The Cheapest Cell Phone Plans for Your Tight Budget
Are you feeling the pinch of your costly cell phone plan? Thankfully, you don’t have to stick to one cellphone plan for life! If you’re unhappy with your current plan or it no longer serves your needs, you’re always welcome to make the switch.
But with more than 30 carriers and several plans to choose from, getting the right plan is not always easy as it seems. You have to consider how many texts you need, talk time, and data. You also need to take into account speed and coverage as well as find the best carrier in your location. And finally, you have to consider how much you’re willing to spend.
How to Choose a Cell Phone Plan
But before you go shopping for the cheapest cell phone plans that fit your needs, you first need to consider the following:
Coverage – cell phone coverages vary depending on location, and you can’t just decide on a particular carrier without knowing for sure how it performs in your area. A low-cost plan will prove to be pointless if you get poor coverage. Ask your friends and colleagues about their recommendation for the best carriers that work best in your location.
Usage – take a look at your previous phone bills to determine how many minutes, texts, and data allocation you’ll most likely need. If you use your phone to connect to the internet often, you may need gigabytes each month and put a limit to your call and text allocations. It’s essential to determine how you use your phone to round up the best plans for your needs.
Current or brand-new cell phone – are you also looking to replace your phone when you switch plans? Most carriers will allow you to get a new (even the latest) phone along with the plan and pay the cost in monthly installments. But if you want to save money, you can opt to keep your old phone as long as it works with the carrier you intend getting the new plan from.
Number of phone lines – determine how many people would be using the plan. There are plans specially designed to cater to an individual user, while there are also bundled plans designed for the family. In the family line, users may share the plan allocation or have each member an assigned allocation.
Cheapest Cell Phone Plan from Leading Carriers
Unlimited Kickstart Plan ($25/month)
If you want unlimited of everything – calls, texts, data – and don’t want to pay a premium for it, then Sprint’s Unlimited Kickstart Plan is the best deal you can get. Priced at only $25 per month, you’ll get unlimited texts and calls as well as high-speed data. You may also apply for a maximum of 5 lines for that same price under the same plan.
The Unlimited Kickstart Plan also allows you to send texts and connect to the internet (2G connection) while overseas, and in a vast selection of 185 countries. Calling rates are discounted at $0.20 per minute.
This plan is perfect for the avid streamer, thanks to its 4G capability. To avail of the plan, you can purchase a phone outright from Sprint, or bring your own. But because this plan comes and goes, you want to take advantage while it’s still available.
Other cheap phone plans from Sprint:
- Sprint Unlimited Plus ($60/month) – Unlimited talk, text and data + 50GB hotspot allowance
- Sprint 2GB Plan ($40/month) – unlimited calls, international texting and 2GB data
Tings is a mobile network operator that runs on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks. It offers one of the lowest prepaid plans there is, but you only pay for the calls, texts, and data that you use at the end of the billing cycle. If you’re looking for a plan that favors more calls and texts, and less on data, then Ting will undoubtedly help save you a lot of money.
Unlimited Talk and Text Plan + 20G ($20/month)
Ting offers unlimited national minutes plus calls to 60 other countries, as well as unlimited messaging and data allocation of 20GB for only $20 per month.
This is a no-contract plan wherein the carrier charges you in the tier for data use and then bill you separately. They also send an alert for data use if you want to keep your bill under control. You may also bring your own device to Ting to avail the plan, or use any Sprint-unlocked device. If you’re looking to get a phone along with the plan, you’ll find plenty of the latest smartphones to choose from in the list.
Other cheap phone plans from Ting:
- L Monthly Plan ($24/month) – 1000 minutes of calls to the US and 60 other countries
- XL Monthly plan ($41/month) – 2100 minutes of calls to the US and 60 other countries
Twigby is another mobile virtual network operator that runs under Sprint and Verizon. This carrier offers a slew of affordable plans – starting with unlimited international texting. The next thing you’ll have to figure out in your plan is how much data you need and how many minutes for calls. But overall, Twigby’s incredibly cheap cell phone plan is worth considering.
Twigby Unlimited Talk & Text ($9.75/month)
If you’re all about calling and texting and don’t use that much data (or at all), then Twigby’s Unlimited Talk & Text is an excellent plan for you. Just a cents shy from several $10, you’ll get a practical and basic cell phone that will serve your calling and messaging needs.
