Our New Ten Dollar Cell Phone Plan

About a month ago, we lowered our cell phone bill from $50/month to $10/month, ended up with a much better phone, and still get the same amount of phone service that we’ve always had.  I’m thrilled with the new plan, and want to share the story with you all in case any of you are looking for a less expensive phone option.

Until December, we had a basic (no data) phone plan from Verizon that was costing us $50/month after taxes and fees.  I had heard from several readers about their own phone plans that were significantly cheaper than that, so I started shopping around in the fall to see what we could get that would give us good coverage in our area, enough minutes and/or texts to meet our needs, and save us some money.

We ended up switching to Airvoice Wireless, and so far, so good.  The coverage map looked good for our area, even though we’re in a small town, and we’ve had great coverage everywhere we’ve used the phone this past month.  I talked with them about device compatibility, and they mentioned that their service works with AT&T devices.  So we’re using a first generation iPhone that we had previously been using as a wi-fi pocket computer (we bought it from a friend a few years ago when he upgraded to a newer version).  The iPhone is a lot better than the KinOne we had been using with our Verizon plan (that was the phone we got for free when we signed up with Verizon).

Switching to Airvoice Wireless was easy and quick.  We ordered a SIM card from their website for five bucks.  That arrived in a few days, and we installed it in our phone.  Then we ported our number from Verizon and signed up for the $10 plan from Airvoice.  It gives us 250 voice minutes and 250 texts per month.  Every time we use the phone, a display pops up immediately and lets us know how much we’ve just used and how much our our ten dollars is remaining.  We have six days to go and we have a little over three dollars left, so it’s working out just perfectly – we’ll have a little bit of cushion left when we start the next cycle (there’s no roll over of credit – we just pay another ten dollars when our month is up).

No contract, no added fees, and ten dollars a month to use the same amount of minutes that we’ve always used.  And we never even come close to 250 texts in a month, although we could use that instead of voice minutes if we find ourselves getting close to going over our limit at the end of the month (texts are two cents each).

So far, we’re thrilled with the new plan.  I know it’s not a good fit for everyone, but if you’re in an area where they have good coverage, you can stay below 250 minutes and 250 texts per month, and you have access to an AT&T phone that’s no longer in a contract, I would say it’s perfect.

Anyone else using Airvoice, I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially if you’ve been with them for a while.  The other plans we considered were Page Plus and Pure Talk, so I’d also be interested to hear from readers who are using either of those plans.

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  1. SEnse says

    Oh nice! I am looking for a pay as you go plan in the US. I am out of the country but want to keep the same number from year to year when I go home to the US, so people can reach me without having to enter in a new number every year. Also I want data access…I’ll be looking into Airvoice to see if they fit my needs as well!

    Currently I’m on a T mobile pay as you go plan when in the US. My US SIM keeps credit for up to one year. I bought their $30/mo plan with unlimited data and text and it was great! I pay $19/mo here in NZ for unlimited texts (no one talks on the phone here, they just text), 100 minutes, and 500 Mb of data. Pay as you go is the norm here, and I’m glad the US is following suit. It is so much cheaper and nicer to just pay for what you use, instead of being locked into stupid contracts.

  2. Amanda says

    Awesome :) I’m thinking about switching to Republic Wireless – unlimited talk, text, and data for $19/month, which is much better than the $73/month (for a basic phone) that I’m paying now.

    • frugalbabe says

      Just talk and text. We don’t need data… wifi is available in most places (hopefully it stays that way; the big phone carriers are trying to stop it, but Google is working to spread it), so that’s what we use when we need data.

  3. Leah Penn Inman says

    I love the contract-free carriers that have these stripped down plans. My husband went with Boost mobile (a spin-off of Spring, essentially) because he wanted data in his plan. He gets free data, 300 minutes a month, and some huge number of texts for $30 a month. This was far cheaper than the $55 he was paying Sprint for less. We didn’t mind buying the phone with that sort of option. I’m still on a family plan with my parents, but if I ever bail off of that, I intend to do something similar to my husband.

    • frugalbabe says

      Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of options there. We work from home, and our business is all online. We have to have high speed, reliable internet, and there’s only one provider in our area, since we’re in a small town. We pay $62/month for our cable internet service. It helps that our cable bill is just internet – no tv service, since we don’t have a tv. And we don’t mind the expense at all, because it allows us to work from home everyday – we feel very fortunate to be able to do that!

  4. Jane Savers says

    I am Canadian and our government has tight regulations on cell phone companies so we just don’t have as many to pick from as you do. I have the cheapest plan available. $100 per year from Virgin and it is more for emergencies and when I am lost or late. 15 cents per text and 1 dollar per minute for calls. I know that seems pricey but I just don’t use it so it is cheap for me.

    • frugalbabe says

      Yes, we love it! I text a lot more than I did before (our old phone made texting a chore, but on an iPhone1, it’s easy), although we still probably only send/receive about 40 texts per month. We’ve never even come close to using up our minutes or texts – in fact, I think our account balance right now is somewhere around $35, because we never use up the whole $10 in a month. I have nothing but good things to say about our Airvoice plan. We live along a metropolitan interstate corridor, but our town is only about 6,500 people. We’ve never had any problems with coverage; it works great at home and everywhere else we’ve needed it. I even found an OtterBox cover for an iPhone1 at a thrift store last week, for 50 cents, so our phone is nice and protected now :-)

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