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Best Prepaid Phone Carriers in 2021

Compare the cheapest prepaid cell phone providers

Check Coverage

Prepaid carriers allow you to find the best prepaid phone plan that fits your needs.

Switching to an MVNO - Mobile Virtual Network Operator, who offer low price prepaid plans that are powered by the main US networks, could save you up to $600 a year. Without forfeiting your coverage.

Growing in popularity, these low cost carriers offer a range of options from basic to unlimited data plans and we've picked some of the best for you below.

Tello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid carrier - TelloTello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid carrier - Tello
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$7.50/mo*
* 25% Off for 6 Months
Editors Take
5 / 5
Plans
Plan Minutes Texts Data Price

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

Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best prepaid carrier for unlimited data - Mint MobileMint Mobile SIM Card - Best prepaid carrier for unlimited data - Mint Mobile
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
Unlimited
Price
$30/mo*
* $90 for 3 months Service
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Plans
Plan Minutes Texts Data Price

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

Red Pocket SIM Card - Best prepaid phone carrier for kids - Red PocketRed Pocket SIM Card - Best prepaid phone carrier for kids - Red Pocket
Minutes
500
Texts
500
Data
0.5 GB
Price
$10/mo
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Plans
Plan Minutes Texts Data Price

Red Pocket 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$10*

* 50% Off First Month

Red Pocket 500MB Data

500

500

0.5GB

$10

Red Pocket 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$15*

* 50% Off First Month

Red Pocket 22GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

22GB

$20*

* 50% Off First Month

Red Pocket 50GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

50GB

$25*

* 50% Off First Month
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

The best cheap prepaid phone carriers in September

Check Carrier Coverage

Cheap prepaid phone carrier benefits

Low-cost carriers, also known as MVNOs, are a great way to save with a network you already trust. But at half the price.

Jumping on the networks of the four big guys - Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile - you can expect good coverage. But it doesn't come with the hefty price tag. With these low-cost carriers there is no contract, which means no commitment and the flexibility to leave if you're unhappy.

Here's why we think it's a no-brainer:

  • Nationwide coverage from the four major networks

  • No expensive monthly bills

  • No contracts

  • Tailor the plan to your needs - no more paying for what you don't use

  • Hassle free to switch - bring your phone and keep your number

  • Fast 4G LTE and 5G data speeds


Best cheap prepaid T-Mobile carrier

Mint Mobile 4GB data plan* $45 for 3 Months Service

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

4 GB

4G data

$15*

per month

Powered by: T-Mobile

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile Plan Comparison

Keep your T-Mobile phone, number & coverage: Save $660 per year

Carrier

Network Coverage

4G LTE Data

Price

Annual Cost

T-Mobile

T-Mobile 4G LTE

Unltd*

$70/mo

$840/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$55/mo$660/yr

Compare: best cheap T-Mobile prepaid plans


Best cheap AT&T prepaid carrier

Pure Talk 4GB data plan* 25% Off for 3 Months

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

4 GB

4G 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

Compare: best cheap AT&T prepaid plans


Best cheap Verizon prepaid carrier

Reach Mobile 3GB data plan* 50% Off for 3 Months

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

3 GB

4G 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

Compare: best cheap Verizon prepaid plans


Compare cheap prepaid phone carrier plans

Carrier

Network

Minutes

Texts

Data

Price

Ultra Mobile

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

2GB

$11** Extra 20% Off with code: MSP20

Mint Mobile

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

4GB

$15** $45 for 3 Months Service

US Mobile

Verizon & T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

12GB

$20Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM

Tello

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

Unltd

$29.30** 25% Off for 6 Months

Good2Go Mobile

AT&T & T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

1GB

$7.50** 50% Off for 3 Months

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

Prepaid carrier customer service 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

How to switch to a cheaper phone carrier

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.

Cheap prepaid phone carriers list

AT&T

T-Mobile

Verizon

Red Pocket

Mint Mobile

US Mobile

Good2Go Mobile

Ultra Mobile

Red Pocket

Unreal Mobile

US Mobile

Reach Mobile

Pure Talk

Tello

Twigby

h2o Wireless

Red Pocket

Spectrum Mobile

FreeUP Mobile

Metro by T-Mobile

Net10 Wireless

Boom! Mobile

Consumer Cellular

Page Plus Cellular

Black Wireless

GoSmart Mobile

Total Wireless

Kroger Wireless

Republic Wireless

Xfinity Mobile

easyGO Wireless

Simple Mobile

CREDO Mobile

Optimum Mobile

Lycamobile

Affinity Cellular

Freedompop

Selectel Wireless

GreatCall

Boost Mobile

Walmart Family Mobile

Gen Mobile

yahoo! Mobile

Wing

Ting

easyGO Wireless

Speedtalk Mobile

Best prepaid cell phone deals

Model

Condition

Memory

Compatibility

Price

Apple iPhone 11

New

128GB

AT&T

$549

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

New

64GB

AT&T

$599

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

New

64GB

AT&T

$699

Apple iPhone 12

New

128GB

AT&T

$779

Apple iPhone 12 mini

New

64GB

T-Mobile

$729

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

New

128GB

Verizon

$999

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

New

128GB

T-Mobile

$1,099

Apple iPhone SE

New

64GB

T-Mobile

$399

Apple iPhone XR

New

128GB

T-Mobile

$549


Prepaid phone carriers FAQs

Who has the best-prepaid cell phone service?

Low-cost carriers provide the best value for money with a prepaid cell phone plan.

Which phone carrier is cheapest?

The cheapest low-cost carrier is Tello with basic plans starting from $8.

What is the cheapest cell phone plan for one person?

There's a variety of MVNOs that offer cheap prepaid cell phone plans. No commitment, and save hundreds on your phone bill.


Recap

There's some great deals to be had with prepaid cell phone carriers, with customizable plans and a selection of features to suit you.

With access to the same quality coverage, if you love your current network you can choose a plan with their MVNO or check out the best cell phone coverage in your area with your ZIP code.

Prepaid cell phone carriers encourage you to bring your own phone, which can save you even more money. But if you're in the market for a new handset most carriers offer a selection with 0% finance over two years.

Carrier

Best for...

Mins

Texts

Data

Price

Tello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid carrierTello

Best prepaid carrier

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best prepaid carrier for unlimited dataMint Mobile

Best unlimited carrier

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$30/mo

Red Pocket SIM Card - Best prepaid phone carrier for kidsRed Pocket

Best carrier for kids

500

500

0.5GB

$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