Oct 17 AT 5:11 PM Taylor Wimberly 138 Comments

Top 5 pre-paid wireless plans for Android phones


Six months ago I was a pre-paid virgin, but I finally decided to make the switch after getting fed up with carrier contracts, bloatware apps, and poor software support. Since I made the move I have been swapping devices, SIMs, and service plans with no long term commitments and it feels great. There are a lot of pre-paid choices out there, so read on for our top picks.

I have had the opportunity to try out service from Straight Talk, Simple Mobile, and Solavei, so it felt like this was a good time to share my experiences. If you have already made the decision to try out pre-paid service on your Android phone, then check out our list of Top 5 plans. Keep in mind that pre-paid service is not for everyone so read up on my previous ramblings for more information.

1. Straight Talk SIM

Networks: AT&T or T-Mobile

Plan: $45 per month:  Unlimited talk, text, and data.

SIM card fee: $14.99

The good: Choice of AT&T or T-Mobile’s network.

The not-so-good: Data policy is not clearly defined. You will get a warning if you go over an imaginary data limit, which can differ from market to market.

More info: Official site

2. T-Mobile Monthly 4G

Network: T-Mobile

Plans: $30 for 100 minutes, unlimited text, and data (throttled after 5 GB). $60 for unlimited talk, text, and data (throttled after 2 GB). $70 for unlimited talk, text, and data (throttled after 5 GB).

SIM card fee: $0.99

The good: Cheapest prices. Multiple plans to choose from. In-store support.

The not-so-good: Only T-Mobile compatible phones will see full 4G HSPA+ speeds, but this will improve as T-Mobile upgrades their network to support 1900 MHz in their top 50 markets by end of 2012.

More info: Official site

3. Solavei

Network: T-Mobile

Plans: $49 per month:  Unlimited talk, text, and data (throttled after 4 GB)

SIM card fee: $9

The good: Clearly defined data policy, after 4 GB you will be throttled. Pays you a monthly bonus for customers you refer.

The not-so-good: Only T-Mobile compatible phones will see full 4G HSPA+ speeds, but this will improve as T-Mobile upgrades their network to support 1900 MHz in their top 50 markets by end of 2012.

More info: Official site (referral link)

4. Simple Mobile

Networks: T-Mobile

Plans: $40 per month:  Unlimited talk, text, and data (3G speeds). $50 per month:  Unlimited talk, text, and data (4G speeds).

SIM card fee: $12.99

The good: Multiple plan options.

The not-so-good: Data policy is not clearly defined. Only T-Mobile compatible phones will see full 4G HSPA+ speeds, , but this will improve as T-Mobile upgrades their network to support 1900 MHz in their top 50 markets by end of 2012.

More info: Official site

5. NET10 SIM

Networks: AT&T or T-Mobile

Plans: $50 per month:  Unlimited talk, text, and data.

SIM card fee: $9.99

The good: Choice of AT&T or T-Mobile’s network.

The not-so-good: Owned by same parent company as Straight Talk and offers same service, yet $5 more per month.

More infoOfficial site


This is our first attempt at a Top 5 list for pre-paid wireless plans for Android phone, so please share your feedback. Are there additional details that we need to cover? Find a better pre-paid option? Let us know in the comments below.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • RonWeez

    I’ve been using my GNEX on tmobile per paid first and I got slowed down after 100MB of data so I left for straight talk and I haven’t looked back. Haven’t had any issues with throttling as of yet

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      T-Mobile does have a $50 prepaid plan with only 100MB data, but I didn’t list it because that’s not enough for Android phones. The better option is 100 mins and 5 GB data for $30 or unlimited mins and 2 GB data for $60.

    • Kris

      There are PLENTY of stories about ST doing worse than this. Are you sure you were on the right plan ($30/mo, 100 min, unlimited text, 5gb data)? If so, you’d be the first I’ve heard of this happening to.

  • MrDrOfficer

    This is great! But a little confusing. Is Straight Talk the best? Why so?

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I listed them as the best because they support AT&T and T-Mobile. This gives you the most choices for unlocked devices since AT&T supports the same HSPA+ bands as most global phones.

      • Scott

        What constitutes a T-Mobile “compatible device”? Does it just need to run on the same bands? Will the Nexus phones be able to run full speed on these plans? That’s always my concern that I won’t have the fastest internet possible.

        • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

          Pentaband Nexus phones do have support for T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network. There are a handful of unlocked phones like the Meizu which also work on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, but 95% of all unlocked phones will work best on AT&T until T-Mobile re-farms its HSPA+ network next year.

        • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

          T-Mobile compatible device is one that support their 4G HSPA+ bands, which are 1700/2100. The Galaxy Nexus is penta-band and it works on AT&T and T-Mobile. You will see full speeds on both networks, but T-Mobile has HSPA+ 42 Mbps and AT&T has HSPA+ 21 Mbps.

          • Third_Eye

            Are you sure that the Galaxy Nexus is capable of 42Mbps (DC-HSPA+) speeds in T-Mobile?
            I thought the penta-band moniker is to just state that the phone will work at 3.5G speeds on any worldwide GSM network.

