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Best Cell Phone Carriers of 2021

Compare cheap cell phone carrier plans

Check Coverage

Ever feel overwhelmed when looking for a new cell phone deal? We know we have. That's why we love helping take the stress out of finding a cheap cell phone service.

We understand that finding the best cell phone company is not all about the price. Network coverage, customer service, and personal cell phone needs are also important.

We've taken away the hard work and broken it down for you below.

Best best carriers of 2021

Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans

Tello - Best prepaid carrier

Powered by:
Tello SIM Card - Best prepaid carrierTello SIM Card - Best prepaid carrier
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$7.50/mo*
* 25% Off for 6 Months
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Tello Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$6*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$7.50*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$10.50*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$14.30*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$18*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 8GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

8GB

$21.80*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$29.30*

* 25% Off for 6 Months
Features
Benefits

Pros

  • 24/7 customer support

  • No contracts

  • Budget friendly family plans

Cons

  • No roaming

  • Coverage in rural areas

Benefits

  • Service on the nationwide T-Mobile network

  • Money-back guarantee on phones (no refunds on plans)

  • Prepaid - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • Bring your own phone or choose from a modest selection of new or refurbished devices

  • Keep your current phone number

  • Use of your plan data as a mobile hotspot through your phone is allowed

  • Use your minutes to call Canada, China, and Mexico

  • Minutes to other countries available as add-on

  • 24/7 customer service

Best Unlimited Data Plans

Mint Mobile - Best carrier for unlimited data

Powered by:
Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best carrier for unlimited dataMint Mobile SIM Card - Best carrier for unlimited data
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
Unlimited
Price
$30/mo*
* $90 for 3 months Service
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Mint Mobile 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$15*

* $45 for 3 Months Service

Mint Mobile 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$20*

* $60 for 3 Months Service

Mint Mobile 15GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

15GB

$25*

* $75 for 3 months Service

Mint Mobile Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$30*

* $90 for 3 months Service
Features
Benefits

Pros

  • Offers the latest phones with 0% finance

  • Prepay months in bulk for more savings

  • Reliable network coverage

  • Works with most GSM phones

Cons

  • No family plans

  • Minimum 3 months

Benefits

  • Operates on the nationwide T-Mobile network

  • 7-day money-back guarantee

  • Prepaid - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • Bring your phone or buy a Mint Mobile device

  • Keep your phone number

  • Using your phone as a mobile hotspot is permitted

  • Free calling to Canada & Mexico, affordable rates to 160+ other locations

  • Flat-rate international roaming available as an add-on feature

  • Customer service by phone on weekdays and weekends, 24/7 by virtual chat

Best Family Cell Phone Plans

Reach Mobile - Best carrier for families

Powered by:
Reach Mobile SIM Card - Best carrier for familiesReach Mobile SIM Card - Best carrier for families
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
3 GB
Price
$15/mo*
* 50% Off for 3 Months
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Reach Mobile 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$15*

Reach Mobile 8GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

8GB

$23*

Reach Mobile 12GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

12GB

$28*

Reach Mobile 20GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

20GB

$33*

* 50% Off for 3 Months

Features
Benefits

Pros

  • Socially conscious provider who gives back

  • 4G LTE network

  • Hotspot enabled

Cons

  • Small selection of handsets

  • Expensive high data plans

Benefits

  • Powered by the Verizon network

  • Service is postpaid with no credit check

  • Only upfront payment is shipping for SIM card

  • Bring your own compatible phone

  • Keep your phone number

  • Hotspot enabled on all plans

  • 24/7 customer support by phone or chat

Best 5G Phone Plans

Boost Mobile - Best 5G carrier

Powered by:
Boost Mobile SIM Card - Best 5G carrierBoost Mobile SIM Card - Best 5G carrier
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$5/mo*
* $5 Off First Month
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Boost Mobile 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$5*

