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Top 5 Mobile Carriers Behind Big Four Offer Some Great Options

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The big four carriers -- Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile -- more or less control the mobile game in the U.S., but that doesn't mean there aren't other options.

In fact, there are lots of other options out there. Here is a list of the top five U.S. mobile carriers that are not the big four.

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile is one carrier that has remained rather consistent in its pricing over the last few years, offering a few upgrades along the way. The company has a number of flagship phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, but users have to outright buy the devices and they must be purchased from Virgin Mobile itself.

The company offers a number of plans, ranging from $20 for 300 talk minutes and unlimited texting, to $55 for unlimited talk, text and data, with 3 GB of that data being at Sprint's 4G speeds.

Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile is very similar to Virgin in that it uses Sprint's network and offers a number of the same phones. Its plans are a little more extensive, however, with prices ranging from $35 for unlimited talk, text and data with 1 GB of 4G speeds, to $55 for the same with 10 GB of 4G speeds. Certainly not bad at all. Users will, like with Virgin, have to pay outright for the handset, however.

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless is perhaps the most interesting company on the list. While it has a very limited selection of devices, only offering Motorola's Moto G, Moto E and Moto X, its plans are a completely different take on things.

Republic Wireless has built its software around working on Wi-Fi, considering that many people are constantly around Wi-Fi. Because of that, when a user is connected to Wi-Fi, calls, texts and data will all be made through it, allowing the company to greatly reduce prices.

The company has plans ranging from $5 for Wi-Fi only, meaning a user will get no service when not connected to Wi-Fi, to $40 for unlimited talk, text and 4G data. Users can also change their plan as often as they like.

Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless is another carrier where users have to pay the full price for the phone. The good news is that the company offers a number of great phone options, especially for those who might want a Windows Phone device.

Cricket's plans range from $25 for unlimited talk and domestic messaging to $60 for unlimited talk and text with 10 GB of 4G data.

StraightTalk

Last, but certainly not least, is StraightTalk, which might not be the fanciest carrier out there but it certainly gets the job done. The most notable device on the carrier is the iPhone 5s, but it also offers a number of budget Android devices.

StraightTalk is interesting in that it offers plans by different periods of time, allowing users to pay $45 for unlimited talk, text and data for one month, to $495 for the same for an entire year, essentially meaning that one month is offered for free.

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