If you want to save money on your cell phone plan, there are more options than ever with new ways to save on the major carriers or by going with an MVNO. MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) or alternative carriers lease coverage from the larger networks and resell it for less. That being said, depending on your average usage and needs, a plan from one of the Big Three could still be your least expensive option. Here are some of the cheapest data plans in the U.S. right now.
Before choosing a plan
Before choosing a carrier and/or a wireless plan, first determine your needs and usage habits. If this is your first smartphone, I'd like to firstly welcome you to the 21st Century and secondly encourage you to try out your options without getting yourself into any yearly or multi-year contracts. There are a ton of cheap unlocked phones to choose from that will give you the freedom to feel out various plans before settling on the one.
If this ain't your first rodeo, then reflect on your phone habits from the past. How much data have you actually used in an average month? Do you really need an unlimited plan, or are you actually on Wi-Fi more than you realize? Could you benefit from a 55+ discount?
Take time to analyze your usage and then choose the plan that best fits those needs. Most carriers are more concerned with making you overbuy by convincing you that you need unlimited everything when the fact is that 90 percent of Americans don't.
Don't let carriers dictate what they think you need, because it will almost always be much more than what's necessary. Figure out what you need and make carriers work for you. And, of course, don't overlook some of the lesser-known carriers and plans out there.
You could opt for the cheapest data plan there is, but if you end up using more than what's allotted, you could pay far more in overages when you could've just picked the right plan for you. See if these options fit your usage habits.
The best cheap cell phone plans
Many Americans use significantly less data than they think. If this is the case for you, why not consider reducing your monthly bill and getting only what you need from your cell phone plan? These are the best cheap cell phone plans that can help you save some money in the long run and stop throwing away precious data:
T-Mobile Connect is the lowest priced prepaid plan from T-Mobile that starts at 2.5GB for only $15 a month or 5.5GB for $25 per year. What's unique about this plan is that it features an increasing data cap of 500MB per year through 2025. Though this plan isn't nearly as generous as some of T-Mobile's other plans, you still get unlimited talk and text, free mobile hotspot, and Wi-Fi calling. But keep in mind that taxes and fees aren't included.
Mint Mobile is an MVNO that leases coverage from T-Mobile. You don't sign up for a contract, but you do pay in advance for 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months, saving you more money the longer the term. With a Mint plan, you're able to choose between 4GB, 10GB, 15GB, or unlimited 4G LTE and 5G data for no more than $30 per month. Each plan comes with unlimited talk and text, free calling to Mexico and Canada, and free mobile hotspot.
Cricket is owned by AT&T and operates on the AT&T network. With no fixed contract, you pay monthly for Cricket, and you're able to save extra money with multiple lines. Four lines on the Cricket Core unlimited plan will only cost you $100 per month. But depending on what you want, you can also choose from a no-frills 2GB or 10GB plan that includes unlimited talk and text and Wi-Fi calling. For mobile hotspot data or faster data speeds, you'll have to upgrade plans.
Google Fi is owned by Google and operates on the T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular networks. Google Fi's most interesting feature is the refund you get for data you pay for but don't use. Its cheapest plan starts at $20, with each GB costing an additional $10. Once you reach 6GB on a single line, additional data is free. The plan also comes with unlimited calls and text, free mobile hotspot, international data, texts, and calls abroad, and free calling to international countries.
Boost is owned by Dish and operates on the new T-Mobile network while Dish builds its own 5G network. You pay month to month, with no contract necessary. You'll likely sign up for a plan on the Expanded network (T-Mobile's), with plans that start at $10 per month for 1GB of 4G LTE and 5G data as well as unlimited talk and text and free mobile hotspot. If you need more, there's also a Shrink-It plan with 15GB of data that'll save you $10 per month after six months of on-time payments.
Best unlimited cheap cell phone plans
If you're one of the few people that use more than 10GB of data per month, then you'll probably want to go with an unlimited plan from one carrier or another. These plans will usually give you 4G LTE and 5G up to around 20GB per month, and if you're going over that, then you deserve a medal.
If you do actually go over your data limit, it's not a big deal since most carriers will either slow your speed or deprioritize your connection instead of cutting your data off. Deprioritization simply slows your connection compared to other users of that tower if congestion is high, and many people won't even notice a difference.