* $5 Off First Month

Boost Mobile 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$15*

* $10 Off First Month

Boost Mobile Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$35*

* $15 Off First Month
Features
Benefits

Pros

  • New upgraded network with DISH

  • No annual contract

  • Unlimited music streaming

Cons

  • Coverage in rural areas

Benefits

  • Owned by Dish and runs on T-Mobile's nationwide network

  • Prepaid service - no contract, credit check, or extra fees

  • Bring your own phone (GSM compatible) or choose from a wide selection of new phones

  • Mobile hotspot allowance with all plans

  • International service and roaming available as add-on packs

  • Customer support available by phone - 4am - 8pm PST Monday to Friday, 4am - 7pm weekends

Best Talk & Text Only Plans

Ting - Best carrier for talk & text

Powered by:
Ting SIM Card - Best carrier for talk & textTing SIM Card - Best carrier for talk & text
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
0 GB
Price
$10/mo*
* $5 extra per GB
Editors Take
4 / 5
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Ting Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10*

* $5 extra per GB

Ting 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$15

Ting 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$20*

* $5 Off for 6 Months

Ting Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$25*

* $20 Off for 3 Months

Ting 12GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

12GB

$30*

* $5 Off for 6 Months
Features
Benefits

Pros

  • Simple plans for light phone users

  • Customer service

  • Nationwide LTE and 5G coverage

  • Good selection of handsets

Cons

  • Not for the data hungry user

Benefits

  • Offers coverage on both Verizon and T-Mobile

  • Prepaid service - no contract, credit check, or start-up fees

  • Bring your GSM or CDMA phone - most devices are compatible - or buy one from Ting

  • Keep your current number

  • Tethering/mobile hotspot allowed, speeds limited to 3G for GSM tethering

  • Use your plan minutes to call 60+ international locations

  • International roaming capability (at surcharged rates)

  • Extensive customer service hours by phone, chat, or email

Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

Twigby - Best carrier for seniors

Powered by:
Twigby SIM Card - Best carrier for seniorsTwigby SIM Card - Best carrier for seniors
Minutes
300
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$7.50/mo*
* 50% Off for 6 Months
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Twigby Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$6.50*

Twigby 300 Mins & 1GB Data

300

Unlimited

1GB

$7.50*

Twigby 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$10*

Twigby 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$12.50*

Twigby 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$17.50*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

Features
Benefits

Pros

  • No hotspot/tethering charges

  • International calling and texting

  • 4G LTE coverage

  • Exclusive deals and discounts as a Twigby customer

Cons

  • Limited handset selection

  • Not for the data hungry

Benefits

  • Runs on both the Verizon and Sprint networks

  • 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee on phones and plans (under 300 minutes, 300 texts, or 300 MB of data used)

  • Prepaid - no contracts, credit checks, or activation fees

  • Bring your CDMA device or choose from a modest selection of Twigby phones

  • Keep your own phone number

  • Use your phone and plan data as a mobile hotspot

  • Use your plan minutes to call Canada, China, and Mexico

  • Free international texting to over 180 countries

  • US-based chat support available weekdays 7am to 9pm CST and 10am to 6pm on weekends

Best Cell Phone Plans for Kids

Red Pocket - Best carrier for kids

Powered by:
Red Pocket SIM Card - Best carrier for kidsRed Pocket SIM Card - Best carrier for kids
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$10/mo
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Red Pocket 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10

Red Pocket 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$19

Red Pocket 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$30

Red Pocket 22GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

22GB

$40

Features
Benefits

Pros

  • Nationwide coverage

  • No contracts

  • Latest selection of phones

Cons

  • Account dashboard needs work

  • No 0% financing options on latest phones

  • Customer service

Benefits

  • Operates on all four networks - AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon

  • Prepaid cell phone plans - no contract, credit check, or activation fees

  • Bring your own GSM or CDMA device and keep your phone number

  • Mobile hotspot/tethering allowed with your plan data

  • Free international calling to 70+ countries

  • Customer service available in English, Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish via chat or phone

