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Best Cell Phone Providers

Best cheap phone companies & plans

Best Sprint Plan
4GB LTE Data
$19 per month
Best T-Mobile Plan
8GB LTE Data
$20* per month
Powered by:T-Mobile

See Deal

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* $60 for 3 Mths Service

Best AT&T Plan
6GB LTE Data
$22.50* per month
Powered by:AT&T

See Deal

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* 25% Off for 3 Months

Best Verizon Plan
5GB LTE Data
$30* per month
Powered by:Verizon

See Deal

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* $15 Off for 3 Months

Best Cell Phone Service in 2020

You may not know this but there are well over 50 cell phone carriers in the United States.

These low-cost carriers, known as MVNOs, are powered by one or more of the big 4 networks.

They generally offer much cheaper phone plans which are customizable based on your usage. This means that you can get big network coverage, without paying big network prices!

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

In this guide, we rank and evaluate our top picks based on coverage, plans, and overall value.

Read on to find the best cell phone carrier for your budget and needs!

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Best Sprint Provider

UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
4 GB4G data
$19per month
Powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
  • Flexible plans up to 10 GB of high-speed data
  • Free texting with all plans
  • Change your plan any time
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Monthly plans or pay-as-you-go
Average Customer Rating16 User Reviews

This Tello plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of 4G LTE data for $19 per month.

Tello is powered by the nationwide Sprint 4G LTE Network. Tello offers plans with no contract, fees or credit check. Choose a customized plan based on your usage and upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Tello allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot with free tethering. You can bring your own phone to Tello and keep your phone number. Tello is compatible with most CDMA unlocked phones. Check Phone Compatibility

Tello includes international calling, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. Tello plans automatically renew every 30 days with monthly billing and can be canceled at any time. Tello offers 24/7 customer service.

Sprint vs Tello Price Comparison

Keep your Sprint phone, number & coverage: Save $492 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
SprintSprint 4G LTEUnltd*$60/mo$720/yr
TelloSprint 4G LTE4GB$19/mo$228/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$41/mo$492/yr

Best T-Mobile Provider

Mint Mobile - 8GB Data

* $60 for 3 Mths Service
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
8 GB4G data
$20*per month
Powered by:T-Mobile
Mint Mobile SIM Card
  • Simple, affordable plans
  • Free text and talk with all plans
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Free SIM card kit
Average Customer Rating57 User Reviews

This Mint Mobile plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 8GB of 4G LTE data for $20* per month.

Mint Mobile is powered by the nationwide T-Mobile 4G LTE Network. Mint Mobile offers plans with no contract, fees or credit check. Choose a customized plan based on your usage and upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Mint Mobile allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot with free tethering. You can bring your own phone to Mint Mobile and keep your phone number. Mint Mobile is compatible with most GSM unlocked phones. Check Phone Compatibility

Mint Mobile includes international calling, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. Mint Mobile plans automatically renew every 30 days with monthly billing and can be canceled at any time. Mint Mobile offers 24/7 customer service.

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile Price Comparison

Keep your T-Mobile phone, number & coverage: Save $600 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
T-MobileT-Mobile 4G LTEUnltd*$70/mo$840/yr
Mint MobileT-Mobile 4G LTE8GB$20/mo$240/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$50/mo$600/yr

Best AT&T Provider

PureTalk USA - 6GB Data

* 25% Off for 3 Months
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
6 GB4G data
$22.50*per month
Powered by:AT&T
PureTalk USA SIM Card
  • Good plan selection
  • Unlimited talk and text with all plans
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Clean, user-friendly website
  • Competitive pricing
  • Multi-line discount
Average Customer Rating15 User Reviews

This PureTalk USA plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of 4G LTE data for $22.50* per month.

PureTalk USA is powered by the nationwide AT&T 4G LTE Network. PureTalk USA offers plans with no contract, fees or credit check. Choose a customized plan based on your usage and upgrade or downgrade anytime.

PureTalk USA allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot with free tethering. You can bring your own phone to PureTalk USA and keep your phone number. PureTalk USA is compatible with most GSM unlocked phones. Check Phone Compatibility

PureTalk USA includes international calling, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. PureTalk USA plans automatically renew every 30 days with monthly billing and can be canceled at any time. PureTalk USA offers 24/7 customer service.

AT&T vs PureTalk USA Price Comparison

Keep your AT&T phone, number & coverage: Save $562 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
AT&TAT&T 4G LTEUnltd*$75/mo$900/yr
PureTalk USAAT&T 4G LTE6GB$30/mo$338/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$45/mo$562/yr

Best Verizon Provider

Reach Mobile - 5GB Data

* $15 Off for 3 Months
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
5 GB4G data
$30*per month
Powered by:Verizon
Reach Mobile SIM Card
  • Good pricing for lower data users
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data plan available
  • User-friendly website and app
  • Mobile hotspot permitted
  • 24/7 customer support
  • No credit check
Average Customer Rating5 User Reviews

This Reach Mobile plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 5GB of 4G LTE data for $30* per month.

