Cell phones are practically a necessity of modern life – but cell phone plans can cost a pretty penny. Whether you’re trying to cut down on your monthly phone bill or are on the hook for paying for your own cell service for the first time, these less expensive cell phone plans are worth checking out.
The best cheap cell phone plans are affordable without skimping on features like calls, texts, and data.
Overview of the best cheap cell phone plans
Tired of paying an arm and a leg on your cell phone bill and want to save on wireless? With Boost Mobile, you could pay as little as $10 a month for a simple, contract-free plan. Boost Mobile’s cheapest plan includes unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data. You also have the option to add on additional “data packs” if you need more data in a given month.
If you’re looking for unlimited data, Boost Mobile’s $50 per month plan features unlimited talk, text, and mobile data, along with a 12GB mobile hotspot. You can add another line to the plan for only $30 per month. Boost Mobile even features an “Affordable Family Plan” with unlimited talk, text, and data for only $150 for five phone lines.
Boost doesn’t make you sign any long-term contracts, so you’re never locked into an extended agreement. The company uses the T-Mobile network and claims to offer coverage in 99% of areas nationwide.
- Price range – $15 to $35 per month.
- Network details – T-Mobile.
- Contract – 3-, 6-, or 12-month contract.
If you’re looking for an affordable plan with unlimited data, Mint Mobile is an attractive option. The company offers unlimited talk, text, and data for just $30 per month. Data switches seamlessly between 5G and 4G LTE, using whichever is strongest in your area.
Mint also offers a basic cell phone plan with unlimited talk and text and 4GB of data for just $15 per month. All Mint plans include a mobile hotspot at no extra charge, and you can always add more data to your plan if you run out before the month is up.
Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network, and you can buy a new phone or bring your own (as long as it’s compatible with the network and isn’t locked).
Unlike some other cheap cell phone plan providers, Mint does require customers to sign a contract for 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month plans. The 3-month plan is a great way to give the service a whirl, and then you can always sign up for a 12-month plan in order to lock in Mint Mobile’s low introductory prices.
Some people use a consistent amount of data each month, but others may have different data needs depending on their work, personal life, and travel plans. Xfinity Mobile makes it easy to transition seamlessly between plans with unlimited data and pay-as-you-go plans with a limited amount of data each month.
Their basic plan starts at $15 per month for one line and comes with 1GB of data. Their unlimited data plan starts at $45 per month. Best of all, you can switch between unlimited and by-the-gig plans whenever you need to.
You can also purchase an unlimited plan for some lines in your group, while paying by the gig for others. This is a great option if you need unlimited data but have other family members, like young children or elderly relatives, who only need talk and text capabilities.
Xfinity Mobile uses Verizon’s network, which means that it has good coverage nationwide. You can bring your own phone to a plan, or purchase a new one. Xfinity Mobile also works with tablets and smartwatches, so you can stay connected on all of your devices.
Xfinity Mobile is only available to existing Xfinity Internet customers, so if you don’t already have Xfinity as an internet provider, it may not be the best fit.
Ting shares many great features with some of the other providers on this list: extremely low prices, flexible monthly plans, and no contract required. For example, you can purchase a plan for as low as $10 per month for unlimited talk and text, plus an additional $5 per month per 1GB of data.
But where Ting really shines is its customer service. You can contact customer support over the phone, chat online, or submit a ticket if you’re having difficulties. Ting’s customer service representatives are always there to help.
If you’re looking for unlimited data, Ting has that too, with unlimited plans starting at $45. All plans come with the option to use a portion of data as a hotspot. Ting uses the T-Mobile and Verizon networks, so odds are it provides good coverage no matter where you live.
Also need internet? Ting provides fast, affordable fiber internet in some select cities, including Charlottesville, VA, Wake Forest, NC, and Westminster, MD.
Many cheap cell phone companies are entirely digital affairs. While it’s possible to purchase a plan, order a new phone, and manage your account entirely online, some customers may prefer in-person assistance. If that’s the case, Cricket is a great option, with brick-and-mortar locations in communities all around the country.
Cricket plans range from $30 to $60 per month for one phone line. While these prices are a little higher than many competitors, you can lower the price per line by adding additional lines.
The $30 per month plan comes with unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of data, while the $60 per month plan comes with unlimited talk, text, and data. There are also plenty of options in between if you only use a moderate amount of data.
Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T and uses the AT&T network for its customers. Cricket claims that they provide coverage for 99% of Americans. There’s no credit check, no hidden fees, and no annual contract, so you can change your plan at any time.
Need a basic cell phone plan and have an extremely limited budget? You can get a basic phone plan with Tello for just $5 per month. No, that’s not a typo. Tello’s most basic plan comes with unlimited text, 100 minutes for phone calls, and no data.
But Tello doesn’t only have the least expensive bare-bones plan. At $39 per month, a plan with unlimited talk, text, and data is also extremely affordable. Plus, Tello allows customers to mix and match plan options.
You can choose exactly how much data and how many minutes of phone service you need, so you never have to overpay for services you won’t use. For example, if you use a medium amount of data but only talk on the phone a couple of times a month, you could choose a plan with 100 minutes of phone service and 8GB of data for $26 per month.
If you don’t want to bother with creating a custom plan, you can also choose from one of Tello’s premade plans ranging from $10 to $39 per month. If you need to make an international call or text, Tello’s pay-as-you-go model means that it’s surprisingly affordable.