Cheapest Phone Plans for One Person

Pure Talk - Best carrier for one person

Powered by:
Pure Talk SIM Card - Best carrier for one personPure Talk SIM Card - Best carrier for one person
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
4 GB
Price
$18.75/mo*
* 25% Off for 3 Months
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Pure Talk 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$15*

Pure Talk 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$18.75*

Pure Talk 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$22.50*

Pure Talk 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$26.25*

Pure Talk 20GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

20GB

$33.75*

Pure Talk Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$41.25*

* 25% Off for 3 Months

Features
Benefits

Pros

  • 4G LTE coverage

  • Multi-month discounts

  • US based customer service

Cons

  • No 0% finance plans for new phones

  • May slow speeds at busy times

Benefits

  • Service provided on the AT&T network

  • Prepaid service - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • 30-day risk-free guarantee on plans- cancel within your first 30 days or 500 minutes/500 MB of data to receive a refund for your plan charges

  • Bring your own compatible GSM phone or buy a PureTalk USA phone

  • Keep your phone number

  • Mobile hotspot/tethering permitted

  • International calling available as an add-on calling card

  • Customer support available by phone 9am - 10pm EST weekdays and 12pm - 9pm weekends

Best Data Only Plans

US Mobile - Best carrier for data only

Powered by:
US Mobile SIM Card - Best carrier for data onlyUS Mobile SIM Card - Best carrier for data only
Minutes
0
Texts
0
Data
2 GB
Price
$10/mo
Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

US Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10

US Mobile 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$12

US Mobile 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$15

US Mobile 12GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

12GB

$20

US Mobile 18GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

18GB

$25

US Mobile 30GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

30GB

$30

US Mobile Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$45

Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM

Features
Benefits

Pros

  • Flexible, no contract plans

  • 24/7 customer service

  • 5G coverage available

Cons

  • No international calling

  • Phone selection

Benefits

  • Coverage on either the T-Mobile or Verizon network

  • Risk-free trial: Full refund within 14 days or before 1000 talk, text, or MB's is used

  • Prepaid - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • Bring your own GSM or CDMA phone or choose from a small selection of phones for sale

  • Keep your own phone number

  • Mobile hotspot use available as add-on option with unlimited data plans

  • International roaming plans available with eSIMs

  • Add-ons available for talk, text, and data, with rollover

  • 24/7 customer support

The cheapest phone carriers in June

Check Carrier Coverage

Cheap cell phone carrier benefits

At MoneySavingPro we're all about the low-cost carriers - also known as MVNOs. Mobile Virtual Network Operators are busting out of the shadows of the big four and making waves in the telecoms industry. Offering low-cost cell phone plans, but providing the same great network you already love by piggybacking off the four major networks.

These alternative carriers provide bundles of flexibility. With no contract that means no commitment and no early termination fees.

If you love your current network; Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T but are sick of spending your hard-earned dollars on expensive phone bills. Check out why we think low-cost carriers are a no brainer:

  • National coverage from the four major networks

  • No hidden fees or baffling contracts

  • No overpaying for what you don't need

  • Simple, hassle free sign up and switch

  • Keep your current phone and number

  • No surprising monthly bills

  • Fast 4G LTE and 5G data speeds

  • No unnecessary phone upgrades

  • No annoying salespeople

Cheap cell phone plans comparison

Carrier

Network

Minutes

Texts

Data

Price

Tello

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

1GB

$7.50** 25% Off for 6 Months

Reach Mobile

Verizon

Unltd

Unltd

3GB

$15** 50% Off for 3 Months

Ting

T-Mobile & Verizon

Unltd

Unltd

Unltd

$25** $20 Off for 3 Months

Mint Mobile

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

10GB

$20** $60 for 3 Months Service

Twigby

Verizon & Sprint

300

Unltd

1GB

$7.50** 50% Off for 6 Months

Best AT&T cell phone carrier

Pure Talk - 4GB Data* 25% Off for 3 Months
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
4 GB4G data
$18.75*per month$25/mo
Powered by: AT&T

