Amazing U.S Prepaid Talk & Text Only Deals

Welcome to Prepaid Phone News’ continuously updated guide to the best deals in prepaid voice and text messaging plans.

This post is for anyone who only uses their phone for voice calls and text messaging and doesn’t need or want to pay for data. Some of the plans covered here do include data but it may be limited or overpriced.  If you want to use even a little data along with your talking and texting see our companion post; The Best Deals On Prepaid Mobile Data.

The cost of prepaid unlimited talk and text plans is now just $25/month or less, and that’s with two out of the four the major operators. AT&T’s Cricket brand, T-Mobile’s MetroPCS and GoSmart all have $25/month unlimited plans.

If you are ready to switch to prepaid or switch from one prepaid operator to another the first thing to do is check your coverage with all four national operators (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile). Almost all prepaid operators rely on one of the big four for their coverage. At the national level, AT&T and Verizon provide service in more places than T-Mobile and Sprint. But all four have areas that they don’t cover. I’ve created a page showing the national coverage maps for all prepaid operators. It has links to each operator’s detailed block by block maps. Rule out the networks that don’t provide service where you live, work and play.

Once you’ve found the networks that will work for you, dive into the tables below to find the best deal for your usage on your preferred networks. There are four tables aimed at heavy, moderate, light and text-only users.

In the grids below, click the operator’s name in the first column for PrepaidPhoneNews’ coverage of that operator. Click the plan name in the second column to go directly to the operator’s site. Except as noted, prices include all fees and taxes with the exception of applicable state sales tax and e911 fees in some states.

Heavy users, talking over 1500 minutes and/or sending more than 3000 texts per month, should be on an unlimited voice and SMS plan.

Best Unlimited Voice and Text Plans
OperatorPlanNetworkPhonesMonthly CostVoice min.SMSData
RepublicTalk & TextSprintRepublic Only$10+ 2UnlimitedUnlimitednone
RingPlusNoelaniSprintMost Sprint$17.99+ 6UnlimitedUnlimited400 MB
Ultra Mobile$19 UnlimitedT-MobileT-Mobile or Unlocked GSM$19.00+ 8UnlimitedUnlimited100 MB
PTel$20 UnlimitedT-MobileT-Mobile or Unlocked GSM$20UnlimitedUnlimited150 MB
Expo Mobile$25 PlanSprintMost Sprint$25+ 1UnlimitedUnlimitednone
GoSmart MobileUnlimited Talk & TextT-MobileT-Mobile or Unlocked GSM$25UnlimitedUnlimitedFacebook Only
CricketTalk & TextAT&TAio feature phones or AT&T or Unlocked GSM$25UnlimitedUnlimitednone
MetroPCSUnlimited Talk & Text 3T-Mobile or MetroPCSMetroPCS$25UnlimitedUnlimitednone
RepublicUnlimited data talk & textSprintRepublic Only$25+ 2UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Red Pocket CDMAVUnlimited Talk and TextVerizonVerizon 3G$29.99unlimitedunlimited500 MB 2G
Airvoice WirelessUnlimited Talk and TextAT&TAT&T or unlocked GSM$30.00unlimitedunlimited500 MB 5
T-MobileUnlimited Talk TextT-MobileT-Mobile or unlocked GSM$35.00unlimitedunlimitednot available
NET10Unlimited Talk & TextVerizon, AT&T or T-MobileNET10 non-smart-phones$35.00unlimitedunlimitednot available
Page PlusUnlimited Talk n TextVerizonMost CDMA$39.95unlimitedunlimited1 GB, Overage $0.05/MB
Boost MobileTMonthly Unlimites SelectSprintBoost phones$40unlimitedunlimitedunlimited, throttled after 500MB
VerizonUnlimitedVerizonVerizon phones$45unlimitedunlimited500MB
AT&TUnlimitedAT&TAT&T or unlocked GSM feature phones$45.00unlimitedunlimitedunlimited (throttled after 2GB/mo.

1 Expo Mobile adds a $1 “Cost Recovery Fee” to all monthlt plans
2 Republic – Calls and texts routed over Wi-Fi if available, approximately 15% additional monthly taxes and fees
3 MetroPCS – $25 plan is promotional, only available in MetroPCS stores, specific basic MetroPCS phones required, $10 activation fee.
4 Boost Mobile: BlackBerry (includes BBM) only. Initial plan cost of $45/month is reduced by $5 for every six on time payments. Minimum cost, after 18 payments is $30.
5 Airvoice – 500 MB is delivered in 250 MB increments. After using the first 250 MB, the user must call Airvoice to have them “release” the 2nd 500 MB
6 RingPlus taxes and fees average 20% and are charged in states like California and New Hampshire that don’t normally tax prepaid airtime.
7 Promotional plan, new accounts only, limited phone choices, must activate by Sept 2, 2014 (more information)
8 Ultra Mobile charges a “cost recovery fee” of 50¢ on airtime loads of $10 or less and $1 on airtime loads of $10.01 or more.

Moderate users (between 500 and 2000 combined minutes and texts per month) can save with a limited monthly or yearly plan that includes a bucket of minutes or texts. This is particularly true if you need Verizon coverage.

