Ditching the Ball and Chain: A case for pre-paid cell phones
Tired of the same old ball and chain you fall asleep to every night and wake up to every morning? Fed up with the monthly recurring burden you pay the ball and chain just to be able to talk when and where you want? No, this isn't about an over-protective parent or significant other. We are talking about your cell phone contract. A pre-paid cell phone plan might just provide you with an escape from the monthly burden.that some refer to as a wireless bill.
With cell phone subscribers nearing the 300 million mark in the United States [http://files.ctia.org/pdf/CTIA_Survey_Midyear_2009_Graphics.pdf], the communication devices have reached a level of ubiquity no one could have ever dreamed. Sadly, the majority of these subscribers still have their ball and chain: a two-year service contract with a wireless service provider. Their expensive monthly bill is a recurring burden that appears to never end; however, when the rays of light begin to peek through from the end of the tunnel, service providers overpower it with flickering LEDs from the latest and greatest free* phones [*with a two-year activation and after a mail-in rebate you'll never get]. And the cycle begins all over again.
Until now. There is hope and respite from the two-year blues. It is free and liberating, with no long term commitment. It is the pre-paid cell phone plan.
Consider pre-paid plans food from a take-out window and contract plans an all-you-can-eat buffet. At a take-out window, you purchase the food before you eat it. Likewise, with a pre-paid plan, if you want to talk or text, you have to pay before you use it. At a buffet, you eat your food, and then pay your bill at the end of the meal. Similarly, with a contract plan, you first talk and text, then pay your bill at the end of the month. Makes sense, right?
However, with the contract plan, your quoted price isn't always the price you pay every month. You may be hit with various fees and charges, such as Sprint's new Account Spending Limit fee I blogged about earlier. This is like the buffet charging you a fresh food fee--a ridiculous and unnecessary charge.
A pre-paid cell phone plan gives you the freedom and flexibility you deserve. There are no early termination fees, no hidden charges, and no surprises. Why? Because you pay for your service before you use it. Like the take-out window, you can choose the phone plan that best fits your wireless needs. Instead of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees and charges, the only money you have to lose is the money you put into your account.
No matter what your talking or texting habits, there is a pre-paid plan for you. But be careful, because not all plans are alike. As with any other big purchase, accurately assess your wants and needs before taking the plunge with a big purchase. For those of you who use a cell phone sparingly, look for a plan that has a low per minute rate and a long expiration period. For those super talkers and texters, look for an unlimited plan that covers all your communication needs.
Ready to lose the ball and chain and feel the freedom? Use the UCAN articles below to cut the shackle from your leg and sprint away from two-year contracts. The first article is a primer on pre-paid wireless phone plans, and the second article is a comparison chart between the different pre-paid service providers.