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Thursday Poll: Why Haven’t You Switched to Prepaid Wireless Service?

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Over the last couple of months, especially with the moves made by T-Mobile to become the UNcarrier and Google selling an unlocked phone (Nexus 4) that isn’t tied to any carrier, we are hearing prepaid wireless service brought up in conversations quite often. In fact, I joined a prepaid network back at the beginning of the year with my Nexus 4 and have enjoyed every minute of it. But as prepaid seems to have become increasingly more popular, we still get the feeling that consumers aren’t considering the switch to it. And I’m not necessarily saying that because I think you should all switch, I’m just curious to know why it either hasn’t been on your radar or why you have decided it’s not right for you?

There are arguments for and against prepaid, just as their are with postpaid (contract service with carriers like Verizon), but I’d love to get the DL community to weigh in with them. Is it a lack of LTE? Do you not want to be thought of as a drug dealer (kidding!)? Does it have to do with prepaid service network coverage (typically AT&T and T-Mobile are the networks used)? Are you not interested in paying higher prices for unlocked phones? Do you simply not understand how it works?

I personally like prepaid because, for one, it’s cheap. I also can purchase unlimited talk, text, and data on a prepaid plan, use a phone of my choosing, and switch between service providers at the drop of a hat should the current one not satisfy my wireless needs. There is probably a deeper story in there on the benefits of prepaid (or life with prepaid service), which we’ll work on in the coming weeks. For now, though, I’d love to have your opinions.

Why Haven't You Switched to Prepaid Service?

View Results

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  • jdomann

    I switched with my Nexus 4 to prepaid a few months ago, my only regret being that Verizon has amazing coverage in Oklahoma. :/ Best part was when I found out T-Mobile had close to no coverage near my hometown, I decided I didn’t want them anymore, so I switched! And I didn’t have to worry about any ETF while doing so! Currently on Good2Go Mobile paying $50/mo, $40 less than I was paying with Verizon (and with unlimited minutes vs 400 on VZW).

    If I could keep the same plan cost on Verizon’s network (through an MVNO probably since VZW prepaid is pathetic), I would gladly go back. Their coverage is hard to beat.

  • VZWIndirect

    Where is the “even though I work for Verizon, I switched to T-Mobile MVNO’s over a year ago” option?

  • Dameon

    Still on a plan with my parents. Put my unlocked Galaxy Nexus on their plan and it only costs $20 a month with 3GB of data. Can’t beat that!

  • Inquizitor

    On a family plan on Verizon and unlimited data.

  • Sporttster

    There’s a couple I’d consider but I cannot be certain they have true unlimited data. That’s the biggest thing for me. Saying they have and then actually HAVING unlimited are two hugely separate things. Gimme TRULY unlimited or I’m sticking with Verizon!

  • Harley22x

    I am on prepaid. I can upgrade my w whenever i want, sell my 8 month old phone and upgrade when new devices come out. I also save a lot of money. $35.00 a month for 100 minutes of Canada wide calling, 100mb of Data, unlimited text messaging, and voicemail. Its not a bad price.

  • Soofdawg

    Unlimited LTE. Used 65GB so far this billing cycle…and have 10 days to go.

    • Tuna

      how does someone use 65gb on a phone?

      • Soofdawg

        Tethering and Netflix.

    • http://twitter.com/ChrisJBatson Chris Batson

      And you’re the reason we don’t have unlimited data anymore.

      • Soofdawg

        Not actually. I began tethering (which is legal by law and by Verizon terms) only a month ago. I’m a photographer and began uploading image files at my shoots by using my LTE connection just recently.

        The reason for taking away unlimited data is a business model shift on the part of carriers to capitalize on the fact users don’t talk as much as they use data (txt & internet), which is also why they confidently market ‘Unlimited Talk’ and average consumers eat it up. Verizon took away unlimited data for grandfathered plans in summer 2012 and stopped offering it completely to new customers even before that. Bottom line, carriers are making more profit (aka greed) from someone going over 2GB, which in this day and age is inappropriate for the compounding size of files of most media consumed by users. Today’s 2GB is like 2MB people would have used 10 years ago.

        Unfortunately, you’re premature assumption is misplaced and baseless. On a side note, research the actually percentage of users that consumed high amounts of data in the past 2 years. You’ll be surprised to see it was less than 5%.

  • http://thebeeobee.com/ thebeeobee

    Verizon unlimited…never leaving.

  • Nazzi_Muhammad

    I’d rather pay more, have less coverage, but get an awesome phone. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/sum.gai.58 Sum Gai

    Why would I switch to prepaid? I pay around $97/month for my and my wife’s service for 1000 minutes, unlimited text, and 2GB of uncapped data on each line. I don’t get a phone subsidy but I haven’t seen any prepaid plans that would actually save us money–the only better plan is the $30/month Walmart plan and that only gives 100 minutes, which isn’t enough for us. Two $50/month plans would be like $10 more after tax. Not to mention we can add voice/text line for my son for $5/month.

