Contract-free cellphone plans were supposed to be easier to understand, but that’s no longer the case. Washington state’s attorney general recently blasted T-Mobile for its Simple Choice plan that turned out to be not so simple. T-Mobile was criticized for its new “no restrictions” plan, which, in fact, does have some restrictions.  Oops!

It’s time to pull out the calculator and take a look at the asterisks on those contract-free wireless plans to see if they really offer savings and headache-free convenience.

T-mobile-no-contract1) What’s the difference between contract and payment plans?

Signing a two-year contract with a wireless carrier means paying a minimum upfront fee for a cellphone, with the true cost of the handset — and then some — included in the monthly bills. For example, Verizon Wireless charges you $99 for a 16GB iPhone 4S but locks you into a two-year contract.

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