Are there any cheap smart phone plans?

I’d like to get a smart phone, but they are just too expensive for me.

My current phone is about 7 or 8 years old and I just use it to talk a little and text a bit more, but I’d like to have a phone that I can use to troll in internet on, watch Netflix, download some news apps, and store and play podcasts- a pocket computer. Also, my car has some features I can’t use because I don’t have a smart phone and I’d like to be able to use those things. My ‘dumb’ phone costs about $30.00 a month.

I really have no idea what amount of data I would use for these activities.

I see that I can get some pretty nice phones for cheap or free, but it seems they all also cost about $50- $80 a month for phone service plus data. I’m wondering if there is any smart phone service closer to what I’m paying now.

Is that the going rate?

Virgin Mobile. $35 per month, 300 minutes talk, unlimited text and data. There are other plans as well if you need more talk time.

Here’s a link.

I have a smart phone plan on Virgin Mobile. Plans start at $35/month (+ tax) and have 300 minutes of talk, unlimited texts, and unlimited data. There is a cap on data where it slows down after you use some amount (2MB?), but I’ve never reached the limit. You have to buy an unsubsidized smart phone. I got a Samsung Galaxy S3 for $279 during a sale. Virgin uses the Sprint network which can be spotty sometimes, but overall it’s a good value for me.

Cricket has a similar deal, but uses the AT&T network.

Thank you for the recommendations!
I will go give them a look…

Similarly, T-Mobile has a $30 prepaid plan with 100 minutes / unlimited texts / unlimited data (5GB at 4G speeds) on their own network, which is another option based on the network coverage in your area. The key for all of these is that you’re going to have to pay the phone cost up front, but there’s ways to mitigate that a bit (pre-owned/refurbished, getting last year’s phone, waiting for sales). I know I could never go back to $80/month per phone again.

My brother gave his children (20 and 15 years old) Samsung Galaxy smartphones but they’re not on any sort of phone plan. Instead, he buys 100 or 1000 minutes at a time. For data, they use WiFi at home, at the homes of relatives, at school, etc. So no internet access on the road, but it seems to work for them.

I think it’s difficult to beat Walmart and their plans. You can get a one year card that brings it to $45.57 (if I recall the change amount correctly) a month for unlimited time. That includes the tax amount as well. The Samsung Galaxy s3 is now only $299.00, I paid $399.00 for mine a year ago. They also have the s4’s out, but not sure it’s worth the extra price for what you get for it.

Metro PCS (I’ve had it for over two years) starts at $40 per month. Unlimited talk and text. And if you use the rebates and deals, you can get a free 4G phone. The WalMart deal might be cheaper, but I’ve been very happy with the plan and price I’ve got now.

The key point is that the OP wants Netflix; that probably makes him a heavy user. (from 310 MB per hour on up to 2.4 GB per hour viewing time–depending on quality chosen).

Heavy users don’t really have access to cheap plans. Note for example the Virgin example:*All plans include 2.5GB/month of high speed 3G/4G data. Video streaming may be limited to 3G speeds

Thanks for this helpful advice. I have never watched a video on my phone, but I want to and knowing some numbers helps! I have kids, so who knows how they will use a smart phone- probably YouTube/music videos.

I have a cell phone and an iPod and want to blend the two things together in one item. I use my iPod a lot, but mostly to read news, FB, and only occasionally to watch videos.

Does that still apply if he’s willing to limit his Netflixing to when he has WiFi access?

I recently bought this Tracfone. So far I’m pretty happy with it. It’s not in the same league as the phones already mentioned, but if you don’t make a lot of calls and do surfing on wifi as much as you can, it’s cheap. It’ll do most everything but probably not as fast as those others.

I’m also a Tracfone user but have (and am happy with) the ZTE Valet. As with Son of a Rich, I only really access the internet with it when I’m somewhere I can link to WiFi. With Tracfone’s Android phones “minutes” are split into three buckets: talk, text, and data, and everything is tripled. So if you add a 90 minute card you get 270 minutes of talk, 270 texts, and 270 mb of data.

This is what I’d recommend. It’s very expensive to use cellular data for streaming video like Netflix.

$ 10 a month, everything unlimited, if you are willing to rely on wifi for data.

$25 a month everything unlimited if you’re cool with 3g.

$35 if you really need that 4g.

Note the fine print on the Republic Wireless website that says that once you hit five gigabytes of cellular data, they may reduce your speed. And at the lowest quality setting on Netflix’s website, you’ll use 0.3GB per hour of content. So the five gigabytes of data that Republic gives you (before cutting your speed) will get you about sixteen hours of content.

Wow. This has been a long day with a steep learning curve.

Walmart and Sam’s both have the iPhone 5c (which I like because the iPod touches we have already could be easily synced) for $29 and $27 respectively, but, of course, you need to sign a 2 year contract with Sprint, Verizon or ATT- the three most expensive providers available.

At least ATT was under the $200.00 mark for my purposes, but that still a bigger increase in my monthly phone bill than what I want to pay.

Best prices for my situation were with Cricket, T-Mobil and Virgin, but they had no stellar phone deals, there.

Gah. I’m just tired now.

If you want to minimize the monthly expense, use the iPod Touch for everything except actually making calls. Use your existing phone or another “dumb” phone for that. And actually, you can use the iPod Touch with Skype or perhaps Google Voice for making voice calls. You wouldn’t get any cellular data service, but you’ll also save money.

Straight Talk is available from Wal-Mart. It’s $45 monthly for unlimited talk, text, and data. You get up to 3 Gb of high speed data a month. Beyond that they throttle your speed back. You do have to pay full price for an iPhone though, but at least it’s month to month. You’re not locked into a contract with them. I think you do have to order your phone online. You also have a choice of network. Their phones can use either AT&T or T-Mobile. They have reconditioned iPhones for as low as $400.00 or you can pay from $550 to $650 for a new one. If you don’t absolutely have to have an iPhone, though, they have other phones for $199.00 or less.