Money Talks News: Secret cell phone plans

Money Talks News - Money Talks News - Cell phones have grown from a costly convenience to a costly necessity. That's especially true if you're one of the millions of Americans using a big provider like Verizon, AT&T or Sprint.

Maybe you've thought of getting lower rates by switching to a lesser-known carrier, but you're afraid of sacrificing quality and maybe coverage.

Well there's a secret you may not know: you might be able to radically cut your cell phone bill without even switching networks.

This is possible because most major carriers have a discount, or sub-brand. AT&T has Cricket, Verizon has Total Wireless and Sprint has Boost Mobile.

Use any of these sub-brands and you'll be using the same towers and system as the major brands, but at a much smaller price. There is also another benefit to this: none of them have contracts.

How much can you save? According to cell savings site Whistleout, Total Wireless offers unlimited talk, text and 5 GB of data for $35 a month. A similar plan is $55 a month from Verizon.

There can be subtle differences. For example, the Verizon version offers unlimited calling to Canada and Mexico while Total Wireless doesn't. However if you're not calling neighboring countries, why pay nearly 60 percent more?

Another plus for choosing a sub-brand plan is while you should check with the carrier, sub-brands should allow you to use the same phone you were using on the parent network.

Also, in case you were wondering why you didn't know Total Wireless was a Verizon sub-brand, don't blame yourself. The major brands publicize their low-cost sub-brands.

Find more information and tips on cell phones by going here and search for cell phones.