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Mobile

Get a 1GB data plan for $8.99 per month

From the Cheapskate: Perfect for your Sprint-compatible tablet, mobile hotspot or even 4G-equipped car, this plan can also be had for just $3.99/month. Plus: a free ebook!

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.


Deals on data plans are few and far between. If you need service for your 4G tablet or mobile hotspot, the major carriers will charge you between $15-25 per month for a 1GB plan -- arguably the minimum you need for any meaningful connectivity.

Here's a better option: For a limited time, you can get a RingPlus "McDonald" 1GB 4G LTE data plan for $8.99 per month. (That link takes you to the promotion page, but to actually sign up, you'll need to visit RingPlus proper and scroll down to the Data Device Plans section.)

First things first: RingPlus is a Sprint-powered carrier, so any device you're planning to bring needs to be Sprint-compatible. I realize that leaves out a wide swath of readers, but this is still an interesting deal.

ringplus-mcdonald-data-plan.jpg

No, not "McDonald's." It's "McDonald," as in noted American physicist James McDonald.

RingPlus

In fact, it gets even more interesting if you've taken advantage of RingPlus in the past for mobile phone service. Because if you're a Member+ subscriber -- or you sign up for Member+ now -- you can get the data plan for just $3.99 per month.

Either way, you do need to maintain a "top-up balance," which is simply to cover any overage charges. (It's not a monthly fee, just a positive balance in your account.) It's $14.99, or $12.99 if you have Member+. And speaking of overages, if you use more than 1GB, you'll be billed for a second 1GB at the price of -- you guessed it -- $14.99 or $12.99.

If I'm being honest, Member+ is a little weird. You can pay $20/month for eight months to get a lifetime subscription, or pay $99.99 for an annual subscription. Doing so nets you various perks -- including things like lower prices when promotions like this roll around. But in this case, the math clearly doesn't favor it, not when you're saving only $5 per month.

Even so, Sprint charges $15 monthly for a 1GB data-only plan; RingPlus will give you that same data for $9. You also get 400 voice-over-IP minutes per month if you're into making Wi-Fi calls from your tablet.

Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: JavaScript programming is one of those skills that's a great addition to your résumé. Don't know the first thing about it? No problem: TradePub is offering the ebook "JavaScript: Novice to Ninja" for free in exchange for a some basic information about your company (size, industry, etc.). The Kindle edition (which has a 4.5-star average rating) would run you $16.49.