In the past, signing a contract for two years with a major carrier was just about the only way to get hold of the newest, most impressive smart phone on the market, with the best deals on calls and data too. However, today, this is not the case. Prepaid cellphone carriers are improving their networks and deals, offering amazing plans on pricing, and tempting new customers with fantastic offers. If you're looking for the top no-contract prepaid cell phone plans, here are some things you should know.

Prepaid Plans

First of all, look at the different prices of the plans that are available from each carrier, as well as what they are capable of giving you. See how many minutes you can get hold of each month and what your limits on data are going to be. You might also want to learn more about the monthly payment scheme for the top no-contract prepaid cell phone plans. You can choose a pay as you go payment, which means that you pay a dollar amount up front, which is then used for texts, calls or data. Or you can use a monthly plan, which is similar to your regular monthly bill, however, you do not have to subscribe to the two-year contract.

Once you've figured out what you want from your phone, it'll be time to track down the best plan. Here are the five top no-contract prepaid cell phone plans that we have found.

1. Verizon wireless prepaid plans are an incredibly popular way to get the phone you want for the price that you want to pay. Although Verizon is generally known more widely for their contract plans, they do provide prepaid plans as well, and these generally feature the same things as their contracts, including their impressive 4G data.

2. AT&T may not be widely known for their prepaid plan options, however, as a "big 4" designer, AT&T have established themselves as one of the biggest and most popular networks within the United States. Recently, they have revamped and simplified their pre-payment strategy to make it easier for customers to get involved with these plans.

3. Net10 is just about as old-school as you can go with your prepaid services. A subsidiary of Tracfone, Net10 piggybacks on all four the major carriers within the United States, allowing you to enjoy a wide range of coverage.

4. T-Mobile has been known as the carrier to watch out for over the last year or so. Their model, along with their charismatic CEO have led to a few raised eyebrows. However, their prepaid plans are simple and well-liked.

5. Straight-Talk is perhaps the original MVNO for setting their prices so low that they are dramatically undercutting the costs of the "Big 4" carriers, dramatically changing how mobile services are priced. They piggyback off both AT&T and T-Mobile, depending on your phone. This company also offers the opportunity to buy a code for Sprint's network if you want it, however they do not support Verizon devices.