Verizon (and the other major carriers) forces you to have a data plan if you have a smartphone.
okay, so I thought they did this so they would get their money back on subsidized phones. wrong. they're just greedy. I say this because you can't even go out and buy a used smartphone on craig's list and put it on one of the major networks without having a data plan. you can feel free to try, but when you take a look at your next bill you'll have a nice new shiny data plan added.
Verizon is CDMA-based
I like to travel, and I'd like to be able to use my phone when I travel. Verizon uses a wireless standard (CDMA) that is limited to the United States and just a few other countries. if you use a provider that's based on GSM (the global standard), all you have to do is unlock your phone, which is cheap, and you can use your phone worldwide.
last, but most certainly not least, price!!
these plans are all based on 2 lines, with at least 1500 minutes and 500 texts per line. first up, the 4 major carriers:
carrier plan price minutes text data at&t nation 1400 familytalk + family messaging unlimited $130 1400 unlimited none verizon nation family shareplan 1400 + 500 messages/line $110 1400 500/line none sprint everything messaging family 1500 $100 1500 unlimited none t-mobile unlimited value - talk + text $80 unlimited unlimited none
these aren't even an option for me, because the major carriers all require contracts as well as a data plan with a smartphone. plus, Verizon and Sprint are CDMA-based.
but thankfully those aren't my only options. there are many smaller carriers that don't require a contract, and use the same networks as the larger carriers, all at a fraction of the price. I won't include CDMA-based ones like MetroPCS, Cricket, Virgin, or Boost, but here are few GSM-based ones:
carrier plan price minutes text data h2o wireless h2o unlimited $80 unlimited unlimited none simple mobile unlimited talk, text, and 3g web $80 unlimited unlimited unlimited walmart family mobile unlimited talk & text $70 unlimited unlimited unlimited for 3 months, pay-as-you-go after that
it looks like the best deal is walmart mobile, but unlimited data with simple mobile for just an extra $10/month is mighty tempting...
but just this week a new player has entered the mix that may blow all of the others out of the water. if the leaks are true, republic wireless will be offering unlimited talk, text, and data for a measly $19 a month. we'll just have to wait until Tuesday to find out...