the content!

Thank you for the kind words! This is my first blog and it has been up since October of last year.

Reply

Ethan September 9, 2013 at 11:36 am

You are replying to a spammer who is using empty flattery to make you think his spam is a real comment.

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Bob September 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Yes, the savings with Virgin can be substantial over a long period of time. BUT, there is a big catch. There always is. Virgin’s coverage is extremely sparse outside of main cities and main highways. You venture off a little to go camping and poof, no connection. Take a look at South Dakota for example. Absolutely no coverage for most of the state except for along one north south highway on the east border.

The other issue is service. People who have 2 year contracts, get priority service. Everyone else on the cheapo plans is secondary. That includes data downloads. That includes busy holiday calling times. There is no free lunch.

You get the savings because the coverage area is SUBSTANTIALLY LESS, and the service level is non priority.

If you live in a major city and never venture out much anywhere else, it might be good. If you travel a lot, you are going to be VERY disappointed.

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webmaster September 23, 2013 at 12:49 am

Bob said

Yes, the savings with Virgin can be substantial over a long period of time. BUT, there is a big catch. There always is. Virgin’s coverage is extremely sparse outside of main cities and main highways. You venture off a little to go camping and poof, no connection. Take a look at South Dakota for example. Absolutely no coverage for most of the state except for along one north south highway on the east border.

The other issue is service. People who have 2 year contracts, get priority service. Everyone else on the cheapo plans is secondary. That includes data downloads. That includes busy holiday calling times. There is no free lunch.

You get the savings because the coverage area is SUBSTANTIALLY LESS, and the service level is non priority.

If you live in a major city and never venture out much anywhere else, it might be good. If you travel a lot, you are going to be VERY disappointed.

You bring up some good points, Bob. Virgin is on Sprint’s network, which isn’t nearly as impressive as, say, Verizon’s. I do live in a big city now, but I hail from the sticks, and whenever I return to my small hometown for holidays I still get excellent service. Now, if I drive off the interstate or highway and hit the back roads, I do typically lose service. I’ll readily admit that if I were to ever move to South Dakota I would probably drop Virgin out of necessity.

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