GSM SIM Card: Plan Comparison

Compare the best GSM SIM card plans

Switch & Save$600*per year

Saving Example - T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile

Network: T-Mobile 4G LTE
Data: Unlimited*
Monthly Cost: $70
Annual Cost: $840
Network: T-Mobile 4G LTE
Data: 8GB
Monthly Cost: $20
Annual Cost: $240
Switch & Save: $600/yr
Don't waste money on data you don't use!*average data usage of unlimited data plan customer is 3-5GB

Keep Your Phone, Number & Network – Save Your Money!

Nationwide CoverageThe same networks you already use4G LTE Data SpeedFastest speeds on largest networksKeep Your Phone & NumberBring your phone to the new carrierNo ContractPrepaid plans with no credit checks

Comparing 26 plans from 3 carriers

Monthly Price:$1-100
Ting - 100 Mins/100 TextsPromo Code: MONEYSAVINGPRO10
Ting
Mins:100minutes
Texts:100texts
Data:0 GB4G data
Ting is powered by:SprintT-Mobile
* $10/mo discount for first 3 mths
Ting SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA & GSM
Mobile HotspotNo
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes 60 countries
Money Back GuaranteeNo
US Mobile
Mins:150minutes
Texts:100texts
Data:0 GB4G data
US Mobile is powered by:VerizonT-Mobile
US Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsNo
Money Back GuaranteeNo
US Mobile
Mins:150minutes
Texts:100texts
Data:0.1 GB4G data
US Mobile is powered by:VerizonT-Mobile
US Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsNo
Money Back GuaranteeNo
Ting - 500 Mins/100 TextsPromo Code: MONEYSAVINGPRO10
Ting
Mins:500minutes
Texts:100texts
Data:0 GB4G data
Ting is powered by:SprintT-Mobile
* $10/mo discount for first 3 mths
Ting SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA & GSM
Mobile HotspotNo
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes 60 countries
Money Back GuaranteeNo
Ting - 500 Mins/1000 TextsPromo Code: MONEYSAVINGPRO10
Ting
Mins:500minutes
Texts:1000texts
Data:0 GB4G data
Ting is powered by:SprintT-Mobile
* $10/mo discount for first 3 mths
Ting SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA & GSM
Mobile HotspotNo
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes 60 countries
Money Back GuaranteeNo
US Mobile
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:0 GB4G data
US Mobile is powered by:VerizonT-Mobile
US Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsNo
Money Back GuaranteeNo
US Mobile
Mins:300minutes
Texts:300texts
Data:0.5 GB4G data
US Mobile is powered by:VerizonT-Mobile
US Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsNo
Money Back GuaranteeNo
US Mobile
Mins:500minutes
Texts:1000texts
Data:0.5 GB4G data
US Mobile is powered by:VerizonT-Mobile
US Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsNo
Money Back GuaranteeNo
Mint Mobile
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:3 GB4G data
Mint Mobile is powered by:T-Mobile
* $45 for 3 months service
Mint Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - 3 mths prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico & Canada
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 7 days
Ting - 500 Mins/100 Texts/500MB DataPromo Code: MONEYSAVINGPRO10
Ting
Mins:500minutes
Texts:100texts
Data:0.5 GB4G data
Ting is powered by:SprintT-Mobile
* $10/mo discount for first 3 mths
Ting SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA & GSM
Mobile HotspotNo
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes 60 countries
Money Back GuaranteeNo
Ting - 100 Mins/100 Texts/1GB DataPromo Code: MONEYSAVINGPRO10
Ting
Mins:100minutes
Texts:100texts
Data:1 GB4G data
Ting is powered by:SprintT-Mobile
* $10/mo discount for first 3 mths
Ting SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA & GSM
Mobile HotspotNo
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes 60 countries
Money Back GuaranteeNo
US Mobile
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:0.5 GB4G data
US Mobile is powered by:VerizonT-Mobile
US Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsNo
Money Back GuaranteeNo
US Mobile
Mins:500minutes
Texts:1000texts
Data:1.5 GB4G data
US Mobile is powered by:VerizonT-Mobile
US Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsNo
Money Back GuaranteeNo
US Mobile
Mins:700minutes
Texts:1000texts
Data:1.5 GB4G data
US Mobile is powered by:VerizonT-Mobile
US Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile & Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsNo
Money Back GuaranteeNo
Mint Mobile
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:8 GB4G data
Mint Mobile is powered by:T-Mobile
* $60 for 3 months service
Mint Mobile SIM Card
NetworkT-Mobile
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - 3 mths prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico & Canada
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 7 days

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* MoneySavingPro compares plans from numerous low-cost carriers in one place. We do our best to keep everything as up to date and accurate as possible but there may some discrepancies on the actual price you pay. We provide this free service to make it easier for you to switch to a cheaper carrier and save money.

