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Time to Consider Prepaid Mobile? – Lauren Goode |

When people in the U.S. hear the term “prepaid mobile,” they might think of cheap phones with limited service options for people with bad credit.

But that’s slowly changing. While some wireless companies say the bulk of their prepaid customers are still low-income consumers looking for a value plan, an increasing number of customers who would normally qualify for phone contracts are now considering no-commitment plans.

This week, I’ll answer some common questions about prepaid mobile, based on my research of nine U.S. brands. While you won’t be able to get a fancy smartphone at a low price, and most plans still aren’t catering to heavy data users, there are some good reasons to reconsider prepaid.

Who Offers What

The “big four” — ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless — all offer prepaid phones and services. Sprint offers prepaid through three brands: Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Assurance, a government-subsidized program that provides free

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