Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans
If you’re interested in saving money on your cell phone bill, I have some good news for you. There are a lot of cheap cell phone plans on the market right now.
It used to be normal to spend $100 or more every month for each line on your cell phone plan. That’s just crazy. Major carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon bank on their customers getting hooked into expensive long-term contracts.
They charge a hefty premium for things like unlimited talk and text, unlimited data plans, and other features.
On top of that, millions of people are financing phones they couldn’t afford to buy upfront, further adding to their monthly cell phone bill and cementing their commitment to an expensive phone company.
Take my word for it. Expensive cell phone plans are definitely not a part of the journey to financial freedom.
Thankfully, times have changed. It’s now possible to pay as little as $10 to $20 each month for your cell phone plan—which can add up to a savings of thousands of dollars each year.
In fact, you can bring your unlocked phone to most of these carriers and even switch providers while keeping your phone number if you’re not happy with the service.
15 Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans of 2021
Here are the 15 best cheapest cell phone plans you can get today:
- 🏆 Total Wireless
- Republic Wireless
- Mint Mobile
- US Mobile
- Gen Mobile
- Consumer Cellular
- Boost Mobile
- Straight Talk Wireless
- Red Pocket
- Cricket Wireless
Total Wireless offers unlimited talk and text for single lines and families. With Total Wireless, the more users you have on your plan, the lower your monthly per-line cost.
And Total Wireless has pretty solid data options costing much less than the major carriers (and their low-cost competitors), which is pretty cool. Total Wireless runs on Verizon’s network which means you can still get 4G LTE data.
When you add it all up, they earn the top spot. Check out which plan is right for you.
Total Wireless Plans:
- Single Line, Unlimited: The cheapest single line option offers unlimited talk and text from $25 a month. The downside is you’ll have to add on data.
- Single Line, 5GB High-Speed Data: If you want some access to high-speed data, you can upgrade to a 5GB high-speed data plan for $35 a month. This plan also allows you to use your phone as a Wifi hotspot (for up to 5GB) when you’re on the go.
- Mega Plan Single Line Unlimited Data: Cell phone users that want unrestricted access to high-speed data should probably check out this plan, which includes 25GB of high-speed data, unlimited talk and text, and 10GB of hotspot data. The mega plan costs $50 a month.
- 2 Lines Unlimited: If you and your friend or partner want to share the same plan, the two-line option comes with 30GB of shared data and costs only $30 for each line. This seems like the best deal if you need two lines. This plan includes 10GB of hotspot data per line, too.
- 3 Lines Unlimited: This plan offers 60GB of data use between three lines, and 10GB of hotspot data per line, for $85 each month (which comes out to roughly $28/line—not bad!).
- 4 Lines Unlimited: Families with four cell phone users will want to check out this plan, which includes 100GB of high-speed data for $100 per month (or roughly $25/line).
Republic Wireless offers low-cost cell phone plans throughout the U.S. All Republic Wireless plans include unlimited talk and text, hotspot capabilities, and a 14-day money-back guarantee. You can go with a month-to-month plan, or if you want to save even more money, paying annually lowers your bill by 10% to 20%.
I’m a fan of Republic Wireless’ straightforward pricing and overall low cost. It’s also worth noting that they are very well-rated on Trustpilot, with over 2,000 reviews and a 4.4-star rating (out of 5).
Republic uses Sprint and T-Mobile networks for back-up.
Republic Wireless Plans:
- My Choice Unlimited Talk & Text (no data): This plan, which costs $15 a month, is ideal for users who only make calls and send text messages.
- My Choice Unlimited Talk & Text (1GB Data): If you want to use a little bit of data for things like checking emails or maps, this plan might be a good option for you at $20/month.
- My Choice Unlimited Talk & Text (2 GB Data): Upgrading to 2GB of speed data will run you $25/month.
- Data Add-On: If 2GB isn’t going to be enough data, you can add as much data as you’d like for $5/GB (up to 15GB).
Mint Mobile offers plans for as low as $15 a month, but you’ll need to sign up for at least a three-month contract to take advantage of those fire-sale prices.
All of their plans include unlimited talk and text, free calls to Mexico and Canada, and mobile hotspot access.
