Dirt cheap secret Verizon prepaid plans?
January 11, 2014 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Are there any Verizon prepaid plans other than the two: $60/mo 2GB data or $70/mo 4GB data

I love my T-mobile plan, but I hate the coverage. I live in a downmarket, effectively rural, area. There are no 3G or 4G T-mobile towers for a hundred miles and AT&T won't let me use their G's. All I ever get is EDGE. If I want to read MeFi on my phone on breaks at work it takes all of the 10 minutes to just pull up the front page. I rarely chat voice, so basically I'm paying 30 a month for unlimited SMS (Which everyone seems to have just about stopped using).

Current phone: Refurb Samsung Galaxy S on MeFi's favorite T-Mobile $30/mo plan

It's a CDMA town. I want to get a Moto G on Verizon for $100. My only sticking point is the cheapest prepaid Verizon plan I can find is $60/mo unlimited everything up to 2GB data, twice what my barely-servicable T-mobile bill is.

Questions: Are there any cheaper, "hidden" prepaid plans on Verizon? Would it be worthwhile to call them up and try to get them to cut me a deal?
posted by laconic skeuomorph to Technology (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can try a Verizon MVNO like PagePlus, but the Moto G specifically can't be flashed to their service. I've read that Ting, a Sprint MVNO, can roam on Verizon towers, but you'd probably have to do more research.
posted by palionex at 8:32 AM on January 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Also forgot to add that Verizon's cheapest prepaid plan is unlimited talk and text with 1GB of data for 50. It's their "Walmart plan," but you can request it over the phone in case you decide to stick with Verizon and don't hit 1GB.
posted by palionex at 8:41 AM on January 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

The only other option I know is that in limited areas Straight Talk will use Verizon towers instead of GSM as they usually do. I know this because we managed to use an out of contract Verizon phone on Straight Talk after paying $15 to have them unlock over the phone. Allegedly Verizon can do that unlock for free, but after clueless people in store I decided it was worth my time to just pay $15 and be done with it.

Worked great for my oldest son, coverage was just as good as any of our Verizon phones. He had unlimited 3G data.

The downsides: They may not use Verizon in your area. You won't be able to buy the Moto G for $100 and use it on another network (possibly - I know for a fact you can't buy it and use it as an official Verizon post-paid phone unless it has been in use for 6 months on Verizon prepaid.) Straight Talk at the time wouldn't accept any outside 4G phone or iPhone - though they would sell you their own.

For better or worse, you're paying the premium of Verizon coverage in your area. Where I live I dumped AT&T a few years ago and it has been amazing. I use my phone as a business tool as well as personal, so not missing and dropping calls constantly has made a huge difference.
posted by shinynewnick at 10:08 AM on January 11, 2014

If you don't have good Sprint coverage, Ting is not for you. Ting will roam for voice on Verizon towers, but not for data. And last year it seemed like it would try its very best not to roam for voice whenever possible, so 1 bar all the time/occasional drops.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:32 AM on January 11, 2014

TracFone just added a bring your own phone option that works with CDMA phones, although i don't know if its verizon or sprint. Their data prices don't look that great though, depending on your usage. 2GB for $50, but.... i think that 2GB lasts until you use it? i can't tell.

I have no experience with TracFone.

You might also peruse the wikipedia list of US MVNO's (mobile virtual network operators) and sort by verizon and check if any of those would work for you.
posted by TheAdamist at 10:35 AM on January 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have experience with Tracfone, though not with their data plans. Generally, when you buy minutes on a phone, it adds X minutes and also 90 days. If you add more minutes before the 90 days is up, the unused old minutes roll over to your extended time frame. This is part of why I am a fan. Other pay-as-you-go plans generally do not roll over anything. You start fresh every friggin month, which keeps you on a very short, rather expensive leash. I have found that for a low use phone, Tracfone is hands down the most economical way for me to go.

I was looking at their data plan recently as I am on the market for a tablet or other inexpensive computer. (Mine died recently.) I cannot say for sure, but my impression is the data plan works similarly to the regular phone plan. I would definitely look at it if I were in your shoes. If you do not use it much, I would bet Tracfone is a more economical option.
posted by Michele in California at 1:09 PM on January 11, 2014

My son had an iPhone 4S on Verizon. When his contract was up, he switched to Page Plus's Talk and Text 1200 plan, which includes 500 MB of data, for $29.95. He's been happy with Page Plus.
posted by merejane at 2:36 PM on January 11, 2014

If Republic Wireless will do data roaming (not sure, but curious), that seems like an option. Like Ting, though, it uses Sprint first, but unlike Ting, you get unlimited voice, text, and (of course) data w/ a wifi signal. And it's CHEAP.
posted by nosila at 7:50 PM on January 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Aio Wireless recently kicked off and I have switched from recommending T Mobile for international visitors with unlocked phones to recommending Aio Wireless. They are owned by AT&T and use their towers.
posted by hAndrew at 2:51 PM on January 13, 2014

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