Prepaid. The other way to get a phone. It's been there for ages, but you only hear about it in fleeting whispers here and there. The "Shadow Option," some call it. Present, yet just on the outskirts of visibility. You *know* it's there, but you also know that if you willingly acknowledge its existence, your whole world could potentially be tossed upside down.

Oh, wait, you mean prepaid isn't bad anymore? It isn't the option you don't want? You mean, people actually prefer prepaid sometimes? Wait, when did that happen?

There probably isn't a specific date you could circle on the calendar to pinpoint the time that prepaid discarded its shadowed existence for something a bit more tropical, but it would seem that prepaid isn't as "evil" as it once was. I remember when I was selling phones how often people literally sneered at me when I offered up a prepaid plan, rather than the option that bonded them to a contract.

Let's face it, prepaid access hasn't always been on the same level as postpaid. In fact, some might argue that it still isn't. After all, just at face value, you get all the cool phones on postpaid. You get a discount on the phone, too! (I know, I know…) There are plenty of incentives to go postpaid, but there's also that contract, and usually high prices to go along with it.

And let's take a look at the phones for a moment, shall we? To me, that's the biggest piece in the prepaid movement for a better living. The phones being offered by networks like Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile aren't terrible. Not all of them, anyway. Yes, sure, there are still some devices you can purchase through the prepaid options that are pretty lackluster, but they usually also have prices that reflect that. Plus, no contract.

And then there are handsets like the Galaxy Epic 4G Touch -- oh, it's not called that on Boost Mobile's network? Sorry, sorry. The Galaxy S II 4G! Anyway, this is a device that's actually pretty high-end for a prepaid network, so for those of you out there who are looking to jump on the prepaid bandwagon, or are already there and want a new phone, I'm not sure why you wouldn't look at the Android 4.0-wielding handset to call your own.

Is this a sign of the changing times? Maybe. It seems pretty obvious to me that there are some prepaid options out there that are definitely worthwhile to the right customer. Even more so than ever before. And now that the device options are getting better, too, it seems like a win-win for anyone who doesn't want to go the postpaid route.

On the other hand, I don't see it being a sign of changing times just because there are better phones available for prepaid customers. I think that's just the natural evolution of the options available. This isn't the first time that we've seen a phone previously released on one of the major networks become available for its prepaid option. It won't be the last, either. As Android becomes the go-to mobile option, seeing handsets with impressive hardware specifications become available for prepaid plans just seems inevitable.

But, that doesn't make it any less noteworthy.

Prepaid isn't the option to be shunned anymore. Not like it used to be. That's great news for executives at the prepaid networks. Better, that means more impressive devices will eventually find their way to carriers like Boost and Virgin (and others). Maybe someday in the future we'll see high-end, flagship devices see a wider launch on launch day, where prepaid carriers are included as well.


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Products mentioned in this Article

