Buying Guides

The 8 Cheapest Prepaid Plans For the Nexus 5

Kannon Yamada 22-11-2013

Got an unlocked Nexus 5 and need a mobile plan? A prepaid cellular plan can save you hundreds, or even thousands, compared to a contract-based plan. It’s easy to get started: Just purchase a prepaid micro-SIM and make sure your APN settings are correctly configured What are APN Settings and How Can They Fix Data Issues on Your Prepaid Phone? If you sign up with a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), which leases broadcast spectrum from the big carriers, you might need to configure your phone's APN settings. Read More .


What Are Your Cellular Plan Needs?

But how do you know which plan best fits your needs? Lots of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (what’s an MVNO 10 Money-Saving Reasons You Should Switch To An MVNO Are you out of contract with your cellular provider? Rather than upgrading your phone, and signing a new contract, consider switching to a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO. You can save hundreds, even thousands,... Read More ?) offer a great selection of plans, each with infrastructure limitations and SIM card sizes. This articles analyzes the available plans, by network, relative to the technical requirements of the Nexus 5.

In the US, there are four primary carriers: Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. It appears that Verizon won’t get the Nexus 5 in the short term. So MVNOs based on the Verizon network, like PagePlus Cellular don’t currently offer service to the Nexus 5. For all other users, your ideal plans falls on a continuum between use and coverage. I’ve identified five usage patterns and their corresponding best MVNO for each cellular network:

  • Do you rarely use a cell phone?
  • Do you rarely use data but talk and text all the time?
  • Do you use lots of data, talk and text?
  • Do you use primarily data, but not other services?

Unfortunately, things aren’t as straightforward as picking a plan. Nexus 5 owners face a lot of potential problems because of the exotic nature of their device.

Problems for Nexus 5 Owners

Nexus 5 (read our review Google Nexus 5 Review and Giveaway Approximately a year after Google released the Nexus 4, the company behind Android has come out with its successor -- the Nexus 5. Read More ) owners face four problems in using MVNOs. First, they may experience problems getting data transfer speeds working properly. Second, the Nexus 5 is a rare bird capable of functioning on either CDMA or GSM networks, which translates into Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T (it’s technically compatible with Verizon, but not at present). Third, the Nexus 5 uses a micro-SIM form factor, which requires that some cut their mini-SIM card The Secret To Making Your Own Micro SIM Card With the arrival of the iPad, micro SIMs have become commonplace for anyone wishing to connect to the mobile web from a tablet device. More and more mobile phone handsets are also using these chips... Read More . Fourth, Sprint “blacklisted” a number of new phones from working with prepaid carriers.

  • 3G, 2G and LTE: Data speeds come in three packages: HSPA (3G), HSPA+ (3.5G) and LTE (4G). Furthermore, not all carriers use the LTE bands available to the Nexus 5. Generally speaking, data speeds vary depending on your proximity to a cellular tower. Another complicating factor is the form factor of available SIM cards.
  • CDMA SIM card: In theory, the Nexus 5 should work on MVNOs from Sprint and Verizon’s networks. However, as of November of 2013, the Nexus 5’s CDMA functionality limits it to Ting. Potentially other Sprint-MVNOs will begin adding the device to their network, such as PrepaYd or RingPlus. Additionally, Verizon MVNOs might soon also add the Nexus 5. On the downside, it’s difficult getting a Ting CDMA SIM card, which runs between $15 and 30. Fortunately, Ting has begun signups for getting a SIM.
  • micro-SIM form factor: Because many MVNO carriers use mini-SIM cards, you may need to cut your SIM down, in order to fit the Nexus 5.
  • Sprint blacklist: Sprint has blacklisted all MVNOs from using many flagship devices, including the Nexus 5. Ting, however, appears to be activating Nexus 5s without issue.

Usage Pattern: Infrequent Use

If you rarely use the phone, then the kind of plan that you need is known as “pay-go”, short for “pay-as-you-go”. These plans charge purely for usage. You pay into an account and your use is deducted from this.


