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Have you ever tried to shop for a new cell phone plan, only to get totally frustrated by the whole process due to all the different variables? It is an incredibly difficult task.

My family needed a new plan, so I decided to make a simple comparison of all the no-contract plans that have unlimited talk, text and data. But I ran into a number of problems. You have the major carriers and the discount carriers (who are really just selling the major carriers networks, but they are doing it at lower prices). Also, I found “unlimited” in data doesn’t always mean the same thing–it usually means high speed data up to a certain point, and then lower speed data after that. So there are even some “gotchas” when you try to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

Below, you will find my best attempt to clear up this confusion so we can all make an informed buying decision on an unlimited cell phone plan. I also have a comparison of long distance plans as well. Please e-mail us if you have thoughts or comments on how we can do a better job with this comparison.

Thanks,
John Oldshue
CEO, SaveOnPhone.com

1. Republic Wireless

republicwireless
Editor Rating:
Unlimited Cost : $25 per month for unlimited talk and text and 3G data. $40 per month for unlimited talk and text with 4G LTE data
Contract: No
4G: Yes
Coverage Map: Click Here
Types Of Phones: Android
Overview :

Republic Wireless has, by far, the best priced "Unlimited" plan available today. At $40 per month for unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE  high speed data, and $25 a month for unlimited 3G data, it easily blows away the competition.  If you don't need data, then you can have unlimited talk and text for just $10 per month. And you can change back and forth between plans twice a month.

Gotcha:

The one big GOTCHA is you must use their smartphone, the Moto X, which will cost $299. Even after factoring in this cost, we still believe this plan is head and shoulders above the competition.

2. Straight Talk

Straight_Talk
Editor Rating:
Unlimited Cost : $41.25 per month for unlimited talk, text and data
Contract: No
4G: Yes
Coverage Map: Click Here
Types Of Phones: Android, Apple, Windows
Overview :

Straight Talk is different than other discount carriers because it is not tied to one underlying network. If you go with Straight Talk, you could get any one of the four big carriers as your underlying carrier. It all depends on where you live and what company offers the best wholesale deal on Straight Talk in your region. That kind of guessing game is rather frustrating when you are trying to select a particular network which works best in your area. The pricing from Straight Talk makes up for it. It costs $45 per month for unlimited talk, text and data. You can cut the effective cost to $41.25 per month if you buy the $495 yearly plan. The fact they allow you to bring your own phone is awesome as well. They claim to be the discount carrier that is most compatible with phones brought from other companies. This would probably be our top pick if not for the limitations on unlimited data. All in all a very competitive plan.

Gotcha:

The GOTCHA is that the unlimited data part of the plan is only 2.5 GB of high speed data per month--after that, you will get slower speeds for the rest of the 30-day period.

3. Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk Plan

download
Editor Rating:
Unlimited Cost : $55 per month for unlimited talk, text and data
Contract: No
4G: Yes
Coverage Map: Click Here
Types Of Phones: Android, Apple
Overview :

Virgin Mobile takes a different approach to the "unlimited" plan. Every plan it offers has unlimited data and texts. The pricing differences in the plans are based on the number of talk minutes used. For $55 a month, everything is unlimited. If you don't talk much and can live on 300 minutes of calls per month, then you can lower the monthly fee to $35. A nice bonus for iPhone users that use auto pay is that they get an extra $5 discount per month. Virgin Mobile uses the smaller Sprint network as the underlying carrier, so be sure to check your coverage.

Gotcha:

The big GOTCHA is you can not bring your existing phone from another carrier; you'll have to buy a phone from Virgin Mobile to use their plan. That is definitely a drawback, so this plan ranks lower on our list.

4. T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan

t-mobile-logo-1000x1000
Editor Rating:
Unlimited Cost : $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and 500 mb of high speed data
Contract: No
4G: Yes
Coverage Map: Click Here
Types Of Phones: Android, Apple
Overview :

The T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan is an unlimited plan for voice, text and data. T-Mobile is one of the big 4 cell phone carriers but is always trying to play catch-up to Verizon and AT&T . Their network is more limited in size than the other carriers, but also less congested. T-Mobile is trying to compete with the big guys with some creative pricing. They are currently offering up to $650 per line to switch to help cover early termination fees. They switched to a no-contract pre-paid model for all of their plans. With the  T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan, customers get unlimited voice minutes and text messaging and can choose 500 MB of high speed 3G/4G data per month for $50, 2.5 GB high speed 3G/4G of data per month for $60, or unlimited high speed 3G/4G data for $70 per month. If you exceed the high speed allowance for a month, you will still have unlimited data on all the Simple Choice Plans but at lower data speeds.

