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Cheapest Cell Phone Service Providers of 2021

Compare cheap cell phone service providers

Check Coverage

With everything going on, the last thing you need right now is to be stung by a supersized cell phone bill.

There are over 50 cell phone carriers in the United States. Known as MVNOs, these alternative carriers are powered by one or more of the big four networks.

Stay on the same network, keep your phone and number, plus get greater flexibility. Everything you need comes at a much better price with a low-cost carrier.

Find your next cell phone plan from the best service providers out there today.

Best cheap phone providers of 2021

Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

Tello - Best cheap prepaid phone provider

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$10/mo
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 24/7 customer support

  • No contracts

  • Budget friendly family plans

Cons

  • No roaming

  • Coverage in rural areas

Carrier 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

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Tello Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$8

Tello 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10

Tello 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$14

Tello 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$19

Tello 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$24

Tello 8GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

8GB

$29

Tello Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$39

Cheapest Unlimited Data Plans

Mint Mobile - Best phone provider for unlimited data

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
Unlimited
Price
$30/mo*
* $90 for 3 months Service
Pros & Cons

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

Carrier 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

Carrier Features
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
Best Family Cell Phone Plans

Reach Mobile - Best phone provider for families

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
3 GB
Price
$15/mo*
* 50% Off for 3 Months
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Socially conscious provider who gives back

  • 4G LTE network

  • Hotspot enabled

Cons

  • Small selection of handsets

  • Expensive high data plans

Carrier 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

Carrier Features
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

Best 5G Phone Plans

Boost Mobile - Best 5G phone provider

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
2 GB
Price
$5/mo*
* 50% Off 1st Month & Double Data for 3 Months
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • New upgraded network with DISH

  • No annual contract

  • Unlimited music streaming

Cons

  • Coverage in rural areas

Carrier 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

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Boost Mobile 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$5*

* 50% Off 1st Month & Double Data for 3 Months

Boost Mobile 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$25

Boost Mobile Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$50

Best Talk & Text Only Plans

Ting - Best provider for unlimited talk & text

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
0 GB
Price
$10/mo*
* $5 extra per GB
Editors Take
4 / 5
Pros & Cons

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

Carrier 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

Carrier Features
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

$40*

* $5 Off for 6 Months

Ting Unlimited Pro

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$55*

* $5 Off for 6 Months
Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

Twigby - Best phone provider for seniors

Powered by:
Minutes
300
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$7.50/mo*
* 50% Off for 6 Months
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Pros & Cons

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

Carrier 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

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Twigby 300 Mins & Unlimited Texts

300

Unlimited

0GB

$4.50*

Twigby 500 Mins & Unlimited Texts

500

Unlimited

0GB

$5.50*

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

Best Cell Phone Plans for Kids

Red Pocket - Best phone provider for kids

Powered by:
Minutes
1000
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$10/mo
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Nationwide coverage

  • No contracts

  • Latest selection of phones

Cons

  • Account dashboard needs work

  • No 0% financing options on latest phones

  • Customer service

Carrier 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

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Red Pocket 1GB Data

1000

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

Cheapest Phone Plans for One Person

Pure Talk - Best phone provider for individuals

Powered by:
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
4 GB
Price
$18.75/mo*
* 25% Off for 3 Months
Pros & Cons

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

Carrier 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

Carrier Features
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

Best International Cell Phone Plans

Gen Mobile - Best international phone provider

Powered by:
Minutes
300
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$9/mo*
* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Good plan selection

  • Very affordable pricing

  • Free unlimited domestic and international texting

  • 15-days free texting if late on bill

Cons

  • No plans for heavy data users

  • No international roaming

Carrier Benefits
  • Coverage on the nationwide Sprint network

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

  • 7-day money-back satisfaction guarantee

  • Bring your eligible Sprint, Boost, or Virgin Mobile phone or buy a Gen Mobile phone

  • Mobile hotspot/tethering supported

  • Unlimited global text included; international plans with unlimited talk to 100+ countries, international calling to other countries available at applicable rates

  • Customer support available by phone or chat every day from 8am - 6pm PST

Carrier Features
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Gen Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$9*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 300 Mins & 1GB Data

300

Unlimited

1GB

$9*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$13*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$17*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$20*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO

Gen Mobile 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$24*

* 25% off for 3 months - Promo: MSP25OFF3MO
Best Mobile Hotspot Plans

US Mobile - Best mobile hotspot provider

Powered by:
Minutes
0
Texts
0
Data
2 GB
Price
$10/mo
Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Flexible, no contract plans

  • 24/7 customer service

  • 5G coverage available

Cons

  • No international calling

  • Phone selection

Carrier 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

Carrier Features
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

The cheapest cell phone carriers in April

Check Carrier Coverage

Cheap cell phone provider benefits

We love Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs. If you're on the lookout for cheap cell phone plans, they're the best route to go down.

