Best Pay As You Go Phone Plans in 2023

What is the best pay as you go phone service?
Cheapest plan
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1GB 4G/5G data
$10/mo
Best prepaid plan
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4GB 4G/5G data
$10/mo*$20/mo

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* $10 Off for 3 Months
Best 5G plan
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5GB 4G/5G data
$15/mo

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* FREE 10-Day Trial
Best family plan
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10GB 4G/5G data
$20/mo
Best unlimited plan
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Unltd 4G/5G data
$30/mo
Find the cheapest phone plans in your area
By Rob Webber - Last updated on

Looking for the best pay as you go plans? You've come to the right place.

With no-contract and flexibility to cancel at any time, this plan can save you hundreds of dollars a year. We've analyzed some great low-cost carrier plans.

Find out how you could save around 50% a month on your cell phone bill, without losing the same coverage and service you've grown to trust.

Pay as you go cell phone plans

Best Pay As You Go Phone Plans
Check Carrier Coverage

Cheapest pay as you go phone plan

See Deal
Tello SIM Card - Tello 1GB planTello SIM Card - Tello 1GB plan
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1GB
Price
$10/mo
Powered by:
See Deal

Tello 1GB plan includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 1GB data for only $10 per month. Tello plans offer wireless coverage on the T-Mobile 5G and 4G LTE network.

Plans
PlanDataPrice

Tello Unlimited Talk & Text

0GB

$8

Tello 1GB

1GB

$10

Tello 2GB

2GB

$14

Tello 5GB

5GB

$19

Tello 10GB

10GB

$24

Tello Unlimited Data

Unlimited

$29

Review
5

Pros

  • No contract. No bulk buying.

  • 24/7 friendly customer support

  • 4G LTE/5G nationwide coverage

  • Free Hotspot & Wi-Fi Calling

  • Free international calls to 60+ countries

Cons

  • No roaming

  • Coverage in rural areas

Read Tello review

Best pay as you go plan for 5G

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Mint Mobile SIM Card - Mint Mobile 4GB planMint Mobile SIM Card - Mint Mobile 4GB plan
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
4GB
Price
$15/mo
Powered by:
See Deal

Mint Mobile 4GB plan includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 4GB data for only $15 per month. Mint Mobile plans offer wireless coverage on the T-Mobile 5G and 4G LTE network.

Plans
PlanDataPrice

Mint Mobile 4GB

4GB

$15

Mint Mobile 10GB

10GB

$20

Mint Mobile 15GB

15GB

$25

Mint Mobile Unlimited Data

Unlimited

$30

Review
4.5

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

Read Mint Mobile review

Best pay as you go plan for families

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US Mobile SIM Card - US Mobile 15GB planUS Mobile SIM Card - US Mobile 15GB plan
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
15GB
Price
$20/mo* FREE 10-Day Trial
Powered by:
See Deal

US Mobile 15GB plan includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 15GB data for only $20 per month. US Mobile plans offer wireless coverage on the Verizon & T-Mobile 5G and 4G LTE networks.

Plans
PlanDataPrice

US Mobile 500MB

500MB

$5

US Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text

0GB

$8

US Mobile 2GB

2GB

$12

US Mobile 5GB

5GB

$15

US Mobile 15GB

15GB

$20

US Mobile 25GB

25GB

$25

US Mobile Unlimited Data Basic

Unlimited

$35

US Mobile Unlimited Data Premium

Unlimited

$45

* FREE 10-Day Trial

Review
4.5

Pros

  • Flexible, no contract plans

  • 24/7 customer service

  • 5G coverage available

Cons

  • No international calling

  • Phone selection

Read US Mobile review

Best pay as you go plan for unlimited data

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Mint Mobile SIM Card - Mint Mobile Unlimited planMint Mobile SIM Card - Mint Mobile Unlimited plan
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
Unlimited
Price
$30/mo
Powered by:
See Deal

Mint Mobile Unlimited plan includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and unlimited data for only $30 per month. Mint Mobile plans offer wireless coverage on the T-Mobile 5G and 4G LTE network.

