By now most people have heard of the new wave of "UNLIMITED",or flat-rate, no contract cell phone services. The general benefit of these is that for a set price, you get to use the phone as much as you want, without worrying about "going over" your minutes for some ridiculous fee, another benefit is the fact that there is no contract. If you don't pay the bill the only consequence is that you don't have service. You can pay the bill at any time and continue the service.
Who would "unlimited" cell phone services be appropriate for?
These plans are usually beneficial to people that have set budgets. They tend to have plans at different prices that include additional features as the price goes up, such as long distance & international calling, and unlimited text messaging, So be sure to factor in your cell phone needs and the features you use the most when choosing your plan. For example, a young adult that is going out on their own and trying to manage their money, but uses text messaging a lot would probably find it better in the long run to pay the extra five dollars a month for unlimited text, as opposed to paying ten cents a text message.
Parents might consider this type of plan for their teenage children, versus putting them on their family plan. Since the plan is flat-rate, there's no chance of excessive talking or texting driving up the bill.
Do keep in mind that some of these plans will charge you for roaming, or may not work at all in certain cities, as their networks aren't as extensive as the big carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, etc.
If you do decide that the unlimited services would be a good fit for you, I recommend going with one of the three major providers below, as they ARE established players in their respective markets:
MetroPCS - This provider works in about 300 cities and metro areas in the United States, including Rhode Island, New Jersey, Boston, New York City, Detroit, Dallas, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sarasota, Tampa and Daytona, along with their surrounding suburbs. Their plans range from $30-50 per month, and they also have a few family plans. They also have options such as unlimited calling to Mexico, travel-talk, directory assistance, call forwarding among others. Paying is easy because in cities where MetroPCS is provided, there is literally a store on every other street. They also have an option to pay your bill online with a credit card. Check coverage for MetroPCS.
Boost Mobile- In addition to their basic "pay-as-go-you" plan, Boost Mobile provides an unlimited service for $50 per month. The unlimited service provides unlimited talk, text, Internet use(on applicable phones), voicemail, long distance and walkie-talkie use. They also waive roaming charges in the unlimited plan. They claim to have nationwide coverage, however according to the coverage map on the website service is NOT available in Montana, Wyoming, New Hampshire or Rhode Island.
Cricket Wireless- A Subsidiary of Leap wireless, this is another popular and widely used unlimited service provider., they have plans that range from $30-60 per month., or family plans starting at $99 per month. The most extensive plan includes unlimited talk, voicemail, long distance,domestic text & picture messaging,, text to Mexico, caller id, call forwarding, 3-way calling, AND 200 free roaming minutes. Crickets network includes the majority of the continental United States, excluding Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Check Coverage for Cricket Wireless.
...Now put that unlimited chatting to good use.