Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know About

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know About Photo by Kinga / Shutterstock.com

Ever been somewhere with the kids and wanted to pretend they weren’t yours? That’s how the big four cellphone providers feel about their offspring.

They’re called sub-brands or discount carriers and they all have one. AT&T has Cricket, Sprint has Boost Mobile, T-Mobile has GoSmartMobile and Verizon has Total Wireless.

The sub-brands use the same towers and systems as the major brands, but at a lower price and with no contract. Although you should check first, the parent network phone should be compatible with the sub-brand service. If not, simply buy a good used phone or a new one that’s unlocked and compatible.

As we explained in 4 Steps to Cut Your Cellphone Bill in Half, phone prices are dropping, so there’s no longer any reason to be locked in a contract for an extended period of time simply to get a subsidized phone. Discounters typically offer phones for less than $100.

SaveOnPhone.com says these “secret cellphone plans” can save consumers 60 percent to 75 percent off their monthly bills.

Example: As I’m writing this, Verizon’s site says that a single-line plan that includes unlimited talk, text and 2 GB of data is $75 a month on a two-year contract. But go to Total Wireless, which uses Verizon’s network, and you’ll find a contract-free plan that includes 5 GB of data for just $35 a month. More than twice the data, less than half the price!

Click here to compare dozens of plans in seconds with our free tool

There can be subtle differences: For example, according to consumer advocate Bob Sullivan, Total Wireless customers get 3G service while Verizon customers get faster 4G. In addition, the $75 Verizon plan includes a phone. But if you’re with Verizon now, wouldn’t you want to switch to the discount carrier when your contract is up and your phone is paid off?

So, if you have a contract with one of the Big 4, you might want to compare prices with a discounter and see if changing makes sense.

All you have to do is check out the latest addition to our Solutions Center: A comparison tool for cell phone plans. You describe your needs, it searches dozens of plans to show you the best deals.

Got ideas of your own? Comment below or on our Facebook page. And if you like this story, please SHARE it by using one of the buttons above!

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