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Switching To A Prepaid Phone Plan: Things To Keep In Mind

If you’re thinking about switching to a prepaid phone plan, there’s a few things you NEED to keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know…



KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Before switching to a prepaid phone plan, make sure your device is compatible with the service. Carrier-locked phones may need to be unlocked, which can cost a fee.
  • Be sure to check the coverage map for the carrier you’re considering and make sure that you will be able to get coverage in the area where you live.
  • If international coverage is important to you, make sure to go with a prepaid plan that offers international call and texting.
  • Prepaid plans may have restrictions on data speeds, tethering, or using your phone as a mobile hotspot, so make sure to read the terms and conditions.
  • If you want to keep your current phone number, you can usually port your number to a prepaid plan, but make sure to check the porting policies for the plan you’re considering.

If you want more flexibility with who you get your data from, how much you pay for it, and the size of your monthly phone bill, then a prepaid phone plan could be just what you’ve been looking for.

Prepaid plans cost less than postpay plans, they don’t come with nearly as many strings attached, and when you choose the right prepaid plan for your exact needs you’ll get everything you need, including generous amounts of data – anywhere from 10GB to unlimited data.

Sounds good, right? For the most part, prepaid phone plans are very good options for most types of user – and prepaid plan costs are significant lower too. But there are some caveats you need to be aware of – and the big ones are covered in detailed below…

Factors To Consider Before Switching To A Prepaid Plan

Switching To A Prepaid Phone PlanPin

Compatibility With Your Device

Before switching to a prepaid phone plan, it’s important to make sure that your device is actually compatible. If your current phone is carrier-locked, this may prevent you from switching to another network.

You can, of course, get the phone unlocked but this will cost you a fee. This is also important to keep in mind when buying a refurbished phone; you’ll want to make sure that it is completely unlocked.

Carrier locked refurbished phones are cheaper, so if you know what carrier you’re going to get your prepaid plan with, you can save some additional cash this way, although I wouldn’t advise this approach.

You’re just creating yourself potential headaches farther down the line.

Be sure to check the requirements for the plan you’re considering and make sure that your device will work with the service.

Coverage Availability

Another important consideration when switching to a prepaid phone plan is coverage availability.

Prepaid plans may have more limited coverage areas than traditional postpaid plans, and you may not be able to get coverage in certain areas.

This will only be a problem if you’re going with an ultra-cheap, off brand prepaid plan. If you ensure that you go with the best prepaid plans on the market, coverage will not be an issue.

Make sure to check the coverage map for the carrier you’re considering and make sure that you will be able to get coverage in the area where you live.

International Coverage

Some prepaid plans may offer international coverage at an additional cost, while others may not offer international coverage at all.

There are plenty of prepaid plans that offer international call and texting, so if that is important to you make sure you go with one of these prepaid plans.

Prepaid Plan Restrictions

Some plans may limit your data speeds after a certain amount of usage, or may have restrictions on tethering or using your phone as a mobile hotspot.

This is important to keep in mind. For instance, Verizon’s prepaid plans DO NOT come with access to its ultra-fast 5G network.

But if you go with VISIBLE, its MVNO arm, you do get access to the Ultra Wideband network (and for less money too).

Make sure to read the terms and conditions of the plan you’re considering and make sure that the restrictions will not be a problem for you.

Porting Your Number

If you already have a phone number that you want to keep, you can usually port your number to a prepaid plan. The process is usually pretty fast, but it can take up to several days, and there could be fees as well.

Again, always make sure to check the porting policies for the plan you’re considering and make sure that you’re comfortable with the process before making the switch.

Best Prepaid Phone Plans

And if all of the above sounds good and you understand all the caveats associated with prepaid phone plans, here’s our pick of the best prepaid phone plans right now.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He has written for Den of Geek, Fortean Times, IT PRO, PC Pro, ALPHR, and many other technology sites. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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