No Contract Cell Phones: Comparing Plans from Straight Talk, Metro PCS, Cricket and Boost Mobile (Part I)
Prepaid phone plans are more popular than ever as people realize that they don’t have to be hassled or tied down by contract-only phone plans. While prepaid phones haven’t traditionally been as good as contract phones, competitive companies like Boost and Straight Talk are changing the game. Some of the most popular prepaid phone plans in the U.S. include Straight Talk, Metro PCS, and Boost Mobile. Let's take a look at how these phone plans compare.
Straight Talk is one of the newer prepaid phone plans, introduced by its parent company, Tracfone. Straight Talk is heavily marketed by Wal-Mart. Overall they have decent phones and fairly good plans. As with anything, its not perfect and there are some drawbacks.
- Straight Talk offers two plans. One is $30 a month and provides 1,000 minutes, 1,000 text/picture messages, 30 MB of data. The other plan is $45 a month and offers unlimited talk, text, and web. The unlimited plan gives you the option of refilling once per month, once per 90 days, once every 6 months, or once per year. Their plans are very affordable.
- Straight Talk is one of the few prepaid phone service providers to offer relatively new smart phones. This is good for people who want smart phones but don’t want lengthy, restrictive contracts.
- Some may find the customer service lacking. When you call Straight Talk, you are given a menu option just like with other companies. However, refilling your plan is a tricky process, especially if your phone has been deactivated. Getting started with Straight Talk involves a heavily drawn out process that takes almost 45 minutes to complete. Straight Talk also outsources its customer service to foreign countries so you may find yourself on the line with a representative wants to help, but has difficulty speaking English well enough for you to understand.
- The website has several unsolved technical issues and is not cross-browser compatible. Refilling your phone through the website is nearly impossible, even if you have the right login information. Many of the pages have errors and the website does not work well with Google Chrome or Firefox.
- Calls drop frequently, especially in higher altitudes. If you need a reliable phone that rarely drops calls, look elsewhere. Straight Talk customers report a high rate of dropped calls. In general, you get what you pay for with Straight Talk.
Metro PCS has been around for several years. They are mostly located in the Southeast and in some places throughout the West and Midwestern United States.
- Metro PCS has been around for a long time so they’ve had time to evolve and improve their service and phone selection.
- Metro PCS has good customer service. Their agents are based in the United States and its easy to contact a representative if you need help.
- Metro PCS has affordable phone plans. They currently have one of the cheapest unlimited plans in the U.S., at just $40 per month.
- This is not a good service to travel with. Roaming costs extra money and it has to be paid at the Metro PCS store at least a few days before you plan on traveling. You also have to tell them exactly what city you are going to. This makes it an inconvenient service for business travelers or those who have flexible living arrangements.
- Customers report that the Internet is slow. If you have a phone through Metro PCS that connects to the Internet, expect to be waiting a while to check your email. Metro PCS has slow Internet service.
These are just two of the prepaid plans that are currently available on the market. Be sure to see our second segment in this series, No Contract Phone Plans Part 2: Boost Mobile and Cricket.
Deborah Lawwill is a blogger and internet copywriter. You can learn more about Deborah at her website, deborahsquill.com.