Choosing the best cell phone plan for your needs is tricky. Recommending them even more so. How I use my phone might not match up with how you use yours. We feel each of the plans listed here offer great value, but be sure that the specific features meet your needs.
We didn’t feel it was fair or accurate to break things up into price tiers or a single factor, such as bandwidth amounts. Instead, we’ve filtered through the best plans available and made suggestions based on common ways people use their phones.
From plans that let you use your phone as a mini-computer and photography studio or to budget-friendly basics with a handful of voice minutes for emergencies, we’ve got you covered!
Our Top Pick
Customizable plans, great coverage, and features for less make this a winner.
The Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans October 2019
If you’re looking to cut down your cell phone bill, here are our top picks for cheap cell phone plans for 2019.
Our top 5 cheap cell phone plans
The Best Cell Phone Plans For Seniors October 2019
There’s no one perfect cell phone service option that fits everybody, and senior cell phone plans are no different. If you’re looking for senior phone plan, here are our best cell phone plans for seniors in 2019.
Our top 5 cell phone plans for seniors
The Best Cell Phone Plans For Families October 2019
If you’re planning to cut down your cell phone bill and keep your family connected to one single bill, family plans are the best way to Go. You can pay Less per Line and get the best value! Here are our best cell phone plans for families in 2019.
Our top 5 cell phone plans for families
Best Cell Phone Plans & Providers
Tello Mobile – Best Overall
Our pick for the best cell phone plans goes to Tello. Their $14 plan for light users offering unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of LTE data. As well as their $39 plan for heavy users offering unlimited talk, text, and 12GB of LTE data which provides everything you could need in a plan.
Tello offers cheap prepaid phone plans to fit any budget. Starting at just a few bucks a month the plans are infinitely customizable.
Tello allows you to build your own customized plan based on what you exactly need, which gives you full control of your minutes, texts, and data including options for no-data or data-only. You can add more of anything if you find your plan needs adjusting.
All plans come with unlimited free texting and tethering at no extra cost, and also free calls to Canada, Mexico, and China in addition to the U.S.
Customers have the option to purchase additional Pay as You Go plan credits for international calling and texting.
Although Tello doesn’t necessarily have a family plan option it’s important to note that it is one of the cheapest MVNOs on the market and so signing your family up for individual plans will save you hundreds in the long run.
If you decide to keep your phone all you need to do is to enter your device ID which is an IMEI to check if your phone is compatible with their network and then you can select a sim card which cost $10, then you will be brought to order status page where you can see your work is done and Tello has an application so you can manage your account from your mobile device.
Once you get your sim card all you need to do is pop it in to your device and head on over to your tell account and click activate you then enter the ICCID and you should be good to go.
- $8/month: unlimited talk and text plus, calls to Canada, Mexico & China are included.
- $10/month: unlimited talk, text, and 1 GB 4G LTE data plus, calls to Canada, Mexico & China are included.
- $14/month: unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB 4G LTE data plus, calls to Canada, Mexico & China are included.
- $19/month: unlimited talk, text, and 4 GB 4G LTE data plus, calls to Canada, Mexico & China are included.
- $24/month: unlimited talk, text, and 6 GB 4GLTE data plus, calls to Canada, Mexico & China are included.
- $29/month: unlimited talk, text, and 8 GB 4G LTE data plus, calls to Canada, Mexico & China are included.
- $39/month: unlimited talk, text, and 12 GB 4G LTE data plus, calls to Canada, Mexico & China are included.
Mint Mobile: Most Affordable Service
Most wireless service providers require you to pay your bill month-to-month. But Mint Mobile takes a different approach by charging you upfront for three, six, or 12 months of service at a time. It’s a unique concept and one that requires a bigger check from the get-go but could result in some significant savings over time.
All Mint Mobile plans come with unlimited talk and text, and depending on the one you choose; you’ve got your choice of 3GB, 8GB, or 12GB of 4G LTE data. If you decide you need additional LTE speeds during a month, you can get an extra 1GB for $10 or 3GB for $20. Oh, and the mobile hotspot is included no matter what plan you get.
