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Best cell phone plans in 2024

The key to finding the best value phone plan is all about leveraging the competitive rates offered by low-cost carriers. You'll get the same coverage for a fraction of the cost without hidden fees and price hikes. Here are the most affordable providers to consider.

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Feeling trapped by the big three's limited options, cryptic bills, and sky-high prices? You're not on your own.

As the major networks spend the new year celebrating their soaring profits and roll out yet another series of price increases, it's clear they've overlooked a significant portion of the market: budget-conscious consumers in search of better value.

With over a decade of experience in the wireless industry, I've witnessed the growing disparity in pricing firsthand. Yet, the journey to a more affordable mobile plan is now easier than ever.

To help your search, I've sifted through 30 alternative carriers and evaluated over 100 prepaid phone plans, so you don't have to.

To save you time, I have excluded carriers that:

  • Only offer unlimited data plans
  • Only advertise multi-line prices
  • Have confusing phone bills with unexpected fees
  • Lure customers with "free" phones
  • Constantly try to upsell additional lines
  • Bundle plans with unnecessary subscriptions
  • Need loads of small print to explain their offers
  • Want you to go to a store
  • Need a commission-based salesperson
  • Reward customer loyalty with increased prices

The landscape is surprisingly rich with options, offering access to the same reliable networks at a fraction of the cost. This revelation is a game-changer for those unaware that such affordable alternatives exist.

The best plans will be based on your preferred network and cell phone usage, so I've compiled a list of the best value cell phone plans across all three major networks, tailored to suit low, medium, and high data users, giving you the freedom to choose a plan that best fits your lifestyle and budget.,

Whether you're a data-heavy user or someone who just wants to stay connected without breaking the bank, there's an option out there for you.

Best phone plans on T-Mobile

These are the top 3 plans from low-cost carriers with T-Mobile coverage to consider.

Cheap T-Mobile plan

Tello 2GB plan

Image of cell phone with Tello
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
2GB
data
$10/mo
5 Read our Tello review
$780 in annual savings

Best family plan on T-Moble

Mint Mobile 15GB plan

Image of cell phone with Mint Mobile
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
15GB
data
$15/mo*
$20/mo
See at Mint Mobile

*$45 for 3 Months

4.2 Read our Mint Mobile review
$675 in annual savings

Best unlimited plan on T-Mobile

Tello unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with Tello
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$25/mo
5 Read our Tello review
$600 in annual savings

How T-Mobile compares

The table below demonstrates that choosing the Tello unlimited data plan would save you $600 per year compared to buying an unlimited data plan from T-Mobile directly.

T-Mobile T-Mobile coverage at a fraction of the cost
See at Tello See at Mint Mobile
*$45 for 3 Months
See at Tello
T-Mobile 4G & 5GT-Mobile 4G & 5GT-Mobile 4G & 5G
Unlimited data
*not unlimited
Unlimited dataUnlimited dataUnlimited data
$75/mo$10/mo$15/mo*$20/mo$25/mo
$900/yr$120/yr$225/yr$300/yr
1.4 on Trustpilot
4.6 on Trustpilot
2.9 on Trustpilot
4.6 on Trustpilot
Annual savings$780/yr$675/yr$600/yr

Best phone plans on Verizon

These are the top 3 plans from low-cost carriers with Verizon coverage to consider.

Cheap Verizon plan

Twigby 2GB plan

Image of cell phone with Twigby
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
2GB
data
$5/mo*
$15/mo
See at Twigby

*$5/mo for 1st 3 Mths

4.4 Read our Twigby review
$750 in annual savings

Best family plan on Verizon

US Mobile 10GB plan

Image of cell phone with US Mobile
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
10GB
data
$15/mo*
See at US Mobile

*$180 for 12 Mths Service

5 Read our US Mobile review
$720 in annual savings

Best unlimited plan on Verizon

US Mobile unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with US Mobile
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$15/mo*
$29/mo
See at US Mobile

*30 Day FREE Trial

5 Read our US Mobile review
$594 in annual savings

How Verizon compares

The table below demonstrates that choosing the US Mobile unlimited data plan would save you $594 per year compared to buying an unlimited data plan from Verizon directly.