On the downside, depending on the plan, some carriers attach an expiration date to purchased airtime, oftentimes a year in length. This means that after one year, you lose any balance that was purchased a year prior. PTel offers a tier of minutes that do not expire, although like all pay-go plans, to maintain an account, you must continually fund it with credit.

Data speeds remain the biggest shortcoming of many carriers that offer pay-go plans, which broadcast either on AT&T or T-Mobile. Neither network offers LTE speeds to any pay-go plan, to my knowledge. However, Ting offers a flexible plan that, on the low end, includes LTE support on the bands that the Nexus 5 broadcasts on.

AirVoice Wireless on AT&T ($3.33/Month + $4.99 SIM Card)

AirVoice comes out on top when it comes to monthly payments and data costs. They have the lowest data costs of any MVNO on the AT&T network for pay-go plans.

  • Monthly cost: $3.33/month;
  • SIM card cost: $4.99;
  • Data cost: 6.6 cents per megabyte;
  • Voice minutes: 10 cents per minute of talk;
  • Text Messages: 10 cents per message;
  • Other restrictions: No LTE. And you must cut the AirVoice SIM card to fit the Nexus 5’s micro-SIM tray. Also there’s a $1 per month maintenance fee.



Ptel on T-Mobile ($5/Month + $4.99 SIM Card)

Ptel isn’t the cheapest of the T-Mobile-based MVNO, that distinction goes to Lycamobile, but it does offer a combination of no-expiry plans and excellent customer service. If data or lower monthly payments are your primary concerns, you are better off with AirVoice Wireless, given you don’t care whether you use AT&T or T-Mobile.

  • Monthly cost: $5, depending on the plan;
  • SIM card cost: $4.99
  • Data cost: 10 cents per megabyte;
  • Voice minutes: 5 cents per minute;
  • Text Messages: 2 cents per message;
  • Other restrictions: No LTE. You must purchase the “combo-card” from Ptel in order to avoid cutting it down to micro-SIM size. You must purchase the $100/365 days of access plan in order to not have your balance expire after a year.

I should note that another T-Mobile MVNO, Lycamobile, offers the absolute lowest pricing in all categories, compared to Ptel. I’m currently evaluating Lycamobile’s service. They offer automatic APN setting (what’s an APN setting? What are APN Settings and How Can They Fix Data Issues on Your Prepaid Phone? If you sign up with a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), which leases broadcast spectrum from the big carriers, you might need to configure your phone's APN settings. Read More ) configuration through a installable file. On the downside, Lycamobile doesn’t grandfather in plans, meaning their prices are subject to change at any moment.


Ting on Sprint (Costs Between $6 and $132/Month + $20 SIM Card)

Ting offers extremely flexible plans. Ting’s lowest rung of plans runs between $6 and $15 per month. You get a lower total cost from the pay-go plans discussed in this article, but Ting offers overall better value. For example, a comparable plan from PTel costs $17 whereas Ting’s plans cost between $6 to $15 (at the lowest rung). It’s also the only low-end plan capable of offering LTE, if Sprint’s LTE is available in your market.

  • Monthly cost: Varies between $6 and $132 per month;
  • SIM card cost: $9 via Ting;
  • Data cap: Varies depending on your plan. On the 2GB data plan, users pay 1.5 cents per megabyte used exceeding the limit;
  • Voice minutes: Varies between 0 and 2,100 minutes;
  • Text Messages: Varies between 0 and 4,800 texts;
  • Other restrictions: Changing to a CDMA carrier requires wiping the data on your phone. If you ever switch back to GSM carriers, it will again require a wipe.


Usage Pattern: Frequently Talk & Text, Rarely Use Data

For those who don’t use their Nexus 5 much for data, but want a great deal of talk time or texting, should look to either Red Pocket, Ultra or Ting. As mentioned above, Ting is currently the only Sprint MVNO that currently offers total functionality for the Nexus 5. The rest do not function.

Red Pocket on AT&T ($29.99/Month + $4.99 SIM Card)

Red Pocket offers a reasonable talk and text plan which comes with 100 MB of data. Unfortunately, it doesn’t use LTE speeds.