Mint Mobile is powered by T-Mobile’s network, and as such, you can bring over virtually any unlocked GSM phone.
If the service sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can test-drive it for seven days with a money-back guarantee.*
- $15/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 2 GB data. Total: ($45 per 3 months)
- $20/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 5 GB data. Total: ($60 per 3 months)
- $25/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 10 GB data. Total: ($75 per 3 months)
Twigby: Best for kids
Shopping for a kid cell phone plan for yourself or a family member? Twigby may be just the answer. Twigby, which uses both the Sprint and Verizon Wireless networks, offers prepaid cell phone plans that focus on users who have no need for heavy amounts of data. Twigby is the perfect option for many senior citizens.
All plans come with a 25% off for the first 6 months and a satisfaction guarantee, so if you find yourself unhappy with the customer service, the network, or the plans, then you’ll be able to claim a full refund.
As for talk minutes, you can choose from 200 up to the unlimited calling. Global texting to over 180 countries is free. As far as Twigby’s rates, they’re affordable enough to fit almost any budget.
Better yet, you’ll be able to take advantage of free overage protection, so you won’t be charged a single penny when you reach your allotted data for the month.
Note Limited time offer: Get 25% off your first 6 mos of service!
- $9.75/mo: unlimited talk and texts
- $14.25/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 1 GB data
- $17.25/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 2 GB data
- $21.00/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 3 GB data
- $24.75/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 5 GB data
- $32.25/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 10 GB data
GreatCall: Best Emergency plan
Chances are you’ve heard of GreatCall before—it’s the maker of the infamous Jitterbug phone. You know—the one with buttons big enough to keep you from hitting 15 of them simultaneously when all you want to do is press “1” to tell Walgreens to check on your prescription refill status. (Can you tell we have lots of experience with this issue?)
While you can build your own plan based on how many minutes, texts, and GB of data you want, we recommend building your plan around GreatCall’s Health & Safety packages.
Jitterbug phones feature large icons, text, and buttons, so you won’t get frustrated trying to read your messages or menus. (And the new Jitterbug Flip and Jitterbug Smartphones allow you to send and receive text messages.)
Health & Safety packages offer a wide range of features to help keep you healthy—and keep your family in the loop.
Prices for talk, text, and data go down if you build your plan around a Health & Safety package.
No cancellation fees mean you won’t be punished if you change your mind.
While we picked GreatCall for the variety of emergency and health services included in its Health & Safety packages, the company also offers talk, text, and data at pretty reasonable prices. Plus, you can mix and match to get the talk, text, and data you want.
We really like that the Health & Safety packages make it easy for you to keep family members in the loop, not to mention ask for assistance when and where you need it.
The 5Star Urgent Response button lets you get a hold of a service agent ASAP if you need help—whether you’ve fallen or have another medical emergency. And the GreatCall Link app will let your family know you used the urgent response button without you having to tell them.
- $50 plan includes unlimited talk and text.
- $40 plan includes unlimited talk, text, and data if it’s paired with Health & Safety Packages.
Minutes Plans are:
- $14.99 plan includes 50 minutes now includes 200 minutes if added individually or 250 minutes if it’s paired with Health & Safety Packages
- $19.99 plan includes 400 minutes now includes 600 minutes if added individually or 800 minutes if it’s paired with Health & Safety Packages
- $29.99 plan includes 800 minutes now includes 1500 minutes if added individually or 2000 minutes with Health & Safety Packages
- $39.99 plan includes 1500 minutes now includes 3000 minutes if added individually or 3500 minutes with Health & Safety Packages
Text allotments are:
- $3 adds 300 texts per month
- $6 adds 700 texts per month
- $10 adds 1250 texts per month
- $15 adds 2500 texts per month
Data plans are:
- $2.49 adds 40 MB of data per month
- $5.00 adds 100 MB of data per month
- $10.00 adds 200 MB of data per month
- $15.00 adds 500 MB of data per month
- $20.00 adds 1 GB of data per month
- $30.00 adds 2.5 GB of data per month
Boost Mobile: Best for Heavy Data Users
Boost is a prepaid carrier that uses Sprint’s network. The clear inference from that is that you cannot expect it to be faster or better than MetroPCS, which is the prepaid offering by T-Mobile. The unlimited prepaid plan comes rather well-priced. However, you can expect to find significant throttling on videos, gaming, and music.