After your first three-month contract is up, you’ll probably have to reconsider your options to make sure that you are still getting the best deal. If you frequently call Canada or Mexico, their plans might be especially appealing.
Overall, Mint Mobile ranks strong, thanks to their up-front pricing, and great TrustPilot rating. Mint bases its plans on T-Mobile’s network.
Mint Mobile Plans:
- 3 Month, 3GB Plan: For only $15/month (for the first three months), you’ll get unlimited talk and text, and 3GB of high-speed data. After the three months is up, this plan jumps to $25/month.
- 3 Month, 8GB Plan: If you plan on using more data, this plan includes 8GB of high-speed data and costs only $20/month. However, this price jumps up to $35/month after your first three months are up.
- 3 Month, 12GB Plan: This plan offers 12 GB of high-speed data each month. The starting cost is $25/month, which then jumps to $45/month after the first three months are up.
US Mobile has some of the cheapest cell phone plans out there—all of which are highly customizable. If you don’t talk a lot, don’t need high-speed data, and don’t send a lot of texts, you can pay as low as $4/month! That’s crazy cheap.
Build your own plan to see what you’ll pay. You can select how many talk minutes and texts you need and how much data you want. If you’re looking for unlimited talk, text, and data, you’ll pay $40/month.
This isn’t bad when you compare it to other providers—especially when you consider that the unlimited plan also includes 10GB of international roaming data.
I like the look and feel of the US Mobile brand and website and how easy it is to customize a cell phone plan based on your needs. The company also boasts early access to its 5G network and a stellar 4.4-star rating on Trustpilot.
Gen Mobile offers a wide variety of one-month and three-month low-cost cell phone plans, backed by the Sprint Nationwide Network. There are no annual contracts and a seven-day money-back guarantee for new customers.
Gen Mobile probably has the widest array of low-cost options in this post. If you frequently call or text abroad, and if you don’t use a lot of data, they’ll probably be a leading contender on your list. The company seems to have pretty good online reviews as well.
Gen Mobile One Month Plans
- Unlimited Text Plan: For $5/month, you can send unlimited texts to your buddies, but you can’t call them.
- Unlimited Talk & Text: For $10/month, you get unlimited calls and texts, but no high-speed data.
- Int’l + 1GB Plan: For $15/month, you get 1GB of high-speed data, and unlimited minutes to 100 countries.
Gen Mobile Three Month Plans
- Unlimited Talk & Text: This plan costs only $9/month and includes unlimited talk and text, but no data.
- Int’l + 1GB Plan: For only $13/month, you get unlimited U.S. and international talk and text and 1GB of high-speed data.
- Int’l + 3GB Plan: This plan includes 3GB of high-speed data, along with unlimited U.S. and international talk and text.
Ting is a budget-friendly, no-contract cell phone provider founded in 2012. The company seems to pride itself on customer service and transparency.
Ting provides three main plan options:
- Flex: For $15 per month, this plan includes unlimited talk and text plus $5 for each GB of data
- Set 5: This plan costs $25 per month and includes unlimited talk and text plus 5 GB of data (all of which can be used as hotspot)
- Unlimited: This plan includes unlimited talk and text in addition to a staggering 22 GB of data (up to 12 GB of hotspot) for $45 per month
If you use a lot of data, the price of the plan starts to climb. But, if you don’t consume lots of data on the go, Ting might be a solid affordable option for you.
Consumer Cellular is a low-cost cell phone service provider that offers plans for as low as $15/month. The company has been around since 1995 and has won several awards for customer satisfaction over the years.
To sign up for a plan (or get a quote), you first pick how many lines you need. For example, if you have just one line with 250 minutes of talk time and no data, it will only set you back $15/month. If you add unlimited talk and 10GB of high-speed data, you’ll pay $40/month.
Two lines with unlimited talk and 10GB of shared data cost only $55/month (under $30 per line). I can dig it.
I’m a fan of Consumer Cellular’s transparent pricing and low cost. It’s easy to select a plan that works for you and make adjustments based on usage. I’ve heard that Consumer Cellular is great for retired folks, and I can see why. They offer a 5% discount for AARP members (something I have not seen with any of the other providers on this list).
