The Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans

Compare the best prepaid phone plans & prices

Best Sprint Plan
4GB LTE Data
$19 per month
Best T-Mobile Plan
8GB LTE Data
$20 per month
Best AT&T Plan
5GB LTE Data
$30 per month
Best Verizon Plan
5GB LTE Data
$45 per month
Cheap Prepaid Plans Starting at $10/mo - Compare Now

What are the Best Prepaid Phone Plans?

Rob Webber

By Rob Webber

Founder

Last Updated:

Prepaid cell phone plans have come a long way since the first TracFone came out.

There are now plan options that mirror those available from the big four wireless carriers but at much better prices.

The Wall Street Journal reports that families with multiple smartphones sometimes pay more than $4,000 a year. You can save over 50% on your wireless service by taking advantage of the fierce competition being waged in the prepaid market.

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

Now that contracts are a thing of the past, the only difference between prepaid cell phone plans and traditional plans is that with prepaid you pay at the beginning of the month instead of at the end.

This is different from pay as you go phone plans because you choose an actual package rather than paying as you go along.

We've analyzed the best prepaid cell phone plans and laid them out for you in this one simple guide.

The Best Prepaid Phone Plans of February 2020

The Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans
Switch Carriers & Save $600 per year - Calculate Your Savings

Prepaid Phone Plan Comparison Chart

CarrierNationwide Coverage4G LTE DataPrice
TelloSprint 4G LTE4GB$19
Mint MobileT-Mobile 4G LTE8GB$20
PureTalk USAAT&T 4G LTE5GB$30
Reach MobileVerizon 4G LTE5GB$45

Best Sprint Prepaid Plan: Tello

Pros

  • Flexible plans up to 10 GB of high-speed data
  • Free texting with all plans
  • Change your plan any time
  • Unlimited 2G data

Cons

  • Only CDMA or global phones compatible
  • No unlimited data plan

Best Value Prepaid Plan: Tello 4GB

Tello
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:4 GB4G data
Tello is powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
NetworkSprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 3 days

Best Cheap Prepaid Plan: Tello 1GB

Tello
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:1 GB4G data
Tello is powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
NetworkSprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 3 days

Sprint National 4G LTE Coverage Without Sprint Prices

Sprint Coverage Map

Sprint vs Tello Price Comparison

Keep your Sprint phone, number & coverage: Save $492 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
SprintSprint 4G LTEUnltd*$60/mo$720/yr
TelloSprint 4G LTE4GB$19/mo$228/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$41/mo$492/yr

Best T-Mobile Prepaid Plan: Mint Mobile

Pros

  • Simple, affordable plans
  • Free text and talk with all plans
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Free SIM card kit

Cons

  • Only GSM or global phones compatible
  • Only sold in lots of 3, 6, or 12 months
  • No unlimited data plan

Best Value Prepaid Plan: Mint Mobile 8GB

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

Best Cheap Prepaid Plan: Mint Mobile 3GB

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

T-Mobile National 4G LTE Coverage Without T-Mobile Prices

T-Mobile Coverage Map

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile Price Comparison

Keep your T-Mobile phone, number & coverage: Save $600 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
T-MobileT-Mobile 4G LTEUnltd*$70/mo$840/yr
Mint MobileT-Mobile 4G LTE8GB$20/mo$240/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$50/mo$600/yr

Best AT&T Prepaid Plan: PureTalk USA

Pros

  • Good plan selection
  • Unlimited talk and text with all plans
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Clean, user-friendly website

Cons

  • No unlimited data plan
  • International calling requires add-on calling card

Best Value Prepaid Plan: PureTalk USA 5GB

PureTalk USA - 5GB Data PlanMSP Exclusive: 25% off the first 3 months
PureTalk USA
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:5 GB4G data
PureTalk USA is powered by:AT&T
* 25% off the first 3 months
PureTalk USA SIM Card
NetworkAT&T
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a

Best Cheap Prepaid Plan: PureTalk USA 1GB

PureTalk USA - 1GB Data PlanMSP Exclusive: 25% off the first 3 months
PureTalk USA
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:1 GB4G data
PureTalk USA is powered by:AT&T
* 25% off the first 3 months
PureTalk USA SIM Card
NetworkAT&T
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a

AT&T National 4G LTE Coverage Without AT&T Prices

AT&T Coverage Map

AT&T vs PureTalk USA Price Comparison

Keep your AT&T phone, number & coverage: Save $562 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
AT&TAT&T 4G LTEUnltd*$75/mo$900/yr
PureTalk USAAT&T 4G LTE5GB$30/mo$338/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$45/mo$562/yr

Best Verizon Prepaid Plan: Reach Mobile

Pros

  • Good pricing for lower data users
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data plan available
  • User-friendly website and app

Cons

  • No international service
  • Does not sell devices
  • Expensive for heavy data users

