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Best Cell Phone Plans for Students in 2021

Compare the cheapest phone plans for college students

Best prepaid plan
1GB 4G/5G data
$5* per month
Powered by:

See Deal

* 50% Off 1st Month
Best unlimited plan
Unltd 4G/5G data
$30* per month
Powered by:

See Deal

* Buy 3 Months - Get 3 Months Free
Best family plan
5GB 4G/5G data
$15 per month
Powered by:

See Deal

Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Cheap cell phone plans starting at $10/mo - Compare Now
Find the cheapest phone plans in your area

As a student, you're no stranger to the constant struggle to save money. Yet you need a dependable cell phone service with plenty of data for music and video streaming.

Although the average cell phone bill sits at about $80 per month, it's easy to cut that down by over half - which can make a huge difference when you're living on pizza and ramen noodles!

We're going to show you how you can save up to $600 per year without sacrificing cell phone service quality or coverage. We'll look at the best cell phone plans for college students along with how to get the best price on top devices.

Tello SIM Card - Best prepaid phone plan for students - TelloTello SIM Card - Best prepaid phone plan for students - Tello
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1 GB
Price
$5/mo** 50% Off 1st Month
Editors Take
5 / 5

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

Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Tello 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$5*

* 50% Off 1st Month

Tello 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$7*

* 50% Off 1st Month

Tello Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$8

Tello 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$9.50*

* 50% Off 1st Month

Tello 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$12*

* 50% Off 1st Month

Tello 8GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

8GB

$14.50*

* 50% Off 1st Month

Tello Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$19.50*

* 50% Off 1st Month
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 unlimited data plan for students - Mint MobileMint Mobile SIM Card - Best unlimited data plan for students - Mint Mobile
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
Unlimited
Price
$30/mo** Buy 3 Months - Get 3 Months Free
Editors Take
4.5 / 5

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

Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Mint Mobile 4GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

4GB

$15*

* Buy 3 Months - Get 3 Months Free

Mint Mobile 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$20*

* Buy 3 Months - Get 3 Months Free

Mint Mobile 15GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

15GB

$25*

* Buy 3 Months - Get 3 Months Free

Mint Mobile Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$30*

* Buy 3 Months - Get 3 Months Free
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

US Mobile SIM Card - Best family phone plan for students - US MobileUS Mobile SIM Card - Best family phone plan for students - US Mobile
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
5 GB
Price
$15/moFree Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Editors Take
4.5 / 5

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

Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

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

Ultra Mobile SIM Card - Best 5G phone plan for students - Ultra MobileUltra Mobile SIM Card - Best 5G phone plan for students - Ultra Mobile
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
2 GB
Price
$15.20/mo** 20% Off 1st Month
Editors Take
3.5 / 5

Ultra Mobile 2GB data includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 2GB data for only $15.20 per month. Ultra Mobile prepaid phone plans offer wireless coverage on the T-Mobile 4G LTE and 5G network.

Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Ultra Mobile 250MB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

0.3GB

$12*

* 20% Off 1st Month

Ultra Mobile 250MB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

0.3GB

$12*

* 20% Off 1st Month

Ultra Mobile 2GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

2GB

$15.20*

* 20% Off 1st Month

Ultra Mobile 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$19.20*

* 20% Off 1st Month

Ultra Mobile 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$23.20*

* 20% Off 1st Month

Ultra Mobile 15GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

15GB

$31.20*

* 20% Off 1st Month

Ultra Mobile Unlimited Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

$39.20*

* 20% Off 1st Month
Features
Benefits

Pros

  • Simple account dashboard

  • Unlimited international talk and text

  • Nationwide coverage

Cons

  • Customer service

Benefits

  • Coverage provided on the nationwide T-Mobile network

  • Prepaid service - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • Bring your own compatible GSM phone or buy one from Ultra Mobile

  • Mobile hotspot use supported

  • Unlimited global texting and unlimited calling to 80+ countries

  • International roaming credits available in $5, $10, or $20 denominations

  • International plan tier comes with uTalk - a feature that gives you up to 1250 bonus minutes to your choice of 39 additional destinations

  • Customer service available by phone, email, and chat from 6am to 6pm every day

Ting SIM Card - Best student talk & text phone plan - TingTing SIM Card - Best student talk & text phone plan - Ting
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
0 GB
Price
$10/mo** $5 extra per GB
Editors Take
4 / 5

Ting unlimited talk & text includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 0GB data for only $10 per month. Ting prepaid phone plans offer wireless coverage on the T-Mobile & Verizon 4G LTE and 5G networks.

