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Over the last few years, prepaid carriers went from being zeroes to heroes. Prepaids used to be a last resort option for people who didn’t have enough credit to get on with a contract carrier, or for people who only got cell phones for emergencies. However, times have changed and people who could very well be approved for the max number of lines on a carrier are now flocking to prepaid carriers simply for the savings.

I was on prepaid carrier Virgin Mobile for about a year before I switched back to Sprint for the employee plan. The phone was decent at the time (LG Optimus V) and it only cost me $40/mo. for unlimited data, unlimited texting, and 1200 minutes of talk time. It was a great plan since I mostly did all my talking via text or e-mail. Despite the prices of the device itself, the savings of the monthly plan alone were worth not having to keep an eye on my minute usage.

Naturally there are pros and cons to everything, and although the savings were great some other aspects weren’t. Virgin Mobile does run off of Sprint’s network, but often times I wouldn’t get service where people who had Sprint would. My data was very spotty in many areas and I was notorious for having dropped calls. Also, if you thought customer service with your carrier was bad, you probably haven’t had to talk to Virgin Mobile.

Prepaid carriers are starting to fix those problems and pick up, though. Many carriers who were infamous for having an abysmal selection of phones are now releasing top tier smartphones like iPhones and Androids. Albeit these phones are being sold near or at full price, but after doing the math one actually saves more money in the long run by paying full-price now and less money monthly. The problem most people come across is coming up with four or five hundred bucks for a cell phone outright, and that’s not even counting the tax. But there are plenty of other choices for decent smartphones that sit around the one to two hundred dollar range.

I’m not even really sure why I’m still with Sprint. I pay my bill on time every month so it wouldn’t be a risk to have my phone shut off if I decided to move to a prepaid carrier. I’m not in contract so I can leave at any given moment. I think the real reasoning is because I’m somewhat comfortable here, and if I left and for whatever reason needed to come back I wouldn’t be able to get the same discounted plan I already have. I’m familiar with how Sprint works so I’m always prepared to combat any unexpected charges that show up on my bill.

Or I could save myself the trouble altogether and just have one bill with the same charges landing on the same day every month, and I’m just coming up with lame excuses to stay with a contract carrier.

I’m not bundled, I don’t have anybody else’s line on my account but my own, I’m getting a decent discount but it would be nothing near what other prepaid carriers can offer me, and if I decide to upgrade anytime soon I’m stuck with them for two years. So I literally have no real reason to stay with Sprint other than possibly better service, and I don’t even know if the spotty service I encountered with Virgin Mobile had anything to do with the location I was living in at the time or not.

I think this is where I need your opinions as well, PhoneDog fans. What makes you stay with your carrier when you have plenty of cheaper options with prepaid carriers? Or have you already made the switch? Do you see prepaid carriers only getting more popular? Let me know in the comments!

 


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