If you’re looking to save money on your cell phone bill, I’ve got terrific news for you. The best prepaid phone plans cost much less than traditional contracts and have made tremendous progress in service quality and device options in recent years.
The key difference with these affordable cell phone plans is you pay in advance for only what you need, instead of paying at the end of the month for features you may not use. This single feature often saves you hundreds of dollars annually.
You can use those funds for other needs in your budget. Savings isn’t the only benefit to cheap cell phone plans, you also benefit in the following ways:
- No credit check
- Flexibility as you can pause or start service when you wish
- No contracts
- Multiple lines often available for family plans
The best part of most prepaid cell phone plans is you still have coverage on the towers of the major carriers. Known as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), no-contract providers offer coverage on the legacy carries for much less.
You can also typically bring your own phone to most platforms, helping you maximize savings.
If you want to save money on your cell phone costs with a prepaid carrier, read on. Our guide will show you the top choices to make it happen.
|Service||Cost||Data||Mins.||Text||Network||Go to Site|
|Tello||$14||1 GB||No limit||No limit||Sprint|
|Ting||$10||$5/GB||No limit||No limit||T-Mobile, Verizon|
|Cricket Wireless||$40||5GB high speed||No limit||No limit||AT&T|
|Republic Wireless||$15||$5/GB||No limit||No limit||Sprint, T-Mobile|
|AT&T Prepaid||$25||8GB high speed||No limit||No limit||AT&T|
Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans
In today’s climate, having a good cell plan is a necessity for most individuals. You may believe you must have an expensive plan to receive trustworthy coverage. That is not the case.
All of the providers below provide reliable service at an affordable cost. If you need a quality provider for less, here are the five best prepaid cell phone plans to consider.
Tello is first on our list of best no-contract cell phone plans. The provider runs on Sprint’s 4G LTE network. They have affordable plans that cost start as low as $5 per month, and no more than $39. And, there are no activation or hidden fees.
All plans include unlimited texts, which is not a feature all discount cell phone providers offer. New customers receive a $19 credit for any minute plan.
The most popular option runs $14 per month and includes unlimited talk and text plus 1 GB of data.
The most expensive plan offers 12 GB of data, plus the same unlimited talk and text.
*Related: Now through June 30, all new customers receive 25 percent off any plan for their first six months!
Plans renew automatically every thirty days, and you have the freedom to cancel whenever you want.
Minutes are usable for calls in the US, China, Canada, and Mexico. They also offer international calling to over 60 countries for free. Tello lets you call an additional 40 countries for an additional cost.
Tello offers a full refund to customers who didn’t use any of their minutes or data for any reason.
In case some data or minutes go unused, you may be able to request a partial discount. It’s on a case by case basis, and the technical advisors and customer service teams are in charge of that.
Phones purchased through Tello are also eligible for a full refund within the 30-day window.
Read our review of Tello Wireless to learn more about this affordable cell phone plan provider.
Ting is one of the best MVNO phone plans to consider as they offer coverage on two networks: T-Mobile, and Verizon. This provides additional peace of mind in the event one provider experiences outages.
Like other no-contract cell phone plans, you can bring your own device or purchase one from Ting. If you bring your own phone, their website walks you through setting the device up on their network.
If you experience challenges, simply click the “no luck” button to receive further assistance.
The carrier recently updated their pricing model to offer unlimited talk and text for only $10 per month. You pay for the data you use, which is $5 per GB.
*Now through June 30, 2021 Frugal Rules readers can sign up for Ting Mobile Unlimited and pay just $25 a month for the first three months on their first line. That includes unlimited talk, text, and data for $60 of savings over three months!
Ting clearly marks everything on your bill and has no activation or hidden fees. Ting is a fantastic choice for customers who need to make international calls. There aren’t any extra charges for international calls to over 60+ countries.
Read our Ting review to learn more about this affordable cell phone plan provider.
3. Cricket Wireless
Cricket Wireless is one of the more unique prepaid cell phone plans as they’re owned and operated by AT&T. Understandably, 4G LTE coverage is available on the AT&T network.
Over ten million people have chosen Cricket Wireless as their MVNO provider, according to its website.