Visible operates on Verizon's LTE and 5G network with no contracts or hidden fees. It offers one simple plan for only $40 per month, which can be lowered to $25 if you find four people to join "Party Pay." Each plan comes with unlimited data, talk, and text, as well as free calling to Mexico and Canada and unlimited mobile hotspot at 5Mbps. Though data may be deprioritized compared to other traffic during heavy congestion, Visible remains one of the best options for heavy data users hoping to save a buck.
Mint Mobile is owned by Ultra Mobile (and Ryan Reynolds) and operates on the vast T-Mobile network. You pay upfront for 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months. The longer your term, the more money you save. Its cheapest unlimited plan will only cost you $30 per month and comes with up to 35GB of high-speed data, unlimited talk and text, and 5GB of mobile hotspot data. If you want to test Mint's service and be certain that you get good coverage, you can sign up for a free trial.
Metro by T-Mobile
Metro is owned by T-Mobile and operates on its network. No fixed contract is required, and its cheapest unlimited plan starts at $50 per month and comes with unlimited talk and text, up to 35GB of high-speed data (later subject to deprioritization), 5GB of mobile hotspot data, and 100GB of Google One storage. You can upgrade plans for $10 more per month and get 15GB of mobile hotspot data and a Prime membership included. And if you add more lines, you can save more.
Boost uses two networks, but most new customers will join its Expanded Network that leverages T-Mobile's network for 4G LTE and 5G coverage. Its cheapest unlimited plan starts at $50 per month and comes with 35GB of data (speeds reduce to 2G speeds after), unlimited talk and text, and 12GB mobile hotspot data. For $60 per month, you'll get 30GB of mobile hotspot data, which could be worth it for anyone who consumes loads of data.
Cricket Wireless, which operates on AT&T's network, offers two unlimited plans for either $55 per month (Cricket Core) or $60 per month (Cricket More). The main difference between the two is that your speeds are limited to 8Mbps on Cricket Core, and you won't get the 15GB of mobile hotspot data and 150GB of cloud storage you would with the more expensive Cricket More plan. But both plans come with unlimited talk, text, data, international texting, and roaming in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
T-Mobile is about as close to truly unlimited data as it gets, with a massive 50GB prioritization point for its cheapest plan, T-Mobile Essentials. This plan starts at $60 per month, but it comes with 50GB of premium 4G and 5G LTE, unlimited talk and text, unlimited mobile hotspot data (3G speed), international texting, and talk, text, and 2G data in Mexico and Canada. To make your monthly bill go down, just add a third line for free.
Best cheap prepaid phone plans
Sometimes less is more, and that can be the case with data. The average American uses around 4GB of data per month. If you've noticed this trend for yourself or you use even less, then consider these your cheapest options:
Tello is one of the best cell phone plans, and a cheap one at that. It uses T-Mobile's network to offer an extremely affordable ready-made Economy plan with 1GB of high-speed 4G LTE and 5G data, as well as unlimited minutes and texts for $10 per month. You'll also get free tethering and calls to the U.S., Canada, Mexico, China, and Romania. If you prefer to build your own plan and pick how many minutes or data you'll need, you can do so at a reasonable price.
It doesn't get much cheaper than T-Mobile Connect's $15 per month for 2.5GB. This plan will give you all the essentials you need from a phone plan, including unlimited talk and text, free mobile hotspot, Wi-Fi calling, and a bonus of 500MB for free every year. International features such as roaming or calls aren't optional on this plan, but you can always add a data pass if you run out of data.
Talk and text on Republic's one and only plan costs $15 per month. For each GB of data you decide to add, you'll pay an additional $5 per month. It's the perfect plan for light data users and anyone who doesn't want to waste money on unused data. Republic operates on T-Mobile's network and makes it extra easy to connect to hotspots around the country so you save your data. If you want to save further, you can pay by the year instead of by the month.
Mint Mobile offers four distinct data plans, and each comes with unlimited talk and text, free calling to Mexico and Canada, as well as free mobile hotspot data. Mint's cheapest plan is $15 per month, and it'll get you 4GB of data. This should be enough for the average user, but you can always upgrade if need be. To get the best deal from Mint and lock in its introductory rate, make sure to sign up for 12 months upfront.
US Mobile uses either the Verizon or T-Mobile networks to offer customers high-speed data at "Ludicrous" speeds. With a flexible plan structure, you can choose unlimited talk and text with 30GB of data for $30 per month. To use mobile hotspot data, you'll need to pay an extra $5. If you don't need unlimited minutes and texts, you can build a customized plan to save even more, or you can opt to go entirely unlimited and have no data caps whatsoever.
