Approximately 8 months ago I decided to switch to a prepaid cell phone plan. I knew there had to be a better, or at the very least a more efficient way to handle this monthly bill. At the time The Wife and I were paying approximately $147/mo so for Sprint service. I was out of my contract but due to upgrades she was not out of hers. For approximation purposes lets say we were both paying $75 separately.
First step in moving towards a prepaid plan was finding a phone. At the time of the original post I highlighted a few mid-range phones. I ended up purchasing an off contract Motorola X (first generation – as there was no second yet) for approximately $350 after taxes. Interestingly, it seems that when the companies that created the next generation of the two options (google nexus and motorola x) they were priced much higher (around $600ish). Since it was off contract I could bring it to any GSM provider (T-Mobile or ATT) or any of the companies that resell their service (StraightTalk, H20, etc.). These companies are often referred to as MVNOs.
I tried H20 Wireless first, and it was a terrible experience. After about two months I was done with H20Wireless and discovered BrightSpot Mobile. BrightSpot is “Target’s MNVO” running on the T-Mobile network. I had to buy a $10 sim card for the phone. BrightSpot costs me $48.33 after all taxes and fees. To boot every 6 months (i.e. in the next week or so I’ll get a $25 gift certificate for Target).
If I had stayed with Sprint I would have paid $75*8 – $600. Alternatively, those first two months I paid $42/mo with H20 and the next 6 months I paid $48 plus for a total of $372. In addition I had to pay for two sim cards and the difference between the $350 MotoX and $200 subsidized phone – $372 + $170 = $522.
Originally, I estimated my cross over point at 9 months but I actually crossed over in about 8 months. Am I saving a ton of money? No, but I strongly believe that saving any money on recurring monthly nut type expenses is a win. To boot I don’t get nailed with varying and increasing taxes, surcharges and fees.