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10 alternative carriers that can save you serious cash on your smartphone bill

Ian Paul | Feb. 3, 2015
When it comes time to choose a wireless carrier, most Americans just go with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. Recently, more and more people have been tempted by T-Mobile's cost-slashing "Uncarrier" moves, but that's about where it ends: the four major carriers.

7. UltraMobile

  • Carrier: T-Mobile
  • BYOD: Yes
  • Cost: $19-$59 per month
  • LTE: Yes

Ultra Mobile offers a number of standard plans that can meet your needs. The company also offers some international options for those who need to call overseas (as do a number of other MVNOs, including Brightspot). For $29 Ultra Mobile offers unlimited talk and text, and 1GB of LTE data.

8. Net10

  • Carrier: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
  • BYOD: Yes
  • Cost: $25-$80 per month
  • LTE: Yes

Owned by TracFone, Net10 offers connections on all four networks depending on your preferences. For $40 per month you can get unlimited talk, text, and data. The downside is Net10 only offers the first 500MB of data at LTE speeds.

9. PTel

  • Carrier: T-Mobile
  • BYOD: Yes
  • Cost: $20-$65 per month
  • LTE: Yes

A T-Mobile-based MVNO, PTel is a little bit cheaper than Net10 with $35 per month for unlimited talk, text, and data. Like Net10, PTel only offers the first 500MB at LTE speeds.

10. RingPlus

  • Carrier: Sprint
  • BYOD: Yes
  • Cost: $2-$33 per month
  • LTE: Yes

If you can get past the cutesy names of its monthly plans (such as Kate, Hazel, and Bella,) RingPlus has a wide range of offerings. The most realistic plan for serious smartphone users is Data, priced at $30 per month. This plan gets you 300 voice minutes, unlimited text, 2GB of data, and unlimited Wi-Fi calling. RingPlus charges 6 cents extra per message for MMS.

Switch and save?

Switching to an MVNO is not for everybody, especially if you live somewhere with limited cellular connectivity options. But if you're in an area where networks like Sprint and T-Mobile offer good service you could save yourself some serious cash.

 

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