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Cheapest Cell Phone Plans of 2021

Compare cheap cell phone plans

Check Coverage

We get it. The last thing anyone needs right now is to be tied down by an expensive cell phone plan.

Compare cheap cell phone plans from numerous low-cost carriers and you could save up to $600 per year by switching.

Cheap doesn't mean making sacrifices. You'll get the same cell phone service coverage that you've come to know and trust, at a fraction of the cost. Here's how.

Best cheap phone plans of 2021

Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans

Tello - Best cheap prepaid plan

Powered by:
Tello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid planTello SIM Card - Best cheap prepaid plan
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$10/mo*
* Buy 1 Month, Get 1 Month Free
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Tello Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$8*

* Buy 1 Month, Get 1 Month Free

Tello 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10*

* Buy 1 Month, Get 1 Month Free

Tello 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$14*

* Buy 1 Month, Get 1 Month Free

Tello 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$19*

* Buy 1 Month, Get 1 Month Free

Tello 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$24*

* Buy 1 Month, Get 1 Month Free

Tello 8GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

8GB

$29*

* Buy 1 Month, Get 1 Month Free

Tello Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$39*

* Buy 1 Month, Get 1 Month Free
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

Cheapest Unlimited Data Plans

Mint Mobile - Best cheap unlimited data plan

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Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap unlimited data planMint Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap unlimited data plan
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
Unlimited
Price
$30/mo*
* $90 for 3 months Service
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

Best Family Cell Phone Plans

Reach Mobile - Best cheap family plan

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Reach Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap family planReach Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap family plan
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
3 GB
Price
$15/mo*
* 50% Off for 3 Months
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

Features
Benefits

Pros

  • Socially conscious provider who gives back

  • 4G LTE network

  • Hotspot enabled

Cons

  • Small selection of handsets

  • Expensive high data plans

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

Best 5G Phone Plans

Boost Mobile - Best cheap 5G plan

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Boost Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap 5G planBoost Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap 5G plan
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$5/mo*
* 50% Off First Month
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Boost Mobile 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$5*

* 50% Off First Month

Boost Mobile 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$25

Boost Mobile Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$50

Features
Benefits

Pros

  • New upgraded network with DISH

  • No annual contract

  • Unlimited music streaming

Cons

  • Coverage in rural areas

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

Best Talk & Text Only Plans

Ting - Best cheap unlimited talk & text plan

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Ting SIM Card - Best cheap unlimited talk & text planTing SIM Card - Best cheap unlimited talk & text plan
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

Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

Twigby - Best cheap phone plan for seniors

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Twigby SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for seniorsTwigby SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for seniors
Minutes
300
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$7.50/mo*
* 50% Off for 6 Months
Editors Take
4.5 / 5
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

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

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

Best Cell Phone Plans for Kids

Red Pocket - Best cheap phone plan for kids

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Red Pocket SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for kidsRed Pocket SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for kids
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$10/mo
Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Red Pocket 1GB Data

Unlimited

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

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

Cheapest Phone Plans for One Person

Pure Talk - Best cheap phone plan for individuals

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Pure Talk SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for individualsPure Talk SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for individuals
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
4 GB
Price
$18.75/mo*
* 25% Off for 3 Months
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

Features
Benefits

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

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

Compare Data Only Plans

US Mobile - Best cheap data only plan

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US Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap data only planUS Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap data only plan
Minutes
0
Texts
0
Data
2 GB
Price
$10/mo
Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
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

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

The best cheap cell phone plans in May

Check Carrier Coverage

Cheap cell phone plan benefits

Cheap doesn't mean you lose out on any of the features or benefits the big guys offer. When you go through a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, MVNO for short, you can get the exact same service at a much better price.

Stay on the same network, keep your phone and number, plus get greater flexibility?

Yep. Here's why we think it's such a no-brainer.

  • Same great nationwide coverage: Low cost carriers piggyback on the networks run by bigger operators. So they able to offer the same service.

  • Much lower prices: No more big monthly bills, save up to $600 per line annually on your cell phone plan. How are MVNOs so much cheaper? The big guys shoulder the cost of maintaining the network, not the smaller carriers. Plus, cheaper carriers don't have the costs that come with running retail stores or advertising campaigns. They pass those savings on to you instead.

  • No contracts: Switch when you decide the time's right, no more getting trapped in two-year commitments.

