Search thousands of topics on CostHelper.com

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business sports weddings
CostHelper > Consumer Electronics  > Phones & Communication > Cell Phone

Cell Phone Cost


How Much Does a Cell Phone Cost?

 
low costSmartphone with Contract: Freeaverage costBasic Pre-Paid Cell Phone: $10-$20high costPre-Paid Smartphone: $100-$450
post Post   Comments (5)  

The first step in selecting a cell phone plan is to decide on a carrier, ideally one that offers the best coverage in the area the phone will most often be used. Check the cell phone reception coverage maps for the carriers available. Customers interested in smartphones and accompanying data plans can read How Much Does a Smartphone Cost.

Typical costs:

  • Basic text and talk phone plans generally cost $40-$60 a month. Basic plans typically have a restricted number of talk minutes (often less than 500) and unlimited texting. Basic plans also often include free mobile-to-mobile calls to lines on the same carrier and free nights and weekends. For example, AT&T[1] charges $40 for 450 minutes per month and $20 for unlimited texting. T-Mobile offers an unlimited talk, text and web plan starting at $50 a month that is unique because most basic plans don't include web access.
  • Plans with greater amounts of talk-time minutes cost more. For example, Sprint[2] offers plans with 900 minutes for $60-$110 per month.
  • Verizon[3] offers unlimited talk and text plans that also include limited data plans that start at $80-$90, depending on the type of phone used. Unlimited talk plans through AT&T[4] start at $70 per month.
  • Pre-paid cell phone plans typically cost $30-$100 per month, depending on usage needs. Basic talk and text plans are less expensive than plans that include data or unlimited talk time. For example, Sprint[5] has unlimited pre-paid phone plans from $50-$70 per month. Virgin Mobile[6] has plans for $35-$55 per month.
  • Family plans allow share allotments of talk, text and data and generally cost less than multiple individual plans. For example, Verizon[7] has "share everything" plans that cost $30 per basic phone, $40 per smartphone and $50-$100 for unlimited talk, text and tiered data allowances. Family plans from T-Mobile start at $80 for two lines, $90 for three lines, $100 for four lines and $110 for five lines. Additional data allowances cost more.
Related articles: Cell Phone Plan, Smartphone, Text Messaging, Internet Phone Service, Long Distance Phone Calls

What should be included:
  • Most cell phone plans include voicemail and caller ID.
  • Many cell phone plans allow for free mobile-to-mobile calls on the same network. Many plans also offer free evenings (typically after 7 p.m. or 9 p.m.).
Additional costs:
  • There are typically $30-$40 activation fees for new phones and contracts.
  • Additional minutes usually cost extra.
  • On some plans, roaming outside of the local region can cost extra.
  • Breaking a cell phone contract early will entail a sizeable penalty. It varies by phone and by carrier, but typically the fines are between $175-$350.
  • Depending on the plan, text, IM (Instant Messaging), picture and video messaging can also cost extra. Unlimited text messaging typically costs $20 per month. See: How Much Does Text Messaging Cost.
  • There are state and local taxes on monthly plans, but these are generally minimal.
Discounts:
  • When consumers agree to a new two-year contract the cost of the phone is often heavily discounted. Many phones are available for free or less than $1 with an agreement for a two-year contract.
  • When a cell phone contract term is up, users can renegotiate with the carrier and may get better terms or a new phone.
  • Some national companies offer discount plans for employees.
Shopping for a cell phone:
  • Shop around. Different retailers will offer different incentive plans for signing up for a contract, which can include free activation, free or discounted phones, or other promotions.
  • TopTenReviews evaluates cell phone plans, coverage and features[8] .
  • Consumer Reports has a cell phone service buying guide[9] .
post Post   Comments (5)  
CostHelper News


Forgotten Expenses In a Home Addition Budget
Items like construction costs, permit fees or debris removal aren't the only expenses to consider when calculating the total costs of a home remodeling project. || Posted August 5 2013


7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd
As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Iphone X
Amount: $1,100.00
Posted by: Mike3 in New York, NY.Posted: May 20th, 2019 04:05PM
Brand: AppleModel: X
Store: Apple
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Phone
Amount: $600.00
Posted by: Judi Lockhart in Fort Worth, TX.Posted: September 8th, 2015 05:09PM
Store: Metro PCS
Samsung Galaxy 6 2015
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
cell phone
Amount: $550.00
Posted by: thrissshha in orlando, FL.Posted: April 21st, 2014 09:04AM
Brand: appleModel: Iphone 5c
Store: tmobile
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
cell phone
Amount: $17.00
Posted by: burkett in por st. lousie, FL.Posted: April 28th, 2009 04:04PM
Brand: tmobleModel:
Store: walmart
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Phone
Amount: $500.00
Posted by: Bobby Kim in Erie, PA.Posted: April 9th, 2008 06:04AM
Brand: VeizonModel: Razor
Store: Mall
Horrible
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam


 

Comment On Your Experience With a Cell Phone
 
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  *
Brand: Model: 
Store:   
Comments: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
 
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.
 



External Resources:
  1.  www.att.com/shop/wireless/plans-new.html#fbid=XFRiYaG7fFe
  2.  shop.sprint.com/mysprint/zipcode_intercept.jsp?showZipPTNSection=false&redirectURL=http...
  3.  www.verizonwireless.com/wcms/consumer/shop/share-everything.html
  4.  www.att.com/shop/wireless/plans-new.html#fbid=XFRiYaG7fFe
  5.  shop.sprint.com/mysprint/zipcode_intercept.jsp?showZipPTNSection=false&redirectURL=http...
  6.  www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/beyond-talk-plans/overview/
  7.  www.verizonwireless.com/wcms/consumer/shop/share-everything.html
  8.  cell-phone-providers-review.toptenreviews.com/
  9.  www.consumerreports.org/cro/cell-phones-services/buying-guide.htm
More Consumer Electronics Topics

Search Thousands of Topics on CostHelper.com

 
Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
2012 Rav4
Paid: 138.00
146,000 kilometers visiting family inToronto Brother purchased belt for me cost $33.00 (Bridgestone)+installation cost on a Sunday 10 am-1.2 hrs It was fixed guickly.The vehicle seems a lot cooler now... [more]
-Michael V.
Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost
Pedicure cost
Paid: 35.00
Great leg massage, hot towels, hot rocks and oil massage, with yummy scented orange scrub and products. Very relaxing, plus toenails trimmed, cuticles and polish... [more]
-AMP
Manicures and Pedicures Cost
New central air unit
Paid: 12400.00
Is this to much for a 18 seer ac unit plus furnace plus new ducts 4 ducts complete unit and installation... [more]
-Rudy C. Duran
Central Air Conditioner Cost
Frontier Communications
Paid: 60.77
Frontier Communications is the only landline available in the nursing home. The quote is $32.99 per month for just the landline. Nevertheless, there are hidden charges of $22.54 for recovery surcharges, state, and federal taxes... [more]
-Donnelly
Phone Line Cost
TV Mounting Service
Paid: 240.00
We just had them out to do our new OLED TV. We wanted a professional because we tried someone from craigslist a few years back that ended up costing us more in damages. Matt and his partner were amazing... [more]
-Jennifer stolz
TV Installation Cost
Over Charged for Eye Exam for my son
Paid: 435.00
Hello, Thank you for your time. I was wondering if you have any numbers for what would be a fair price for eye exam in Hennepin county, Minnesota... [more]
-Sayid Axmed
Eye Exam Cost