Top Cell Phone Companies (2020)

top cell phone companies

When we talk about cell phone companies most of us automatically think of the big four in the U.S.: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. And the reason that we know the names of those four carriers is that each owns and operates its own national cellular network.

But they’re not the only choices when it comes to who you get your service from and the popularity of MVNO carriers is on the rise. An MVNO carrier provides cell phone service by using another carrier’s network. This setup can lead to a wider range of plans and can keep you out of a contract if you don’t want to be tied to any carrier.

There are plenty of cell phone carriers to choose from and with all of the competition out there, it can be hard to choose the right one for you. Of course, the best way to narrow down your choices is to take into consideration the price of each plan, the amount of data you require on a monthly basis.

The carrier you choose is even more important than the type of cell phone plan you select. After all, if the carrier has patchy service in your area, you’re going to be extremely unhappy.

Before you sign up for any phone service, make sure to check the coverage map to ensure you have coverage in all the places you might need it.

Here is our shortlist of 2020’s top cell phone companies offering the best plans and deals in the US. Check out the list below for more information.



Big Four Cell Phone Companies

Verizon Wireless – Best Network Coverage

Verizon wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest cell phone carrier in the U.S. with over 145 million subscribers. It offers nationwide Voice and LTE data coverage on its network, using GSM, LTE, and CDMA technology.

If you care about superb performance and chart-topping coverage. Verizon has a strong network with fast data speeds, and arguably the best coverage across the United States of the major carriers. In fact, coverage is one of the main reasons people choose the Verizon network.

Verizon offers unlimited talk and text wireless plans for individuals and families and it has deals on the latest smartphone. If you’re thinking of switching to Verizon or you’re about to renew your plan, you might be wondering which plan best suits your usage habits and needs on a monthly basis.

All Verizon Unlimited Plans includes unlimited talk, text and, unlimited 4G LTE data in the U.S., along with unlimited texts to over 200 countries and unlimited talk to Mexico and Canada, plus one year Free Disney+ subscription, and some sort of subscription to Apple Music, either six months free or totally free. Here’s the difference:

Verizon Unlimited Start: $70 per month with only basic offerings, no hotspot, and 480p video streams.

  • Two Lines: $120/month – ($60 per line)
  • Three Lines: $135/month – ($45 per line)
  • Four Lines: $140/month – ($35 per line)
  • Five or more lines: ($30/month per line)

Verizon Unlimited Play More: $80 per month with 25GB of “premium” data, 15GB hotspot, and 720p video streams.

  • Two Lines: $140/month – ($70 per line)
  • Three Lines: $165/month – ($55 per line)
  • Four Lines: $180/month – ($45 per line)
  • Five or more lines: ($40/month per line)

Verizon Unlimited Do More: $80 per month with 50GB of “premium” data, 15GB hotspot, and 480p video streams.

  • Two Lines: $140/month – ($70 per line)
  • Three Lines: $165/month – ($55 per line)
  • Four Lines: $180/month – ($45 per line)
  • Five or more lines: ($40/month per line)

Verizon Unlimited Get More: $90 per month with 75GB of “premium” data, 30GB hotspot, and 720p video streams.

  • Two Lines: $160/month – ($80 per line)
  • Three Lines: $195/month – ($65 per line)
  • Four Lines: $220/month – ($55 per line)
  • Five or more lines: ($50/month per line)

More Details on Verizon

Verizon also offers a number of monthly prepaid plans. All include unlimited talk and text across the U.S. and more than 200 international destinations. Each includes carryover and mobile hotspot coverage, with the exception of the unlimited prepaid. The 16 GB plan and Unlimited plan included unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada.

  • 6GB Plan: For $40/month ($35 with AutoPay)
  • 16GB Plan: For $50/month ($45 with AutoPay)
  • Unlimited Data Plan: For $70/month ($65 with AutoPay)

Multi-Line Discount: Verizon makes it easy to add additional lines to its prepaid plans, and of course, the more lines you have the more you save. Here’s how that looks:

  • Add a 6GB plan for $30 more (save $10)
  • Add a 16GB plan for $35 more (save $15)
  • Add an unlimited plan for $50 (save $20)

More Details on Verizon Prepaid


AT&T – Best full-featured Plans

at&t wireless

AT&T is the second-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 100 million subscribers across the country. It boasts some of the best coverage in the country depending on which shootout you’re looking at. There are a lot of reasons to like AT&T, chief among them being the carrier’s great network that works across the vast majority of the US and the carrier’s great selection of phones.