Best Value Prepaid Plan: Reach Mobile 5GB

Reach Mobile - 5GB Data Plan$15 Discount with Code: MSP153
Reach Mobile
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:5 GB4G data
Reach Mobile is powered by:Verizon
* $15 discount for first 3 months with promo code: msp153
Reach Mobile SIM Card
NetworkAT&T, Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a

Best Cheap Prepaid Plan: Reach Mobile 3GB

Reach Mobile - 3GB Data Plan$15 Discount with Code: MSP153
Reach Mobile
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:3 GB4G data
Reach Mobile is powered by:Verizon
* $15 discount for first 3 months with promo code: msp153
Reach Mobile SIM Card
NetworkAT&T, Verizon
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkGSM & CDMA
Mobile Hotspotn/a
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International Callsn/a
Money Back Guaranteen/a

Verizon National 4G LTE Coverage Without Verizon Prices

Verizon Coverage Map

Verizon vs Reach Mobile Price Comparison

Keep your Verizon phone, number & coverage: Save $465 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G LTE DataPriceAnnual Cost
VerizonVerizon 4G LTEUnltd*$80/mo$960/yr
Reach MobileVerizon 4G LTE5GB$45/mo$495/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$35/mo$465/yr

Best Overall Prepaid Plan: Mint Mobile

Best Value Prepaid Plan: Mint Mobile 8GB

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

MVNOs Offer the Best Value Prepaid Plans

Mobile Virtual Network Operators - MVNOs - are the best way to get cheap cell phone plans. These smaller wireless companies sell service on the big four networks at a better price.

Benefits of MVNOs:

  • You get the same reliable 4G LTE networks as the major carriers.
  • They're cheaper - MVNOs don't have massive overhead and marketing costs so their rates are lower.
  • They offer customized plans - pay only for what you need.
  • Enjoy great customer service, often with 24/7 availability.
  • No credit checks, contracts, overage charges, or early termination fees.
  • It's easy to switch, typically by just ordering a SIM card online.

Key Considerations When Choosing a Prepaid Phone Plan

According to Pew Research Center, nearly one in five Americans see their smartphone as a financial burden. Obviously, cost is going to be a major factor in your carrier choice, but it's just one of several aspects to consider:

  1. Coverage area: There's no point in entering into a prepaid cell phone plan on a network that doesn't cover where you live. Use our handy cell phone coverage maps to find the best network for your area.
  2. Plans: Some carriers offer options that are well-suited for light users like senior citizens, while others focus on heavy data usage with all the bells and whistles.
  3. Budget: You'll get great prices on your service, however, you may have to pay upfront for your phone unless you're bringing your own. Be sure to take that into account when budgeting.
  4. Family: Will you be enrolling more than one phone? Be sure to check with your new carrier to see if there are any special offers on prepaid family plans.
  5. Features: Depending on the carrier, you can get extras like international coverage, mobile hotspot data, or tethering. Be sure to choose a carrier that offers the features you need.
  6. GSM or CDMA: If you plan to bring your own phone, keep in mind that the T-Mobile and AT&T networks use GSM technology while Verizon and Sprint use CDMA technology.

Best Unlimited Talk & Text Only Plan: Tello

Tello
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:0 GB4G data
Tello is powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
NetworkSprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 3 days

Tello uses Sprint network coverage and is one of the best options you'll find as far as customized service plans go. That means it's easy to pair unlimited talk and text with the right amount of data for you.

Choose from a wide range of configurations, from no data (WiFi only) all the way up to unlimited data.

Best Prepaid Unlimited Data Plan: Tello

Tello
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:Unlimited4G data
Tello is powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
NetworkSprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 3 days

Even Tello's unlimited data plan is insanely affordable. Plus they offer:

  • Free tethering
  • Calls to China, Mexico, and Canada using your plan minutes
  • International calling to other countries with great pay-as-you-go rates
  • No extra fees
  • Change your plan at any time

Best Prepaid Family Plan: Mint Mobile

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

Mint Mobile (formerly known as Mint SIM) makes it easy to put together a package that works for the whole family. Choose the amount of data you want each device to have and pay less for it the more months you buy at one time.

With Mint, you buy your plans three, six, or 12 months at a time. The more months you buy, the lower the price per month. Choose from 2 GB, 5GB, or 10 GB of high-speed data. All plans include unlimited calling and texting, and you get free 2G speed data after your high-speed data allotment runs out.

Need more? Add international roaming or more data any time.

Best Prepaid Phone Plan for Kids: Mint Mobile

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

Mint does prepaid cell phone service so well that we also recommend them as the best kids cell phone plan. With smaller data buckets available and rates that run less than half of what you'd pay on a major carrier, it's easy to keep your kids' mobile bills in check.

The other huge advantage is that when you buy a Mint Mobile plan for your child you won't have to worry about them running up high overage fees by going over their data allotment. Once it's gone, that's it unless you decide to add more.