Best Limited Monthly and Yearly Plans
OperatorPlanNetworkAllowed PhonesMonthly CostVoice min.SMSData
SelectelYearly PlanVerizonVerizon 3G$6.25 ($75/year)164 (2000/yr)164 (2000/yr)5¢/MB 3
Page PlusThe 12VerizonMost CDMA$12.0025025010 MB, overage 10¢/MB
SelectelValue PlanVerizonVerizon 3G$15.0030030015 MB, overage 5¢/MB 3
Pure TalkUSASimple 1000AT&TAT&T or unlocked GSM$20.0010001/3 minute each$9.95 for 200 MMS + 400 MB 2
NET101000 Minute PlanVerizon, T-Mobile or AT&TNET10 non-smart-phones$25.001000 minutes or texts1000 texts or minutescharged 1 minute per minute of browsing
AT&T$25 MonthlyAT&TAT&T or unlocked GSM$25.00250, overage 10¢/eaunlimited1¢ per 5 KB ($2/MB) 150 MB $5 200 MB $15 1 GB $25
Page PlusTalk n’ Text 1200VerizonMost CDMA$29.9512003000500 MB, Overage $0.05/MB
SelectelTalk & Text PlanVerizonVerizon 3G$30.0013003000500 MB, overage 5¢/MB 3
Virgin MobilepayLoSprintVirgin payLo$30.001500150030 MB overage $1.50/MB
Straight TalkAll You NeedVerizon, T-Mobile or AT&TStraight Talk non-smart phones$30.001500unlimited100 MB no overage

1 1¢ per 5 KB data not available with smartphones
2 $9.95/month data and MMS addon provides 200 MMS and 400 MB of data. Also available: 1 GB/ 400 MMS for $19.90. Unused add-on data expires after 30 days.
3 Selectel overage – 5¢ per minute, message or MB is available by using a $10 Smart Card which doesn’t expire

Heavy texters who don’t talk much can save with an unlimited text plan

 Best Unlimited Text Deals
OperatorPlanNetworkAllowed PhonesMonthly CostVoice min.SMSData
ChitChatBasic PackageSprintMost Sprint$9.99 4250unlimited$5 for 100 MB
Kajeet$14.99 / month planSprintKajeet, most Sprint$14.99 160 included/ overage 10¢/minunlimited$1 per MB 2
BYO$15 PlanVerizonVerizon non-LTE phonesm except iPhones$15 4350unlimited50 MB
AT&TUnlimited MessagingAT&TAT&T or unlocked GSM$19.990.10unlimited1¢ per 5 KB ($2/MB) 3
Virgin MobileWiFi Lover’s DelightSprintVirgin Mobile smart phones$20300unlimitednone
VerizonUnlimited MessagingVerizonVerizon non-smart phones$20.000.25unlimited0.99/day

1 Plus a 10% ($1.50) monthly surcharge on all Kajeet airtime
2 Monthly data add-ons  available: 50 MB for $5, 500 MB for $9.99 and 1 GB for 24.99
3 Data not available with smartphones.
4 BYO and ChitChat add an average of 15% (varies by state and city) in taxes and fees to the monthly plan price.

Light users (under 500 minutes and texts combined per month) can save even more with a pay as you go plan.

Best Pay as You Go Deals
OperatorPlan or PackageNetworkPhonesMinimum Monthly CostVoice min.SMSData
LycamobilePay As YouGoT-MobileUnlocked GSM0.7¢ 46¢/MB
T-MobilePay As You GoT-MobileT-Mobile or Unlocked GSM$3 110¢10¢$5 500 MB/1 day, $10 1 GB/7 days
Page PlusPay As You GoVerizonMost CDMA$2.50 24-10¢10¢/MB
AirvoicePay As You GoAT&TAT&T or unlocked GSM$3.33 38-10¢10¢6.6¢/MB
H2OMinute PlanAT&TAT&T or unlocked GSM$3.3310¢/MB
PTelReal PAYGOT-MobileT-Mobile or unlocked GSM$5.0010¢/MB
Red PocketCDMA PayGoSprintMost Sprint$5.0010¢10¢10¢/MB
TracfoneTracFoneT-Mobile, Verizon or AT&TTracfone$6.674.4¢ – 33¢1.5-11¢6.6-50¢/KB
AT&TPay As You GoAT&TAT&T or unlocked GSM$8.3310¢20¢1¢/per 5KB (non-smart phones only
Airvoice$10 PlanAT&TAT&T or unlocked GSM$10.006.6¢/MB
EcoMobilePay As You GoSprintMost CDMA$10.0010¢/MB
VerizonPay As You GoVerizonVerizon non-smart phones$10.0025¢20¢99¢/day

1 T-Mobile pay as you go charges $3/month which includes 30 non-rollover minutes or texts. Additional minutes or texts are 10¢/each
2 Page Plus deducts a 50¢ maintenance fee from your balance each month.
3 Airvoice deducts a $1 maintenance/e911 fee from your balance each month.
4 Lyca’s minimum top-up is $10. Funds do not expire but you must make a voice call, or send a message or use data or purchase a top-up at least every 90 days to retain service. The 0.7¢ minimum monthly cost is based on a one minute, 2¢ call every 90 days.

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