Contrary to what some might believe, there’s a difference between a prepaid carrier and a no-contract plan. Both plans are the sort of service you can sign up for that typically run month to month, but the no-contract options tend to offer more value for your money. Namely, you get more data or extra perks for roughly the same price as a prepaid plan.
Whereas most of the big-name carriers have largely gotten away from contracts, they still want you to stick with them. To that end, they’ll try to get you into plans that keep the same data allotment and bundles, and handset selection.
This brings up another key difference in no-contract versus prepaid. The former tends to give customers more phone selection at a carrier level with the latter offering fewer options. In the past we found prepaid brands often sold older tech that was a generation or two behind. Today’s prepaid carrier options are much more attractive.
Another pain point for some is whether a carrier will perform a credit check prior to service. The prepaid route should never run your credit but the no-contract options may sometimes do so, particularly if you’re financing a device.
Indeed, there are also the notion of equipment installation agreements to contend with; you may be splitting the cost of your phone up over a period of say, two years. Alas, you might not be able to walk completely away from your service provider without some sort of payoff or fee.