pA prepaid cell phone plan can be a low-cost, convenient alternative to traditional cellular services.
Prepaid plans typically require that the consumer purchase a compatible cell phone, which then must be activated for the specific service.
Some companies sell pre-loaded cell phones that already contain the required software and subscriber identity module (SIM) card for the specific company’s service; these phones often include extra software, but generally can be only be used for the cellular service that offered them for sale.
Purchasing a prepaid cell phone plan is as simple as visiting one of the numerous brick-and-mortar stores that offer these phones for sale or going online to sign up with a prepaid service provider.
Because there is no service contract and minutes are paid for in advance, prepaid cellular service providers typically do not require any credit check to provide services.
This offers additional flexibility for teenagers, college students and others who might have difficulty in obtaining traditional cellular services due to past credit problems or lack of credit history.
Cell phones available through these plans typically are sold at the current manufacturer’s suggested retail price, though discounts and refurbished phones are sometimes available online or through local stores.
Prepaid plans are available in two different types. Pay-as-you-go plans offer the option of buying a block of minutes, which can be reloaded for an additional fee once they have been used.
Standard prepaid plans usually offer a certain number of minutes and a set amount of data services usage for a monthly fee paid in advance.
If the user exceeds their assigned minutes for the month, they typically will be charged an additional fee or the services will be suspended until payment is made for the new month.
Some companies require a deposit so that any additional charges can be applied against it in the event the consumer exceeds their minutes or data usage.
Unlimited plans are also available, which require a flat fee in advance of services being provided.
Prepaid plans offer much the same selection of games, ringtones, and add-ons that traditional contract plans do, but without the extended commitment and with no free phone incentives.
For consumers looking for a no-contract plan who are willing to buy their own cell phones, prepaid plans may be the solution for their needs.