It’s possible to get freedom from two-year contracts and high-priced hardware with data-only cards. If you want to use your old phone or tablet off-contract, they are a great option.

Whether you are travelling internationally, looking for talk international sim card unlimited data and text, or just want monthly data, these seven pre-paid sim cards are for you.

Things to know before you buy

The most important thing you need to know is whether or not your device is CDMA or GS, this is the most confusing thing you can do. The article from DigitalTrends lays out clearly what the difference is. Some devices, including newer models of the iPhone, can operate on both CDMA and GS, but it can get complicated depending on the carrier.

An unlocked device means it is not tied to a contract with a carrier. The FCC and CTIA implemented guidelines around unlocked devices a few years ago, but you can still purchase unlocked devices. Most pre-paid carriers offer discounted, refurbished devices if you don’t have an unlocked device or one that’s compatible with the plan you’re interested in.

Tello

Data-only plans start at $8 for 500MB and go up to $45 for 5GB per month, with Tello’s range of data plans starting at $8 for 500MB. The amount of data you choose per month is the amount of data you can use before you get a slower speed. You will lose the ability to tether your phone once you hit your plan limit.

Tello plans can be used with any contract-free CDMA phone from any company that uses the network. It gets a little complicated, but most of the popular devices are compatible with other carriers. You can find the list on Tello’s website.

How to use your phone as a mobile device

TPO Mobile

Unlike Tello, you are restricted to the amount of monthly data you purchase. If you enroll in auto-pay, the monthly fee is reduced to $55 from $60. You will get 50GB of free data per month at 4G after it drops to 3G, which is a fair amount.

While other plans will work with phones other than CDMA, the unlimited plan only works with CSD. You can use the website to see if the device you want to use is compatible with the other devices on the network.

FreedomPop

FreedomPop has a free mobile plan with 200 minutes of talk, 500 texts and 200 MB of data per month. The cost of the card is currently $ 99. Some of the cheapest, straightforward data plans are offered by FreedomPop. All plans include unlimited talk and text, with the data starting at 500MB and going up to 4GB. You can earn extra data through referrals and special offers if you choose to.

You can purchase a global version of the card that will work in 25 additional countries, if you choose to. You can check eligibility on the website to see if your device is compatible.

How to use your mobile device as a mobile hotspot is related.

Ting

Straight forward plans that allow you to pick features are not pre-paid plans. You are charged separately for voice, text and data on your account. You pay at the end of the month. If you go above the 6GB option for $60 per month, you’ll be charged $300 for up to 30 gigabytes of data per month.

Over 80% of devices can operate on the Ting network, according to the company. If you purchase a device directly from Ting, you don’t need to purchase the sim separately. You can see if your phone is compatible with the website, but if you bring your own device, be sure to purchase the correct sim card for your phone.

Sprint Prepaid

With current sales, you can pick up one of the three sizes for less than the retail price. There are three plans to choose from. All plans include unlimited talk and text for $60.

The unlocked CDMA devices that are compatible with the pre-paid plans are purchased in the US. The majority of phones and tablets are compatible, but there are some limitations, for instance, the only model that will work for the iPhone 6 from other carriers is the Verizon model. If it’s compatible, you can enter your device information on the website.

T-Mobile Tourist Plan

If you are travelling to the US and want to purchase a sim card, the options are not as wide as in other countries. The T-Mobile Tourist Plan is a three-week plan with unlimited data, unlimited texting, and 1,000 minutes of domestic talk. Before it drops down to 2G speeds, there is 2GB of 4G data. If you visit for more than three weeks, you can get a $40 plan with unlimited talk, text and data.

You can use your own unlocked device with the T-Mobile Tourist Plan and there’s also an option to purchase a tablets sim card. If your device is compatible, you can enter your carrier and device name on the site. An unlocked device on AT&T’s network is compatible with an unlocked device from the other carrier, for example.

Cricket Universal SIM Card

The Cricket Universal sim card kit comes with a regular, micro and small sim card. unlimited data for $60 per month is included with any plan. The fine print says that reduced-speed data is typically equivalent to 2G speeds. During periods of network congestion, you might experience temporarily slowed data during your next monthly plan cycle.

You can find out if your device is compatible by searching for it on the website. All unlocked AT&T, T-Mobile devices are compatible with other phones.

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