What is Google Project Fi

What is the Project Fi network?

The Project Fi network is a compilation of two major cellular networks, Sprint and T-mobile. With Project Fi, your phone can access the best two 4G LTE networks so you can connect to more towers and get fast speed in more places. Project Fi has partnered with Sprint and T-mobile and, who knows, at some point in the future, we may add additional partners. In addition, there are lots of Wi-Fi hotspots out there but not all of them are high-quality.

 

Using Project Fi for Cell phone Service

Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we’ve verified as fast and reliable. This technology helps keep your speed high and your data bill low—whenever you’re on Wi-Fi, you’re not charged for data usage. This is what the Project Fi network entails a partnership of two of the strongest networks and millions of WiFi hotspots.

 

Do Fi users get to take advantage of T-Mobile programs and deals?

No. Project Fi customers do not get to take advantage of T-Mobile postpaid or prepaid programs such as Binge On, Get Thanked Tuesdays, or VoLTE/HD calling. However, Project Fi customers will be able to take advantage of any coverage improvements or new roaming agreements that are available to T-Mobile customers.

Why can’t I bring my number to Fi?

Project Fi numbers are held by T-Mobile. This means that if your number’s area code and exchange aren’t in a “rate center” of T-Mobile, then your number won’t be eligible for Project Fi. This is typically why you aren’t able to bring your number in, and you receive an error upon signing up.

How much does international calling cost for the recipient?

It depends. If the person you are calling is within the US, there should be no extra costs. However, if you’re calling an international number, that user may have extra costs. They should check with their calling provider.

When traveling internationally, what kinds of SIM cards get what kind of coverage?

All Project Fi SIM cards will be able to access unthrottled speeds when traveling internationally. However, data only SIM cards will only be able to connect to T-Mobile roaming partners. Project Fi talk/text/data SIM cards can also connect to Three, a Project Fi carrier partner in Europe, for faster speeds and better coverage.

Why does it say that Project Fi isn’t available in my area?

Project Fi is working hard to allow users across America to join the #fifamily. However, at this time, since numbers are held with T-Mobile for Project Fi, customers must be within a T-Mobile rate center to activate. Some areas, such as those serviced by iWireless, or only Sprint and/or US Cellular, are not yet able to activate. The team is aware of these unfortunate limitations and is looking into ways to increase this activation area.

Can I use Project Fi with an iPhone?

No, not officially. Only Nexus and Pixel devices can activate Project Fi service. If you SIM swap to an iPhone from a Fi supported device, you won’t have access to Sprint or US Cellular towers. You also won’t have Wi-Fi calling and may have issues with other Fi services. Also, the phone that was used for activation won’t be able to be activated on any other CDMA carrier, including Verizon and Sprint, as long as the Fi account is active until another device is activated on the account.

How long does it typically take to port in a number?

It can take anywhere between a few seconds to 48 hours. If you happen to be porting a former landline number, it may take longer (up to 5 days). Most ports complete within a few minutes. Once your number is ported, it may take 24 hours for calls and texts to be successfully routed to your Project Fi devices. This is typical of number porting. If you still haven’t gotten your number within the expected time frames, there may be an issue confirming your port details. Contact Project Fi support!

What are my options for SMS apps with Project Fi?

The two supported SMS apps you can use are Hangouts and Google Messenger. Hangouts has two modes that you can use: Hangouts via Carrier SMS and Hangouts via Project Fi Integration. Hangouts via Carrier SMS and Google Messenger operate virtually the same with some minor UI tweaks. You’ll only have native support to send and receive SMS via your Fi device, but you’ll be able to send and receive anywhere you have a connection (cell or Wi-Fi), data not required. Other apps may work, but they’re not supported by Project Fi. Hangouts via Project Fi integration is a toggle you can turn on from Settings -> (Your Project Fi Email) -> Project Fi calls and SMS -> Messages. That will allow you to send and receive messages from any device with hangouts. However, your Fi device will require a data connection for Hangouts to be able to send or receive. You will, however, only receive SMS email gateway messages via your default texting app. This includes 2 factor authentication codes from Google.

