Best and cheapest cell phone plans of 2023 | Roost
Advertising disclosure
x

Our goal is to share information and products that are truly helpful to renters.

If you click on a link or buy a product from one of the partners on our site, we get paid a little bit for making the introduction. This means we might feature certain partners sooner, more frequently, or more prominently in our articles, but we’ll always make sure you have a good set of options. This is how we are able to provide you with the content and features for free. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services — and our opinions and advice are our own based on research and input from renters like you. Here is a list of our partners.

Best and cheapest cell phone plans of 2023

Figuring out who has the best and cheapest cell phone plan can be mind-boggling! Your cell phone plan is your lifeline to the universe, and choosing the right one affects you financially, professionally, and socially. From prepaid plans to pay-as-you-go to data limits and network coverage, there is a lot to consider.

That’s why we compiled a list of some of the best and cheapest cell phone plans for prepaid, pay-as-you-go, and the more traditional postpaid plans.

Our recommendations for the best overall cell phone plans

The following list is our recommendations for renters for cell phone plans and carriers. This includes cell phone plans with the overall best values, network coverage, cheapest unlimited data, and more.

  1. Visible offers the great coverage of Verizon with the great low prices of a smaller carrier. Their $30/mo plan includes unlimited text, data, talk & hotspot. (Click here to get $15/mo off of your first 3 months using code 15OFF at checkout when you bring your own phone)
  2. T-Mobile currently has the cheapest unlimited data plan compared to the other big carriers, AT&T and Verizon. It also has the fastest download and upload speeds.
  3. Mint Mobile’s $15 plan is a great option if you’re looking for low-cost text and talk but don’t need unlimited data. 
  4. Xfinity Mobile offers sweet deals for Comcast Xfinity internet customers.

Cheapest cell phone plans with unlimited data

Buckets of data with the cheapest prices we could find you.

Visible: Unlimited data with best network coverage

Mint Mobile: Unlimited data with best mascott

  • Cost: $30 a month
  • Minutes: Unlimited
  • Text: Unlimited
  • Data: Unlimited
  • Data speed: 4G LTE, 5G
  • Network: T-Mobile

US Mobile: Unlimited data with fastest speeds

  • Cost: $35 a month
  • Minutes: Unlimited
  • Text: Unlimited
  • Data: Unlimited
  • Data speed: 4G LTE, 5G
  • Network: T-Mobile and Verizon

Hello Mobile: Unlimited data with the best price

  • Cost: $25 a month
  • Minutes: Unlimited
  • Text: Unlimited
  • Data: Unlimited
  • Data speed: 4G LTE, 5G
  • Network: T-Mobile

Cheapest pay-as-you-go cell phone plans

These cheap, no-contract phone plans allow you to buy however much talk, text, and data you need, and you will have cell phone service until you use what you paid for. 

Boom! Mobile: Free is as cheap as you can get!

This is a one-month, introductory offer.

  • Cost: $1
  • Includes 450 ‘service units’
  • 1 unit is equal to 1 text message, 1 talk minute, or 1 MB of data
  • Sold as free but may having shipping cost
  • Data speed: 4G LTE
  • AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon

US Mobile: Lets you build your own plan!

You tell them how much talk, text, and data you want, and they calculate the cost for you! 

We were quoted $10 for the following:

  • 150 minutes talk
  • 100 texts
  • 500 MB date
  • Network: T-Mobile and Verizon
  • Data speed: 4G LTE

Ultramobile: The next best thing to free.

Ultramobile is ultra-light on their feet and super easy on the wallet.

  • Cost: $3 a month
  • 100 minutes talk
  • 100 texts
  • 100 MB data
  • Data speed: 4G LTE, 5G
  • Network: T-Mobile

Tello PG: Best value with no frills.

Stay on this price plan for up to 1000 minutes, or 1000 texts, or 500 MB of data.

  • Cost: $7 a month
  • 100 minutes talk
  • Free text
  • Data: 1 GB
  • Data speed: 4G LTE
  • Network: T-Mobile

Best and cheapest cell phone plans compared

PlanTypeHighlightsCost per month
VisiblePlans with dataUnlimited data
Unlimited talk/text
5GB data
Unlimited Hotspot
5G Nationwide and 4G LTE
Network: Verizon
$30 (Click here to get $15/mo off of your first 3 months using code 15OFF at checkout when you bring your own phone)
Hello MobilePlans with dataUnlimited data
Unlimited talk/text
4G LTE & 5G data
Network: T-Mobile
$25
US MobilePlans with data12 GB data
Unlimited talk
Unlimited text
4G LTE & 5G data
Rollover minutes: No
Network: Verizon and T-Mobile
$45
Mint MobilePrepaid plans4GB Data
Unlimited talk & text
Uses 5G or 4G LTE, whichever is strongest
Mobile hotspot
Free Mex/Can calling
Network: T-Mobile
Must buy 3 months at a time
$15
Black WirelessPrepaid plans500 MG data
200 minutes talk & text
4G LTE
Free international minutes anywhere in the world
Network: AT&T
$11.25/mo (if you prepay for an entire year)
Verizon WirelessPrepaid plans5GB data
Unlimited talk & text
5G network
Mobile hotspot
Free Mex/Can calling
$25
Boost MobilePrepaid plans1GB data
Unlimited talk & text
5G network
Mobile hotspot
Network: T-Mobile
Best for flexible family plans
$10
US MobilePay-as-you-goUnlimited talk
Unlimited texts
Data: 5GB
Data speed: 4G LTE/5G
Network: T-Mobile and Verizon
$15
Boom! MobilePay-as-you-go1200 minutes talk
Unlimited text
1 GB data
Sold as free but may having shipping cost
Data speed: 4G LTE
Network: AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon
$9.99
Boost MobilePay-as-you-goUnlimited talk
Unlimited text
Data: 5 GB
Data speed: 4G LTE/5G
Network: AT&T & T-Mobile
$15
TelloPay-as-you-goTalk: 1c/min
Text: 1c/text
Data: 2c/MB
Data speed: 4G LTE
Network: T-Mobile
$10