eBay prices for the Samsung Epic 4G Touch

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41 Reactions to this post

"With better smartphones, are you considering prepaid?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Glenn Heale
Glenn Heale I switched from Verizon to ST sim in my Galaxy Nexus using att. I saved over $60/month. Cut my losses on my contact since it's not up til April 2013.
Nathaniel Hull
Nathaniel Hull Yup doin vm now.... Cant get any better than 35 a month... And the other carrier speeds arent much better unless u live in an lte area!
Jacob Grumbles
Jacob Grumbles ive been on T-Mobiles monthly 4g with my gnex since January and i love it .
James Vincent
James Vincent phone selection is basically a non-issue with byod sim card options... only limit is what you can afford
George Millhouse
George Millhouse because Arturo you don't get the same network
George Millhouse
George Millhouse No.networks suck on prepay
Arturo Atherly
Arturo Atherly the plans seem soo much cheaper....Why is that???
Reese Woodson
Reese Woodson I don't mess with Boost or Virgin because they use Sprint's crappy native network with slow dial up 3G speeds. I think the best way to go is to buy a unlocked G-Next and use it on Simple Mobile/ T-Mobile prepaid.
Jannis Anderson
Jannis Anderson Prepaid nexus!! :)
Josh Allen
Josh Allen I left Verizon to go to Boost Mobile. I was paying $65 a month for 450 minutes, unlimited texts and no internet. I have been with Boost since November 2011. I am now paying $50 a month for unlimited everything.
Daniel Cuadrado
Daniel Cuadrado no
Chuk Anyanetu
Chuk Anyanetu I'm on a family plan so no, but if I was single I would consider it. The real question is, how come when your contract is over, prices don't go down? The initial reason of high contract prices, are to offset the phone you just got.
Jamar Meo
Jamar Meo Metropcs ftw though :0
Raul Lopez
Raul Lopez I meant if you go with boost & virgin and meant there service hate touch screen phones
Raul Lopez
Raul Lopez Prepaid is good and all but 2 problems all phones cost to much and 2 is you go with boost and virgin mobile theirs service is slow I rather go with Verizon prepaid I know they don't have good plans for androids but at least if you get a regular phone u pay $50 unlimited and good signal for now I'm stuck with lame virgin just keeping it real :D
Chris Mejia
Chris Mejia It sucks that Virgin doesn't get the S2 -.-t
Gordon Christie
Gordon Christie prepaid is too expensive
Robert Centennial
Robert Centennial I would love to see att,Verizon,sprint, and mobile have their asses handed to them.
Emilie Damko
Emilie Damko Ting mobile has some good plans to look into as well.
Anthony Peña
Anthony Peña I've been on pre-paid for years and I love it. I don't understand people that do contract phones.
Dwayne Cook
Dwayne Cook No because I like to upgrade and I don't paying $300 or $400 for a phone when I can pay $199 for upgrade.
Terrance Henderson
Terrance Henderson U can also use Redpocket mobile on AT&T network.
Daniel Quintero
Daniel Quintero Page plus is vz
Edward Gonse
Edward Gonse Prepaid is exploding in a big way. I left Big Red to go to Boost and couldnt be happier. Im paying less than half of my postpaid bill monthly with shrinkage. Got the Evo Design with mobile hotspot for $60 a month with insurance. Team Boost Mobile. ;)
Daniel Quintero
Daniel Quintero Yes
George Deleija
George Deleija Sprint sucks where I live so screw that. VERIZON FTW
Gary Bowling
Gary Bowling No
Kerdrick Pierre
Kerdrick Pierre Hell yes! Definitely! lol
Anthony Evans Jr
Anthony Evans Jr Virgin mobile and boost use the same bands as sprint....under are just locked out if using any other network. There ate ways to get it to work though
Garrett J. Benally
Garrett J. Benally On VM rocking the HTC evo 3d makes it look like I'm on sprint hahaha.
Joel Collicott
Joel Collicott Nope prepaid doesn't meet my data needs
Craig Arbour
Craig Arbour Yes. My contract is up in 2 months and we are definitely leaning that way.
Ian Baylon
Ian Baylon Hell yeah I got the EVO 3D with ICS pre-installed for $299 on VM.
Nick Petrizzio
Nick Petrizzio
Jason Ramos
Jason Ramos @Abram - My sentiments exactly. Anything but a Sprint owned or MVNO. Lots of good deals out there. You can get an Verizon iPhone off of eBay and activate it on PagePlus which uses Verizon's network for $55/mo. H20 on AT&T's network is good too with an iPhone. Want Android. Pick up an unlocked Galaxy Nexus for $349 on Google Play and put it on T-Mobile Monthly 4g or Simple Mobile. HSPA+ speeds. Lot of good deals out there. Too bad I'm stuck on a contract
Julio Garcia
Julio Garcia Team Virgin Mobile!
Fonzy Paniagua
Fonzy Paniagua Simple Mobile
Zach Chapman
Zach Chapman Nope.
Ezekiel Carsella
Ezekiel Carsella oh yes
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis Iv considered prepaid but I wouldn't go with a sprint owned company.
Jocelyn A. Dorsey
Jocelyn A. Dorsey I am definitely considering pre-paid.

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