AT&T vs Pure Talk Plan Comparison

Keep your AT&T phone, number & coverage: Save $619 per year

Carrier

Network Coverage

4G LTE Data

Price

Annual Cost

AT&T

AT&T 4G LTE

Unltd*

$75/mo

$900/yr

Pure Talk

AT&T 4G LTE

4GB

$25/mo

$281/yr

*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$50/mo$619/yr

See more deals from the best AT&T carriers

Best Verizon cell phone carrier

Reach Mobile - 3GB Data* 50% Off for 3 Months
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
3 GB4G data
$15*per month$30/mo
Powered by: Verizon

Verizon vs Reach Mobile Plan Comparison

Keep your Verizon phone, number & coverage: Save $645 per year

Carrier

Network Coverage

4G LTE Data

Price

Annual Cost

Verizon

Verizon 4G LTE

Unltd*

$80/mo

$960/yr

Reach Mobile

Verizon 4G LTE

3GB

$30/mo

$315/yr

*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$50/mo$645/yr

See more deals from the best Verizon carriers

Best T-Mobile cell phone carrier

Mint Mobile - 4GB Data* $45 for 3 Months Service
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
4 GB4G data
$15*per month
Powered by: T-Mobile

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile Plan Comparison

Keep your T-Mobile phone, number & coverage: Save $540 per year

Carrier

Network Coverage

4G LTE Data

Price

Annual Cost

T-Mobile

T-Mobile 4G LTE

Unltd*

$60/mo

$720/yr

Mint Mobile

T-Mobile 4G LTE

4GB

$15/mo

$180/yr

*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$45/mo$540/yr

See more deals from the best T-Mobile carriers

Do you really need unlimited data?

We get it. Running out of data is the stuff of nightmares. But do you really need unlimited?

Big telecom companies want you to spend money. We want to help you save it. Here's how you can benefit from choosing a set data plan:

  • Most of us on average use 3 to 5GB data each month - this goes down the more time we stay at home.

  • You're only paying for what you need.

  • Cheap cell phone carriers give you the flexibility to top up if you need to.

If you do a lot of HD video streaming and music streaming you may need a higher data plan. You can check your data usage to see how much you could save.

Carrier coverage comparison

Which prepaid carrier is best for you? That depends on which network has the best coverage in your area.

Whether you go with a GSM carrier (T-Mobile and AT&T) or a CDMA carrier (Verizon) you'll enjoy national coverage, just like with the major carriers.

Network performance ratings

NETWORK

OVERALL

RELIABILITY

SPEED

DATA

CALL

Verizon Coverage

95

96

94

96

94

AT&T Coverage

94

94

95

96

92

T-Mobile Coverage

86

88

82

89

82

Source: Rootmetrics

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

Carrier customer ratings comparison

Concerned that low-cost carriers won't have good customer service? Don't be, on average MVNOs score much higher customer ratings than the big networks as you'll see in the comparison chart below:

CARRIER

TRUSTPILOT USER RATING

Reach Mobile

4.9

Tello

4.6

US Mobile

4.6

T-Mobile

1.5

Verizon

1.3

AT&T

1.2

Switching cell phone carriers

It's never been easier to switch. Let's break it down.

  1. Customize your plan. Whether you're looking for a truly unlimited plan, or in the market for something more basic, choose a plan to suit your cell phone needs.

  2. Prepare to make the switch. Make sure your old bills are paid up and your phone is unlocked. If you're getting a new device, transferring data from one to another is simple. Even if you're going from an iPhone to Android, and vice versa.

  3. Set up your new plan. Keep your current carrier account open until your number has ported over. Once you're sure your new plan is up and running, cancel your old account. If you've got a new device with your Tello plan, it should be ready to use when it arrives. If you're bringing your own phone then you'll need to follow the instructions with the new SIM card kit that Tello will send to you in the post.