AT&T offers three unlimited data cell phone plans for individuals and families: Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra, and Unlimited Elite.

All of AT&T’s unlimited plans have unlimited talk, text, and data in the US, Canada, and Mexico. You also get free texting to over 120 countries, along with suspected spam and fraud alerts. Here’s the difference:

AT&T Unlimited Starter: $65 per month with only basic offerings, no hotspot, and 480p video streams. AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds when the network is congested. This is why the other two plans offer premium data, which is 4G LTE data that will not be affected by congestion.

  • Two Lines: $120/month – ($60 per line)
  • Three Lines: $135/month – ($45 per line)
  • Four Lines: $140/month – ($35 per line)

AT&T Unlimited Extra: $75 per month with 50GB of “premium” data, 15GB hotspot, and 720p video streams.

  • Two Lines: $130/month – ($65 per line)
  • Three Lines: $150/month – ($50 per line)
  • Four Lines: $160/month – ($40 per line)

AT&T Unlimited Elite: $85 per month with 100GB of “premium” data, 30GB hotspot, and 480p video streams. Plus a Free HBO subscription.

  • Two Lines: $150/month – ($75 per line)
  • Three Lines: $180/month – ($60 per line)
  • Four Lines: $200/month – ($50 per line)

More Details on AT&T

AT&T offers prepaid plans for those looking for cheap and functional wireless services without the hassle of dealing with overage fees and or paying for features you don’t end up using.

AT&T has four prepaid options, ranging in price from $35 per month per line for 1 GB of data to $85 per month per line for unlimited data. If you make that payment by AutoPay, you receive a $5 credit per month discount on all plans.

All AT&T prepaid plans include unlimited talk and text in the US, Mexico, and Canada with unlimited texts to over 100 countries, along with roaming in Mexico and Canada for talk, text, and data. Here’s the difference:

  • $50/month ($40 with AutoPay): 8GB of high-speed data with mobile hotspot access. Note: Unused high-speed data rolls over to next month
  • $65/month ($45 with AutoPay): Unlimited 4G LTE data but AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds when the network is busy.
  • $75/month ($55 with AutoPay): Unlimited 4G LTE data with 10GB of mobile hotspot for use in the U.S. Note: Users should not experience speed slowdowns unless they use over 22GB of data before their billing cycle ends.

Multi-Line Discount: AT&T allows you to get up to 5 lines on your AT&T prepaid account. Adding 2 or 3 lines will get you a $10 discount per month, and adding 4 or 5 will get you a $20 discount per month. For an additional discount, set up the AutoPay option on your account.

More Details on AT&T Prepaid



T-Mobile – Best for Heavy Data Users

t-mobile

T-Mobile is the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 70 million subscribers. T-Mobile offers unlimited talk, text, and data plans for individuals and families and carries all of the latest phones. It is primarily a postpaid service, but it does offer a few prepaid options.

T-Mobile gives you three primary unlimited plans to choose from: Essentials, Magenta, and Magenta Plus. All of T-Mobile unlimited plans come with unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data with hotspot access, along with unlimited international texting. Here’s the difference:

T-Mobile Essentials: $60 per month with unlimited  4G LTE data, hotspot at 3G speed, and 480p video streams.

  • Two Lines: $90/month – ($45 per line)
  • Three Lines: $105/month – ($35 per line)
  • Four Lines: $120/month – ($30 per line)
  • Five Lines: $135/month – ($27 per line)

T-Mobile Magenta: $70 per month with unlimited  4G LTE data, 3GB hotspot at 4G speed, and 480p video streams, along with roaming in Mexico and Canada for unlimited talk, text, and 5GB high-speed data, plus free Netflix subscription.

  • Two Lines: $120/month – ($60 per line)
  • Three Lines: $120/month – ($40 per line)
  • Four Lines: $140/month – ($35 per line)
  • Five Lines: $160/month – ($32 per line)

T-Mobile Magenta Plus: $85 per month with unlimited  4G LTE data, 20GB hotspot at 4G speed, and 720p video streams, along with roaming in Mexico and Canada for unlimited talk, text, and 5GB high-speed data, plus free Netflix subscription.