      • Steven

        If you have a Tmobile compatible phone – I have the Galaxy Nexus Ive been using on Prepaid, would you say Straight Talk and Simple Mobile are the same – or is there something else wrong with them. I cant tell by online reviews cuz Ive read tons of negative and positive on each. And neither of t hem will give you a straight and honest answer about how much data you use. You basically have to make them profitable so I dont even know if you can use 3gb…They will not say, and ST told me in writing that you cannot stream video or music. SM people have said theyve had problems with ports – you have to port your number first and then activate the account. Im starting to think its too much of a hassle so I should just stay with Tmobile even if it will cost me up to $20 more monthly

        • AMG

          I’ve researched ST online and just found an article that states ST/Tracfone/Net10 came clear about their *Unlimited Data* which is actually 2.5GB. The terms of service says no tethering and no continuous streaming such as 24 video surveillance for example. As for the towers they use, they do have CDMA phones which work off either Sprint or Verizon towers so it is possible to get service with those companies as well. I have a Tracfone and while my father did not get service because he went with a GSM phone in our area (Northern Panhandle of Florida), the service was extremely bad for him. Much the reason I dumped my AT&T contract once I left the Los Angeles area. Paying $90 a month for ‘SOS only’ was not my idea of cell phone service. So right now, I’m in discussion with Verizon over their offerings. But, contract wise, the lowest they will go is $50 a month with a 1 year contract. But, at the same time they offer now a $45 a month prepaid plan and 500MB data which can be bridged to 1GB. Or go with ST which is offering $45 a month for Unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB data, although they say it is unlimited. The positive, I get to get ‘Kitkat’ on a new phone as Google has decided to not update my phone model (although someone is petitioning them right now). So it will depend on your region. My area, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and those companies who piggy back off these, don’t get great service.

        • AMG

          Here’s the article about the ST throttling: http://phandroid.com/2013/09/30/straight-talk-2-5gb-data-throttle/

    • Freddy

      Straight talk limits your browsing or turns off your browsing if you use too much data. I just got off the phone with straight talk and now I’m looking for another service.

      • Stacy

        I have had straight talk for months now and I absolutely love it. I have never gone over any ‘imaginary limit’, it is truly unlimited, and I will never switch back to any other service. I use my phone all the time for everything and have never had a single problem with it. I live in the middle of nowhere and have never once had an issue with getting service. I am so thankful they came out with this plan and I would recommend it to everybody

        • AMG

          Have you tried GPS navigation? I’m just curious because that’s one thing that I do use on my ‘contract’ phone which comes in handy on long drives on vacation. But, if ST is not allowing this, then that would be one issue for me. Especially since I opted not to spend hundreds of dollars replacing my GPS which did not allow updates.

          • Smokemaster

            I use GPS all the time with ST and no issues. They don’t throttle that apparently and they shouldn’t – that data is coming through a different protocol than normal internet TCP/IP.

  • Bill

    I have been with Straight Talk for several years, about a year ago I upgraded my phone to Samsung Android, I have the unlimited plan, only problem since I am using an Android phone I am on Sprint’s network. Only bad thing is that I hardly get cell service at my home. The good thing is that it is unlimited talk, text. I do not have an limit but I think Sprint might throttle speeds. Over all Straight Talk seems to be the cheapest and works for my needs.

  • Thomas Biard

    Just to drop a line about this. Yesterday I signed myself and my wife up for prepaid on Page Plus (Verizon based). We’re saving $85 a month by switching from Big Red. I chose not to do a GSM based prepaid because a lot of the places around our house in Orange County are TERRIBLE on ATT/TMo. We don’t do any travel out of the country, so GSM isn’t too big of a deal, but her Incredible 2 has a SIM slot for the possibility.

    I went to a kiosk in the mall that was a “dealer” for Page Plus. He got me all setup on the spot and all I had to do was wait for the number to port from Verizon. It was quick and easy and zero hassle. Also, for those wanting to stay on Verizon’s network, consider going to a local Page Plus dealer because their customer service wait time is 10 minutes each time you call.

    I would have never considered prepaid if it weren’t for the Wimberlys. THANKS!

    • JPB

      Can you bring your own device to Page Plus?

      • Serge

        Yes, but they won’t provide any activation support. Also if it’s an LTE phone it simply won’t work on Page Plus. You need to flash it to disable LTE.

      • Thomas Biard

        Yeah. You can bring any Verizon phone* and if you’re good enough you can flash any CDMA phone to work on verizon if you’re good enough.

        We got a phone off craigslist for a great deal.

        *you cannot use LTE phones unless you flash it disable LTE properties. Also, you cannot use an iPhone because Verizon wants all iPhone profits to come through them (but this is AndroidandMe so not a whole lot of people care about iPhone). And when i say you can’t use an iPhone, it means they don’t support it, and they don’t allow it, but there are hundreds, if not thousands of people using them anyway with no problem. Its just that PagePlus reserves the right to suspend/cancel your plan and therefore you have the possibility of losing your number.

        • C diesel

          You can use a iPhone ! I had a iPhone 4 on page plus & now I have a iPhone 4S on page plus

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Thanks for the feedback. There are some good prepaid options for CDMA phones (like Ting for Sprint) but I didn’t list them here because they don’t support unlocked phones.

      I totally understand if someone decides to stick with a network because of coverage, but I like the freedom of an unlocked GSM device like the Galaxy Nexus and the ability to switch networks.

      • Iris

        It’s not just that they don’t support unlocked phones – it’s an entirely different transmission system.

        Another to consider though, is pagepluscellular.com (parent) and their dealers – kittywireless.com (best service), and others. These use almost any non-4G Verizon phone, of which there are a ton available on ebay.

        Also, Ting will shortly allow you to activate almost any Sprint phone (no iPhone or Blackberry at this point, I think) including 4G.

