YNexus5ou are ready to (or already have) taken the Android plunge and purchased the Google Nexus 5 or Nexus 6 unlocked phone.   Congratulations.  You probably made the smartest smartphone purchase in the current wireless marketplace.   Google has created a very capable phone at a very attractive price.   But now comes the tougher decision:  what is the best wireless plan available for the Nexus 5.   You’ll be surprised at the number of little-known options available to you for monthly costs of as low as…….FREE.    Of course, there is no definitive answer, as everyone’s needs are different.   The four key factors you need to assess are:

1.   Your budget  (how much you want to pay)

2.  Data usage  (how much you are going to use the phone for websurfing, streaming, email and other web-based applications.

3.  Voice usage   (how many minutes per month that you’ll use for voice calls)

4.  Messaging   (how many texts you send/receive on a monthly basis.

Your answers to these four questions will largely dictate the best wireless plan for your needs.    But you have a number of attractive options that we recommend you consider.   What we definitely know is that you should cross Verizon off of your list, as it doesn’t accept Google’s Nexus phones on its network.    Verizon’s loss….your gain.   We also don’t recommend that you consider AT&T, as its service plans are overpriced relative to the quality of its services.

FREE:   FREEDOM POP –  200 minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of 4G data for $0 per month.  You can bring a Nexus 5 to Freedom Pop’s network, which runs on Sprint’s network.   Granted, it isn’t the best network, but it is getting better.   Their customer service is rather slow and it is only available in cities  with Sprint 4G service, but it is worth checking out.

LOW COST:  RING PLUS –  400 minutes, 400 texts, and 300MB of 3G/4G/LTE data  Their Bella plan is about $10 per month and their Surf & Turf plan is an affordable $20 per month that offers unlimited voice and messaging, with a 750MB cap on data, but is only available in certain cities.   It is one of the more attractive wireless offerings on the market and it is compatible with the Nexus 5.   It also relies upon Sprint’s network.

LOW COST:  CONSUMER CELLULAR  –  We were very impressed with the low-cost and very flexible programs that afford you data, messaging and voice.  Our monthly cost for all three — $25.   And, it uses the AT&T network so reception is very good.

BEST PLAN BAR NONE:  PROJECT FI –  None other than Google has created a wireless service exclusively for its Nexus 6 customers that offers a special SIM card which gives access to TMobile or Sprint networks as well as any nearby accessible wifi.   Prices will start at $20 a month for “the basics,” or voice service, texting, Wifi tethering and international coverage. After that it’s $10 per gigabyte of data you use in the U.S. and abroadand you do get to sell back what you don’t use.  So, if you’re on a 2GB plan but only use 1.5GB, you’ll get $5 off your bill.   However, at its launch, it is invite-only, so get on the waiting list.

SECOND-BEST UNLIMITED PLAN:  STRAIGHT TALK –  Unlimited Voice,  Text and  Data    Offers a prepaid, no contract $45 per month, unlimited package that uses AT&T’s network.  Probably the best unlimited offerings currently in the U.S. and works with the Nexus 5.   AT&T’s network has improved sufficiently over the last few years, that we can recommend it again through this reseller.  AT&T’s cost for a comparable plan is still too high to recommend.

MAINSTREAM CARRIER:  T-MOBILE – 100 Minutes, Unlimited Texts, and Unlimited Data  (up to 5GB at 4G speeds)   T-Mobile is the only company of the big 4 that we recommend.  This plan is a cheap way to get lots of data but is weak on minutes.   The workaround:  use a VoIP app for all of your voice calls.   This plan is only available from Wal-Mart or directly from t-mobile.com.  It is an excellent option for people who want lots of data and will likely use VoIP for voice.