Methodology

We evaluated hundreds of phone careers, including AT&T, Boost Mobile, Mint Mobile, Xfinity Mobile, Boom! Mobile, Ultramobile, Visible, Verizon Wireless, TracFone, FreedomPop, Total Wireless, Black Wireless, Visible, Metro by T-Mobile, Hello Mobile, Tello, Ting, Reach, and US Mobile.

Our picks for the cheapest mobile phone plans were those with the lowest price. Other plans may offer a better value but have a higher monthly cost.

Why are some cell phone plans so cheap?

There are several reasons why some cell phone plans are so much cheaper than others. For renters, it’s worth understanding why because when we’re trying to budget between rent, utilities, and cell phone bills, every penny counts.

Bells and Whistles

Plans that include a lot of extras like international calling and wifi hotspots are going to cost more than others.

MNOs vs. MVNOs

MVNOs lease network use from the big cell phone carriers. They can charge their customers significantly less because they don’t have to pay for all this infrastructure.

Data

The more data a plan has, the more expensive it will be. 

Prepaid

Prepaid plans are cheaper because they are getting their money upfront. That eliminates the risk that you may not pay your bill after you used their service.

If you’re looking for more ways to save on your mobile phone bill, read here.

Are prepaid cell phone plans better than postpaid plans? 

One isn’t necessarily better than the other. It really depends on your needs. Prepaid tends to be cheaper with fewer extras, while postpaid is generally more expensive but with extra plan goodies. 

Prepaid plans

Prepaid plans rarely require a contract which can be a huge bonus to those with commitment issues. You will be asked to pay your bill before you receive service, and if you don’t pay your bill, your service will be shut off.

Postpaid plans

Postpaid plans allow you to pay your bill at the end of each month after you have used the service. They require contacts and have the added sweetener of allowing you to make monthly payments on a new mobile phone.

You will most likely be required to undergo a credit check before being approved for a postpaid plan.

Roost Tip! One bonus of being in a contract plan is that if you get a great rate, it is locked in for the duration of the contract. Sign me up!

What’s the difference between a prepaid cell phone plan and a pay-as-you-go plan? 

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Prepaid cell phone plans make you pay in advance, usually one month at a time, and at the end of each period you have paid for, the service is disconnected until you prepay for more.

Increasingly, prepaid cell phone plans not only offer 1 month at a time but also offer discounts if you buy multiple months at a time.

Pay-as-you-go tends to be even more bare-bones than prepaid plans. You are prepaying for the amount of text, talk, and data you will use, and the service should not disconnect until you have used what you paid for. 

If you buy $30 worth of text, talk, and data and it takes you three months to use it, you will have the service for three months.

Roost Tip! That being said, more and more pay-as-you-go plans are putting ‘duration’ limits on how long your purchase is good for. They can be from 30 to 90 days or more. So make sure you read the fine print!

My cell phone usage varies quite a bit, is prepaid or pay-as-you-go better?

This will depend on how predictable your usage is. If you know when you will be using your cell phone more than usual, then prepaid is probably best, whereas a pay-as-you-go plan would probably be best when you are using your cell phone less.

The beauty of both is that you aren’t under contract, so you can switch back and forth pretty quickly. 

Can I keep my number if I switch between different cell phone plans?

Yes. You can switch between different cell phone plans and keep your cell phone number.

Which carrier has the best coverage?

Verizon has the best mobile phone coverage in the US, with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint not too far behind it. All of the top four mobile phone carriers have a minimum of 90% coverage throughout the US which isn’t too shabby.

It’s worth remembering that it’s not always about coverage but reception. Good reception requires nearby cell phone towers. Most mobile phones can get reception from a cell phone tower up to 45 miles away.

If reception is a problem in your area, you may want to consider a cell phone booster. These handy devices boost weak cell phone signals, which help improve voice quality, increase data speeds, and reduce dropped calls.

Find the best cell phone plan for you!

Yes, there is a lot to consider when deciding which is the best and cheapest cell phone plan. But once you have a good understanding of your needs, it will help you weed out the cell phone plans you don’t need or are out of your budget. Plans are a dime a dozen, so just remember to find the best one for you!

A quick note! Our goal is to gather and share info that’s up-to-date and helps you make great decisions as a renter. That said, the information you get directly from a provider could be a little different. Make sure to review their terms and conditions directly; and, if you see anything here that needs to be updated, please let us know! Advertising disclosure
Last Updated: January 12th, 2023