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5 Best Cell Phone Plans For Kids and Teens

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The best cell phone plans for kids give them a sense of freedom at little cost. Here are 5 cheap phone plans for kids that won't break your budget.

Is it time to get your child a phone? It’s fun for them, but not without stress for you as the parent. Not only do you need to select a reliable device, you must determine the right monthly plan for your child. What you’ll soon learn is the best cell phone plans for kids vary depending on the needs of your family and what you want to provide your budding techie.

There are many providers in the space, but with a little work you can find a prepaid phone plan for kids and teens that offers independence without a hefty bill.

There are enough carriers providing cheap phone plans for kids that you can even buy your kid a phone without breaking the bank.

ServiceCostDataMins.TextNetworkGo to Site
Tello$141 GBNo limitNo limitSprint See Plans
Ting$10$5/GBNo limitNo limitT-Mobile, Verizon See Plans
Twigby$15600 MBNo limitNo limitSprint, Verizon See Plans
Mint Mobile$15VariesNo limitNo limitT-Mobile See Plans
Republic Wireless$15$5/GBNo limitNo limitSprint, T-Mobile See Plans

 

What are the best cell phone plans for kids and teens?

 

If you’re confused about where to begin when choosing phone service for your child, don’t worry. We’re going to provide you the information you need to find a great deal.

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It’s not as difficult as you might think to find a good phone plan for your child. Here are five of the best cell phone plans for kids and teens, all have no contract requirements and allow you to bring a phone, or purchase one from the respective provider.

1. Tello

 

Tello is a prepaid cell phone service provider with flexible plans and low rates – perfect for kids! Like all the other choices on our list, Tello is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), meaning it operates on a legacy network, but at a fraction of the cost.

Being an MVNO also means Tello has no contracts, no activation fees, no early termination fees and customers receive nationwide 4G LTE coverage provided by Sprint’s network.

Example plans include:

  • 2 GB of data and unlimited minutes and text for $14 per month
  • 4 GB  of data and unlimited minutes and text for $19 per month

Tello offers plenty of flexibility to select a plan that meets the needs of you and your child. Need few minutes with access to Wi-Fi? Tello has a plan for that:

  • 200 minutes, unlimited texting, and 500 MB of data for just $10 per month

You can bring your own phone when you sign up for Tello or buy one of their LG, Motorola, or iPhones. Prices vary, but can accommodate any budget.

What to Like About Tello:

  • Free tethering and hot spot
  • Bring your own phone
  • No activation fee to bring your own phone
  • Create a plan around your needs
  • Make changes to your plan at no additional cost

What Not to Like About Tello:

  • No roaming, but is not necessary when on Wi-Fi
  • Some of their phones can be expensive

 

Benefits
Tello - no contract phone service
Cost: $5 to $39 per month

Coverage on the Sprint network. 


See Plans

Tello logo

 

2. Ting

 

Ting is another great option for those looking for the best cell phone plans for kids. With Ting you don’t have a set plan, but you customize a plan based on your specific needs.

Ting recently updated their pricing model to offer unlimited talk and text for just $10 per month. You only pay for the data you use, which is $5 per GB.

Ting offers Frugal Rules readers a $50 credit when signing up, effectively offering your first few months of service for free!

Ting offers coverage on two legacy carriers:

  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon

What to Like About Ting:

  • Coverage on two carriers
  • Bring your own phone
  • Fully customizable plans
  • Only pay for what you use
  • No additional cost for calls to 60+ international countries

What Not to Like About Ting:

  • Doesn’t offer in-person service

 

Benefits
Ting Wireless - click now for a $50 credit!
Cost: $10/mo - unlimited talk/text + $5/GB

Coverage on T-Mobile and Verizon networks. 

See Plans

ting logo

 

3. Twigby

 

Twigby is a pay-as-you-go phone service provider that offers a 25 percent discount for the first six months of service. With Twigby, you can change your plan whenever you want.

Twigby operates on both the Verizon and Sprint networks, giving them better coverage than other providers. Twigby allows users to customize their plans based on talk and data, texts are unlimited.

