Cheap cell phone plans are in abundance these days, it’s a shame that more people aren’t using them.
According to ABCNews the average person is spending over $1,000 a year on their cell phone bill, or about $83/month!
In this article we’ll take a look at the cheapest cell phone plans in a variety of categories, almost all of the plans coming in around $15-20/month. Hopefully we’ll include one that works well for you.
How We Chose The Cell Phone Plans In This Article
Over the past couple of years we've done reviews of tens of low cost mobile providers. We've tested services on multiple networks, multiple price points and with different specialties.
The plans we're recommending in this article are the cheapest that we can find, and the main criteria for this article is cost. None of the plans are over $40/month.
We aren't recommending any providers that we felt weren't up to snuff in customer service, or that engage in shady billing practices.
While these providers offer the cheapest cell phone plans we can find, they may not be the cheapest for you. Please do your own due diligence in conjunction with this article.
If you're on a government program like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, you may qualify for a free or subsidized calling plan via the Federal Lifeline Program. Please check out the link for details.
Best Overall Cheap Cell Phone Plans
Before we start breaking down the best cheap cell phone plans by different categories, here are our selections for overall winners of the best cheap cell phone plans. They're the cheapest we can find, while not sacrificing call quality or customer service.
Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans
Cheapest Calling Plan
- Calling plans starting at $5/month.
- 24/7 customer service.
- Free tethering.
- Unlimited 2G data after your 4G data is used.
- T-Mobile Network.
Cheapest Texting Plan
- Texting plans starting at $5/month.
- Low cost phones.
- Included international calling and texting.
- Through 8/31/19 use code: SCHOOL10 and get 10% off your entire order!
- Sprint / T-Mobile Network.
Cheapest Multi Network Plan
- Calling plans starting at $9/month.
- Pay for what you use.
- Customize your calling plan.
- Currently 25% off for 6 months.
- Sprint, Verizon Networks
Cheap Cell Phone Plans By Network
While it's nice to just sign up for the cheapest cell phone plan, sometimes you need to be on a particular network due to coverage constraints in your area.
Here's a breakdown of the cheapest cell phone plans by cell network.
Low Cost Verizon Cell Phone Plans
There are several low cost providers on the Verizon network that we like.
- Red Pocket Mobile: This provider is on the Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint Networks, so they're extremely flexible. They have calling plans starting at just $10/month!
- TracFone: This provider is on the Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Sprint Networks, so they're extremely flexible as well. They have calling plans starting at just $15/month!
- Total Wireless: Calling plans starting at $23.70.
- Visible:While they're not the cheapest at $40/month, they may be the cheapest unlimited talk, text and data plan available.
- Ting: They're now on the Verizon network as of late 2020, in addition to the Sprint or T-Mobile network. The calling plans are extremely affordable, starting at only $15/month.
Low Cost T-Mobile Cell Phone Plans
If you're looking for a low cost mobile phone provider that's on the T-Mobile network, there are a couple of choices that we can recommend.
- Mint Mobile: Among my favorite low cost cell phone providers is Mint Mobile. They have 3, 6 and 12 month calling plans starting at only $15/month with unlimited talk, text and 3GB of data.
- Ting: They're on the Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile network, and their calling plans are extremely affordable, starting at only $15/month.
- Republic Wireless: Flexible calling plans starting at $15/month on the T-Mobile network.
- Google Fi: They're on the T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular networks, and start at only $20/month.
- Tello: Tello is on the T-Mobile network, and they're consistently among the lowest cost cell phone providers. They are my current mobile provider, and I'm paying only $11/month. Calling plans start at only $5/month!
Low Cost Sprint Cell Phone Plans
Sprint has many of the very cheapest mobile providers, so if you're in a good Sprint coverage area, you're in luck. Here's some of the cheapest Sprint Plans
- Gen Mobile: Another Sprint and T-Mobile MVNO and extremely affordable starting at only $5/month for texting only plans. We use Gen Mobile for my son. Calling plans start at $9/month on 3 month plans!
- Twigby: Twigby is on the Sprint network with a fallback to the Verizon network. They have calling plans starting at only $9/month.
- Ting: With Ting you can choose to be on Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile, but calling plans start at $15/month regardless of which network you're on.
- Red Pocket Mobile: They have calling plans starting at just $10/month!
- Republic Wireless: Flexible calling plans starting at $15/month on the Sprint network, along with being pioneer in Wi-Fi calling. My wife has used Republic and loves them.
