You can cut your cell phone bill in half and still have a fancy smart phone thanks to a variety of no-contract plans from smaller cellular players.
An iPhone that saves money?!
Recently, a guy came up to me in Austin holding an iPhone and said, “What’s this?” I’m thinking, “It’s an iPhone, right?” So he goes on, “This is an iPhone that saves money.” Well, I was intrigued. Turns out he had his iPhone unlocked and took it over to Straight Talk, which is Wal-Mart’s discount cell service. In doing so, he went from paying $130 (AT&T) to $45 (Straight Talk) each month. Now that is a huge difference!
I’m sure AT&T doesn’t like it all that people are doing this. But it’s the same service only cheaper. The guy showed me his web surfing capability and bam! It was fast!
People assume that with the iPhone you are automatically a prisoner of high rates from AT&T or Verizon. But the little know thing is there are huge numbers of people who put their iPhones on T-Mobile at a fraction of the cost.
As we move forward, more and more people will know how to unlock iPhones so they can work on cheaper networks.
Second-tier players deliver more flash for less cash
Mind you, this is not something that Straight Talk is looking for because they buy their minutes from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to a lesser extent; they don’t want to upset their partners! The good news is Straight Talk will have Androids in the next couple of weeks and then you won’t have to be sneaky sneaky about it.
Androids are outselling the iPhone, and they’re available on all the discount cell phone company systems now. Androids are a bigger and bigger part of Metro PCS, Cricket and Straight Talk, plus they’ve always been there with Virgin Mobile and with Boost Mobile for a good while too.
These smaller players (sometimes called second-tier providers) either buy network capacity from someone else or they have their own. As a general rule, the second tiers will save you one half to one third the cost of monthly service compared to what you pay to giants of the business like AT&T or Verizon.
All I hear from people on AT&T is complaint after complaint about the network. So when you hear “You get what you pay for,” that’s absolutely not true. With AT&T, you’re paying the industry’s highest prices and getting the most unreliable network. That doesn’t sound good as a slogan, but that’s the reality.
Don’t be a creature of habit. If you’re getting an inferior product at a high price, go look for alternatives that give you a better product at the same price, or the ultimate — a better product at a lower price!
Editor’s note: This segment originally aired in August 2011.