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 based 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 no-contract carriers providing cheap phone plans for kids that you can even buy your child a phone without breaking the bank.
What are the Best Cell Phone Plans for Kids and Teens?
It is fairly simple to choose phone service for your child. There is a plethora of companies that offer affordable, reliable service.
As a preview, here are the five top carriers, from our testing, to get service to serve the needs of your family.
|Service||Cost||Data||Mins.||Text||Network||Go to Site|
|Tello||$14||2 GB||No limit||No limit||GSM||See Plans|
|Visible||$30||Unlimited||No limit||No limit||Verizon||See Plans|
|Twigby||$15||600 MB||No limit||No limit||Verizon||See Plans|
|Mint Mobile||$15||4 GB to unlimited||No limit||No limit||T-Mobile||See Plans|
|Republic Wireless||$15||$5/GB||No limit||No limit||Sprint, T-Mobile||See Plans|
As you can see there are real options to find a good phone plan for your child. Our guide details the plans of each service.
Each of our five best cell phone plans for kids and teens have no contract requirements. You can bring a phone, or purchase one from the respective provider.
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.
If you live in a city that has 5G, Tello upgrades you to that for free. Tello has flexible, premade plans or you can create your own plan.
Here is the pricing of Tello’s plans.
|Plan||Monthly Cost||Data||High-Speed Data||Hotspot Data|
Tello offers plenty of flexibility to select a plan that meets the needs of you and your child if any of the above don’t work for you.
*Related: Are you looking for a cheap phone plan that fits your needs? Read our Tello vs. Ting comparison to learn which provider is best.
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
- Free international calls to over 60 countries
- No activation fee to bring your own phone
- Create a plan around your needs
- 5G capability
- 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
If you need flexibility and reliable service, Tello Mobile is worth considering.
|Tello - no contract phone service|
Cost: $10 to $39 per month
Coverage on a 4G LTE/5G nationwide network.
If convenience and data is important to you, Visible is a fantastic option for your cell phone needs. The company has just one plan option. It includes unlimited talk, text, and data.
Visible operates on the Verizon network, making it even more attractive. The plan is $30 per month, for one line. You can upgrade to Visible+ for $45 per month to receive additional
*Now through March 31, 2023, get the basic Visible plan for $25 a month, or unlimited for $35 a month!
Ting Mobile is a suitable alternative if you only need one line and still want coverage on Verizon.
They also often have promotions to get it for less. For example, you can currently get the first two months of service for $22 total.
The carrier offers the most generous free-trial in the space, allowing you to try the service free for 15 days.
Here are the plans available with Visible.
|Plan||Monthly Cost||Data||High-Speed Data||Hotspot Data|
*Now through January 23, get $15 off per month, for 12 months, when you bring your phone and switch to Visible! Use the code 15OFF12 to qualify.*
Visible includes free calls to Canada and Mexico, with other countries also for free. Review their website for availability and rates.
The plan has no limits on your hotspot data. Visible also offers 5G service. Frugal Rules readers receive a $100 gift card to use with the carrier when you sign up through our link.
What to Like About Visible:
- Coverage on Verizon
- Bring your own phone
- Unlimited data
- $100 gift card for new users
- No additional cost for calls to 60+ international countries
What Not to Like About Visible:
- Doesn’t offer in-person service
If you want the peace of mind of coverage on Verizon and unlimited data, Visible is worth trying.
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 the Verizon network, giving them better coverage than other providers. Twigby allows users to customize their plans based on talk and data, texts are unlimited.
If you go the premade route, pricing is fairly straightforward. It’s known as their Smartphone Value Plan.
Here is the pricing.
|Data||Cost Per Month|
However, you can also create your own plan. But, you must purchase minutes and data separately.
Here is how much minutes cost.
|Minutes||Cost Per Month|
Here is how much data costs.
|Data||Cost Per Month|
Regardless of what you choose you receive unlimited texts.
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 Verizon
- 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:
- Twigby is online-only with no retail locations
If you want Verizon level reliability for less, Twigby is worth considering.
|Twigby - Get up to a 50% 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.
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. Pricing is per month, but must be purchase in the given blocks of time below.
|Monthly Data||3 Mo. (New Customer)||3 Mo.||6 Mo.||Annual|
The unlimited plan is new, rolled out recently and is perfect for the child who requires a lot of data.
The service also recently launched a family plan, know as The Modern Family Plan.
It allows you to get multi-line pricing, with a two-line minimum, and get the lowest available prices in three month blocks.
Mint Mobile offers a robust plan for customers, including:
- 4G LTE high-speed data
- Unlimited talk and text
- A free SIM card
- Nationwide coverage
- Free Wi-Fi hotspot access
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
If you want unlimited data and don’t mind buying in bulk, Mint Mobile is a good choice.
|Mint Mobile - generous data plans!|
Cost: $15 per month
No contract phone service with coverage on the T-Mobile network.
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
Here are the details on plans available through Republic Wireless.
|Unlimited Talk & Text (no data)||Unlimited Talk & Text + 1 GB Data||Unlimited Talk & Text + 2 GB Data|
|$15 per month||$20 per month||$25 per month|
|$150/yr. (paid upfront)||$200/yr. (paid upfront)||$250/yr. (paid upfront)|
|Plus taxes and fees||Plus taxes and fees||Plus taxes and fees|
Republic Wireless 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, the service uses the Sprint or T-Mobile network.
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
If your child has limited data needs, Republic Wireless is worth considering.
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 choosing cell phone plans for kids.
At what age should a child get a phone?
The age of ten is the average age a child gets his or her first phone. When you purchase one for your child depends on the needs of your family.
This largely depends on things like 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 usually 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?
It is simple to determine device compatibility with a phone carrier. They offer tools on their websites to learn if you can bring your device to their network.
It normally only takes a few seconds, and if it’s compatible you can sign up 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?
There is no credit check or commitment, so you can switch whenever you wish. MVNOs operate on a month-to-month basis so you don’t have to sign a contract.
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?
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.
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?