  • http://twitter.com/eliter1 eliter1

    I am currently with AT&T and I have a Viva Mexico plan that I cannot get with any pre-paid carrier. I travel to Mexico quite often and I can call and use my cellphone in Mexico (sans Data) to place and receive calls. I only pay $140 per month for two lines and I have a grandfathered unlimited data plan and 300MBs on the other line. My parents live in Mexico and I got them each a Nexus 4 with GrooVe IP and Google Voice but data sucks where they live so I can only call them when they’re on WiFi or through Voxer (although they take forever to send and receive). I don’t have international data on my plan so I still place regular calls when I am down in Mexico. I could put a Mexican SIM in my phone when I am in Mexico but it’s just not as convenient and I wouldn’t be able to call Mexican numbers when I am in the US.

  • Hothfox

    Verizon has the best coverage for all of the places I go. Their MVNOs obviously don’t get the LTE, and I haven’t really been able to find many aside from PagePlus that have 2GB+ of data included in their plan, and people have mixed success with BYOD on their network.

    Aside from Verizon’s MVNOs, I haven’t found any AT&T MVNOs with >1.5GB/month, they have worse coverage. Tmobile just sucks in my area.

  • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

    Honestly I think its the connotation that Prepaid phones are typically sold at “less than reputable” places and are sometimes used for “less than nice” activities.

  • Harsh Karn

    My data is free with T-Mobile. I’ll stay as is :).

  • Kree Terry

    Once straight talk gets coverage at my home and i get the cash to pick up an unlocked phone im switching more than likely. just depends on how much more of VZW’s crap i can put up with.

  • kervation

    I’m off contract with Verizon but data and coverage are important to me at this point. Since I still have unlimited data and great coverage it makes no sense to leave. I will buy devices at full retail until Big Red decides they want to end my unlimited data plan.

    I currently have the lowest allotment of minutes which is 450 min/month and I don’t even use all of those because I have unlimited Skype calling. I have priced some of these MVNO operators and for the level of service that I want, the prices aren’t that far off from what I am currently paying now.

    So, for me to pay an amount that is minimally less than what I have now for limited and capped data and decreased coverage doesn’t make much sense in my use case.

  • Zach Armstrong

    The main reason I have yet to leave Verizon is coverage would rather have Verizon 4G LTE than T-mobile EDGE

    • WickedToby741

      Same for me but even more drastic. Where I’m from I have Verizon 4G coverage but T-Mobile coverage is literally nonexistent. Verizon may be a ripoff at times but it’s better than paying for no service.

  • TechGuy22

    i have wireless. im in NY. i dont travel much. i have simple mobile with a S3. and its awesome. 40 bucks decent speed and unlimited everything. and im always on wifi. i will not pay more than that for any carrier.

    • troy studnicka

      Yeah but at the same time, how much are you spending for internet at home assuming you have high speed cable or fiber optic internet? I pay 110 per month for unlimited data on Verizon with lightning fast 4G LTE, even faster than cable high speed internet from my cable company. I don’t pay for a separate internet bill.

  • http://twitter.com/umiwonder CODEMAN

    I have unlimited LTE (Verizon) for $75/month. I cant beat the speed/coverage. So unless they take my unlimited data I’m staying. I travel too much and theres just not any solid coverage/speed with prepaids. Tmobile > ATT speed wise but coverage wise ATT > Tmobile.

  • Rodeojones000

    Crappy coverage mostly (which is what I voted for), but also a general lack of LTE. I honestly have no other option but to use Verizon where I live. Until a prepaid carrier has 4G coverage in rural Wisconsin where I live and work that comes close to the excellent coverage I get with VZW I won’t be making any changes. And honestly, I’m okay with the cost of Verizon. They say you get what you pay for and as a Verizon customer I pay for and get fantastic coverage with excellent speeds no matter where I am.

    • troy studnicka

      Exactly dude that’s why I stay and pay full price :)

  • umataro42

    I went with other because no LTE is part of it, along with my unlimited data, and employer discount for only the major carriers. But it would also depend on if I could bring any phone, because after having the OG Droid and now the Galaxy Nexus, I would like to stay Nexus for life. I’m still holding out hope that Verizon will get another one in the next year or 2.

    Or for a time that other carriers catch up to them in network reliability and 4G covered areas.

  • Lee Phillips

    I don’t get the hype. You pay twice as much for the phone, get less coverage, and slower data. All so you have the”freedom” to move carriers? How often are you switching carriers anyway? Google is making progress in prices, but I’m not paying more than $300 for a phone, ever!

  • kkloster

    Just wondering, anybody refuse to switch because of failure to support Google Voice Lite (due to lack of conditional call forwarding with some prepaid service carriers)? I didn’t even know I was giving it up until after I had already made the switch.

  • Shane Milton

    I’m on T-Mobile’s Value Family Plan, which is cheaper than their new contract-less option (because we don’t have nor use unlimited minutes) and it doesn’t come with subsidized phone costs. So while we do have a contract (which we have 1 more year of), we still go out and pay full-price for our own phones and have a much cheaper monthly cost to boot. We started out at $125/mo before I upped a couple of us to unlimited data – we’re now at ~$145/mo for 5 lines, 2 of which have unlimited data, all have unlimited SMS, and we share a pool of minutes (that is almost never something we have to pay attention to).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dominick-White/642535026 Dominick White

    For me the coverage. living in a small city in upstate NY , I am pretty much stuck dealing with Verizon. Verizon coverage is the king here in small cities and towns in this area, and then comes at&t with with services in the bigger cities and smaller cities but have way too many dead spots in smaller towns and then their is sprint with with okay service in cities and towns, but very slow data speeds and then their is t mobile that is not even worth talking about..