Plans
PlanDataPrice

Mint Mobile 4GB

4GB

$15

Mint Mobile 10GB

10GB

$20

Mint Mobile 15GB

15GB

$25

Mint Mobile Unlimited Data

Unlimited

$30

Review
4.5

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

Read Mint Mobile review

Best pay as you go plan for one

See Deal
US Mobile SIM Card - US Mobile 5GB planUS Mobile SIM Card - US Mobile 5GB plan
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
5GB
Price
$15/mo* FREE 10-Day Trial
Powered by:
See Deal

US Mobile 5GB plan includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 5GB data for only $15 per month. US Mobile plans offer wireless coverage on the Verizon & T-Mobile 5G and 4G LTE networks.

Plans
PlanDataPrice

US Mobile 500MB

500MB

$5

US Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text

0GB

$8

US Mobile 2GB

2GB

$12

US Mobile 5GB

5GB

$15

US Mobile 15GB

15GB

$20

US Mobile 25GB

25GB

$25

US Mobile Unlimited Data Basic

Unlimited

$35

US Mobile Unlimited Data Premium

Unlimited

$45

* FREE 10-Day Trial

Review
4.5

Pros

  • Flexible, no contract plans

  • 24/7 customer service

  • 5G coverage available

Cons

  • No international calling

  • Phone selection

Read US Mobile review

Pay as you go phone plan benefits

Take back control of your cell phone bill with a pay as you go plan. Only pay for what you use, not a cent more.

You'll find a great choice of pay as you go plans from Mobile Virtual Network Operators, (MVNOs for short). Choose which features to pay for each month, get more flexibility and control, and save a ton of money while you're at it. It's one of the many reasons we love smaller carriers.

If you're on the lookout for a cheap pay as you go plan an alternative carrier is the best route to go down.

Let's take a look at the benefits.

  • Same great nationwide coverage: Pay as you go carriers operate on the very same networks as the big guys.
  • Much lower prices: You could save up to $600 per year on your cell phone plan. How are MVNOs so much cheaper? They don't have the huge overhead costs that come with running retail stores or maintaining the network. Plus, they don't spend so heavily on advertising campaigns.
  • No contracts: Don't get trapped in a long-term commitment. Switch when you decide the time's right.
  • Same cell phone service: Paying less doesn't mean scrimping on features. Plans with unlimited everything are easy to find. Plus, you'll usually get unlimited talk and text as standard, high-speed 4G LTE data, and even mobile hotspot features.
  • 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: With a pay as you go plan you customize everything to suit your needs. Decide how much data you need, go unlimited, or opt for no data. Tailor your message and call allowance, and get minimal minutes or unlimited talk text and data. With alternative carriers, you build a plan to fit.
  • Great customer support: Smaller providers pay attention to their customers. You're more than a number to them. Check out our carrier user reviews before switching.

Best pay as you go plan on T-Mobile

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

10GB

4G/5G data

$20/mo

Powered by: T-Mobile

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile comparison

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

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G/5G DataPriceAnnual Cost
T-MobileT-Mobile 4G & 5GUnltd*$70/mo$840/yr
Mint MobileT-Mobile 4G & 5G10GB$20/mo$240/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$50/mo$600/yr

Best pay as you go plan on Verizon

US Mobile 15GB plan* FREE 10-Day Trial

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

15GB

4G/5G data

$20/mo

Powered by: Verizon & T-Mobile

Verizon vs US Mobile comparison

Keep your Verizon phone, number & coverage: Save $720 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G/5G DataPriceAnnual Cost
VerizonVerizon 4G & 5GUnltd*$80/mo$960/yr
US MobileVerizon 4G & 5G15GB$20/mo$240/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$60/mo$720/yr

Best pay as you go plan on AT&T

Boost Mobile 5GB plan* 66% Off for 3 Months

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

5GB

4G/5G data

$5/mo*

$15/mo

Powered by: AT&T & T-Mobile

AT&T vs Boost Mobile comparison

Keep your AT&T phone, number & coverage: Save $750 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G/5G DataPriceAnnual Cost
AT&TAT&T 4G & 5GUnltd*$75/mo$900/yr
Boost MobileAT&T 4G & 5G5GB$15/mo$150/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$60/mo$750/yr

