Cell phone plans can be confusing, especially when trying to find the most affordable plan for your needs. Pricing structures and value offerings are numerous and complicated.
Our goal with this guide is to provide all the information you need to know about the best cheap cell phone plans available in the United States.
Whether you are looking for a prepaid option or a contract, there is a plan on this list that should work for your cell phone plan needs and your budget.
Best for calling and texting internationally
Cheapest Phone Plan: 1GB for $15 per month
Gen Mobile Unlimited is a great option if you need to make international calls and texts on a budget. Many of their plans include free, unlimited calls to 100+ countries, more unlimited countries than any other provider on our list offers.
While Google Fi is a great option if you travel, Gen Mobile is the best cheap cell phone plan if you need to make calls and texts to international locations frequently.
Gen Mobile also offers discounts for customer loyalty. When you buy one month, you receive one month free, no matter what plan you select. If you buy 3 months at a time, you will receive a discount of anywhere between 13% and 20%, depending on your plan.
- Good selection of phones
- Unlimited text and calling to 100+ countries
- Hard limit with its data plan
- May not be ideal for heavy data users
2. Boost Mobile
Best Affordable, no-contract wireless plan
Cheapest Phone Plan: 2GB for $15 per month
Boost offers plans, including a $45-a-month Shrink-It option that gives you 15GB of data and reduces your rate by $5 twice, once if you keep your plan for three months and once at six months.
After six months, you would be paying $35 a month for that same amount of data. Boost’s regular $35 a month plan offers the same 10GB plan as Metro By T-Mobile, but for $5 less.
- Uses T-Mobile’s network
- $35 10GB plan is also a winner
- Limits the kinds of phones allowed on its network
- Boost features a 2GB plan for a low $15 rate. Sometimes Boost will reduce that rate to $10 a month as a promotion.
Best all-around great value plan
Cheapest Phone Plan: 2GB for $15 per month.
With $15 a month, you will have an allowance of 2GB of data and unlimited text and talk. If you consider that too limiting, you can purchase 5GB of data for $25 a month.
T-Mobile Connect offers a unique reward for loyalty, increasing customer data by 500MB each year when customers use T-Mobile Connect for up to five years. This way, you can increase the data amount you can use by 2.5GB without increasing your monthly rates.
- Reliable network
- Cheap monthly rate
- Plan increases by 500MB every year
- Hard limit on data usage
- Speeds can be slow
Best for low data users
Cheapest Phone Plan: 1GB at $15 per month with AutoPay Credit*, $20 without
If you only need a small amount of data each month, then check out this super cheap cell phone plan from Good2Go Mobile. For $15 a month, you’ll receive unlimited talk and text plus 1GB of data on the same network as AT&T.
Good2Go is compatible with both iPhone and Android cell phones. If you decide to purchase a phone from them, they provide a free SIM card and offer free shipping.
- 1GB high-speed data
- Free SIM card and free shipping
- Speeds reduce at data limit
Best overall discount carrier
Cheapest Phone Plan: 10GB at $40 per month
Metro, a discount carrier under T-Mobile, offers a 2GB plan at $30. Their best value cell phone plan is the $40 package which provides 10GB of data per month.
Metro by T-Mobile provides quality service for good value. The network is reliable and offers fast data speeds at affordable prices. Their phone selection is great, but you also have the option to bring your own device as well, depending on a few factors.
- Lots of data for $40
- Uses T-Mobile’s network
- Taxes and fees included in the plan
- Traffic could be slow because of T-Mobile’s network
- No mobile hotspot data
Best flexible, cheap cell phone plan
Cheapest Phone Plan: 2GB at $25 per month.
Republic Wireless charges a consistent fee for talk and text and requires users to pay $5 for every GB of data they use. If you rarely use your data, it’s possible to keep your bill low with a Visible plan.
Savings increase when you pay annually for your prepaid cell phone plan. If you use 2GB of LTE data each month, it would normally cost you $25 per month. If you can make one annual payment, it reduces your monthly costs to $20.83, saving you the cost of two months of service.
- Uses Sprint and T-Mobile networks
- Rates match data usage
- iPhones are not usable
Greatest value for $40 a month.
Cheapest Phone Plan: Unlimited data for $40 per month
If you are looking for a significant amount of data but not the high monthly costs that usually come with it, consider Visible. This low-cost carrier offers unlimited text, data, and talk for $40 a month; taxes and fees included.
Visible customers can also access family plans with discounted rates when you add extra lines. Two lines of data come out to $35 each or $70 monthly, while four lines reduce the cost per line to $25 a month per line or $100 altogether. Any line exceeding the fourth line costs $25 monthly.
Visible offers several Apple phones, and additional help for Android devices. It also offers support for a few Galaxy S21 models, the latest Google Pixels.
