Prepaid cell phones were historically reserved for those with bad credit or who needed a phone for just a short period of time. Prepaid plans appear to be the new way to save big on your monthly cell phone bill, but there is a catch. Unlike typical cell phone contracts that provide customers a deeply discounted smart phone, the prepaid user must pay 100% of the cost of their phone. Without the discount that comes along with a two year contract, this might mean shelling out $500 or more up front.
Save Hundreds Per Year By Converting To A Pre Paid Cell Phone
An iPhone with AT&T will cost you about $200 (with the discount for signing a 2 year contract). The monthly fee for one user would run about $90 or so monthly. A comparable plan with Virgin Mobile would be only about $30 monthly. The savings over the two years would be about $1300! In researching this article, I was really surprised to uncover this price disparity and the huge savings that can be realized by switching to a prepaid phone.
In my own household, we have five iPhones and a wireless card that makes my outlay monthly to AT&T pretty hefty (even with the multi-line discount). We all have iPhones that were discounted through the two year contract with AT&T. I did find out, however, that it is possible to 'buy out' an AT&T contract early, which I am considering doing. This may or may not be worth it depending on how far you are into your two year agreement.
We did contact Virgin Mobile to find out whether it was possible to move an AT&T iPhone over to them if we canceled our AT&T contract. The bad news is that this can not be done. Each carrier has their own proprietary version of the iPhone operating system that prevents the phone from being used at another carrier. We did learn that there is something called 'jail breaking' which involves hacking the iPhone to install a new operating system. This is something not recommended and may, in fact, be illegal. In any case, this did not seem to be a viable option either.
Kids Say The Darndest Things
I decided to discuss all of this with my kids to get their thoughts. Kids know more about this stuff than adults these days, right? My daughter pointed out that iPhones can be sold on Craig's list or e Bay for several hundred dollars each. She recommended the option of selling the iPhones and using the proceeds to offset buying new phones with Virgin Mobile or another prepaid carrier. Excellent idea!
There are other wireless carriers such as Leap Wirless and and Metro PCS that also offer prepaid plans. Virgin Mobile told us that you can also port your old cell phone number to your new prepaid phone with them as well.
I am not sure why no one seems to know about this, but I guess ChristianMoney.com readers will be the first to cash in.
Helping you make the most of God’s money!