  • Same cell phone service: Enjoy the features and cell phone comforts you're used to. Plans with unlimited everything are easy to find, unlimited talk and text usually come as standard. High speed 4G LTE data is the norm and mobile hotspot come with many plans.

  • Keep your phone and number: Save more by taking advantage of the bring your own phone feature. Your old number will be ported over to your new plan, no problem.

  • Control over your plan: Customize everything to suit your needs. No more paying for unlimited data you don't need. Decide how much data you want, go unlimited or opt for none. Set your call and text allowance, get minimal minutes or unlimited talk text and data.

  • Great customer support: No annoying commission-hungry sales people. You're more than a number to a smaller provider. Check out our carrier user reviews before switching.

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 plans features

  • 4G LTE data speeds: Low cost carriers operate on the big cellular networks. This means you don't sacrifice speed when you switch. More and more are also adding 5G coverage all the time.

  • Unlimited talk and text messaging: Pretty much all small carriers give this as standard. Compare cheap talk and text plans, you can add data or go without.

  • International calls to Canada and Mexico: Anyone wanting to keep in touch with loved ones abroad will want international features. Cheaper carriers offer great international phone plans. Most include free calling to certain countries like Canada and Mexico, and discounted rates on other countries.

  • Multiline discounts: Smaller carriers offer some of the cheapest family cell phone plans, with discounts the more lines you add.

  • Wi-Fi calling: Handy if you're in a signal shadow but have WiFi connection, this feature allows you to make calls over the internet.

  • Tethering/hotspot data: Get more devices online and share your data allowance through your phone. Find a carrier with the best mobile hotspot plan.

  • HD video streaming: Just like the big guys, some MVNOs offer HD video streaming, while others don't. If this is a must-have for you, reach out to the carrier's customer support and find out whether your plan includes this feature.

Cheap carrier coverage

You can cut the cost of your cell phone bill without sacrificing coverage. Which alternative carrier has the best coverage depends which network has the best coverage in your area.

Choose a GSM carrier (T-Mobile and AT&T) or a CDMA carrier (Verizon) and enjoy the same reliable coverage you get from the big guys.

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

Cheapest cell phone carriers by network

Cheap cell phone plan types

  • Unlimited plans: Unlimited talk and text are a pretty standard offering from low cost carriers. And if you burn through data each month? Alternative carriers have got you covered with their unlimited plus plans. Switch to one of the cheapest unlimited data plans. Not sure how much data you need? Use our data usage calculator.

  • Basic plans: Ideal if you don't use your cell phone to go online, instead you (or a loved one) only make a few calls and send a few of messages each month. Simply prepaid plans give you basic cell phone functions, an allowance for minutes of talk, and a bit of data. It's usually very easy to add on more features if you run out before the end of the month.

  • Family plans: Need multiple lines? A lot of MVNOs offer group plans. Compare the cheapest family phone plans. Some, like Mint Mobile, have an app that makes managing all your plans a breeze.

  • Bring your own phone plans: BYOP plans are the norm with alternative carriers, freeing you up to find a great deal on a cell phone elsewhere, or keep your current device and save even more.

  • Single line plans: With cheaper carriers you don't pay a premium for one line. Find phone plans for individuals.

  • Talk and text only plans: If you don't need data you can save a ton of money by opting for a cheap talk and text plan.

  • Tablet plans: MVNOs are a great place to go for your tablet plan too. Find the cheapest data plan for your tablet or iPad.

  • Kids plans: Alternative carriers make it super simple to customize your plan, making them ideal kids' plans. Browse the best phone plans for kids and tailor the plan. No nasty bill shaped surprises at the end of the month.

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

Cheap cell phone plans comparison

Carrier

Network

Minutes

Texts

Data

Price

Tello

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

1GB

$10** Buy 1 Month, Get 1 Month Free

Reach Mobile

Verizon

Unltd

Unltd

3GB

$15** 50% Off for 3 Months

Ting

T-Mobile & Verizon

Unltd

Unltd

5GB

$20** $5 Off for 6 Months

Mint Mobile

T-Mobile

Unltd

Unltd

Unltd

$30** $90 for 3 months Service

Twigby

Verizon & Sprint

Unltd

Unltd

0GB

$6.50** 50% Off for 6 Months

Carrier coverage comparison

Which pay as you go carrier is best for coverage depends which network has the best coverage in your area.