It’s not all a bed of roses, though. Consumer Cellular has lousy reviews on Trustpilot, so you may want to factor that into your decision.
FreedomPop is an ultra-low-cost cell phone provider that boasts free international calling and free unlimited calling and texting with other FreedomPop customers.
The company even claims to offer “100% Free Mobile Phone and High-Speed Internet Service,” which seems like a stretch. It turns out that the “100% Free” deal is for a trial on their Premium GSM 2GB plan.
I’m always leery of companies that blast “100% FREE” all over their website in an attempt to get new customers in the door. While some people might qualify for free plans, others might wind up paying more than they want to.
Last but not least, FreedomPop has an average TrustPilot rating, so at least they have that going for them.
- Premium GSM 2GB Plan: After your free trial ends, this plan costs $19.99/month and includes 2GB of data. Beyond 2GB, you’ll pay $0.01/MB.
- Premium GSM 3GB Plan: For $26.99/month, you’ll get 3GB of data. That’s not enough to stream Netflix, but you can check emails and social media.
- Basic GSM 200 Plan: This plan is free, up to 200MB of data. After that, you’ll pay $0.025/MB, which could add up if you consume lots of data.
Boost Mobile is a leading prepaid cell phone provider that operates in the U.S. and Australia. All of their plans include unlimited talk, data, and text, and mobile hotspot access. The company doesn’t have any annual service contracts.
Boost is heavy on marketing but doesn’t deliver the lowest-cost plans. This fact, coupled with their poor 2.7-star Trustpilot rating, is why they’re toward the bottom of this list.
Boost Mobile Plans:
- Unlimited Gigs: For $50/month, you’ll get unlimited low-speed data access and 12GB of hotspot data.
- Boost Unlimited Plus: For $60/month, you can get unlimited high-speed data and 30GB of hotspot data.
- 3 Gigs 4G LTE: This plan costs $35/month and includes 3GB of high-speed data with limited hotspot access.
- 2GB Data: At $30/month, this is Boost’s lowest-cost plan, which offers 2GB of high-speed data access.
- 4 Lines, Unlimited Gigs: Families of four can get 30GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data for $120/month (which comes out to $30 per line).
Straight Talk Wireless
Straight Talk Wireless is a low-cost, no-contract, wireless service provider. The company doesn’t conduct credit checks, there are no activation fees, and all of their plans include unlimited talk and text, with high-speed data access.
Straight Talk offers straightforward pricing, but they don’t have the best prices. If you need lots of data, your bill will be in-line with major cell phone carriers. On top of that, Straight Talk has only a 1.7-star rating on Trustpilot. Ouch!
Straight Talk Wireless Plans:
- Basic: As the name suggests, this is Straight Talk’s most basic plan. For $30/month, you won’t get any high-speed data, and your talk time is limited to 1,500 minutes.
- Unlimited Nationwide 3GB: This plan offers 3GB of high-speed data access for $35/month.
- Unlimited Nationwide 25GB: This plan offers 25GB of high-speed data access and costs $45/month.
- Unlimited Nationwide Ultimate: Unlimited high-speed data and 10GB of hotspot data are included in this plan, for $55/month.
- 2 Line Unlimited Nationwide Ultimate: This plan offers the same benefits as the Unlimited Nationwide Ultimate plan, but includes two lines for $90/month.
- Unlimited International: If you frequently make international calls, this might be the best plan for you. The cost is $60/month.
Tello offers plans tailored for people who want basic services for low prices. You could pay as little as $5 a month for the cheapest plan.
Plans at this price point do not include any data usage — only line access. So you’d need to add at least $20 to your monthly plan to use 2GB of smartphone data a month.
I’m including Tello because you’d have no contract, no activation fees, and no higher rates for overage charges. Tello’s plans include calls to China, Canada, and Mexico.
Tello Wireless Plans:
Build-Your-Own Plan choosing from:
- Talk: Choose from 100 minutes, 300 minutes, 500 minutes, or unlimited minutes.
- Data: Choose from no data, 500MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 6GB, 8GB.
- Text: Unlimited for all plans.
