Consumer Reports: Cell phone plan savings

Nina Pineda reports
November 21, 2013 2:30:59 PM PST
Consumer Cellular, a small company, was the top-rated provider in Consumer Reports' just-published survey of its subscribers. Among big-name providers, Verizon Wireless earned the highest score. Sprint has fallen to the bottom of the ratings, with low marks for value, voice, text, and 4G reliability. Looking for ways to save on your cell bill? Consumer Reports has advice.

It's an expense nearly everyone puts up with, but Consumer Reports says there are several ways to save.

"The traditional two-year contract may not be the best choice for value. Initially you get a big discount on the phone you pick. But moderate users may be paying a lot more for service compared to a prepaid plan," said Rosalind Tordesillas.

Consumer Reports' staffer Monique Little cut her monthly bill by more than half switching to a prepaid plan.

"It saves me about 100 dollars a month," she said.

In a recent survey of more than 58-thousand Consumer Reports subscribers, prepaid Straight Talk earned high marks.

The company advertises unlimited talk, text, and data for 45 dollars a month.

Even if you're in a traditional contract, a good way to save is to check your bill to make sure you aren't paying for more data than you use.

"Of the people we surveyed with a monthly data allowance, nearly 40 percent reported using no more than half of it," adds Tordesillas.

But if you usually burn through your data allowance, rein in those data hogs - streaming video, music, and gaming.

Another tip, make sure your Wi-Fi connection is always activated, which lets you surf and stream for free in Wi-Fi areas. But never use an insecure connection for sensitive tasks like making purchases or paying bills.