The consumer service of Boost has to be among the best ones we have seen in our tests. It is definitely a lot better than Sprint’s other subsidiary, Virgin! Boost looks like a worthy option if you are looking to save money on your cell phone carrier. With the $35 plan, you get 3GB 4G LTE, unlimited calls and text, music streaming with Spotify, and mobile hotspot.
The base plan for Boost is $5 costlier than the cheapest MetroPCS plan. But we think Boost could still give you some more value for money. But MetroPCS has T-Mobile’s network, which means it is faster than Boost. The top-tier unlimited plan on Boost almost as costly as Sprint’s unlimited plan.
Note: Boost offers a $5 discount per mo for autopay.
- $35/mo: Unlimited talk, texts, and 3 GB data including hotspot access.
- $50/mo: Unlimited talk, texts, and data including 12 GB Hotspot plus streaming Videos, Gaming & Music.
- $60/mo: Unlimited talk, texts, and data including 30 GB Hotspot & HD Streams up to 1080p.
- $80/mo: Unlimited talk, texts, and data including 50 GB Hotspot & HD Streams up to 1080p.
Cricket Wireless: Best for families
Cricket Wireless is to AT&T. This subsidiary has a wide variety of plans that starts at $25 for unlimited talk and text but no data. Add an extra $5 and you get 2GB of data. Cricket also offers to tether if you have an unlimited monthly plan and pay the extra $10 per month for the Mobile Hotspot feature. All data usage is capped at a speed of 8Mbps.
One distinguishing feature of Cricket’s plans is its discounts for autopay and for multiple lines. Autopay nets a $5 credit per month, while group discounts start at $10 for the first line and then jumps to $20 per line for the third through fifth persons on the plan. Autopay and group discounts cannot be combined.
Cricket supports BYOD and also offers a variety of phones for sale but no financing. It does offer discounted prices on lower-tier smartphones, however, if you transfer your number from another carrier. (Restrictions apply.)
Cricket also offers restricted domestic roaming and international roaming in Mexico and Canada. The latter is available only if you have the $55-per-month plan or greater.
- $25/mo: unlimited talk and texts.
- $30/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 2GB data.
- $40/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 5GB data.
- $55/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and data plus unlimited international texts with unlimited calls, texts Mexico and Canada.
- $60/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 4G LTE data plus Unlimited international texts with unlimited calls, texts Mexico and Canada.
Metro by T-Mobile: Best Prepaid
Metro by T-Mobile isn’t technically an MVNO. T-Mobile owns it, but Metro operates independently and has different policies, pricing, and features.
Metro offers plans with unlimited calling and texting. The price differences come down to the data packages available at 2GB, 10GB, or unlimited. Plans start at $30 per month, which includes all taxes and extra fees.
Metro by T-Mobile keeps data usage low with a feature called “Data Maximizer” to deliver streaming video at a resolution it claims is ideal for smartphone screens, around 1.5Mbps. Streaming speed limits can often be bypassed by using a VPN to make the connection, although a VPN will also bypass the Music Unlimited feature, where streaming music from select services will not count against your data tally.
While the T-Mobile network isn’t the largest or fastest nationwide, the most important thing is how it works where you live. We say that Metro by T-Mobile has always provided exactly what was expected and we have had no issues to note with coverage or customer service.
- $30/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 2 GB data.
- $40/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 5 GB data.
