I am looking for a cost-effective prepaid cell for light-to-moderate usage as a replacement for landline. I have been reading a lot of recommendations here for T-Mobile as the best prepaid deal. But I have been comparing them with Net 10, and T-Mobile isn't coming out on top. Here is what I've uncovered so far...
Both plans have -
T-Mobile has WAP, but it's limited to just a handful of sites, so it's basically useless for me.
Both charge 5 cents to receive SMS, but T-Mobile charges twice as much to send as Net 10 does.
Net 10 is owned by TracFone, who I've read here selects the best network provider for each area, so roaming coverage and signal quality might be better than for T-Mobile?
Comparing per-minute costs, total per-minute costs (including the phone), and minimum monthly cost, unless you're willing to cough-up $130-$140 up-front, Net 10 seems to be a much better value?
For example, from what I've been able to figure-out from what has been posted here and on their web sites...
Net 10 phone costs $40, and includes $30 of airtime (300 minutes). Airtime cost is 10 cents a minute, total cost (including phone) is 13 cents per minute, minimum monthly cost (for first 2 months, including phone) is $20.
T-Mobile phone costs $30+, and includes $10 of airtime (30 minutes). But usage without an add-in card is ridiculously priced - airtime cost is 33 cents a minute, total cost (including phone) is $1 a minute!
But even if I also buy an extra $50 card up-front, total cost $80+ - Airtime cost (based on formula provided here for calculating combined minutes) I think would be 13 cents per minute, total cost (including phone) is 17.4 cents per minute, and minimum monthly cost (for first three months, including phone) is $26.67.
So even after spending double the up-front cost to get a better rate ($80 vs. $40), T-Mobile is still a worse deal than Net 10?
And if you add a $30 card to Net 10 after your initial period ran out (total cost $70), you get - Airtime cost is 10 cents per minute, total cost (including phone) is 11.7 cents per minute, and minimum monthly cost (for first four months, including phone) is $17.50.
Unlike T-Mobile, Net 10 gives you a decent amount of airtime at a good rate included with the phone, so I don't have to buy an add-in card up-front in order to get a reasonable rate.
The best rate T-Mobile offers is no better than Net 10's regular rate, and requires that I buy an extra $100 card up-front in order to get it? (as well as having to buy additional minutes in large amounts to maintain that rate, even after you have "Gold" status?)
The actual cost of the phone (price less included airtime) is also higher for T-Mobile that Net 10.
The only cost benefit for T-Mobile that I could see is if you bought an extra $100 up-front, and then rarely if ever used your phone (such as an emergency phone) - per-minute costs (including phone) would still be higher, but you might save a few bucks on the minimum monthly cost.
I am trying to decide between these two companies. I like the idea of going with a recognized name brand (T-Mobile), but the closer I compare them, the worse T-Mobile looks! Is there some other advantage that T-Mobile has that I am not aware of? Are they really the best deal, or is Net 10 the better choice? What am I missing here?