Whether you choose a GSM carrier (T-Mobile and AT&T) or a CDMA carrier (Verizon) you'll enjoy the same coast-to-coast coverage you'd expect from a major carrier.

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 prepaid carriers by network

Carrier customer service comparison

Low cost carriers offer great customer service with their cheaper plans. In fact, they tend to score over and above the big networks for customer satisfaction. Take a look at 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

Key considerations when choosing a cheap phone plan

  1. Coverage: check cell phone coverage in your area and make sure your next carrier will give you a reliable 4G LTE signal before you switch.

  2. Cost: you'll find a range of deals to suit different cell phone needs. Figure out what you need your phone to do. Maybe you need a lot of data and a ton of fancy features, or you might want to keep it simple with a basic plan.

  3. Number of lines: if you're switching multiple lines, compare family plans and find a great deal.

  4. Features: there are cheap phone plans with international calling, mobile hotspot usage, or add-ons for more data. We've done the research for you here so you can find a plan with any extras you need.

  5. Device: plan to bringing your own phone? Check compatibility with our IMEI checker.

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

Visible

Straight Talk

Boost Mobile

Spectrum Mobile

FreeUP Mobile

GoSmart Mobile

Total Wireless

Altice Mobile

Republic Wireless

Xfinity Mobile

Freedompop

Simple Mobile

CREDO Mobile

Lycamobile

Affinity Cellular

Selectel Wireless

GreatCall

Gen Mobile

yahoo! Mobile

Wing

easyGO Wireless

Speedtalk Mobile

Cheap cell phone deals

Want to upgrade your phone? No problem. Here are a couple of great money-saving options:

  • Buy a new phone from the carrier: Lots of carriers offer a range of phones, from affordable basic devices to the latest releases from big-name brands like Apple and Samsung. Some let you make device payments, rather than pay all at once. We've gathered the best cell phone deals to compare at your leasure.

  • Buy a refurbished cell phone: If you'd rather own your phone outright, and fancy saving around 50%, compare refurbished phone deals.

Compare the cheapest cell phone prices

Phone

AT&T

Verizon

T-Mobile

Unlocked

iPhone 11

$349

$599

$599

$349

iPhone 11 Pro

$649

-

-

$649

iPhone 11 Pro Max

$749

-

-

$749

iPhone 12

$579

$829

$829

$579

iPhone 12 mini

$479

$729

$729

$479

iPhone 12 Pro

$749

-

-

$749

iPhone 12 Pro Max

$849

-

-

$849

iPhone SE

$149

$399

$359

$149

iPhone XR

-

$499

$499

$499


Pros and cons of cheap phone plans

Pros

  • Contract free: prepaid plans from pay as you go providers give you more flexibility and freedom. Forget early termination charges, no contact means you leave when you devide. Most carriers are so confident you'll love their service they come with 100% money-back guarantees. Be aware though, you can bag bigger discounts by signing up for more months at a time.

  • Plans to fit you: know how you use your phone and customize the plan to suit your needs. If your needs change, simply adapt your plan.

  • Cheaper plans: get features you need, network coverage from the big guys and save money. MVNOs give you the power to take back control of your cell phone budget.

Cons

  • Deprioritization: cheaper carriers piggyback off the big telecom networks. It's one of the reasons they're cheaper, but if their network gets busy, they may slow the service slightly for smaller carriers.

What to look for when comparing plans

Of all these great cheap plans, only a handful will be the best for you. Best is personal, and we're here with our tools and articles to help you find the best fit.

There are tons of features to compare, and a lot of carriers to choose from, so it can get overwhelming.

That's where we come in.

We can help you get a clearer idea of how you use your phone, so you know which features you actually need. This helps narrow the search. So, let's break down the things to consider when choosing your next plan.

Coverage

It's another myth held against smaller carriers that coverage might be worse. It's simply not true. Low cost alternatives operate on the same exact network as the big guys. The same exact infrastructure powers the same great coverage.

Coverage is personal. If you love the service you get right now, whether you're with T-Mobile or Sprint, AT&T or Verizon, we can show you alternatives operating on each of those same networks.

Unhappy with your current coverage? Use our coverage checker to find a carrier that'll improve your service.

Data allowance

It's a good idea to work out how much data you need before choosing your next plan. Especially if you're used to opting for unlimited data.