Pay as you go phone plan features

  • 4G LTE & 5G data speeds: MVNOs operate on the big cellular networks, so you don't sacrifice speed. As 5G coverage is rolled out, more low-cost alternatives are adding this to their offering too, so you can expect high-speed data with your next carrier.
  • Unlimited talk and text messaging: It has never been easier to find a new unlimited plan. Pretty much every plan from a small carrier includes unlimited text and calls. Compare cheap talk and text plans and opt for, or go without data.
  • International calls to Canada and Mexico: You shouldn't have to pay more to keep in touch with loved ones abroad. Alternative carriers offer the best international phone plans. Many come with free calling to Canada and Mexico, and offer affordable add-ons for more countries.
  • Multiline discounts: If you're looking to switch multiple lines over to a new plan, low-cost carriers offer the cheapest family cell phone plans out there. With most of these plans the more lines you add, the less you pay.
  • Wi-Fi calling: This feature is super handy if you find yourself in a signal shadow with no cellular connection, but do have WiFi. Simply make calls over the internet instead.
  • Tethering/hotspot data: Use your set data allowance to get more devices online. Most low-cost carriers will allow you to use your phone as a hotspot as no additional cost. Browse some of the best mobile hotspot plans.
  • HD video streaming: Fancy features like high-definition video streaming come with plans from MVNOs. As it is with the big networks, some smaller carriers offer this feature, others don't. Check with their customer support people if you're not sure.

Cheapest pay as you go phone plans

CarrierDataNetworkPrice
Tello 1GB plan1GBT-Mobile$10/mo
Twigby 4GB plan4GBVerizon$10/mo** $10 Off for 3 Months
Lycamobile 12GB plan12GBT-Mobile$5/mo** Only $5 for First 3 Months
US Mobile 15GB plan15GBVerizon & T-Mobile$20/mo* FREE 10-Day Trial
Mint Mobile Unlimited planUnltdT-Mobile$30/mo

Carrier network coverage

NETWORKOVERALLRELIABILITYSPEEDDATACALL
Verizon Coverage9596949694
AT&T Coverage9494959692
T-Mobile Coverage8688828982

Source: Rootmetrics

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

Carrier customer service comparison

It's a myth that customer care is worse with a cheaper prepaid carrier. Typically MVNOs score much higher for customer satisfaction than big networks. Take a look at the comparison chart here to see what we're getting at.

CARRIERTRUSTPILOT USER RATING
Reach Mobile4.9
Tello4.6
US Mobile4.6
T-Mobile1.5
Verizon1.3
AT&T1.2

Pay as you go phone plan types

  • Unlimited plans: It's super easy to find unlimited talk text and data plans from alternative carriers. Their unlimited data plans come at a much better price. It's worth checking whether you even need to go unlimited though, as you can save a heap more by opting for a set-data plan. Use our data usage calculator to see how much you need each month.
  • Basic plans: Only use a cell phone to make a few calls, send a couple of messages and rarely go online? Go for a simply prepaid plan. You'll get basic cell phone functions, a set amount of minutes of talk, and around 2GB of data. If your data allotment runs out adding more is simple.
  • Family plans: You'll find a great number of MVNOs will offer group plans. So if you need four lines or more, compare the cheapest family phone plans and tailor the plan to your family.
  • Bring your own phone plans: Smaller carriers make it easy for you to bring your own device. In fact, BYOP plans are the norm. Porting your number and data to a new plan is seamless.
  • Single line plans: You no longer need to pay a premium for a single line plan. Here are some of the best phone plans for individuals.
  • Talk and text only plans: You or a loved one rarely use data? Get a cheap talk and text plan instead. You'll save a ton of money by opting for no data.
  • Tablet plans: Alternative carriers aren't just for cell phone plans. You can find cheap data plans for your tablet or iPad too.
  • Kids plans: Pay as you go plans are perfect for kids because you can customize them. We think smaller carriers have the best phone plans for kids. You have control over the features your child has access to.
  • Senior plans: Older folk may have different cell phone needs, and there are plans to suit. Find cheap cell phone plans for seniors and discover the perfect fit.

