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Cheapest Phone Carriers in 2021

Compare the best cheap cell phone providers

Best prepaid carrier
1GB 4G/5G data
$10 per month
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Best unlimited carrier
Unltd 4G/5G data
$30* per month
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* $90 for 3 months Service
Best family carrier
5GB 4G/5G data
$15 per month
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See Deal

Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Cheap cell phone plans starting at $10/mo - Compare Now
Find the best phone plans in your area

You don't have to dig around to find the cheapest phone carriers when it comes to MVNOs.

Mobile Virtual Network Operators offer cheap cell phone plans that could save you up to $600 a year. And powered by the major US networks, you'll receive the same quality coverage you're used to.

Below we've broken down some of the best MVNO deals to help you find the perfect match for your cell phone needs.

Tello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid carrier - TelloTello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid carrier - Tello
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$10/mo
Editors Take
5 / 5
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

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

US Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for families - US MobileUS Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for families - US Mobile
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
5 GB
Price
$15/moFree Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

US Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$8

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

Ultra Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap 5G carrier - Ultra MobileUltra Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap 5G carrier - Ultra Mobile
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
2 GB
Price
$11/mo** Extra 20% Off with code: MSP20
Editors Take
3.5 / 5
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Ultra Mobile 250MB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

0.3GB

$8*

* Extra 20% Off with code: MSP20

Ultra Mobile 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$11*

* Extra 20% Off with code: MSP20

Ultra Mobile 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$16*

* Extra 20% Off with code: MSP20

Ultra Mobile 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$22*

* Extra 20% Off with code: MSP20

Ultra Mobile 15GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

15GB

$24*

* Extra 20% Off with code: MSP20

Ultra Mobile Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$32*

* Extra 20% Off with code: MSP20
Features
Benefits

Pros

  • Simple account dashboard

  • Unlimited international talk and text

  • Nationwide coverage

Cons

  • Customer service

Benefits

  • Coverage provided on the nationwide T-Mobile network

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

  • Bring your own compatible GSM phone or buy one from Ultra Mobile

  • Mobile hotspot use supported

  • Unlimited global texting and unlimited calling to 80+ countries

  • International roaming credits available in $5, $10, or $20 denominations

  • International plan tier comes with uTalk - a feature that gives you up to 1250 bonus minutes to your choice of 39 additional destinations

  • Customer service available by phone, email, and chat from 6am to 6pm every day

Ting SIM Card - Best cheap talk & text carrier - TingTing SIM Card - Best cheap talk & text carrier - Ting
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

Twigby SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for seniors - TwigbyTwigby SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for seniors - Twigby
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
3 GB
Price
$10/mo** 50% Off for 6 Months
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Twigby Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$6.50*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

Twigby 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$8*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

Twigby 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$10*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

Twigby 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$12.50*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

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

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

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

Good2Go Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for one - Good2Go MobileGood2Go Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for one - Good2Go Mobile
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
3 GB
Price
$10/mo** 50% Off for 3 Months
Editors Take
4 / 5
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Good2Go Mobile 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$7.50*

* 50% Off for 3 Months

Good2Go Mobile 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$10*

* 50% Off for 3 Months

Good2Go Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10

Good2Go Mobile 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$15*

* 50% Off for 3 Months

Good2Go Mobile 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$35

Good2Go Mobile 20GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

20GB

$45

Features
Benefits

Pros

  • 4G LTE coverage

  • No contract

  • No credit checks

Cons

  • No unlimited data options

  • No app interface

Benefits

  • Coverage on the nationwide AT&T & T-Mobile networks

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

  • Bring your own phone or buy a Good2Go Mobile phone

  • Mobile hotspot/tethering not supported

  • International calling to over 60 countries available as affordable plan add-on; calling to other countries via add-on calling card

  • Customer service available by phone 7am - 1am EST every day

The cheapest cell phone carriers in October

Check Carrier Coverage

Cheap phone carrier benefits

  • 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.

Best cheap T-Mobile phone carrier

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

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

4 GB

4G/5G data

$15/mo*

$3.75 per GB

Powered by: T-Mobile

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile Plan Comparison

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

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
T-MobileT-Mobile 4G LTEUnltd*$70/mo$840/yr
Mint MobileT-Mobile 4G LTE4GB$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 phone plans


Best cheap Verizon phone carrier

US Mobile 5GB data planFree Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

5 GB

4G/5G data

$15/mo

$3.00 per GB

Powered by: Verizon & T-Mobile

Verizon vs US Mobile Plan Comparison

Keep your Verizon phone, number & coverage: Save $780 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
VerizonVerizon 4G LTEUnltd*$80/mo$960/yr
US MobileVerizon 4G LTE5GB$15/mo$180/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$65/mo$780/yr

Compare: best cheap Verizon phone plans


Best cheap AT&T phone carrier

Good2Go Mobile 3GB data plan* 50% Off for 3 Months

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

3 GB

4G/5G data

$10/mo*

$20/mo

$6.67 per GB

Powered by: AT&T & T-Mobile

AT&T vs Good2Go Mobile Plan Comparison

Keep your AT&T phone, number & coverage: Save $690 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
AT&TAT&T 4G LTEUnltd*$75/mo$900/yr
Good2Go MobileAT&T 4G LTE3GB$20/mo$210/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$55/mo$690/yr

Compare: best cheap AT&T phone plans


Cheap carrier plan 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 multi-line 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.

