Monday, December 5, 2011

Cell phone dataplans compared

Monthly cell phone charges will get progressively more complex and more expensive and, of course, it's the monthly charges that really add up. That's the reason carriers often give away the phones; once you're hooked, you're hooked. The following chart compares plans from three major US carriers. This information changes rapidly so check current numbers before buying.

Phone bills consist of four components, calling plan (minutes), text messages, dataplan and other fees and taxes. The dataplan can be the most confusing so make sure you don't buy more than you use - you can monitor and check usage with the carriers app or website. Always use wi-fi when available. Don't make the mistake of listening to music or watching video on wi-fi and then wandering out of the wi-fi location. Your phone will most likely keep right on downloading those megabytes over the 3g or 4g connection.

Cell phone Dataplans compared


  1. One thing most people don't take into consideration is the total cost of what they will pay over the 2-year life of most contract plans.  They get all excited because they can get a really cool phone for less than full retail price, and end up paying way more than they need to.

    The one thing most people don't take a close look at is the total cost if they sign up for the 2-year plans to get the phone cheaper, or possibly for "free". 
    What's interesting is that the free phone can cost more than retail in the long run, it's cheaper to pay full price for the phone is almost every case, than getting hooked to the contract.  

    I just found a plan for $59.99 that is no contract UNLIMITED talk, texting, and web surfing.  When you compare that to the average plan above, the 2-year savings is $1,200 or more.  

    You can see all of the Android phones for your self at and get nationwide services too.

    Everybody just like me wants to save money today, and definitely does not want to pay too much for their cell phone service.  

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful comment Doug. I'm sure cell plans are going to vary all over the map in the next few years. Judging what a person needs is going to be difficult considering many plans will require long term commitments. Thanks again and have a happy holiday season.

  3. Hi Gary, Great comparison. This is very handy for those trying to decide between the major carriers.

    I'm a big fan of Virgin Mobile's Beyond Talk plan. It runs on the Sprint network and costs $35/month for unlimited data and texts, with 300 minutes of talk time. The plan is pay as you go so no contract is needed.

    The downside is you can't use an iPhone with the plan, but they have a good selection of Android phones at reasonable prices.

    If you don't use your phone as a phone much, Virgin Mobile is the way to go.

    1. Thanks Carolyn,
      I have many people asking about cell phone plans and this is a really good alternative to the traditional offerings. Maybe someday they will allow iPhones but that could doom the unlimited data plan since iPhone users tend to do a lot of surfing, etc.

  4. Hi Gary, Did you see that AT&T updated their data plan offerings with higher data limits? You may want to update this very helpful chart to reflect the new options from them.

  5. Carolyn,
    Yes I did see the AT&T update just after I told some people about the "old" plan. I didn't actually prepare that chart so I'll wait till I find another comparison and publish it when I do.