Check Your Wireless Coverage

Check the largest US carriers to get a better idea of which no contract provider will work for you. Almost all NCP/MVNO’s resell service from these networks in the USA.

AT&T

AT&T Coverage Map (with roaming)(GSM, 3G, 4G, LTE). “Good” or “Best” coverage means you should consider an AT&T-based service.

Sprint

Sprint Coverage Map (CDMA, 3G, 4G, WiMax, LTE)(Virgin Mobile’s website, but Boost Mobile and other Sprint MVNO’s are identical in coverage). However, coverage may vary based on whether or not your carrier allows roaming (for example Ting roams, but Virgin and Boost DO NOT roam). Good coverage means you should consider Sprint-based coverage.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile Coverage Map. (GSM, 3G, 4G)

If you get “Very Strong” or “Excellent” coverage, you should consider a T-Mobile based service.

Verizon

Verizon Coverage Map (CDMA, 3G). Be sure to tick the “PREPAID” option for most accurate results. Verizon prepaid networks do not support 4G or newer technologies at this time.

Otherwise, coverage on this network means you should consider Verizon-based coverage.

Multiple

There exist community-run websites allowing you to check coverage on more than one network at once. Why not have a look at those, too?

What is a Hybrid Cell Phone Network and Unlimited Data

A “Hybrid Network” means a telecom service which operates partially over Wi-Fi and partially over a cellular connection. Unlike a traditional full-cell network, this allows for lower prices due to lower costs of operation to the carrier. Currently, no hybrid network offers LTE or any data technology faster than “plain” 4G.

 


Networks

  • Republic Wireless. Cell Network: SPRINT. Cell data: 3G or 4G. Two phones available: Motorola Moto G for $149/8GB or $179/16GB (3G ONLY, MMS supported) and Motorola Moto X for $299/16GB (3G or 4G, MMS supported, can purchase a customized phone with more memory through Moto Maker at an additional cost).
  • TextNow. Cell Network: SPRINT. Cell data: 3G & 4G. Two phones available: Nexus S for $79.99 and Galaxy S II for $119.99. MMS support unknown.

$5 monthly plan

$10 monthly plan

$19 monthly plans

$25 monthly plan

$27 monthly plan

  • TextNow. 1250 roll-over minutes, unlimited text and incoming calls, 1GB of data.

$40 monthly plan

What no contract plans offer unlimited data?

This is a table of plans that offer unlimited data. After the high-speed allowance is used, speed is typically reduced to 64, 128, or 256Kbps. Unless specified otherwise all plans include unlimited calling and texting. All operators hosted on T-mobile and AT&T networks support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) while operators hosted on Sprint do not. Some Sprint-hosted operators support BYOSD (Bring Your Own Sprint Device), see the explanation below.

Multiple Carriers

(see carrier websites for more details)

Price (USD)CarrierNetworkSpeedThrottleRoamingOther features
$45Straight TalkAT&T(LTE), T-Mobile(4G), Sprint(LTE), Verizon(3G)Various3.0GBGSM Voice
$50Net10AT&T(LTE), T-Mobile(4G), Sprint(LTE), Verizon(3G)Various2.5GBGSM Voice
$60Straight TalkAT&T(LTE), T-Mobile(4G), Sprint(LTE), Verizon(3G)Various2.5GBGSM VoiceUnlimited global talk

Sprint Network Resellers No Contact Cell Phones

If you you get good or decent Sprint coverage, one of these Sprint resellers will work for you. Enjoy a no-contract cell-phone plan on the Sprint wireless network.

 

Sprint wireless network details

  • Network Type: CDMA
  • Data Technologies: 3G (slowest — for occasional data users), 4G WiMax (fast — for average data users), 4G LTE (fastest — for data hogs).

