More and more cell phone companies are leaving the familiar 2-year contracts behind and beefing up their no-contract offering. This is fantastic news for cell phone customers, but might come with sticker shock. Here’s why.
Transparent No-Contract Prices
The main benefit of a no-contract plan is that it’s easy to see exactly what you’re paying for. There’s a price for the phone and a price for the data, instead of a monthly fee that includes both.
It’s easier than ever to compare cell phone plans and companies side by side. Most people will find that their costs go down under no-contract plans. It was always this way, but harder to figure out because the true cost of a high-end smartphone was hidden in monthly charges.
An iPhone Costs How Much?
Even though the total cost over a 2-year contract is lower, prepare yourself for sticker shock. Instead of getting a subsidy for the latest iPhone or Android smartphone in exchange for signing a 2-year contract, there are now two main ways to pay for your phone.
1. Monthly installments – The cost of the full price of your phone is divided up into a monthly cost (usually over 12 or 24-months)
2. Up front – You pay the full price of your phone when you start your service
Again, that cost was always there, just hidden in a single monthly charge. If you add up the cost of your new device and new, no-contract plan, and then compare it to the total cost of your 2-year contract, you’ll probably find the no-contract plan saves you money.
Switch Cell Phone Plans Obligation-Free
Another benefit for customers is the end of early termination fees and the inability to switch carriers. With no contract, you can take your phone with you to the cell phone company that offers the best plan for you. Or you can buy a new phone as soon as it comes out to join their network. Even if you’re on the monthly installment plan.
Some phones will be exclusive to certain networks, but for the most part, the popular phones work across carriers. This frees you up to find the best deal.
What’s in it for Cell Phone Companies?
What’s better for customers is usually better for the businesses selling to them. With no-contract cell phone plans, companies can compete for your business and have a better chance of offering you the cheapest prepaid plans with the most features.
Better prices, better coverage, better customer service. Before, a cell phone company could do all this and still not earn a customer’s business because they were locked up in a 2-year contract. Now customers are free to choose.
Does U.S. Cellular Have No Contract Plans?
U.S. Cellular has no-contract plans with monthly installment pricing and prepaid plans. With a variety of minutes, texts, and data packages to choose from, you’re sure to find one that fits you.
You can “BYOP” (bring your own phone) from your old network, or purchase a new smartphone. All U.S. Cellular prepaid plans give you access to the same nationwide network, smartphones, and customer service that all their customers enjoy without the obligation of a contract.
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