      • Donna

        I am currently on VZW contract service with a Smasung Galaxy S III. I have tried to “qualify” online for straight talk and get a msg Unavailable in your zip code. But when I enter the information for my grandson’s IPhone S5 with same area code it qualifies. Why does this happen? What is a CDMA phone and how do you know if your phone is “unlocked” or not. Sorry for all the questions but I’m in the dark about all this and really want to get away from these high contract prices with limited data.

    • Mikebacts

      What about updates and things like that. I’m on verizon and this sounds like an interesting option.

      • Thomas Biard

        You won’t get OTA updates on a device, but being that we’re using phones that are over a year old, it wasn’t a huge concern. Also, I don’t really like OTA updates as much, I’d rather go online and get them when I want. I don’t need them pushed to me.

        PagePlus is difficult to work with directly because they are understaffed in their call center, but going to a dealer/KittyWireless makes it all so much easier.

        Your best bet is to do your research before making a decision.

  • Oscar Ortega

    4-1/2 ago i was a prepaid virgin too :p luckily i lost it to a special someone lol

  • KennyL

    My biggest problem keeping me from going to straight talk is that you’re not allowed to stream audio, video or download/update your apps via a cell network. Plus it from what I’ve read, you get a daily limit of 100-150mb per day and they cut you off somewhere around 2gb. They can also simply drop your account leaving you with no service and no way to rectify it. This leaves you open to the potential of loosing your phone number. If you go with ST, port it to Gvoice for sure.

    Here’s from their terms of service.

    The Straight Talk Unlimited Plans MAY NOT be used for any other purpose. Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: ….. (iii) uploading, downloading or streaming of audio or video programming or games;gaged in prohibited uses may have his/her service terminated without notice or a refund.

    Full thing is here.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I have been using Straight Talk for around 6 months. I stream Pandora almost daily and watch YouTube all the time. I have never been throttled or received any kind of warning. I have also greatly exceeded 100 MB in a single day with no problems. But I still understand your concern with having an undocumented data policy.

      • KennyL

        Good to know. I just worry because I would have no recourse should they decide to act on it. They would simply turn to the TOS and tell me tough luck. I also worry that they might kill our service at a time when phone service would be critical, like an emergency situation. Especially for my wife. I really wish T-Mo was better in my area because I’d switch to them in a heartbeat from Verizon if I could. At least I would know what their data policy was.

        • wnein

          On Android, a 911 emergency should work with or without paid cell service.

        • poopship

          For some people it seems to be ok to stream all they want within reason, for others watch literally one youtube video and you get cut off and get a nasty phone call. It seems completely random on how they enforce their policy and you have no recourse at all since they don’t actually have any concrete usage terms you agree to. I would avoid straight talk if you have other options, even if it costs $10 more.

      • Steven

        do you live in smaller city? or maybe no one is using the network there. Ive heard from many people – lots of angry folks who post youtube videos – that have been cut off from these MVNOs when they actually thought they were getting the unlimited services that are advertised.

      • Mikestalk

        straight talk has a 2gb hard cap with one warning and if you go over it again they will cut your data off forever!

  • Pleirosei

    I really want to drop verizon. I don’t know how much the next nexus is but I want to buy it from Google unlocked. I want GSM because of more carriers to choose from. I looked into the page plus, and the max data limit is 2 gig. If it has compatible 4g LTE, which I don’t think it does, that data will be used up way too quickly.

  • mustybooks

    This is ridiculous what people in the US have to pay.

    Here in the UK the cheapest 1 month rolling sim from mainstream providers with unlimited web is 3′s coming in at 13 pounds a month with a free sim, with 200 mins + 5000 texts.

    There’s also virtual network operators like GiffGaff (owned by o2) that use the main companies networks that provide deals like giffgaffs £10pm fo 250mins unlimited texts and data. Alongside rewards for recruiting other members.

    How can american network provides get away with this?! I know the UK’s network isn’t the best but 3′s network has hspa+, in most major cities, going up to around 7-9mbps and the rest of the companies have relatively fast 3g speed (2-3mbps).

    Thank god for ofcom…

    • poopship

      Not to defend the telcos (especially Verizon), but the us is HUGE and it costs a lot to run a cell network. How can you be surprised that it costs more to be on a network in a country that is 74 times the size of the uk?

    • Andy

      In Europe the caller pays. Therefore, the operators can lose money on the plan they sell you, because they make tons of money on the inflated charges callers pay to call you, which callers cannot negotiate. In the US, where each cellphone owner pays all wireless costs associated with calls to/from that line, the user can negotiate the best total deal possible. In the end, the US customer pays far less than the European customer.

    • AMG

      In Europe things are a whole lot different. My relatives live in Turkey and I know there, even if you are out of minutes, you can still ring someone’s phone. Then they can see you’re trying to reach them and call you back. Also, there you’re able to share i.e. donate some of your minutes to another person like your relatives if they are out of minutes. The phones are expensive just like with normal prepaid, but you don’t have to keep racking up a bill. Now things are changing up a bit there, so I think it won’t be long until people are also in the same dilemma of contracts.

  • Carol_Marol

    I wonder why none of these are ever based in Verizon’s network.
    Extreme coverage, extreme high speeds, rapidly growing every week.

    • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

      4 letters: CDMA.

    • co.ag.2005

      also, as far as I know, pre-paid doesn’t offer LTE (maybe it does for verizon, but it doesn’t for AT&T). I would much rather be on AT&T/T-Mobile’s HSPA+ than Sprint or Verizon’s very slow 3G.

    • dan

      If you want to use verison on straight talk many walmarts or st website has the samsung galaxy proclaim(not to be confused with precedent).it runs on cdma-v. v is for verison.ir is realy good.
      By the way gsm-s s is for sprint gsm-a is for at&t and gsm-t is tmobil.when you buy a phone look at the bottom left corner on box and youl know what company it uses.I wrote this on a samsung galaxy proclaim.