  • Monthly cost: $29;
  • SIM card cost: $4.99;
  • Data cap: 100 MB HSPA+;
  • Voice minutes: unlimited;
  • Text Messages: unlimited;
  • Other restrictions: No LTE.

red pocket


Ultra on T-Mobile ($29/Month + $4.99 SIM Card)

Ultra offers some of the better plans for those who don’t use too much data. One of its lower tier plans charges $29 per month for unlimited talk time and texting and includes 250 MB of data at HSPA+ speeds. However, it’s worth noting that Simple Mobile offers a $25/month plan unlimited talk and text, that comes without data. In my opinion, the 250 MB of “4G” data is worth the $4 difference, though.

  • Monthly cost: $29;
  • SIM card cost: $4.99;
  • Data cap: 100 MB HSPA+;
  • Voice minutes: unlimited;
  • Text Messages: unlimited;
  • Other restrictions: No LTE.


Ting on Sprint (Costs Between $6 and $132/Month + $20 SIM Card)

Ting remains the best Sprint-based MVNO for the Nexus 5. Unfortunately, we can’t really compare their plan to other Sprint MVNOs, because no other provider has announced Nexus 5 compatibility on their network. For no-use to light-use, you can pay between $6 and $15 per month.

  • Monthly cost: Varies between $6 and $132 per month;
  • SIM card cost: $9 via Ting;
  • Data cap: Varies depending on your plan. On the 2GB data plan, users pay 1.5 cents per megabyte used exceeding the limit;
  • Voice minutes: Varies between 0 and 2,100 minutes;
  • Text Messages: Varies between 0 and 4,800 texts;
  • Other restrictions: Changing to a CDMA carrier requires wiping the data on your phone. If you ever switch back to GSM carriers, it will again require a wipe.

Usage Pattern: Lots of Data, Talk & Text

If you use the phone constantly, then you’ll want to get an unlimited plan. Straight Talk, because of its discounts for paying a full year up-front, and reasonably large LTE data cap (2.5 GB), take the top spot.

Straight Talk on AT&T ($41.25/Month + $6.99 SIM Card)

Straight Talk remains the king of unlimited plans, particularly for LTE access. Yes, the Nexus 5 can access LTE on MVNOs. While other services offer LTE speeds (in select cities), none are as easy to setup as Straight Talk. If you experience issues setting up LTE connectivity, try these instructions.

  • Monthly cost: $45 or $41.25 if you pay a year in advance;
  • SIM card cost: $6.99;
  • Data cap: 2.5 GB before throttling at LTE speeds for AT&T (T-Mobile doesn’t offer LTE on Straight Talk, but AT&T does);
  • Voice minutes: unlimited;
  • Text Messages: unlimited;
  • Other restrictions: Potential future problems with data connectivity; LTE requires newest AT&T SIM card.

straight talk

GoSmart Mobile on T-Mobile ($34.99/Month + $12 SIM Card)

GoSmart Mobile, now owned by T-Mobile, offers the lowest “unlimited” plan available anywhere. Its data speed, however, doesn’t surpass 2G speeds, according to reports from the field. I include this as an alternative to Straight Talk for those who don’t require LTE or 3G functionality.

  • Monthly cost: $35;
  • SIM card cost: $12 via Amazon;
  • Data cap: “unlimited” estimated cap at 5 GB with 2G network speeds;
  • Voice minutes: unlimited;
  • Text Messages: unlimited;
  • Other restrictions: 2G max data transfer speeds; good luck trying to hit 5 GB of data on a 2G connection.

gosmart mobile

Unlimited Plans are a Dead End on Sprint

Unfortunately, the only provider on the Sprint network that currently functions (as of November, 2013) with the Nexus 5 is Ting. Ting does not offer an unlimited plan and its data plans are expensive by MVNO standards.

Usage Pattern: Lots of Data, Infrequent Talk & Text

The two best unlimited plans, with a soft data cap, are T-Mobile prepaid plans and Straight Talk’s AT&T SIMs. Both offer great rates. However, be sure to not use Straight Talk’s T-Mobile SIM cards, which don’t offer LTE.

