No-contract wireless is a new option in the world of phones. As technology continues to advance, society is becoming more and more reliant on their cell phones. However, many companies force you to sign a contract that guarantees your business for years at a time! These contracts make it difficult to take advantage of competitive marketing or work with a shifting budget.
Not to mention “contract plans” are often quite invasive when it comes to privacy, having all of your personal information (right down to the Social Security Number needed for the credit check used for that last iPhone purchase). From there it only gets worse, with metadata from every call and text, as well as websites visited, being used to build profiles on you for marketing purposes
Luckily, contracts are not the only option! No-contract wireless is the solution. You can enjoy all the benefits of a wireless plan without signing your soul to a company.
What is a No-Contract Plan?
A no-contract plan means that you don’t commit to using the same company for an extended period of time, and are also not obligated to paying for a specific amount of usage or data per month. You can also find plans that charge in bulk “minutes” or per month where you can simply load up a pre-paid amount of minutes, data or texts at your discretion.
If you find something that better fits your budget or needs, you can switch providers at will, all without the hassle of canceling contracts, including paying any related fees. If you have a month where your budget is tighter, you simply pick a cheaper plan or fewer minutes. When things normalize, you can go back to the plan you had. Such changes to your plan are easy and completely under your control.
Per-Minute vs. Per-Month
Consumers are used to the standard contracts. Generally, for one to two years, you get a pre-established or allotted amount of minutes, messages and data per month. With these plans, there are generally no surprises. You know what to expect, what you get, and the terms of the service. For some, this reliability and consistency is a welcomed addition to their lives.
For others, being “locked” into an expensive and restrictive multi-year plan isn’t in alignment with their lifestyle. To help you make the switch to a no-contract plan, let’s first talk about how they work.
Most providers offer two choices of no-contract plans:
You can purchase a package of so many minutes at a time, where additional services like texting and data are assigned minutes by usage (e.g. a text may count for ¼ of a minute). If you run out of minutes, you simply buy more. If you don’t use your minutes quickly, you can wait longer before paying more money. If your usage frequently varies or you aren’t sure how much you need per month, this can be a more flexible option.
You can sign up for a monthly plan. You still receive a designated amount of data, texting, and talking for the month, but you aren’t locked into the plan beyond that. You can purchase a larger plan next month or a smaller one with little to no hassle. If you have a good idea on usage and fairly stable budget, you may want to choose this route.
Both options have their pros and cons. Which works better will depend on what you need, your budget availability, and your personal preference. No “one size fits all” exists among phone plans, but the options are increasing.
Where Can You Find These Plans?
No-contract phones are growing in availability. Even the more “mainstream” phone companies are starting to offer variants. Pre-paid phone cards can be found in most grocery and convenience stores. Others can be found online, where you can easily set up and manage an account.
If you have a standard annual contract plan but need a temporary number or an additional line, you can also find apps and services that will provide these through websites or on your current phone. These can work for texting, phone calls, or both; they can be used through Wi-Fi or data based on the service provider’s set-up.
If you have a pre-paid phone that doesn’t charge for Wi-Fi, you can use one of these apps to extend your minutes by calling from the app when you are on Wi-Fi and your phone when you are not at home.
What are Benefits Aside from No Locked-In Contract?
While living without being locked under the orders and hassle of a large company may be sounding like a pretty big plus, it may not be enough to convince you that a no-contract plan is right for you— and that’s OK! To help you determine if a no-contract plan really would work better for you, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular benefits:
Freedom to Stop, Start, Switch
You can move at your own pace, including to another company. Start when you want, change your plan when you want, switch providers when you want— the choice is yours. Don’t let a company dictate your wireless decisions!
Get a New Phone or Bring Your Own
You don’t have to change your number just because you switched to a no-contract plan. Most companies will let you bring your number, so you don’t have to updates your friends’ and family’s contact lists every time you make a change.
Many no-contract and prepaid plans use network coverage from multiple major providers, granting you better access to your talking, texting, and browsing. As with all phone plans, be sure to check their coverage area and what networks they use.
Avoid Overages and Running Out
With standard phone plans, you are often SOL (Sorry— Out of Luck) when you run out of data or minutes. Going over can mean incurring massive penalties and fees, while going under tends to be a waste, with limits to what will rollover and what just disappears. With by-month or prepaid plans, the amount is in your hands. You can find a plan that lets you automatically add more minutes and data, or you can buy packages bulked by minutes instead of the time period.
It just gets better and better. No-contract plans are boosting the market, demanding other providers become more competitive so that you can find the best deal for what you need and can afford. Even if you prefer a standard plan, you’re benefiting from the no-contract effect on the cell phone market!
Don’t Let Large Corporations and Overbearing Contracts Dictate Your Wireless Plans
You know what works best for you. What you need, what you want. No longer must you shackle yourself to a company just to join society in our digital age. The market is not controlled; you have the power to choose!
Whether you want a standard annual contract or the freedom of a no-contract wireless plan, the best option for your wants, needs, and budget exists. Know what’s available, compare, review, and research.