Simple Mobile is owned by TracFone Wireless and operates on the T-Mobile network. No fixed contract is required, and its cheapest 3GB plan comes out to be $25 per month. This plan includes unlimited talk and text, tethering, unlimited international calling to 69 countries, and international roaming in 16 countries. Should you run out of data, you can always purchase an add-on of 2GB for $5.
If you're a new customer to Boost Mobile, you can get a 5GB plan for $25 per month. However, you must use the T-Mobile network with this plan. You'll get unlimited talk and text and free mobile hotspot. Once you've reached your monthly allotment of 5GB, your data speeds will slow down to 2G speeds, so make sure that this amount of data is right for you.
If you're ok signing up for a few months at a time, AT&T has an online offer for a multi-month 8GB plan that can save you some money while still giving you great coverage for as little as $25 per month. This plan is offered in a three-month or 12-month term, and it comes with HD streaming, roaming in Mexico and Canada, free mobile hotspot, and rollover data.
T-Mobile Simply Prepaid
T-Mobile Simply Prepaid's cheapest plan starts at $40 per month for one line and includes discounts as you add more lines. Along with 10GB of 4G LTE data, you get unlimited talk and text, Wi-Fi calling, free mobile hotspot data, and music unlimited, which means that streaming music won't eat up your data allotment. If you want international features, you can purchase an add-on with this plan, unlike T-Mobile Connect.
Cheapest cell phone plans for seniors
Many carriers will offer a discount to seniors 55+ on their cell phone plans, which is a great way to take advantage of amazing service at a lower price. However, if you're someone who simply doesn't need that much data or extravagant perks, then these plans will guarantee that you only get what you need and not pay a penny more.
T-Mobile Essentials Unlimited 55+
T-Mobile has excellent core plans, and fortunately, each one comes discounted if you're 55+. The least expensive one is T-Mobile Essentials, which will cost $40 per month for one line (as opposed to $60) or $55 per month for two lines (as opposed to $90). This plan comes at an unbeatable price and includes unlimited talk and text, 50GB of premium data, unlimited mobile hotspot at 3G speeds, international texting, and unlimited talk, text, and 2G data when in Mexico and Canada.
Though Visible isn't technically a plan with a seniors discount, it is one of the simplest plans out there and makes things extremely easy by offering one plan at $40 per month. With this plan, you'll get unlimited talk, text, and data, unlimited hotspot data at 5Mbps, and free calling to Mexico and Canada. If you have great Verizon coverage and don't travel too frequently (Visible doesn't offer domestic or international roaming), then this plan will work for you.
Consumer Cellular operates on T-Mobile and AT&T's towers and is a great option for retirees thanks to its 5 percent discount on monthly services for AARP members. You have the option of getting a talk-only plan starting at $15 per month for 250 minutes. If you only want a little bit of data, you can still get 250 minutes of talk (or more), unlimited text, and 500MB of data for $20 per month. It's the perfect plan for users that just need the bare minimum.
Republic Wireless makes for a great senior plan. It offers a talk and text-only plan for $15 per month as well as a build your own plan. This means that if you want data, you can add it for $5 per GB. Best of all, Republic Wireless has an Extend Home service at no extra charge that will bring your wireless service to your home. You'll get standard features of a traditional home phone, such as a handset, voicemail, free CallerID, call waiting, and more.
Cheapest data only plan
If you don't spend much time talking or texting, or find that you're perfectly satisfied using services such as WhatsApp or Telegram to call your friends, then a data-only plan might be something to consider.
US Mobile is one of the most customizable plans out there, making it a perfect option for a data-only plan. Because you're able to build your own plan that comes with free mobile hotspot and "Ludicrous" speeds, you can get up to 15GB of data only for $26 per month. If you need only 2GB, that'll cost you $10 per month. And if you're someone that travels abroad, US Mobile lets you purchase international data packs at low rates as long as you have an eSIM compatible device.
Google Fi's latest plan includes a Simply Unlimited plan, made for those who use a ton of data and don't need its other international perks or tethering. It's not the cheapest plan at $60 per month, but you'll get unlimited data in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada with high speeds up to 22GB. If you want to have access to one of the cheapest SIM cards in the USA, then Fi's Flexible plan is the way to go. It includes a data-only SIM for free at a minimum of $30 per month for one GB.