  • MrToTo83

    Coverage is a huge factor with any prepay. There is no roaming and if your in a state like Wisconsin Roaming is a requirement or else you have a paper weight.

    • Rodeojones000

      As a Wisconsin resident I can confirm that what you say is true.

  • vanvalks

    Running my LG Nexus 4 on net10 prepaid for $45/month. Haven’t looked back for a second after giving Verizon the boot. My down speeds on HSPA+ are 8+ Mbps and coverage in my area is great. For me it can’t be beat.

    • vanvalks

      Also sold my unlimited data plan on ebay for $200 so I didn’t have to pay a cancellation fee and I got money to put towards buying my new device. Win/win!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sandovalxochitl83 Xochitl Sandoval

    You forgot “still have unlimited data” option…

    • Joseph Remy

      Yup! And oddly enough, It’s cheaper (and more bang for the buck) for me to stay on contract with my unlimited data for our combined 2 phones, than it is to switch to a limited data, non-contract, setup…

    • Bigwavedave25

      Yeah, the option I was looking for was..
      -”Do not want to loose unlimited data 4G LTE on Verizons network, which is the best in my area”
      For now the price it worth it. ;)

  • olddude

    Been there done that. Prepaid sucks. Straighttalk prepaid is the reason I went with a contract (Verizon) and I see no reason to switch back.

  • reyalP

    I left Verizon for T-mobile prepaid plan. Cut my phone bill in half. I don’t need Lte that bad. I really don’t notice that big of a speed difference and when I use my phone it is usually connected to my wireless router anyway.

    • JoshGroff

      Same here, which is why I’m sticking with Verizon until my contact ends, no use paying an etf to switch to prepaid when I’m only paying 50 a month for my line (friend’s family plan.) Hopefully the X phone or note 3 drop by Q1 2014 so I have a suitable phone to switch to.

  • WickedToby741

    For me it has always been and will always be the coverage. If T-Mobile could match the coverage of Verizon I’d be there in a heartbeat. Until that happens I’m still highly skeptical of switching, but Verizon seems to push me closer and closer everyday.

    • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

      Same here, the day Verizon says no more unlimited then I will be gone and won’t look back! Their corporate BS is really getting old!

  • http://twitter.com/DannyAree DannyAree ! 

    Option – You’re only 16 and stuck w/ parent’s Verizon

    • JoshGroff

      Solution=get a job or do yard work, I’ve been paying for my own cell line since I was 14…

  • EvanTheGamer

    Other reason: Just not interested.

  • GBRunner24

    There should be an option to pick a few. For me the main reason is that the service typically sucks, I’ve been used to Verizon forever and travel quite a bit so coverage from someone like T-Mobile just doesn’t cut it for me. After that it’s the lack of available LTE. With VZW I get Lte across basically the entire state and rarely default to 3g. Third of which is most prepaid phones are awful. I emphasize most because outside of the Nexus 4 and unlocked AT&T and T-Mobile phones, prepaid phones stink. Single core processors, crappy cameras, and no future updates on the OS. Just my opinion though.

    • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

      If you travel….stay with Verizon. Anyone that travels should be with Verizon. Period.

      • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

        Another thing is if you live in an area thats not as urbanized you might want to steer clear of prepaid! I live in Central Florida in-between Lakeland and Winter Haven(what I would consider bigger cities) but yet people who have carriers like Spring and T-Mobile always struggle for service even in the middle of downtown! It just seems these smaller carriers only care about the huge cities and anything smaller comes second.

      • PopeFrancis

        I travel quite a bit and have had no issues with t-mobile.. Then again, I don’t travel to the outer edges of nowhere :(

      • PopeFrancis

        I travel quite a bit and have had no issues with t-mobile.. Then again, I don’t travel to the outer edges of nowhere :(

  • zepfloyd

    Network coverage is the most obvious, but the reality is (T-Mobile/Metro aside) for most prepaid ‘carriers’ you’re a second class customer to one of the big networks anyway. Their traffic will always be priority over your prepaid.

    • Ryuuie

      Actually, with Straight Talk, you ARE using post-paid AT&T coverage. This is actually part of the reason why AT&T and TracFone are in a big huff with each other right now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1444146892 Jeffrey Laird

    With a smart phone you are truly never free. I am an average user 3 to 4 gigs a month on Verizon unlimited with my galaxy s3. Show me where i do it cheaper and just as reliable on 4g speeds and ill sign up asap

    • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

      Where do you live? Do you travel often outside of major metropolitan areas?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1444146892 Jeffrey Laird

        North west pa

  • Bionicman

    the main reason is i have 4 lines and phones on my current VZW plan and it would be a headache to change all of that. It definitely would be easier if more devices were priced around what the Nexus 4 were for the quality but still it would be difficult. i guess Tmobile does make it easier with their payment plans but its kind of like a contract sooooooo maybe not

    • NexusPhan69

      Exactly. Family plan with staggered upgrades (and contract expiration) and someone always breaking or loosing a phone. Combine that with corporate discount and I’m stuck.

  • BMooyaso

    I was going to on this last switch, but prepaid for 2 smartphones, the house phone we took cellular, and my daughter’s phone didn’t actually save me anything.

    • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

      Really? So you need 4 lines…T-Mobiles $140 / month for 4 lines with unlimited talk/text and 2.5 Gig 4G data per line before going unlimited 2G data, would not do it for you to save some cash?

  • http://www.facebook.com/terrace.manley Terrace Manley

    I’m in Los Angeles on Verizon Unlimited Data with the Galaxy Nexus. I’m waiting on the next Nexus and my contract to end in Jan and im moving over to prepaid. Unless Verizon get the next Nexus

    • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

      Why wait? You can sell your line. Unlimited lines are a hot commodity these days on Verizon. At the very least…you could easily find someone to simply take your line of your hands. Read my comment a few above for more info.

      • http://www.facebook.com/terrace.manley Terrace Manley

        Because when my contract is up im going to subspend it without billing and pay the $15 every 3 months and see how the prepaid goes or maybe Verizon will get another Nexus down the line and ill still have Unlimited. ill gladly pay $60 a year to keep Unlimited Data.

        • Guestapo

          It’s $15 per month to suspend a line, not every 3 months. I have done it several times over the years. with Verizon.

          • http://www.facebook.com/terrace.manley Terrace Manley

            Just called Verizon. It’s $15 for 3 months and you can only do it twice in a calendar year, so that $30 for 6 months then you have to have it on for 6 months before you could suspend it again.

          • Guestapo

            Ok, I stand corrected. I haven’t done it for a number of years, but last time I did it, it was $15 per month with no time limit.

  • knightracer

    I still have Verizon unlimited LTE

  • TehRoger

    These are some of the dumbest reasons not to switch to prepaid, it’s sooo much cheaper.

    • Aaron

      Network coverage doesn’t seem that dumb to me. If it won’t work where you are, it doesn’t matter how cheap it is.

      • TehRoger

        I just don’t understand where you could be that isn’t covered by a prepaid network, most of them run off of Verizon/Sprint towers.

        • WickedToby741

          Most of them DO NOT run off of Spring and Verizon towers. The only one that runs off of Verizon towers is Page Plus. Sprint has numerous (Boost, Virgin Mobile), but their speeds are horrendous. Simple Mobile is owned by Straight Talk and runs off of T-Mobile’s network which is virtually nonexistent outside of metropolitan areas. Straight Talk is either T-Mobile our AT&T (you have the choice). Even with AT&T coverage on Straight Talk since you’re using Ma Bell’s network you’re treated like a second class citizen. AT&T is regularly voted the worst carrier by their customers, how do you think they treat NON-customers on their network? For many people the only real option is Verizon for reliable and widespread coverage.

          • TehRoger

            Virgin Mobile speeds are horrendous? I guess you’ve never actually used it.

            And as far as I can find, Straight Talk runs on different networks depending on the phone model, including Verizon.

            (And I’m just going to mention that Verizon has prepaid. While I wouldn’t recommend it from personal experience, it does exist and is therefor an option)

          • Ryuuie

            You’ve never used prepaid, have you? Most all DO run on Sprint or Verizon. This is because those are CDMA and CDMA rules the United States. AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM and are used on a handful of MVNOs.

            Straight Talk is the ONLY carrier to use Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, AND AT&T depending on where you are located and what phone you pick up.

            You need to go back and check your facts.

        • WickedToby741

          Most of them DO NOT run off of Spring and Verizon towers. The only one that runs off of Verizon towers is Page Plus. Sprint has numerous (Boost, Virgin Mobile), but their speeds are horrendous. Simple Mobile is owned by Straight Talk and runs off of T-Mobile’s network which is virtually nonexistent outside of metropolitan areas. Straight Talk is either T-Mobile our AT&T (you have the choice). Even with AT&T coverage on Straight Talk since you’re using Ma Bell’s network you’re treated like a second class citizen. AT&T is regularly voted the worst carrier by their customers, how do you think they treat NON-customers on their network? For many people the only real option is Verizon for reliable and widespread coverage.

        • Aaron

          I live in eastern NC. Verizon’s coverage at my house is weak enough that it only works outside and Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile are nonexistent for 30 miles. Since we use our cellphones as our only phone, and by that I mean we don’t use a landline, we have to have solid coverage. That only leaves us with regional carrier US Cellular. I know people like me are in the minority, but that is my reason for not going prepaid. I kinda hope T-Mo will absorb USCC after they’re done eating Metro PCS, but it’s more likely to be Sprint or maybe Verizon.

  • Warwick

    I love Verizon Wireless way too much

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

      Said no one ever? lol

      • Warwick

        LOL

    • btod

      lol I’m gonna assume you were being sarcastic

    • Bionicman

      well VZW does suck when it comes to shafting their customers from a pricing and features standpoint (not to mention bloatware on phones, etc). but their customer service is usually really good and they still have the best coverage period. the price we pay for being with VZW ugh

  • Daniel Dlugos

    Because it really isn’t that much cheaper. I have a family share plan with a decent corporate discount. Two phones have data, all have unlimited texting and more minutes than we could ever use. Every time I look at making a switch to pre-paid, the potential savings are usually offset by the cost of paying for a half-decent device. And, FWIW, Verizon’s customer service has always been good to me when I had a problem.

    • Ryuuie

      It’s cheaper if you look into what it costs in the future than what you pay up front. Most of us Americans have the problem of only seeing what it costs now vs what it will cost you in two+ years.