 

Spring Network Cell Phone Reseller details

  • Virgin Mobile: 3G, 4G. 4G throttled at 2.5GB of use. Roaming NOT supported! iPhone available. Bring Your Own Phone NOT supported!
  • Boost Mobile: Identical to Virgin Mobile.
  • Kajeet: Supports 3G speeds. Web access sold as an add-on: $4.99 for 50MB, $14.99 for 200MB, $9.99 for 500MB, $24.99 for 1GB. Also offers GPS phone location services for $0.99 per use, or $7.99/mo. LTE support coming soon. Roaming is NOT supported! iPhone supported! Bring Your Own Phone supported!
  • Straight Talk: This reseller operates on more than one network but only Sprint-based service is covered in this post. Device carriers are not listed on the website so you’ll have to Google around to see which ones operate on Sprint. “Ultrafast Wireless” (WiMax?) throttled after 2.5GB of access. Roaming is NOT supported! iPhone available. Bring Your Own Phone NOT supported for Sprint devices.
  • Net10: Same as Straight Talk, except only 3G data is supported and Sprint service doesn’t appear to be throttled. There is no Bring Your Own Phone program for Sprint service. Roaming is supported! iPhone supported! (AT&T and unlocked GSM iPhones only)
  • Ting: POST-PAID. Supports LTE. Roaming is supported! International texting is included free with every text package. iPhone is supported. Bring Your Own Phone is supported!
  • Republic Wireless (BETA): 3G, 4G (for an extra fee). Outsources calling & texting to WiFi whenever available. It also supports roaming! MMS is now supported on the Moto X phone. iPhone NOT supported! Bring Your Own Phone is NOT supported! Phones purchased from Republic Wireless cannot be reactivated with another company. Cellular Data is typically throttled after 5GB.
  • Voyager Mobile: Supports LTE! Roaming is NOT supported! International texting is included free with every text package. iPhone NOT supported! Bring your own phone is supported!

 

$5 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Kajeet: 10 voice minutes, $0.10 per text message, $0.25 per pic message.
  • Republic Wireless: unlimited talk/text/data, but only when connected via wifi. No cellular service at the $5 tier!

$10 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Republic Wireless: unlimited talk/text using both wifi and cellular connections, unlimited data only available when connected via wifi.

$15 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Kajeet: 60 voice minutes, unlimited text messages, $0.25 per pic message.

$17 monthly  no-contract cell phone plans

  • Voyager Mobile. Unlimited talk minutes, no text or pic messages, no data.

$20 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Kajeet: 150 talk minutes, unlimited text messaging, unlimited pic messaging.
  • Virgin Mobile: Basic Phones Only. 400 talk minutes, $0.15 per text message, $0.25 per pic message, $1.50/mb web access.
  • Voyager Mobile: Unlimited nationwide talk, unlimited international text, no data.

$25 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Kajeet: 300 talk minutes, unlimited text messages, unlimited pic messages.
  • Republic Wireless: Unlimited talk/text/data over wifi and 3G cellular connections. MMS messaging supported

$30 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Virgin Mobile: Basic Phones Only.1500 talk minutes, 1500 text and pic messages, 30MB web access.

$35 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Virgin Mobile: 300 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data.

$40 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Virgin Mobile: Basic Phones Only. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 50MB of web access.
  • Voyager Mobile: Unlimited talk, unlimited international text and nationwide pic messages, and unlimited data.
  • Republic Wireless: Unlimited talk/text/data over wifi and 4G cellular connections. MMS messaging supported This plan is not available for the Moto G phone.

$45 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Straight Talk: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data.
  • Virgin Mobile: 1200 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data.
  • Boost Mobile: BlackBerry Phones Only. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data, Unlimited BlackBerry Messenger access included.

$50 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Kajeet: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text messages, unlimited pic messages. Includes unlimited uses of the GPS phone locator.
  • Boost Mobile: Basic Phones Only. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data.

$55 monthly  no-contract cell phone plans

  • Boost Mobile: Android Phones Only. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data.
  • Virgin Mobile: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data.

$60 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Straight Talk: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data. : Unlimited nationwide and international talk minutes, unlimited nationwide text and pic messages, unlimited data.
  • Straight Talk: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data. : BlackBerry Phones Only. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data. Unlimited BlackBerry Messenger (with Voice) access included.

“Bucket” pricing no-contract cell phone

Instead of paying for a set number of minutes, texts, and data every month, you are billed for which tier of usage you fall into for each. Your minutes tier, texts tier, data tier, and a line access fee combine to make your monthly bill. This means you are billed only for how much you use and seems to result in lower monthly fees. Ting calls this model “bucket” pricing.