      • dan

        The proclaim is probably the best phone straight talk sells under 200.got mine for 150 walmart + i paid 15 for insurance for 2 years covers drops water damage etc.

      • whoyadaddy

        no sprint does not use gsm, therefore they are listed as cdma-s

    • Tito 316


      Try page plus link above
      Just might need to get your phone flashed
      I pay $55 unlimited everything
      Data throttled at 2.5GB
      But if you need mor or less data they have other plans

  • chris

    I love simple mobile and Nexus S. Unlimited talk,text, and 4G internet for $50 a month. The only thing that I do not like it throttling because it slows down. I can say that with this service, I got my updates quicker than when I had TMO.

  • chris

    *After 2GB

    • Steven

      so with SM, you only get 2gb per month…

  • shadowxof

    Hey Taylor I think you should know you listed Net 10 as $45 a month and not $50 (although you do make mention to it in the not so good section)

  • jm9843

    Can anyone confirm: is NET10 SIM truly unlimited with no throttling and no loss of service if you use too much data?

    I was planning on switching to Straight Talk with the upcoming new Nexus, but NET10 SIM might be worth the extra $5/month if you really don’t have to worry about data at all.

    • Abouttodropnet10

      Hi. I’ve been using Net10 for a year now, with my Android phone.
      Great speed (about 7mbit down and 1up), really great for browsing around and streaming videos and what not. I never cared how much data I’m using daily or monthly.

      All was great up until last month, when they decided to throttle my speed to a mere 300kbps up and down. Freaking ridiculous. I can still browse around, but forget streaming youtube videos in HQ or loading up any big data.
      They have no answer for this, because they know is not truly unlimited. They seem to randomly throttle people left and right. No defined data policy.
      You are completely in the dark with Net10/Straight Talk as far as how much data you can use daily/monthly.
      Saying that you can’t stream video or audio..etc while using their “unlimited data” it’s completely messed up. How am I suppose to use the internet? We live in an era of high quality, big files, that need a lot of data… get with the time MVNOs!

      For now I’m going to try Tmobile, and see what they are all about.

      • Alan M

        I’ve noticed that Net10 has matched the Straight Talk price for smartphones. One can guess that since Net10 and ST are really the same company, that Walmart may have had a price advantage that has expired.

        Being with ST now (using Verizon), I am fed up enough with the horrible customer service that I am looking for something else. They don’t even deserve my $45/month.

        • Leigh

          I noticed today that ST policy is no longer monthly plans. They have switched to a 30 day plan system. I’m looking for a different company as this new change will take 2 payments out a month per line on my auto refill set up. Being disabled on a limited income this will cause over draft fees every month with 31 days in it. Cancelling auto refill until I find something different.

  • snowbdr89

    Is it only 3g with straight talk using at&t?

    • co.ag.2005

      well, HSPA+ which is marketed as 4G. But yes, it’s just 3G, no LTE on straigh talk or any other MVNO for that matter.

      • co.ag.2005

        oops, typo: *straight talk

      • Steven

        Well Ive always read its like 3.5G but they all call it 4g for pricing. I find my Gnex in Atlanta goes between 3G/H almost 60/40 and its on E a lot too – thats why I was thinking of trying the Simple mobile $40 plan – even if you can only use 2gb, thats still a pretty good deal for unlimited domestic calls and unlimited domestic and foreign texts.

  • Franklin Mintah

    I switched to straight talk like a 2 months ago…@ first I had a problem porting my # from t-mo…but they got everything straightening out and also gave me 2 months free service….it works perfectly with my t-mo galaxy 3….I consider myself as a heavy data user….I download Roms, music, and even hotspot with my Asus transformer and I’ve never be warn about data usage….To me its the best pre-pay option out there if you really want to cut your bill in half…!

    • Steven

      sounds like the throttling depends on where you live and whether its a heavy usage market or not

    • AB

      Franklin, might be using T-Mobile network. For what I have read, ST does throttle ATT but not T networks.

  • Michael

    One if the first articles worth reading on this site.

    Good job and well done!

  • Shaun

    When looking at the coverage on Straight Talk’s website, they have a map for non-Android and a different one for Android. Why is that?

    Thanks for the info!

    • Iris

      Straight Talk is not straight about their system, or at least not obvious. Most of the Android phones run on Sprint, with no roaming – that’s the Android map. One of their Androids will run on Verizon, and shows its own map with the phone description. The rest run on AT&T or T-Mobile, with some overlap of them depending on what phone and SIM you have.

      • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

        Straight Talk branded phones and Straight Talk SIM are kind of two different things. Straight Talk offers their own crappy phones at Walmart that run on all 4 networks, and Straight Talk SIM allows you to bring your own phone and run on AT&T or T-Mobile.

        • Shaun

          Thanks for the clarification!

        • Bob J.

          So did I read that right? If you bring your own Android phone, such as a Galaxy Nexus, and do the Straight Talk SIM, that you run on AT&T’s national network, not the smaller coverage area ST shows on their website for Android.

          • AB

            BOB, you can safely assume that ST runs on the same network as ATT pay as you go (prepaid). Check ATT website.

  • Josh

    Do any of these carries allow for LTE support? I’m with AT&T now, but would love to save some $$, but I’ve become spoiled with the LTE… Anyone know?

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      No pre-paid carriers in the US offer support for 4G LTE, but they all do 4G HSPA+. I expect we will see some 4G LTE plans starting in 2013.

