Two best ways to get prepaid mobile broadband for $30 or less a month!
If you are looking for the best deal around at the moment, it's currently T-Mobile prepaid broadband! But T-Mobile won't let "current" prepaid customers switch to this plan (why I have no idea). But it's easy to get around if you are currently a T-Mobile prepaid customer.
I bought the 4G phone and activated it with a new number, and then setup a google voice account to point to it. Then Google will port your wireless number from your old prepaid, postpaid, or land line number to them. And with this you will never have to worry about transferring a number, or losing a number, and having to tell everyone your new number again, change phone providers or numbers? Just update Google Voice if you ever change numbers and Google does the rest, and includes a ton of added features such as emailing you voicemails left for you or sending them via text message.
Just pickup a Samsung Exhibit II 4G from Walmart for $199 (no contract and it comes with the SIM card and prepaid activation kit). Activate the phone only on the T-Mobile website as this is the only way to get this deal! Choose the pay per month (don't buy refill cards for initial activation, but they can be used to top off your account from then on).
For $30 a month you get:
- 5GB of 4G data a month, but even if you exceed this you don't get cut off either, it will just slow you down until your monthly plan renew date.
- Unlimited SMS/MMS messaging
- 100 voice minutes (but if you use one of the many free VoIP apps they work very well on 4G).
All for $30 a month!!!
- The phone runs Android Gingerbread 2.3.x and supports Adobe flash, Netflix, Skype w/video, and Cisco and F5 Networks VPN Clients, has front and back cameras, and has a microSD slot for up to a 32GB card.
- The pnone's got all the features of the more expensive Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets (It was originally named the "Galaxy W").
- It includes integrated tethering functionality to share connectivity over WiFi or USB (use the USB tether drivers for the Exhibit 4G model as Samsung has not posted them for the Exhibit II 4G yet, but they are the same).
these features and setup, it can be used just as a "hotspot" device. Or if you just want to use data, you can obtain any USB broadband dongle or device which supports the T-Mobile 4G Network and it will work just as well.
Alternatively, if you aren't in a 4G supported area, but are in an AT&T 3G supported area, why should anyone have to pay more than $25 a month for data when iPad users can? Then your other option is to pick up a Micro SIM card from AT&T (they will often give you one for free, just tell them a friend is visiting from out of the country and wants to use AT&T on their iPad while in the US). Or you can order one on the ATT website or eBay (but they must be NEW and never activated). Then with some Google searches you can see how easy it is to activate an iPad SIM on the 2GB for $24.99 plan without an iPad, and once activated you can put it into any 3G USB dongle or integrated 3G card in your laptop that supports AT&T 3G frequencies, set the APN to "broadband" and you're good to go!
Both the T-Mobile and AT&T SIMs will also work in 2G mode if you are in a more rural area.
Hope this helps someone. I've been very happy with the phone, and also have an AT&T 3G SIM with the iPad data plan in an AT&T Connect Lightning USB adapter I picked up for $35 on eBay, and have gotten crazy speed with it, 4-5Mbit down and 1Mbit up. I bought an iPhone when the 3G was released, but it only took 4 months with an $80 mobile bill and that was that. I don't come close to using all the data, but at least I found options to make it as cheap as possible, and the carriers are making a profit off me without having to pay to staff customer service reps, tech support, salespeople, etc. All I need is a SIM, and a website.
So between this, and switching to Ooma VoIP where you pay for one handset for $160 or so, and you get unlimited calling, caller ID, and voicemail for free. You only pay the $2 a month in city tax. Well worth it!