Cheap Options for Non-Contract Phones

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Cheap Options for Non-Contract Phones
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Ready to go non-contract on cell service…but feeling sticker shocked by the prices on new phones? I’ve got some Clark Smart choices you need to know about.

Check out these budget choices for non-contract phones

If you were to buy a new iPhone 6, you’d pay $650 for the basic model if you’re going non-contract. But with a contract, you get it for $200 and then the wireless company bakes the loss they take on subsidizing the phone at a cheap price into the 24-month contract. So you ultimately pay a huge additional amount per month for service.

But people who are really thrifty buy reconditioned iPhones and save big money when they go non-contract.

Same thing in the Android world. The Wall Street Journal says the OnePlus One that you buy non contract for $299 is an amazing phone. It’s only available for sale on Tuesdays. (Don’t ask me why!) The OnePlus One can only be used on T-Mobile, AT&T and others that run on GSM.

I bought a OnePlus One and it knocks my socks off. It is by far the best phone I’ve ever had. We’re talking a 5 and a half inch screen, lightning fast, beautiful graphics. Very impressive stuff.

That’s just one example. Motorola has a variety of phones you buy non contract that start at $100 and go up from there. You’ve got the Moto e, Moto G and Moto X.

There are others too. T-Mobile and AT&T sell another great affordable phone non-contract called the ZMax from ZTE for $200 to $250. And Huawei sells a phone that is the biggest of the phablets for $295 no contract.

The Apple story is more difficult. If you want to go non-contract and hold down the monthly price, you’re going to have to buy a 5C. You can get one new for $280, but reconditioned ones start at $100 or so.

DealNews.com is a great website to check for discount phones if you are in the market for a new one.

First, though, before you get into selecting a phone, you’ve got to decide whose service you want to be on. Once you have that figured out, then you look for phones that work on that service. The best deals are on phones that work on GSM. The next cheapest are phones that work on Sprint. And the most expensive non-contract phones are on Verizon.

(Verizon and Sprint both use CDMA — which is virtually unique in the world — not GSM. So the market is narrower, you have less choice, and higher costs.)

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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