- $50/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and data plus 5GB Mobile Hotspot
- $60/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and data plus 15GB Mobile Hotspot as well as amazon prime included
Republic Wireless: Best Month-to-Month
Republic Wireless is another popular option for those looking for best cell phone plans. You can even get more cell data right from an app on your phone if you ever come close to running out. If you’re worried about switching your phone over, don’t be. Republic Wireless shouldn’t have a problem with you keeping your previous number. You can also tether your phone into a hotspot if you don’t have WiFi.
With Republic Wireless, you can get unlimited talk and text along with free WiFi access for just $15 a month. You can also get a plan with 1GB of data along with unlimited talk and text for just $20 a month. If you want more data, the price increases to $30 for 3GB and $45 for 4GB. Then it goes to $60 for 6GB and $90 for 10GB.
Republic Wireless offers a reliable, affordable network backed by the T-Mobile Network and the Sprint Network with adaptive coverage and bonded calling. That means your calls and text messages blend over WiFi for more reliability when you may not have service otherwise.
You can easily go to their site and type in your zip code to make sure they provide adequate coverage in your most frequent locations.
- $15/mo: unlimited talk and texts
- $20/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 1GB data
- $25/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 2GB data
- $30/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 3GB data
- $65/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 10GB data
T-Mobile: Best for seniors
if you’re 55 or older, T-Mobile will give you two lines with unlimited talk, text, and data for $80 per month, taxes and fees included. If you’re younger than 55, that same plan costs $130.
And although T-Mobile doesn’t heavily promote it, you can also get a one-line plan for $55, the company says. That’s a savings of $20.
And just like with the company’s standard plans, if you sign up for autopay, you will save an additional $5 per line per month.
But there are a couple of catches: You don’t get the free Netflix service that comes with T-Mobile’s regular packages, and you can’t have more than two lines. So if you have additional people or devices in your home, you’re going to need separate plans for them.
As always, the company reserves the right to slow down your data speeds if you use more than 50 gigabytes in a given month—monitoring Facebook, listening to Spotify, or watching YouTube videos out by the pool. But that’s a huge amount of data to go through, even for a large family, and a much higher throttling threshold than the other major carriers permit.
T-Mobile typically streams video at DVD quality, and if you want to use your phone as a hot spot to connect your laptop to WiFi, those YouTube videos will be capped at 3G speeds. Once again, that’s in keeping with the carrier’s standard restrictions—so all in all, it’s no big concession.
Ting Mobile: Best No Contract
Ting is one of the most popular cheap cell phone plans in the market, and for good reason. Ting is a mobile virtual network operator and internet service provider that provides cellular service using Sprint’s CDMA, EV-DO 3G, and 4G LTE nationwide network as well as GSM service via the T-Mobile network.
Ting uses three separate tiers to charge its customers: voice minutes, text messages, and data. Each of these three tiers can be adjusted separately on a monthly basis to match actual usage. Ting customers can limit how many voice minutes, texts, and data they use in their Ting Dashboard, and it’s even possible to configure custom alerts and caps different phones under one account.
Because Ting offers the same rate on international calls to more than 60 countries, it’s become very popular among people who often travel abroad and would like to avoid absurd roaming fees.
- $15/mo: 100 minutes, 1000 texts, and international calling with texting to 60plus countries
- $24/mo: 100 minutes, 1000 texts, and 500 MB data plus international calling with texting to 60plus countries
- $30/mo: 500 minutes and 1000 texts, and 500 MB data plus international calling with texting to 60plus countries
- $36/mo: 500 minutes and 1000 texts, and 1GB data plus international calling with texting to 60 plus countries
Freedompop: Best No Contract
If you haven’t heard FreedomPop’s exact plug before, you’ve certainly heard an incarnation of it at one point or another. FreedomPop advertises as a free mobile service — and to a certain extent, it is — though you’ll have to pay for a smartphone or anything beyond the company’s initial baseline plan. Still, the bottom-tier package provides 200 minutes of talk, 500MB of data, and the ability to send or receive 500 texts at no additional cost while utilizing 4G airtime.
