The $10 a Month iPhone Plan

Why are you paying so much for your Iphone service?

How much do you pay a year for your Iphone service? $1,000? $2,000? What are you getting for that service? The average Iphone user pays about $2,240 ($199/Phone + $85/Month) every two years for their phone plus a service contract. What would you do if someone gave you $2,000? Would you enjoy having that money? I think most people would agree that you could have a lot of fun with that kind of money.

iphoneWhat you need to get started:

AT&T iPhone ($99 to $299 Off Contract at CowBoom, Ebay, or Craigslist)
Sim Card ($1 to $15)

How does it work?

Get to know your MVNO. What is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator? Basically, it is a company that pays AT&T (or Verizon) to use a portion of their network for prepaid service. The advantages of these subsidiaries is that they do not have to pay for the building or maintaining of the network and AT&T benefits by selling their extra bandwidth and not having to worry about lower revenue prepaid customers.

Also, AT&T does not want to offer competitive prepaid services because they know that if they offer those, no one in their right mind would pay $80 a month for a contract! If you have ever been to Europe or any country other than the US you will know how this process works (and probably be amazed at how many American blindly pay so much for cell phone contracts).

How to Choose an MVNO:

The first is to choose a MVNO that licenses the AT&T network. I’ve narrowed it down to the two best. For a full up-to-date list check here:

AirVoice Wireless (My Current Choice for 2+ Years)
Straight Talk (GSM Version)

All of these companies license AT&T’s network so you can buy a sim card and directly drop it into any AT&T locked (or unlocked) Iphone and it will work perfectly! You can buy a sim and be making calls in minutes.

What do you get and what about pricing?

Best Per Minute:
AirVoice Wireless @ $.02/Text, $.04/Min, $.33/MB

Best Text and Talk:
AirVoice Wireless @ $30 Unlimited Text and Talk + 100MB Data

Best for Unlimited Talk, Text & Data:
Winner: Straight Talk @ $45 a month

How do you get started? Simply go to the website and purchase a Sim Card. Once it comes in you can activate it on their site and add minutes to the plan. You simply take the Sim Card from your current AT&T phone out and put the new one in!

How much do you save? On the simplest level, going from $85/ Month on AT&T to $45/Month on Straight Talk you would save almost $1,000 over the two year contract! I personally have averaged about $10-14 a month the last two years of prepaid with modest use. This has saved me over $1,500 compared with the top AT&T plan. Lastly, if you want to use a newer iphone and you have a regular sim card you can just trim it to make it a micro sim.

FGEs (Frequently Given Excuses)

I’m in a contract and I can’t get out:
If you are currently in an AT&T contract you can call and get out of the contract anytime. They will require that you pay an ETF which starts at $325 and drop $10 for every month you are in contract. If you have been in contract over a year you will pay less than $200. You would save that in 2-3 months of service!! Some people will say, “I don’t have enough to pay for that” and I say “I don’t have enough to pay $2,240 dollars every two years just to have a cell phone!”

I like my current number and don’t want to change:
I have ported my number that I’ve had for 10 years from carrier to carrier. It is as simple as filling out a web form with your current number and information. It only takes a few hours for the number to be switched!

I want to get a new phone every two years from the store:
New phones are expensive. Especially when you buy them without a contract. But you know what else is expensive? Paying $2,000+ for a cell phone bill! If you save just a tiny bit of the money you won’t be paying you can buy whatever phone you want anytime you want (you don’t even have to wait two years!)

I love paying extra for taxes and overages on my current postpaid plan, what will I do will all the money I save from not having to pay those? 
True, True. You are correct that prepaid plans come with all taxes and service charges build into to the total cost. No more paying for all the ‘extra’ taxes that seem to show up on postpaid bills.

I love paying an extra $1,000 every year for my cell service, your suggestions are stupid!
Some people will never understand

*Bonuses
The misses and I often use Skype, Talkatone and iMessage to use even fewer minutes. We have wifi at our home and work so we don’t have to worry too much about data charges.

If you have any questions leave a comment and I’ll respond

17 thoughts on “The $10 a Month iPhone Plan

  1. Stephen,

    You’re a genius! Thanks so much for this helpful info!

