The way to avoid a mobile phone contract is to purchase a phone from a no-contract carrier. There are several well-known carriers that offer contract-free services known as mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs.
Many mobile phone users prefer not to be locked into contracts with their mobile phone providers in order to take advantage of newer services or upgrading their phones.
No-contract mobile phone plans are called prepaid plans. That means the user pays a monthly fee upfront that provides a certain amount of time and data usage. Another option offered is a pay-as-you-go plan in that the customer only pays for the amount of time the phone is in use. As of February 2015, three of the larger carriers, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon now offer special no-contract plans along with their regular contract services.
Some no-contract companies have a bring-your-own-device option. In many cases when a contract runs out, the customer may keep the same phone and buy service with a no-contract company. Not all no-contract carriers support a plan where the customer keeps his own phone.
Other no-contract services supply the phone along with their monthly fees. The phone costs extra.
Six of the mobile phone companies available that sell no-contract services are:
- Boost Mobile Monthly Unlimited
- Critic Wireless
- Metro PCS Pay In Advance
- Straight Talk
- T-Mobile Simple Choice
- Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk