Stripped Down Cell Phone Plans

Saving money on your wireless phone

By Consumer Bob
|  Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012  |  Updated 10:44 PM PDT
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These days, Smartphone plans can easily cost more than $100 per month. But what if you just want a basic cell phone just to make phone calls and send a few texts? NBC 7's Consumer Bob looks at a simple, stripped down cell phone plan that keep your mobile bill between $10 and $20 per month.

These days, Smartphone plans can easily cost more than $100 per month. But what if you just want a basic cell phone just to make phone calls and send a few texts? NBC 7's Consumer Bob looks at a simple, stripped down cell phone plan that keep your mobile bill between $10 and $20 per month.

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Smart phones contracts and plans don't come cheap.  People today can easily spend $100 or more for a monthly plan, that adds up to more than a $1,000 a year just for talking, texting and surfing the web on your wireless phone.  But what if you don't need all the fancy features?  Then it's time to shop around for a better deal.

Today more cellular companies are looking for ways to offer stripped down cell phone plans that are downright cheap.  Wireless Works in Encinitas just started its Freedom Plan which offers cellular service for $5.99 a month.  But there are no free minutes for calls or texting. The plan charges 7 cents a minute for calls and texts.  But if you are someone who doesn't spend a lot of time on the phone, your monthly rate could easily be below $15 a month, a fraction of some phone plans.

The Freedom Plan allows you to use any phone that works with the Verizon network.  You can bring your own phone or buy one from Wireless Works for as little as $35.

Wireless companies like Consumer Cellular and Jitterbug also offer inexpensive plans in the $15 dollar range that include a small amount of minutes.

For low-income Americans the Federal government supports a Lifeline program that offers discounted phone service.  Funding for the program is included in everyone's phone bill. To participate in the program you must either have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in a qualifying state or federal assistance program such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Programs or Section 8 housing.

California offers land line phones for free but not wireless phones through the Lifeline program. 

However, carriers like Cricket Wireless do take federal money to lower phone bills for qualifying customers.

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