Here are two carriers who offer bucket pricing:

Verizon Wireless Reseller Cell Phone Plans with No Contract

If you get good or decent Verizon coverage, you might want to check out one of these no-contract cell-phone resellers

 

About Verizon Wireless Mobile Network

  • Network Type: CDMA
  • Data Technologies: 3G and 4G LTE

 

Verizon Wireless Prepaid details

  • Verizon. 4G LTE data for basic phones and smart phones. Roaming is supported!

 

Verizon Wireless Reseller details/ No-contract Cellphones

  • PagePlus. Roaming is supported! Verizon Prepaid devices are NOT supported on PagePlus!, but Bring Your Own Phone is SUPPORTED for most Verizon 3G devices. 4G is supported ($29.99 plan minimum and Page Plus SIM required)
  • Selectel. Roaming is supported for voice and text only. This network isn’t capable of utilizing SIM cards. Selectel will allow you bring your own phone for $30… or activate a Selectel device for $15. Verizon Prepaid devices are not supported on Selectel!
  • Straight Talk. PRE-PAID. This service operates on multiple networks but only Verizon is covered in this post. Only 3G data is available on Verizon devices. Data access is unlimited but gets throttled after 2.5GB (I guess?). Roaming is NOT supported! Bring Your Own Phone works for some Verizon devices.
  • Net10. Same exact coverage as Straight Talk (they’re the same company), except there’s no throttle on the data (that I know about) and roaming IS supported! Bring Your Own Phone works for some Verizon devices.
  • Red Pocket. Verizon pre-paid network. Roaming is not supported.
  • Puppy Wireless. Verizon pre-paid network. Roaming is supported for voice and text. 4G is supported (Puppy Wireless SIM required).

Yearly plans on Verizon Wireless Resellers

Note: This plan is billed once per year… not once per month! The minutes and texts you are allotted will be provided yearly and not monthly.

  • Selectel: $75 – 2000 talk minutes, 1500 text messages, no data. Pic messaging rates unknown.
  • PagePlus: $80 (3G only) 4 cents per minute*, 5 cents per text, 10 cents per MB. see site for important details. Balance will roll over if renewed. (*e.g. 1850 minutes of talk if 0 text and data used)
  • Puppy Wireless: $80 (3G only) 4 cents per minute*, 4 cents per text, 4 cents per MB. Balance will roll over if renewed. (*e.g. 2000 minutes if 0 text and data used)

 

$12 monthly no-contract cell phone plan

  • PagePlus: 250 talk minutes, 250 text and pic messages, 10MB data.
  • Puppy Wireless: 3G: 250 talk minutes, 250 text and pic messages, 25MB data.
  • Puppy Wireless: 4G: 60 talk minutes, 60 text and pic messages, 60MB data.
  • Puppy Wireless note: there are more price points than were already here ($10, 17, 25), so to minimize clutter, see their website

$15 monthly no-contract cell phone plan

  • Verizon: Basic Phones Only. 300 combination talk/text units, unlimited data.
  • Selectel: 300 talk minutes, 300 text messages, 15MB data. Pic messaging rates unknown.
  • Puppy Wireless: 3G: 250 talk minutes, 250 text and pic messages, 200MB data.
  • Puppy Wireless: 4G: 250 talk minutes, 250 text and pic messages, 100MB data.

$20 monthly

no-contract cell phone

plans

  • Red Pocket: 300 talk minutes, unlimited text messages. 1GB data (3G)
  • Puppy Wireless: 3G: 300 talk minutes, 300 text and pic messages, 400MB data.
  • Puppy Wireless: 4G: 300 talk minutes, 300 text and pic messages, 300MB data.

$30 monthly

no-contract cell phone

plans

  • Verizon: Basic Phones Only. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data.
  • Verizon: Smart Phones Only. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, no data (Wi-Fi only).
  • PagePlus: 1,500 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 1GB data.
  • Selectel: 1,300 talk minutes, 3,000 text messages, 300MB data. Pic messaging rates unknown.
  • Puppy Wireless: 3G & 4G: 750 talk minutes, 750 text and pic messages, 1.5GMB data.
  • Puppy Wireless: 3G & 4G: 1500 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 1.1GB data.

