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Prepaid cell phones are more cost effective than contracts if you only want a cell phone for use in emergencies, or if you use less than 400 minutes per month.
You won't pay the extra $15-20 in taxes and surcharges. If you use more than 400 prepaid cell phone minutes per month, you will pay less for a monthly plan with a contract agreement. Rates and options are better for text messaging, international calling, and roaming on a two year contract agreement.
The prepaid market is growing more friendly to data services and major carrier calling plans such as the Verizon prepaid cell phone plan offer the ability to download ring tones, music, and games for an additional charge.