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
Operator Plan Network Phones Monthly Cost Voice min. SMS Data
Republic Talk & Text Sprint Republic Only $10+ 2 Unlimited Unlimited none
RingPlus Noelani Sprint Most Sprint $17.99+ 6 Unlimited Unlimited 400 MB
Ultra Mobile $19 Unlimited T-Mobile T-Mobile or Unlocked GSM $19.00+ 8 Unlimited Unlimited 100 MB
PTel $20 Unlimited T-Mobile T-Mobile or Unlocked GSM $20 Unlimited Unlimited 150 MB
Expo Mobile $25 Plan Sprint Most Sprint $25+ 1 Unlimited Unlimited none
GoSmart Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text T-Mobile T-Mobile or Unlocked GSM $25 Unlimited Unlimited Facebook Only
Cricket Talk & Text AT&T Aio feature phones or AT&T or Unlocked GSM $25 Unlimited Unlimited none
MetroPCS Unlimited Talk & Text 3 T-Mobile or MetroPCS MetroPCS $25 Unlimited Unlimited none
Republic Unlimited data talk & text Sprint Republic Only $25+ 2 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Red Pocket CDMAV Unlimited Talk and Text Verizon Verizon 3G $29.99 unlimited unlimited 500 MB 2G
Airvoice Wireless Unlimited Talk and Text AT&T AT&T or unlocked GSM $30.00 unlimited unlimited 500 MB 5
T-Mobile Unlimited Talk Text T-Mobile T-Mobile or unlocked GSM $35.00 unlimited unlimited not available
NET10 Unlimited Talk & Text Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile NET10 non-smart-phones $35.00 unlimited unlimited not available
Page Plus Unlimited Talk n Text Verizon Most CDMA $39.95 unlimited unlimited 1 GB, Overage $0.05/MB
Boost Mobile TMonthly Unlimites Select Sprint Boost phones $40 unlimited unlimited unlimited, throttled after 500MB
Verizon Unlimited Verizon Verizon phones $45 unlimited unlimited 500MB
AT&T Unlimited AT&T AT&T or unlocked GSM feature phones $45.00 unlimited unlimited unlimited (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
Operator Plan Network Allowed Phones Monthly Cost Voice min. SMS Data
Selectel Yearly Plan Verizon Verizon 3G $6.25 ($75/year) 164 (2000/yr) 164 (2000/yr) 5¢/MB 3
Page Plus The 12 Verizon Most CDMA $12.00 250 250 10 MB, overage 10¢/MB
Selectel Value Plan Verizon Verizon 3G $15.00 300 300 15 MB, overage 5¢/MB 3
Pure TalkUSA Simple 1000 AT&T AT&T or unlocked GSM $20.00 1000 1/3 minute each $9.95 for 200 MMS + 400 MB 2
NET10 1000 Minute Plan Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T NET10 non-smart-phones $25.00 1000 minutes or texts 1000 texts or minutes charged 1 minute per minute of browsing
AT&T $25 Monthly AT&T AT&T or unlocked GSM $25.00 250, overage 10¢/ea unlimited 1¢ per 5 KB ($2/MB) 150 MB $5 200 MB $15 1 GB $25
Page Plus Talk n’ Text 1200 Verizon Most CDMA $29.95 1200 3000 500 MB, Overage $0.05/MB
Selectel Talk & Text Plan Verizon Verizon 3G $30.00 1300 3000 500 MB, overage 5¢/MB 3
Virgin Mobile payLo Sprint Virgin payLo $30.00 1500 1500 30 MB overage $1.50/MB
Straight Talk All You Need Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T Straight Talk non-smart phones $30.00 1500 unlimited 100 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
Operator Plan Network Allowed Phones Monthly Cost Voice min. SMS Data
ChitChat Basic Package Sprint Most Sprint $9.99 4 250 unlimited $5 for 100 MB
Kajeet $14.99 / month plan Sprint Kajeet, most Sprint $14.99 1 60 included/ overage 10¢/min unlimited $1 per MB 2
BYO $15 Plan Verizon Verizon non-LTE phonesm except iPhones $15 4 350 unlimited 50 MB
AT&T Unlimited Messaging AT&T AT&T or unlocked GSM $19.99 0.10 unlimited 1¢ per 5 KB ($2/MB) 3
Virgin Mobile WiFi Lover’s Delight Sprint Virgin Mobile smart phones $20 300 unlimited none
Verizon Unlimited Messaging Verizon Verizon non-smart phones $20.00 0.25 unlimited 0.99/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
Operator Plan or Package Network Phones Minimum Monthly Cost Voice min. SMS Data
Lycamobile Pay As YouGo T-Mobile Unlocked GSM 0.7¢ 4 6¢/MB
T-Mobile Pay As You Go T-Mobile T-Mobile or Unlocked GSM $3 1 10¢ 10¢ $5 500 MB/1 day, $10 1 GB/7 days
Page Plus Pay As You Go Verizon Most CDMA $2.50 2 4-10¢ 10¢/MB
Airvoice Pay As You Go AT&T AT&T or unlocked GSM $3.33 3 8-10¢ 10¢ 6.6¢/MB
H2O Minute Plan AT&T AT&T or unlocked GSM $3.33 10¢/MB
PTel Real PAYGO T-Mobile T-Mobile or unlocked GSM $5.00 10¢/MB
Red Pocket CDMA PayGo Sprint Most Sprint $5.00 10¢ 10¢ 10¢/MB
Tracfone TracFone T-Mobile, Verizon or AT&T Tracfone $6.67 4.4¢ – 33¢ 1.5-11¢ 6.6-50¢/KB
AT&T Pay As You Go AT&T AT&T or unlocked GSM $8.33 10¢ 20¢ 1¢/per 5KB (non-smart phones only
Airvoice $10 Plan AT&T AT&T or unlocked GSM $10.00 6.6¢/MB
EcoMobile Pay As You Go Sprint Most CDMA $10.00 10¢/MB
Verizon Pay As You Go Verizon Verizon non-smart phones $10.00 25¢ 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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