      • zackdc

        No, its literally cheaper, per month, with Verizon Family plan and 20% employer discount. Five lines on Verizon, all smartphones, less than $300/month.

        • VZWIndirect

          5 lines on NET10 $240

          5 lines on Solavei $250 – $20 (monthly “commision” for bringing in 3 lines) = $220…bring in just 1 additional person and you get another $20 a month, so $200 a month would be pretty easy.

        • Ryuuie

          No it’s not cheaper, as explained below.

    • wagner

      Same. With my Family pland and Discount it cheaper to stay on Verizon Unlimited then almost any prepaid.

    • justin

      Daniel, finally someone making a statement that makes sense. Im in the same situation. I have the grandfathered VZW unlimited data plan and the cost of the plan has not changed in the 5 years that I have had it and that includes several subsidized devices over that span of time. I pay $132/month for (2) lines with unlimited data and text with 1400 minutes. This price has been constant over those 5 years. A pre-paid plan will cost more and the devices will be at full retail with much worse coverage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001992840095 Tj Allen

    No fast mobile data = DOA for pre-paid for me.

    T-Mobile sounds like a fantastic idea, but their coverage here is awful. Straight Talk with AT&T or T-Mobile MVNO is fine, but coverage is still the issue, not to mention their shady ToS.

    • snowblind64

      “No fast mobile data = DOA for pre-paid for me.”

      I get pretty good speeds on T-Mobile HSPA+, my download speeds are around the same as what I got on Verizon LTE, though upload speeds are slower. For $30 a month (well more like $35 when I go over the 100 minutes) I’m very happy that I left Verizon. Coverage is very good in my area as well. This likely doesn’t hold true everywhere but for me the switch has worked out very well.

      • John Jones

        Are you on the 30$ /100 minute/ unlimited or 5 gigs? Prepaid plan? That’s what I want to find out about!!!

  • Bowen9284

    I currently bounce between T-Mobile prepaid and Straight Talk (AT&T SIM). The prohlem with TM is there lack of a 3G network in some states in the south and the service inside buildings is absolutely horrendous. They have a clearly defined data cap and good customer service, and you can even visit a storefront. Straight Talk is great because it uses AT&T and the coverage is superior. However I would rather be kicked in the chest by a donkey than have to deal with their customer service one more time. Also no clear data cap/throttle policy

    • Justin Winker

      I agree… ST’s CS department is horrid. I only had to contact them once for questions on compatibility with HSPA+, and they were wrong (phones with HSPA+ can access HSPA+ networks through ST).

  • EricRees

    By the way, we plan on doing a long-form piece here in the next couple weeks about pre paid for those who are interested in switching. Keep an eye out ;)

    • https://twitter.com/SoFloEasycore SoFloEasycore

      Please include info for us on family plans. Most of the articles I’ve seen neglect to mention family plans and primarily focus on individual plans.

      • EricRees

        Will do my good sir.

        • John Jones

          If possible I’d love to see some information how to use a prepaid like tmo / solavei and incorporate international calling options. Thanks!

      • R. Wayne Craft

        Net10 offers family plans *sort of* // 2 people for $85, 3 people for $125, 4 people for 165

      • VZWIndirect

        Both Net 10 and H20 (AT&T) offer a $10 per line discount on lines 2-4. If every phone is a data phone, then Net10 is the best option. $50 for line 1, $40 for lines 2-4. UNL talk and text, 1.5GB hard cap data.

        H20 has some money saving options, as they have other plans to choose from, is you want a basic phone, or a very limited data plan. $30 UNL Talk and SMS, $40 UNL Talk and MMS + 100MB, and $50 UNL talk and MMS +1 GB. (their 1.5 GB plan is $60, so NET10 is the better option, unless you need international calling). All these plans, except the $30 plan, are eligible for a $10 discount on lines 2-4.

        I know Wal-Mart has Family Mobile, but I am not familiar with their plans or even what carriers they still have. AFAIK, Wal-Mart no longer offers AT&T plans for new customers.

    • Lucas Gorski

      If they smaller guys can afford (ie: make a profit) doing prepaid that’s much cheaper than traditional cellular service why aren’t the bigger guys lowering their prices?
      Anyway, I’d be very interested in reading the piece once you guys finish.
      Thank you in advance.

      • Kenny Larson

        It’s because Verizon and AT&T have a duopoly in place. Have you noticed that they keep their prices neck and neck? It’s because they know that if either one drops their prices, even a little, it will force the other to engage them on prices. A price war will ensue and wreck havoc on their profits. While it would be great for consumers, it would be terrible to stock holders which are the real power in this world.

    • BGRUGGER

      can you include “unlimited data” and what that truly means with the carriers? i would love to switch, but cant give up my vzw unlimited for something that might have a soft cap or not truly unlimited. thanks!

      • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

        THIS^^
        Please include something for the readers who consume 10+GB a month (no throttling, true unlimited)!

        • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

          My family used to consume nearly 20 gigs per month. I got that down to less than 3 gigs by making sure everyone connected to WiFi 100% of the time at home, I set photo uploads to WiFi only, and podcast downloads to WiFi only, and app updates to WiFi only. I also stopped downloading Roms unless I was on WiFi.

          I bet you could halve your usage with a few changes.

          • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

            The thing is I don’t wanna have to constantly be checking to make sure I’m connected to WiFi when watching a movie or downloading a file! I would rather just have an unlimited plan that takes away all of the worry of going over some cap or some point where throttling begins.

      • anezarati

        well that is going to be one of the problems when dealing with prepaid. im on straighttalk right now and there is no clear policy on a “soft cap.” go to any straighttalk forum and you will varying stories on data caps. im not sure if other prepaid services have more defined policy.

      • http://BGR.COM/ riggs

        No AT&T mvno offers unlimited data, the only one that truly offers unlimited data is tmo’s monthly 4G….Their is also a some sprint MVNO’s that offer it oh and NextG (Verizon Mvno) offers unlimited everything but only 3G.

    • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

      Can you please also discuss some of the negatives of going prepaid? I mean this thread is full of people praising Prepaid but there has to be some part of it thats bad?

      • anezarati

        all the choices of the poll can be seen as negatives

    • NIGHTSCOUT

      And maybe include cell tower coverage information. Cause that’s a big one.

    • joejoe5709

      Yes please include family plans, iPhones, and such. We need real-world solutions.

  • http://dreadpirate15.com/ dreadpirate15

    I used to be on T-Mobile pre-paid, then switched to post paid. Mainly it’s for my wife to be able to talk more(500 minutes or so a month, better than the 100 I never used), and I like unlimited data at 4G speeds (capped at 5GB while on pre-paid).

  • Dylan Patel

    No LTE, bad coverage.

  • http://www.naskaras.com/ Thanassi Karageorgiou

    I vote No LTE, but it’s a combination of other factors as well. The coverage, reputation and I’m really not that familiar with it. Also, if I don’t like the prepaid service, I’d hate to regret it and lose my Verizon Unlimited.

    • KleenDroid

      Before I ever officially left Verizon unlimited I would get a prepaid plan and test it out for a couple months first. There is no way I would risk it without testing first.

      • zwade

        I did this before ditching Verizon. I bought a gently used gnex and tried tmo for a month, then att on straight talk. The great thing about testing is that you can just trash the sim card if you don’t like their service and try another with the same phone. Don’t like any of the prepaid carriers? Sell your gently used phone on Swappa or eBay and stick with whatever you already have.

      • Justin Winker

        I made the jump without testing it. I have almost no regrets – I do miss Vzw’s LTE network, though. The speed difference between HSPA+ on AT&T and LTE on Vzw is like night and day.

    • WickedToby741

      The beauty of a no contact plans are that you don’t have to leave Verizon. You can test one out for a month and if you don’t like it just discontinue it and stay with Verizon. The only hurdle is getting a phone for the service.

      • http://www.naskaras.com/ Thanassi Karageorgiou

        That’s a big hurdle.

    • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

      when your ready, you can sell your unlimited Verizon data plan on ebay. I sold 3 lines for between $130 – $175. This way you don’t get an early termination fee, and someone pays to take your line. You can even keep your number. Have Verizon port your number to a dummy line (they will understand), and then give your existing line a new number, then sell the line with the new number while you transfer YOUR number over to whatever carrier you choose to go with, or Google Voice.

      I loved Verizon unlimited data and 4G LTE as well…that is until I realized how much money I could save. The only real habbits I changed with my phone is that I shut off all of my auto downloads and uploads. Like my podcast app and my Google + photo sync…all that stuff I set to WiFi only. And at home I’m a strict WiFi user…that cut my data usage down to 1Gig from over 5 Gigs of monthly usage. Then leaving Verizon for freedom and cheaper prices was easy.

      I now am in a better situation financially, but I still will not ever switch back to Verizon. I still want to have the best device options available…Verizon severely lacks in this dept. GSM is the way to go…and hopefully when everyone goes LTE, we can all buy LTE phones that are compatible across all networks. Hopefully.

      • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

        Is there really any negatives to going prepaid? I’m just scared that since I don’t necessarily live in a metropolitan area the service might not be as great and the personal hassle of finding the right carrier, using strictly WIFI, etc seem to be like a lot of work!

      • http://www.naskaras.com/ Thanassi Karageorgiou

        Yea, see you didn’t make a great case there.

        I’m a heavy data user. I rely on wireless tether on a daily basis. I average 10-20 gigs a month. Switching to prepaid would just be a headache for me. Selling my plan, porting a number, Monitoring data, G+ syncing, hunting for wifi, lacking proper signals in rural areas when I travel. You just asked me to jump through a bunch of hoops when I’m kinda just fine where I am.

        I’ve got a GNex that can get custom ROMs when I need a phone refresh. Also, the options are slim right now as far as flagships go, but that always changes. When we got the OG Droid, it was the best thing since sliced bread. Then 3 months later, everyone bitched because we didn’t get the Nexus 1. Then we got a bunch of great Droid phones before the brand went to crap, then we got the GNex. So if you ask me, Verizon is due for another drool-worthy phone. When it comes around, I’ll buy it full-price and continue living my unlimited LTE goodness.

        Just sayin’… If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

        • Bigwavedave25

          I couldn’t agree with you more TK. Same boat.

  • Kenny Larson

    You should have had an option that said “I have already switched to prepaid”. I will never, ever go back to contract again. Prepaid freedom is wonderful.

