AT&T is introducing a new $65 per month prepaid plan that includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 1 GB of data. To someone who wouldn’t know any better, that sounds like a steal, but in reality it’s just a scam. First of all, you can’t use this “cheaper” plan with any device you want. You have to go with a “GoPhone” from AT&T. In other words, they’ll gladly give you 1 GB of data per month, because they know no human in their right mind would transfer that much information using a low end smartphone. Second, there’s a better solution out there, one that doesn’t get enough attention. It’s called Straight Talk.

When you pay your AT&T or Verizon bill every month, you’re paying the salaries of the people who work in their retail stores, the construction workers who build those stores, the developers who make horrible ROMs that get flashed on operator branded devices, and the list just goes on and on. Enter Straight Talk, which is what we in the industry call a mobile virtual network operator. MVNO for short. They piggy back off AT&T’s network, buying access to it at a wholesale rate, and then reselling that access to you with razor thin margins.

Straight Talk gives you a SIM card you can shove inside any phone, and they charge $45 per month for unlimited everything. So do the math: $350 for a Galaxy Nexus, $45 per month for 12 months, that’s $890. Compare to that to someone who pays $200 smartphone and then locks themselves into a plan for two years that costs $90 per month. In the first year alone that adds up to $1280. That’s two Nexus 7 tablets right there!

Are there any downsides? Sure. Customer service is abysmal, there’s no roaming, and if your phone breaks you’re shit out of luck, but hey, $45 per month is hard to pass.