Best prepaid phone plans in 2024

Finding the best value prepaid plan means leveraging the competitive rates offered by low-cost carriers. You'll get the same coverage for a fraction of the cost.

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Tired of the big three's lack of choice, confusing bills, and wallet-vacuuming prices?

With the big wireless companies spending January celebrating record profits while also announcing further price hikes, they seem to have underestimated today's empowered consumers.

I've worked within the wireless industry for over a decade; the price gap is wider than ever, but switching carriers has never been simpler.

I have reviewed 30 alternative carriers and 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 tries 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

Surprisingly, there are still plenty of carriers remaining, and perhaps even more surprising is these low-cost carriers operate on the same wireless networks you already know.

The best plan depends on your network preference and cell phone usage - so I have listed the best value phone plans on each of the 3 networks for low, medium, and heavy data users.

I have also included what I consider to be the best overall value plan, but the choice is yours.

Best prepaid 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
$20/mo*
See at Mint Mobile

*$60 for 3 Months

4.5 Read our Mint Mobile review
$660 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
*$60 for 3 Months
See at Tello
Unlimited data
*not unlimited
2GB data 15GB data Unlimited data
$75/mo
*plus fees & taxes
$10/mo $20/mo* $25/mo
$900/yr
*plus fees & taxes
$120/yr $240/yr $300/yr
1.4 on Trustpilot
4.5 on Trustpilot
2.8 on Trustpilot
4.5 on Trustpilot
Annual savings
$780/yr $660/yr $600/yr

Best prepaid 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 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
Unlimited data
*not unlimited
2GB data 10GB data Unlimited data
$75/mo
*plus fees & taxes
$5/mo*$15/mo $15/mo* $15/mo*$29/mo
$900/yr
*plus fees & taxes
$150/yr $180/yr $306/yr
1.2 on Trustpilot
4.3 on Trustpilot
4.8 on Trustpilot
4.8 on Trustpilot
Annual savings
$750/yr $720/yr $594/yr

Best prepaid plans on AT&T

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

Cheap AT&T plan

Boost Mobile 5GB plan

Image of cell phone with Boost Mobile
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
5GB
data
$5/mo*
$15/mo
4 Read our Boost Mobile review
$750 in annual savings

Best family plan on AT&T

Red Pocket 20GB plan

Image of cell phone with Red Pocket
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
20GB
data
$25/mo*
See at Red Pocket

*$300 for 12 Mths

3.5 Read our Red Pocket review
$600 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
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
*$300 for 12 Mths
Unlimited data
*not unlimited
5GB data 20GB data Unlimited data
$75/mo
*plus fees & taxes
$5/mo*$15/mo $25/mo* $12.50/mo*$25/mo
$900/yr
*plus fees & taxes
$150/yr $300/yr $287.50/yr
1.3 on Trustpilot
1.4 on Trustpilot
3.8 on Trustpilot
1.4 on Trustpilot
Annual savings
$750/yr $600/yr $612.50/yr

Best overall prepaid 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 most 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 189% 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 prepaid cell phone plans

Carrier Data Monthly Price Annual Price Savings
Tello 2GB $10/mo $120/yr $780/yr See at Tello
Mint Mobile 15GB $20/mo* $240/yr $660/yr See at Mint Mobile
*$60 for 3 Months
Tello Unlimited $25/mo $300/yr $600/yr See at Tello

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


How to choose the best value prepaid carrier

MVNO plans cost around $10-30 per month, saving up to $600 per year, so the cost benefits are clear, but here are the other key factors to consider:

  • Network preference: T-Mobile currently leads in 5G coverage according to J.D. Power. However, it depends on your area, and most people have a preferred network, so make sure to pick a low-cost carrier that operates on this network.
  • Data needs: Unlike what the big wireless companies want you to believe, one size certainly does not fit all. The average monthly cellular data usage is 10GB. Low-cost carriers offer a range of data plans, so choose a plan that matches your actual usage and save even more.
  • Customer service: In general, MVNOs have better customer service ratings than big wireless. However, not all MVNOs are equal, so I recommend checking out our carrier reviews and carrier customer ratings before deciding on your next provider.
  • Phone options: I recommended bringing your own phone to avoid upgrade cycles. However, most MVNOs offer 0% financing if you want a new device.
  • Number of lines: These low-cost carriers advertise single-line prices, Unlike big wireless, the advertised prices do not require you to purchase multiple lines. Some do offer a further discount if you do want multiple lines.
  • Hotspot data: If you intend to use your phone as a hotspot, it's important to check the hotspot data limit of the plan you're considering.
  • Promotions: These carriers often run promotions that include further discounts during the first few months. Unlike the big three's offers, they don't require loads of fine print to explain.
  • Extra perks: Be wary of "free" subscriptions from big carriers that end up on your bill. Some MVNOs offer more transparent perks, but I recommend keeping subscriptions separate so you don't end up with future extra charges.
  • International calls: Most MVNOs offer free international calls, and some provide affordable roaming options for travelers, but if this is important to you, remember to check for details on their site before choosing a carrier.
  • Parental controls: Many carriers provide tools to effectively manage your child's phone use.

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Prepaid cell phone plans FAQs


Recap: What is the best prepaid cell phone plan?

The big wireless companies are making it clear they intend to keep pushing up prices, which ultimately has nothing to do with inflation but to increase their profits in a saturated market at the expense of their loyal customers.

With ever-increasing household expenses, not much can be done about the cost of gas or groceries. However, now you can get exactly the same cell phone service for a fraction of the cost, saving you up to $600 per year per line.

Before deciding on your next carrier, I recommend checking out our cell phone plan comparison to ensure you find the best deal for your needs.

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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