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Best Online Only Mobile Phone Contract Deals

written by: Faith Oh•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/25/2010

Of all the cell phone companies available in the U.S. how do you choose the service provider that offers the best online mobile phone contracts? Read on to find out more about the selection criteria and which companies made it to the list.

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    There are many cell phone companies in the United States and almost all of them offer online mobile phone contracts albeit some sales need to be finalized over the phone. Today with the many options available, the companies and plans that provide the most freedom with a wide variety of phones to choose from at affordable rates, offer the best choice for the average cell phone user. Freedom in this case means you can change plans at any time as well as switch providers at any time since you are not constrained by the chains of a 1- or 2-year contract. Based on these criteria, the following service providers currently (as of July 2010) come out at the top with the best online mobile phone contracts.

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    Cricket is currently the leader among cell phone companies providing, no contracts, no credit checks, prepaid, no strings attached monthly cell phone service. It also has a large selection of phones many of which are offered with online-only deals ranging from several percentages off the purchase price after mail-in rebate, to actual free phones. And these are attractive phones too. Cricket offers the best for the average user. With $45 you can have new phone service with the Samsung Stunt and after the mail-in rebate, you will only be down $15 which is the activation fee as the phone becomes free. You also get the first month of service free. All Cricket plans offer unlimited nationwide talk and text with no long distance charges and they range in price from $30 to $60 a month. The $40-a-month plan seems to be the best with the following additional features: caller ID, 3-way calling, free call forwarding to another phone with the same area code, unlimited picture and video messaging, unlimited mobile web and email service, free 411, unlimited international text and data backup.

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    Boost Mobile

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    Boost Mobile is owned by Sprint and so has the advantage of being on Sprint's nationwide network. It also has an array of available phones to choose from including several smartphones and the BlackBerry Curve. However there is no discount offer so you will likely be paying full price for the phones. Boost Mobile's monthly plan costs $50 a month and comes with unlimited nationwide talk, text, web, email, IM and 411 directory service. There are no extra annoying charges that come with a regular monthly phone bill such as local taxes and the other little fees that add up. You are down $50 a month every month and that's it. If you use the BlackBerry Curve you get all the service features that come with a smartphone for $60 a month including up to 10 personal email accounts. You also get international text (free to receive and 10 cents per message to send) and for an additional $10, you get unlimited calling to some international locations in Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Asia Pacific.

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    Virgin Mobile

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    Virgin Mobile is also on the Sprint nationwide network. The company offers a smaller selection of phones for its monthly plans but includes the BlackBerry Curve. The phones cost anywhere from $70 to $300. There is also a web-only deal for Virgin's pay-as-you-go plans which gives you a Kyocera TNT phone for $10 with no activation fee and free shipping. All Virgin monthly plans come with unlimited messaging, text, email and web. The cheapest plan is $25 a month, which comes with 300 anytime talk minutes. The most expensive plan costs $60 a month and you get unlimited talk. You can use a BlackBerry on any of the plans for an additional $10 a month.