Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saving money on cell phone plans

Cell phones are one place where a little research can save a lot of money, so I thought I'd share a quick tip on the topic. I’ve concluded that T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan is one of the best values around, and I thought I’d write what I consider to be a fair comparison between it and some equivalent plans from Verizon or AT&T.

My family has 5 lines on their plan, each with unlimited talk and text, and 500 MB of data, throttled if you go over. There are no overage fees at all. Mobile hotspots are included. The total plan cost is $110/month plus taxes and fees. If everyone got Nexus 4’s (currently one of the best phones you can buy) for $210 each, and kept them for 3 years, then that would only bring the average cost up to just $139/mo or ~$28/line.

On Verizon, even if everyone got free phones (which would either be the 2-year-old iphone 4, or other phones not as good as the Nexus 4), 5 lines sharing only 2 GB of data is a whopping $260/mo., and you have to worry about going over because if you do, it’s $15 per additional GB.

On AT&T, sharing 4 GB of data with 5 lines is $270/mo., and overage is also $15/GB.

Our savings is easily over $1000/year. If I had a single line, and couldn’t find friends/family to do a family plan with, I’d probably either use Skype or Google Voice combined with T-Mobile Prepaid when I’m away from Wi-Fi to keep my bills down. Republic Wireless and FreedomPop are also good options. A little shopping around can save a substantial amount of money on cell phone service.