    • RGiskard

      I mean this question seriously, please don’t think I’m trolling – what is wonderful about the freedom? Once you find a carrier with a network that provides the coverage you need, why do you need to switch? I know the freedom is nice in theory, but how is it helpful in practice? I’d be open to going prepaid if there are good reasons, but so far no one has convinced me that leaving Verizon (solid LTE coverage in my area) is beneficial…

      • KleenDroid

        The reason I would go to prepaid is because I have to pay full price for my phones going forward anyway to keep unlimited data. Verizon also likes to lock down their phones. So if I could save on monthly service, get good service coverage, unlimited data, and a good development community I would go prepaid post haste.

        • Bill Ratliff

          Yes but you can’t get unlimited data and good coverage outside Major metropolitan areas. I live in a rural area T-Mobile isn’t an option.

          • KleenDroid

            Yes so until they resolve this I’ll probably have to stick with Verizon.

          • Justin Winker

            I have Straight Talk with an AT&T provisioned SIM. I have no issues with their coverage, and, might even be able to get LTE through it through an unlocked LTE device (though I’m not sure yet).

          • Kenny Larson

            Also remember that the difference between HSPA+ and LTE is negligible in most cases.

          • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

            Until VoLTE launches later this year!

          • Justin Winker

            When it’s an HSPA+42 vs. LTE, yes. With an HSPA+21 (AT&T in most, if not all, areas), then it’s a noticeable difference.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1099538628 Kevin Taylor

            Not to put too fine a point on it, but I avoid going out of the city. I live in Pennsylvania and, quite frankly, Farmville holds about as much interest for me as the inside of an empty beer can. As far as I am concerned, I am seeing lots of pros for going pre-paid and very few cons.

          • umbrellacorp

            I love empty beer cans if I am the one who made them empty.

        • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

          This kinda builds off of KleenDroid’s post. What is say a negative about switching? Everyone in this thread seems to be praising prepaid but at the end of the day there has to be a side of you that says “Did I really make the right decision?” Is there any real holdback of going prepaid? I mean there is always gonna be pros and cons so whats a con of prepaid?

          • Bill Ratliff

            This is another good point. I had the Galaxy nexus recently switched to the note 2. While I am not the biggest fan of Verizon’s phone policies they have been nothing but great to me for Customer service and coverage for 5 years. I was with Attack before this and have zero plans to go back. They were terrible to me as a customer. So for now I will pay a premium and hope for voice over lte some day and keep my unlimited.

            I researched prepaid and none of them would allow me to use 7-10 gigs per month (they are not truly unlimited). If Verizon forces me off unlimited I will go prepaid but probably not until.

          • michael arazan

            I’m sticking with verizon till they kick me off my unlimited data in 6 months after my contracts end, or If the Dish Google carrier comes out and actually follows Google’s ideas in customer satisfaction, providing a quality service for a modest price like everything else they do. I would even join the dish google carrier with 3 G till they get lte up.

          • Brian Barcus

            There are so many options between contract and pre-paid that you have to look at your individual needs. For me the $30/month T-Mobile unlimited data/text, 100 minute talk plan is perfect. I have good cable service at home so I can set my big downloads like podcasts to only happen on WiFi. I use my phone heavily every day and still stay under the 5GB throttling barrier. I rarely talk on my phone so the 100 minutes is typically enough. For those occasions when I go over 100 minutes, $0.10/minute is not a heavy price.

            The only thing I lost switching from an unlimited Verizon plan to T-Mobile pre-paid is the ability to forward calls to Google Voice which means I cannot use it for my voice mail. It is a small loss compared to the lower monthly cost.

            If your usage matches one of the pre-paid options there are no significant negatives. If you travel enough to need Verizon’s or AT&T’s coverage that will restrict your options. If you are unwilling to buy a new phone at retail price or a used one then paying the premium for a subsidized phone may be better for you.

            Whether or not there are any real negatives all comes down to what you need out of a phone.

        • Dillon Brown

          amazing

      • WickedToby741

        I think for most people it comes down to whether you care more about the phone or the service and of course the obvious one, price. For some people having an uninhibited Nexus device is more important than coverage especially if they don’t often venture out of metropolitan areas. Plus buying a Nexus from Google Play and rocking T-Mobile or a prepaid carrier drops your costs significantly and usually allows for you to still get unlimited data without jumping through hoops. It’s all about tradeoffs and which ones you’re willing to make.

      • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

        Because the current major carrier model has held back innovation for years, and it’s time that consumers, regulators, and law makers recognize this fact and do everything they can to change the status quo. A European model, where phone plans are completely separate from device purchases, and where all phone carriers run compatible networks where consumers can buy and bring their own device, is far more beneficial to consumers.

        Just imagine more top tier phones costing $299-399 off contract like the Nexus 4. Where more players are competing for our dollars with unlocked, non carrier related phones that anyone can buy and bring to whatever cellular carrier they choose. Imagine having 0 obligation to any carrier with no contract whatsoever. Imagine cellular providers having to compete not based on what exclusive device they have, but solely on the quality of their network (data speed, coverage area, price).

        This is what is at stake here. This is why people are so excited to ditch the traditional model and embrace NO contract, more device choices at more price points, and more choice of what carrier to go with.

