Deciding Between Prepaid and Contract Cell Phone Services

Prepaid vs. monthly billed cell phone plans.

Determining whether to go the prepaid route or the monthly billing route with your cell phone service can be a headache. In order to pick the best one for your needs you need to first determine what your needs are.
First of all are you purchasing the plan for yourself or someone else? If you are a parent purchasing a cell phone for a child you may want to go the prepaid route as this allows a limit to be set on phone usage without the fear of the child or teenager racking up huge phone bills each month.

Secondly do you use a cell phone enough to warrant signing a legal contract with a cell phone company for 1-2 years? If you only use a cell phone for emergencies then it may be worth it to go prepaid. If you can’t live without a cell phone then you will want to look into a monthly plan.
Third, you’ll need to consider how much your willing to spend. Dollar for dollar the better value is in monthly billed cell phone services with plenty of anytime minutes, mobile to mobile, text messaging, and free nights and weekends. Only some prepaid services offer this and those that do tend to charge higher per minute rates, connection fees, usage fees, and per call fees. Also prepaid phones generally require that you ‘re-load’ them by purchasing phone cards that contain a code representing X number of minutes. You need to spend about 10 minutes doing this process every time your balance is too low. Prepaid companies tend to sell cards in increments but based on the time of day of your calls and also connection fees, the actual minutes you get to use vary from what is advertised.

Also the actual phone selection of monthly billed phone services tends to be wider and offer more variety of features, styles, and price ranges. Plus many people report that cell phone companies give better service and network access to monthly billed plans then prepaid plans although few will admit to it. The main reason prepaid cell phones seem to exist are the same reason credit cards exist. They are for people who can not and most likely shouldn’t be investing in the service offered.

Many people who purchase prepaid phones can not get credit approval for cell phone contracts which is why they choose prepaid. What happens though is they end up spending more money purchasing minutes and paying odd fees to use prepaid.

In the end you would do best to find a monthly billed cell phone service that fits your needs. Monthly billed services have more variety both in phone selection and plan selection. Plus per dollar the value and service is much better.