The cheapest possible plan costs $5 and includes only 100 minutes of talk time and unlimited texts with no data. The most expensive plan provides unlimited data and unlimited minutes and costs $39 a month.
Tello sells Samsung and Apple devices and uses the Sprint network. This isn’t a great option for multiple phone lines since Tello doesn’t offer a family plan.
Like Tello, Twigby Wireless lets you customize your own phone plan. If you’re an individual who wants a basic plan, you could save by getting only the data and minutes you need.
Plans range from $9 a month for no data and 300 minutes of talk time to $39 a month for unlimited talk and data. Texts come along with both plans. International calling comes along for free, too.
Unlike most wireless carriers, Twigby charges for your SIM card, but this one-time fee of $3.99 isn’t a big deal. You could buy a new phone for $38 (for a basic phone) to about $600 for an iPhone X. Or you could bring your own device.
Twigby now uses the Sprint network, too.
Prepaid phone users may like Tracfone’s basic approach and the fact that this services is an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) with all four industry leaders — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile — making this provider’s coverage map thorough for an MVNO.
Prepaid plans work a lot like gift cards. You load up your account at the beginning of the billing cycle rather than at the end of the cycle. If you’re struggling with your credit score or don’t want to make a huge deposit up front, these kinds of plans can help.
You can save money, too, as long as you don’t do too much video streaming or other data heavy activities that zap your data plan right away.
If you use more than 3GB of data per month, you’ll have to refill your account — $10 per 1GB. Prepaid plans range from $20 to $30 a month. Tracfone can provide Android, Apple, or basic phones.
Red Pocket Mobile
Red Pocket makes this list because it’s an MVNO that lets you choose your own provider — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile. This can be super convenient if you’re coming from a carrier like Verizon and would like to continue using the same device.
However, the prepaid plans you can buy into also vary depending on the network you choose. The most basic plan costs $10 and is available on all four networks.
Red Pocket even sells annual plans but I don’t recommend going this route since you may not like the network after a month or two.
You also don’t want to underestimate your data usage because extra data will clock in at 2G speeds instead of 4G — a huge difference and a deal breaker if you’re video streaming.
Cricket Wireless is a cheap cell phone provider that operates brick-and-mortar locations in some regions.
Cricket’s pricing is confusing to me, and there appears to be a variety of ways that a low-cost plan can suddenly jump to a high-cost plan. And there might also be activation fees and contract fees that you have to worry about. I suggest carefully reviewing these terms if you decide to sign up with them.
What’s more, Cricket has poor ratings on TrustPilot, which is why they land at the bottom of this list.
Cricket Wireless Plans:
- 2 GB: For $30/month, you’ll get access to 2GB of high-speed data.
- 5 GB: For $40/month, Cricket offers 5GB of high-speed data.
- Unlimited: For $55/month, you’ll enjoy unlimited high-speed data.
- Unlimited + Mobile Hotspot: If you also want to be able to use your phone as a mobile hotspot, you’ll probably want this plan (which costs $60/month).
- Family Plans: Family plans are available for families with up to five cell phone users.
Are Cheap Phone Plans Reliable?
Poor call quality, slow data speeds, limited data per month — cheap phone plans get a bad rap, especially in the ads the big carriers run.
For years these claims were based on truth, but over time the gap between the big wireless providers who maintain networks and the MVNOs who offer more budget-friendly phone plans has narrowed.
The MVNOs buy bandwidth from the big carriers so the network performance is similar. A cheap phone plan won’t have as many perks such as apps for parents to track their kids or rewards programs.
However, you should be able to count on the core mission of a budget phone plan — to provide line access, text messages, and a data plan.
Which Is the Best Cheap Cell Phone Plan for You?
Since you’ve made it this far, you can see that there are a ton of options out there when it comes to cheap cell phone plans. It all comes down to how much you use your phone, and what type of company you choose to trust. I hope that this review has helped make the choice easier for you.
At the end of the day, it’s all about taking that first step and cutting the cord with your major cell phone provider. Trust me: You’ll wind up saving tons of money. Over time, those savings will compound to the point you will never look back.
Here’s to finding a best cell phone plan that fits into your budget!