It’s time to figure out if you have one of the best cell phone plans. After all, the best phone carriers mix up their plans so frequently that that plan you bought some time ago that seemed like a good deal back then may not be the best option for you anymore.
Best Cellular Plans: Quick Links
Best cheap mobile plan: Mint Mobile
Best coverage option: Verizon
Best Unlimited Plan On A Budget: Visible
Best family plan: T Mobile
Finding the best cell phone plans becomes even more urgent if you are buying a new phone. Often times, deals on new phones require you to commit to a plan for two years. If so, you’ll want to make sure the one you’re signing in for is good value for money.
Of course, choosing the best mobile plan isn’t just about choosing the cheapest option. Beyond dollars and cents, you need to determine which phones are supported by which wireless carriers and what the coverage and data speeds are in the area where you will be using your phone the most. It also helps to get a plan from a leading phone company so that your service comes with solid benefits.
To make it easier to decide, we’ve gone through the plans of the major cell carriers and smaller discount providers to create a list of the best cell phone plans for all kinds of different needs. You’ll find our top picks and some helpful tips on how to choose the plan that’s right for you.
Cheap cell phone plans
You just want a mobile plan on a low budget? There are many carriers who can offer you a cheaper plan if you don’t mind sacrificing your data cap a bit.
If you’re the type of person who occasionally uses social media and essential apps like Google Maps, WhatsApp, or general internet browsing, you can get away with a plan that offers 1GB to 4GB of data each month. Depending on the wireless service provider you use, you can cut your costs between $ 10 and $ 15. In fact, three of the four plans below hit this price range, and the fourth gets cheaper the longer you stay there.
Unlimited cellular plans
Unlike the cheap plans above, unlimited mobile phone plans will often be some of the most expensive around. But if you’re glued to your phone to stream Netflix on the go, scroll through Facebook, and feed plenty of data each month, the extra cost of an unlimited plan might well be worth it.
In reality, you should expect to pay at least $ 30 here, although the bigger carriers charge between $ 60 and $ 90 per month for unlimited data. These more expensive plans include more benefits, such as free subscription to streaming service, data increase for hotspots, etc. Unlimited plans often include 5G coverage as well.
Family cellular plans
When shopping for a family plan, cheaper isn’t always better. The more expensive options tend to have larger data limits (or unlimited data), better coverage, and more benefits.
The best value tends to be around the four-line bar, but there are also plenty of two-line plans if that’s more convenient for you. In fact, for four lines of data, you should expect to pay over $ 100 and up to $ 200 depending on the plan and carrier.
Prepaid mobile phone plans
For many people, prepaid phone plans will be the best solution. They are often some of the more affordable plans out there, offering flexible contracts that typically don’t have a contract or credit check.
If you don’t want to be tied to a contract, this ability to cancel at any time will be a huge bonus. While these plans tend to focus on more affordable, low data consumption data contracts, you can also get unlimited data plans or slightly more expensive options with more perks.
How to choose the best mobile plan for you
Price is a big factor when looking for the best cell phone plans, especially if you are getting more than one line for other family members. Most operators offer increasing discounts as you add more lines. You will therefore have to compare the total cost of your plan according to the number of lines requiring service.
However, cell phone plans are not limited to the amount of your monthly bill. You also need to determine which has the best coverage in your area and if it supports the phone you want to use. Our guide to best telephone operators can answer some of these questions, but you’ll also want to ask friends, neighbors, and coworkers about a specific carrier’s coverage in your home and office, if you’re looking to switch wireless service providers.
Speaking of changing operators, the major operators are all willing to shoulder some of the costs for you to change. These promotions may vary over time, so we suggest that you keep an eye out for any new carrier offers when considering a change as you may find additional ways to save money.
Wireless carriers have spent several years developing their 5G coverage, and if you have the right 5G phone, you can benefit from faster speeds if a carrier offers 5G service in your area. T-Mobile includes 5G coverage with its Magenta plan, and Metro By T-Mobile customers with unlimited plans can also access T-Mobile’s 5G towers with a compatible smartphone. AT&T previously asked you to purchase its most expensive unlimited data plan options for 5G, but now any unlimited plan is eligible for coverage. Verizon currently includes full 5G coverage in three of its four unlimited plans, but the cheapest plan, Start Unlimited, lacks ultra-broadband 5G coverage. AT&T and Verizon have extended 5G coverage to prepaid customers with unlimited data plans.
- What is 5G? The Definitive Guide to What Wireless Operators Do
What type of mobile plan do I need?
As you might expect, there is no easy answer to this and the question rather is, which is the best plan for you. This will obviously depend on a wide variety of factors.
For those on a budget who are looking for flexibility, a prepaid cell phone plan will be a great option. These are often the cheapest options and the lack of contracts will be a huge bonus, especially if you like to change carriers frequently.
If you frequently stream Netflix on the go, enjoy playing games on your phone, or just draining your data at blazing speeds, an unlimited plan is a great solution, especially as 5G becomes more common.
|Best cheap carrier||Ideal for cover||Best for unlimited||The best family packages||Best prepaid operator|
|Carrier||Mint Mobile||Verizon||Visible||T Mobile||Mint Mobile|
|Best plan||4 GB – $ 15||Make more unlimited – $ 80||unlimited plan – $ 40||T-Mobile Magenta – $ 140||10 GB – $ 20|
Family cell phone plans are a great way to save money, especially since many carriers offer discounts when you add more lines to your plan. It won’t be surprising that this is the way to go for the average family.
If you are just looking for the lowest price possible, carriers like Mint Mobile and Tello can offer you very low costs if you don’t mind sacrificing some data.
In reality, cell phone plans tend to fall into one of these categories: Cheap, Prepaid, Family, Unlimited, Kids, or Seniors. If you figure out which one is right for you, you can narrow your search down considerably.
MVNOs and major carriers: what’s the difference?
MVNOs are a bit of a weird concept, but they are a great way to get a cell phone plan on a budget. So what are they and how do they differ from the major carriers.
First of all, it is important to note the major carriers. These are: AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, which absorbed Sprint in 2020. You can also include US Cellular in this group, although its coverage remains regional compared to the Big Three. These brands use their own technology and manage their own regional cellular networks.
MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), on the other hand, are brands that do not own or operate their own technology and that “piggyback” on the services of one of the above brands. This allows them to be much cheaper than the major carriers, but it does mean that they are the first to be limited during peak times and don’t have access to as many additional perks.
MVNOs had limited 5G coverage, although this appears to be changing as carriers expand their coverage. We explain more about this in our MVNO guide, but the main players are:
- Mint Mobile: works on T-Mobile
- Metro by T-Mobile: works on T-Mobile
- Cricket Wireless: works on AT&T
- Visible: works on Verizon
- Boost Mobile: works on T-Mobile and switches to AT&T