Like any offer that seems too good to be true, FreedomPop has it’s limitations that are buried in the fine print. For instance, many of their devices work exclusively on Sprint’s spotty 4G network. What’s more, you’ll need to create a separate account for each device. And FreedomPop will automatically charge you a $10 “top-up” fee whenever you get within 100mb of your limit — top-up fees apply to their baseline free accounts. That said, FreedomPop is still one of the best MVNO’s for the price. Especially if you keep track of how much data you’re using. Users can share surplus data with family and friends also utilizing the service and, in many situations, bring your Sprint-compatible phone to the carrier.
- Free: 200 minutes, 500 texts, and 500 MB of data
- $10/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 500 MB of data
- $20/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 1 GB of data
- $25/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB of data
- $30/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 3 GB of data
- $35/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 4 GB of data
Project Fi: Best Unlimited
Google Fi relies on a combination of Wi-Fi hot spots and three networks — Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular — for service. But that’s not the only thing that makes it unique.
On Google Fi, every plan starts at $20, which covers unlimited talk and text. Data is a flat $10 for 1GB of 4G LTE, but you only pay for what you use. Bill protection was also recently added to Fi, meaning you won’t be charged any additional data charges once you hit the 6GB mark. For example, if you have a single line, you’ll only be charged for data up to 6GB of use, meaning your bill should top out around $80. Data used over that limit will be throttled, though.
Google Fi offers a multiline option in the form of Group Plans, which lets you add other people to a subscription for an additional $15 per user a month. Other perks include fee-free tethering, which lets you use your phone as an internet hotspot, and free texting and access to high-speed data (at $10 per GB) in more than 135 countries around the world.
Until recently, Google Fi only was only compatible with a handful of phones. In late 2018, Google opened up its service to iPhones and most Android phones as well. It is worth noting though that iPhones and some Android handsets will not support one of Google Fi’s key features — switching between carriers when signal strength is spotty. Overall, Google Fi is one of the most innovative and easy-to-use MVNOs out there.
- $20/mo: unlimited talk and texts
- $30/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 1GB data
- $40/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 2GB data
Page Plus Cellular: Best for Light Users
For our last pick, we recommend checking out Page Plus Cellular. I actually used Page Plus some years back when I used to rely on Big Red’s service to communicate with the outside world, and while there’s nothing here that’s groundbreaking, it’s a solid MVNO with some good plans worth checking out.
Page Plus plans start out at just $10/month with automatic billing turned on, and while you’ll only get 500 call minutes and texts with 100MB of data, it’s a dirt-cheap option that just may work for some folks that only use their phone here and there for basic communication.
Unlimited plans start out at $27/month with auto-billing, and this includes 3GB of 4G LTE data before being slowed down to 2G. The two other plans cost $36/month and $50/month and come with 8GB or unlimited LTE data, respectively. No matter if you choose the $27, $36, or $50 plan, they also come with unlimited international texting and a $10 credit for international calling.
- $12/mo: 500 minutes, 500 texts and 100 MB of LTE data.
- $30/mo: Unlimited talk with $10 international calling credit and unlimited national & international texts and 3 GB of LTE data plus $10 international calling credit.
- $40/mo: Unlimited talk with $10 international calling credit and unlimited national & international texts and 8 GB of LTE data
- $55/mo: Unlimited talk with $10 international calling credit and unlimited national & international texts and unlimited LTE data.
Boom Mobile: Best No Contract
Boom Mobile is all about providing transparent pricing and expedient customer service. It offers no-contract plans across all the four major carrier networks. Whether you’re looking for an individual plan, a family plan, or mobile solutions for your business, Boom Mobile has a plan for you.
Boom Mobile offers a range of prepaid plans on “Network S” (Sprint), which start as low as $19.99/month for an individual unlimited talk and text plan with minimal data, or $39.99/month for unlimited talk and text and 5 GB of monthly data. There are even plans for using your own RingPlus Sprint SIM card. You get to decide how data overage is handled, so you’re never surprised by additional charges.
Family sharing plans start at $89.99 for two lines, with the option to add have up to 10 phone lines on a single plan ($25 for each additional line).
- $21.99/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 1GB data
- $26.99/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 2GB data
- $35.99/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 4GB data
- $39.99/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 7GB data
- $49.99/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 10GB data
Consumer Cellular: Best for Seniors
Geared to the older crowd, Consumer Cellular is one of the best cell phone plans for seniors is a simplified cell phone reseller that provides an easy-to-understand solution to selecting a cellular provider.
Individual users can start with rates as low as $20 per month for 250 minutes, 250MB of data and unlimited texting while a two-line plan sharing the same data and minutes raises the cost to $35 per month.
As an added bonus, Consumer Cellular has an established relationship with AARP to receive a 5 percent discount on monthly service for any existing AARP member.
Another highlight of Consumer Cellular is the opportunity to select a new plan every month so you can adjust your allotted monthly minutes and data in case you’re traveling or you find that you’re spending too much or too little for your monthly needs.
Customers can select from a host of new flagship devices as well as senior-oriented flip-phones with larger buttons for easier operation.
Black Wireless: Best MVNO
Black Wireless is an MVNO that simply aims to save you money. It offers unlimited monthly data plans, which give you an allotment of 4G LTE data, and then you get unlimited data at 2G speeds with some plans.
$15/month gets you 200 minutes or texts (or a combination of both), 200 international minutes with calling to landlines in 72 countries, and 500MB of 4G LTE data, with unlimited 2G data at 128Kbps.
$40/month gets you 2GB of 4G LTE with unlimited 2G data, unlimited talk, and text, and unlimited international calling to 72 countries (you can actually only dial-up to 10 unique international phone numbers during a 30-day period).
- $10/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 100MB data
- $20/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 500MB data
- $25/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 1GB data
- $30/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 2.5GB data
Simple Mobile: Best Truly Unlimited
With Simple Mobile, you’ve got four different options for data: 1 GB, 2 GB, 6 GB, and unlimited. That’s a pretty good variety that lets you further customize your plan—and then you’re not stuck footing the bill for unlimited when all you wanted was enough data to check your email and get turn-by-turn directions to that new restaurant you discovered.
Trust us—variety is the spice of life when it comes to prepaid plans. Especially when compared to carriers like Virgin Mobile, which has only three different options for data: 5 GB, 10 GB, and unlimited.
Your money goes further with Simple Mobile. Its single-line fees are cheaper than its closest competitor, Cricket Wireless. But while Cricket becomes cheaper with more lines, you’ll still get more data from Simple Mobile. That’s perfect for rewatching Arrested Development on Netflix in your spare time
We should also mention that while AT&T also offers a few different data options with its prepaid plans, its prices tend to be about $10 more (not including multi-line discounts).
There’s one thing Simple Mobile lacks: Low-usage plans for people like my dad who hate carrying a cell phone but keep it around in case of an emergency. (And because my mom insists.)
Because all of Simple Mobile’s plans offer data and unlimited talk and text, you’ll find cheaper options from carriers like TracFone if you rarely use your cell phone and can’t imagine trying to surf the net on anything but a desktop.
We think Simple Mobile’s 1 GB, 2 GB, and 6 GB plans are great—but we can’t say the same for its “truly unlimited” plan. We scoured its site for information on how much data we could use before our speeds were slowed, but came up short.
We also asked two different reps and got two wildly different answers, leading us to believe “truly unlimited” doesn’t exist. We’re guessing there is a cap but Simple Mobile just isn’t transparent about what it is.
- $25/mo ($20 with AutoPay): Unlimited talk, international text, and 3GB of 4G LTE data than 2G, plus mobile hotspot access. This also includes unlimited calling to 69 International countries.
- $30/mo ($28.5 with AutoPay): Unlimited talk, international text, and 2GB of 4G LTE data than 2G, plus mobile hotspot access. This also includes unlimited calling to 69 International countries.
