Want a "set it and forget it" cell phone service that works anywhere and doesn't take $3-ish out of your balance every month? Looks like Net10 takes the cake here, though Tracfone comes close with its now-infinitely stackable airtime (Net10 also has infinitely stackable airtime)...
You see, Net10 now has 1-year and 2-year cards (thanks to The Sweeper for pointing 'em out!) at $200 and $400 respectively. Yes, they cost more than the early termination fee on a cellular contract, however these $200 or $400 fees actually give service for a year or two, instead of being the penalty for giving up service before a year (or two) is up.
The one-year card gives 2000 minutes, at the usual Net10 10 cents per minute face value. Like the $100 6-month card you get a total cost of $16.67 per month plus tax on the service, assuming you don't use up any minutes over the 2000 in one year. The two-year card, which has the same monthly cost, includes 1000 "bonus" minutes, lowering the rate per minute to a mere eight cents, with no other work required. This isn't as good as the $75-a-month 1000-minute plan also available from Net10, but the cost per month is much, MUCH less with the two-year card, and eight-cent calling with four-cent text messages is hard to beat even on a "real" contract.
Though of course if you buy one of these cards, you just made Tracfone very happy; $200 or $400 is more than enugh to subsidize the phone that you're using with their service, making a phone plus a one- or two-year card a decidedly non-loss-leader product.
But hey, this is a rather innovative, quite inexpensive per-month and per-minute development, so I'm all for it. Oh, and it's one less bill or refill to worry about...for two years!