WhistleOut Helps You Compare Mobile Phone Plans
Got your eye on a shiny new HTC One M8? Looking for a new carrier for your out-of-contract iPhone? Want lower rates for your family’s four lines before they run you into the poorhouse?
Tricky stuff. Between the Big Four carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) and the 20-plus little-guy offshoots (from AIO Wireless to Zact), you could spend days hopping around to different stores and sites, trying to find the best plan for you and/or you family.
Guess what? There’s a search engine for that: WhistleOut. Actually, it’s a “comparison engine,” designed to show you mobile plans based on your requirements.
It works like this: Start by choosing the number of lines you need (up to 10), then choose the phone(s) you want (or have–WhistleOut also supports the increasingly popular Bring Your Own option).
Next, adjust the three sliders to indicate your monthly usage: voice minutes, text messages, and data. And, finally, specify a few final details, like whether you need full- speed data all the time or can live with part-time throttling.
In a flash, the engine spits out all the available options from about a dozen carriers, from least-expensive to most-expensive.
I put this to work on the aformentioned HTC One M8. Come to find out that T-Mobile offers the best deal, with unlimited calling and text messages and 500MB of data for $40 monthly. (The results also show what you end up paying up-front, if anything.) But for just $10 more, I get unlimited data–though it’s high-speed data for only the first 1GB. Then I went looking for a new home for my post-contract iPhone 4S. The winner: AIO Wireless, offering an unlimited (but with the usual caveats) plan for $35 monthly — and no money up front.
Needless to say, this is a really handy tool. WhistleOut has actually been around for a couple years, but just last week it expanded to include multi-line plan comparisons, early- upgrade and phone-financing options, and a “closest match” substitution option if you choose a phone that’s not available from all providers.
It’s too bad the engine doesn’t include more MNVOs (the aformentioned little-guy carriers), because there are some equally good (sometimes even better) deals to be had from the likes of Cricket, FreedomPop, H2O Wireless, Republic Wireless, and Solavei. Also, beware the annoying “Featured Advertisement” that sometimes appears atop the search results.
Even so, WhistleOut is a great place to start if you’re shopping for a new phone and/or carrier. It’s free, easy, and just plain slick.
Veteran technology writer Rick Broida is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC World and Wired.