- $40/mo ($37.5 with AutoPay): Unlimited talk, international text, and 15GB of 4G LTE data than 2G, plus mobile hotspot access. This also includes unlimited calling to 69 International countries.
- $50/mo ($45 with AutoPay): Unlimited talk, international text, and Truly Unlimited of 4G LTE data, plus 10GB of mobile hotspot. This also includes unlimited calling to 69 International countries.
- $60/mo ($57 with AutoPay): Unlimited talk, international text, and Truly Unlimited of 4G LTE data, plus 10GB of mobile hotspot. This also includes unlimited calling to 69 International countries.
Tracfone: Best for Kids
While the best rate for a kid-friendly mobile experience is often to add them to your existing rate plan, options like TracFone add a no-frills way of keeping your kid’s usage in check.
While smartphone plans start at $15 for 30 days with 200 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data, parents can go even smaller on the bill at $9.99 a month for just 30 minutes of talk time on a basic phone.
For most kids, smartphones remain the best option with plans going as high as $125 for a full year’s worth of service (365 days) allowing for 1,500 minutes, 1,500 texts and 1.5GB of data with alternative plans offering 60 and 90 day’s worth of service for various amounts of minutes, texts and data allotments.
Beyond plans, Tracfone adds an extensive line of basic and smartphones while allowing customers to utilize their older devices to activate service.
- $15/month: 200 minutes, 500 texts and 500 MB of data (30 service days)
- $20/month: 300 minutes, 1000 texts and 1 GB of data (30 service days)
- $25/month: 300 minutes, 1000 texts and 500 MB of data (60 service days)
- $35/month: 750 minutes, 1000 texts and 1 GB of data (60 service days)
- $45/month: 750 minutes, 1000 texts and 1.5 GB of data (90 service days)
- $50/month: 750 minutes, 1500 texts and 2 GB of data (90 service days)
- $125/month: 1500 minutes, 1500 texts and 1.5 GB of data (365 service days)
US Mobile: Most flexible plans
If you love the idea of customization and flexibility from your prepaid plan, US Mobile is highly recommended. Not only are the plans flexible, but the carrier even lets you pause a line for $2 a month — perfect for that travel to the US and want to maintain a number here, or simply for those times when you’re tight on money but don’t want to risk losing your number. To make US Mobile even more enticing we’ve partnered up with the carrier to give you $15 0ffer upon initial sign up.
To save $15, you’ll want to pick your plan and order a SIM card. Upon checkout, enter ANDAUSM into the promo code box for a $15 credit towards the SIM card ($4) and your first month of coverage.
With US Mobile you can choose exactly how much talk, text, and data you need. Big talkers can get unlimited talk while having cheaper text or data plans. Don’t talk much? You can get the base talk package (40 minutes) for $2.50 a month, and focus your plan on texting and/or data.
- $10/mo: unlimited talk and texts
- $23/mo: 1000 minutes,1000 texts, and 1GB data
- $25/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 5GB data
- $40/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and data (Speed Limited To 1 Mbps)
- $45/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and data (Speed Limited To 5 Mbps)
- $55/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and data (No Speed caps)
H2O Wireless: Best low-cost Service
Another best cheap cell phone plan on our list comes from H2O Wireless. The pay as you go plan costs $10 for 90 days, then 5 cents a minute. That works out to $8 a month for 100 minutes of talk. The minutes work for talk and text, but there are no data with this plan. Users who want data can buy it for 10 cents an MB.
H2O Wireless allows the use of old AT&T phones like the iPhone. Imagine paying $8 a month for an iPhone plan. There’s no data plan, but with Wi-Fi, no one needs to know. Users can bring an unlocked iPhone to the network or buy one new, straight from H2O Wireless. The plan comes with a free SIM card.
This is the best cheap cell phone plan to use with iPhone, hands down. The base price even drops to $9 a month with their auto-recharge feature.