Reach Mobile is powered by the nationwide Verizon 4G LTE Network. Reach Mobile offers plans with no contract, fees or credit check. Choose a customized plan based on your usage and upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Reach Mobile allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot with free tethering. You can bring your own phone to Reach Mobile and keep your phone number. Reach Mobile is compatible with most unlocked phones. Check Phone Compatibility

Reach Mobile includes international calling, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. Reach Mobile plans automatically renew every 30 days with monthly billing and can be canceled at any time. Reach Mobile offers 24/7 customer service.

Verizon vs Reach Mobile Price Comparison

Keep your Verizon phone, number & coverage: Save $465 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
VerizonVerizon 4G LTEUnltd*$80/mo$960/yr
Reach MobileVerizon 4G LTE5GB$45/mo$495/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$35/mo$465/yr

MVNO Carriers Offer the Best Value for Money

MVNOs - Mobile Virtual Network Operators - rent tower usage from the major carriers in order to provide you with the same LTE coverage, but at a lower premium.

For example, Metro by T-Mobile (formerly known as MetroPCS) is a T-Mobile MVNO. This means that if you're on MetroPCS, your phone runs on the T-Mobile network. Consumer Cellular is another T-Mobile MVNO, however, Consumer Cellular utilizes a combination approach, using the AT&T network as well to enhance carrier coverage. Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile are both solely on the Sprint network.

MVNO Benefits:

There are multiple reasons to go with these alternative wireless carriers:

  • Service on the same reliable network you're used to
  • Cheaper by 50% or more
  • Custom plans so you don't overpay for features you don't need
  • No contracts or overage charges
  • Easy to bring your own phone and keep your phone number
  • Great customer service ratings
  • Simple to switch by ordering a SIM card online

Best Unlimited Data Plan: Tello

UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
Unlimited4G data
$39per month
Powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
  • Flexible plans up to 10 GB of high-speed data
  • Free texting with all plans
  • Change your plan any time
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Monthly plans or pay-as-you-go
Average Customer Rating16 User Reviews

This Tello plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited of 4G LTE data for $39 per month.

Tello is powered by the nationwide Sprint 4G LTE Network. Tello offers plans with no contract, fees or credit check. Choose a customized plan based on your usage and upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Tello allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot with free tethering. You can bring your own phone to Tello and keep your phone number. Tello is compatible with most CDMA unlocked phones. Check Phone Compatibility

Tello includes international calling, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. Tello plans automatically renew every 30 days with monthly billing and can be canceled at any time. Tello offers 24/7 customer service.

For cheap unlimited data on the Sprint network, you can't go wrong with Tello.

  • Bring your phone and number to save even more.
  • They have very affordable international rates.

Best Family Phone Plan: Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile - 12GB Data

* $75 for 3 Mths Service
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
12 GB4G data
$25*per month
Powered by:T-Mobile
Mint Mobile SIM Card
  • Simple, affordable plans
  • Free text and talk with all plans
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Free SIM card kit
Average Customer Rating57 User Reviews

This Mint Mobile plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 12GB of 4G LTE data for $25* per month.

Mint Mobile is powered by the nationwide T-Mobile 4G LTE Network. Mint Mobile offers plans with no contract, fees or credit check. Choose a customized plan based on your usage and upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Mint Mobile allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot with free tethering. You can bring your own phone to Mint Mobile and keep your phone number. Mint Mobile is compatible with most GSM unlocked phones. Check Phone Compatibility

Mint Mobile includes international calling, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. Mint Mobile plans automatically renew every 30 days with monthly billing and can be canceled at any time. Mint Mobile offers 24/7 customer service.

Even though it doesn't technically sell "family plans", we still love Mint for the whole family for several reasons:

  • You can customize the amount of data for each line.
  • It's insanely cheap for the amount of high-speed data you get.
  • You can add more data to a line any time you want.
  • The data isn't shared - if your teenager rips through all theirs, you don't suffer for it.
  • The T-Mobile network is reliable and fast.

Best Unlimited Talk & Text Plan: Tello

UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
0 GB4G data
$8per month
Powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
  • Flexible plans up to 10 GB of high-speed data
  • Free texting with all plans
  • Change your plan any time
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Monthly plans or pay-as-you-go
Average Customer Rating16 User Reviews

This Tello plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 0GB of 4G LTE data for $8 per month.

Tello is powered by the nationwide Sprint 4G LTE Network. Tello offers plans with no contract, fees or credit check. Choose a customized plan based on your usage and upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Tello allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot with free tethering. You can bring your own phone to Tello and keep your phone number. Tello is compatible with most CDMA unlocked phones. Check Phone Compatibility

Tello includes international calling, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. Tello plans automatically renew every 30 days with monthly billing and can be canceled at any time. Tello offers 24/7 customer service.

