Best prepaid SIM card in 2024

Same coverage: Cut your bill by $600 per year

Verizon
$75
/mo
Unlimited data
$900/yr
vs
Tello on T-Mobile
Tello logo on phone
$25
/mo
Unlimited data
$300/yr
US Mobile on Verizon
US Mobile logo on phone
$29
/mo
Unlimited data
$348/yr
Boost Mobile on AT&T
Boost Mobile logo on phone
$25
/mo
Unlimited data
$300/yr
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At MoneySavingPro, we like to help you save money without sacrifices, and that's exactly why prepaid SIM cards are growing in popularity.

MVNOs - Mobile Virtual Network Operators offer affordable prepaid cell phone plans powered by the major wireless networks that give you access to the same nationwide coverage.

As there's such a choice of low-cost carriers, we've simplified the offerings to help you find the best deals. Let's take a look below.

Best prepaid SIM cards on T-Mobile

These are the top 3 prepaid SIM cards from low-cost carriers with T-Mobile coverage to consider.

Cheap T-Mobile prepaid SIM card

Tello 2GB SIM card

Image of cell phone with Tello
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
2GB
data
$10/mo
5 Read our Tello review
$780 in annual savings

Best T-Mobile SIM card for families

Mint Mobile 15GB SIM card

Image of cell phone with Mint Mobile
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
15GB
data
$15/mo*
$20/mo
See at Mint Mobile

*$45 for 3 Months

4.2 Read our Mint Mobile review
$675 in annual savings

Best unlimited SIM card on T-Mobile

Tello Unlimited SIM card

Image of cell phone with Tello
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$25/mo
5 Read our Tello review
$600 in annual savings

Best prepaid SIM cards on Verizon

These are the top 3 prepaid SIM cards from low-cost carriers with Verizon coverage to consider.

Cheap Verizon prepaid SIM card

Twigby 2GB SIM card

Image of cell phone with Twigby
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
2GB
data
$5/mo*
$15/mo
4.4 Read our Twigby review
$750 in annual savings

Best Verizon SIM card for families

US Mobile 10GB SIM card

Image of cell phone with US Mobile
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
10GB
data
$15/mo*
5 Read our US Mobile review
$720 in annual savings

Best unlimited SIM card on Verizon

US Mobile Unlimited SIM card

Image of cell phone with US Mobile
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$15/mo*
$29/mo
5 Read our US Mobile review
$594 in annual savings

Best prepaid SIM cards on AT&T

These are the top 3 prepaid SIM cards from low-cost carriers with AT&T coverage to consider.

Cheap AT&T prepaid SIM card

Red Pocket 1GB SIM card

Image of cell phone with Red Pocket
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
1GB
data
$10/mo
4.1 Read our Red Pocket review
$780 in annual savings

Best AT&T SIM card for families

Boost Mobile 5GB SIM card

Image of cell phone with Boost Mobile
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
5GB
data
$5/mo*
$15/mo
See at Boost Mobile

*$10 Off 1st Mth

4 Read our Boost Mobile review
$730 in annual savings

Best unlimited SIM card on AT&T

Boost Mobile Unlimited SIM card

Image of cell phone with Boost Mobile
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$10/mo*
$25/mo
See at Boost Mobile

*$15 Off 1st Mth

4 Read our Boost Mobile review
$615 in annual savings

Best overall value prepaid SIM card

Tello Unlimited SIM card

Image of cell phone with Tello
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$25/mo
5 Read our Tello review
$600 in annual savings

How to choose the best prepaid SIM card

Which network do you prefer?

Low-cost carriers are powered by the same 5G and 4G LTE networks as the big 3. According to a 5G Experience Report (2023) by Opensignal, T-Mobile has the most extensive 5G coverage in the United States. If you have a preference for a specific network, you can find an MVNO that operates on that network. To discover the best cell phone service in your area, make sure to use our coverage checker.

How much data do you need?

Do you really need a prepaid SIM card for unlimited data? The big 3 wireless companies want you to believe so, but in reality, the average monthly cellular data consumption is around 10GB. Because if you spend most of your time at home or work on Wi-Fi, it's likely your cellular data usage will be much lower. You can pick a plan with enough data to fit your needs with cheap cell phone providers, meaning if you use less, you can pay less. But if you do choose an unlimited data SIM card, be aware that high-speed data is normally capped.

Is mobile hotspot data included?

Many MVNOs permit the usage of hotspot data. However, they impose restrictions on the quantity of data that can be used through tethering. The specific limit varies depending on the carrier and plan that you select. Additionally, some low-cost carriers provide exclusive data only SIM cards designed specifically for iPads, tablets, and mobile hotspots.

What's the monthly cost?

While an unlimited data SIM card with the big 3 wireless costs around $75-90 per month, the best MVNOs offer budget-friendly SIM cards, ranging from $5-35 per month without compromising coverage or data speeds. Watch out for hidden fees & taxes; some providers include these in the price, and others, such as Verizon and AT&T, don't.

