AT&T is looking to make its prepaid service a bit more competitive with the options from carriers like T-Mobile and various MVNOs. The new GoPhone plans include increased data caps and free WiFi tethering. The best part – current customers get the upgrade automatically with no increased charge.
Out with the old, in with the new. Today Sprint has retired its no-contract As You Go service and replaced it with the more straightforwardly branded Sprint Prepaid. The new offering is something Sprint customers or no-contract shoppers should almost want to consider, but the monthly prices still aren't low enough for the limited number of phones supported.
Sprint Prepaid introduces two smartphone plans: Smart and Smart Plus. The former offers unlimited talk and text for $45 a month.
Verizon is shaking up its prepaid plan options today, starting with a new name: ALLSET (ALL CAPS). Unlike some competitors, the basic plans start at a flat fee and the only expansion options come from
Bridge data BRIDGE DATA add-on packs. The smartphone plan starts at $45 a month for unlimited voice calls and text messages, plus a somewhat paltry 500MB of data.
If 500MB seems a bit low for your prepaid data needs, you can top it up with BRIDGE DATA packs.
AT&T's prepaid brand, AIO Wireless is already a pretty cheap alternative to the big post-paid carriers, but now the carrier is reducing the cost of plans, and adding more data to some of them. It gets even better, assuming you're okay with setting up recurring payments.
Aio has three main plans that now clock in at $40, $50, and $60 per month. The cheap plan hasn't changed in price, but it now has 500MB of data per month instead of 250MB.
Update: Best Buy has reached out to us to confirm that the $99.99 no-contract Verizon Moto G will go on sale as shipments arrive at the retailer's stores, which will apparently be as soon as today for some locations. If you're looking to get in on this $99 deal, it may be worth giving your local Best Buy a call to see if they have any in stock. Online availability will follow at a later date.
Update: Brightspot is official.
Already confused by the myriad of prepaid carriers out there? Well, Target thinks there should be one more. After @evleaks outed the name and pricing last night, more details have emerged. Target's prepaid service will run on the T-Mobile network and is launching October 6th online and in Target stores.
Pricing starts at $35 per month for unlimited talk and text, but no mobile data. For $50 you get "unlimited" data, including 1GB of 4G.
Republic Wireless is trying to do something crazy with mobile phone plans. It offers cheap rates on its prepaid service by routing calls and texts through WiFi when it's available. Getting compelling phones that had been tweaked by Republic Wireless to support this handoff has been a challenge, though. After some teasing, it looks like there's a killer deal to be had. Republic Wireless has announced it will sell the Moto X off-contract for $299.
In spite of the color-based lawsuit, AT&T is planning to expand its Aio Wireless service nationwide in September. The prepaid service is only available in a few markets right now including Florida, Texas, Chicago, and Atlanta.
Aio Wireless offers only three different plans and an assortment of mostly mid-range phones. Customers of Aio get access to AT&T's 4G LTE network (with a cap), then additional data at lower speeds. Signing up before September 29th gets you a free month of service, provided you maintain an account for at least three months.
AT&T must be feeling more confident in its LTE network because the carrier is going to allow the unwashed masses of prepaid customers to access it very soon. Beginning on June 21st, new and existing GoPhone users will be able to connect to 4G LTE service with compatible devices.
AT&T's GoPhone service comes in a few tiers, all a bit cheaper than the regular plans. These are your options:
"Burner" cellphones, pre-paid phones that are used and discarded, have become a handy way to protect your identity if you find yourself dealing with people you might not otherwise want to meet. Just lately it has become possible to get "disposable" phones without the phone, thanks to apps like Hushed, which provides a limited-use virtual number that can be easily substituted for your real one. Burner is a new competitor in the same vein, happily landing on Android after considerable success on iOS.