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I recently moved to the United States from New Zealand, and given the amount of carriers in comparison, was wondering if anyone knows of a webpage that compares cellphone plans/pay-as-you-go options.

Alternatively, can anyone list any carriers that provide all/most of the following?

  • Pay-as-you / prepaid

  • Payments for connection/airtime that do not expire after as short as a month (Something like 3-6 months, or even a year, like in NZ)

  • Allow connection of an existing cellphone, rather than requiring purchase of one of theirs.

  • No contract

Alternatively still, if anyone has some knowledge about "data only" plans, that are mentioned here, that would be appreciated.

I have done some research (Without much success in satisfying many of the above conditions), so if anyone would like to see this data listed in this question, please let me know.

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    google "BYOD prepaid cell"
    – Paul
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 6:28
  • gosmart.com seems to fit, is owned by TMobile
    – Paul
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 6:29
  • If we are talking GSM, the GSM frequencies are in 3 bands. I don't know that a NZ purchased phone will be compatible in the USA, unless it is a 2 or 3 band phone... I used to have a 3 band phone 10+ years ago, but maybe all that is obsolete now ...
    – Paul
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 6:30
  • 1
    No need for a downvote: this is clearly asking for strategies to save money money.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic
    – MrChrister
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 16:57
  • 2
    @MrChrister does that mean I can ask question on 'strategies to get a deal on latest ssd drive' or finding the cheapest drive? Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 19:12

2 Answers 2

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Our Pay as you go phones tend do go on a basis of how much money you give them upfront. It varies from plan to plan. There are a few annual options available. [PagePlus and TMobile both do that]

  • PagePlus [You can activate a third party CDMA phone]
  • TMobile [GSM]
  • Simple Mobile
  • Virgin Mobile [Sprint]
  • H20 - Mobile [Mostly for Data usage]
  • Net10/Trakphone [has multimonth options]
  • FreedomPhone [This is a new venture.. not so sure about them]
  • Cricket Wireless [MetroPCS/Sprint network]
  • Straight Talk [this is the walmart phone, its connected to the TMobile, AT&T, and Sprint networks] The phone you get depends on which network you'll be connected to.
  • PTel - These guys are a SIM only option. You've got to bring the GSM device. This may be what you're looking for.

Nearly every carrier [with a few exemptions... i.e. Iphones] will accept an unlocked phone that will work on their network. You just need to verify that it will before you bring it to the network. It may require an ESN change or a new SIM card/regisitration. [The SIM card is binded to the IMEI in the US]

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  • It won't help you with bringing your device in.. but its a start. All of the major contract providers have a prepaid option.. but they aren't so great.. otherwise I'd list them there... Sprint does a lot of MVNOing... Verizon does it a little [page plus]
    – monksy
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 20:17
  • "All of the major contract providers have a prepaid option.. but they aren't so great" - This is what I found also. What is "MVNO.." a abbreviation of?
    – user66001
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 20:37
  • MVNO is a reseller of the service/bandwidth
    – monksy
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 1:10
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Walmart sells several brands of prepay/pay-as-you-go cellphone plans and has stores just about everywhere; I suggest walking into a Walmart and asking one of the electronics employees about the plans they sell. That will give you some idea of the range of service plans out there.

Their website for service plans is here, but you'll probably end up doing a lot of clicking. You'll want ones that will sell you a sim card (like this) to put into your current phone, and most of the re-up packs mention how long they're good for on the package.

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  • Thanks Yamikuronue. I was sort of hoping not to have to travel to a bricks-and-mortar store, to make sure I got the best bang for my buck (Which probably won't happen, if I only visit 1 store). I agree that Walmart's website is not the best (Why, given their resources, I do wonder). Also, I would like to suggest that the SIM card link in the above gets changed to something like walmart.com/ip/AT-T-GoPhone-Sim-Card/22700044 given it is cheaper, satisfies my pay-as-you-go requirement (Seems the Straigh Talk option is $45 p/month), ...
    – user66001
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 18:44
  • ... doesn't state "compatible [phones]" (or the like) which I have found on many U.S., carriers websites (Should have mentioned this is my original question, as being an annoying aspect of U.S cell carries, i.e., trying to create doubt as to whether your phone will work with, for instance, the GSM standard), and doesn't have some concerning reviews, though I think this customer likely has a locked phone, instead of SIM card.
    – user66001
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 18:45
  • @user66001 Pretty much every US carrier has restrictions on what phones can be used. Some of them state it more obviously than others. This is due to contractual agreements between phone manufacturers and service carriers. Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 19:20
  • I should have guessed so. Love this country :)
    – user66001
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 19:30

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