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Illustration by Denis Carrier

The "Big Four" (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) have mostly dropped those pricey, two-year smartphone contracts, but service still comes at a premium. Most individual users pay $50 to $100 a month, and family plans easily top $150. Want to cut your costs without sacrificing coverage? Consider these smaller carriers. But before you switch, ask yourself a few questions about the trade-offs.

Check out the video above for recommendations for wi-fi based service, the best plan if you only use your smartphone sporadically, and options for those on tight budgets.