MONEY-SAVING MOMENT: If you're looking for a simple phone that just calls and texts, there's a $12/month plan for moderate users that caught my eye.

PagePlusCellular.com is now offering what they call 'The 12' where you get 250 voice minutes, 250 text messages and a small amount of data for very light web surfing every month.

In addition, Page Plus has a number of other low-cost plans of various types. They tend to price a little lower than mega-competitor Straight Talk, which starts at $30 for 1,000 texts and 1,000 voice minutes. By comparison, Page Plus's $30/month plan bests them by offering 1,200 minutes and 3,000 text messages.

Meanwhile, Consumer Reports has done a new rating of cell phone service providers in its January 2012 issue. Straight Talk scored higher than any of the Big 4 contract players. Straight Talk gives you an Android for $45 with unlimited calling and texting and a generous data cap. Tying with Straight Talk we have a two-way tie with both T-Mobile and VirginMobileUSA.

The worst score goes to AT&T, which got one of lowest scores I've ever seen for any company in any industry from Consumer Reports. In 22 of the nation's largest markets, they came in dead last. The best of the Big 4 contract players was Verizon, with Sprint right on their heels.

But why go with a contract provider for 24 months when people just despise them?

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

Show Comments 0