Straight Talk on AT&T ($41.25/Month + $6.99 SIM Card)

AT&T is an expensive place to get raw data. Unfortunately, Straight Talk’s 2.5 GB cap on the AT&T network provides the cheapest alternative to anything on the T-Mobile network. I’ve heard that GoPhone and AiO are also good places for LTE data, although their prices are much higher at $60 and $70, respectively, per month.

  • Monthly cost: $45 or $41.25 if you pay a year in advance;
  • SIM card cost: $6.99;
  • Data cap: 2.5 GB before throttling at LTE speeds for AT&T (T-Mobile doesn’t offer LTE on Straight Talk);
  • Voice minutes: unlimited;
  • Text Messages: unlimited;
  • Other restrictions: Potential future problems with data connectivity; requires latest AT&T SIM card for LTE.

T-Mobile’s Prepaid Plans ($30/Month + $30 SIM Card)

T-Mobile official prepaid plan offers three tiers, with varying talk times. You get 5 GB of data, unlimited texts and 100 minutes of talk time for $30. This service also permits HSPA+ and in select markets, LTE. The Nexus 5 transmits and receives on pentaband and multiple LTE bands, unlike the Nexus 4. A bit of errata here: For those with a Nexus 4, you can modify your phone to use single-band LTE How To Enable LTE on The Nexus 4 (It Can Be Done) Did you know that the Nexus 4 actually has LTE functionality? The absolute truth is that yes, it does in fact have LTE, no matter what Google or anyone else may try to tell you.... Read More , best used with T-Mobile plans.

  • Monthly cost: $30/Month;
  • SIM card cost: $30 via Walmart;
  • Data cap: 5 GB at LTE or HSPA+, throttled afterward;
  • Voice minutes: 100 minutes of talk;
  • Text Messages: unlimited;
  • Other restrictions: LTE restricted to a very limited area. Most will not receive it. SIM card only available through Walmart or T-Mobile.


Ting on Sprint (Costs Between $6 and $132/Month + $9 SIM Card)

Ting’s data prices are among the highest of any MVNO around. Unfortunately, because many Sprint MVNOs such as RingPlus, haven’t yet been cleared for use, Ting is the only option. Ting’s plans shine for moderate users. For pure data, they fall far behind the rest of the pack, although their prices (2014) underwent a solid price-cut.

  • Monthly cost: Varies between $6 and $132 per month;
  • SIM card cost: $9 via Ting;
  • Data cap: Varies depending on your plan. On the 2GB data plan, users pay 1.5 cents per megabyte used exceeding the limit;
  • Voice minutes: Varies between 0 and 2,100 minutes;
  • Text Messages: Varies between 0 and 4,800 texts;
  • Other restrictions: Changing to a CDMA carrier requires wiping the data on your phone. If you ever switch back to GSM carriers, it will again require a wipe.


Generally speaking, the best Nexus 5 prepaid plan is T-Mobile’s 100-minute, unlimited data plan for $30. However, for those of you with differing network requirements, Straight Talk will often provide the best LTE service. And for those of you who barely use your phone, AirVoice Wireless provides one of the best services around. For low-use or moderate cellular users, Ting provides the best plan on the Sprint network.

plans compared

Anyone looking for a Nexus 5 prepaid SIM card? Let us know in the comments.

Related topics: Google Nexus, Mobile Plan, Save Money, Sim Card.

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  1. Joe Eff
    May 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    I use Consumer Cellular (AT&T) for my everyday voice & text with some data
    and I adjust the pay plan just before billing to fit my habits that month.
    They are BETTER than AT&T's PayGo because they work with AT&T Roaming partners where AT&T PayGo itself doesn't!! (I like the AARP discount too!)

    I use PTel for pay-as-you-go DATA with very little voice and text. It's my gotta listen to NPR with TuneIn, or Pandora on the go.

    Recently I've acquired some FreedomPop devices (WiMax until Nov, 2015 and Sprint MiFi network after that) to round out the coverage when I'm away from a WiFi.

