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UPDATED: 23 Tips For Choosing A Carrier

Best Web-only offers - Verizon

All of these carriers have specials for only the Web

Verizon has a sizable selection of products, from phones to accessories, some of which look past their prime, with free 2-day shipping and instant online discounts when you buy online. Also added bonus, the list offers certified pre-owned (read: used) refurbished phones.

For example, they have a refurbished iPhone 4 32GB model, normally $299, for $249. You can also get some refurbished BlackBerry and Android phones for free, one cent or very low prices. You can even get a Samsung Galaxy Tab for $149, quite a savings off the $399 it usually commands.

AT&T has a sizable collection of Web specials, some of them good (the BlackBerry Torch 9800 for 1 cent) and some no deal at all (refurbished iPhone for the same price as a brand new one).

Sprint's collection isn't all that impressive with the exception of the BlackBerry Style 9670, one of the few flip phones Research in Motion has made.

T-Mobile has had Web specials but they are not constant. They come and go and you have to keep an eye on their site. With none running right now, we can't evaluate it.

  • mcd023
    thanks Toms! this is very useful and the first that I've seen.
  • Straight talk uses Verizon's network and it's only $45 for unlimited call, text and data!! Can't beat that!!
  • @cralat

    Straight Talk is not only Verizon. Depending on device (they do sell GSM devices) some use AT&T. It did start off as they only used Verizon services but since last year around this time they now also use AT&T.
  • I think this is a very helpful article, but there is some bad info under "9. Best individual plan (power user)". Sprint price for a single line unlimited everything is $99.99/month, add in 4G for an additional $10/month.

    Then under "10. Best family plan (economical)". Sprint does have options for texting at the 700 minute mark. $5/line for 300 messages, $10/line for 1000 messages, and $20/line for unlimited.

    The only reason I know that is since I was shopping for new phone service recently, and I did all the research you have done here
  • Marcus52
    It's not true that AT&T is the only option for talking and surfing at the same time. You can do it on Verizon 4G as well. Why they don't advertise this in their TV commercials, since AT&T makes a big deal out of it (or used to anyway), I don't know. Verizon commercials have never taken advantage of all their actual benefits in any of their services. I think their marketing department is clueless. :D

  • kyuuketsuki
    "T-Mobile: Unlimited text, talk and 4G via the Even More plan: $99.99"

    "T-Mobile is confusing as hell. They don't separate talk, text and data in their plans, nor do they have an unlimited plan. Their data rates start at 200MB per month and top out at 10GB. The 10GB plan with unlimited minutes is the most expensive, at $119 a month."

    Uh. What the hell? Contradiction much?
  • kyuuketsuki
    Also, T-mobile is currently offering an unlimited everything (sort of... 2 GB of full-speed data per month with reduced speed data after that, which beats simply paying an exorbitant amount per GB IMO) for $79.99.
  • mrmoo500
    How much you pay depends on how smart you are when choosing your plan. We have Verizon, with three feature phones and one smart phone with a full data plan, full texting plan for all the phones and 700 min, and we pay much less than our neighbors who have sprint, with four phones and they have the simply everything plan for two of them and just texting and min for the other two. We pay over $100 less per month than they do! But we do get a 20% discount through work, but that just applies to the lead phone. In conclusion how much you pay depends on how you set up the plan and what you want.
  • pifive
    Just one word for this article..... MetroPCS
  • virgin mobile's pay-lo is by far the cheapest - you only need to top-up with $20 every 3 months and that is all I have ever payed since I have never exceed the limits.