Saving on cell phones using Net10 Wireless

Raun's Blog

In our quest to trim the fat from our monthly budget, we actually made an increase to our cell phone bill.  We’ve had the same flip phones on a cheap plan with Verizon Wireless for about 8 years.  We shared 550 minutes, with no texting or data for about $67 per month.  It worked fine for us generally, but the time has come to move into something a little more current.

We had been scouring different carriers and different plans trying to find something that wouldn’t cost an insane amount of money for the value we would get from it.  We certainly weren’t going to move from $70 per month to $200.  We needed a budget option.

Net10 Wireless

We settled on Net10 Wireless.  We get unlimited talk, text, and data for a total of $90 per month for 2 lines with no contract.  To help you decide whether to make the same switch we did, here are some of the good points and the not as good points.

Advantages of Net10 Wireless:

  • No contract.  We haven’t had an active contract for years.  We’re not contract averse as we rarely switch services anyway, but it might make a difference to you.
  • Pay as you go option.  You can buy 30 days of access to unlimited talk, text, and data for $50 per line.  You can pick up access cards all over the country at stores like Target, Walmart, Walgreens, and Radio Shack.
  • Auto-Pay option.  You can also set up recurring automatic payments every 30 days.  You get a discount of $5 per month for the first line and $10 per month for additional lines when enrolled in the family plan.
  • Family Plan.  Net10 Wireless is one of the few non-contract cell phone carriers with a discounted family plan.  The family plan supports up to 4 phones.  4 phones would cost you $165 per month with the auto-pay feature rather than up to $400 per month with plans from other carriers.  Not bad.
  • You can transfer your existing phone number to Net10 so you don’t have to worry about the hassle of a new phone number.
  • Unlimited talk, text, and DATA.  :)
  • Lots of different phones to choose from including iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3.  You can also get Windows phones or Blackberry phones if they suit you better.  You may also be able to use your current phone.
  • Net10 has deals with the 4 biggest carriers so you know the coverage will be good.
  • You can pay the bills for all phones together or charge them each to different accounts.  We split ours out.  Mine goes to my business account and Liz’s goes to the family budget.  Pretty nice to be able to do that.

Disadvantages of Net10 Wireless:

  • Data is only 3G speed.  There are faster data services out there and if you need 4G or LTE, Net10 won’t work for you.  We don’t need the speed at this point, so we’re going with it.
  • No tethering to other devices and no mobile hot spot services.  Net10 won’t allow you to tether your phone to your computer or tablet.  I’m not a huge fan of this decision, but I understand that in order to offer unlimited data, they have to put some limitations on the types of data being transferred.  “Mobile data” is smaller and “regular computer data” so that explains it.
  • If you transfer your phone number to Net10 Wireless and buy airtime cards on a monthly basis and you miss a month, you could lose your phone number.  That’s why the auto-pay option makes a whole lot of sense to me.  I’d forget and lose it.
  • Phones aren’t subsidized so you pay the full retail price.  They offer some high end phones, some mid-range phones and some budget phones.  We opted for a pair of factory re-certified Samsung phones that operate on the Verizon network.

So, what do you think?  Is Net10 right for you?  We’re happy with it so far, but only time will tell.

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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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  • Josh Bulloc

    You might also consider Ting. I have not moved because Andrea really likes her iPhone and they don’t carry it.

  • Raun Lauterbach

    Very interesting pricing concept, Josh. I’ve never heard of them, but it looks like they have pretty good coverage in your area.