The beauty of owning an unlocked phone is that you can take it to whatever carrier offers the best deal. And a few carriers make the deal even sweeter if you're willing to prepay for an entire year.
Mint Mobile is probably the best-known company to offer that option, but there's another: Red Pocket. And the latter has a slight edge in two important areas: compatibility and price.
Let's talk price first: Today only, a limited number of new customers can get a Red Pocket Mobile Prepaid 12-month unlimited plan with 5GB LTE data for $209. That's an extra $10 off the already discounted price, and it works out to just $17.42 per month.
To put that in perspective, Mint's comparable plan (12 months, 5GB of high-speed data) runs $240, or $20 per month. Feel like you might need more data? Red Pocket's 10GB XL annual plan can be yours for $269 (equivalent to $22.42 monthly), versus $300 at Mint.
With either plan, you get unlimited 2G data if you burn through your high-speed allotment. You can also purchase extra LTE data a-la-carte if you wish.
Red Pocket leverages all four of the big carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon), meaning you can bring just about any unlocked phone. However, the two plans on sale today will relegate you to either AT&T (if it's a GSM-only phone) or Sprint (if it's a CDMA phone).
Mint, for its part, supports only GSM phones, and relies solely on T-Mobile. If you compare the AT&T and T-Mobile coverage maps, you'll see that the former blankets much more of the country, especially in rural areas.
There are a couple small caveats for iPhone users: If you opt for AT&T instead of Sprint, you won't be able to use mobile hotspot (an Apple limitation, according to a Red Pocket representative) or visual voicemail. Android users can enjoy both features on either network.
I love the idea of making one lump payment for phone service, then not seeing another bill for 12 months -- especially when the amortized rate works out to be this low.
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