Want to stay on the same network, keep your phone and number, plus get greater flexibility?

Yep. You've got it. Forget the major carriers. Plans include everything you need but come at a much better price with an MVNO.

  • Same great nationwide coverage: These cell phone carriers operate on the very same networks as the big four carriers.

  • Much lower prices: Save up to $600 per year on your cell phone plan. Why are MVNOs so much cheaper? They don't have the huge overhead and advertising costs the big guys do.

  • No contracts: Don't get trapped into a two-year agreement. Switch carriers when you decide to with a no contract phone plan.

  • Same cell phone service: Just because you're paying less, that doesn't mean you have to scrimp on features. Plans with unlimited everything are easy to find from these prepaid carriers. Usually, a low cost carrier plan comes with unlimited talk and text as standard, high speed data, and even mobile hotspot data features.

  • Keep your phone and number: You can bring your own phone and keep your phone number. No need to sign up for pricey device payments.

  • Customize your plan: You decide how much data you need. Choose to pay as you go, opt for unlimited or no data, minimal minutes, or unlimited talk text and data. Unlimited data plans come at a much better price with an alternative carrier. Pick the plan options that fit your budget - not the one your carrier thinks you need.

  • Great customer support: Smaller mobile providers are known for their attention to their customers. Stop feeling like an anonymous number getting lost in the crowd! Check out our carrier user reviews before switching.

Saving Example

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile Plan Comparison

Keep your T-Mobile phone, number & coverage: Save $480 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

10GB

$20/mo

$240/yr

*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$40/mo$480/yr

Cheap cell phone service features

  • 4G LTE data speeds: Since MVNOs operate on the big four cellular networks you'll pay less without sacrificing speed. More and more are adding 5G coverage all the time so you can expect high-speed data.

  • Unlimited talk and text messaging: Finding a new unlimited plan has never been easier. Virtually all small carriers include unlimited text and calls in their plan options. Compare cheap talk and text plans with or without data.

  • International calls to Canada and Mexico: International calling is a must for many people. Luckily MVNOs offer some of the best international phone plans, with free calling to certain countries like Canada and Mexico, and discounted rates on others.

  • Multiline discounts: Low-cost carriers also offer some of the cheapest family cell phone plans, with multiline discounts.

  • Wi-Fi calling: This feature is handy when you're out of your service area, allowing you to make calls over the internet instead of on your cellular connection.

  • Tethering/hotspot data: Many low-cost carriers allow you to use your phone as a hotspot. Pick an MVNO with the best mobile hotspot plans so you can share your mobile hotspot data with other devices.

  • HD video streaming: Just like the big guys, some MVNOs offer HD video streaming and some don't. Read the fine print to find the option you want.

Cheap carrier coverage

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

Best cheap providers by network

And don't worry - some MVNOs are already starting to offer 5G phone plans currently being rolled out on the major networks, you'll just need to make sure you have a 5G compatible phone. In the meantime you'll still get the 4G coverage you're used to.

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

Cheap cell phone provider customer service

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

Cheap cell phone service plan types

  • Unlimited plans: Looking for unlimited talk text and data? Alternative carriers have got you covered. Data hungry users looking for unlimited plus plans can save serious money by switching to one of the cheapest unlimited data plans. Not sure how much data you need? Check out our data usage calculator.

  • Basic plans: If you (or a loved one) only use a cell phone to make a few calls, send a couple of messages and rarely go online then you can opt for a simply prepaid plan. You get basic cell phone functions, an allowance for minutes of talk, and usually around 2GB of data at a great price. Once you run out of your data allotment, speeds slow, but it's usually very easy to add on more.

  • Family plans: Need four lines or more? Many MVNOs offer group plans. Compare the cheapest family phone plans so you can pick and choose what each family member needs.

  • Bring your own phone plans: BYOP plans are the norm with smaller carriers. Compare cell phone prices and get a great deal to go with your cheap cell phone plan!

  • Single line plans: Stop paying a premium rate just because you only need one line. Find the best phone plans for individuals.

  • Talk and text only plans: Don't need data? No problem - compare cheap talk and text plans. Bonus, you'll save a ton of money if you're not paying for data!

