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U.S. Cellular Cuts Plan Prices, Increases Data

Regional operator U.S. Cellular has made some welcome changes to their Simple Connect Prepaid Plans, cutting prices and increasing the included high-speed data:

  • The former $50 500 MB high speed data plan now includes 1 GB of high speed data for $45 
  • The $60 2 GB high speed data plan is now $55 
  • There's a new $65 plan with 4 GB of high-speed data 
All three plans include unlimited minutes, messaging and throttled (after the high-speed allotment is used up) data. U.S. Cellular has also eliminated its $35 activation fee, making activation free for Simple Connect Customers. 

For a limited time, new Simple Connect Prepaid customers get a $50 U.S. Cellular Prepaid Card that can be used for accessories purchases or to pay their future monthly plan charges. Also for a limited time, the U.S. Cellular Motorola Moto G LTE (reg $209.99) is on sale to new customers for $79.99 in stores or $49.99 online. Simple Connect plans include access to LTE data and U.S. Cellular allows any of its devices to be used on these plans.

Here's a table comparing all the Simple Connect Prepaid plans:
Monthly Cost Voice SMS MMS Data
$40 1 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited
$45 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled after 1 GB)
$55 unlimited unlimited unlimited unlimited (throttled after 2 GB)
$65 unlimited unlimited  unlimited  unlimited (throttled after 4 GB)
1 Feature phones only

U.S. Cellular plans include no extra charge nationwide voice, SMS and 2G data roaming. Data roaming is capped at 200 MB/month. Customers whose roaming minutes exceed 50% of their total minutes in three consecutive months are subject to termination.

U.S. Cellular has discontinued its Walmart exclusive U-Prepaid prepaid brand and replaced it with a new Ready Connect prepaid offering which is available from multiple national retailers including Walmart, Dollar General, and Amazon.com. The following Ready Connect plans are available:

  • $35 basic phone plan – Unlimited talk, text, mobile web
  • $45 smartphone plan – Unlimited talk, text, 1 GB data
  • $55 smartphone plan – Unlimited talk, text, 2 GB data
  • There's also a Walmart exclusive $40 smartphone plan – Unlimited talk, text, 500 MB data
Additional data is available on the $45 and $55 plans at $5 for 250 MB, $15 for 1 GB or $25 for 2 GB of data. The data overage rate on all Ready Connect plans is 10¢/MB. Unlike with Simple Connect, Ready Connect customers are limited to specific Ready Connect phones, with the current top of the line being the Moto G LTE for $149.88. For more about Ready Connect see this page.

U.S. Cellular operates in parts of 24 states and is the largest US regional operator and the fifth largest US Mobile Operator with 4.55 million customers, including about 340 thousand prepaid customers.

Related: Prepaid Operator Profile - U.S. Cellular

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  1. Lmao! Are they even trying to compete? These prices are a joke for what they offer.

  2. Here in Elizabeth City, NC the only good prepaid carriers with a lot of data that work are Verizon, Us Cellular. AT&T is not too bad but once you get around Hertford you can expect some choppy coverage from AT&T where as US Cellular keeps right on going. Plus let me remind you that you can get some really nice post paid phones for US Cellular (at least around here) dirt cheap. Example was my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 in perfect condition for $150. I jumped on that and I'll probably switch from my $60 plan to $65 and get 4GB's. With PDA Net I can tether as long as I use USB and be sure to minimize the app before I plug in the USB. In other words I have to set up the app before I plug in the USB. But I get very high data speeds (Uploads even better than Time Warner's Road Runner). Thanks for letting me know about this awesome Data deal I didn't even know they changed their plans. Here in NE,NC they will be getting tons of customers now.

    1. I get US Cellular has coverage in your area, but so does Verizon. US Cellular charges the same price as Verizon without the coverage Verizon offers. Why wouldn't you go with Verizon and have coverage everywhere for the same price?

    2. For now, anyway. i suspect that Verizon will increase their data soon (just a hunch).

    3. "Here in NE,NC" What's NE?

      Where did you get a Galaxy Note 2 for $150?

    4. "NE NC"?

      Our prog rocking friend is in Northeastern North Carolina, which is one of the regions covered very well by US Cellular.

      Another Anon said: " US Cellular charges the same price as Verizon without the coverage Verizon offers."

      Don't be surprised if Verizon very soon adds more data, leaping ahead of US Cellular in value (regardless of coverage issues).

  3. Has anyone noticed that all three Simple Connect plans work out to the same price as Verizon Prepaid plans and data add-on's. I can only assume everybody on these plans lives somewhere without Verizon coverage and no other choice in wireless. And enough with the "Simple" or "Simply" whatever plan names.

    1. "And enough with the "Simple" or "Simply" whatever plan names."

      I hate frivolous lawsuits, but wouldn't mind the first company to have simple in their plan or company name suing the copycats and forcing them to be original.

  4. The Prog Rock guy seems to like them. but I think he is in one of the 4 or so regions covered by USC.

    But yeah, aren't they between a rock and a hard place? Data values after this improvement like Verizon (which is usually the worst data value between VRZ/ATT/TMO/Sprint) or worse, and very limited native coverage.

    Lowest data value, lowest coverage.

    It'd be interesting to hear someone describe how great this is. And quite a challenge for them to do so.

