Just about every leading mobile phone provider now offers some sort of prepaid calling plan in order to fit their customers' budgets. But is is right for you?
The first question you'll need to ask yourself is how often you'll use your wireless phone?
Since the biggest benefit of a prepaid wireless phone is there is no monthly contract, you'll pay a little more for the prepaid minutes you purchase. But if you plan on using your phone strictly on an as-needed basis for emergencies, etc., a prepaid wireless program could be just what you're looking for.
The biggest mistake most people make when choosing to go prepaid is not reading the "fine print" of the providers' terms and conditions.
In most cases, the prepaid minutes you purchase will expire after a certain period of time, usually two or three months down the road. What this means is, if you buy 300 minutes today and fail to purchase more minutes anytime during the next few months, the unused portion of those 300 minutes will be unuseable!
This is sort of a convenient way to force you to keep on purchasing minutes even if you don't actually need them.
Another thing to watch out for is a daily minimum. Many providers will charge you $1.00 for each day you use your wireless phone. So if you get a prepaid wireless phone with the intention of making one two-minute call every day of the month, in addition to using 60 minutes of airtime, some providers will also charge you an additional $30 for the month, since you used the phone all 30 days.
Not a very good deal.
Out of all the prepaid wireless deals out there, TracFone seems to have the most competitive prices and terms of service. Although TracFone minutes expire after three months unless you purchase additional minutes (just like all the other companies), they also have a one-year activation service which is perfect for people just needing a wireless phone for emergency purposes. The deal changes from month to month, but usually provides for one year of activation, without requiring you to purchase additional minutes for a whole year. Thus, your monthly cost should average about $8.00 and you'll have a wireless phone with a few hundred minutes that will be good for the whole year.
The choices seem endless, but it pays to educate yourself about prepaid wireless phone plans.
This article was posted on September 05, 2005