MacWorld’s article “How to save on mobile plans: Your guide to 17 no-contract carriers” is one of the best summaries of cellular phone plans that I’ve ever read.
Forget everything you thought you knew about buying a mobile phone. In just the past year, we’ve seen more changes to the industry than there are numbers on the dial-pad. The Big Four carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless) have all but abandoned their old business models. Major phone makers like Google, Motorola and even Apple will now sell you their phones unlocked and contract-free. And don’t forget the disruptors: The companies offering cheap (or even free) service and feature-packed (but affordable) phones.
See the full article for an overview of the many mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) which might be a better deal for you. Like Consumer Cellular, FreedomPop, MetroPCS, Straight Talk. Note the pros and cons.