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The 5 best cheap cell phone providers 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
See at Tello
US Mobile on Verizon
US Mobile logo on phone
$29
/mo
Unlimited data
Boost Mobile on AT&T
Boost Mobile logo on phone
$25
/mo
Unlimited data
Find a cheaper plan in seconds Find a cheaper plan

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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 three 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.

We'll help you find the best cell phone plan from the cheapest phone service providers out there.

Best cheap cell phone providers on T-Mobile

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

Cheap T-Mobile plan

Tello 2GB plan

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 family plan on T-Mobile

Mint Mobile 15GB plan

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 plan on T-Mobile

Tello unlimited data plan

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 cheap cell phone providers on Verizon

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

Cheap Verizon plan

Twigby 2GB plan

Image of cell phone with Twigby
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
2GB
data
$5/mo*
$15/mo
See at Twigby

*$5/mo for 1st 3 Mths

4.4 Read our Twigby review
$750 in annual savings

Best family plan on Verizon

US Mobile 10GB plan

Image of cell phone with US Mobile
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
10GB
data
$15/mo*
See at US Mobile

*$180 for 12 Mths Service

5 Read our US Mobile review
$720 in annual savings

Best unlimited plan on Verizon

US Mobile unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with US Mobile
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$15/mo*
$29/mo
See at US Mobile

*30 Day FREE Trial

5 Read our US Mobile review
$594 in annual savings

Best cheap cell phone providers on AT&T

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

Cheap AT&T plan

Red Pocket 1GB plan

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 family plan on AT&T

Boost Mobile 5GB plan

Image of cell phone with Boost Mobile
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
5GB
data
$15/mo
4 Read our Boost Mobile review
$720 in annual savings

Best unlimited plan on AT&T

Boost Mobile unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with Boost Mobile
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$12.50/mo*
$25/mo
See at Boost Mobile

*50% Off 1st Mth

4 Read our Boost Mobile review
$612.50 in annual savings

Best low-cost phone provider

Tello unlimited data plan

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 cheap cell phone service

What network coverage do you prefer?

MVNOs are powered by the same 5G & 4G LTE wireless networks as the major carriers. The J.D. Power 2023 wireless network study reveals that T-Mobile has the most extensive 5G coverage. If you have a preference for a specific network, you can choose a low-cost carrier that operates on that network. If you're not sure, you can find the best cell phone service in your area with our coverage checker.

How much data do you need?

Do you really need unlimited data? Contrary to what the big 3 networks would have you believe, the average monthly usage of cellular data is approximately 10GB. However, if you primarily use Wi-Fi at home or work, it's probable that your cellular data usage will be significantly lower. By selecting a data plan that suits your requirements from cheap cell phone providers, you can save money by paying less for the amount of data you actually use.

Is hotspot data included?

The majority of low-cost carriers permit the usage of hotspot data but impose restrictions on the amount of data that can be used via tethering. The specific limit depends on the plan and carrier that you choose. In addition, certain MVNOs provide exclusive cheap data plans for tablets, iPads, and mobile hotspots.

What's the monthly price?

Although big wireless unlimited plans can be quite expensive, typically costing between $75-$90 per month, there are cheaper options available from MVNOs that offer cheap prepaid plans ranging from $5-35 per month. These budget-friendly plans still provide reliable wireless coverage and fast data speeds. It is important to be cautious of hidden fees and taxes, as some carriers include these costs in their prices while others, like AT&T and Verizon, don't.

How many lines do you need?

If you opt for a major wireless provider, the price mentioned in their advertisements is only if you buy four lines. On the other hand, MVNOs show the exact price you will pay, regardless of whether you have just one line. Furthermore, some budget-friendly carriers now offer extra discounts for cheap prepaid family plans.

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

The big 3 wireless networks prefer to keep their customers bound to a never-ending cycle of phone upgrades, but MVNOs promote the idea of bringing your own phone. This allows 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, numerous MVNOs provide the option of 0% financing spread over 1-2 years.

What promotions do they offer?

At first glance, promotions from the big three may appear enticing. However, upon closer look at the fine print, they often result in purchasing unnecessary items and agreeing to lengthy 3-year phone contracts. In contrast, most low-cost carriers provide introductory discounts for new customers with cheap no contract plans and provide more transparent pricing.

Do they offer any additional perks?

Many of the major carrier plans come with a complimentary TV subscription, but be aware that this can often transition into a paid subscription that's automatically included in your bill after a few months. While there are some budget-friendly carriers like US Mobile that do offer cheap plan options with free subscription services, it's generally advisable to keep these subscriptions separate to avoid paying for unnecessary items.

What international features are available?

If you're a regular traveler, it's worth making sure your carrier offers these. Calling and roaming are two separate features, and many MVNOs offer free international calling, but the countries will vary by carrier. When it comes to roaming, you'll find this as an add-on option, and the price will depend on the country you're visiting.

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 MVNOs offer these features as part of their standard plans, or you'll find this feature on your cell phone.

Check out our cheap cell phone plan comparison to ensure you find the best deal.


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Compare the cheapest cell phone companies

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

Cheap cell phone service FAQs


Recap: What is the cheapest cell phone service?

Paying $70-80 a month for a cell phone service does not make sense when you can get the same wireless coverage for less than half the price. Dodge the rising costs of cell phone plans from the big 3 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.

There's no need to sacrifice the wireless coverage you know and trust to cut your phone bill. Bring your own phone to save even more.

Each low-cost cell phone provider offers customized plans, so you'll only pay for what you need. Cutting your phone bill and saving $600 per year has never been easier.

Carrier 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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