Postpaid, Prepaid, Resold – Which Should You Choose?

Deciding between postpaid, prepaid, or resold mobile services can be tricky. Each option offers its unique perks and potential drawbacks, and your choice largely depends on your usage patterns, budget, and desired customer service experience.

The Postpaid Advantage

If you desire unlimited calls, texts, superior customer service, and the option to finance your phone through your carrier, a traditional postpaid plan may be your best bet. You receive a bill for your service after usage, making it a post-pay system. While this option may require a good credit score and might be slightly more expensive, it comes with the freedom to choose any phone the carrier sells, often with zero-interest financing. Furthermore, the service quality aligns closely with the carrier’s advertised promises.

Prepaid: The Affordable Alternative

On the other hand, if you’re looking to save money, switching to a prepaid plan, where you pay for service upfront, could reduce your monthly bill by $10 to $20. Many of these services are offered by smaller carriers who resell service from the major providers. As a result, they offer similar coverage at a fraction of the cost. However, they also come with their limitations. To enjoy the benefits of prepaid plans, here are a few things you should be comfortable with:

  • Buying your own phone separately as prepaid carriers often offer limited phone options.
  • Handling tech-support issues independently as phone or online support may be limited.
  • Using prepaid SIM cards while traveling abroad.
  • Reading and understanding the fine print regarding data and voice roaming, as well as Wi-Fi calling, which may not be included in some prepaid plans.

Do remember that some carriers may prioritize their own customers over third-party prepaid traffic or throttle prepaid service to a lower speed. This can result in slower speeds during network congestion.

Resold Services: A Special Case

Resold services offered by some cable operators, based on resold network capacity from major carriers, are a unique case. They offer attractive bargains but come with their strings attached. For instance, you must subscribe to the cable firm’s broadband to avail of the advertised pricing.

Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile are such examples. While their unlimited plans may seem enticing, they come with various restrictions, such as limitations on mobile hotspot use or reduced download speeds after reaching a certain usage limit. If you plan to discontinue the cable operator’s broadband, these wireless plans will cost extra, making them essentially customer-retention tools.

In conclusion, the decision between postpaid, prepaid, or resold service should be driven by your personal needs and circumstances. Weigh the pros and cons of each option, understand the fine print, and make an informed choice that suits your lifestyle and budget.


  • Anika Patel

    Anika Patel boasts an extensive understanding of financial markets from her tenure at Goldman Sachs and roles such as Portfolio Manager and Financial Advisor. With degrees from Stanford and Wharton, she's also an author and adjunct professor, advocating for financial literacy among marginalized communities. Anika's work, praised for breaking down complex concepts into digestible steps, centers on personal finance, investment strategies, and wealth management, with a keen interest in ESG investments.

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