  2. Jason Wu
    March 29, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you very much Yamada san, this is the best article for my Nexus 5, I just switch to ST from H2O last night, you make me feel more confidence now. Have a nice one, Jason

    • Ishita
      December 22, 2014 at 3:20 am

      Can you tell me if you ordered the "dual sim starter kit" or the "nano sim starter kit" for your Nexus 5?

  3. joshua
    February 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Hey there. I have the Nexus 5, and am wanting to get set up through straight talk or tmobiles 100 minute plan. How would I go about getting the right Sim?

  4. Nikita Berdnikov
    February 17, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Just get my new shiny Nexus5. Looking for a SIM card. Thank for a post! :D

  5. Iris
    February 11, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    The Ting SIM card is $10, and you can get it from . At one time it also came with a $10 credit making it essentially free, but I'm not certain if that is still the case. Unlike some of the other Sprint MVNOs, their voice/SMS network is the full Sprint network with roaming at no additional charge.

    • RJ
      March 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm is $10 from Ting and actually comes w/ a $25 credit!

  6. Dr.Aaron
    February 8, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    One other question. Any opinion on the best place to buy a Nexus 5? Direct from Google Play? Some of the stores have them (like Tmobile) but I am afraid those would be loaded with bloatware.

    • Kannon Y
      February 9, 2014 at 2:22 am

      Occasionally the Nexus 5 is offered on eBay at a slightly reduced price and with free shipping. Google will also drop prices just prior to the Nexus 6 (or whatever it's called) coming out. Probably in the late summer or early fall.

      But otherwise the best place is the Play Store.

      You can also get Best Buy to price match the Play Store's prices and get free shipping.

  7. Dr.Aaron
    February 8, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    I am thinking of purchasing the Nexus 5 for myself and my wife. Have thought about going with Ting, but have heard Sprint Network is not so great where I live. I currently have service through Tmobile, but our contract is up in 4 days! Two years ago they sold us on the LG MyTouch and we have had nothing but problems. I am wondering if you have any updates to your article in the last month? Very useful information however!

    • Kannon Y
      February 8, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      I do have some updates and I'm hoping to publish them soon.

      Have you been experiencing connectivity issues? Such as data transfer speeds, call quality, etc... If so, that's a good indicator that T-Mobile is not the best network for your area. Also the kind of home you live in will determine the quality of your network's performance. Multi story apartments generally have poorer cellular performance. Etc...

      But if the phone itself is the problem, the Nexus 5 is one of the best devices on the market.

      In terms of the carriers, there's a few new MVNOs that are offering killer plans, such as 35orless. But I would first iron out specifically what your difficulties are, before switching networks. Some networks in your area might be worse than T-Mobile.

  8. Bigloser99
    January 19, 2014 at 6:03 am

    How about using the Nexus 5 on Consumer Cellular. They have AT&T LTE, free sim card, American customer service. For $45, you can get 2GB of date, 200 voice minutes, and stream audio and video on LTE. Straight Talk it is still a violation of the T.O.S. to stream video on 4G, 3G. Have you heard anything?

    • Kannon Y
      January 19, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      Hmm. Last I checked, ST allowed video on 4G, but soft caps at 2.5GB.

      Before they solidified their data policies they were inconsistently applying rules, including the video ban. Back then people were still streaming video and not getting in trouble. I'm not sure where that came from, but knowing Straight Talk, I'm sure it was real. I think someone misinterpreted that as meaning you couldn't stream video, when in reality, it meant that video could kill your data in a day.

    • Kannon Y
      January 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Oh and to answer your question RE: Consumer Cellular, many of its users swear by them, but in terms of value, you get better value from some other AT&T plans - Straight Talk's AT&T plan offers better value.

  9. Gayle
    January 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Bart: I have the same situation you have. I have not yet bought the ST BYOP Activation Kit. I am hesitating a little, wondering if I am going to have to go a different direction with my Nexus 5. I will be very interested to see if you could get your Nexus 5 to work on the CDMA plan which works off the Verizon Network. That is exactly what I am hoping to do.