- Google Fi: Calling plans start at only $20/month.
Low Cost AT&T Cell Phone Plans
A lot of people love the AT&T network, and if you're one of them there are some cheap calling plans you can take advantage of.
Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans With Unlimited Data
If you stream a lot of video or music while you're on the go, or other data intensive applications, you may need more of a data allowance than what an extremely cheap cell phone plan can give you.
Visible is an MVNO on the Verizon network, and they only offer one cell phone plan: their $40 Unlimited Plan. The only real downside that I've seen is that your data can be deprioritized at any time. In our tests of the service, however, I noticed no issues with slowdowns while streaming.
The Sprint plan also has some limits on speeds and deprioritized data, but starts at only $25/month per line.
- Visible: This plan costs $40/month, and includes unlimited everything.
- Sprint: The Unlimited Kickstart plan from Sprint is great if you need a family plan. You can get unlimited talk, text and data for 4 phones for $100/month. This offer may be for a limited time only, however.
If you're OK with paying slightly more, this unlimited data plan is another option to consider:
- Metro by T-Mobile: They offer a $50/month unlimited plan on the T-Mobile network. If you want to add a line, you can get 2 phones on an unlimited plan, along with 100GB of Google One storage and Amazon Prime for only $80/month!
Metro by T-Mobile
Best Affordable Cell Phone Plans For Seniors
For many seniors having unlimited high-speed data, texting or a mobile hotspot may not be big priorities. They may not want or need those extra features, and definitely don't want to pay for them.
There are plenty of low cost cell phone plans that can help senior citizens to stay connected, without adding on all the extras.
Many of these services offer low cost flip phones or candy bar phones that are easy for anyone to use, and that won't be as confusing as some smart phones.
Here are some of our favorite cheap cell phone plans for senior citizens.
- Gen Mobile: They offer simple flip phones and candy bar phones starting at only $9, and their lowest calling plan is $9/month!
- Tello: This is my current mobile provider. While I have a nice Samsung smartphone, they also offer a wide range of flip phones and candy bar phones, starting at just $25, with calling plans starting as low as $5/month.
- Twigby: Calling plans starting at $6.75/month ($9/month after 6 months), with simple phones starting at only $20!
- Consumer Cellular: A service aimed at senior citizens with calling plans starting at $15, and plenty of low cost, easy to use phone options (starting at $30). AARP discounts as well.
Best Low Cost Cell Phone Plans For Kids
At our house our son has wanted to have a phone for a while. While we have considered it, one thing that we as parents don't want is a phone that will give him too much access to the Internet or too much data.
We want a phone that's low cost, and won't matter as much if it gets lost or destroyed (big possibilities).
A lot of the services that would work well for seniors above, also have some great options for kids as well.
- Tello: Plans starting as low as $5/month, with no data if you don't want it.
- Gen Mobile: We currently have a candy bar phone from here that doesn't have data - on a $9/month plan.
- Ting: Calling only plans starting as low as $15/month.
- Twigby: Calling plans starting at $6.75/month ($9/month after 6 months).
Best Cheap Family Cell Phone Plans
If you've got a large family the cell phone bill can quickly add up. I was talking to a friend recently and he told me his family's cell phone bill was over $300!
Thankfully these days you don't have to continue paying those huge family phone bills. There are plenty of affordable options when it comes to family plans.
NOTE: Some of the lower cost plans don't allow for family accounts, just individual accounts. Costs could be lower if you don't mind managing 4-5 separate accounts. The plans below allow you to manage all accounts via one plan and account.
Here are our favorites:
- Sprint: The Unlimited Kickstart plan from Sprint is great if you need a family plan. You can get unlimited talk, text and data for 5 phones for $125/month. Get it while you can, it's a limited time offer!
- Boost Mobile: For $100/month you'll get 4 lines with unlimited talk, text and data. A limited time offer.
- Cricket Wireless: Cricket offers family plan discounts on plans of $40/month or more. Save $10/month on second line, and $20/month on each additional line up to 5 lines. So it would be $110 for 4 lines of service on the $40/month plan, with unlimited talk/text, 5GB of 4G data.
Our Top Low Cost Cell Phone Plans
In addition to our top 3 cheapest cell phone plans mentioned at the top of this article the list below also contains another ten or so of the cheapest cell phone plans available on the market.
I recommend checking them all out as some of them may fit your needs better than the others.
Lowest Cost Plan
Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular
T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular
AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon
Have your own low cost options that you think people should consider, let us know what they are in the comments!