written by: Lorraine Sauer•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 6/27/2011
If the thought of signing an annual wireless contract makes you break out in a cold sweat, consider choosing a no-contract wireless device from T-Mobile. You’ll still get the service you need without having to make a long-term commitment.
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T-Mobile’s no-contract phones allow you to text, access the Internet and make calls overseas while offering you the option to either prepay for wireless services as you use them or pre-pay on a monthly basis.
One of the benefits prepaid wireless service offers is that you don't need to submit to a credit check when purchasing a no-contract T-Mobile phone. If you decide to stop using the T-Mobile wireless network, you won’t need to pay an early termination fee. This makes T-Mobile phones without traditional plans a convenient choice, especially for people who only want to pay for the minutes, text messages and data that they actually use.
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How No-Contract Wireless Service Works
After purchasing a no-contract phone from T-Mobile, you’ll need to activate your new wireless device online. After receiving your phone, make sure you have your activation code and your SIM card code, located in the device's box, in addition to your IMEI identification number, located on the back of your wireless device.
If you decide to utilize T-Mobile’s prepaid plans, you may purchase minute blocks ranging from 30 to 1,000 minutes. You can also prepay by the day for data usage and pay per text message sent and received. Prepaid monthly payment options combine voice, data and texting into one price package, without locking you into a contract. You can also add optional services to your no-contract phone, like unlimited international landline calling and unlimited international texting, for a monthly fee.
T-Mobile offers several convenient payment methods for prepaid wireless services.
Automatic Billing: You can choose to have your monthly prepaid service taken out of your bank account.
Online/Phone Payments: You may use your credit card to purchase additional wireless minutes through T-Mobile's web portal or use your wireless device to purchase prepaid services.
Phone Cards: Stop by a T-Mobile store to purchase a voice minute block card ranging from $10 to $100 in value.
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Basic No-Contract T-Mobile Phones
Basic T-Mobile phones without plans include the Nokia 1616, the LG GS170, the LG dLite and the Samsung t369. The Nokia 1616 offers basic text messaging capability and speaker phone functionality. You can only purchase the LG GS170 with a red exterior color finish, but this device supports Bluetooth technology and allows you to send and receive picture messages.
The refurbished LG dLite features a bubble-gum pink exterior and allows you to connect to your favorite social networking websites. The Samsung t369 supports text and picture messaging and contains a 1.3 megapixel camera for capturing photos.
As of June 2011, prices for basic T-Mobile phones without plans range from $50 to $80, including refurbished discounts.
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Multi-Functional No-Contract T-Mobile Phones
Multi-functional T-Mobile phones without plans include the Nokia 5230 Neuron, the Samsung Comeback, the Nokia X2, the T-Mobile Comet, the LG Optimus T, the Samsung Dart and the Samsung Galaxy S.
The refurbished Nokia 5230 Neuron allows you to browse the web and sync to your email account in Microsoft Outlook. The Samsung Comeback, available with plum, pearl and white exterior color finishes, has video messaging capability and a 2 megapixel camera that also allows you to record video clips.
The Nokia X2 allows you to easily answer emails from your phone while using the QWERTY keyboard. The refurbished T-Mobile Comet gives you the functionality of a smartphone that functions with Android applications.
The refurbished LG Optimus T features voice command functionality and access to Google applications. The Samsung Dart features a touch screen-keyboard and has Wi-Fi calling capability. The Samsung Galaxy S contains a 2 GB memory card and 4G data capability which makes it convenient to stream TV on this wireless device.
As of June 2011, prices for multi-functional T-Mobile phones without plans range from $70 to $380, including refurbished device discounts.
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Additional No-Contract T-Mobile Wireless Devices
T-Mobile also offers prepaid service for no-contract tablets and Wi-Fi devices. T-Mobile tablets without plans include the Dell Streak 7, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the T-Mobile G-Slate. T-Mobile Wi-Fi devices without plans include the T-Mobile Rocket and the T-Mobile 4G Mobile HotSpot.
Pricing for no-contract tablets ranges from $430 to $630, as of June 2011. The T-Mobile Rocket was priced at $90, and the T-Mobile 4G Mobile HotSpot was priced at $160, at the time of publication.
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Considerations for Making the Switch
If you want to switch from a different wireless carrier to T-Mobile's prepaid service, you may transfer your current wireless number. After activating your prepaid service online, it may take up to 2 hours before T-Mobile enables your voice and feature privileges.