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

Twigby SIM Card - Best individual phone plan for students - TwigbyTwigby SIM Card - Best individual phone plan for students - Twigby
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
3 GB
Price
$10/mo** 50% Off for 6 Months
Editors Take
4.5 / 5

Twigby 3GB data includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 3GB data for only $10 per month. Twigby prepaid phone plans offer wireless coverage on the Verizon 4G LTE and 5G network.

Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Twigby Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$6.50*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

Twigby 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$10*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

Twigby 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$9.50*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

Twigby 5GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

5GB

$12.50*

* 50% Off for 6 Months

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

Red Pocket SIM Card - Best student phone plan for 2 lines - Red PocketRed Pocket SIM Card - Best student phone plan for 2 lines - Red Pocket
Minutes
500
Texts
500
Data
0.5 GB
Price
$10/mo
Editors Take
4.5 / 5

Red Pocket 500mb data includes 500 mins, 500 texts and 0.5GB data for only $10 per month. Red Pocket prepaid phone plans offer wireless coverage on the AT&T, Verizon & T-Mobile 4G LTE and 5G networks.

Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Red Pocket 500MB Data

500

500

0.5GB

$10

Red Pocket 3GB Data - 12 Mths

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$15*

* Buy 9 Mths - Get 3 Mths Free

Red Pocket 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$20

Red Pocket 10GB Data - 12 Mths

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$22*

* Buy 9 Mths - Get 3 Mths Free

Red Pocket 22GB Data - 12 Mths

Unlimited

Unlimited

22GB

$30*

* Buy 9 Mths - Get 3 Mths Free

Red Pocket 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$30

Red Pocket 50GB Data - 12 Mths

Unlimited

Unlimited

50GB

$37*

* Buy 9 Mths - Get 3 Mths Free

Red Pocket 22GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

22GB

$40

Red Pocket 50GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

50GB

$50

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

Good2Go Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for students - Good2Go MobileGood2Go Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for students - Good2Go Mobile
Minutes
Unlimited
Texts
Unlimited
Data
3 GB
Price
$12.50/mo** 50% Off for 3 Months
Editors Take
4 / 5

Good2Go Mobile 3GB data includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 3GB data for only $12.50 per month. Good2Go Mobile prepaid phone plans offer wireless coverage on the AT&T & T-Mobile 4G LTE and 5G networks.

Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

Good2Go Mobile 1GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

1GB

$10*

* 50% Off for 3 Months

Good2Go Mobile Unlimited Talk & Text

Unlimited

Unlimited

0GB

$10

Good2Go Mobile 3GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

3GB

$12.50*

* 50% Off for 3 Months

Good2Go Mobile 6GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

6GB

$17.50*

* 50% Off for 3 Months

Good2Go Mobile 10GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

10GB

$40

Good2Go Mobile 20GB Data

Unlimited

Unlimited

20GB

$50

Features
Benefits

Pros

  • 4G LTE coverage

  • No contract

  • No credit checks

Cons

  • No unlimited data options

  • No app interface

Benefits

  • Coverage on the nationwide AT&T & T-Mobile networks

  • Prepaid cell phone plans - no contract, credit check, or activation fee

  • Bring your own phone or buy a Good2Go Mobile phone

  • Mobile hotspot/tethering not supported

  • International calling to over 60 countries available as affordable plan add-on; calling to other countries via add-on calling card

  • Customer service available by phone 7am - 1am EST every day

US Mobile SIM Card - Best student tablet data plan - US MobileUS Mobile SIM Card - Best student tablet data plan - US Mobile
Minutes
0
Texts
0
Data
2 GB
Price
$10/moFree Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Editors Take
4.5 / 5

US Mobile 2GB data only includes 0 mins, 0 texts and 2GB data for only $10 per month. US Mobile prepaid phone plans offer wireless coverage on the Verizon & T-Mobile 4G LTE and 5G networks.

Plans
PlanMinutesTextsDataPrice

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

The best student phone plans in December

Check Carrier Coverage

Student cell phone plan benefits

Did you know you can cut your wireless bill by over half just be going with a low cost carrier? These mobile providers are called MVNOs, which stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operators. You've probably already heard of a few of them, like Boost Mobile and Mint Mobile.

