Since the very beginning, US Mobile has offered prepaid phone plans. We believe that’s what gives our customer the most freedom and bang for their bucks. Still, there are a lot of questions lingering on what it is, if it’s better and how it works. That’s why we set out to do a Q&A on the topic.
In order to compile the most frequent questions, we did a thorough search on Reddit and here’s what Redditors want to know.
Is prepaid and Pay as You Go the same thing?
Not really, although they’re often used interchangeably. With prepaid plans, you pay in advance and once you’ve used up your plan you get disconnected from the service until you’ve bought another plan. If you Pay as You Go, you don’t buy a plan but rather minutes, texts, and data. Once you’ve used them, you can add more with physical or electronic refill cards.
Can I keep my number if I switch from postpaid to prepaid?
Yes, it doesn’t matter. You can port your number to the new provider.
My usage varies greatly – is postpaid or prepaid better?
This depends on whether you’re able to predict the variations or not. If you know when you that the next period will be lower, you can usually adjust prepaid plans in advance since you can regulate your plan month-to-month. If you have already paid for a larger plan in advance, and it turns out that your usage will be low, you can’t get that money back. Then it might be safer to buy a smaller plan, and top-up later in the month if needed. Postpaid, on the other hand, can be good if you don’t know how your usage will vary since you pay for what you have used. In order for this to work though, you shouldn’t be on an expensive base plan (like unlimited plans). Then it doesn’t matter how much you’ve used or not.
Postpaid, on the other hand, can be good if you don’t know how your usage will vary since you pay for what you have used. In order for this to work though, you shouldn’t be on an expensive base plan (like unlimited plans). Then it doesn’t matter how much you’ve used or not.
Do I need a Social Security number to get a prepaid phone plan?
No, no credit check or social security number is needed when signing up for a prepaid plan. Since you’re not in a contract, and you prepay for all your future usage, there is no reason for the carrier to get your background information. That’s also why prepaid plans are common for temporary or disposable phones.
Is it easy to cancel prepaid plans?
Having a prepaid phone plan means that you’re not under contract. That makes it easy to cancel at any time. What you need to keep in mind is how long you have prepaid for your plan before switching to another plan. Sometimes you prepay for 1 month, 3 months or even 12 months and once you’ve paid for a period, it tends to be hard to get out of. If you’re on a month-to-month plan, you have more flexibility. Just be mindful of the timing of the switch.
Can I get a discount on my device if I choose prepaid?
In rare occasions, you can get a discount on a device when joining a prepaid carrier. However, it’s a lot more common when you’re in a contract. The reason why postpaid carriers can give you discounted phones is that they know you’ll be a customer for at least 24 months, and they can earn the discounted amount back on the monthly service payments. That’s also one of the reasons why postpaid plans is usually more expensive than prepaid plans.
Can data rollover if you’re on a prepaid plan?
Rollover means that data, talk and/or text roll over from one billing cycle to the next if it hasn’t been used. And the answer is that it doesn’t matter if you’re paying for your plan in advance or at the end of the cycle. Every carrier chooses if they want to allow rollover or not. At US Mobile, all addons rollover for a separate cycle of 30 days, not following the base plan’s cycle.
Do I get the same downloading speeds as when I’m in a contract?
Throttling, which means intentionally slowing down data speeds, is a sensitive topic among carriers. Most carriers clearly state that they’ll start deprioritizing a user’s data speeds after they’ve used a certain amount of data in one billing cycle. The cap is usually between 20 Gb and 50 Gb. Now, some carriers do offer prepaid plans at a lower data speed than their postpaid plan. However, unless it’s clearly stated, the prepaid plans should have the same downloading speeds as postpaid plans. Head over to Rootmetrics if you want to learn more about individual carrier’s speeds.
How Do eSIMs work for prepaid carriers?
eSIM is a fairly new phenomenon and not implemented across the industry. eSIM is a standardized SIM chip open to multiple mobile carriers, instead of one specific carrier. To begin with, only selected carriers will support eSIM. It will also probably take a long time before all phone manufacturers will scrap the traditional SIM card slot. Prepaid or postpaid won’t matter in this sense, as it will be carrier-related if eSIM will be supported or not.
Do you need help on deciding which plan that suits your needs the best? Head over to Choosing the Best Prepaid Phone Plan for You. Let us know in the comments if you have other questions we should add to this Q&A.