$35 monthly

no-contract cell phone

plans

  • Red Pocket: 300 talk minutes, unlimited text messages. unlimited data

$40 monthly

no-contract cell phone

plans

  • PagePlus: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (1.5GB data at 4G LTE).
  • Selectel: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text messages, 200MB data. Pic messaging rates unknown.
  • Puppy Wireless: 3G & 4G: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 1.5GB data.

$45 monthly

no-contract cell phone

plans

  • Verizon: Smart Phones Only. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 2GB data.
  • StraightTalk: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text, unlimited data.

$50 monthly

no-contract cell phone

plans

  • Selectel: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text, 2GB data. Placed on top because you can bring your own Verizon smartphone — which Net10 doesn’t allow.
  • Net10: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text, unlimited data. Look for the phones on the website with the big red coverage map — those are Verizon.

$55 monthly

no-contract cell phone

plans

  • PagePlus: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (5GB data at 4G LTE).
  • Puppy Wireless: 3G & 4G: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 5GB data.

$60 monthly no-contract cell phone plans

  • Verizon: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 5GB data.

AT&T or T-Mobile Resellers No Contract Cellphone

If you get AT&T or T-Mobile coverage, it might make sense to check out one of their prepaid cellphone resellers with no-contract cell phone plans. Many of these resellers operate on the AT&T and T-Mobile network. Please note that these networks are GSM only and will not work with your CDMA (such as Verizon or Sprint) phones.

 

About AT&T Mobile network and Prepaid Phones

  • Networks:
    • GSM/EDGE 850MHz and 1900MHz (phased out; to be completely shutdown by 2017)
    • UMTS/HSPA+ Band 2 (1900) and 5 (850) (marketed as 3G and 4G, depending on the generation)
    • data-only LTE Band 4 (AWS (1700/2100)), 17 (analogue TV (700), subset of Band 12), 2 (PCS (1900)), (marketed as 4G LTE)

 

About T-Mobile

network and Prepaid Phones

  • Networks:
    • GSM/EDGE 1900MHz (most of T-Mobile’s network is still 2G-only, with some areas not even having 2.75G EDGE), plus free unlimited voice roaming on 850MHz; expected to be converted to 4G LTE
    • UMTS/HSPA+ Band 4 (AWS 1700/2100) and Band 2 (PCS 1900) (marketed as 3G and 4G)
    • LTE Band 4 (AWS 1700/2100), with Band 2 (PCS 1900) planned for later 2014, and Band 12 (700MHz) planned for Q4 2014 (marketed as 4G LTE, available in select cities only)

Prepaid programs offered by AT&T and T-Mobile

  • Cricket Wireless: Subsidiary of AT&T that offers identical coverage — except that 4G LTE is throttled at 8 Mbps and 4G HSPA+ at 4Mbps. Bring Your Own Phone is supported!
  • AT&T GoPhone: LTE is supported! But the phone has to be an AT&T phone capable of LTE. Roaming is supported with “Pick Your Own Plan” ONLY! iPhone is supported! Bring Your Own Phone is supported!
  • MetroPCS: Subsidiary of T-Mobile that offers identical coverage at a lower price than T-Mobile Prepaid. Bring Your Own Phone is supported!
  • T-Mobile: We will only cover the “pre-paid” T-Mobile plans and not the recently unveiled no-contract plans, since you technically have to sign a contract to get on those. iPhone supported! Bring Your Own Phone is supported!

