Don't need a cellphone that's the latest, greatest and has unlimited everything? There are many options for light volume users or people who just need a basic plan for their kids.
T Mobile has a prepaid plan for $100 a year. You buy a cheap feature phone for as little as $10 and then you get a combination total of 1,000 text message and voice minutes over 12 months. It's a great for people who just want a phone for emergency use.
But if you want unlimited talk, text, and data, the cheapest deal in marketplace is $19/month with no contract from Republic Wireless. You buy a very basic Android for around $200 and then you pay $19 each month. It's great if you don't mind the starter Android.
Then there is FreedomPop.com, which is rolling out a launch market by market. You can register for the service and then you have to wait for an invitation. You buy an Android from them they've reconditioned and their service starts at free! That's right, they offer unlimited text, 200 minutes, and 500 MB of data each month for nada. The plan has price points that step up from there.
The final offer I have to tell you about comes from Zact.com. Theirs is an unusual offer that lets you decide how much service you need. For example, light volume users can pay as little as $3.49 a month, plus taxes and fees. A kid who does very little calling, but uses a fair amount of data, would end up somewhere around $29 a month. If they use wifi hotspots instead of a traditional cellular data network, this could be made to work. Zact is for somebody who wants a smartphone and wants very light usage of it.