- Uses Verizon’s network
- Discounts for multiple lines
- Speed can be slow because of a congested network
- Only one data plan
8. Mint Mobile
Best rates for lots of data
Cheapest Phone Plan: Unlimited data for $30 per month
Mint Mobile offers low rates and plenty of data, but make sure you realize the terms. At sign-up, you must pay three months ahead of time, albeit at a reduced rate.
If you want to keep the low rate, you must sign up for a year of service. While there are those who will be willing to commit, it removes the flexibility you receive from a prepaid phone plan.
If you select Mint’s 10GB plan, it will cost you $20 a month for the first three months. To keep this rate after these three months, you’ll have to register for one year of service. If not, you will pay $35 a month. What you can save when signing up for Mint for a year is worthwhile.
- Unlimited data for a low monthly rate
- Uses T-Mobile’s network
- Annual plans offer the best discounts
AT&T’s best value plan
Cheapest Phone Plan: 15 GB at $40 per month
AT&T is not a low-cost carrier, but you have the ability to use a significant amount of data for a reasonable price if you choose AT&T’s prepaid service. At $40 a month, you receive 15GB of data, which is more than some of the other carriers out there.
AT&T also allows customers to keep unused data from one month to the following month. If you exceed your 15GB limit, AT&T reduces your speeds for the rest of your billing period.
With AT&T, you can use text, talk, and data if you’re taking a trip to Canada or Mexico, though roaming data speeds may not work as quickly.
AT&T offers another prepaid plan with 5GB of data for $30. You receive rollover data, but you cannot use your plan in Mexico or Canada for free.
AT&T offers an online-only prepaid plan that provides you with 8GB of data at $25 a month if you put out $300 in advance.
- Rollover data
- No 5G coverage
10. Google Fi
Best cheap cell phone plans for travelers
Cheapest Phone Plan: 2GB at $40 per month
There are definitely more affordable plans than what Google Fi offers. If you travel a lot but do not need much data, then Google Fi may be the best cheap cell phone plan for you.
With Google Fi, you receive unlimited text and calls for $20 a month. Each GB of data is an additional $10 to your monthly bill. This is twice what Republic costs per GB. Google Fi rewards you for any data you don’t use with lower monthly charges.
When you must use more data than usual, Google Fi’s Bill Protection limits your monthly charges to $80, even if you consume more than the data you usually receive.
You can utilize just about any Android and iPhones with Google Fi. However, you must remain with either Sprint or T-Mobile’s network. It is not easy or seamless to switch between both networks.
Google Fi is ideal for travelers. In more than 200 countries, you can use the same data allotment you would at home at no extra cost.
- Use your data and texts abroad
- Support for non-Pixel phones
- Carries the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5
- You can only use select phones with this network
- Unlimited data is pricey
Best cheap cell phone plans for seniors
Cheapest Phone Plan: 3GB at $30 per month
Consumer Cellular is popular for senior cell phone users who do not use much data because of the 5% monthly service discount for AARP members.
Consumer Cellular customers pay $20 for unlimited minutes. They can save $5 if they only use 250 minutes each month.
Consumer Cellular charges for data costs separately in units as minimal as 500MB a month and as large as 25GB ($40). The best feature is their plan that combines unlimited talk with 3GB of data, which is $30.
- Flexible choices for minutes and data
- Unlimited texts
- Senior discounts
- Other carriers provide more data
What to Look For In A Cell Phone Plan ?
Searching for a cheap cell phone plan can be a daunting task. Aside from the various providers on the market, there are certain aspects you should also consider. Be sure to consider the following when searching for a cheap cell phone plan.
Many cell phone service providers will try to rope consumers in with a plan that looks cheap, but this will only be for a specified period of time. Often, after the first year, you will have to pay a higher rate.
There also may be fees such as exceeding your allotted data usage, roaming fees, or extra taxes that could add to the price of your bill.
Most cell phone companies advertise plans that work solely for their phones. If you buy a plan through a certain provider, that phone will most likely work for only that provider.
You’ll also want to be sure that the plan you consider is available for the phone you’re looking to use with it.
Some phone plans seem appealing but have a small network coverage area. You will want to review the network coverage map of the phone provider you choose and make sure that the phone will provide reliable service in whatever area you live in or will be traveling in.
Additional features are always available from certain providers. You should consider things such as sign-up bonuses, loyal customer price reductions, international calling and texting services, or the terms and conditions of data usage.
Choose the Plan for You
With so many plans on the market, it can be difficult to find the cheapest and most reliable option. Depending on your needs, there’s sure to be a service out there for you.
By reviewing our list, you can cut back on the hassle of finding a reliable provider and sign yourself up for a cheap cell phone plan that is sure to meet your needs.