  • Tablet plans: Find the cheapest data plan for your tablet or iPad.

  • Kids plans: MVNOs offer the best phone plans for kids because you can tailor them to exactly what you want your child to have.

  • Senior plans: Senior citizens often have different cell phone needs. Compare cheap cell phone plans for seniors for the perfect fit.

Pros and cons of cheap cell phone providers

Pros

  • No commitment: with cheap phone plans there are no contracts. No long-term commitment is necessary, pay month to month, and if you're not happy you can cancel at any time without the worry of early termination fees.

  • Plans to fit you: customize a plan that works for you. Whether you're looking for an unlimited data plan, plenty of calls and texts allowance, or a family plan you'll be able to find cheap phone plans from MVNOs to suit you.

  • Cheaper plans: say goodbye to expensive plans and only pay for what you need. Stay in control of your cell phone bill with customizable products and services, you can have the coverage you love and save money while getting the best value.

Cons

  • Deprioritization: cheap phone plans from MVNOs run on the same networks as the big three, so at certain times your wireless service can be slowed. This normally only happens during busy periods to help avoid congestion.

What to look for when comparing

We know choosing the best cheap cell phone provider can be overwhelming, and that's where we can help. With such a variety only a few providers will be suitable for your needs.

Money Saving Pro has all the latest up-to-date industry knowledge and we're here to break it down for you. To help narrow your search and provide the tools you need to understand your phone usage and make sure you only pay for the features you really need.

Here're some things to think about when considering your options.

Coverage

The most common concern is how will coverage be affected. The good news is it won't.

Low-cost carriers piggyback on the big three networks offering the same quality coverage, so if you love the coverage from your current provider AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile, there's a range of prepaid plans operating on these networks. Alternatively, if you're looking to change you can use your ZIP code to check coverage in your area.

Data allowance

To narrow down your search further it's worth figuring out the amount of data you use. Do you need to get unlimited or can you save money with set data per month?

If you spend a lot of time online, streaming HD video, or browsing the internet you may want to go for a data plan with unlimited data. However, be sure to check the small print as unlimited never really means unlimited and your data speeds will be slowed once the agreed data limit is reached. The good news is choosing an unlimited data plan is still cheaper with carriers like Mint Mobile and Tello.

But why pay a premium if you don't need to? Use our data calculator to see how much you need. Most of us only use around 3 to 5GB per month and choosing a set data plan will save you even more.

Perks and add ons

Choosing a cheaper cell phone provider doesn't mean missing out on all those extras. Most low-cost carriers include taxes and fees in the cost, plans commonly include unlimited talk and text messages and some mobile offers include perks like discounts for multiple lines, multi-month discounts for three months or more, and international calling and roaming.

Number of lines

Are you looking for more than one line? Many low cost carriers offer multiple lines for a family plan.

A multi-line plan can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Most alternative carriers provide a discount per line added to your plan, which is a much cheaper option than buying individual plans. Some include apps to help you manage all of the accounts in one place.

Cheap cell phone provider comparison

Carrier

Network

Data

Price

Tello

T-Mobile

1GB

$10

Reach Mobile

Verizon

3GB

$15** 50% Off for 3 Months

Pure Talk

AT&T

4GB

$18.75** 25% Off for 3 Months

Ting

T-Mobile & Verizon

5GB

$20** $5 Off for 6 Months

Mint Mobile

T-Mobile

Unltd

$30** $90 for 3 months Service

How to pick the right plan

So how do you choose between all of these cheap cell phone providers? If you're still not sure which alternative carrier is right for you, there are plenty of checks you can do to find the right phone plan.

Look at how you use your phone

Do you need to have unlimited everything? A great place to start is by working out what you use your phone for and the features you really need. There are international calling options if you have family living abroad, or a basic plan if you just need it for calls and texts.

You can save more money by only paying for what you need on these customizable plans.

What's your budget

Deciding what you want to spend on your monthly phone bill can help you narrow down your top picks. Alternative carriers provide the same benefits as the big 3 but with a more affordable price tag.

Unlimited data isn't for everyone

We're not big fans of unlimited data. Most plans with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon use unlimited data as their main selling point, but we don't believe it's really necessary.

You can check your estimated data use with our free tool to see if you really need an unlimited data plan. On average we only use around 3 to 5GB of data per month so by choosing a set data plan you'll be able to save money on your monthly bill. However, if you really want unlimited data you'll find some affordable options with carriers like Tello and Mint Mobile but make sure to check the small print as unlimited never really means unlimited. Most plans have a set data limit that once reached, although there's no overage charge, your data speeds will be significantly reduced.

