Smartphones are the New Prepaid Solution for Tight Budgets

Published On February 8, 2013 | Mobile

Smartphones have taken over, and while it used to be that users needed a fancy contract to reap the benefits of these little mobile gadgets, today’s smartphones also work as prepaid phones. According to pcworld.com, smartphone sales have more than tripled over the last year within the prepaid phone market. Approximately 35 percent of all cell phones purchased in the last three months of 2011 were smartphones, according to NPD Group. Smartphone sales also grew by 9 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

With the sales of smartphones constantly rising, it’s only natural that anyone who needs a phone, contract or not, would be interested in the best smartphones with the right kind of attitude, the kind where users only pay what they want. However, some of these plans don’t have as many features as others do. Prepaid phone users save tons of money each year by not doing an all-for-one contract and choosing their own payment options. These are just some of the latest prepaid deals and phones that you can find out there. With the popularity of prepaid smartphones, there should be even more plans available in 2013.

How Prepaid Smartphone Plans Work-
The prepaid plan market for smartphones gets a little confusing. It used to be that consumers could refill their minutes by making a payment or buying an airtime card. However, smartphone prepaid plans are different. Users still pay for everything up front, but there are restrictions. Plans come with talk, text and data usage. They also have time limits, which go up the higher users want to pay. For example, a $30 smartphone plan may include 30 days access to 1,000 nationwide minutes and text with 30 MB of data. Plans go up to a whole year of coverage, which costs about $500. Plans also may not work with all types of smartphones.

Where to Find Smartphone Plans-
Walmart has very affordable smartphone prepaid plans under Straight Talk. With this service, users can pay as little as $30 for 30 days of talk, text and data. The unlimited plan does cost a bit more at $45.

AT&T also has prepaid smartphone plans with a cost of 10 cents per minute or a $2 daily unlimited plan, in addition to monthly plans. The lowest monthly plan is $25 for 250 minutes, unlimited text messages and 1 cent per 5 KB for data. For unlimited talk, text and data, it’s $50 per month.

Verizon Wireless is not as friendly as the other prepaid plans. The company’s cheapest smartphone plan is $60 for unlimited talk and text with 500 MB of data. There is no unlimited data plan for Verizon Wireless prepaid smartphone plans.

Sprint and T-Mobile are in the works to get more prepaid smartphone plans this year, but so far, it’s only speculation on what those plans will look like and how much they will cost.

Types of Smartphones Customers Can Use-
Not every smartphone is capable of being used with a prepaid plan. There are some specific models to look out for.

For many choosing a new smartphone plan, the Samsung Galaxy S2 4G is at the top of their wish list. This phone comes with all the amazing features of the regular Samsung Galaxy S2. Surf the web, play with apps, use Swype and take pictures with this Android phone while also using it with a prepaid plan. The prepaid Galaxy S2 4G is carried at Walmart, AT&T and Verizon.

Of course, users can always try to unlock their cell phones and get a cheaper plan with their existing phone. For instance, the Galaxy Nexus unlocked works perfectly well with a Simple Mobile prepaid plan. Simple Mobile piggy backs off of T-Mobile’s network. However, users may not be able to take advantage of their mobile phone in all 50 states with a piggy back prepaid plan.

Boost Mobile also offers a prepaid plan for the popular HTC Evo Design 4G. This Android phone comes with great features like hotspot capability, access to the app store, web browsing and much more. Boost offers a $55 monthly unlimited plan and also piggy backs off of Sprint network.

With so many popular smartphones available, and with so many consumers on a budget, it’s no surprise that smartphones are quickly becoming the new prepaid solution.

What’s your favorite prepaid smartphone plan?

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