Compare the cheapest phone carrier plans

CarrierNetworkMinutesTextsDataPrice
TelloT-MobileUnltdUnltd1GB$10
Mint MobileT-MobileUnltdUnltd4GB$15** $45 for 3 Months Service
TwigbyVerizonUnltdUnltd5GB$12.50** 50% Off for 6 Months
TingT-Mobile & VerizonUnltdUnltdUnltd$25** $20 Off for 3 Months
US MobileVerizon & T-MobileUnltdUnltd30GB$30Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM

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

NETWORKOVERALLRELIABILITYSPEEDDATACALL
Verizon Coverage9596949694
AT&T Coverage9494959692
T-Mobile Coverage8688828982

Source: Rootmetrics

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

Cheap 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:

CARRIERTRUSTPILOT USER RATING
Reach Mobile4.9
Tello4.6
US Mobile4.6
T-Mobile1.5
Verizon1.3
AT&T1.2

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 phone carriers list

AT&TT-MobileVerizon
Red PocketMint MobileTwigby
Good2Go MobileUltra MobileUS Mobile
Unreal MobileUS MobileTing
Pure TalkTingRed Pocket
h2o WirelessTelloReach Mobile
Cricket WirelessRed PocketSpectrum Mobile
Straight TalkGoSmart MobilePage Plus Cellular
Black WirelessRepublic WirelessTotal Wireless
Kroger WirelessSimple MobileXfinity Mobile
easyGO WirelessLycamobileCREDO Mobile
Optimum MobileSelectel WirelessAffinity Cellular
FreedompopBoost MobileGreatCall
Gen MobileWalmart Family Mobile
Wing
easyGO Wireless
Speedtalk Mobile

Best cheap cell phone deals

ModelConditionMemoryCompatibilityPrice
Apple iPhone 11New64GBAT&T$499
Apple iPhone 11 MaxNew64GBAT&T$899
Apple iPhone 11 ProNew64GBAT&T$799
Apple iPhone 12New64GBT-Mobile$729
Apple iPhone 12 miniNew64GBT-Mobile$629
Apple iPhone 12 ProNew128GBVerizon$999
Apple iPhone 12 Pro MaxNew128GBT-Mobile$999
Apple iPhone 13New128GBT-Mobile$829
Apple iPhone 13 miniNew128GBT-Mobile$729
Apple iPhone 13 ProNew128GBT-Mobile$999
Apple iPhone 13 Pro MaxNew128GBT-Mobile$1,099
Apple iPhone SENew64GBT-Mobile$399

Cheap phone carriers FAQs

What's the cheapest cell phone plan?

MVNOs offer the cheapest cell phone plans for any budget. With carriers like Tello, Mint Mobile, and Ting you'll find prices starting from under $10 per month.

What phone carrier is cheapest?

Tello, Red Pocket Mobile, and Ting have cell phone plans starting from around $10 a month for a basic plan and unlimited everything plans starting from $30 per month.

Which phone company has the cheapest unlimited plan?

Mint Mobile provides unlimited everything for around $30 a month. Operating on the T-Mobile network you'll receive the same coverage but with cheaper monthly costs.

Who has the best and cheapest cell phone service?

The best cell phone service will depend on your personal needs. Low carriers offer a wide range of plans to suit everyone including basic plans starting at around $10 a month.


Recap

Getting a cheap cell phone plan doesn't have to mean sacrificing quality or coverage. With cheap carriers like Tello and Pure Talk, you'll find affordable plans but with all the same perks.

If you're not looking to upgrade your handset, MVNOs encourage you to bring your own phone, which can save even more money on your monthly bill. The switch over is quick and easy, and you can check to make sure your phone is compatible using your IMEI number.

To find the best cheap cell phone carrier in your area you can use your ZIP code to check cell phone coverage at your address.

CarrierBest for...MinsTextsDataPrice
Tello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid carrierTelloBest prepaid carrierUnlimitedUnlimited1GB$10/mo
Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap unlimited carrierMint MobileBest unlimited carrierUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited$30/mo
US Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for familiesUS MobileBest family carrierUnlimitedUnlimited5GB$15/mo
Ultra Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap 5G carrierUltra MobileBest 5G carrierUnlimitedUnlimited2GB$14/mo
Ting SIM Card - Best cheap talk & text carrierTingBest talk & text carrierUnlimitedUnlimited0GB$10/mo
Twigby SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for seniorsTwigbyBest carrier for seniorsUnlimitedUnlimited3GB$20/mo
Red Pocket SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for kidsRed PocketBest carrier for kids5005000.5GB$10/mo
Good2Go Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap carrier for oneGood2Go MobileBest carrier for individualsUnlimitedUnlimited3GB$20/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.