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Dirt cheap: $20 smartphone bill – but with a catch!

Dirt cheap: $20 smartphone bill – but with a catch!
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Just when you thought those pricey monthly cell phone plans were here for good, Sprint-owned Virgin Mobile has a new offer for you to consider.

The carrier that's known for its no contract, pay per-month mobile device service is now offering a $20 plan that includes 300 minutes of talk time, unlimited texting, and zero data. Yep, you heard me right - no data whatsoever. So, if you opt for the plan you'll only be able to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi.

This contrasts the "normal" requirements of major smartphone carriers where opting out of the data plan is simply not an option at all. They all require that you subscribe to at least an inexpensive, limited plan to even be able to operate a smartphone on their networks. Even Sprint, who owns Virgin Mobile, just recently rolled out an unlimited talk, text, and data plan for sixty dollars per month, per line - one many experts consider to be the best deal going.

The new "no-data plan, plan" certainly deserves some consideration for those with tight purse strings. But it will be interesting to see if it appeals to other users as well.

Wi-Fi is everywhere you go

The reason why this plan might make sense for the masses is the increased availability of Wi-Fi hotspots. You can find Internet connectivity almost anywhere from coffeehouses and libraries to restaurants and sports stadiums. Tapping into a signal to access the Internet from your no-data plan smartphone should be pretty easy. There's even a great app that helps you find local hotspots.

This plan might be really interesting to individuals who have the added benefit of Wi-Fi connectivity at both their homes and offices. which accounts for most of their time. The no-data Virgin plan may also appeal to parents who want to be able to give their kids a smartphone on the cheap, but still like the idea of being able to reach them if there is an emergency.

Beyond the $20 starter plan, Virgin also offers a $35 option with unlimited talk, text, and data. Only 250 MB of that data comes at high-speed. But, if you can live with the scant 300 monthly talk time minutes, they let you have high-speed up to 2.5GB. That will at least get you some decent Facebook posting time throughout the month.

Of course, the no-data plan on its own does have some drawbacks. For example, if you like to rely on Google maps to lead you to your destination, that is not going to work. And if you have fallen in love with new notification widgets on iOS 8, you can pretty much forget about those when your not on a local Wi-Fi network. Though, it might be nice to not have to listen to those repetitive storm warnings while you drive.

iPhones on virgin mobile

If you decide to give Virgin Mobile's no-data plan offer a try, please let me know how it works out for you in the comments section below. Or if you decide you are better off with a full-throttle data plan from a major provider, here is a data plan cost calculator that can help you get the most for your money.

 

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