        • hldc1

          The reality is that a lot of people out there aren’tready to shell out $500-$650 upfront for a smartphone. Don’t forget, the Android blog crowd is in the minority here. We like unlocked phones, rooting our devices, and everything in between. I would even potentially wager that a great deal of Nexus 4 sales went to geeks like you and me. The fact that the Nexus 4, reasonably priced between $299.99-$349.99 is never in conversations regarding top-selling smartphones is evidence enough that most people aren’t looking to mod their device or buy something that doesn’t really have some sort of easily accessible tech support.

          Europe isn’t exactly contract-free either. UK carriers operate much like they do in the United States. They offer 2-3 year contracts, and also allow handsets to be purchased off-contract. Want an HTC One off-contract with 3UK? That’llcost you about $741.25 (yes, that’s U.S. dollars).The Nexus 4 at its current price point is an anamoly; it’s far from the norm.

          I have no problem paying full-price for a device. I bought the HTC Droid DNAat full retail price. I personally think it’s crappy that I pay the subsidized contract price for my rate/data plan (even though I’m not on a contract), but it’s worth it because Verizon offers the best coverage and fastest data speeds in my area. I pay vastly more than I would on Straight Talk, Virgin, or T-Mobile. None of those options though can get me 15-25 Mbps download speed, 10-15 Mbps upload speeds, and 12GB of data at full speed.

          Is it worth it paying $129 per month? Absolutely. But I don’t expect what works for me to work for everyone else. Just like prepaid might work for some of you, but doesn’t necessarily work for me.

          That being said, everything in the universe is better when more people are using Android. Go ANDROID!

          • http://twitter.com/BlackBlizzNerd Ben Landwehr

            Exactly, I myself don’t mind buying phones off contract as I have to anyways to keep my unlimited data. However, my friends and family.. they think when they buy a phone it simply just costs that 200 dollars or so. They don’t realize it’s a subsidized price and that you end up paying the full amount and then-some during the two years you own the phone.

            Would it be nice to have a cheaper plan? Yes. But I also don’t want to go, “Eh.. yeah, I can probably live with decent HSPA+ speeds since I have wi-fi at home” or just simply just put up with something and find reasons to use a carrier that just doesn’t have the coverage Verizon provides to say maybe 100bucks a year or whatever it’d turn out to be. For the most part, though Verizon does a lot of things I don’t like (ehem, Galaxy S4 next month? What?), their coverage is justified. Plus personally with my works discount, it’s not bad.

            I live in Lincoln, NE.. and Verizon has LTE in a lot of places surprisingly since last November, especially in Lincoln and Omaha. Other carriers there’s not even HSPA+ yet. So really, this is the only choice for me anyway.

          • justin

            Please someone explain how you end up paying more than the full amount on a phone vs the subsidized price. I have the grandfathered unlimited data plan and the cost of the plan has not changed in the 5 years that I have had it and that includes several subsidized devices over that span of time. I pay $132/month for (2) lines with unlimited data and text with 1400 minutes that we only use 80 of. This price has been constant over those 5 years.

          • justin

            im with VZW,,,,forgot to explain that. So, we have (2) Gnex and LTE service.

          • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

            I’m not exactly sure what your question was (kinda hard to undersand what you posted) but I’ll try my best! :) When upgrading on Verizon wireless if you have a grandfathered unlimited plan you MUST buy the device at full retail price (normally $599 – $650) in order to keep that unlimited data plan. However I believe what you are talking about is why would you expect a discount when buying a device at full retail price. The reason for this is because when a carrier subsidizes a device (be it a smartphone, tablet or even a non-smart phone) the subscriber only pays a minimal price (often $200) out of the original $600+ retail price and the carrier pays the rest out of its profits over the course of a contract (normally 2-3 years. Now what people don’t like is that the carrier is able to justify raising rates for everyone because they have to subsidize devices but this is really unfair to the people that buy their devices at full price because they are essentially being punished with higher rates for someone else’s subsidy. Oh and on VZW you are allowed to change your minute plan without affecting the data plan so if you are only using 80 minutes out of 1400 I would suggest downgrading your minute plan to either the 700 option or I believe they have a 400min option available as well.

      • Kenny Larson

        A perfectly legitimate question. I’m a bit of a Nexus fanboy so I like being able to get my updates direct from google without having to root if I don’t want to. I also like the fact that my phone isn’t locked down by carriers.

        The primary reason that I like the freedom is that I am not beholden to a draconian contract. Despite paying $700 upfront for Nexus 4s for my wife and I, it still cost less than what a 2 year contract with Verizon would have cost me. In fact I broke even between month 2 and 3. Everything after that is gravy.

        I am on Straight Talk using AT&T sims and have never had a problem with coverage. I also like the fact that if ST really pisses me off, I can pop in a new sim and not have to pay an ETF.

        Mathematically, prepaid makes WAY more sense in my case. What’s not to love? A top end phone, no contract and it costs me $70 less a month for better service?

      • jisaac16

        I switched and it is way cheaper!! $30/month. Love it.

    • R. Wayne Craft

      i switched as well already. i tested the service of 2 providers (straighttalk and Net10) before making the switch, i tested Net10 side by side with my verizon phone for 2 months before jumping. havent looked back. we have saved over $100 a month by making that switch!

      • Kenny Larson

        Net 10 and Straight Talk are the same company. Straight Talk is just a Walmart branded version of Tracphone services. Net 10 is the general release brand.