Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In one of my recent columns, I told you about a cellular service called Republic Wireless offering unlimited talk, text and web for $19 a month. But that’s for people who want a fancy Android smartphone.
Most people just want a simple phone that calls and texts. Now there’s a $12/month plan from Page Plus called “The 12,” where you get 250 voice minutes, 250 text messages and a small amount of data for very light web surfing every month — a great deal for moderate users. Visit PagePlusCellular.com for more details.
Page Plus has a number of other low-cost plans available. They tend to price a little lower than mega-competitor Straight Talk, which starts at $30/month for 1,000 texts and 1,000 voice minutes. By comparison, Page Plus’ $30/month plan bests them by offering 1,200 minutes and 3,000 text messages.
Meanwhile, another competitor called Net 10 is running a limited-time promotion of $30 per month for unlimited everything when you buy a participating phone for $40-$70 and enroll in auto refill for 12 months. After 12 months, the rate jumps up to $50. Visit Offers.Net10.com for more details.
Finally, Consumer Reports has done a new rating of cell phone service providers in its January issue. Non-contract giant Straight Talk scored higher than any of the big four contract players. Straight Talk gives you an Android for $45 with unlimited calling and texting and a generous data cap.
The worst marks go to AT&T, which got one of the lowest scores from Consumer Reports I’ve ever seen for any company in any industry. They came in dead last in 22 of the nation’s largest markets. By contrast, the best of the big four contract players was Verizon, with Sprint on its heels.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions, plus Clark’s new book “Living Large in Lean Times,” at ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.
Want to learn how to coupon? Or have questions about the process? Join us on the blog for our live chat with Coupon Mom Stephanie Nelson on Jan. 31 at 11 a.m.