Verizon Verizon coverage at a fraction of the cost
See at Twigby
*$5/mo for 1st 3 Mths
See at US Mobile
*$180 for 12 Mths Service
See at US Mobile
*30 Day FREE Trial
Verizon 4G & 5GVerizon & T-Mobile 4G & 5GVerizon & T-Mobile 4G & 5G
Unlimited data
*not unlimited
Unlimited dataUnlimited dataUnlimited data
$75/mo$5/mo*$15/mo$15/mo*$15/mo*$29/mo
$900/yr$150/yr$180/yr$306/yr
1.2 on Trustpilot
4.4 on Trustpilot
4.7 on Trustpilot
4.7 on Trustpilot
Annual savings$750/yr$720/yr$594/yr

Best phone plans on AT&T

These are the top 3 plans from low-cost carriers with AT&T coverage to consider.

Cheap AT&T plan

Red Pocket 1GB plan

Image of cell phone with Red Pocket
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
1GB
data
$10/mo
4.1 Read our Red Pocket review
$780 in annual savings

Best family plan on AT&T

Boost Mobile 5GB plan

Image of cell phone with Boost Mobile
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
5GB
data
$15/mo*
4 Read our Boost Mobile review
$720 in annual savings

Best unlimited plan on AT&T

Boost Mobile unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with Boost Mobile
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$12.50/mo*
$25/mo
See at Boost Mobile

*50% Off 1st Mth

4 Read our Boost Mobile review
$612.50 in annual savings

How AT&T compares

The table below demonstrates that choosing the Boost Mobile unlimited data plan would save you $612.50 per year compared to buying an unlimited data plan from AT&T directly.

AT&T AT&T coverage at a fraction of the cost
See at Red Pocket See at Boost Mobile See at Boost Mobile
*50% Off 1st Mth
AT&T & Verizon 4G & 5GAT&T & T-Mobile 4G & 5GAT&T & T-Mobile 4G & 5G
Unlimited data
*not unlimited
Unlimited dataUnlimited dataUnlimited data
$75/mo$10/mo$15/mo*$12.50/mo*$25/mo
$900/yr$120/yr$180/yr$287.50/yr
1.3 on Trustpilot
4.4 on Trustpilot
1.3 on Trustpilot
1.3 on Trustpilot
Annual savings$780/yr$720/yr$612.50/yr

Best overall value Phone plan

Tello unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with Tello
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$25/mo
5 Read our Tello review
$600 in annual savings

Big wireless: Big prices, big profits, little value

The average phone bill is $155 per month, and while 38 million Americans live in poverty, the government cut funding to the Affordable Connectivity Program, which was assisting 22 million low-income families with subsidized internet and cell phone service.

At the same time, the big three spent January celebrating record profits and multi-billion dollar shareholder dividend payouts while simultaneously announcing yet more price hikes.

So, big wireless continues to raise prices, and the government drops assistance to those in need. However, you do have options, so the power is in your hands.

Take back control of your phone bill

A big wireless unlimited plan will cost you $1,600 extra over the next 3 years compared to getting the same service from an MVNO.

A big wireless unlimited data plan will cost you $2,700 over the next 3 years for just 1 line. In comparison, unlimited plans from a low-cost carrier over the same period would cost only $900.

So, buying directly from Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T is now 3 times more expensive for the same coverage. This does not include fees and taxes or future price hikes.

Why is it so much more expensive to buy the same service directly?

With big wireless, you are paying for multi-billion dollar ad campaigns, stadium sponsorships, and thousands of stores with commission-based salespeople - all these expenses get passed onto you to maximize profits and dividend payouts.

With this next generation of MVNOs, you switch online and just pay for phone service.

Cut your phone bill, not your coverage

These low-cost carriers offer a great alternative with transparent pricing, a range of data plans to customize to your needs, and more highly rated customer service.

You can keep your phone, number, coverage, and most importantly, your money!

Even better, it's quick and easy; you can complete the entire switching process online in minutes with an eSIM-compatible phone.

So, now is the time to re-evaluate your options, take back control of your phone bill, and free yourself from price hikes forever!


Compare the cheapest cell phone plans

Carrier Data Monthly Price Annual Price Savings
Tello 2GB $10/mo $120/yr $780/yr See at Tello
Mint Mobile 15GB $15/mo*$20/mo $225/yr $675/yr See at Mint Mobile
*$45 for 3 Months
Tello Unlimited $25/mo $300/yr $600/yr See at Tello

Check out our cell phone plan comparison to help find the best deal.