Here are the minutes available with Twigby:

  • 300 minutes – $9 per month
  • 500 minutes – $11 per month
  • Unlimited – $13 per month

Here are the data options:

  • 200MB – $3 per month
  • 1GB per month – $6 per month
  • 2GB per month – $10 per month
  • 3GB per month – $15 per month
  • 5GB per month – $20 per month
  • 10GB per month – $30 per month

If you select unlimited talk and 2 GB of data that costs $23 per month, but with the 25 percent discount it would cost $17.25 per month for the first six months.

If your child needs more minutes or data, you can upgrade at any time and pay the difference.

What to Like About Twigby:

  • Operates on two networks
  • Customizable plans
  • International calls to Canada, China, and Mexico
  • Discounted service for the first six months
  • A 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Free overage protection and family plan options for everyone in the household

What Not to Like About Twigby:

  • You can’t choose which of the two networks you want to use

 

Benefits
Twigby - Get a 25% discount for the first 6 months!
Cost: $3 to $30 per month

Pay-as-you-go, no contract phone service with coverage on the Verizon and Sprint networks. 


See Plans

Twigby logo

 

4. Mint Mobile

 

Mint Mobile also has cheap cell phone plans for kids and teens starting at $15 per month. The carrier piggybacks on the T-Mobile network.

Mint Mobile is a bit unique in their pricing by selling plans in bulk or in three, six, or twelve month increments. Popular plan options include:

  • 3 GB of data plus unlimited talk and text for $15 per month
  • Unlimited data plus unlimited talk and text for $30 per month

The unlimited plan is new, rolling out in September 2020 and is perfect for the child who requires a lot of data.

*Related: for a limited time, get three months of service for free when you buy any three month plan!*

Mint Mobile offers a robust plan for customers, including:

  • 4G LTE high-speed data
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • A free SIM card
  • Nationwide coverage
  • A mobile hotspot

What to Like About Mint Mobile:

  • Blog and YouTube channel to help customers
  • Free international calling to Mexico and Canada
  • Plans starting at just $15 a month
  • Free mobile hot spot
  • Unlimited data for just $30 per month

What Not to Like About Mint Mobile:

  • Can’t change your plan until after your current one ends
  • No monthly pay-as-you-go plan options

 

Benefits
Mint Mobile - generous data plans!
Cost: $15 per month

No contract phone service with coverage on the T-Mobile network. 


See Plans

Mint Mobile Logo

 

5. Republic Wireless

 

Republic Wireless is among the cheapest cell phone providers in the space. It’s also great for kids because the plans are flexible.

In fact, Republic Wireless has the easiest to follow plan offering:

  • Unlimited talk and text is $15 per month
  • Unlimited data is $5 per 1 GB

This is perfect for the child that is regularly on Wi-Fi as you can add data in 1 GB increments. When not using Wi-Fi, Republic Wireless uses the Sprint or T-Mobile network.

*Related: Now through December 31, 2020, you can get two unlimited talk and text lines for just $25 per month for an entire year!*

Thanks to the flexibility, Republic Wireless is also one of the best cell phone plans for college students looking to save money.

What to Like About Republic Wireless:

  • Operates on two platforms
  • 14-day money-back guarantee
  • No overage fee
  • Add data right from your phone
  • One of the cheapest plans available

What Not to Like About Republic Wireless:

  • No phone technical support
  • Limited international calling
  • Can only use iOS-based phones

 

Benefits
Republic Wireless - flexible plans w/ NO overage fees!
Cost: $15 per month

No contract phone service with coverage on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks. 


See Plans

Republic Wireless Logo

 

The best cell phone plans for kids give them a sense of freedom at little cost. Here are 5 cheap phone plans for kids that won't break your budget.

What Cell Phones Work with These Plans?

 

Unless you have an older phone for your child, you will need to buy a new one. Choosing the right cell phone for kids can be just as important as choosing a good plan.

Many of the above carriers, in addition to other cheap cell phone plans offered by other providers, allow you to bring your own phone. Not each carrier is equal in their selection of phones.

Your child might want a $1,000 iPhone, but that is a waste of money. All you need is an unlocked phone that works with your chosen carrier.