The Best GSM SIM Cards
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How to Find the Best SIM Card for Your GSM Phone

Last Updated:

You have probably heard of inserting your SIM card when activating service with your carrier, no matter the device. It could be your phone, your tablet, or whatever - it's a useful piece of universal equipment.

However, what exactly is a SIM card? Furthermore, since SIM cards are both used by GSM and CDMA networks, what are GSM and CDMA networks? Which MVNOs are compatible with GSM SIM cards?

COMPARE NOW: The Best Prepaid SIM Cards

Hence, this article. Not only will you find information regarding what MVNOs are compatible with the GSM network, but you'll also learn more about the SIM card, the difference between GSM and CDMA, and information regarding the Internet of Things.

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What Is a SIM Card?

First thing's first: you're probably unsure as to what a subscriber identity module card is.

Well, a subscriber identity module (SIM) card is a type of smart card that is made for mobile devices. More or less, this tiny card sports your unique identification number, your personal data such as contacts, and more. This card helps you connect with your mobile phone provider and allows you to participate in its network. However, if the mobile SIM card is removed from the SIM card slot, then service will be discontinued.

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Switch & Save:$672/yr

In other words, a SIM card lets the mobile operator know who you are and whether or not you have permission to access the network with your phone number and other credentials.

There are, of course, different sizes of mobile SIM cards. Depending on your cell phone model and the size of the SIM card slot, you may need a standard SIM, micro SIM, or nano SIM card. The standard SIM represents the second generation of SIM cards, measuring 25mm x 15mm x 0.76mm. The micro SIM is the third generation of SIM cards, measuring 15mm x 12mm x 0.76mm. Finally, the nano SIM acts as the fourth generation of SIM cards, measuring at 12.3mm x 8.8mm x 0.67mm.

Switching Providers

When you want to switch providers and would like to bring your own phone, then you'll probably be forced to unlock your phone's SIM card. Fortunately, the SIM unlocking process is simple. You may have to have your carrier unlock your phone, but sometimes your carrier won't. After all, some carriers may have rules to see who is qualified for a SIM unlock code. For instance, you may still owe money on your phone, so they won't want to give up the unlock code. Fortunately, you can always contact an unlocking service.

International SIM Cards

International SIM cards are a great option if you're a constant traveler (otherwise we would recommend the local SIM card). With an international SIM card, you'll receive coverage in the specified location. Furthermore, sometimes you may receive low international rates with the international SIM card.

GSM and CDMA? What's the Difference?

GSM and CDMA are two different mobile phone technologies. GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications. CDMA, on the other hand, stands for Code Division Multiple Access. GSM is more globally accepted compared to CDMA. But what's really the difference? Basically, the difference lies in the method of radio wave conversion - the same radio waves that your cell phone broadcasts.

GSM divides the frequency bands so that more than one user can dial a phone number using a tower simultaneously. CDMA networks, on the other hand, layer digitized calls over each other and unpack them on the back end thanks to the issuance of sequence unlock codes.

But who exactly relies on what technology?

Verizon and Sprint both rely on CDMA technology, while AT&T and T-Mobile networks use GSM technology. So expect GSM SIM cards with AT&T and T-Mobile networks, but CDMA SIM cards with Verizon and Sprint for your CDMA phone.

Which MVNOs are Compatible with the GSM Network?

Below, you'll find a list of the MVNOs that are compatible with the GSM network. With a GSM network, you'll need a prepaid SIM card. Some MVNOs offer a free prepay SIM card, whereas others will have you pay for a SIM card.

There are dozens of GSM-compatible MVNOs, but the above are just a few of our favorites.

Internet of Things

As you might have noticed, more devices are being connected to each other. This is known as the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

One such example happens to be smartwatches being connected to the smartphone - for instance, the Samsung Gear S2 interacts with the Samsung Galaxy phone series or the Apple iPhone 7 with the Apple Watch or the Apple iPad. All of these devices rely on each other thanks to the exchange of useful information. Another relevant example is SIM cards, and how they are not only used in smartphones but also in tablets, GPS trackers, smartwatches, and more. In other words, your SIM card is a valuable piece of plastic, containing your unique identity within these items.

Not only that but carriers like US Mobile and TPO offer SIM cards specifically for non-smartphones. You'll notice at times when you bring your own phone to a GSM network that you'll need a GSM phone. So be sure to check whether or not you have a GSM phone or CDMA phone with the carrier's official network compatibility page.

Recap

As you can tell, there are plenty of mobile providers that rely on GSM technology and SIM cards. Overall, it's best to be certain that, when you select a GSM network, that you have a GSM-compatible phone. Otherwise, you'll have to purchase an unlocked phone from a retailer or a phone directly from the provider, which could cost you.

SIM cards are useful for giving a data plan to a plethora of devices such as activity trackers, alarm systems, smart watches, and more. For more information, reviews, and comparisons check out our connected devices directory. If you need a device with a 4G LTE connection specifically, check out our comparison guide here.

Looking for CDMA SIM cards instead? Go here.