    • Bart
      January 18, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Today I called ST to check up on my case # about getting CDMA service on my Nexus 5. The case is handled by their "escalation office" based in Guatemala City, GUATEMALA..... 866-806-1840. When they ask for the serial or MEID #, one must drop off the last digit of the IMEI for use with CDMA as suggested on Google's site (listed at the bottom of the page):

      They will also ask for the Network Access Code provided on the back of the CDMA card provided in the ST BYOP activation kit that also includes the AT&T & T-mobile SIM cards.

      Today they came back with a response that the Google Nexus is not eligible.
      When you talk to the "escalation office" they act as if they have never heard of the Google Nexus 5. This is my third call and they continue to act like this is the first time they've ever heard of it. Each call they promise to escalate it further with an estimated response time of less than 48hrs, but when I call back in they start all over again by asking all the same questions and coming up with no answers. Today, when they stated the phone is ineligible, I pushed them further and requested they escalate it to whatever department certifies the latest phones, but they insist there is no such department. They suggest that they are the highest level to which it can be escalated, yet they have not answers and have to put you on hold multiple times while communicating with a different department that supposedly doesn't exist. Very frustrating, but so typical of companies these days.

    • Gayle
      January 21, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      I bought my Nexus 5 after a customer service representative from Straight Talk said that it should work on the Verizon towers because it is CDMA capable. I was very disappointed after it arrived and I worked with customer service at ST and found that it wasn't true. I have purchased a T-Mobile Sim card and will try it for a while. I may order an AT&T also and see which is best. Still disappointed, but I love my phone! We'll see if it works without too much frustration, otherwise I will probably have to sell and get something else. I am hopeful . . .

  10. Bart
    January 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Hope you are enjoying CES. Wish I could go.

    ST has not given me a final answer yet. They assigned me a case # and are taking 24hrs to provide a response. I live in a remote area where Verizon offers the best cellular coverage and also offers 4g data. Are you saying ST would not be able to provide data at all or just not LTE? If not LTE, would data still be available, but at 3G? Thanks, Bart

    • Kannon Y
      January 14, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      It was pretty much an underwhelming experience. I really enjoyed looking at the stuff that didn't get a lot of press, though. There were some really interesting things that were China only.

      In theory, the Nexus 5 should work with the Verizon network. But reports in the wild seem to confirm it doesn't work. I'm not entirely certain though. There's no reason why it shouldn't work.

      The N5 offers a single band of LTE that Verizon is currently starting to adopt. It will take some time before it emerges in all markets, though.

      Again, in theory, it should offer 3G connect speeds. And if you live in a market that Verzion has begun broadcasting on that particular LTE band, then you should get LTE. But so far I've heard that even with proper settings, it won't work. No one knows why, but it's possible Verizon has blacklisted high end phones (although no one seems to believe this due to a lack of confirmation). It's been about a month or two since I last checked, though.

  11. Bart
    January 8, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Ok, I figured it out, the 14 digit MEID # is the IMEI # with the last digit dropped off. ST is now trying to figure out if they can activate it on their CDMA plan which operates off of Verizon's network. I really hope it works.

    • Kannon Y
      January 8, 2014 at 3:52 am

      Hey Bart, I apologize for not getting back to you sooner! I'm currently covering CES and my reception is spotty at best. Last I heard, Verizon specifically won't work with the Nexus 5. It's irresponsible of ST's customer service to flash your phone unless they've managed to correct the issue.

      I may need to make specific note of their willingness to flash Nexus 5's, despite reports that data can't possibly work (as of yet), since Verizon broadcasts LTE data on only one of the Nexus 5's bands, which is available in limited markets.

  12. Bart
    January 8, 2014 at 12:26 am

    I have the Nexus 5 and was using the StraightTalk AT&T compatible micro SIM, but AT&T offers spotty service where I'm located. I called ST this evening and tried to activate the CDMA network access code that came with my ST BYOP Activation Kit. ST requires a 14 or 18 digit IMEI # to activate it on CDMA and I couldn't find a 14 or 18 digit # in my phone to give them. My IMEI is a 15 digit # that ST insists is for GSM only. Do you happen to know how I find the 14 or 18 digit # they need to activate their CDMA service on my phone? I'm really hoping something has changed to where I can use the Nexus 5 on a ST CDMA plan.

