Ok, so this one is a little up for debate and does come with caveats – but it’s really hard to beat some of the plans RingPlus has been offering in the past.
RingPlus is a really strange MVNO – mobile virtual network operator – basically, they buy Sprint’s service and resell it to customers.
With one critical distinction – they have a ton of free plans, where you just buy the phone, then pay a one-time ‘top-up’ fee to keep some balance in your account, and then you get free texts, minutes, and data every month, indefinitely (until they cancel this program, which admittedly they can do at any point in time).
Their current plans aren’t the best, but pretty regularly they’ll throw out some pretty great limited time offers. If you want to be on top of these, I’d suggest you go to slickdeals.net and set a “Deal Alert” for RingPlus. You can also just check https://ringplus.net/ and see if they have anything good going on, but I suggest the former.
The best deal I’ve seen has been a flat 1800 minutes, 1800 texts, and 1800 MB for free every month, but they did have an even better deal for 2000 minutes, 2000 texts, and 2000 MB free every month, but it was pretty convoluted to get – you’d have to have another phone on one of their worse plans before you got that one.
Still, 1800/1800/1800 is pretty amazing. For some people, that would be enough in of itself – for others, there’s a strategy to make this enough for just about anyone.
What’s that strategy? Basically, using Google Voice to string together several phones – you can set your Google Voice number to dial up to 5 phones at once, and you can get your phones to all call from your Google Voice number easily with the Google Voice app.
That means you could get 5 1800 plans, effectively giving you 9000 minutes, 9000 texts, and 9000 MB a month totally free after the upfront cost of the phone and the top-up.
You can probably get some very decent phones on eBay very cheaply that can fulfill the need here, but if you want a new phone, the Moto E 4G LTE phone frequently goes on sale for $40 or even less, and is quite an excellent/adequate phone. I personally have an Moto X on Republic Wireless and Moto E on RingPlus, and I use both just about equally. Moto E has way more amazing battery life too, so that’s a huge win.
In any case – basically you set a data limit on each phone to say, 1.8 GB, and then once you hit that, you just move on to your next phone. Since everyone uses your Google Voice number, it’s flawless switching between phones and having exactly the same experience.
After about a year, you should be basically net positive over paying a monthly fee (or even faster, depending on how much data you use and how many phones you need), and then from thereon out it’s all savings. But yeah – hard to beat. Give it a try!
(FYI – this is also excellent for tethering. You can get basically unlimited tethering based on how many phones you get to use as just pure data when needed.)
Personally, I’m hoping for a 2000/2000/2000 plan that can just be sufficient for me by itself – and then I can get a nice phone like an iPhone and just use it on that. But we’ll see if and when that comes along