T-Mobile Reseller Details

  • Lycamobile. 4G SUPPORTED! Voice and data roaming are NOT supported on this network. iPhone is supported! Bring Your Own Phone is supported!
  • Simple Mobile. 4G SUPPORTED! Voice and data roaming are NOT supported on this network! You can bring your own phone to this network. Add $10 to the 40 – 60 monthly plans and get international text and data. iPhone is supported!
  • Walmart Family Mobile. 2.5GB of LTE. I know, Walmart is evil, but a deal’s a deal. Like its parent network, data roaming is NOT supported, but voice roaming is. iPhone support: (unknown). Bring Your Own Phone is supported!
  • Brightspot Mobile 4G speeds. Available at Target, receive a $25 target gift card for every 6 months of service on plans of $35 or more. Bring Your Own Phone Supported.
  • Ultra Mobile
  • PTel (PlatinumTel)

AT&T Reseller Details

Companies who resell both AT&T and T-Mobile service

  • Net10. 4G supported! Data is throttled at 2.5 gigabytes of access with T-Mobile phones. Roaming is supported! iPhone is supported! Bring Your Own Phone is supported!
  • StraightTalk. Owned by the same company as Net10, so coverage and features are nearly identical. However, Roaming is NOT supported on this network. iPhone is supported! Bring Your Own Phone is supported.

 

Pay as you go cell phone plans on AT&T and T-Mobile

  • Lycamobile: 2c/min voice. 4c/msg sms and 6c/1MB 3G data. [May no longer be valid. Site does not list Pay-as-you-go anymore]
  • Ptel: 5¢/min voice, 2¢/text, 10¢/MB, 5¢/MMS, 2¢/international SMS

 

$20 monthly no-contact plan

  • Red Pocket Mobile: 300 minutes, unlimited text messages, unlimited 2G-like speeds.
  • Ultra Mobile: unlimited minutes, unlimited text messages, 100 MB data, Unlimited Global SMS, $1.25 international calling credit, unlimited calling to certain countries
  • PTel: Unlimited talk, unlimited text messages, 150MB of data, unlimited international text, $1 international calling credit.

$25 monthly no-contact plans

  • AT&T GoPhone: 250 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, no data (add $5 for 50MB).
  • AT&T GoPhone for Basic Phones Only: 250 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, $0.05/5KB data (or $5 for 50MB).
  • Lycamobile: Plan is $23. Unlimited nationwide talk, unlimited nationwide text and pic messages, 100MB of data, unlimited international text.
  • PTel: Unlimited talk, unlimited text messages, unlimited data (2G), unlimited MMS, unlimited international text, $2.50 international call credit

$30 monthly no-contract plans

  • T-Mobile: 100 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (4G speeds for the first 5GB). No domestic (off-network) roaming.
  • H2O Wireless: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 500MB of data (hard cap). Send 100 free and receive unlimited international txt. Includes $5 of international calling credit. Seewebsite for international details.
  • Lycamobile: Unlimited nationwide talk, unlimited nationwide text and pic messages, unlimited nationwide data (4G speeds for the first 500MB), 1000 international talk minutes, $2.50 international call and text credit
  • MetroPCS: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (first 1GB at 4G speeds).
  • Red Pocket Mobile: Unlimited nationwide talk, “FREE” international talk (see website for details), unlimited nationwide text, 100MB data.
  • Airvoice Wireless: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 100MB of data (hard cap).
  • Straight Talk: 1000 talk minutes, 1000 text and pic messages, 30MB data.
  • T-Mobile: 1500 talk minutes, 1500 text messages, 30MB of data (hard cap).
  • Ultra Mobile: Unlimited talk minutes, Unlimited text messages, 500MB of data, 1000 free minutes tocertain countries, $2.50 international calling credit.

$35 monthly no-contract plans

  • AT&T GoPhone for Basic Phones Only: 500 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data.
  • Brightspot Mobile: 300 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (3GB at 4G speeds). Free $25 Target gift card after 6 months of payments.
  • Lycamobile: Unlimited nationwide talk, unlimited nationwide text and pic messages, unlimited nationwide data (4G speeds for the first 1GB), unlimited international text, $2.50 international call and text credit
  • PTel: Unlimited talk, unlimited text messages, unlimited MMS, unlimited data (first 500MB highspeed), unlimited international text, $5.00 international call credit