  13. J
    December 31, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Why does ST have "Potential future problems with data connectivity"?

    • Kannon Y
      December 31, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Good question. ST has repeatedly changed their data policies over the past two years. For the first year, it was hard getting a response from their customer service on what the data cap was, if any. Given their history, I felt it neccessary to warn readers that they might shift their data plan policies around in the future.

  14. carlos
    December 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    you left out Aio Wireless

  15. Kannon Y
    December 10, 2013 at 2:43 am

    Thanks for the info!

    I'm going to update the article in January to reflect some of the latest changes, but I'll go ahead and summarize some important stuff right here. RingPlus (Sprint) reportedly started at least partially working with the Nexus 5, meaning its unlimited and semi-pay-go plans will partially displace Ting, particularly on the higher end of the consumption spectrum.

    AirVoice recently added those really nice lower limit plans. I'm going to have to include a fifth category which will address these kinds of plans.

    Thanks for the compliment!

  16. rap
    December 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Great summary article. It confirms pretty much everything I've researched. I would concur the Pure Talk would be a good addition. I'm going with a low/medium plan from Air Voice for $10/250 min. It's really like the pay as you go but voice and texts are cheaper and expires in 30 days instead of 90. I really like that the Nexus 5 offers the flexibility of using MNVOs on 3 carriers.

  17. ED
    December 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Great article, thanks for putting all of your research and updated information all in one concise article. It read as if it was written exactly just for me!

  18. Dan Mandle
    December 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I've used StraightTalk and Aio for both my Nexus 4 & 5. I moved to Aio over ST because of LTE and customer service. ST's customer service was terrible.

    At $55/mth for 2GB of LTE speeds and "reduced speed" after that, I think that Aio is really the best you can get for your money. Plus, they're actually a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T.

    • Kannon Y
      December 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      Aio is a very good service. I might have included them over Straight Talk had they not autothrottled users to 8mbps on LTE. I realize that's a very nice speed, but it's barely LTE.

      Straight Talk, as much as I dislike their former data policies, offers real LTE speeds and are cheaper.

  19. Kannon Y
    November 30, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Straight Talk finally ironed out its data policies, but up until then, it was not well articulated whether or not one might get throttled or cut off. They recently stated that their soft cap is 2.5 GBs.

    I'm going to need to update this article in about a month. Net10's $60 unlimited plan doesn't include a pay-in-advance price-reduction, but it is very close to Straight Talk's. I will include them as an alternative to Straight Talk. Thanks for the tip!

  20. Nick Pereira
    November 29, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Don't forget the LTE and truly unlimited for the price that's the best deal for unlimited data, I've had month's were I have used over 15 gigs with no slow down, I typically get LTE speeds of 25-35 Mbps. I've personally used straight talk and don't like the feeling of worrying about if I'm gonna get my service cut off or not I've heard to many bad stories of people getting the service cut off and the only way to get it back on is to purchase another month, Just imagine buying a years worth of service and then getting it cut off because you use it to much not so unlimited if you ask me.

  21. Nick Pereira
    November 28, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    How about Metro PCS byod plan its basically T-Mobile service for $10. Less per plan and taxes and fee's included I pay $55. For the unlimited plan because I have two lines they take $5. off per line (family plan) and just $10. For Sim card and they offer standard, micro, and nano sim. I get full LTE speeds.

    • Kannon Y
      November 28, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      MetroPCS is pretty good.

      They offer comparable rates as the other MVNOs in the same price-range. Straight Talk on T-Mobile (ST is on all networks) charges $41.25 per month, if you pay up front. $45 otherwise. IMO, it's a better deal than MetroPCS. 2.5GB soft cap.

  22. Jamie Windham
    November 25, 2013 at 4:29 am

    How can you make sure you get ATT when you get Smart Talk?