Best Prepaid Plan for Seniors: Twigby

Twigby - 500 Mins & 1GB DataPromo Code: MONEYSIM
Twigby
Mins:500minutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:1 GB4G data
Twigby is powered by:VerizonSprint
* 25% off for the first 6 mths
Twigby SIM Card
NetworkVerizon & Sprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 30 days

Twigby has cornered the market on great prices for basic service, which makes them a great choice for seniors looking for a cell phone plan. Twigby runs on both the Verizon and Sprint networks.

Talk minutes start at 200 and go up to unlimited. If you have a basic phone such as a flip phone, you can choose from no data, 150 MB, or 300 MB. Smartphone data is available up to 4 GB.

All Twigby plans include free international texting to over 180 countries.

Best Cheap Prepaid Plan: Tello

Tello
Mins:Unlimitedminutes
Texts:Unlimitedtexts
Data:1 GB4G data
Tello is powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
NetworkSprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 3 days

Want great service on the nationwide Sprint network without spending a bundle? Tello offers cheap phone plans to fit any budget. Starting at just a few bucks a month the plans are infinitely customizable. Choose your minutes, texts, amount of data, and price.

You can add more of anything if you find your plan needs adjusting, and calls to Canada, China, and Mexico are included.

Best Prepaid Tablet/Hotspot Data Plan: Tello

Tello
Mins:0minutes
Texts:0texts
Data:4 GB4G data
Tello is powered by:Sprint
Tello SIM Card
NetworkSprint
Data Speed4G LTE
3G NetworkCDMA
Mobile HotspotYes
Bring Your PhoneYes
Keep Your NumberYes
ContractNo - prepaid
Credit CheckNo
Customer Service24/7
International CallsYes - Includes Mexico, Canada & China
Money Back GuaranteeYes - 3 days

Sometimes you just need a data only plan without the talk time and texts. Data-only plans can be expensive on the big four providers but Tello offers great savings here to.

Great Ways to Save on Your Next Smartphone

Now that we've covered the best value prepaid cell phone plans, you've probably got device questions. We've got solutions.

With the major carriers, you're usually roped into a steep payment for the latest smartphone, which keeps you tied to that provider for two years. With MVNOs you can save money on your device one of two ways:

  • Bring your own phone - This is the cheapest option and allows you to get the most out of that expensive device you already own. Just make sure you choose a provider that runs on the same technology - either GSM or CDMA.
  • Buy a refurbished smartphone - Sites like Gazelle and Swappa sell late-model smartphones like Apple iPhone and premium Android phones and can save you up to 50% off the MSRP.

Need extra cash to put toward a new smartphone? Sell your old phone instead of throwing it in a drawer. Compare offers from different sites before making a final decision to make sure you're getting the most out of it as possible.

Compare Smartphone Prices

MSRP:$649$150
Apple iPhone 7

Recap

There's no longer any reason to pay nearly $100 a month for the same service you can get with an MVNO. Start saving today!

Calculate Your Savings

Switch & Save:$600/yr

Prepaid Cell Phone Plans FAQs

How do I switch to a prepaid cell phone plan with another carrier?

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

Do these prepaid cell phone plans have network coverage in my area?

All MVNO's are powered by at least one of the big 4's networks. In our comparison list of prepaid cell phone plan we display the network options available with each plan. For example, if the plan says 'powered by Verizon', it means the carrier operates on the Verizon network and you'll receive exactly the same nationwide 4G LTE coverage that you would if you bought a plan from Verizon directly.

Can I keep my phone number when I switch to a new prepaid cell phone plan?

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

Will a prepaid cell phone plan with any carrier work with my phone?

Yes! Most unlocked smartphones that have a SIM card slot will work with your new prepaid cell phone plan. If your phone is locked to a carrier you will need to contact your existing carrier to get it unlocked.

How do I check if my device is compatible with the prepaid cell phone plan I want?

You can check your devices compatibility on the carriers website before you signup for a new prepaid cell phone plan.

Is there a contract or credit check?

No. MVNO's work on a prepaid month-to-month basis, meaning there is no credit check or commitment, so you can switch to a new prepaid cell phone plan whenever you like.

How does billing work these prepaid cell phone plans?

All plans are prepaid with no contract. This means that you pay for 30 days when your plan starts, not afterwards. Most MVNO's allow AutoPay which ensures you'll automatically renew your plan every 30 days.

Can I share my prepaid cell phone plan across multiple devices?

No. Each prepaid cell phone plan is for one line and every device needs it's own line.

Do prepaid cell phone plans allow tethering?

Yes, most prepaid cell phone plan allow tethering but it will depend on the carrier and plan you select. Check the carrier site before signing up.

Do prepaid cell phone plans offer international calling?

Yes, most MVNO's include calls to international countries. Be sure to check the carriers website for more details before you sign up.

Do MVNO's have a refund policy?

Most MVNO's offer a refund within 7 days if you are not satisfied with the prepaid cell phone plan you selected. Check the carriers website for full details before you sign up.

Who should switch to a prepaid cell phone plan?

MVNO's are perfect for anyone that is looking to save money on a prepaid cell phone plan, without compromising on coverage, there's a customized plan suitable for everyone.

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