The ridiculously tiny Palm phone can be yours for $5 a month

The company has partnered with US Mobile to make cheap phone plans available, at the same time Palm is now selling directly to consumers.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
3 min read

Palm designed its phone to make you use your phone less. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Palm's tiny smartphone is about to get even cheaper to use. 

US Mobile on Friday said it now offers new service plans to use the unlocked Palm on its network, which is powered by Verizon and T-Mobile. The plans start at $5 a month -- for a limited amount of calls, texts and data -- and go up to $30 a month.

"If you're using Palm as a secondary phone for the gym or morning runs, at $5 a month, these plans are a no-brainer," Palm co-founder Howard Nuk said in a press release.

US Mobile provides nationwide 4G LTE coverage using T-Mobile's network for its GSM LTE service and Verizon's network for its Super LTE service. You can check out this coverage map to see if you can get service in your area. 

Watch this: Palm is back! But this 3.3-inch device isn't a phone at all

The $350 Palm smartphone debuted in November as a companion device that can handle calls and texts, plus a few other tasks -- but only as an accessory to another Verizon phone. That distinction spurred countless jokes that the Palm was a phone for your phone. In April, Palm released a new version that's capable of serving as a standalone Android phone, and in June it introduced an unlocked, standalone phone that works on most carriers' networks in the US, including AT&T, T-Mobile and MetroPCS. Notably, the unlocked 4G phone won't work on Sprint or other CDMA networks.

The unlocked Palm is what US Mobile customers can use. You can't link it as a companion device to your primary number -- that's still exclusive to Verizon -- but you can get a low data plan with US Mobile and carry around the device with its own number. Or you can opt for a higher plan and use Palm as your primary phone. 

Along with unveiling the US Mobile plan on Friday, Palm also said its unlocked device is now shipping to buyers. People who have preordered the device since mid-June will start receiving their devices early next week. 

The Palm Light plan at US Mobile comes with 60 minutes of calls, 200 text messages and 200MB of data. It costs $5 a month if you sign up for a year's service. If you opt for a three-month plan, it's $6 a month. Go month to month and it's $7.50.

The Moderate plan comes with 250 minutes of calls, 1,000 texts and 1GB of data and costs $10 a month for a year plan, $12 a month for a three-month plan or $15 for a one-month plan. The highest package, Ultimate, offers unlimited calls and texts and comes with 8GB of data. It's $20 per month for an annual plan, $24 a month for a three-month plan or $30 for a one-month plan. 

For "a limited time," US Mobile will give Palm customers a month free on the Ultimate plan. That includes people who ordered the unlocked device during Palm's pre-order campaign.

By comparison, if you use a Palm with Verizon service, you typically pay a $40 activation fee and $10 a month to use it as a companion device. As a standalone phone, service can cost $35 to $55 a month.