The thing I don't get with these shared data plans is that the baselines all include unlimited voice minutes. If you go with prepaid or individual plans, the providers will typically list pricing tiers based on the number of talk minutes. They provide the option for unlimited talk, but also less expensive options with fewer minutes.
Before I finally went over to a smartphone, I had an AT&T GoPhone plan. $25 for 90 days with $0.10/minute and $0.20/text. I rarely used up my allotment within that three-month time frame. Unlimited talk is something that I do not want or need, yet AT&T (as well as Verizon and Sprint) are trying to maneuver the customers into these bundled plans. With a smartphone plan, I want data and not much else.
After looking over all these options, I wound up on T-Mobile's $30 prepaid plan for my iPhone 5s. It provides 100 voice minutes and unlimited text and data, which is exactly what I wanted. Even though going prepaid requires that I pay the full cost for the phone up front, there overall costs are substantially lower across the board. For example, the T-Mobile plan only charges $0.10/minute if you go over the voice allotment.
Also, even though T-Mobile does not have true "unlimited" data because it limits the 4G data and throttles down to 2G afterwards, the $30 plan still provides a monthly allowance of 5 GB of 4G data. And this is on an individual $30 plan. My understanding of AT&T's plans is that once you exceed the monthly data allotment, they will charge for each additional bloc of data.
Edited by Woochifer - 10/11/13 at 5:16pm