    • Kannon Y
      November 25, 2013 at 7:06 am

      Excellent question. Make sure the the word "AT&T" is listed on the packaging somewhere. It's not all that clearly labeled, so you may need to look closely. If you order online, though, it'll say so in the product title.

  23. yl
    November 24, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Hey, this is a pretty great article. I think PureTalkUSA should be in there though. It is an AT&T MNVO.

    • Kannon Y
      November 24, 2013 at 2:19 am

      I evaluated PureTalk while I was writing this article. They had solid plans but I couldn't see where they fit in, in usage patterns. After reading your comment, I looked through their fine-print. Wow, they have data rollover on budget plans. Very nice.

      I'm going to have to come up with a fifth category and fit them in. I'll probably update this article next month with the latest information. Thanks! I really appreciate the info!

  24. Justin D
    November 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    this is a brilliant article. the way you laid out all the specifics for each plan in bullets points, and sorted under what kind of person would need the plan, it helped me quickly and easily get the information I needed. If I get a Nexus 5, which I am considering, this will be my resource for finding a good MVNO. Thanks, Kannon!

    • Kannon Y
      November 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      Aw, thanks Justin!

      The Nexus 5 is a great phone, but I don't really think of it as a true successor to the Nexus 4. It includes some minor buffs and fixes, most notably the Snapdragon 800 CPU. Good battery life.

      It's also an aesthetic step down from the Nexus 4 (best looking phone ever made IMO).

  25. Kenson
    November 23, 2013 at 6:09 am

    How about a daily prepaid plan? I live abroad and only cross to the states 5-6 days a month.

    • Kannon Y
      November 23, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      Good question Kenson. I'm not a big fan of daily prepaid plans, although they do offer good value depending on your usage needs. The lowest daily plan, to my knowledge, that allows unlimited usage is $3 per day, but with balance and monthly payment requirements. If you use it 5-6 days out of the month, that's $15-18 + additional fees. But there are plans that offer rates as low as $16/month, such as offered by LycaMobile. These also include international minutes.

    • DWG
      April 22, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      My sons are on the $16/month plan fro LycaMobile which gives you something like 250 minutes and 50 MB of data. This plan is perfect for kids who just get access to texting and emails, and enough phone minutes for boys, at least. I am wondering why you did not mention this plan, it certainly is very simple and pretty versatile.

    • Kenson
      April 22, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      @Kannon Y, I would need more than 50mb of data. I would need at least 250mb of data since I would be using facebook too and from work (carpooling FTW).

    • Kannon Y
      May 2, 2014 at 5:28 am

      Are you traveling across the US or are you mainly spending your time in one area?

      If traveling, you would want a MVNO that uses AT&T's network, unless the areas you are traveling in are covered by T-Mobile.

      If you're spending most of the time in one place, if it's covered under T-Mobile's network, I would probably go with T-Mobile's official prepaid plan. 250mb is really interesting. At one time there were several companies offering a variety of ~$15 plans that offered a similar amount of data, but those proved to be unpopular and most are now gone. Right now, the best deal is either $2 or $3 per day of access from T-Mobile:

      I wracked my brain for a long time thinking about this. I can't think of a better plan currently being offered. But there's hidden fees with many daily plans. I couldn't find anything regarding T-Mobile though, so maybe their plan is actually a good deal?

    • Kenson M
      May 2, 2014 at 5:33 am

      @Kannon Y I mainly am abroad (out of the states) and right now, I only go across to San Diego about 3-4 days a month or so.

      I have a Galaxy S2 right now, but it kind is laggy, because it's an older device.

    • Kannon Y
      May 2, 2014 at 5:37 am

      T-Mobile has pretty good California coverage (I'm from California). I haven't been down to San Diego with a T-Mo phone, though, so I can't say for certain. But you should definitely consider the $3/day of access plan, but read the fine print first.

      I used to use daily access with Virgin Mobile, but they require that you buy a phone that can't be unlocked. The price wouldn't be worth it.

  26. Justin P
    November 22, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    If I ever get a smartphone plan, it will be because of this article. Thanks, Kannon.

    • Aibek E
      November 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      exactly what I thought!)