Prepaid Reviews & Ratings: Major Carriers
Prepaid Cellular Services Offered by the Major Wireless Carriers
Listed alphabetically

AT&T GoPhone
■ Our Rating: (3 Out of 4 Stars)
■ Operated by: AT&T
Network: AT&T Only
GoPhone is now known as "AT&T Prepaid".  They give you all the benefits of the entire national AT&T wireless network without the commitment. Choose Pay As You Go for as low as .10 a minute, or several levels of Unlimited voice, Mobile to Mobile and Nights and Weekends, and Unlimited Text. AT&T Prepaid's Unlimited plans are now offered at a competitive price. Canada and Mexico Roaming is available, under GoPhone Mexico roaming was only .25/minute. If you have an Unlocked or AT&T GSM phone you can just purchase a new AT&T SIM and try it out.  Some of these features and prices may change during the GoPhone to AT&T Prepaid transition.

There will be some new AT&T Prepaid promotions and procedures as they roll out the name change.

Discount AT&T Prepaid (GoPhone) Refills

■ Our Rating: (2 Out of 4 Stars)
Operated by: Sprint
Network: Sprint Only, some Talk & Text on roaming partners
Boost gives you a unique choice of plans and good nationwide coverage. Boost phones use the Sprint network and normally do not roam off that network, however you are allowed a cetain number of minutes to make roaming calls so you're not totally out of touch. Their Unlimited plan is a great alternative to those from the other carriers at a good price. Boost Mobile has the same coverage as Virgin Mobile and Sprint Prepaidso you might check their plans and features to see if they match your usage better.  Boost has a history of adding a progressive reward to customers...the longer you stay with them, the lower the price or, recently, the greater the amount of data allowed. Boost now claims to include taxes and fees into their prices which will result in lower overall plan prices.

■ Our Rating: (3 Out of 4 Stars)
Operated by: AT&T
Network: AT&T Only
Cricket offers a competitive prepaid service on the AT&T network with Unlimited Voice, Text & Picture Messaging, Long Distance and Data. Plans with Data start at $30 and they offer discounts available for Auto-Pay and multiple users at higher price levels. Cricket offers a modest selection of GSM phones and allows you to bring your own phone.  Cricket phones can roam in Mexico for Talk, Text and Data but not in Canada and there is no off-network roaming available in the US. Cricket has the advantage of using the AT&T network at a discount price and gets credit for making Mexico roaming available at no increase in price over their $50 and $60 plans. Cricket includes all taxes and fees in their prices which results in lower overall plan prices.

Click to Get More About MetroPCS METRO PCS
■ Our Rating:
(3 Out of 4 Stars)
Operated by: T-Mobile
Network: T-Mobile Only
Metro PCS has been acquired by T-Mobile but continues to be offered as a separate product. With both carriers combining spectrum there is greater bandwidth capabilities. MetroPCS is the "value" flavor of T-Mobile service with prices starting as low as $25 for Talk & Text, and $30 per month with data. MetroPCS users can access the entire expanding T-Mobile network and while roaming is availbale in Mexico and Canada, there is no off-network roaming in the US. Most of the MetroPCS network is 4G LTE. Plans start at a low price point and Family plans are cheaper than average. They have no activation fees and don't charge extra taxes and fees.

All plans include Unlimited Web access with different thresholds for "throttling" data speeds. Metro offers a "Bring Your Own Phone" plan that includes certain iPhone models. They also offer a good selection of phones. We have never dealt with MetroPCS customer service but it should on the same above-average level as T-Mobile. 
MetroPCS has opened their own stores which adds some benefit when you need help with returns and adjustments. Occasionally, MetroPCS stores have promotional deals that are not available online, and vice versa.

■ Our Rating: (1 Out of 4 Stars)
Operated by: Sprint
Network: Sprint Only
Sprint offers their own prepaid, called "Sprint Forward" which has been very much like their postpaid plans. Recently they offered very few phone models, and sometimes none. The Sprint Forward plans claim to be competitive, but it's still to early to tell.  Smartphone plans include unlimited data with various levels of throttling, and unlimited messaging and talk while on the Sprint network. 
Better prepaid phones and plans are offered by Sprint under the Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile brands using the same Sprint network but with slightly different deals.

