One of the silliest, and most common, ways to waste money is lining up to pay premium prices for the latest and greatest smartphone from one of the four major carriers.
Millions of us get subsidized phones, then pay for them by locking ourselves into a contract requiring us to shell out $50 to $100 monthly for years. Then, the instant our contracts expire, we upgrade our phones and start the cycle over again.
This is madness. And these days, it’s completely unnecessary, because there are now much smarter ways to own a smartphone.
In this article and others to come, we’re going to introduce you to some ways to talk, text and download for less.
How to get free talk, texts and data
Since we have close to 300,000 subscribers, we sometimes approach companies and ask for special deals. That’s what we recently did with FreedomPop. Here’s what they came back with.
The deal in a nutshell: Buy a Samsung Galaxy SIII from FreedomPop for $119 and get a one-month free trial of the Unlimited Talk, Text and Data plan. (You can transfer your existing phone number to this phone or receive an entirely new number.)
After one month:
- Do nothing. Remain on the same Unlimited Everything plan for $19.99/month.
- Downgrade to the free plan. You’ll get 200 anytime voice minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of 4G LTE/3G data free. Downgrading can be performed directly on the user’s account page, there’s no need to contact FreedomPop.
Bottom line: If you don’t use your phone much, you’ll pay $119 once for a full-featured smartphone, then never pay anything again. If you’re a big talker and/or texter, you can pay $19.99 per month for unlimited talk, text and data. Pretty sweet.
According to The Wall Street Journal, plans with similar limits from the big four carriers would range from $60 to $80 per month. If you can pay zero instead of $60 monthly, you’ll save $720 annually. If you pay $10 monthly instead of $80, you’ll save $840.
FreedomPop operates on Sprint’s 4G LTE and 3G networks, so you’ll need to check the coverage map and make sure you’ll have service in your area. The company is rapidly expanding its 4G LTE network, which provides very fast speeds (about 20 times faster than 3G).
Important: This deal is temporary and can expire without notice. When it does, we’ll let you know and try to get something as good or better.
Note to heavy data users: As with most phones, when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you’re not affecting your data allotment. So if you’re online primarily where there’s Wi-Fi, no worries. But if you’re not, 500MB monthly may not be enough. Go back through the last few months of your phone bills and see how much you typically use.
After exceeding your free data limit with FreedomPop, you’ll be automatically charged for more data in $10 (0.5 GB) increments. To avoid this, you can instead suspend your data service after your free allotment is reached. Just be sure to disable the Automatic Top-Up feature, found in the billing settings on your account page.
Make sure you monitor your usage, which you can do from your phone.
You should also know we’re being compensated to send customers to FreedomPop. That said, your trust means everything to us. We check out the partners we recommend. Like anyone who genuinely cares about their readers, we suggest you shop this deal or any other you see here or anywhere else. Always read the fine print and understand the terms before committing.
Stay tuned for other deals. If you like this one, please share it with your friends!