    1. US Cellular and Verizon Prepaid plan comparison
      Price_____USC_____Verizon (with auto pay)

      Verizon's 1GB and 3GB data add-on's are valid for 90 days. US Cellular's data is only available for one month.

      Coverage comparison, Verizon everywhere, US Cellular here and there.

      I get why people would choose US Cellular back when Verizon didn't offer LTE on prepaid, but now that they do, I can't think of a reason to pay the same price for less coverage and (with auto pay) less data.

    2. That's about what I thought....

  5. These wireless service providers are so dumb! Why don't they just create regional monopoly? If they collectively agree to provide service in only specific regions of the country, each of them would not have to deal with competition. They can resume locking consumers into contracts, increase their profit exponentially by charging as much as they please, and consumers would have no recourse because each of the big 4 would be the only provider in each region, eliminating competition. This method has been working for Comcast and other residential internet service providers in the U.S. for the past few decades. I'm surprised wireless providers haven't use this same effective market-controlling technique. Can't blame them for being profit-driven. These CEOs have kids to feed, vacations to take, and are saddled with multiple million-dollar home mortgages. SOMEBODY has to pay for their pain & suffering.

  6. I don't think they are a joke after these improvements. I live in a native USCC area and have always looked at their devices in the walmart stores. I'd really like to see them at Target & Best Buy as well.

    Their packaging always said "hotspot included." I like that feature, something you can't get on Crickety or Sprint MVNO's w/o paying extra. Also, they offer decent feature phones even a qwerty slider. That is hard to come by now a days.

    1. " Also, they offer decent feature phones even a qwerty slider. That is hard to come by now a days. "

      Yeah, because some bad ideas are hard to get rid of. Like the idea that it is somehow good to have a $700 smartphone that cuts corners and forces you to use an inferior on-screen keyboard, while dumbphones *cough* "feature phones" costing 1/20th as much actually have a good keyboard, and are much much easier to enter text on than the flagship phone missing this basic feature.

  7. Would be nice if they became a national carrier on their own.

    1. They'd have a long way to go, increasing the number of towers they have hundreds of percent to expand their area.

      T-Mobile can't even seem to do this to pull out of the basement of the "Big 4"... it would require a massive build-out for USCC to get to the coverage level of even a T-Mobile, and that doesn't quite cut it.

    2. Maybe US Cellular could buy T-Mobile and switch to GSM?

    3. Are you going to loan them the $40 Billion? Banks won't.

    4. US Cellular have gone the opposite direction -- in 2012 they sold a lot of spectrum to Sprint and exited several markets. Including, somewhat oddly, Chicago, which is where their HQ is located. The White Sox play in US Cellular field, but you can't get a native US Cellular signal there.

    5. "Maybe US Cellular could buy T-Mobile and switch to GSM?"

      Most ideally, Google, which has been making noise about getting into this business, would buy US Cellular, and invest in a significant expansion of it so it becomes a true rival of the other four.

      Yeah, I'm sure it doesn't make sense for Google to do so. But it would be ideal for consumers!

    6. "The White Sox play in US Cellular field, but you can't get a native US Cellular signal there."

      Sort of like T-Mobile adverts blanketing the country when only about 1/3 of the country can even use it. That kind of advertising always seems pointless, like airing spots for "Waffle House" in Maine. Or all the Sonic ads I see, and that is very very far away.

      As for US Cellular Field, perhaps the carrier should change its name to "Comiskey", and all will be right.

  8. People in the Northeast seem to live their USC, like a cult following.

  9. Dennis -- Do you know anything about this . . .

    According to a poster on Turk Forums, she saw a post (#2296) on HoFo under the TracFone BYOP thread which reads:

    "Anyone tried a Verizon 4G LTE phone on TracFone BYOP yet? On the web site they are now saying to try the IMEI first before trying the MEID, and when I tried the IMEI of my Verizon 4G LTE phone (a Droid Bionic), it gave options for entering the ICCID of a SIM card or ordering a new SIM, and after picking an option for that, it has options for entering a CDMA activation code, ordering a new code, or if you are switching from an existing BYOP device."

    Is TracFone BYOP plan getting 4G LTE?


  10. As far as getting the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 for $150 I got it at the Elizabeth City Yard Sale on Facebook. Plus the Perquemins (Think I spelled it right) you can get it there too. People here in Elizabeth City are dirt poor. They sell cell phones all the time for money for food. Met lots of folks who just had to end their contracts and their phones are not black listed. You can get Galaxy 3's all the time for $50 here in Elizabeth City. In fact if you live in Virginia Beach you should come here and buy your phones and then sell them for twice what you paid. Like I said people here are dirt poor and many have no employment, buy a phone and can't afford to keep food on the table so they have to pawn everything they have at the end of the month to pay rent. No kidding I've seen this action here. So I make out like a bandit from some schmuck on welfare who won't get a job lol and saved 100's of dollars. Plus in Elizabeth City everyone subscribes to US Cellular since its close to Wal Mart. Elizabeth City pawn also has phones Dirt Cheap. NE, NC means North East, North Carolina. Gotta love it if you love Electronics you can get it dirt cheap here.

    1. If people need money so bad, why don't they sell their phones online for more money?

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