Cell phone carriers list

AT&T

T-Mobile

Verizon

Red Pocket

Mint Mobile

Twigby

Pure Talk

Ultra Mobile

US Mobile

h2o Wireless

US Mobile

Ting

Good2Go Mobile

Ting

Red Pocket

Unreal Mobile

Tello

Reach Mobile

Cricket Wireless

Red Pocket

Visible

Straight Talk

Boost Mobile

Spectrum Mobile

FreeUP Mobile

GoSmart Mobile

Total Wireless

Altice Mobile

Republic Wireless

Xfinity Mobile

Freedompop

Simple Mobile

CREDO Mobile

Lycamobile

Affinity Cellular

Selectel Wireless

GreatCall

Gen Mobile

yahoo! Mobile

Wing

easyGO Wireless

Speedtalk Mobile

Best cell phone deals

So what if you do want to upgrade your phone? It's all good - with a prepaid carrier you can save a ton of money by choosing one of a couple of great money-saving options:

  • Buy a new phone from the carrier: More and more MVNOs are offering a selection of affordable phones. Some even give you the choice of making device payments instead of paying all at once. We've gathered the best cell phone deals for you to compare all in one place.

  • Buy a refurbished cell phone: If you'd rather own your phone outright, compare refurbished phone deals to save over 50% on top models in great condition.

Compare cheap cell phone prices

Phone

AT&T

Verizon

T-Mobile

Unlocked

iPhone 11

$349

$599

$599

$349

iPhone 11 Pro

$649

$899

$899

$649

iPhone 11 Pro Max

$749

$999

$999

$749

iPhone 12

$579

$829

$829

$579

iPhone 12 mini

$479

$729

$729

$479

iPhone 12 Pro

$749

$999

$999

$749

iPhone 12 Pro Max

$849

$1,099

$1,099

$849

iPhone SE

$149

$399

$359

$149

iPhone XR

-

$499

$499

$499


Cell phone carriers FAQs

What are the best phone carriers?

Low-cost MVNO carriers can save you hundreds on your cell phone bill, while still providing the same quality coverage.

Who has the best cell phone coverage?

Verizon just beats AT&T with its nationwide 4G LTE coverage, covering 70% of the US.

Recap

Finding a cheap cell phone carrier doesn't have to be painful. There's so many alternative phone carriers that are offering great value plans and turning the telecoms industry upside down.

Most cheap cell phone companies offer the same benefits as the big guys, but at half the price. Sure you don't get some of the free subscriptions, but they're not free forever. Especially when you forget to cancel them.

Finding an affordable prepaid cell phone plan has never been easier. Compare the best-prepaid plans across all networks for a deal that fits you.

Carrier

Best for...

Mins

Texts

Data

Price

Tello SIM Card - Best prepaid carrierTello

Prepaid

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best carrier for unlimited dataMint Mobile

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$30/mo

Reach Mobile SIM Card - Best carrier for familiesReach Mobile

Family

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$30/mo

Boost Mobile SIM Card - Best 5G carrierBoost Mobile

5G

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Ting SIM Card - Best carrier for talk & textTing

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10/mo

Twigby SIM Card - Best carrier for seniorsTwigby

Seniors

300

Unlimited

1GB

$16/mo

Red Pocket SIM Card - Best carrier for kidsRed Pocket

Kids

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Pure Talk SIM Card - Best carrier for one personPure Talk

Individuals

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$25/mo

US Mobile SIM Card - Best carrier for data onlyUS Mobile

Data only

0

0

2GB

$10/mo

Rob Webber
Rob Webber

Rob has 15+ years experience in the US and UK running price comparison sites for cell phone plans, smartphone deals, TV, and internet. He loves thinking outside of the box to build tools that empower consumers to make more informed decisions.

The Best Prices on the Best Networks