Prepaid phones have largely been under the radar for the past five years. There are two reasons for this. One is that consumer expectations were different than they are now. The second is that prepaid wireless providers have become more aggressive with their offers and prices.
In the past, prepaid cellphone plans were seen as the “lesser” option. It seems funny to think about now, but they were seen as only for people who did not qualify for standard contract wireless plans. Since you need to pass a credit check and qualify for a contract phone, since you pay after you use the service each month, if you had bad credit all you could do was get a prepaid phone. Prepaid phones do not require a credit check, which actually sounds like a good thing.
Worse, prepaid phones were often associated with people who didn’t want to be “traced.” They have long been used in cop shows and procedural dramas as a way of evading prying ears. In other words, some people associated pay as you go phones with crime. It sounds strange, but add all the negative connotations together and you start to see that many people did not see prepaid as a viable option.
Many people also simply did not know anything about prepaid cell phone plans since they have not been heavily advertised by wireless companies. Still, many people quietly saved money every month by using prepaid cell phone plans.
The new unlimited prepaid plans provide more bang for the buck than similar plans ever really have. As a way to compete in a crowded marketplace, many wireless providers have unveiled user-friendly unlimited plans that provide subscribers with limitless talk time, texting, and internet surfing. It is a testament to how far the prepaid market has come that some of these companies now compete directly with contract-based plans.
The economy is also a factor, as it always is in consumer decisions and perceptions. Since many people are struggling financially, they have begun to cut costs out of their daily lives. The first things many people look at when deciding to make cut backs are cable TV, entertainment expenses, and cell phone bills.
Prepaid wireless plans offer people the opportunity to cut back on their expenses in a crucial way. Many consumers overspend on their current plans, but do not notice it. Getting ahead financially is not about how much money you earn, it’s about how much you save.
Unlimited plans seem to cover moderate cell phone users very well. Tracfone has two plans under the Straight Talk banner, which offer extremely competitive deals. One plan for 1,000 minutes per month costs $30, while the Unlimited plan costs $45. Boost Mobile has a monthly unlimited plan that costs $50. Other contenders are MetroPCS, Page Plus Cellular, and Cricket.