  • Two Lines: $140/month – ($70 per line)
  • Three Lines: $140/month – ($47 per line)
  • Four Lines: $170/month – ($43 per line)
  • Five Lines: $200/month – ($40 per line)

More Details on T-Mobile

T-Mobile also offers prepaid plans, a no credit check plan, and international plans that allow for up to 2G speeds in over 200 countries with no extra cost. The prepaid options are a bit cheaper. The main catch is that you’ll have to pay in advance instead of getting your bill at the end of the month.

All T-Mobile prepaid plans include unlimited talk and text, and unlimited 2G data, along with unlimited music, which lets you stream as much music as you want without eating into your 4G LTE allotment. T-Mobile allows you to get up to 5 lines on your T-Mobile prepaid account. Here’s the difference:

Simply Prepaid ($40/month): includes 10GB of 4G LTE data that will be throttled down to unlimited 2G speeds and high-speed mobile hotspot data access that uses your monthly data allotment.

  • Two Lines: $70/month – ($35 per line)
  • Three Lines: $100/month – ($33 per line)
  • Four Lines: $130/month – ($33 per line)
  • Five Lines: $160/month – ($32 per line)

Simply Prepaid Unlimited ($50/month): includes unlimited of 4G LTE data but if you use more than 50GB, though, you could be de-prioritized or even throttled until your next billing cycle. It also offers unlimited mobile hotspot but limited to 3G speeds.

  • Two Lines: $80/month – ($40 per line)
  • Three Lines: $110/month – ($37 per line)
  • Four Lines: $140/month – ($35 per line)
  • Five Lines: $170/month – ($34 per line)

Simply Prepaid Unlimited Plus ($60/month): includes unlimited of 4G LTE data but if you use more than 50GB, though, you could be de-prioritized or even throttled until your next billing cycle. It also offers 10GB of mobile hotspot at 4G LTE speed.

  • Two Lines: $90/month – ($45 per line)
  • Three Lines: $120/month – ($40 per line)
  • Four Lines: $150/month – ($37 per line)
  • Five Lines: $180/month – ($36 per line)

More Details on T-Mobile Prepaid



Sprint – Best for Families

sprint

Sprint is now the fourth-largest wireless phone carrier in the US, with 54 million customers as of 2019. Sprint’s best feature is its prices which are the most affordable of the big 4. The carrier offers a decent selection of plans with solid features, like high data deprioritization thresholds, good hotspot allotments, international perks, and free streaming subscriptions.

Sprint offers unlimited talk, text, and data plans that can be configured for individuals or families: Unlimited Basic, Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited Premium, which are the cheapest of the big four major carriers.

All Sprint unlimited plans Include Unlimited 4G LTE data, and unlimited talk and text in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. but your data speeds might get throttled if you exceed 50GB of data before your monthly billing period ends. Plus some sort of subscription to Hulu and unlimited texts to over 200 countries

Unlimited Basic: $60 per month with unlimited  4G LTE data, 500MB mobile hotspot, and 480p video streams. Plus roaming in Mexico and Canada for unlimited talk, text, and 5GB high-speed data.

  • Two Lines: $100/month – ($50 per line)
  • Three Lines: $100/month – ($33 per line)
  • Four Lines: $100/month – ($25 per line)
  • Five Lines: $100/month – ($20 per line)

Unlimited Plus: $70 per month with unlimited  4G LTE data, 50GB mobile hotspot, and 1080p video streams. Plus roaming in Mexico and Canada for unlimited talk, text, and 10GB high-speed data.

  • Two Lines: $120/month – ($60 per line)
  • Three Lines: $130/month – ($43 per line)
  • Four Lines: $140/month – ($35 per line)
  • Five Lines: $150/month – ($30 per line)

Unlimited Premium: $80 per month with unlimited  4G LTE data, 100GB mobile hotspot, and Full HD video streams. Plus roaming in Mexico and Canada for unlimited talk, text, and unlimited high-speed data. Plus some sort of subscription to Hulu, Tidal, and Lookout.

  • Two Lines: $140/month – ($70 per line)
  • Three Lines: $160/month – ($53 per line)
  • Four Lines: $180/month – ($45 per line)
  • Five Lines: $200/month – ($40 per line)

More Details on Sprint

Sprint Kickstart Plan: this is a new plan which keeps it simple for customers. If you want an unlimited plan from Sprint, but you don’t want to pay $60/month, take a look at the Unlimited Kickstart plan. For just $35/month, you’ll get unlimited talk, text, and data.