$40 monthly no-contract plans

  • Lycamobile: Unlimited nationwide talk, unlimited international text, unlimited nationwide pic messages, unlimited data (750MB at 4G speeds), unlimited calls to certain countries, $5.00 in international call and text credit.
  • Walmart Family Mobile: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 2.5GB at 3G speed then throttled to 2G.
  • MetroPCS: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (first 2GB at 4G speeds).
  • Simple Mobile. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (throttled to 3G after 500MB).
  • H2O Wireless: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 1GB of data (hard cap). Send 100 free and receive unlimited international txt. Includes $20 of international calling credit. See websitefor international details.
  • Airvoice Wireless: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 1GB of data (hard cap). Send 100 free and receive unlimited international txt. Includes $10 of international calling credit. Seewebsite for international details.
  • Red Pocket Mobile. Unlimited nationwide & international talk to select countries, unlimited nationwide text and international MMS, 500MB of data.
  • AT&T GoPhone: 500 talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 200MB data (add $5 and get 100MB extra).
  • Ultra Mobile: Unlimited talk minutes, Unlimited text messages, unlimited data (first 500MB at 4G LTE speed), 1000 free minutes to certain countries, $5.00 international calling credit.
  • PTel: Unlimited talk, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited nationwide data (500MB at highspeed), unlimited international text, $5.00 international call credit

$45 monthly no-contract plans

  • Straight Talk. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data. T-Mobile data throttled at 2.5GB. AT&T data throttled at 1.5GB.
  • Brightspot Mobile: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (first 1GB at 4G speeds throttled to 2G after). Free $25 target gift card after shopping
  • Lycamobile: Unlimited nationwide talk, unlimited international text, unlimited nationwide pic messages, unlimited data (3GB at 4G speeds), unlimited international texts, $5.00 in international call and text credit.

$50 monthly no-contract plans

  • LycaMobile: Unlimited nationwide talk, unlimited international text, unlimited nationwide pic messages, unlimited nationwide data (1GB at 4G speeds), $10.00 in international call and text credit
  • Simple Mobile. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (throttled to 3G after 2.5GB).
  • MetroPCS: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (first 4GB at 4G speeds).
  • Net10. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data. T-Mobile data throttled at 2.5GB. AT&T data throttled at 1.5GB.
  • H2O Wireless: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited international text and nationwide pic messages, 2GB data (hard cap). Includes unlimited international calling to ~50 countries. Other than that, $40 of international calling credit. See website for international details.
  • Red Pocket Mobile. Unlimited nationwide & international talk to select countries, unlimited nationwide text and international MMS, unlimited data (throttle: 500MB).
  • T-Mobile Prepaid: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (first 500MB at 4G speeds).
  • AT&T GoPhone: Unlmited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, no data.
  • AT&T GoPhone for Basic Phones Only: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data.
  • Ultra Mobile: Unlimited talk minutes, Unlimited text messages, unlimited data (first 1GB at 4G LTE speed), 1000 free minutes to certain countries, $10.00 international calling credit.
  • PTel: Unlimited talk, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (2GB at highspeed), unlimited international text, $5.00 international call credit

$60 monthly no-contract plans

  • MetroPCS: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, truly unlimited 4G data (no throttle).
  • Lycamobile: Unlimited international talk, unlimited international text messages, unlimited nationwide pic messages, unlimited nationwide data (1GB at 4G speeds).
  • Red Pocket Mobile. Unlimited nationwide & international talk to select countries, unlimited nationwide text and international MMS, 3GB of data.
  • Airvoice Wireless: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 3GB of data (hard cap). Send 100 free and receive unlimited international txt. Includes $10 of international calling credit. Seewebsite for international details.
  • AT&T GoPhone. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, 2.5GB data.
  • Simple Mobile. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (throttled to 3G after 4GB).
  • Straight Talk. Unlimited international talk minutes, unlimited nationwide text and pic messages, unlimited data. T-Mobile data throttled at 2.5GB. AT&T data throttled at 1.5GB.
  • T-Mobile Prepaid. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (first 2.5 GB at 4G speeds).
  • H2O Wireless: Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, unlimited data (throttle point unknown). Send 100 free and receive unlimited international txt. Includes $20 of international calling credit. See website for international details.