How to choose the best value cell phone plans

  • What network coverage do you prefer? Network coverage shouldn't mean settling for less. Budget-friendly carriers operate on the big three 5G & 4G LTE wireless networks. If you have a preferred network, there's likely an affordable MVNO that uses it, ensuring you don't compromise on connectivity. You can find out about the network performances with this Opensignal 5G Experience Report (2023).
  • How much data do you need? Do you really need unlimited data plans? While the big three push these as essential, many users find their actual data usage is much lower. The average monthly cellular data use is around 10GB, most likely due to Wi-Fi access at home or work. Opting for a plan that matches your real usage can lead to substantial savings.
  • Is hotspot data included? Hotspot data can be a game-changer, allowing internet access on devices beyond your phone. However, be mindful of tethering limits, which vary by plan and carrier. Some offer data-only plans, perfect for when you're out of Wi-Fi range, ensuring you stay connected without overspending.
  • What's the monthly price? Ditch the notion that quality service costs $75-90 per month. The best MVNOs break this stereotype with plans ranging from $5-35, all without sacrificing coverage. However, make sure to keep an eye out for hidden fees and taxes to ensure you're truly saving.
  • How many lines do you need? Unlike the big carriers, which often advertise lower prices only when bundling lines, MVNOs offer transparent pricing for individual lines. This is ideal for solo users or those coordinating their own plan, with many low-cost carriers also providing discounts for adding more lines later on if needed.
  • Can I bring my own phone or buy a new device? Escape the endless upgrade cycle promoted by major carriers by bringing your own device to an MVNO. This choice puts you in control, allowing you to upgrade on your terms. For those looking to buy, many MVNOs offer affordable devices with flexible financing options.
  • Are there any deals or promotions? While big wireless deals may seem attractive, they often come with strings attached, like unnecessary purchases or long-term contracts. MVNOs, on the other hand, offer straightforward, transparent promotions, making it easier to understand what you're signing up for and how much you're truly saving.
  • What perks or add ons can I expect? Be wary of "free" subscription perks included in some big wireless plans, as they often become paid add-ons. Some budget-friendly carriers do offer add-on, but it's important to assess whether these extras are beneficial or just additional expenses.
  • Is international calling included? Staying connected globally shouldn't mean a hefty bill. Many MVNOs include international calling to a wide range of countries, a feature especially valuable for those with friends and family abroad, ensuring you can keep in touch without breaking the bank.
  • Are there parental controls? While not directly related to saving money, parental controls offered by some MVNOs can help manage usage and prevent unexpected overages. These features are worth considering for anyone looking to keep a tight rein on their cell phone spending, offering peace of mind and additional control over your plan.

Before making a decision, explore our cell phone plan comparison to ensure you're getting the best deal possible.


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Cell phone plans FAQs


Recap: What is the best cell phone carrier?

Big wireless continue to signal their intention to hike prices, a move that seems more about boosting their bottom lines in a competitive market than responding to economic conditions.

As household expenses climb, with little relief in sight for everyday costs like fuel or groceries, there's a silver lining for savvy consumers.

You now have the opportunity to access the same quality cell phone service at a significantly lower price, potentially saving up to $600 a year on your cell phone bill.

For those looking to make a smart switch without compromising on service, I recommend checking out our cell phone plan comparison. It's designed to help you navigate through the range of options available, to make sure you secure the best cell phone deal for you.

Phone plan guides

How we choose the best carriers and plans

To select the best carriers and plans, MoneySavingPro's team of experts evaluated over 30 different carriers.

Carriers were rated in five categories, with a star rating from 1-5, with 5 stars being the best. We then calculate the overall star rating using the five categories:

  1. Value for money: We compare carriers based on price, features, benefits, and promotions. It's not just about the lowest price but getting the most bang for your buck.
  2. Coverage: We look at network 5G and 4G LTE coverage across the US. We use coverage maps to determine service availability and data speeds in urban, suburban, and rural locations.
  3. Customer experience: We take into account items such as current user experience, website and app usability, ease of switching, and customer service in terms of availability, channels, and satisfaction ratings.
  4. Transparency: We assess whether carrier pricing is clear and straightforward. We examine the fine print to check for hidden fees, confusing terms or conditions, and misleading offers to ensure upfront, honest prices and advertising.
  5. Range of choice: We evaluate the diversity of plan options to determine if they fit the individual needs of all customers.

Read more about our carrier ratings methodology and our editorial process.

We regularly update our comparisons. Updating cell phone plans weekly and our content monthly to ensure we are showing the latest and most accurate information.

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