Each additional line is an additional $35 per month. Note: sprint may temporarily slow data speeds when the network is busy.

More Details on Sprint Kickstart



Best MVNOs Cell Phone Carriers

Tello Mobile – Most Affordable Carrier

tello mobile

Our pick for the best MVNO cell phone Carrier goes to Tello. 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.

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.

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.

  • Basic Plan: $8/month for unlimited talk and text. with free calls to Canada, Mexico, and China, plus mobile hotspot access.
  • 1GB Plan: $10/month for unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of 4G LTE data with free calls to Canada, Mexico, and China, plus mobile hotspot access.
  • 2GB Plan: $14/month for unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of 4G LTE data with free calls to Canada, Mexico, and China, plus mobile hotspot access.
  • 4GB Plan: $19/month for unlimited talk, text, and 4GB of 4G LTE data with free calls to Canada, Mexico, and China, plus mobile hotspot access.
  • 6GB Plan: $24/month for unlimited talk, text and 6GB of 4G LTE data with free calls to Canada, Mexico, and China, plus mobile hotspot access.
  • 8GB Plan: $29/month for unlimited talk, text and 8GB of 4G LTE data with free calls to Canada, Mexico, and China, plus mobile hotspot access.
  • Unlimited Plan: $39/month for unlimited talk, text and unlimited 4G LTE data with free calls to Canada, Mexico, and China, plus mobile hotspot access.

More Details on Tello

Twigby – Best Customized Plans

twigby

Twigby is a new cell phone carrier and is already making big waves. Twigby gives its customers the ability to build their own phone plan by choosing the number of minutes and LTE data that fits their needs.

What separates Twigby from Tello is its coverage, Twigby uses two networks to provide coverage, the Sprint network which is the primary network and the Verizon network which runs only as a backup network for talk and text.

Costumers can choose from 300 talk minutes for $9 to unlimited talk for $13, then if desired, they can choose to add a data package to their plan, which ranges from 200MB for $3 to 10GB for $30. International texting to over 180 countries is free. Twigby plans are good for those who don’t need a ton of data, as they do not offer an unlimited data option.

Twigby is giving its new customers 25% off on their first 6 months of service and provides overage protection along with family phone plans to keep the whole family covered under the same account.

Twigby has the option to bring your own device, you just need to check if your device is compatible by entering its IMEI ID on twiggy’s Compatibility Checker.

Depending on what you select, your price may be different. You don’t need to do anything to receive the 25 percent discount and reduce the final quoted price of service. With a strong network and cheap costs, it’s difficult to not consider Twigby.

  • Basic Plan: 9.75/month for unlimited talk and text with free international talk and text.
  • 1GB Plan: 14.25/month for unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of 4G LTE data with free international talk and text.
  • 2GB Plan: 17.25/month for unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of 4G LTE data with free international talk and text.
  • 3GB Plan: 21/month for unlimited talk, text, and 3GB of 4G LTE data with free international talk and text.
  • 5GB Plan: 24.75/month for unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of 4G LTE data with free international talk and text.
  • 10GB Plan: 32.25/month for unlimited talk, text, and 10GB of 4G LTE data with free international talk and text.

More Details on Twigby

Xfinity – A Cheap Verizon’s Network

xfinity mobile

Xfinity Mobile is the cell phone service from Comcast that relies on Verizon’s network. In order to become an Xfinity Mobile customer, you must first be an Xfinity Internet Service customer. If you live in a location in the US where Comcast already offers its Internet and cable TV service, you might be able to get its wireless phone service as well.

Here’s where things get really interesting. Xfinity mobile plan costs are extremely low and flexible. Lower than any of the big 4 carriers, but lower than even most of the cheapest of bare-bones MVNO’s.

All Xfinity Mobile plans come with unlimited nationwide calling and texting, access to more than 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots, and 100MB of shared monthly data are included by default with your regular Internet plan.

With XFINITY Mobile you can either pay “by the gig” or purchase their unlimited data plan. The average Verizon user on an unlimited plan uses about 4 GB of data per month. However, we’ve found that purchasing 4 GB of monthly data usage through Xfinity actually costs more than their unlimited plan.

