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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 a fun time for them, but not one without stress for you as the parent. Not only do you need to select a reliable device, you need to 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 to the 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 who provide 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$23101-500 MB100-500101-1000Sprint, T-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

 

Best cell phone plans for kids and teens

 

If you’re confused about where to start when choosing phone service for your child, don’t worry. We’re going to provide you the information you need to make a wise decision.

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.

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 there are no contracts, no activation fees, no early termination fees and customers receive nationwide 4G LTE coverage provided by Sprint’s network.

Plans start as low as $5 per month and you can customize yours based on how much data or talking minutes your child needs. This allows you to choose exactly what you want without having to pay for something your family does not need.

There are several plans that have unlimited talk and text. However, if you know your child isn’t going to be making too many phone calls, you can create a plan that has 200 minutes to talk, free texting, and 500 MB of data for just $10 per month.

You can upgrade to unlimited talk and text, plus 1 GB of data for just $4 more – at $14 per month.

You can bring your own phone when you sign up for Tello or buy one of their LG, Motorola, or iPhones. Their phones range in price but can accommodate any budget.

Read our Tello review to learn more about the provider.

2. Ting

 

Ting is another excellent choice 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. The provider has no contracts and you can cancel anytime.

If you need unlimited talk, text, and data they may not be for your child, but the ability to customize a plan is hard to overlook. The average monthly bill with Ting is $23, which is a big savings versus a traditional contract plan.

Frugal Rules readers receive a $50 credit when signing up, effectively offering your first two months of service for free! None of the other prepaid cell phone plans on our list offer a similar deal.

Ting, like Twigby, operates on three networks – Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon so you have more reliable coverage with the provider. You can add as many lines as you like with Ting, each running $6 per line.

This is great for a larger family looking to keep costs down and share data, talk, and text.

The average talk minutes is $9 per month for 100 – 500 minutes. The average text amount is $5 for 101 – 1,000 texts per month. Data is last, and the average amount is $10 per month for 101 – 500 MB of data.

If you find the data restrictive, remember that if your child uses Wi-Fi a lot they should be able to avoid that. You only pay for what you use, so you’re not overpaying for something you don’t need.

You can also bring your own phone to Ting, or buy one from the provider.

What to Like About Ting:

  • Provides coverage on three carriers
  • You can 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:

  • Not for heavy data users

Check out plans at Ting and see how much you can save.

Read our Ting Mobile review to learn more about the provider.

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.

If you upgrade your plan, you’re only charged the difference in the next plan’s price. For example, if you start your child out with 300 minutes per month and 600 MB of data, you’ll pay $11.25 plus tax 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. Unlimited global texting is free and you can upgrade to unlimited talk for just $15 per month.

Twigby also offers international calling to Canada, China, and Mexico.

Twigby also has free overage protection and family plan options for everyone in the household.

Read our Twigby review to learn more about the provider.

4. Mint Mobile

 

Mint Mobile also has cheap cell phone plans for kids and teens starting at $15 per month. Like other Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNOs), Mint Mobile piggybacks on a major carrier to provide service.

In their case, they operate on the T-Mobile network.

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

However, Mint Mobile is unique when it comes to their pricing.

They sell plans in bulk or in three, six, or twelve month increments. The pricing is good to start, but when you renew, it’s a bit more confusing to figure out.

However, Mint Mobile recently unveiled an unlimited data, talk, and text plan for $30 a month that competes well against other MVNOs.

You can bring your own phone and try the service out for free for seven days to see how you like it.

Read our Mint Mobile review to learn more about the service.

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.

You can customize your plan and cancel at any time. Their plans start at $15 per month for unlimited talk and text, which is a terrific feature.

You can also add data for $5 per month per GB of data. Republic Wireless relies heavily on Wi-Fi to keep costs down for both talking and data. When not using Wi-Fi, Republic Wireless uses the Sprint or T-Mobile network.

The provider is also one of the best cell phone plans for college students looking to save money.

You can bring your own phone to Republic Wireless, or you can purchase one from them. If your looking for a simple kids phone plans so you can keep tabs on them, Republic Wireless is a great choice.

Read our Republic Wireless review to learn more about the provider.

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 the selection of phones they offer.

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.

How do I switch to 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.

Fortunately, there are many options when it comes to choosing the best prepaid cell phone plans for kids. In fact, several of the best cell phone plans for families let you add your child without a significant added cost.

Since kids like data and apps, I love how all these phone plans have quality and reliable data options along with flexible talk and text features.

Starting with a prepaid phone service is ideal because you can customize your plan based on what your child needs and you don’t have worry about getting locked into a contract.

 

What are some other cheap mobile 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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