• Compiling a list of the best cell phone plans and deciding on which one is right for you depends on what you’re looking for — whether price is your main consideration, for example, or whether you mostly plan on using your new iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy phone to stream Netflix, among other uses.
  • If a cheap cell phone plan is what you’re after, here’s one of the most affordable we’ve seen in a long time.
  • Red Pocket Mobile has a prepaid cell phone plan that includes 200 minutes of talk time for $30 a year, or $2.50/month.

In a few days, I’m going to fork over my latest monthly cell phone payment to AT&T — with the latest bill of service for my iPhone XR totaling $231 and some change. That’s a little less than $3,000 a year for cell phone service, which is way more than I probably should be spending. Then again, ubiquitous connectivity is something none of us can really do without, especially right now during the pandemic, so I have a sense that for most people, it’s a matter of just paying whatever it costs and not drilling down into the weeds too much.

Which is not to say, of course, that there aren’t plenty more alternative plans out there to choose from. In fact, if the best cell phone plan, to you, is one that prizes frugality above all else, there’s a deal we recently came across that makes your monthly cell phone bill so cheap it might as well be free: The deal is a prepaid service offering by Red Pocket Mobile, which includes a year of service for only $30.

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You read that right. A mere $30 for an entire year of cell phone service, equal to $2.50 a month. And here’s a link where you can obtain this deal from eBay.

The details: Red Pocket Mobile promises “contract-free mobile phone and internet service on the nation’s top networks.” That includes being able to keep your existing phone as well as your phone number.

In terms of what you get with this particular deal, this doesn’t sound like an even remotely comparable replacement candidate for something like the plan I have now. Nevertheless, this prepaid offering includes 200 minutes of talk time, plus 1,000 texts and 200MB of data included for the monthly price. If you don’t talk on the phone anymore, like most people I know (except for quick transactional calls), I could see how this plan might be at least a little useful — especially if you use a messaging app, like Facebook Messenger, to do most of your “texting.”

Also important to know: No matter what phone you want to use with this plan, as long as it’s unlocked, you should be good to go. That deal link above also notes that a SIM card is included and that it works with GSM as well as CDMA carriers.

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Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.