Cellular phone and wireless service providers offer a variety of subscription plans. There are unlimited, pay-as-you-go, and contract plans, all with different prices and contract lengths.
These plans provide subscribers with an “unlimited” number of local minutes in their monthly plan for one set price. However, there are conditions attached to these plans which may affect the actual cost per minute. Also, some carriers have multiple price points for unlimited talk time – making this type of plan affordable for almost any budget. When calling within the system coverage area, these plans usually have no long-distance or roaming charges. However, if you travel outside the network’s range, you will be charged at a much higher rate than when within the network’s boundaries.
With these plans, subscribers must add credit to their account before placing a call. Calling rates are typically quite high and may even be higher than contract plans – having the advantage of no contracts and no early termination fees. An initial deposit is required when signing up for this type of plan. If you use all your minutes before recharging again with more credit, you will not be able to place calls until the refill has been added to your phone. These plans also usually include some long-distance and roaming surcharges on top of normal calling rates, but often at reduced levels compared with other types of wireless service providers’ pay-as-you-go plans.
These plans require subscribers to sign a contract. The early termination fees for these types of plans are usually quite high but may be waived if you stay with the same carrier for the duration of your contract. With contract plans, carriers typically provide lower monthly rates in exchange for requiring an unnecessary long-term service agreement. This has caused some backlash against certain providers who have begun selling “no contracts,” which are still technically binding via their hefty cancellation charges or other penalties. One advantage of signing a contract is that subscribers usually receive discounted phones when they agree to commit for a specific period.
These plans allow subscribers freedom by providing them with the ability to cancel at any time without penalty or losing your phone number in the process – so they can switch carriers for better rates at a whim.
There are many providers of these plans, and each has its own per-minute cost, cancellation plan, and phone price. Some offer cell phones free or at reduced prices as well.