If you're using your cell phone as a mobile hotspot regularly to power other devices, or to stream HD video, a larger data allowance might be for you. US Mobile, Mint Mobile, Tello, and Red Pocket are just a few low cost carriers offering cheap unlimited data plans.

But here's the catch. Whether it's a smaller or bigger carrier, there's really no such thing as truly unlimited. Most unlimited plans just give big data allowances. Once that runs out, your service slows.

Plus, we don't see the sense in unlimited data plans when most people don't need them. Use our data calculator, see how much data you use. If, like most people, you only use 3 to 5GB, opting for a set-data amount will massively lower your monthly bill.

Number of lines

Alternative carriers offer multi-line plans too. Some, like Mint Mobile, have an app to make managing accounts simple. So, whether you're switching a single line or multiple lines over to a new carrier, it's a painless process.

But let's back up and consider why we're so attached to multi line plan in the first place. With the big guys, it tends to be the best way to bag a bigger deal, right? Well, with a low cost carrier, the value you get on a single line plan is staggering enough that it's worth seeing how much you could save switching all lines across to separate, single line plans. Even with a carrier that isn't geared to multi lines.

How to pick the right plan

Still on the fence? We get it. There's no one size fits all to finding the best carrier to switch to. Here are some illuminating questions to ask so you can check if it's the right one.

How do you use your phone?

Know what you're going to need from your cell phone plan. A basic plan is ideal if you only need a phone to make a few calls and don't use it for those high data activities we mentioned earlier, HD video streaming and the likes. Going with a plan geared around international features might be best for those who keep in touch with loved ones abroad. Finally, do you really need unlimited everything? These plans are easy to find from smaller carriers, but do end up on the pricier end of the scale. You save much more by going for a set data plan instead.

What's your budget

Setting yourself a cap on want to spend will also help narrow down the search. There are MVNOs on the cheap end of the scale, and those that have pricer plans. Either way, one thing's for sure, they're all more affordable than the big guys.

Unlimited data isn't for everyone

It's normal now to be pushed toward an unlimited data plan if you go to a major carrier. We aren't fans of unlimited data plans. Most of us use 3 to 5GB a month, so we just don't see the sense in paying a premium for a service that won't be used.

Check your estimated data use with our data calculator and save more by paying for what you need.

Many MVNOs now offer unlimited everything plans. Ting, Tello, Mint and PureTalk, for example.

Switching to a pay as you carrier

Switching has never been simpler. It's easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Customize your plan. Find a plan to suit your cell phone needs.

  2. Prepare to make the switch. Pay old bills and get your phone unlocked.

  3. Set up your new plan. Keep your current carrier account open until your number has ported over. A new device should be ready to use when it arrives. If you're bringing your own device you'll need to follow instructions that come with the new SIM card kit.

Cheap cell phone plans FAQS

What's the best cheap cell phone plan?

This massively depends on your cell phone needs. Right now we're loving plans from Red Pocket and Mint. You can choose from a range of plan types with features to suit you and they're cheaper than anything you'll find from the big four networks.

Can I live on 3GB per month?

Probably, yes. We found most of us only use 3 to 5GB a month. Use our data usage calculator to figure out where your data goes each month. Then, choose a set data plan from a low cost carrier. To keep data usage down, close apps you're not using when you're out and about, and connect to WiFi whenever you can.

What are the differences between data speeds?

Different data speeds will allow you to carry out different tasks online. Let's look at Mbps, or megabits per second. The higher the number, the more your device can handle. If you're using your cell phone to check your email, you're looking at 0-5Mbps. If you're streaming a HD video or downloading music, you'll need speeds of 25-50Mpbs.


Recap

It's difficult to justify paying $70-80 every month for a cell phone plan when there are cheaper options out there.

Compare cheap cell phone plans from numerous low cost carriers and save up to $600 per year by switching. You won't sacrifice service quality or coverage and finding a cheaper cell phone 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 planTello

Prepaid

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap unlimited data planMint Mobile

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$30/mo

Reach Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap family planReach Mobile

Family

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$30/mo

Boost Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap 5G planBoost Mobile

5G

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Ting SIM Card - Best cheap unlimited talk & text planTing

Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10/mo

Twigby SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for seniorsTwigby

Seniors

300

Unlimited

1GB

$16/mo

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

Kids

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10/mo

Pure Talk SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for individualsPure Talk

Individuals

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$25/mo

US Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap data only planUS Mobile

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