No Contract Cell Phone Plans Guide

No contract cell phone plans offer consumers the convenience of cell phone service without being tethered to any service term contract obligations (eg. 1 or 2 year contracts). There are several types of no contract plans available in the market today.

No Contract Cell Phone Plans Comparison

Pay As You Go Monthly (Non-unlimited) Monthly Unlimited
Cost Structure Example $20 to $60 every 3 months $10 to $30 per month $30 to $60 per month
Recommended For Very light to Moderate phone users More Light to Moderate phone users More Heavy phone/text users More
Pros Cheapest way to have a cell phone, rollover airtime, lots of phone models Easy monthly payments, rollover airtime, all kinds of phones including iPhones/Android smartphones Access to latest smartphones; one price for “all you can use”; no worries about buying extra airtime
Cons Plans need recharging every 3 months to a year, Gets expensive when usage level becomes high When phone use is high, it’s time to switch to unlimited No rollover minutes, Expensive for light to moderate phone users
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In the next sections, you can go over brief reviews of various types of these plans, and dig deeper through the Full Review links. If you want to quickly look into more detailed comparisons of various providers and plans, check out the No Contract Plans & Providers Comparison Chart.

For more background information on how all these work, check out the No Contract Phones & Plans main page. Skim through the guide and read the sections that are most helpful for you.

Who No Contract Phone Plans Are For

  • Users who like the freedom and flexibility of not being tethered to a 2-year phone company contract.
  • Users who like saving a lot ($30 to $50 a month is common) on cell phone service expenses as no contract plans are a lot cheaper than regular contract plans.
  • Both smartphones and non-smartphones (feature phones) users. The latest iPhones are available.
  • Users who want to use their existing phones or unlocked phones. More and more no contract providers (eg. Straight Talk, Net10) are offering “bring your own phone” programs.
  • For temporary visitors to an area. If you only need phone service for 3 months, you could buy just a few months of service. There are no credit checks.
  • Consumers can upgrade their phones at any time. There is no need to wait 2 years for a contract to be over before upgrading your phone.

Types Of Plans Compared

Below are the main types of no contract phone plans. Each of these options can work for smartphones or regular feature phones (non-smartphones).

Pay As You Go Phone Plans

Pay As You Go Cell Phone PlansPay As You Go (PAYG) phone plans provide users flexible, ongoing access to cell phone use. Users purchase and load up airtime credits on their phones to enable service. For light cell phone users, especially users needing under 150 minutes of talk time or 300 text messages a month, Pay As You Go phone plans are the least expensive. In addition, some providers, like TracFone, allow for rollover minutes and service days, which means that airtime credits get accumulated when users don’t use them up. More Info >>

Full Review and Comparison of Pay As You Go Phone Plans

Related: Pay By The Day plans

Monthly Plans

No Contract Monthly Cell Phone PlansMonthly no contract cell phone plans provide consumers access to cell phone services by paying for it on a monthly basis. Since there are no contracts, they are sometimes referred to as Pay As You Go monthly plans. Every month, the plan provides for a certain amount of airtime units that is good for talk time/text messaging/data. There is a monthly plan to suit every level of cell phone use, from light users, to moderate to heavy phone users. These plans are convenient to have, as users know that service is available as long as payments are made each month. More Info >>

Full Review and Comparison of Monthly No Contract Phone Plans

Unlimited Monthly Plans

No Contract Unlimited Cell Phone PlansUnlimited monthly plans are a specific type of monthly cell phone plan where there are no limits to talk time, text time or data transfer. Data plan users should note that there is usually a limit on how much high speed data (3G, 4G LTE) can be accessed, even for unlimited plans. These plans are very popular as users do not need to worry about their airtime running out, or needing to top up their account with more airtime credits. For heavy phone users, it works out to be less expensive than purchasing multiple bundles of Pay As You Go airtime credits. More Info >>

See the full review and comparison of No Contract Unlimited Phone Plans

Family Plans

No Contract Family Cell Phone PlansFamily Plans are bundled packages of monthly plans, with a discount incorporated for the subscription of multiple plans within one account. They have gotten less relevant in recent years with the low cost and discounts offered by individual prepaid plans. Nevertheless, they can still be good bargains for some families. More Info >>


Full Review and Comparison of No Contract Family Phone Plans

No Contract Plans & Providers Comparison Chart (includes details on specific provider plans)

No Contract Phones & Plans Main guide.

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