These carriers buy up extra space on the major networks - AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon - and resell it at a discount. MVNOs can afford to give you better rates because most of them operate completely online and do not spend the big bucks on marketing as the major wireless carriers do. The best part is that college students can get service on the same great networks for half the cost.

As a student, you want to save money but you also need a reliable wireless service. MVNOs are the ideal solution.

  • Cheaper prices by up to 50% or more
  • Service on the same networks as the major carriers
  • Custom plans let you pay only for what you need
  • No credit checks and no contracts
  • Easy to bring your own phone and keep your number
  • Great customer service
  • Convenient and fast online signup

Best cheap T-Mobile plan for students

Mint Mobile 4GB data plan* Buy 3 Months - Get 3 Months Free

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

4 GB

4G/5G data

$15/mo*

$3.75 per GB

Powered by: T-Mobile

T-Mobile vs Mint Mobile Plan Comparison

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

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G/5G DataPriceAnnual Cost
T-MobileT-Mobile 4G & 5GUnltd*$70/mo$840/yr
Mint MobileT-Mobile 4G & 5G4GB$15/mo$180/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$55/mo$660/yr

Compare: T-Mobile student discounts & plans


Best cheap Verizon plan for students

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

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

5 GB

4G/5G data

$15/mo

$3.00 per GB

Powered by: Verizon & T-Mobile

Verizon vs US Mobile Plan Comparison

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

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G/5G DataPriceAnnual Cost
VerizonVerizon 4G & 5GUnltd*$80/mo$960/yr
US MobileVerizon 4G & 5G5GB$15/mo$180/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$65/mo$780/yr

Compare: Verizon student discounts & plans


Best cheap AT&T plan for students

Good2Go Mobile 3GB data plan* 50% Off for 3 Months

Unlimitedmins

Unlimitedtexts

3 GB

4G/5G data

$12.50/mo*

$25/mo

$8.33 per GB

Powered by: AT&T & T-Mobile

AT&T vs Good2Go Mobile Plan Comparison

Keep your AT&T phone, number & coverage: Save $637 per year

CarrierNetwork Coverage4G/5G DataPriceAnnual Cost
AT&TAT&T 4G & 5GUnltd*$75/mo$900/yr
Good2Go MobileAT&T 4G & 5G3GB$25/mo$263/yr
*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GBSavings$50/mo$637/yr

Compare: AT&T student discounts & plans


Student cell phone plan features

  • 4G LTE & 5G 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 student cell phone plans

CarrierNetworkMinutesTextsDataPrice
TingT-Mobile & VerizonUnltdUnltd0GB$10** $5 extra per GB
Mint MobileT-MobileUnltdUnltd4GB$15** Buy 3 Months - Get 3 Months Free
US MobileVerizon & T-MobileUnltdUnltd12GB$20Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Mint MobileT-MobileUnltdUnltdUnltd$30** Buy 3 Months - Get 3 Months Free
TelloT-MobileUnltdUnltd1GB$5** 50% Off 1st Month

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

NETWORKOVERALLRELIABILITYSPEEDDATACALL
Verizon Coverage9596949694
AT&T Coverage9494959692
T-Mobile Coverage8688828982

Source: Rootmetrics

Find Cheap Cell Phone Plans in Your Area

Student cell phone plan types

  • Unlimited data 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.
  • Family phone 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!
  • Talk & 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 data plans: Find the cheapest data plan for your tablet or iPad.

How to switch to a cheaper 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.

Cheap cell phone companies list

AT&TT-MobileVerizon
Red PocketMint MobileUS Mobile
Unreal MobileTelloTing
Good2Go MobileUS MobileTwigby
Pure TalkTingRed Pocket
h2o WirelessUltra MobileReach Mobile
Cricket WirelessRed PocketSpectrum Mobile
Straight TalkGoSmart MobilePage Plus Cellular
Black WirelessRepublic WirelessTotal Wireless
Kroger WirelessSimple MobileXfinity Mobile
easyGO WirelessLycamobileCREDO Mobile
Optimum MobileSelectel WirelessAffinity Cellular
FreedompopBoost MobileGreatCall
Gen MobileWalmart Family Mobile
Wing
easyGO Wireless
Speedtalk Mobile

Best cell phone deals

So what if you do want to upgrade your phone? It's all good - with a prepaid carrier you can save a ton of money by choosing one of a couple of great money-saving options:

  • Buy a new phone from the carrier: More and more MVNOs are offering a selection of affordable phones. Some even give you the choice of making device payments instead of paying all at once. We've gathered the best cell phone deals for you to compare all in one place.
  • Buy a refurbished cell phone: If you'd rather own your phone outright, compare refurbished phone deals to save over 50% on top models in great condition.

