Apple’s new iPhone 8
‘s design and adds modern features, all while keeping a $399 starting price that’s several hundreds of dollars cheaper than the ‘s $699 entry point. If you’re looking to maximize your savings, buying the phone is just the first step. To really get your saving on, you may want to consider switching to a prepaid carrier.
Prepaid carriers, such as Metro by T-Mobile, Cricket, Boost Mobile and Visible, use the networks of the major providers — T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. While they lack some of the extra features like free Netflix, HBO or Apple Music, these plans are often priced significantly less than the traditional carrier offering.
As with the regular carrier plans pricing will vary depending on how much data you need and how many lines you have. For the purposes of this piece, we’re going to focus on one line. And as with any carrier, choose the network that works best where you live.
Looking for a bundle on phone and service? Head to Red Pocket Mobile
Red Pocket Mobile, a carrier that uses AT&T’s network, iswith the promo code CHEAPSKATESE at checkout. It’s a nice saving especially considering the phone on its own generally costs $399. Continuing on the plan costs $15 a month, with Red Pocket also including calls to 70 international countries. As with Simple Mobile, the site will let you know which countries allow for mobile and landline calls.
Even without the discount code, the carrier is offering the bundle for $349 with six months of service for free.
Note: If you want to avoid dealing with international calling charges, try making calls through an app such as WhatsApp, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger or Skype.
Looking for unlimited? Try Visible
Verizon’s prepaid service that’s run through an app on your phone, Visible, charges $40 a month for one line of unlimited talk, text and data, with taxes and fees included. Unlimited mobile hotspot is also thrown in, though data speeds here are capped at 5Mbps and you can only tether to one other device at a time. That said, you get Verizon’s 4G LTE network for $30 less than the base Start Unlimited plan Verizon offers.
You can buy a new phone from Visible or buy one unlocked from Apple and get a SIM card from Visible. Those can get the iPhone SE on Friday for $384 from the carrier, with Visible then sweetening the deal with a $200 Mastercard gift card to bring the net price of the device down to $184.
Other options: Boost Mobile now uses Sprint and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network and offers unlimited talk, text and data for $50 a month with 12GB of high-speed hotspot data. Metro by T-Mobile offers a similar unlimited offering for $50 a month. It comes with 100GB of Google One storage but just 5GB of monthly mobile hotspot.
Looking for a short-term plan? Check out Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile, the wireless carrier, uses T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network for service and offers as little as 3GB of 4G LTE data for just $15 per month for the first three months. Larger data buckets of either 8GB or 12GB are available and as part of the coronavirus pandemic, the carrier is offering free unlimited data until May 14. Six-month and 12-month plans are also available and hotspot is included, but it pulls from your monthly data bucket.
You can buy a new phone from Mint or buy one unlocked from Apple and get a SIM card from Mint.
Other options: Cricket, which is AT&T’s prepaid service and uses its network, has a limited-time introductory offer that offers 2GB of high-speed data for $15 per month, though speeds are capped at a maximum of 8Mbps down for 4G LTE.
Need international calling? Look at Simple Mobile
Those looking for a phone plan that has international calling should look at Simple Mobile. The carrier, which also runs on T-Mobile’s network, has a plan with 3GB of high-speed data for $25 for 30 days and one with 5GB of high-speed data for $30 and has unlimited talk and text domestically as well as unlimited international texting. Calls to 69 locations are also included, though you can check here if that applies to landlines or mobile phones in the country you’ll be calling.
As with Red Pocket — or any other carrier — an easy way to make international calls without worrying about being charged is to make the calls through an app.