Photo (cc) by Ed Yourdon
If you no longer had a cellphone bill, how much money would you save each month?
Nowadays, many of us are attached to our smartphones and are willing to pay whatever it costs to make sure we can chat, text or check email throughout the day. But you typically require a data plan to take advantage of all of these capabilities.
Fortunately, a few providers offer plans that allow you to completely eliminate your cellphone bill or slash it in half.
Wondering where you can find these plans? Money Talks News money expert Stacy Johnson discusses a plan that allows you to use your smartphone without spending a dime. Watch the video below and continue reading to learn more about other cheap plans.
Through the Sprint network, FreedomPop offers 200 talk minutes, 500 text messages and 500 MB of 4G data each month at no cost to you. Sound too good to be true? Well, there are a few costs that you’ll have to absorb, but it still beats paying the wireless giants hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.
First and foremost, you must have a Sprint Android device to participate. If you don’t have one on hand, FreedomPop sells refurbished versions of the HTC Evo 4G for only $179 plus shipping and handling. And if you want voice mail, you’ll have to pay $2.50 per month for that as well.
Not a bad deal so far, but what happens when the well runs dry? Additional minutes and text messages can be purchased for only 1 cent each. You can also choose from unlimited talk and data plans to give you more flexibility throughout the month.
Ready to hop aboard the FreedomPop train? Be sure to check the coverage map to see if service is available in your area.
If you’re frequently in areas with Wi-Fi connectivity, Scratch Wireless offers something much better than FreedomPop. All you need is a Motorola Photon Q, which costs $269, to get started. Since the service operates primarily on wireless networks, texting, data and voice calls are always free. Even when you lose connectivity, texts can still be sent over cellular networks free of charge.
Need to make a call or use data on your cellphone and no Wi-Fi is available? Simply purchase a 24-hour or 30-day pass to fill the void. For $1.99, you can access 25MB of cell data or 30 cell minutes. With the 30-day option, $14.99 will get you 200MB of data or 250 cell minutes.
SafeLink Wireless offers a free cellphone along with 250 minutes and 1,000 texts per month free of charge to qualifying customers. It is part of the federal government’s Lifeline program, which helps low-income people who receive government benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, Section 8 or Supplemental Security Income. To learn more about the Lifeline program, visit the Federal Communications Commission website.
Looking to minimize the cost of your current plan without switching providers? The Talkatone mobile application allows you to make a call or send a text message over a Wi-Fi or data connection without exhausting the minutes or data included in your monthly plan. You can also retrieve a phone number from Google Voice to call and text from your iPad, iPod or Kindle Fire.
Service is available in the U.S. and Canada. Premium ad-free plans that offer a slightly enhanced call quality are also available for $1.99 per month, $10.99 for six months or $19.99 per year.
Discounted cellphone plans
A number of providers offer steeply discounted cellphone plans. Among these is Republic Wireless, which has contract-free talk, text and data plans ranging from $5 to $40. MetroPCS is very popular down here in the Sunshine State because of its unlimited talk, text and data plans that start at $40 and do not require a Wi-Fi network to function.
Check out this article from PC Magazine for a comprehensive list of providers of low-cost plans.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to keep paying top dollar for your smartphone plan. You may have to do a little searching to find a provider with plans that meet your needs and cover your area, but your wallet will thank you in the end.
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