We offer refills for Prepaid phones at a Discount, AND in a greater variety of denominations than you get from the carriers themselves. Don't Pay Full Price! Mountain Prepaid Refills are available for almost all prepaids!

■ Our Rating: (3 Out of 4 Stars)
Operated by: T-Mobile
Network: T-Mobile and Others
T-Mobile has been a good value for Prepaid. Their Data plans start at $40/month. Their cheapest Talk & Text plan at $3 per month allows you to go over your monthly allotment at the same rate if you sign up for "auto-pay." T-Mobile Prepaid allows you to roam off their own network (except Data) without additional charges, and will also roam in Canada, Mexico and over 200 foreign countries. Roaming in Canada and Mexico can be included in your prepaid plan including Data. Foreign roaming charges may be quite pricey but they offer Wi-Fi Calling that enables you to make Voice calls through Wi-Fi in any country at the same rate as local calls in the US. Since T-Mobile is now offering 'No Contract' rates for their normal plans, you should consider them as an economical way to buy a top model phone. This also means you need to hunt to find their actual pay-as-you-go plans. Also, if you have an Unlocked or existing T-Mobile GSM phone you can just activate a new T-Mobile SIM and try it out. T-Mobile also operates MetroPCS which may offer you more, and cheaper, Prepaid options. T-Mobile
includes all taxes and fees in their prices which results in lower overall plan prices.
T-Mobile No-Contract Phones @ Less than Retail
Discount T-Mobile Prepaid Refills

Our Rating: (1 out of 4 Stars)
Operated by: US Cellular
Network: US Cellular and Others
US Cellular, the 5th larger wireless carrier in the US, operates one of our preferred wireless services, but their prepaid plans have some limitations. While Talk and Text is available nationwide, Data is limited to their own regional network. They currently offer only monthy prepaid plans instead of pay-as-you-go. US Cellular Prepaid is a good choice if you live in an area where US Cellular is the only service available.

Verizon Wireless VERIZON PREPAID
■ Our Rating: 
(1 Out of 4 Stars)
Operated by: Verizon Wireless
Network: Verizon and some roaming partners
While Verizon has an excellent network and several different levels of Prepaid plans, they are not encouraging Prepaid customers and they have eliminated some of their lower-priced plans.  They are happy to support their affiliated Prepaid re-sellers. Roaming off the Verizon network incurs additional roaming charges. Fortunately, Verizon's network is extensive. There is a limited number of phone models that Verizon will allow current customers to convert to Prepaid.  Our favorite Prepaid alternative that uses the Verizon network is Total Wireless.
Online Deals For Verizon Wireless Prepaid
Discount Verizon Prepaid Refills

■ Our Rating:
(1 Out of 4 Stars)
Operated by: Sprint
Network: Sprint Only,
some Talk & Text on roaming partners.
Virgin uses the Sprint network but they don't give you much reason to choose them over any other Sprint re-sellers. However, they have offered some very aggressive price promotions with some limitations. They support good features all across the country, limited to the Sprint network except for a small number of Talk minutes. They now only sell the Apple iPhone. They have improved their ratings with their simplicity and agressive promtional efforst. They offer data plans at good rates, however, their "Unlimited" plans have some serious limitations including a maximum of 800 Talk minutes per month. Virgin is owned by Sprint and they have the same coverage as Boost Mobile and Sprint Prepaid so you might check those plans and features to see if they match your usage better.
Online Deals for Virgin Mobile

There is a number of US carriers who offer prepaid service either as separate plans or as their only plans and serve a specific geographic area. Examples include US Cellular, Choice Wireless, C Spire and others. They are reviewed in the Cellular Networks Local Pages and in the Cellular Network Reviews.

- Our Ratings: We rate each service based on Coverage, Price, Roaming, Customer Support and Features, 1 to 4 stars.
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