Gotcha:

The GOTCHAS are the small network size for 4G LTE speeds, and the fact that if you exceed your high speed 4G/3G allotment, the data speed will drop down to a much slower 2G speed.

5. Sprint As You Go Plan

Sprint-Icon
Editor Rating:
Unlimited Cost : $60 per month for unlimited talk, text and data
Contract: No
4G: Yes
Coverage Map: Click Here
Types Of Phones: Android, Apple, Windows
Overview :

Sprint is trying to catch Verizon and AT&T. They have a limited network but have become aggressive in pricing. The Sprint As You Go plan is probably the best deal for no-contract unlimited plans from the major carriers . Truly unlimited voice, text and data for $60 per month. It gets kind of murky after that. Can you bring your own phone or not? Nobody seems to have a clue on this one. They do have a trade-in program. If you want to share a plan, you are going to have to go through their contract options. While this is the best plan price-wise from the major carriers, the data coverage area for high speed is much more limited than Verizon and AT&T.

Gotcha:

The GOTCHA is the network size. It is small compared to Verizon and AT&T. Sprint tried the alternate WIMAX technology when it started to build a high speed network but that never really took off so it has been playing catch-up building a 4G network.

6. Verizon Prepaid Wireless Plan

verizon_O8e
Editor Rating:
Unlimited Cost : $60 per month for unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data
Contract: No
4G: Yes
Coverage Map: Click Here
Types Of Phones: Android, Apple, Windows
Overview :

Verizon is in an all-out war with AT&T to be the largest carrier in the nation. The Verizon data network is generally regarded as the biggest and most reliable in the United States. You pay dearly for that network though. The cheapest unlimited Talk & Text plan for a smartphone is going to run you $60 per month and it only includes 2 GB of data. It appears Verizon is okay with you bringing your own device, but we can't guarantee that. Shop the discount carriers listed here if you need to be on the Verizon network without incurring the Verizon cost.

Gotcha:

The GOTCHA is the price and the limited amount of high speed data. They just do not have an unlimited data plan so you are probably going to incur overages at some point.

7. Boost Mobile

Boost stkd_logo CMYK
Editor Rating:
Unlimited Cost : $55 per month for unlimited talk, text and data
Contract: No
4G: Yes
Coverage Map: Click Here
Types Of Phones: Android, Apple
Overview :

A pretty ordinary offering from Boost Mobile. For $55 a month, you get unlimited talk text and data, but the the data is limited to 2.5 GB of high speed data each month. You can not bring your own phone and must purchase a new phone from them. This plan does allow you to reduce the cost per month with on-time payments--if you pay on-time for 18 months, your cost will be reduced to $40 per month, a decent price. If you like this plan, you may like the same plan even more from Virgin mobile where they will give you a few more pricing options.

Gotcha:

The GOTCHAS are you have to buy a phone from them and the high speed data is limited.

8. NET 10

Net10-Logo
Editor Rating:
Unlimited Cost : $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and data
Contract: No
4G: Yes, varies
Coverage Map: Click Here
Types Of Phones: Android, Apple, Windows
Overview :

This is basically the same plan as Straight Talk (both owned by TracFone) but it cost $5-$10 more per month. Why? We have no idea. If you like this plan, then you will like Straight Talk better because it costs less and is the same thing.

Gotcha:

The GOTCHA is the cost. Go get the same plan from Straight Talk for less money.

9. AT&T Mobile Share Plan

att-logo-220x220
Editor Rating:
Unlimited Cost : $45 per month for unlimited talk and text and 300MB of data
Contract: No
4G: Yes
Coverage Map: Click Here
Types Of Phones: Android, Apple, Windows
Overview :

AT&T is in a continuous battle with Verizon to be the largest carrier in the United States. Their network is extensive, but can be congested at times. AT&T no longer has a true unlimited plan. You can get unlimited talk and text easy enough with the no-contract Mobile Share plan, but they get pretty stingy when it comes to data. Our advice is to steer clear of AT&T because they always end up being the most expensive and typically have the lowest customer service scores. If you must have AT&T, we suggest choosing one of the discounters on our page that use AT&T as their underlying network. If you go through AT&T, the cost is going to run from a low of $45 per month with unlimited talk and text and 300MB of data all the way to $95 per month for the same plan with 4GB of data. It is well worth your time to shop elsewhere even if you need the AT&T network.

Gotcha:

The GOTCHAS are most everything. Price is high and customer service is not. There are plenty of other options where you still use the AT&T network and you pay less.

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