Best is personal

There's no one size fits all when it comes to cell phone plans. There's a wide range of plans to choose from whether you're looking for a basic phone with just talk and text, a family plan, or lots of data for hotspot use and streaming HD video. You can also check your ZIP code to see whether T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon's network is best in your area.

Switching to a cheaper 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.

Bring your own phone & save even more

You need simple in your life. The great thing about MVNOs is that switching carriers is easy.

You need an unlocked phone (meaning your carrier has released it for use on another network). Once you've checked with your new provider about phone compatibility the rest is a breeze.

Most low-cost carriers simply provide you with a prepaid SIM card. You pop it into your mobile phone and follow the provider's instructions. Just make sure you don't cancel your current phone plan until you've ported your phone number over to the new carrier.

Cheap cell phone companies 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

Spectrum Mobile

Straight Talk

Boost Mobile

Total Wireless

FreeUP Mobile

Gen Mobile

Xfinity Mobile

Altice Mobile

GoSmart Mobile

CREDO Mobile

Freedompop

Republic Wireless

Affinity Cellular

Simple Mobile

GreatCall

Lycamobile

Walmart Family Mobile

Selectel Wireless

yahoo! Mobile

Wing

easyGO Wireless

Speedtalk Mobile

Cheap 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

$499

$499

$349

iPhone 11 Pro

$649

$799

$799

$649

iPhone 11 Pro Max

$899

$899

$899

$899

iPhone 12

$579

$729

$729

$579

iPhone 12 mini

$479

$629

$629

$479

iPhone 12 Pro

$749

$899

$899

$749

iPhone 12 Pro Max

$849

$999

$999

$849

iPhone SE

$149

$299

$299

$149

iPhone XR

-

$466

$466

$466


Cheap cell phone providers FAQs

What's the cheapest cell phone plan?

Prices vary depending on the carrier and what you're looking for from your cell phone package. With a low-cost carrier, plans start from around $10 a month.

What are good options for prepaid phone plans?

MVNOs offer great value prepaid cell phone plans. Saving you money on your monthly bill, while receiving the same quality coverage as they piggyback on the big US networks.

What's the best cell phone carrier?

The best carrier provides you with what you need from a cell phone plan and good coverage in your area. MVNOs offer a selection of plans suitable for everyone.


Recap

Paying over $80 a month for a cell phone plan that doesn't give you what you need doesn't make sense. Dodge the rising costs of cell phone plans from the big four carriers.

There are so many low-cost carriers emerging in the wireless industry. Offering cheap cell phone plans, they can save you hundreds of dollars each year.

Don't sacrifice cellular coverage you know and trust. Find out which of the four big networks offer the best coverage in your area, and find the best low-cost carrier for you. Bring your own phone to save even more and check user reviews before you signup to get the best switching experience.

Each low-cost carrier is tailored toward specific needs and there's a great range out there. Finding that next great plan has never been easier.

MoneySavingPro methodology

We're here to bring transparency to telecoms, putting power back in your hands. This guides everything we do.

  • We've got high standards. We use our industry expertise to find carriers that reach these standards. We all deserve the best value for money, choice and customer experience.

  • We care about accuracy. MoneySavingPro is run by cell phone geeks and money saving obsessives. Our content team researches everything thoroughly so that information you read here will give you the whole picture. Everything we do is backed up by the data.

  • We keep things simple. It's our job to break down what you need to know, so you can make informed choices.

Carrier

Best for...

Mins

Texts

Data

Price

Tello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid phone providerTello

Budget

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best phone provider for unlimited dataMint Mobile

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$30/mo

Reach Mobile SIM Card - Best phone provider for familiesReach Mobile

Family

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$30/mo

Boost Mobile SIM Card - Best 5G phone providerBoost Mobile

5G

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$10/mo

Ting SIM Card - Best provider for unlimited talk & textTing

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10/mo

Twigby SIM Card - Best phone provider for seniorsTwigby

Seniors

300

Unlimited

1GB

$16/mo

Red Pocket SIM Card - Best phone provider for kidsRed Pocket

Kids

1000

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Pure Talk SIM Card - Best phone provider for individualsPure Talk

Individuals

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$25/mo

Gen Mobile SIM Card - Best international phone providerGen Mobile

International

300

Unlimited

1GB

$9/mo

US Mobile SIM Card - Best mobile hotspot providerUS Mobile

Hotspot

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