  • ruben

    SIMPLEMOBILE is NOT SIMPLE!!!! after 3gb a month the shut your data off. My sister used 2.5gb and was sent a text warning they will suspend data if she keeps violating the terms of service. we both looked and kind find anything that says she violated the terms for using unlimited data.

    Solavie actually says after 4GB they throttle. which means 1 more GB and they throotle so she doesnt get cutt off from service …i am buy her and myself 2 sims from them and dumping simple mobile asap at the end of the month when its time to renew

    • Steven

      thats why im worried about trying any of these…i dont want to have to deal with porting my number to straight talk or simple mobile and then in a month port it back to tmobile. and deal with things going wrong – esp ive heard a lot of people saying porting and activating problems

      • AB

        Steven, If you are really a data hungry user then you should stick to the big ( and lousy) 4s.

      • Jeff

        If porting is a concern, you should look into Google voice. that would eliminate the need to port numbers back and forth.

  • Max.Steel

    I have a Galaxy Nexus and use T-Mobile’s $30 plan with 100 mins and unlimited data and text. To cope with the very limited amount of minutes, I use Google Voice (with Talkatone) to make free calls. So overall, I get really fast speeds with a high data cap and unlimited minutes and unlimited texts all for just $30 a month.

  • Felix Estrada

    Just a heads up for those thinking about switching to T-Mobile: No call forwarding (even though some pages advertise it). This means no alternative voicemail (Google Voice, etc). I love my Galaxy Nexus + $30/mo combo, but with only 100 minutes visual voicemail is sorely missed.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I haven’t had issues with voicemail and Google Voice. From what I have read, T-Mobile does allow conditional call forwarding for voicemail only, but you can’t forward a pre-paid T-Mobile number to another number.

      • Steven

        Tmobile prepaid doesnt include visual voicemail either

  • StabMasterArson

    I’m gonna be in Paris for about 10 days next month. Anybody have recommendations for a prepaid SIM? I’ll want both voice and data, obviously. FWIW, I have an HTC One S.

  • skyflakes

    I’m not from the US. From where I am, a prepaid SIM costs less than a dollar while unlimited data (3G) + unlimited call and text costs around $35 per month. There’s a daily cap of 800MB for data, but I rarely go over that.

  • James Sugrue

    I switched from Verizon to T-mobile’s $30 unlimited data / 100 min plan last week. I’m using a Galaxy Nexus, with Groove IP to make calls through my Google Voice number. Everything is great so far. My only complaint is if I’m connecting to wi-fi and using Groove IP, the call will drop if the network switches to HSPA+. Not really a big deal though.

    • Steven

      Just curious what do existing Tmo customers do to get that $30 100 min plan. Theyve told me its only for new customers so either port your number elsewhere for a month and then re-sign up for the Walmart plan – - or else you need to set up a brand new TMobile number. Seems like theyre once again trying to screw their existing loyal customers

  • Steven

    I was considering Simple Mobile since Im currently on Tmobile Prepaid. Im curious as to why you put Straight Talk ahead of them. Both are very secret about what their plans cover. Ive emailed both multiple times and they will refuse to tell you ; they just say look at their terms and conditions, which say nothing except they can cancel you at any time for no reason; and they can cancel you if your use is excessive or affects their network. When pushed, Straight Talk supervisor emailed me and confirmed THAT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STREAM VIDEO OR MUSIC. It seems these people say unlimited web, not data…so if youre just checking email and web sites now and then youll be fine. But even though Ive been on wifi a lot lately, my data app showed that in a month I used up 6gb – and that was only checking emails, websites and a few games. But Id like to hear from Taylor why ST was #1 and SM was #4. Online, Ive heard people who love and hate both carriers. Ive also heard people having trouble with ports and activations. But for your 3G connection, Simple Mobile is 40 vs Straight Talks 50…and SM also gives you free international texts as a bonus – especially since I have family and friends in Canada & Australia & Israel. But the negatives on the SM and ST were similar…Is it just that ST you can use an ATT phone or were there more negatives with SM.

  • Steven

    Does the $45 Straight Talk give you HSPA (+21 or and +42) cuz their rep told me the service was only 3G but ive learned not to listen to any of the customer service reps cuz often they have no clue what theyre talking about

  • ben

    t’mobile charges $15 for hotspot on top of whatever prepaid option you choose.

    And straight talk’s $45 plan explicitly forbids tethering,

  • Ichigo

    Straight talk is the best option in my opinion.

  • makhay

    Hey Timothy,

    Can you tell me about your experience with Solavei. I am considering it because I have heard stories of being cut off for overuse on data on StraightTalk, SimpleMobile and Net10. T-mobile’s prepaid is just too costly, and as good as the $30 plan is, i need dedicated minutes.. no talkatone. So Solavei, what is your experience? 4GB then throttling is a great deal. How are your data speeds? Same as T-Mobile? Any other issues?


    • Kristine

      Solavei has been fantastic! Since starting this service a year ago, I have lived in Boulder, CO and Austin, TX. I have had impeccable 4G service in both places.

  • Ren

    Why no discussion of other prepaid carriers such as those that operate on the Sprint network?

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Because Sprint has a CDMA network. You can’t bring your own unlocked GSM phone to pre-paid brands like Virgin Mobile or Boost.

