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U.S. Cellular Review

U.S. Cellular's prepaid plans have something to offer both occasional and frequent cell phone users, though their data speeds aren't quite up to par with the rest of the industry. Learn More

Updated: May 21, 2014

The Good

Choose which services you need:

U.S. Cellular has a number of different plans available, each with a different combination of services so you can pay only for those you need. If you're just looking for a basic cell phone to use for making the occasional call, the voice-only pay-as-you-go plan is your best bet. The next step up is the voice- and messaging-only plan, which includes 400 minutes and 400 texts per month. Heavy cell phone users are going to want one of the plans that includes unlimited talk and text and 1 or 2 GB of data access. These plans are considerably more expensive than the ones without data access, but they also have a lot more to offer.

Android and iPhones available:

In addition to a few basic cell phones, U.S. Cellular also offers iPhones to their customers and a few different Android models. Androids can be found with most prepaid cell phone providers, but iPhones are a little harder to come by. If you're interested in purchasing one of these to use with your prepaid phone plan, U.S. Cellular's a good company to investigate. Bear in mind, though, that phones -- especially smartphones -- are much more expensive with a prepaid plan than with a traditional two-year contract plan.

Easy to sign up:

Signing up for a prepaid phone plan with U.S. Cellular only takes a few minutes to complete. First, you select the type of plan you're interested in. Then you're able to look at all of the phones compatible with the plan you've chosen and compare them side by side. After that, you can add accessories and review your order. Once you've got everything the way you want it, just enter in your payment information and you're all set. Your new phone will be shipped to you, ready to use.

The Bad

No 4G LTE coverage:

U.S. Cellular only offers 3G data speeds, so you may want to shop around if you spend a lot of time surfing the web on your phone. Many other prepaid phone providers offer 4G LTE speeds on certain devices. If higher speeds aren't as important to you, however, U.S. Cellular may still be a solid option as your prepaid cell phone provider.

Can't manage your account online:

You can't change your plan or pay for your service online with U.S. Cellular. This is relatively uncommon in the industry. If it's necessary, you can change your plan by contacting customer service, and paying your bill can be done right from your mobile phone or at a U.S. Cellular retail store.

Activation fees:

If you go with U.S. Cellular's voice-only or voice- and messaging-only plan, you have to pay an activation fee in addition to your regular monthly fee. The fee for the voice and messaging plan is just $20 but, if you opt for the voice-only plan, the activation fee is $50. U.S. Cellular's voice, messaging, and data plans come with free activation.

The Details

Monthly Plans
Activation Fee Up to $20
Data Up to 2GB
Minutes Included 400 - Unlimited
Monthly Rate $35 - $75
Texts Included 400 - Unlimited
Pay-As-You-Go
Access Fee $10/month
Activation Fee $50
Cost Per Minute $0.10
Cost Per Text (MMS) $0.25
Cost Per Text (SMS) $0.25
Data None

Features

Messaging

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  • International Text Messaging - You can send and receive text messages to international numbers.
  • Picture - You can send and receive picture messages.
  • Text Messages - You can send and receive text messages.
  • Video - You can send and receive video messages.

Plans

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Voice

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Mobile Phones

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Payment Options

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Signing Up

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Support

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