- $20/mo: unlimited talk, international texts, and 1GB LTE data PLUS $10 international talk
- $30/mo: unlimited talk, international texts, and 6GB LTE data PLUS $10 international talk
- $40/mo: unlimited talk, international texts, and 8GB LTE data PLUS $20 international talk
Ultra Mobile: Best value
Along with H2O Wireless, Ultra Mobile is among the few carriers to bundle international calling and texting along with the usual menu of services. The $19 starter plan includes unlimited calling within the U.S. and to 11 countries, unlimited global texting and $1.25 of “call anywhere” credit, while the $29 plan adds 1,000 international minutes (which are good for calls to more than 70 countries).
Ultra Mobile doesn’t sell phones, and its website could do a better job explaining the company’s BYOD options. Basically, you pick the plan you want and then order a SIM card for your unlocked GSM phone. The card is included with your order, which covers your first month of airtime. One important fine-print detail: If you choose the $19 or $29 plan, you don’t get unlimited data: Mobile data is turned off once you exceed your allotment, leaving you no option but to buy more or wait until next month. Higher-priced plans include unlimited data, but as with most carriers, it gets throttled to 2G speed.
- $19/mo: Unlimited talk, global text, and 1 GB of 4G LTE data plus unlimited international calling to 80+ countries and mobile hotspot access.
- $23/mo: Unlimited talk, global text, and 2 GB of 4G LTE data plus unlimited international calling to 80+ countries and mobile hotspot access.
- $29/mo: Unlimited talk, global text, and 5 GB of 4G LTE data plus unlimited international calling to 80+ countries and mobile hotspot access.
Red Pocket: Best Individual Plan
Red Pocket is another MVNO that lets you choose your service from all four of the major carriers. The company’s plans start at $5, but you need to spend at least $15 for a good amount of data—1GB versus the $5 plan’s 500MB.
Red Pocket doesn’t offer to roam despite having agreements with all four carriers, and it also doesn’t offer international roaming. However, this MVNO does have the nice perk of free international calls to 72 countries.
You should be able to bring pretty much any phone to Red Pocket since it uses all four carriers, but you can check that on its site. (Need help understanding Red Pocket’s naming system? GSMA equals AT&T; CDMA equals Verizon; GSMT equals T-Mobile, and CDMAS equals Sprint.)
Note that existing Verizon customers on an LTE plan can’t directly port their phone line to the same network through Red Pocket. Verizon subscribers using a 3G device are allowed to do so, however.
If you end up liking Red Pocket, you can obtain discounted service in one-year increments through the company’s eBay store.
- $19/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 1GB data
- $30/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 5GB data
- $40/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 10GB data
- $60/mo: unlimited talk, texts, and 20GB data
ZIP SIM: Best Prepaid SIM Card
ZIP SIM offers short-term contracts that are targeted at travelers in the USA. All plans include unlimited nationwide U.S. calling, unlimited global texting while you’re in the U.S., along with unthrottled 4G LTE and hotspot tethering included at no additional cost.
Talk, Text and Data plans start at $25 for seven days of service and max out at 30 days of service for $55. There are also data-only plans available that are valid for 14 to 30 days and use T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G LTE network.
ZIP SIM is a great option not only for international travelers visiting the U.S. looking for a hassle-free way to use their own phone on their travels, but also for international corporations sending employees to the States for business, or for Americans looking for a backup phone for emergency situations. Activating your phone is as simple as inserting your ZIP SIM card and powering up your phone. Your SIM will activate instantly and automatically, and then text you your new U.S. phone number. This service is typically used by international travelers who might not know if their phone is compatible with T-Mobile’s network.
- $20 for 7 days – Unlimited Talk Minutes, Global Texts and 500MB 4G LTE data.
- $30 for 14 days – Unlimited Talk Minutes, Global Texts and 1GB 4G LTE data.
- $35 for 21 days – Unlimited Talk Minutes, Global Texts and 1.5GB 4G LTE data.
- $40 for 30 days – Unlimited Talk Minutes, Global Texts and 2GB 4G LTE data.
List of The Best Cell Phone Plans
Almost all prices are susceptible to change so please check the service plan website for current information details.
All plans include unlimited talk and text