      • Shawn from Boston

        Last I heard Boost Mobile still uses gsm sim card phones ( with two-way Radio as well ) I still know people using them the older nextel and Boost Mobile phones so as far as I know Boost Mobile Is a GSM and CDMA network and I do believe they are using Sprint’s network as well Boost Is $55- aMo with a shrinkage plan for the first year and a half if you pay on time and don’t let your service run out or shut -off you can shrink your monthly payment $40- a Month and the first time your late you go back to the original payment $55- a month and then you start all over some of my freinds like it and some don’t (Apples and Oranges ) I Guess…

        • Akiree

          I’ve had boost for almost 4 years now. They’ve pulled service from my state which only affects me in that there are no stores and stores don’t carry any boost mobile phones. But prepaid cards are still in stores and any services I need have to be done iver the horrible foreign telephobe service. That’s pretty much my only con though. What you’ve heard about the shrinkage pland is incorrect though. I am down to $40 a month. Android monthly unlimites service plus $5 insurance. The on time payments build but do not have to be consecutive. If you’re always on time, as soon as you signed up for it you’re down $15 in 18 months. If not, it can take a lot longer. If you’re always late you’ll never get there, but you don’t lose any credits you’ve already made to your next shrinkage drop.

    • dave homeless

      also because sprint sucks, thats coming from a current subscriber

      • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

        Truth. Sprint 3G is horrible is most markets.

        • snowbdr89

          Sprint is horrible in all markets!!

  • crunchybutternut

    I hope I don’t get flamed for this…

    My wife and I currently are on Sprint, but have not been on contract for about 6 months.
    I am interested in switching to a prepaid service, but am not sure which to choose.

    I plan to buy the unlocked version of the Nexus 4 when it comes out, so that will not be an issue.
    My wife has an iPhone 4S and wants to either stay with the 4S or get the iPhone 5, but I have read that a lot of people have problems with MMS on the pre-paid plans when using an iPhone.

    Is there a AT&T/T-Mobile service that supports MMS on iPhones without needing to jailbreak?

  • timthedon

    I have a att locked htc one x and i was thinking about puttin mine on straight talk like taylor did his can i just buy the st micro sim and pop it in my phone will it work?

  • ibap

    If you sign up for auto-refill on Net10, they knock off the $5 that it exceeds StraightTalk.

  • LoyalAndroidUser

    Following this article, I left TMobile and went to Straight Talk with my own unlocked TMobile MyTouch 4G phone for TMobile.

    I have to say that I am disappointed because I had 4G all day long here in Fort Lauderdale, but I cant get past 2G since going to Straight Talk. Straight Talk support tells me that they dont use all of the TMobile towners, so I shoudlnt expect the same connection, but that I should be able to get 4G locally. They dont tell you exactly where you can get 4G nor publish a map. It looks like I will be switching carriers again in about 3 weeks.

  • SHAWN from Boston

    Just for those that need to know as of two weeks ago T-Mobile bought out Metro PCS which is a pre paid no contract LTE and I believe they upgraded to LTE as of a year ago service it is the only one that I know of but God only knows what will happen with TMO at the Helm ,but anyway I was with Metro early on , 5 yrs ago and I had a lot of problems W/dropped calls no-service ect but they assured me new towers were being installed as I spoke but I would go one town over and loose my service I mean it had its pro’s and con’s I did not like their service at all but thats just me I mean now they offer unlimited everything for $30- amonth 2gb of Lte and then bottleneck to 3g then 2g and so on …. Lets hear what you think ?

  • Gerrmeister

    I bought an unlocked Samsung Exhibit II 4G phone about 9 months ago and it has worked great on Straight Talk. I use it in the NYC metro area. I bought it from Walmart.com for $199 (now it is down to $174.88). The Straight Talk plan I use is the $45/month unlimited plan in T-Mobile mode. I bought Straight Talks’ SIM card for $15. Switching over my cell number online was easy. So far, I have not hit the data cap. I due view cameras that I have set up, and various web pages, and email. I do not stream music nor movies so I am not a super-heavy data user. Voice reception has been fine, as has been 4G data reception. The Samsung Exhibit II 4G has worked great, although some might say it is getting slightly old. I love that it has an LED flash that I can use as a flashlight. The 3mp camera takes ok photos, but not the best. It has been fantastic having an unlimited voice plan and 4G data plan that with tax, costs less than $50!!!.

  • Chris

    There is another great pre paid company that can help you save even more money then these 5 carriers. http://123tellme.com

  • m23

    when it says “Only T-Mobile compatible phones will see full 4G HSPA+ speeds, , but this will improve as T-Mobile upgrades their network to support 1900 MHz in their top 50 markets by end of 2012.” does this mean only unlocked american phones will then see 4g speeds or international gsm phones will also have 4g hspa+ speeds? i am referring in particular to the international version of the htc one x. it only gets 2g speeds at the moment, which is a shame.

  • mr 1338

    seems like the US has only expensive, but all including plans. I use only little voice, text and data in europe and get 100min 100SMS and 300MB for 9.99€ Prepaid

  • Chris C.

    My friend had mentioned about looking into Straight Talk, since my wife & I are still using dumb phones, though it would be great to affordably be able to stream Pandora, Soma FM etc, but after reading thru the slapdash data limitations/restrictions/ some get dropped, others aren’t affected scenarios, it kind of deflated my balloon…We hardly make calls, so text & data was my selling point, but thought that it sounded to good to be true , seems it was.

  • Rene B.

    Do NOT believe the StraightTalk unlimited data. It’s a lie if not a scam. Stay away from StraightTalk.