Compare the cheapest cell phone prices

PhoneStorageNetworkConditionPrice
Apple iPhone SE64GBAT&TNew$17/mo
Apple iPhone 1164GBAT&TNew$21/mo
Apple iPhone 12 mini64GBAT&TNew$26/mo
Apple iPhone 13 mini128GBAT&TNew$30/mo
Apple iPhone 1264GBAT&TNew$30/mo
Apple iPhone 13128GBT-MobileNew$35/mo
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max64GBAT&TNew$37/mo
Apple iPhone 12 Pro128GBAT&TNew$37/mo
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max128GBAT&TNew$42/mo
Apple iPhone 13 Pro128GBT-MobileNew$42/mo
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max128GBAT&TNew$46/mo

Buy a refurbished phone & save even more

Living on a shoestring budget you're no doubt already the king or queen of the bargain. Why not get the best deal on your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy too?

Buying a used or refurbished smartphone is a great deal, both financially and practically.

  • You'll save more than 50% off the retail price of a brand-new phone (which can run as high as $1000!).
  • There are plenty of reputable sellers now, most of which even offer some kind of warranty on your purchase.
  • There are phone repair shops virtually everywhere now - getting your device fixed is easy and affordable.
  • Buying a used phone is environmentally responsible. Most people upgrade before their device is actually worn out or obsolete.

We make it easy for college students to get the best price on the most popular phones. Compare devices and features and then see the lowest prices available on the phone you want. If you're planning to bring your current device to a new plan, remember to unlock your phone so you're free to use it on another carrier.


Student phone plans FAQs

What is a good cell phone plan for students?

MVNO's - Mobile Virtual Network Operators, run on the same networks as the three major telecoms, but offer plans at half the price. Carriers like Tello provides plans starting at $10 a month.

Do phone companies have student discounts?

Student discounts from Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T can be hard to find, but you don't need a discount with low cost plans from MVNOs. Carriers like Boost Mobile and Ting have plans starting from $10 and give you access to the nationwide coverage from one of the 3 major networks.

Who has the cheapest unlimited cell phone plan?

Unlimited never really means unlimited. Once you've reached a set data limit your data speeds will be significantly slowed. However if you still want to go for an unlimited plan, low cost carriers operating on the main networks like Mint Mobile and Pure Talk can offer the best value deals. Starting from around $30 a month.


Recap

There's no reason for college students to pay premium prices for cell phone service or the latest cell phones.

Compare cheap cell phone plans from numerous low cost carriers and save IP to $600 per line. MVNO and a discount cell phone plan. Buy a refurbished phone at 50% or more off retail. Sell your old phone for more cash online rather than store trade-in. It's also worth checking out if you qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program where you can get up to $50/mo of your internet or cell phone bill.

Not sure which plan to choose? Calculate your data usage before making a final decision!

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 - Best prepaid phone plan for studentsTelloBest prepaid planUnlimitedUnlimited1GB$10/mo
Mint Mobile SIM Card - Best unlimited data plan for studentsMint MobileBest unlimited planUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited$30/mo
US Mobile SIM Card - Best family phone plan for studentsUS MobileBest family planUnlimitedUnlimited5GB$15/mo
Ultra Mobile SIM Card - Best 5G phone plan for studentsUltra MobileBest 5G planUnlimitedUnlimited2GB$19/mo
Ting SIM Card - Best student talk & text phone planTingBest Talk & text planUnlimitedUnlimited0GB$10/mo
Twigby SIM Card - Best individual phone plan for studentsTwigbyBest individual planUnlimitedUnlimited3GB$20/mo
Red Pocket SIM Card - Best student phone plan for 2 linesRed PocketBest plan for 2 lines5005000.5GB$10/mo
Good2Go Mobile SIM Card - Best cheap phone plan for studentsGood2Go MobileBest cheap planUnlimitedUnlimited3GB$25/mo
US Mobile SIM Card - Best student tablet data planUS MobileBest tablet data plan002GB$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.