Remember when a cell phone bill could reach $200 or $300? Back in those days, cell phone plans included 200 or so minutes, and features like 411 and texting came at an additional cost. Roaming charges were astronomical, and if you traveled out of your cell phone service area, you could be looking at a ridiculously high phone bill at the end of the month.
Even further back, like during the days when Zack Morris called Kelly Kapowski on his comically large mobile phone, he probably paid a monthly fee of around $45 just to have his phone function (this equals around $82 worth of today’s money.) For each call he made, he paid anywhere between 25 and 95 cents per minute (between 46 cents and $1.73 in today’s money.) Therefore, if we were still subject to the same prices today that we were in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we’d be looking at a cost of anywhere between $27 and $104 for an hour long phone call, which is the type of call most of us make on a regular basis.
What changed? Prepaid cellular plans became a popular option for cellular customers during the late 1990s and early 2000s. These customers did not have to worry about a credit check or any type of commitment as they could simply purchase phone service for an allotted time period. Phones became throw away for many customers as the price of materials declined and more and more providers entered the industry. By the time the iPhone hit the scene in 2007, millions of consumers already had cellphones, but the level of usage was set to increase dramatically.
As of 2014, a startling 90 percent of American adults have a cell phone, according to Pew Research. Of those ages 18 to 29, 98 percent of these adults are cell phone users. Cell phone use spreads across all races, ages, and demographics as technology of these phones rapidly increases. In the seven short years since its introduction, 58 percent of Americans own a smartphone. Smartphones have had a profound impact on our society and considering the high level of usage, these phones are a regular expense that impact our monthly budget.
These days, multiple providers are competing with each other to recruit customers. With so many providers offering no-contract plans, it can be difficult to determine the best deal. We’ve listed some of the smartphone plans we think are a good deal. Most carriers offer unlimited talk and text, but the differences generally lie in the amount of data you receive (and what happens after you use all of your data), customer reviews, and also the details involved with obtaining a device.