If you only want data and have an unlocked LTE-compatible device, Cricket Wireless offers one of the cheapest SIM cards you can get at $9.99. With a Simply Data plan, you'll get 100GB of high-speed data for $55 per month, along with usage in Mexico and Canada and picture and text messages. If you need less data, 20GB of data will cost you $35 per month. Keep in mind that calling and voice add-on features aren't an option.
With Tello, you can get a data-only plan with no minutes and unlimited data on T-Mobile's 4G LTE and 5G network for just $39 per month. You can bring your own device that's GSM unlocked and use it as a mobile hotspot. Once you've reached 25GB, however, your speeds will slow to 2G. But for no contract and no additional fees, this data plan is a good deal. If you don't need unlimited data, you can always get 8GB only for $25 per month.
Cheapest International Plans
If you often travel internationally or you have family abroad, then you'll want a carrier with a good international calling plan for cheap.
Owned by Google and operating on the T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular networks, Google Fi lets you use your data in 200+ countries just like you would at home. Unlimited texting and calling are also included with the Flexible and Unlimited Plus plans. The cheapest plan starts at $20 per month and will cost an extra $10 for every other GB of data used. After 6GB, however, data is free. You can also opt for the pricier $70 per month plan that comes with up to 22GB of high-speed data.
Dish-owned Boost Mobile offers some affordable international plans. The cheapest plan comes at $10 per month, and for $5 per month extra, you can add Todo Mexico Plus. This plan will get you unlimited calling to and from all of Mexico, unlimited calls to Canada, unlimited international SMS (text) messaging, and 8GB roaming data for Mexico. You can also pay $10 per month for International Connect Plus, which offers all of the above (except roaming) plus MMS messaging, unlimited calls to landlines in over 70 countries, 200 minutes to select mobile lines in over 50 countries, and reduced per-minute rates to over 200 destinations.
Simple Mobile offers affordable plans, but each one comes with useful international perks—specifically if you have family in Latin-American countries. Along with unlimited talk and text and tethering on each plan, you'll get unlimited international calling to 69 countries, an international calling credit of at least $10, and international roaming in 16 Latin-American countries no matter what you pay. If you run out of data abroad or at home, you can always add more or go with the truly unlimited plan.
Cheapest Family Plans
You can often save money on your monthly phone plan by entering into family plans with various carriers. Depending on your needs, there are plenty of options. You'll usually pay full price for the first line but receive a discount on subsequent lines. Not every carrier offers family/multi-line plans, so here are the cheapest around:
T-Mobile's Magenta plan is one of the best family plans available. It's not as cheap as the Essentials plan, but it's a better fit for families thanks to a bunch of extra perks such as an included Netflix subscription, 5GB of high-speed hotspot data, and 2G of data abroad. Thankfully, if you get at least three lines, the price drops significantly because of T-Mobile's generous third line for three. If you need four lines, you'll end up paying only $35 per line with taxes and fees included.
Visible is one of the most affordable cell phone plans out there today and a great option for families and friends. Because it uses Verizon's network, you'll get great coverage along with unlimited 4G LTE and 5G data, unlimited mobile hotspot at 5Mbps, and free calls to Mexico and Canada. You'll pay significantly less than you would directly with Verizon, and when you sign up for Party Pay, your monthly bill drops to $25 per month with four lines. Though each account must pay separately, it's a deal that's hard to compete with.
Metro by T-Mobile
Metro is owned by T-Mobile and operates on its network. When you sign up for four lines, its top unlimited plan is cheaper than the others. For $120 per month, you'll get 15GB of hotspot data plus an Amazon Prime subscription. This plan also comes with 35GB 4G LTE and 5G high-speed data per line per month, unlimited talk and text, visual voicemail, Wi-Fi calling, unlimited music streaming, and 100GB on Google One.
Walmart Family Mobile
Walmart Family Mobile uses T-Mobile's network and offers four main plans without a contract. Each additional line costs $24.88 per month, so the best value comes with the larger data plans. The cheapest family plan, however, starts at $25 per month per line for up to five lines and includes 2GB of high-speed data (reduced to 2G speeds once consumed), unlimited talk and text, as well as free mobile hotspot. If you're a family of two, the truly unlimited plan for $74.76 is also a great deal.
Pure Android with 5G
Google Pixel 4a with 5G
Pure Android performance with 5G support on most carriers
The Google Pixel 4a with 5G adds 5G to the original Pixel 4a while upgrading most components like the battery, CPU, and even a larger screen. This is a great fit for someone that wants as much carrier freedom as possible.
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