How many lines do you need?

With big wireless, you only get the low advertised price if you buy four lines. With low-cost carriers, the price you see is what you pay, even for one line. Some MVNOs also offer further discounts for multi-line plans.

Can I bring my own phone or buy a new device?

While big wireless prioritizes keeping their customers in a perpetual cycle of phone upgrades, MVNOs advocate for bringing your own device. This empowers you to regain control and only switch phones when it's convenient for you. In the event that you do decide to buy a new phone, most MVNOs provide the option for 0% financing spread across 1-2 years.

Are there any promotions?

Promotions from big wireless can seem great at first. But once you read the fine print, it often leads to buying things you don't need and committing to 3-year phone contracts. Most MVNOs offer short-term introductory discounts for new customers, and their pricing is much clearer.

Are there any perks?

The big 3 wireless plans normally come with "complimentary" TV subscriptions, but these often become paid subscriptions that are automatically included on your bill after a few months. Although some budget-friendly carriers like US Mobile do provide plan choices with free subscription services, we generally advise keeping these subscriptions separate to avoid paying for unnecessary months of service.

What international travel features are available?

Most MVNOs offer free international calls to many countries. But when you're traveling abroad, there are different features you'll need, for example, roaming. If this is important to you, you can find a variety of carriers offering SIM cards for international travel.

Do they have parental controls?

Many MVNO carriers offer parental control features that enable parents to monitor their children's phone usage and data consumption. With parental controls, you can set data limits, restrict access to certain apps or websites, and even track your child's location. Some AT&T MVNOs offer these features as part of their standard plans, or you'll find this feature on your cell phone.

What are the SIM card sizes?

The SIM card you need will depend on your device. Most smart devices now use a nano-SIM or eSIM, but some older devices may need a micro-SIM or a standard SIM.

Check out our comparison of the best prepaid SIM cards to ensure you find the best deal.


Find the best prepaid phone plans in your area

Cut your phone bill by up to $600/yr
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Compare the cheapest prepaid SIM card plans

Carrier Data Monthly Price Annual Price Savings
Tello 2GB $10/mo $120/yr $780/yr See at Tello
Mint Mobile 15GB $15/mo*$20/mo $225/yr $675/yr See at Mint Mobile
*$45 for 3 Months
Tello Unlimited $25/mo $300/yr $600/yr See at Tello

SIM cards for international travelers

In the quest for affordable and flexible communication, especially when traveling, prepaid SIM cards have become a pivotal part of helping to stay connected. For travelers jetting from the USA to Europe and other various countries, the GSM technology underlying most prepaid SIM cards ensures phone compatibility, catering to both iPhone, Android, and other smartphones.

Whether you're looking to buy a new SIM card on arrival or opt for a travel SIM card, either is a great option. Also, if your phone is compatible, an eSIM can make this process even easier.

However, your current carrier may offer international plans, but they usually come with a hefty price tag. The best option can be getting a local SIM card, which presents a cost-effective option, often providing a substantial GB of data, free mobile hotspot data, and local call minutes, which are invaluable for internet access to navigate via Google Maps or stay connected through WhatsApp and Skype.

A new SIM card can offer an ideal plan tailored for each destination and guarantee the best rates.


Prepaid SIM card FAQs


Recap: What is the best prepaid SIM card?

Saving money on your cell phone bill has never been easier with MVNOS. With such a variety of prepaid SIM cards to choose from, there's something for everyone.

These low-cost carriers can save you up to $600 a year with the same perks. Coverage is one thing you don't have to sacrifice running on the same wireless networks.

Prepaid SIM card guides

How we choose the best carriers and plans

To select the best carriers and plans, MoneySavingPro's team of experts evaluated over 30 different carriers.

Carriers were rated in five categories, with a star rating from 1-5, with 5 stars being the best. We then calculate the overall star rating using the five categories:

  1. Value for money: We compare carriers based on price, features, benefits, and promotions. It's not just about the lowest price but getting the most bang for your buck.
  2. Coverage: We look at network 5G and 4G LTE coverage across the US. We use coverage maps to determine service availability and data speeds in urban, suburban, and rural locations.
  3. Customer experience: We take into account items such as current user experience, website and app usability, ease of switching, and customer service in terms of availability, channels, and satisfaction ratings.
  4. Transparency: We assess whether carrier pricing is clear and straightforward. We examine the fine print to check for hidden fees, confusing terms or conditions, and misleading offers to ensure upfront, honest prices and advertising.
  5. Range of choice: We evaluate the diversity of plan options to determine if they fit the individual needs of all customers.

Read more about our carrier ratings methodology and our editorial process.

We regularly update our comparisons. Updating cell phone plans weekly and our content monthly to ensure we are showing the latest and most accurate information.

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