  • Wide range of cheap low usage phone plan options
  • Unlimited text messaging with all plans

Best Senior Phone Plan: Twigby

Twigby - 3GB Data

* 25% Off for 6 Months
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
3 GB4G data
$15*per month
Powered by:VerizonSprint
Twigby SIM Card
  • Affordable pricing
  • 25% off first 6 months
  • Free unlimited global texting
Average Customer Rating11 User Reviews

This Twigby plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of 4G LTE data for $15* per month.

Twigby is powered by the nationwide Verizon & Sprint 4G LTE Network. Twigby offers plans with no contract, fees or credit check. Choose a customized plan based on your usage and upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Twigby allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot with free tethering. You can bring your own phone to Twigby and keep your phone number. Twigby is compatible with most CDMA unlocked phones. Check Phone Compatibility

Twigby includes international calling, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. Twigby plans automatically renew every 30 days with monthly billing and can be canceled at any time. Twigby offers 24/7 customer service.

Twigby - a Sprint and Verizon MVNO - is a great plan for seniors because of its flexibility and low pricing.

  • You can choose basic service for devices like flip phones.
  • Smartphone data is available in small increments, which means you don't pay for unnecessary data.
  • Twigby offers an introductory discount for the first six months of service.
  • Global texting is included with all plans.

Best Cheap Prepaid Plan: Tello

Tello - 1GB Data

* 50% Off for 3 Months
UnlimitedminsUnlimitedtexts
1 GB4G data
$5*per month
Powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
  • Flexible plans up to 10 GB of high-speed data
  • Free texting with all plans
  • Change your plan any time
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Monthly plans or pay-as-you-go
Average Customer Rating16 User Reviews

This Tello plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of 4G LTE data for $5* per month.

Tello is powered by the nationwide Sprint 4G LTE Network. Tello offers plans with no contract, fees or credit check. Choose a customized plan based on your usage and upgrade or downgrade anytime.

Tello allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot with free tethering. You can bring your own phone to Tello and keep your phone number. Tello is compatible with most CDMA unlocked phones. Check Phone Compatibility

Tello includes international calling, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. Tello plans automatically renew every 30 days with monthly billing and can be canceled at any time. Tello offers 24/7 customer service.

While this Sprint MVNO doesn't offer the cheapest cell phone plans for data-hungry users, it's perfect for light to medium users who want to fine tune exactly what they pay for.

  • Plans start at $5 a month.
  • Choose between zero and 10 GB of high-speed data.
  • Texting is free with all plans.

Which Network Provides the Best Coverage?

1. Verizon Coverage

Verizon has long enjoyed a reputation for being the most reliable wireless network available. Mobile performance analyst RootMetrics agrees, rating Big Red first in reliability, speed, and overall service quality.

As far as Verizon Wireless coverage, however, OpenSignal reports that T-Mobile has edged Verizon out in terms of availability. The gap is tiny though, with T-Mobile customers receiving a 4G signal 92% of the time and Verizon customers sitting at 93% 4G availability.

2. T-Mobile Coverage

As I mentioned earlier, T-Mobile has made great strides and by some measurements has overtaken long-time leader Verizon in terms of coverage and speed. This is all thanks to several technology upgrades the network continues to invest in.

T-Mobile boasts over 92% consistency with its 4G signal, and covers more than 99% of the US population. T-Mobile download speeds are no joke either, with OpenSignal reporting averages of more than 19.4 Mbps, a hefty advantage over Verizon's 17.8 Mbps.

3. AT&T Coverage

In terms of AT&T coverage, the carrier comes in third among the big four networks. Customers have a 4G LTE signal about 87% of the time, putting AT&T just ahead of Sprint coverage. AT&T's main coverage struggle is in rural areas.

As far as speed, reliability, text and call quality, and overall performance, RootMetrics puts AT&T in second place in every category it measures.

4. Sprint Coverage

Sprint has battled for years to lift itself out of last place, not only in terms of coverage but reliability and speed as well.

Sprint coverage gives you a 4G signal 86% of the time. Even though Sprint customers enjoy a fairly high percentage of 4G availability, the network labors under its lack of widespread 4G LTE service.

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

Recap

Regardless of whether your priority is top-notch customer service, unlimited talk and text, or a cheap prepaid plan, you can look at every cell phone carrier and plan we've researched using our cell phone plan comparison tool.

Take a look at the cell phone coverage maps first to make sure you have service where you live.

Don't forget you can also save over half on your device when you buy a refurbished smartphone!

Rob Webber

Rob Webber

The Best Prices on the Best NetworksAll low-cost carriers are powered by the major US networks
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