Most gsm providers in the US on prepaid are off shoots of the Big 2 Gsm carriers Att and Tmobile.
Both Att and Tmobile have their own prepaid divisions.
One side has plans, the other is pay as you go.
Tmobile is called Flexpay for plans. Att is Pick Your Plan.
Both are just like regular monthly plans except you pay them upfront instead
of after you use it.
Att will be launching a new $60 unlimited talk/text/pic/video/im/intl. text plan on Monday Oct 12. It is called the Let Freedom Ring plan.
Here are some of the offshoots running on the Tmobile/Att networks and what they are good at.
Att mvnos (mobile virtual network operators or companies that buy and resell a larger carrier's airtime under their own brand name).
Red Pocket: 15 cents a minute standard rate. Calls with no added charges to
Asian countries with heavily ethnic Chinese populations (Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, etc). Good intl rate in general.
Jolt Gsm. Much like Red Pocket. Differing rates. 15 cent, 35 cents a minute plans. Long expiration times. 15 cents a minute plan includes calls with no additional charge to many more countries then Red Pocket has. No data.
Air Voice Gsm . Lowest priced domestic rate. 10 cents a minute/10 cents a text. No data. Recently came out with Air Voice Unlimited Gsm, unlimited talk/text (but no intl calling or text and no toll free numbers usage) for $49.99 a month. Different sims for paygo vs unlimited plans. International rates on paygo is weak. Other mvnos are much stronger for intl calls.
Locus Gsm/O2/H2O Wireless Unlimited.
Has a really nicely priced 29.99 plan with 500 minutes including calls to 50 countries with no additional charge (landlines only).
Newly launched unlimited talk/text plan , identical to Air Voice Unlimited except that it is a penny more at $50. Same limitations. No data.No intl calls/texts/toll free numbers.
Tmobile only has two mvnos. One not even launched yet.
Tuyo. Latin American/Hispanic oriented mvno with good prices to Latin American countries, kind of like a Hispanic Red Pocket. Also good overall intl rates.
Simple Mobile. Unlimited talk/text/intl text/ 20 megs data/mms for 49.99 coming this November.
In general, most mvno phones can use Att or Tmobile parent sims.
And most Att phones and Tmobile phones will take their mvno sim w/o a problem even if the phone is not unlocked.
For data/mms you are kind of stuck with Att prepaid at the moment. Simple Mobile may change that.
But in all honesty, if Tmobile launches their so called Project Black this October 25 which is supposed to be a non prepaid/regular postpaid $50 unlimited talk/text/mms/web plan, it will change everything you are reading here. Especially the prices.