Late last week, Verizon introduced a rather surprising new option: four lines of prepaid service for $ 1
It joins MVNO's Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS directly: both airlines also have family-friendly 4-line plans for $ 100 a month. As a longtime cricket subscriber and a perennial fan who has saved money on cell service, I wanted to see how Verizon's bundle is compared. Let's take a look at what $ 100 from these three carriers buys.
(Note: All plans require registration for auto-pay.)
- Network: AT & T (GSM)
- Taxes and Fees Included: Yes  Language and Text: Unlimited
- Data: Unlimited (5GB LTE)
- Speed Limit: 8Mbps LTE / 4Mbps 4G
- Mobile Hotspot Included: No (available for $ 10 / month, however, requires an unlimited tariff)
- Video streaming: 480p (HD option available at no extra charge)
- International calls / SMS: Surcharge
- Network T-Mobile (GSM)
- Taxes and fees: Yes
- Text and voice: Unlimited
- Data: Unlimited LTE
- Speed limit: No
- Mobile Hotspot Included: No
- Video Streaming: 48 0p (HD option at extra cost)
- International Ational Calls / Texts: Surcharge
- Network: Verizon (CDMA)
- Taxes and fees include: No  Voice and Text: Unlimited  Data: Unlimited (3GB LTE)
- Speed Limit: No
- Mobile Hotspot Included: Yes
- Video Streaming: 480p
- International Calls / Texts: Unlimited calls to Canada / Mexico; Unlimited SMS to 200+ countries
Four unlimited lines for $ 100 – that's a pretty sweet deal, though it means accepting a few small restrictions. The big "gotcha" in Verizon's plan: each line receives only 3 GB of high-speed data. Cricket gives you 5GB while MetroPCS sets no upper limit (apart from the usual "speeds can be throttled if you exceed 35GB").
Verizon, however, offers mobile hotspots, something that is not included in the cricket or MetroPCS plans. You can also call Canada and Mexico and write international texts.
Perhaps the biggest move is Verizon's network coverage, which is widely considered the best of the Big Four. If this is more important to you than any amount of fast data, this plan can actually appeal to the cash-conscious family.
If more than 3 GB is needed, you can top up to 7 GB for another $ 10 a month. And each additional 7GB line adds only $ 5 each. Of course, consider T-Mobile's 4-line prepaid plan, which offers 10 GB per port, mobile hotspot, and international extras – all for $ 120.
Sun Lots. Elections! But that's the beauty of the prepaid option: you can shop and jump if you find a better deal somewhere else.