The cheapest prepaid phone plans: Starting at $10

Unlocking the most affordable prepaid 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 best value providers to consider.

Share:

MoneySavingPro independently researches the products & services to bring you our recommendations. We may earn money when you click our links - disclosure policy.

Fed up with the big three's limited options and high prices?

As these telecom giants kick off the year by toasting their hefty profits and simultaneously rolling out price increases, it's clear they've overlooked the savvy consumers of today.

With over a decade of experience in the wireless industry, I've witnessed the growing disparity in pricing firsthand. However, the silver lining is that finding a more budget-friendly carrier has become easier than ever.

To save you the hassle, I've meticulously analyzed over 30 alternative carriers and sifted through more than 100 prepaid phone plans.

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

Selecting the perfect plan comes down to your preferred network and how you use your phone. Therefore, I've compared the cheapest prepaid plans across all three major networks, tailored for light, moderate, and heavy data users.

Moreover, I've highlighted what I believe to be the best overall value prepaid plan. The final decision, however, is yours to make.

Cheapest 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
$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

Cheapest 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

4.4 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

Cheapest 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

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 prepaid 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 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, and 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 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 prepaid cell phone comparison to help find the best deal.


How to choose the best value carrier for prepaid phone plans

  • Network preference: Network reliability remains a crucial factor when you're searching for a prepaid phone plan, especially in less urbanized areas. Fortunately, MVNOs operate on the same 5G & 4G LTE wireless networks as the big guys. According to an Opensignal 5G Experience Report (2023), T-Mobile currently leads in 5G coverage, but you can choose an MVNO on your preferred network for peace of mind.
  • Data allowance: Contrary to the push for unlimited data plans by big wireless, the actual data needs for many users are considerably lower, particularly with frequent Wi-Fi access. In fact, the average monthly cellular data use is around 10GB.
  • Hotspot data: Hotspot functionality is a common feature among most carriers but comes with varying data limits for tethering, depending on the carrier and specific plan chosen. Some providers also offer dedicated data-only plans, ensuring connectivity for devices like tablets and mobile hotspots even when Wi-Fi isn't available.
  • Monthly price: While unlimited plans from major carriers can be costly, averaging around $75-90 per month, the best MVNOs offer much more affordable prepaid plans, with prices ranging from $5-35 per month.
  • Number of lines: Big wireless typically advertises low prices contingent upon purchasing multiple lines. In contrast, MVNOs offer straightforward pricing, even for single lines, while still providing additional discounts for multi-line prepaid plans, making them an attractive option if you're looking for more than one line.
  • Bring your own phone: Unlike the big three, which often incentivize a continuous cycle of device upgrades, MVNOs generally encourage you to bring your own phone. This approach offers greater flexibility and control over when to upgrade your device. If you're interested in purchasing a new phone, many MVNOs provide affordable options with flexible financing terms.
  • Deals and promotions: Promotions from big wireless might seem appealing at first, but they often come with strings attached, leading to unnecessary expenditures or long-term commitments. Conversely, many MVNOs offer straightforward, short-term promotional pricing for new customers, with more transparent pricing structures.
  • Perks and add ons: While many big wireless plans come with "free" TV subscriptions or other perks, these benefits often convert into paid subscriptions added to your bill after a few months. Some affordable carriers do offer plans with free subscription services, but it's generally advisable to manage these subscriptions separately to avoid paying for unwanted services.
  • International calling: If you have friends and family abroad, many MVNOs include free international calls to numerous countries in their prepaid plans, providing a cost-effective way to stay connected globally.
  • Parental controls: If you're looking for prepaid plans for the whole family, parental controls are an important consideration to allow you to monitor and manage your children's phone usage and data consumption. Several MVNOs offer parental control features, enabling restrictions on data usage, app access, and even location tracking, either through specific subscription plans or device settings.

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


Find the best cheap prepaid phone service in your area

Cut your phone bill by up to $600/yr
Find a cheaper plan in seconds
Same coverage - switch instantly

Cheap prepaid phone plans FAQs


Recap: What is the cheapest prepaid phone plan?

The big three are signaling their plans to continue raising prices, a move that seems less about adjusting for inflation and more about boosting their profits in a competitive market, all at the expense of their dedicated customers.

As household expenses continue to climb, with little relief in sight for essentials, the good news is you can still access the same quality cell phone service at a reduced cost with cheap prepaid plans from MVNOs.

I recommend using our cell phone plan comparison before you commit to a new prepaid plan. It's designed to help you sift through the options and ensure you secure the best deal, which could save you up to $600 a year per line.

Prepaid plan guides

Cheap T-Mobile plan

  • 2GB 5G data
  • Unlimited talk & text
  • T-Mobile 5G & 4G networks

$10/mo

See at Tello

T-Mobile family plan

  • 15GB 5G data
  • Unlimited talk & text
  • T-Mobile 5G & 4G networks

$15/mo*

$20/mo

See at Mint Mobile

*$45 for 3 Months

Best overall prepaid plan

  • Unlimited 5G data
  • Unlimited talk & text
  • T-Mobile 5G & 4G networks

$25/mo

See at Tello

Cheap Verizon plan

  • 2GB 5G data
  • Unlimited talk & text
  • Verizon 5G & 4G networks

$5/mo*

$15/mo

See at Twigby

*$5/mo for 1st 3 Mths

Verizon family plan

  • 10GB 5G data
  • Unlimited talk & text
  • Verizon & T-Mobile 5G & 4G networks

$15/mo*

See at US Mobile

*$180 for 12 Mths Service

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.

Related Content

Phone plans guides
Best 5G cell phone plans in 2024
19 min read
Apr 01, 2024
Best bring your own phone plans in 2024
19 min read
Apr 01, 2024
Best cell phone plans in 2024
20 min read
Apr 01, 2024
Best cell phone plans for kids in 2024
19 min read
Apr 01, 2024
Best cell phone plans for seniors in 2024
20 min read
Apr 01, 2024
Best cell phone plans for students in 2024
19 min read
Apr 01, 2024
Best cell phone plans for two in 2024
19 min read
Apr 01, 2024
Best phone plans for one in 2024
20 min read
Apr 01, 2024
How much could you save?
Calculate your savings now
Same coverage - cut your bill by up to $600/yr
Women floating over network logos
Find a cheaper plan in seconds
Switch in minutes