  • Kyle

    The best plan I’ve seen through all my comparison research, is Solavei. $49/mo unlimited talk, text & data (1st 4gb of data are at 4G speeds) & you get paid every month, residual income for referrals. NO other company offers that. Check it out at: http://www.freemobile4all.com

  • wmi

    I don’t know that scam is the right term on Straight Talk. Granted, I’ve only been on there a couple weeks now but so far $45 for *Unlimited data that gets throttled down after I get 2GB? Doesn’t sound too bad to me… especially given that AT&T was now throttling my old previously “unlimited” post-paid plan at 3GB. I’m about at 1GB so far this month.

    As I’ve said before – $1k of savings a month essentially the same service as I was getting before isn’t hateful. I’ll continue updating my blog on the transition, but so far so good… http://addicted-to-it.blogspot.com/2013/01/save-1000-year-by-buying-nexus-4-and.html

  • No Contract Phone

    That’s really nice plans. Thank you for sharing with us. Find more information about prepaid phone at http://www.prepaydwireless.com/

  • Dean Ethridge

    Hi Taylor,

    Great article. I am a huge fan of Solavei because I’ve taken advantage of the referral program enough to pay for my mortgage. Without hyping it, don’t you agree it’s the same (more 4G Data though) as Straight Talk but they pay referrals for $4 more a month? You can also support small business owners in the process. Your site is great by the way! Amazing Alexa rating. Keep up the great work!

  • Renee Hymel

    I have been AT&T forever. I am considering bringing my samsung galaxy S2 to either Straight Talk or Net 10. AT&T says that if I use my phone and they pick up on it, they can stop my service. How true is that, or is that only if I use my phone with one of their pre-paid plans?

  • Greg

    Consumer Cellular now offers data plans into the GB/month range. I’d be interested in seeing a review of this carrier. A recent issue of Consumer Reports magazine showed Consumer Cellular as having the highest customer satisfaction of any carrier.

  • Darren Van Soye

    I purchased a Samsung S3 out of the country. When I return, I will be sure to put all of this great information to use!

    ***Just a tip for those who are concerned about lock-in with one carrier or another. My recommendation would be to use Google Voice. (Basically, Google Voice provides a free number and then forwards all of your calls to a number of your choosing.) That way, you can give your Google Voice number to friends and family and then experiment with one or more carriers without having to tell everyone that your phone number has changed. There are many other services like Google Voice if you can’t or don’t want to use them. Google Voice is free.


    • roz

      You canalso port your number to Google Voice.

  • Mikestalk

    let me tell you that a 4G PHONE CAN GET 4G SPEEDS BUT PROBABLY WON’T! and let me te me tell anyone who thinks it does why most of the cell phone towers only have 3g servers. . that’s why you see 3g on 4g phones, phone companies don’t want to spend the money to upgrade their towers. .SO PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A 4g PHONE YOU WON’T HAVE 4G SPEEDS UNLESS YOUR IN A METROPOLIS CITY WHERE THEY PROBABLY KEEP UP WITH THE TIMES!!

  • Jeminai

    I was on the virgin mobile prepaid plans when they started at $25.00 a month, but when I was four days late on my payment I had to restart my service at the higher price of $35.00 and pay a fee of $15.00 to keep my same number! I switched to Straight Talk and I have been happy with the actual service itself, “BUT”, AND IT’S A “BIG BUT”, THE PHONES SUCK, SO BAD IT GIVES ME NIGHTMARES! IN 65 DAYS, I’VE HAD TO PURCHASE THREE PHONES (PLUS!, THE $45.00 PIN CARD THATS REQUIRED TO ACTIVATE THE

  • Jeminai

    I was on the virgin mobile prepaid plans when they started at $25.00 a month, but when I was four days late on my payment I had to restart my service at the higher price of $35.00 and pay a fee of $15.00 to keep my same number! I switched to Straight Talk and I have been happy with the actual (signal/cell reception, talk, text, and web) service itself, “BUT”, AND IT’S A “BIG BUT”, THE PHONES SUCK, SO BAD IT GIVES ME NIGHTMARES! IN 65 DAYS, I’VE HAD TO PURCHASE THREE PHONES (PLUS!, THE $45.00 PIN CARD THATS REQUIRED TO ACTIVATE THE PHONE [EACH TIME], EVEN THOUGH I HAD MINUTES REMAINING ON THE BROKEN PHONES!).



    I FEEL SOOO MUCH BETTER NOW!!” I don’t know that what I’ve said will be helpful to anyone, but it helped me some. “Thank you VERY MUCH for providing this forum of information and letting me finally get that rant off my chest.” :-D
    (PS. And, I’m sorry for yelling. I sincerely apologize.) ;-)

    • rachael schwind

      u have the zte merit huh?

    • Jeff

      Perhaps you should talk to your employer about providing a “work” phone for you. Seems like a no brainer.

  • Paul David Dantuma

    I have Iowa wireless and I have unlimited everything on my NEXUS! I get about 8 Mbps and service where I live and in the town I work! I pay 102 bucks for 60 days and I am not throttled! Last month I used 70 gigs in 30 days! Netflix, Pandora, Slacker, YouTube, VEVO. plus I can use my phone as a hotspot and they don’t care!

  • Chris

    I’ve been doing some research and thought AT&T would be best for me. However I can’t find any no contract providers anymore! Are there any left or is T mobile the only one left? My plan was to buy (2) Nexus 4 phones and (2) AT&T sim cards. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Bobba

      You can still purchase Net10 sim cards on Amazon that give you access to the AT&T network. As I understand it, any NET10 sim card ending with SIMC4 or SIMC4B or something to that effect is for the AT&T network and not for the T-mobile side wich they also support.

      Here is the link from where I bought from and I concur that the sim cards I purchased are indeed AT&T sims with the SIMC4B.