    I want to do this with 2 phones:
    I want to get a sim for my wife’s iPhone 4
    I want to get one for an additional phone we plan to keep at home as a spare.

    I’m a bit uncertain on exactly which sim to purchase.
    For the iPhone am I getting the SIM for an unlocked GSM phone (I have an AT&T phone) or a T-mobile compatible phone?

    I’m thinking of doing the Air Voice $10 plan for our spare phone. Does this make sense to you or should I do the pay as you go?

    Thanks again!

    • Thanks for the comment, The airvoice works best for the AT&T phones because they use the exact same network so you don’t have to unlock or anything. You are correct, the exact item would be the unlocked GSM sim (from airvoice). For the spare it depends on how much you are going to use it. The airvoice pay as you go is more expensive per minute/text but last for 90 days (and the $10 a month expires after 30 days $.10 min vs $.04 per minute). We don’t use a lot (almost none) of data (mostly wifi) so they airvoice work well as our primary lines. We actually are currently both using Iphone 4 phones at the moment and it works great.

  2. This is amazing. I started to see commercials for Net10 recently. I have an iPhone through work but my wife has not had a chance to get one due to our finances. She will have to wait a little longer as she just signed up for another plan on a flip phone. Yes, a flip phone. I will definitely be keeping this in the back of my head when she can get a new contract.

  3. Best way to save money on cell phones – Don’t have one at all 😉 They suck your time and life and money (well you have figured out how to avoid most of the money sucking). Unlimited home phone calling through OOMA at $3/mo for taxes & fees is the way to go in my book. All my extended family is ADDICTED to their smart devices and paying through the nose for them (both time and money) because they can’t give them up.

  4. I just got my airvoice card in the mail today after reading this post last week. I’m locked in till October with AT&T with my 4s till October. I figure I can give this a dry run before I jump off the deepend. Do you know how I can temporarily forward my number to the airvoice number for the time being? Also would you do a post sometime on talkatone setup. I got it setup and can call out but can’t receive calls.

    Thanks,
    Chris

  5. Awesome! I’m still using airvoice personally and you have made an big first step to getting away from the crappy contracts. I actually did the exact same thing before I jumped aboard. I actually bought a sim and just activated it with a new number to test out the coverage and make sure it was the same. It is really easy to port to airvoice but I’m not sure how difficult it is to port back to AT&T.

    Yeah, here is some more info on talkaphone http://www.talkatone.com/quickguideus.html#0 . They are always updating it and the google voice info changes a lot so it helps to keep up to date.

    • The one that is the most popular would be page plus. I know people over at http://www.howardforums.com have had pretty good luck porting smartphones over to it (You can check their discussion boards for the most up to date information). I believe the 29.95 1,000 Min 3,000 text, 250MB data is pretty strong for a Verizon MVNO.

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  7. I’m looking for a similar fix for my Sprint Android phone. Any insight?

    • I think most people on the sprint network use virgin mobile. It is still a little on the expensive side but it works well for sprint phones. If you poke around a little bit you might be able to find some info on the $25 unlimited plans they used to have.

    • I bought a Nexus 5 from Google. $350 or $400 depending on memory. Runs Android 4.4. Great phone for the price. Took my Airvoice SIM out of my Samsung GS3 and up and running in 5 min. I setup my wife on iPhone 5s using StraightTalk. They both work good. I am the frugile one so went the cheaper route.

  8. Great tip!
    I live in Germany:

    – my 2-year MVNO (DeutschlandSim, o2 Network) plan costs 3,95€ a month including 100 minutes talktime, 100 SMS and 500MB of data traffic.

    – my phone (Moto G) was 169€

    This leads to the following costs:

    – Plan: 47,40€ per year/94,80€ for 2 years
    – Phone (considerung two years of usage): 84,5€ per year/169€ for 2 years
    =
    – ~264€ (about $365) total costs for 2 years. That’s about 17% of the average iPhone user in the U.S.

    • Not natively, however, we used facetime, Imessage, Skype-out and google voice on wifi all with great almost free results.

  9. Great info! I’m wondering about compatibility with the microsignal booster I have since it is also with AT&T. I live in a little bit of a valley and needed it to get cell coverage and now feel a little bit stuck since if I leave AT &T the booster would not work for say Verizon.