By Jim Karpen on Wed, 12/11/2013
You now have yet another option for a low-cost phone and data plan for the iPhone 5s and 5c, thanks to a new offering from TracFone. Their service brands Net10 and Straight Talk will offer the phones at Walmart starting on Friday. As is usual for a no-contract phone, you'll need to buy the phone up front. But in the long run you'll save money, with their plans running between $45 and $65 per month for unlimited U.S. voice minutes, text messages, and data, in addition to unlimited international calling to over 1,000 international destinations. Plus, you get a $50 discount on the phone compared to the price you'd pay Apple, with the iPhone 5s costing $649 and the 5c costing $549. The iPhone 5s is available both online and in Walmart stores, while the 5c is available only online. If you have a Walmart credit card, you can take advantage of interest-free financing for the phones: up to 18 months for the iPhone 5c and 24 months for the 5s.
"With the holidays fast approaching, we are very excited to offer some of the hottest smartphone gifts of the year on one of the most affordable no-contract plans in the country," said TracFone president F.J. Pollak in the press release issued yesterday. "Our growing lineup of premium smartphones with the addition of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c reflects our dedication to providing consumers with affordable plans on the top phones on the nation's fastest and most reliable 4G LTE networks."
Note that TracFone plans are month-to-month, meaning you don't have to commit to service every month.
Be sure to read the fine print. Unlimited data isn't quite what it seems. According to the press release, "30 day Unlimited Plans include 2.5 GB of high speed data per 30 day cycle. After 2.5 GB, your data speed will be reduced for the remainder of the 30 day cycle." 2.5 GB is quite a bit of data, and should be enough for most people. But if you exceed it, you'll still have unlimited data for the rest of the month, but at a slower speed.
In addition, you're only allowed up to 15 unique international telephone numbers in each 30 day plan cycle.