Most affordable cell phone plan providers do not offer in-person service. That is not the case with Cricket Wireless as they have over 1,300 stores nationwide and at least one location in every state.
Cricket offers monthly savings for customers who use the auto-pay feature. It’s not an option for all plans but starts with the 5 GB of high-speed data plan. The plan is typically $40 a month but falls to $35 after setting up autopay.
The cheapest plan is $30 per month. This plan isn’t eligible for an autopay credit but costs only $30 a month, so it’s ideal for people who don’t expect to use a lot of cellular data during the month.
Expect to receive the following with this bargain plan:
- Unlimited talk
- Unlimited text
- 2 GB of data
- Unlimited picture messages
The most expensive plan costs $55 per month and provides unlimited calls, texts, and data. It also includes service to Mexico and Canada.
Cricket limits usage in Canada to no more than 50 percent of your total data, though. International roaming may also reduce your connection to 2G speeds 2 GB of speed.
Still, the international capabilities makes Cricket one of the best cell phone plans for college students to consider.
Your bill due date will be the same day you activated your phone on. You can change your due date up to two times per billing cycle if needed. If you need additional days to pay your bill, you can also choose bridge pay.
Bridge pay gives customers the option to split their bill into two different payments. This can happen as long as you get set up seven days before or after the start of your billing cycle.
4. Republic Wireless
Republic Wireless is the most popular prepaid cell phone plan on our list. The provider offers plans as low as $5 per month and gained popularity by paying customers back for unused minutes and data.
The company is so confident that customers will love their new service that they offer a 14-day money-back guarantee. Republic Wireless provides coverage on two networks – Sprint and T-Mobile.
If you get past the 14-days and end up not liking Republic, you can cancel with no termination or cancelation fees. Republic Support does most of their communication through emails but can schedule a call back if you need it.
The customer care department is 100 percent US-based and is available 24/7. If things change from month to month and you need more data, you can do that directly from your phone for just $5 per GB.
This flexibility makes Republic Wireless one of the best cell phone plans for kids as you can add or remove data as you see fit.
Republic Wireless has saved customers $500 million in cell phone service charges since the company’s inception, according to its website. Like others on our list of best MVNO plans, Republic Wireless has no activation or hidden fees.
Data plans start at $20 per month. For $10 more per month, customers can get one line with 3 GB of data, unlimited talk and text, nationwide coverage, and 4G LTE data.
Republic Wireless service is limited to calls around the United States, Canada, and U.S. Territories.
Popularity aside, Republic Wireless does not offer international calls and only works with Android-based phones.
You’ll have no problem using your phone when you’re visiting internationally, though, as long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
Read our Republic Wireless review to learn more about the provider.
5. AT&T Prepaid
Last on our list of best affordable cell phone plans is AT&T Prepaid. AT&T may be the last provider to come to mind offering cheap phone plans, but they provide a legitimate service to save money.
AT&T Prepaid customers pay just $25 per month for 8GB of high-speed data when you spend $300 in advance for 12 months of service. The $300 is non-refundable.
That 8 GB plan is a current promotion to attract new customers. The current 8 GB plan is $50 a month and $40 with autopay set up.
The least expensive AT&T plan is the 1 GB data plan for $35 a month. The cost drops to $30 a month when you enroll in autopay. Both plans allow unused data to roll over month-to-month.
The 8GB plan also gives customers unlimited text and talk to Mexico and Canada.
Talk and text are unlimited while traveling in Canada or Mexico. AT&T doesn’t have a credit check or activation fee when you order your new device online. Every plan except the basic one includes unlimited texts to over 100 countries.
There is no shortage to choose from when it comes to determining the best choice for your needs. There’s no need to spend more than $50 per month for service as many of the best prepaid cell phone plans offer unlimited talk and text, plus an ample amount of data for a low cost.
Prepaid is the way to go these days if contract phone plans are causing you to overspend. There’s no need to stress out over a high monthly phone bill when you consider one of these options instead.
Who do you use for cell phone service? How much data do you use each month? What do you look for when choosing between prepaid cell phone plans?