  • vikash kumar

    hiiii i recently bought Samsung galaxy s3 unlocked phone. i m using t mobile network. but they give me only edge speed for my data i am using 60 $ plan for 4g network and 2 gb data. but it seems like i m getting nothing . it takes time to video streaming and opening web pages. i m really tired with this network. so please help which carrier is best for me. i am living in bay area.

  • Chris

    If I was able to find an AT&T sim card, once activated, could I lose it or will it keep working as long as I keep paying? Don’t want to buy something that will be discontinued.

  • gibz

    net 10 is NOT unlimited. i have a $50 unlimited prepaid plan, unlimited is 50,000 minutes per month. with my iphone, my data was suspended after 1.5 weeks because i used over 1.5gb of data. that is far from unlimited.

  • Bobba

    Here’s a little tip to folks when it comes to data usage. I used to have Verizon unlimited and I was grandfathered into unlimited even when I switched to 4G LTE. I used up 6 Gigs per month on average.

    I got my data usage down to less than 700 mb per month by making the following changes in my usage that really were inconsequential to me:

    1) Go into Google Play store and change settings so it only downloads and installs apps automatically on WiFi.

    2) I changed auto uploads of photos to Google Plus to be done on WiFi only.

    3) I changed auto downloads of my podcasts to only on WiFi.

    4) I stopped downloading custom ROM updates when I was away from a WiFi network…so I just waited to do that stuff at home or school or somewhere that I had a WiFi connection.

    That’s it. Those 4 changes reduced my monthly data usage to around 700 Mb per month! Now I expect that will go up some as I relax a bit and don’t worry about my data usage anymore, so I will probably go up just above a Gig / month or so. Now doing this gives me all sorts of viable options now. I can go with any of these MVNO cellular providers and know that I will be just fine and free of any of those hidden limits. Staying below 1.5 Gig of data usage for the first few months on any these pre-paid carriers is probably the safest thing to do. After that, maybe you can push the limits up to 2 Gigs. But I would not recommend anyone go over 2 Gigs at all.

    Unless you are with Solavei which publishes their 4 Gig limit, or if you go with T-Mobile new plans that have 2.5 Gigs before slowing you down to 2G….I would play it safe and stay below 1.5 Gigs of data / month.

    It’s totally doable, even for the chronic cell phone user that I can be at times. Just connect to WiFi whenever you can, and shut off all the auto downloading / uploading of stuff. You should be easily able to keep your data below 2 Gigs for sure and maybe even below 1 Gig of data if you follow these tips.

    And I still use Feedly, browse the web like crazy, and have all sorts of apps like youtube, break.com, the chive.com and other media heavy apps that I use everyday and still stay below 1 Gig per month.

  • Bryan

    FYI, I just ordered a SIM card from T-Mobile, intending to sign up for the $30 plan mentioned in this article. The SIM card cost $10, not $0.99.

    I guess I have to wait for the SIM card to arrive before I can sign up for the plan, so I don’t know whether there will be any kind of discount when I do that. I strongly doubt it.

  • sunshine

    will a simple mobile sim card work in a straight talk phone?

  • a


  • Meryem

    Hey ! Great article.

    I’m coming to california for 3 months (from France) and i’m keeping my french bank account so I won’t have an american bank account. Can I still purchase one of these plans ? How do you pay for them ?

  • Danny

    Spot Mobile Wireless is the next big thing! Great plans, Great T-mobile coverage, Excellent customer services, great affordable unlimited plans, International pay as you go, All unlimited plans include a international pay as you go bonus to landlines and cell phones. As low as $24.99 Unlimited Talk to $59.99 Unlimited talk, text, MMS, 3G Data with $20 Intl bonus to landline and cell phone. $39.99 now includes 1G Data more than other carriers using the same network. Why wait! Go to spotmobile.com and check for yourselves.

    (T-Mobile MVNO)


    $3.00 UP TO $25 75 Sims Minimum
    $2.00 UP TO $20 50 Sims Minimum
    $1.00 UP TO $15 25 Sims Minimum



    Check coverage and plans at Spotmobile.com

    Call (956)240-9234
    Provide your e-mail for further information

  • Roger

    well every plan has its pros and cons but I think straight talk or net10 is the best, I was under the impression that Net10 had truely Unlimited data according to the folks over at http://www.phoneflashed.com , as they seem to suggest that Net10 is the best becuase of their truely unlimited data plan. It used to be only truely unlimited on t-Mobiles network, but now as far as I can tell its unlimited using the at&t variant of the sim.

  • TJ Mitch

    Thanks for your site, I think its great. Check out Ting mobile if you want to save money on your cell phone. They only charge you for minutes you use. Its the cheapest plan around. You can save $25 if you use a referral link . Feel free to use link https://zbq0ep1b1e4.ting.com/

  • Ana

    Straight Talk Sim card is currently $6.99 in my area. Has both AT&T and T-mobile sims.

  • larry o

    I’m considering a ONE+ 1. It’s being offered again in a few days on-line. Has / Does anyone own this phone and is currently using a “non-contract” plan?

    This is my first foray into the smartphone world and this phone seems to be the best for the money.

    After reading the comments above, I saw no mention of the phone I want to buy.

    It’s an unlocked Android Phone but I don’t know enough about it to tell if it “qualifies” for use for plans like ST, NET10, etc.

  • anonymous

    Can u still go on pandora, instagram and other social media ?

  • Lavanya

    Recently i came to US for my master’s.i have my samsung S3 android one with me.i want to buy a prepaid sim which suits it for making calls.can u please help me in selecting one? unlimited talk means, exactly what? can i make international calls also?