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Switch & Save:$672/yr

The Best GSM SIM Cards

Popular Questions

Who should switch to a low-cost carrier?

Low-cost carriers are perfect for anyone that is looking to save money on their cell phone plan, without compromising on coverage. Whether you're a family, senior, student, cord cutter, business owner or just a savvy consumer, there's a customized plan suitable for everyone.

How come I haven't heard of these low-cost carriers?

The reason these plans are so cheap is because the carriers are online only, which eliminates the majority of the costs that the big 4 have to cover. So you're only paying for cell phone service and not for shops with staff on every street corner and expensive marketing campaigns!

However, you'll still receive the same level of coverage that you're used to from the big 4 because the low-cost carriers use their networks.

How do I switch my carrier?

Switching to a low-cost carrier is smart, quick and simple. You don't have to buy a new phone, since you can bring your device to the new carrier. You can keep your old number. All you need to do is order a SIM card and once you have that, you can switch your phone service in as little as 2-3 minutes.

What network coverage will I get with a low-cost carrier?

All low-cost carriers use at least one of the big 4 networks (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint). So you will receive the same the network coverage as you would expect from signing up with the big 4 directly, just without the big prices!

Can I keep my phone number when I switch?

Yes! It's easy to port your existing phone number during the activation process.

Who should switch to a low-cost carrier?

Low-cost carriers are perfect for anyone that is looking to save money on their cell phone plan, without compromising on coverage. Whether you're a family, senior, student, cord cutter, business owner or just a savvy consumer, there's a customized plan suitable for everyone.

How come I haven't heard of these low-cost carriers?

The reason these plans are so cheap is because the carriers are online only, which eliminates the majority of the costs that the big 4 have to cover. So you're only paying for cell phone service and not for shops with staff on every street corner and expensive marketing campaigns!

However, you'll still receive the same level of coverage that you're used to from the big 4 because the low-cost carriers use their networks.

How do I switch my carrier?

Switching to a low-cost carrier is smart, quick and simple. You don't have to buy a new phone, since you can bring your device to the new carrier. You can keep your old number. All you need to do is order a SIM card and once you have that, you can switch your phone service in as little as 2-3 minutes.

What network coverage will I get with a low-cost carrier?

All low-cost carriers use at least one of the big 4 networks (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint). So you will receive the same the network coverage as you would expect from signing up with the big 4 directly, just without the big prices!

  • Verizon Network: US Mobile, Twigby, Pix Wireless, Red Pocket
  • T-Mobile Network: US Mobile, Mint Mobile, Red Pocket, Ting
  • Sprint Network: Tello, Twigby, Ting, Red Pocket
  • AT&T Network: Red Pocket

Can I keep my phone number when I switch?

Yes! It's easy to port your existing phone number during the activation process.

Can I bring my phone to the new carrier?

Yes! Almost all unlocked phones that have a SIM card slot will work with a low-cost carrier. If your phone is locked to a carrier you will need to contact your existing carrier to get it unlocked.

Is my device compatible with the new carrier?

AT&T and T-Mobile devices are generally GSM devices and Verizon and Sprint are generally CDMA devices. It is recommended that if you plan to bring your device to the new carrier, that you choose a carrier that operates on the same network. Although some devices, like newer iPhones are compatible with all networks, as they support both GSM and CDMA.

You can check your devices compatibility on the carrier website before you signup.

Is there a contract or credit check?

No. All low-cost carriers work on a prepaid month to month basis, meaning there is no commitment and you can switch carriers as often as you like. As the plans are prepaid, these low-cost carriers do not run a credit check.

Do low-cost carriers have unlimited data plans?

Yes! Some MVNO's such as US Mobile and Ultra Mobile offer unlimited data, talk & text plans. However, it's worth noting that the average data usage an unlimited data plan user is only 3-5GB. So be sure to only pay for data that you need.

Can I get a data only plan for my tablet or hotspot?

Yes, many low-cost carriers of cheap plans for tablet or hotspot devices, you can see our comparison here:

The networks available with each carrier various and is listed within our comparison tables.

Do low-cost carriers offer family plans?

The plans are already extremely so family plans as less common but some carriers do offer further discounts for multiple lines.

How does billing work?

These a prepaid plans, not contract plans, which means that you pay for 30 days when your plan starts, not afterwards. If you run low on data, talk or text you can recharge your balance with Top Ups. You can also switch on AutoPay to ensure you automatically renew your plan every 30 days.

Can I share my plan across multiple devices?

No. Each plan is for one line. And every device needs it's own line.

Can I tether my device and use it as a hotspot?

Yes, most low-carriers allow you to do this but it may depend on the plan you select, so you will need to check on the carriers website.

Does low-cost carriers offer international calling?

Yes, some carriers include calls to international countries. It depends on the carrier you choose but this information can be found on their website before you sign up.

What is the refund policy?

Most low-cost carriers offer a full refund within 7-14 days if you are not satisfied with the service. It depends on the carrier, so be sure to check this on their website.

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