Xfinity Mobile offers the unlimited plan for $45, which includes unlimited talk, text and LTE data, though speeds are going to be capped at 1.5 Mbps for downloads and 750 Kbps for uploads after 20 GB of usage in a billing period.

All Xfinity plans include unlimited talk and text, along with 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots. With the By the Gig plan, data can be shared across all lines, and users can switch from “By the Gig” to “Unlimited” data during their billing cycle at no additional charge.

  • 1GB for $12/month ($12 per additional GB)
  • 3GB for $30/month ($12 per additional GB)
  • 10GB for $60/month ($12 per additional GB)
  • Unlimited for $45/month per line on up to five lines, speeds reduced after 20GB

More Details on Xfinity Mobile

Visible – Most Affordable Unlimited

visible

Visible is one of the newest carriers to hit the market, and it gets a lot of points thanks to how easy it is to use. Visible is an excellent choice for heavy and light users alike with all of the fees included, taking advantage of the vast Verizon LTE network.

Visible has a simple and straightforward $40/month plan that gives customers unlimited talk, text, and LTE data on Verizon’s network. Hotspot access is also included for free. Visible used to cap data speeds at just 5Mbps, but for a limited time, new and existing customers get fully uncapped data.

The concept of a flat rate with no surprises and no service interruptions is a great concept and one that will work for most people that have great Verizon coverage. Videos only stream at 480p, which will be fine for many users, but a lot of people with larger smartphones may want to have HD as an option.

If you’ve confirmed you have coverage on Visible’s LTE network, Visible is your best bargain. While it is possible to build a cheaper plan on Verizon Wireless.

$40/month ($25 First Month): This plan includes unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data with free Wi-Fi calling and mobile hotspot access. Taxes and fees are included.

  • One Line: $40/month
  • Two Lines: $70/month – ($35 per line)
  • Three Lines: $90/month – ($30 per line)
  • Four Lines: $100/month – ($25 per line)

More Details on Visible

More MVNO Cell Phone Carriers:

  • Mint Mobile (3GB): $15/month for unlimited talk, text, and 3GB of 4G LTE data for three months (price upfront is $45/month).
  • TextNow (2GB): 19.99/month for unlimited talk, text and 2GB of 4G LTE data
  • Republic Wireless (1GB): $20/month for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of 4G LTE data
  • Boost Mobile (3GB): $35/month for unlimited talk, text, and 3GB of 4G LTE data with 480p video streaming, and mobile hotspot access, along with some sort of Tidal subscription. Each additional line is an additional $35 per month
  • Cricket Wireless (2GB): $30/month for unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of 4G LTE data
  • Red Pocket (7GB): $30/month for unlimited talk, text, and 7GB of 4G LTE data, then at 2G.
  • Ultra Mobile (5GB): $29/month for unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of 4G LTE data with unlimited talk to 80+ international destinations, along with mobile hotspot access.
  • Page Plus (8GB): $39.95/month ($36 with AutoPay) for unlimited talk, international text, and 8GB of 4G LTE data, then at 2G. Plus $10 free international calling credit.
  • Red Pocket (15GB): $40/month for unlimited talk, text, and 15GB of 4G LTE data, then at 2G.
  • US Mobile (8GB): $36/month for unlimited talk, text and 8GB of high-speed data
  • TextNow (Unlimited): 39.99/month for unlimited talk, text and unlimited 4G LTE data
  • US Mobile (Unlimited): $40/month for unlimited talk, text and unlimited of high-speed data
  • Red Pocket (Unlimited): $40/month for unlimited talk, text, and unlimited 4G LTE data, then at 2G.
  • Page Plus (Unlimited): $29.95/month ($27 with AutoPay) for unlimited talk, international text, and unlimited 4G LTE data, then at 2G. Plus $10 free international calling credit.
  • Simple Mobile (Unlimited): $50/month ($45 with AutoPay) for unlimited talk, text, and unlimited high-speed data with 5GB of mobile hotspot access, along with international talk and text to 69 destinations plus international roaming to 16 Latin American countries.

No one carrier is the best for all purposes and in all areas. There are many variables that go into deciding what cell phone carrier is best for you. If the price and coverage suit your needs, you really cannot go wrong with any of the carriers on this list. and hopefully, you have enough information to make an informed decision.


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