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Switch Cell Phone Carrier Deals in 2021

Compare the best switch phone carrier plans

Check Coverage

Are you fed up with your current carrier? You're not alone.

Statistics show that the number of people who planned to switch wireless providers within 12 months increased from 17.72 million in 2008 to 25.24 million in 2016.

Why? Because customers are increasingly unhappy with their cell phone service and high prices, and alternative carriers are moving to the forefront as a way to save up to 50% for the same great coverage.

Tello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid plan - TelloTello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid plan - Tello
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$7.50/mo*
* 25% Off for 6 Months
Editors Take
5 / 5
Plans
Plan Minutes Texts Data Price

Tello Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$6*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$7.50*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$10.50*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$14.30*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$18*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello 8GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

8GB

$21.80*

* 25% Off for 6 Months

Tello Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$29.30*

* 25% Off for 6 Months
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 plan - Mint MobileMint Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap unlimited plan - Mint Mobile
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
Unlimited
Price
$30/mo*
* $90 for 3 months Service
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Plans
Plan Minutes Texts Data Price

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

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

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

US Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap data only plan - US MobileUS Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap data only plan - US Mobile
Minutes
0
Texts
0
Data
2 GB
Price
$10/mo
Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Plans
Plan Minutes Texts Data Price

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

How to switch to carriers & bring your own phone

Check Carrier Coverage

Cheap cell 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 Verizon carrier

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

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

5 GB

4G data

$15

per month

Powered by: Verizon & T-Mobile

Verizon vs US Mobile Plan Comparison

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

Carrier

Network Coverage

4G LTE Data

Price

Annual Cost

Verizon

Verizon 4G LTE

Unltd*

$80/mo

$960/yr

US Mobile

Verizon 4G LTE

5GB

$15/mo

$180/yr

*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$65/mo$780/yr

Best cheap T-Mobile carrier

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

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

4 GB

4G data

$15*

per month

Powered by: T-Mobile

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile Plan Comparison

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

Carrier

Network Coverage

4G LTE Data

Price

Annual Cost

T-Mobile

T-Mobile 4G LTE

Unltd*

$70/mo

$840/yr

Mint Mobile

T-Mobile 4G LTE

4GB

$15/mo

$180/yr

*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$55/mo$660/yr

Best cheap AT&T carrier

Pure Talk 4GB data plan* 25% Off for 3 Months

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

4 GB

4G data

$18.75*

per month

$25/mo

Powered by: AT&T

AT&T vs Pure Talk Plan Comparison

Keep your AT&T phone, number & coverage: Save $619 per year

Carrier

Network Coverage

4G LTE Data

Price

Annual Cost

AT&T

AT&T 4G LTE

Unltd*

$75/mo

$900/yr

Pure Talk

AT&T 4G LTE

4GB

$25/mo

$281/yr

*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$50/mo$619/yr

Cheap prepaid phone 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 cheap phone carrier deals

Carrier

Network

Minutes

Texts

Data

Price

Ultra Mobile

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

2GB

$11** Extra 20% Off with code: MSP20

Mint Mobile

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

4GB

$15** $45 for 3 Months Service

US Mobile

Verizon & T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

12GB

$20Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM

Tello

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

Unltd

$29.30** 25% Off for 6 Months

Good2Go Mobile

AT&T & T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

1GB

$7.50** 50% Off for 3 Months

How to switch to a cheaper cell 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.

Bring your own phone & save

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.


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

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

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

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:

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

Cell phone 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.


Guide to switching carriers

Here's a quick overview of the steps involved in changing mobile service providers:

  1. Compare cell phone plans and choose a new carrier with features and plans that match your usage.

  2. Check out the coverage map to be sure they have 4G LTE service in your home location and anywhere to which you travel frequently.

  3. Check phone compatibility using an IMEI checker.

  4. Make sure your old bills are paid up and your phone is unlocked.

  5. Back up your phone so you don't lose photos, contacts, and other important info if you're changing devices.

  6. Wait to cancel your old account until your phone number is ported over.

Considerations when switching carriers

  • Termination Fees: Contracts are a thing of the past, by and large, but if you happen to be stuck in one - or you owe for device payments - you'll need to take care of any remaining obligations before changing carriers.

  • Price: If you're switching cell phone providers, chances are cost is one of your primary motivators for doing so. One of the best ways to control costs is to choose a phone plan that fits your needs so that you only pay for what you use.

  • Data usage: Go through your last three months of statements to find your average data use per month. For many users, this is just 2 to 3 GB. You can also check our data usage calculator to compute the amount of data you require for your activities. Then compare cell phone plans using our comparison tool.

  • Promotions: Cell phone providers might try to lure you by offering temporary incentives. These can include more data per month for the same price or a discount off your service for a specified time.


Switch carrier deals FAQs

Can you switch cell phone carriers and keep the same number?

Yes absolutely. With MVNOs they make it easy to port your number across when you switch.

Do you have to switch SIM cards when you switch carriers?

When you switch carriers, you will need to change your SIM card to activate your new service. It won't take long, with low cost carriers you'll be up and running within a few days.

How long does it take to switch phone carriers?

Once you've chosen your carrier and plan, your SIM card will be posted to you along with your phone, if you've purchased one. Most MVNO carriers can get you up and running within a few days.


Recap

With a wide variety of carriers and plans now available it's really all about finding the plan that fits your usage so that you're not paying for more than you actually use.

Once you're finished with the above steps, all that's left to do is enjoy your lower cell phone bill!

Carrier

Best for...

Mins

Texts

Data

Price

Tello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid planTello

Best prepaid plan

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap unlimited planMint Mobile

Best unlimited plan

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$30/mo

Red Pocket SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for kidsRed Pocket

Best kids plan

500

500

0.5GB

$10/mo

US Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap data only planUS Mobile

Best data only

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