$65 monthly no-contract plans

  • Net10. Unlimited international talk minutes to ~1000 destinations across the world, unlimited nationwide text and pic messages, unlimited data. Includes 400 talk minutes to cell phones in Mexico.
  • PTel: Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited MMS, unlimited data (first 4GB highspeed), unlimited international text, unlimited global MMS, $10.00 international call credit

$70 monthly no-contract plans

  • T-Mobile Prepaid. Unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text and pic messages, truly unlimited 4G data (no throttle).

Build your own cell-phone plan

How to Leave Your Cell Phone Contract

This is the guide for people on a cellphone contract and wanting to get off. Here, you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to switch carriers, keep your number, and maybe even keep your device! All in plain English. Isn’t that great?

Why get contractless cell phone?

  • Choice. Normally, you get 3 or 4 carriers to choose from. But the prepaid market is fiercely competitive with close to one hundred different carriers! That’s a lot to choose from!
  • Freedom. No 2-year commitments here. You can leave a prepaid carrier at any time with no termination fees!
  • Price. With a wide-open, competitive market, prepaid gets you the same service at a better price. It’s just that simple.

Please note that these steps only apply if you are out of your contract and going month-to-month. Leaving your contract before your 2 years are up will incur an early termination fee. It is usually best to avoid an early termination fee when switching cell phone companies

 

Step 1: GSM or CDMA cell phone carrier?

NOTE: You can skip to Step 2 if you don’t want to keep your phone.

If you want to keep your phone, you’ll need to determine what type of service it gets. There’s two types: GSM and CDMA. Carriers mostly use one or the other — rarely both. Here’s what the major carriers use:

Service TypeCarrier(s)
GSMT-Mobile, AT&T
CDMASprint, Verizon

You can almost always take a GSM phone to a GSM carrier. Most times you can take a CDMA phone to a CDMA carrier. However, you can never take a GSM phone to a CDMA carrier or vice versa. The technologies are not interchangeable.

Note: Never forget to research your phone’s specs. Even if a GSM phone is going to a GSM carrier, it may not operate on the necessary frequency bands. Googling the model number should give you this information.

 

Step 2: Get your account number.

Note: if you don’t want to keep your phone number, you can skip to step 3.

While you are still with your old carrier (do NOT cancel your service yet!), call the customer service line and ask for your wireless account number. Sometimes an account number may be found on your bill, but it’s not always accurate.

Write down the account number. Your new carrier will need this to keep your number.

Again, don’t cancel your service just yet! Later, it’ll be cancelled automatically when you transfer the number.

 

Step 3: Check your cell phone coverage.

If you’re happy with your current carrier’s coverage, go for a reseller of that carrier. It’s usually comparable coverage and much cheaper.

 

Step 4: Pick your carrier.

Here’s huge lists of them listed by major networks. There are a lot of smartphone options beyond the big four carriers in the US. If you’re looking to save money, these lesser-known plans might be the ticket.

  • Sprint Resellers
  • Verizon Prepaid and Resellers
  • AT&T GoPhone, T-Mobile Prepaid, and Resellers

BONUS: Feeling adventurous? Try out a “hybrid” network! (splits your cell service between wifi and cellular). These are experimental, but cheap (as low as $20 a month). It could work for you!

 

Step 5: Pick your device.

If you can keep your current phone, great! Generally, you’ll need a SIM card if it’s a GSM phone, or the IMEI number if it’s a CDMA phone.

Otherwise, you’ll notice that your devices are much more expensive up-front than on-contract. That’s because prepaid carriers don’t roll the cost of the phone into your bills — you pay in full up-front. But that’s okay, you’ll still be saving money.

If you are buying a device off Amazon or another place online, get one that has a clean ESN. This means the device is legit — not reported lost or stolen.

Phones which have been lost or stolen have bad ESNs. Their IMEI numbers have been marked as unusable in the carriers’ systems and cannot be re-activated. Obviously, avoid these.

 

Step 6: Place your order.

This is when your new carrier will ask for your account number. Provide it along with any other relevant information from your old account. Order any equipment, SIM cards, accessories you need and play the waiting game. Alternatively, you can buy these items at retail.

 

Step 7: Be free!

Once the goods arrive, activate your stuff and you’re set to go! Enjoy your freedom :3