Comparing pay as you go phone plans

  • Coverage: low-cost carriers we recommend are powered by the major networks; Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.
  • Budget: prices vary, but one thing is for sure, pay as you go plans are super budget-friendly.
  • Plans: only pay for what you need. Whether you're a heavy data user, or you just want a couple of hundred minutes in case of an emergency, there's a plan to suit you.
  • Mulitple lines: family cell phone plans include multiple lines, and many come with intuitive apps to help you manage your account.
  • Features: international coverage and mobile hotspot data are useful features for those often on the move. You can usually find these come as standard, or as a low-cost add-on, with alternative carrier plans.
  • Bring your own phone: save more by bringing your own device. You'll need to check whether your phone is compatible. Use our IMEI checker to figure this out fast.

Switch to a cheap pay as you go phone 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 been 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 the instructions that come with the new SIM card kit.

Pay as you go carriers list

AT&T MVNOsVerizon MVNOsT-Mobile MVNOs
Red PocketUS MobileBoost Mobile
PureTalkRed PocketUS Mobile
Good2Go MobileTwigbyUltra Mobile
H2O WirelessAffinity CellularTello
Straight TalkReach MobileRed Pocket
TracfoneSpectrum MobileMint Mobile
Black WirelessPage Plus CellularLycamobile
Kroger WirelessTotal by VerizonConsumer Cellular
easyGO WirelessLivelyGoSmart Mobile
Unreal MobileWalmart Family MobileRepublic Wireless
Optimum MobileTingSimple Mobile
FreedompopGen Mobile
Wing
easyGO Wireless
Speedtalk Mobile

Best pay as you go phones

Device64GB128GB256GB
Apple iPhone SE$18/mo$20/mo$24/mo
Apple iPhone 13 mini-$26/mo$30/mo
Apple iPhone 13-$30/mo$35/mo
Apple iPhone 12 Pro-$33/mo$37/mo
Apple iPhone 14-$35/mo-
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max-$37/mo-

Pay as you go phone plans FAQ

How do pay as you go phone plans work?

With pay as you go you purchase your talk, text, and data upfront. So there are no surprising bills at the end of the month. When you reach your limit, you top up with what you need.

What is the cheapest pay as you go SIM card?

Powered by T-Mobile, Tello offers one of the cheapest pay as you go SIM cards. With a low starting cost you can customize the plan to your needs.


Recap

Pay as you go plans are the perfect fit for anyone wanting to take back control of their cell phone bill.

Build a plan to suit you, not the one your carrier tells you to pick. You can choose your data allowance, pick the features you really need, and pay less.

No more horrible bill-shaped surprises at the end of the month. Finding your next pay as you go cell phone plan from a low-cost alternative 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.
CarrierBest for...MinsTextsDataPrice
Tello SIM Card - Cheapest pay as you go phone planTelloCheap prepaid planUnlimitedUnlimited1GB$10/mo
Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best pay as you go plan for 5GMint MobilePrepaid 5G planUnlimitedUnlimited4GB$15/mo
US Mobile SIM Card - Best pay as you go plan for familiesUS MobilePrepaid family planUnlimitedUnlimited15GB$20/mo
Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best pay as you go plan for unlimited dataMint MobilePrepaid unlimited planUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited$30/mo
US Mobile SIM Card - Best pay as you go plan for oneUS MobilePrepaid 1 line planUnlimitedUnlimited5GB$15/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.

Powered by
4G/5G data
mins
texts
/mo
Same coverage - massive savings!YOU SAVE:
T-Mobile
Magenta - $70/mo
$840/yr
AT&T
Unlimited Extra - $75/mo
$900/yr
Verizon
Play More Unlimited - $80/mo
$960/yr
$0$17.5$35$52.5$70
Monthly cost
Average monthly data usage is only between 3-5GB
Avg. user rating
Benefits