Pay As You Go Wireless Simplified

By: Tim Whiston

It's 2008 and about time the wireless phone industry grew up. Consumers of wireless service are not idiots and more people are moving away from abusive contracts.

In many cases hefty bills sent to monthly plan rate customers are not caused by overages, but simply unreasonable and steadily increasing base rates. After spending years with major wireless providers and getting the wind kicked out of them month after month by outrageous bills, many consumers are now looking into prepaid options.

Here are two interesting statistics to consider:

The average wireless user only depletes around 30% of his or her allowed minutes per month. This makes the plan rate system virtually obsolete.

And over 60% of all wireless phone users on planet earth pay for their service in advance. A clear majority of consumers opt for the pay as you go method.

But it's not easy to find a prepaid wireless service that is clearly defined, reasonable, and effective.

Often when people go prepaid they find lots of gimmicks and obvious ploys designed to confuse and rip off the consumer. Bizarre daily access rate formulas and continually varying per-minute fees make it nearly impossible to find a straightforward system whereby a user can simply pull up his or her balance and know immediately how much airtime remains.

But it doesn't have to be like this. There are one or two good prepaid wireless companies out there, and here are the benefits to look for when selecting one.

Go with a service that provides its users with a clear minute balance at all times and not dollar amounts. Looking at your phone to see $21.11 remaining is not always helpful, especially if your service charges different rates for a multitude of functions. Ideally you can pull up a balance on your handset or online account that displays the actual minutes you have remaining.

Also avoid any provider that has half a dozen per-minute rates depending on this or that factor. You're better off finding a clearly defined plan that charges you the same for each minute regardless of when and where it is used.

The same is true of text messaging. Your cost per message should never vary for any reason.

Finally, make sure your prospective prepaid wireless provider has arrangements with all the major tower systems. The truth is pay as you go services rarely invest in their own tower networks, no matter what a sales rep might tell you.

Using a pay as you go phone that works on only one network of towers is pointless. Just because you're going to leave the bills sent by the major corporations behind doesn't mean you can't still leverage their technology. Be sure to look for a prepaid service that will pull signal from any tower you happen to be near.

Major wireless companies that focus on monthly plans but also offer prepaid are rarely a good option. They will charge you full price for your handset up front and usually have very high per-minute fees.

Find a prepaid service that offers brand name refurbished handsets. There are a few that do this, and this allows you to acquire a normally expensive phone for $15 to $20. Note: "refurbished" often means the phone's digital card or other interchangeable component has been switched out; this is a very routine procedure that does not harm the handset's integrity.

Use these guidelines to find a fair, easy to understand wireless phone service and get rid of your abusive contract and high monthly obligations.

Networking
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Networking