Visible offers an affordable cell phone plan with attractive referral bonuses for customers who convince friends and family members to sign up. The basic plan starts at $40, which is a bit higher than some competitors. But each time you refer a friend, you get a month of service for only $5.
You can also add friends and family members to your plan in order to lower your bill through the Visible’s Party Pay option. With Party Pay, costs drop to $25 per line for parties of four or more.
All plans come with unlimited text, talk, and data. Visible uses Verizon’s network, so coverage is good in most areas in the United States. You can also call and text loved ones in Canada, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico at no extra cost.
While Visible doesn’t have the extreme budget plan offerings of some competitors, it’s a good fit for customers who know they want unlimited data, text, and calling but don’t want to pay the high cost of a plan from a big three provider.
Looking for a dead-simple phone plan with built-in flexibility and excellent coverage? Consider Twigby, which offers affordable plans starting at just $9 per month before discounts.
Not only does Twigby offer reasonably priced plans, but they also feature some hefty discounts for new customers. Customers can earn a whopping 50% off the sticker price for the first six months. This means that a bare-bones plan with no data and 300 minutes costs a mere $4.50 per month for the first half of the year. A more generous plan with 10GB of data and unlimited minutes costs only $21.50 a month for the first six months.
Twigby plans also come with international calling and texting, WiFi calling and texting, and the ability to use a hotspot at no extra charge. You can buy phones directly from Twigby, or bring your own phone if it’s compatible.
Unlike many competitors, Twigby doesn’t offer any plans that come with unlimited data. The highest amount of data you can purchase as part of a plan is 10GB. For people who need to use their phones a lot without connecting to WiFi, this means that Twigby might not be the best option.
That said, Twigby offers impressively affordable plans with great customer service and plenty of extra perks. Plus, unlike big-name cell service providers, Twigby is refreshingly honest and upfront about pricing and plans.
Summary of the best cheap cell phone plans
|Provider||Cost for one line||Network details||Contract||Best for|
|Boost Mobile||$10 to $50||T-Mobile||No||Overall|
|Mint Mobile||$15 to $35||T-Mobile||3, 6, or 12 months||Unlimited data|
|Xfinity Mobile||$15 to $60||Verizon||No||Flexible data needs|
|Ting||$10 to $45||T-Mobile and Verizon||No||Great customer service|
|Cricket Wireless||$30 to $50||AT&T||No||In-person help|
|Tello||$5 to $39||T-Mobile||No||Budget prices|
|Twigby||$9 to $43||Verizon and T-Mobile||No||Discounts|
How we came up with our list of cheap cell phone plans
We looked for cell phone plans that were affordable, flexible, and came with a variety of different options.
All of the providers on this list provide affordable, low-cost plans ranging from $5 to $60 for a single line. On the low end, you can get a budget phone plan with texting and minutes for just $5 a month from Tello. On the other hand, you can get a more moderately priced plan with unlimited data, talk, and text from almost any of these providers.
We also looked for flexibility when it came to contracts, data usage, and billing. Most of these providers let you pay month to month rather than locking you into a year-long contract. Many also allow you to seamlessly switch between plans depending on your needs that month.
Finally, we looked for plans with options. Not everybody has the same cell phone needs, and you shouldn’t have to pay for services that you never even use. These providers offer a variety of different options, whether you only use your phone to call and text, or if you primarily use it for data and as a hotspot.
What are cheap cell phone plans?
Cell phones are ubiquitous in this day and age, but they don’t come cheap. On top of the cost of the phone itself, customers also have to pay for cell phone service and the ability to call, text, and use data.
Cheap cell phone plans aim to undercut behemoth competitors like Verizon and T-Mobile by offering the same service at a lower cost. Many also offer the ability to customize and fine-tune plans according to your particular needs.
Whether you need to start paying your own phone bill for the first time or you’re contemplating switching from a pricier plan, these cheap phone plans could end up saving you a good chunk of change each month.
Who should use a cheap cell phone plan?
People who want to save money
The main draw of cheap cell phone plans is that they save you money without sacrificing quality. These plans are able to provide the same overall level of service for a fraction of the cost.
People who want a simple plan
Don’t need all the bells and whistles of a fancy cell phone plan? Many of these providers offer bare-bones cell phone plans at bottom-of-the-barrel prices.
Who shouldn’t use a cheap cell phone plan?
Those locked into a contract
If you’re already locked into a contract with another provider, it could be costly to switch. If you’ve bought a phone from another provider, you may not be able to use that phone with a different carrier.
Those who are happy with a traditional cell phone plan
If you’re happy with your current coverage, there’s no need to switch. That said, you’ll likely be able to find a better deal with a cheap cell phone plan.
Most important features of cheap cell phone plans
While cheap cell phone plans share many similarities, they’re not all created equal. Which one is the right fit for you depends on what features matter most to you.
Cell phone coverage
Cell phone coverage is one of the most important features when it comes to any cell phone. Good coverage allows you to easily make calls and texts without any delay or lag time.
Unlimited data options
Once an optional extra in many cell phone plans, unlimited data is now one of the most sought-after features. Just keep in mind that providers will typically drop your data speed after a certain threshold, meaning that power users may face low speeds toward the end of the month.
Gone are the days where customers are locked into two-year contracts with big-name providers. Cheap cell phone plans usually don’t require a commitment longer than a month, and you’re free to upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your plan at any time.
You don’t need to pay an arm and a leg just for decent cell coverage and high-speed data. Cheap cell phone plans can often provide the same basic services as a big provider with a much lower price tag.