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Want the LG Nexus 4? Which Pre-Paid Carrier should you Choose?

October 31, 2012 - Written By Alexander Maxham

As all of you know, unless you’re living under a rock somewhere, Google and LG have announced their Nexus 4 and it will be available November 13th. It’ll also be 3G/HSPA+ (a.k.a GSM) only, with no support for CDMA and LTE at least for now. So besides signing a contract with AT&T or T-Mobile, which carrier should you choose? Many people are looking to pre-paid carriers, and today we are going to break it down for you and show you which one is the better choice for your money.

It’s also important to warn you that signal strength will depend on area. Just because a certain carrier has a strong signal in my area doesn’t mean it will in yours. Having said that, let’s get this started. (Complete Nexus 4 Specs)

1. T-Mobile Pre-Paid Plans

T-Mobile undoubtedly has the best pre-paid plans, and the best options, as you can get as much as 5GB of high-speed data before being throttled to EDGE (~120kbps). But like I said above, they may not have great coverage in your area.

Plans: Their plans start at $30/month and range up to $70/month. The $30 plan will get you 100 minutes, unlimited texting and unlimited data (5GB of 4G, then throttled after). Then the $70 plan gives you unlimited talk, unlimited texting, unlimited data (5GB of 4G then throttled after). With some plans in between as well.

Fee: SIM-card costs $0.99. T-Mobile also has a way for you to check and see if your GSM device will work on their network and what size SIM card you need (SIM, Mini SIM, Micro SIM, or Nano SIM).

More information

2. Straight Talk

Straight Talk is a unique pre-paid carrier. It piggybacks off of AT&T or T-Mobile, when you select your SIM card you can choose either to use T-Mobile’s network or AT&T’s depending on coverage in your area.

Plans: $45/month for unlimited everything. Although it’s not on their site, but if you go over 2GB you will probably get throttled because of the throttling mechanism in place on AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks.

Networks: T-Mobile 4G HSPA+ 42 Mbps, AT&T 4G HSPA+ 21 Mbps

Fee: $9.99-$14.99 for the SIM card

More Information

3. Simple Mobile

Simple Mobile is much like Straight talk except it only operates on T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ 42mbps network. So no option to use AT&T’s towers here. This pre-paid carrier doesn’t really offer anything unique compared to the others.

Plans: For $40/month you can get unlimited talk, text and 3G data, and for $50/month you can get unlimited talk, text, and 4G data on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 42mbps network.

Fee: $12.99 for the SIM card

More Information

4. Net10 SIM

Net10 is another StraightTalk competitor as it runs on both T-Mobile or AT&T’s networks. And similar to StraightTalk it does not clearly lay out how much data you are allowed before being throttled.

Plans: $50 per month:  Unlimited talk, text, and data

Fee: $14.99 for the SIM card

More Information

Final Thoughts

There are other Pre-paid carriers out there that run on GSM networks (therefore compatible the unlocked Nexus 4) but these are the ones with the best coverage. As I said above, you’ll want to check and see who has the best coverage in your area. And the best part about pre-paid carriers, no contract! So you can switch every month if you wanted to, to find the best coverage for your money. You can also use Sensorly to find the best coverage for you, they have an Android app available too.

If you have any comments, questions, concerns, etc., you’re welcome to leave a comment below. I’ll try my best to answer your questions.