Over the last decade, smartphones have gone from a luxury item to everyday devices in millions of pockets around the world.  Along with this, data plans that at one time seemed too expensive for the average person, have become standard as old flip phones are becoming obsolete.

With carriers introducing new plans, a new question has emerged: Should you sign up for a post-paid plan or go with a pre-paid option?

Let’s discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each and try to determine which is best.

Benefits of Post-Paid

With post-paid plans, you will have higher connectivity across the country along with reliable service. You may also have the chance to upgrade your phone every one-to-two years (depending on carrier) which is excellent if you are interested in the latest and greatest phones.

Post-paid plans also offer family packages which are generally more affordable per device than individual plans. In addition, with most post-paid plans you will pay one price for unlimited texts, calls, and data which is great if you are a power user.

Drawbacks of Post-Paid

You will have to pay at the end of every month for your plan, meaning if you didn’t use much data during the month, you’ll still pay the full price of your plan regardless. Some carriers have also been known to throttle data speeds once the line reaches a certain amount, regardless if they have unlimited data or not.

Benefits of Pre-Paid

Pre-paid plans allow you to choose to pay for only the data/texts/calls you plan to use and nothing more. This is a great option for travelers.  Also anyone looking for just short-term cell service since you pay up front for what you think you’ll need.

Drawbacks of Pre-Paid

Phone costs are typically higher than subsidized rates on a post-paid plan. You usually have to buy a phone at full-cost upfront before you can begin service.

Coverage areas can be affected under pre-paid plans as well since they typically rely on existing networks by larger providers. This depends from carrier to carrier and which geographic region you use the phone.

The Final Verdict

Choosing between the two options all comes down to what you’re looking for in a cell phone plan. Do your research into the rates and coverage areas for your region and determine which is best for you.