You can find unlocked cell phones on Amazon as well as eBay and other online retailers.

Kids Cell Phone Plans FAQs

 

There is a lot to consider when choosing what phone to get for your children. Here are some common questions parents ask when considering cell phone plans for kids.

At what age should a child get a phone?

The latest research shows, on average, a child gets his or her first phone at ten years old. When you purchase one for your child depends on the needs of your family, such as how many hours your child is on their own and if they will need to contact you or another family member.

You can also consider using apps that offer parental controls on the phone if this is your child’s first device to monitor usage.

How do I switch a kids cell phone plan to another carrier?

Switching to an MVNO is quick and simple. You don’t typically need to buy a new device as you can bring your own phone to the new carrier and keep your number.

After purchasing a prepaid SIM card and installing it into the device you can switch and have service in a few minutes.

How do I check if my device is compatible with the prepaid phone plan I want?

Carriers will tell you whether or not bring your device to their network. You can verify compatibility of the carriers website before you signup for a new plan.

Can I keep my phone number when I switch to a new phone plan for my child?

Yes. It’s simple to port your existing number to another carrier during the activation process.

Is there a contract or credit check when switching to an MVNO?

No, MVNOs operate on a prepaid month-to-month basis. There is no credit check or commitment, so you can switch whenever you wish.

Do kids cell phone plans offer international calling?

Yes, many MVNOs include calls to international countries. It does vary by provider, so verify what each offers before signing up.

Do MVNOs have a refund policy?

This depends on the carrier, but many MVNOs offer a refund within seven days if you’re not satisfied with the network. Verify on the carriers website before you signup to determine their policy on refunds.

Do kids phone plans allow tethering?

Yes, most prepaid phone plans allow tethering but it does depend on the MVNO. It’s best to verify this on the respective site before signing up.

Summary

 

Buying your child a cell phone is beneficial in many ways. If you feel they’re responsible enough to have one, it’s an excellent way to communicate when you’re not around, particularly if they stay after school for activities or ride the bus.

But you don’t want to create another huge bill simply so your child can have a cell phone. All of the no-contract plans offer the flexibility your child needs without paying too much.

 

What are some other cheap phone plans for kids you’ve tried? How old was your child when you bought them their first cell phone? Do you allow your child to have data access on their phone?

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Choncé is a freelance writer who’s obsessed with frugality and passionate about helping others increase their savings rate, eliminate debt, and work toward financial stability. She chronicles her journey with balancing motherhood, work, and finances on her blog, MyDebt Epiphany.com

10 Comments

  • Aaron says:

    I would put my vote behind Tello. Been with them for 2 years now and they have great support / offering. Can change up the service whenever I want and is very reasonable.

  • Theresa says:

    Thank you for sharing this. My 2 teens need service and I’m with AT&T, which is expensive even for additional phones. This information will help me. I’m a new subscriber. I love frugal living.

  • Krista says:

    I don’t want my daughter to have a smart phone yet. We are thinking about getting her a phone for calls and maybe some texting. What is your recommendation for that?

    • John Schmoll says:

      I would recommend looking for a flip phone. I know Amazon carries some, but many carriers don’t sell them. You should have no problem activating them on a carrier, they just don’t sell them. 🙂

  • Dan says:

    Interesting fact: The founder of Republic Wireless didn’t like any of the plans that were available for his family, so he started his own Cell Phone company so he could offer the best rates possible to other families. 🙂 We’ve been using Republic Wireless for years and love it. We tried using the Relay device for kids, but didn’t care as much about them.

  • Jason Quade says:

    It looks like Twigby would be even less expensive than Republic? Please explain why you think Republic is worth the extra money over Twigby (or Tello)? I’m leaning towards Twigby due to the lower cost and Verizon/Sprint networks.

    • John Schmoll says:

      It’s possible for Twigby to be cheaper, just depends on how you customize your plan. A lot of people like Republic Wireless because of their 14-day guarantee. We prefer Twigby due to their working on two major networks and the ability to use both Android and iOS phones, which is not something Republic Wireless offers.

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