Since you already have unlimited messaging in this plan, you get to create a customized contract based on your calling and data needs. This plan allows you unlimited messaging to many countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Mexico, and India, as well as calls at no extra charge.
If you want to use data, the carrier will charge you accordingly. You’ll initially have high-speed data until you’ve exhausted your allocation and speed will move down to 2G. You also have the option to connect up to 5 lines in a single account.
You can buy a new phone from Twigby at full price, so it’s not a great option if you’re looking to pay monthly installments. You’ll also have decent phone options, ranging from the basic ones to few of the latest smartphones. Or, you could bring your own phone as long as it runs on CDMA and compatible with Verizon and Sprint networks.
Other cheap phone plans from Twigby:
- Twigby Unlimited Texts + 300 minutes ($21.74/month) – unlimited texting, 300 minutes of calls and 5GB of full speed data
T-mobile is one of the major carriers that specialize in unlimited plans. The network has excellent coverage, superb deals, promos, and features.
T-Mobile Essentials ($60/month)
The T-Mobile Essentials is the cheapest among the network’s unlimited plans. Costing only $60 per month, Essentials gives you unlimited calls and texts, as well as unlimited data running at 3G-speed. While not as speedy as the other T-Mobile unlimited data plans that run on 4G, Essentials gives you decent mobile internet access at a great price.
Apart from unlimited calls, you can use the plan to call to 210 countries and destinations at a flat rate of $0.25 per minute. Video streams at a standard 480p resolution.
If you’re a frequent internet user, the Essentials plan proves to be a great option, since it connects you to the web at 3G speed, and you have 2GB data allocation at Mexico and Canada. It is worth noting though that the plan is subject to de-prioritization or slows down during times of network congestion.
Still, T-Mobile Essentials fares well among similar plans offered by various major networks. If T-Mobile has excellent coverage in your area, then this plan is worth checking out.
Other cheap cell phone plans from T-Mobile:
- T-Mobile Magenta ($70/month) – unlimited calling and texting, unlimited data in 210+ countries with 4G LTE speed and unlimited DVD video streaming at 480p resolution
X-Finity is a mobile carrier brought to you by Comcast, the biggest provider of internet and cable in the country. Launched in 2017, Comcast’s X-Finity Mobile has broken into the mobile market and has been offering an appealing cell phone plan at a great price. The only drawback is that you have been an existing X-Finity’s internet service customer, or you’re willing to be one, to avail their cell phone plan. But other than that, this plan is worth considering if you’re looking to cut down costs.
X-Finity Unlimited Plan ($45/month)
X-Finity’s Unlimited Plan is a great deal, costing only $45 per month! With this plan, you’ll get unlimited calls and texts. As for the data, you need to figure out whether you want it unlimited as well, or counted by the gig. For instance, if you wish to have everything unlimited – calls, texts, and data – then you pay $45 for the plan. But if you think you won’t be consuming less than 3GB of data each month, then you pay only $36.
The plan also allows for two more additional lines into your account. You can also use the plan for international roaming in over 200 countries.
Want to get a new phone along with the plan? Don’t worry because you’ll find great phone selections, from the latest smartphone models from the top brands to the basic ones that would be cheaper to replace.
It’s also worth noting that while internet speeds are decent for its price (up to 12 Mbps for downloads and up to 5 Mbps for uploads), the network also practices de-prioritization. Once your plan reaches the 20 GB soft cap, speed is expected to slow down. Video streams at 480p resolution.
Republic offers one of the cheapest no-data cell phone plans right now. First, it connects to a wi-fi connection, whether you’re at home, at the mall or in a coffee shop, and then allows you to make calls or send texts without limits. As a no-contract cell phone service plan, it’s easy to stay within your phone budget. Users also get to enjoy expanded coverage as it operates under Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks.
Republic MyChoice Plan ($15/month)
If you don’t use data, but needs the phone to call and text, then Republic’s MyChoice Plan is worth your money. For only $15/month, you can make unlimited calls and texts when you’re connected to wi-fi. If a wireless connection is not available, the phone hooks up with the cellular network.
If you need data, you can purchase it at $5 for every 1 GB, with a limit of 15GB. Data runs at 4G LTE, giving you superb high-speed connection. The data purchase can be added at any time within your billing cycle.
You can bring your own phone and avail the plan as long as your phone operates at Android 6.0 or newer. The BYO phone currently does not accept iPhones.
Other cheap cell phone plans from Republic:
- MyChoice Plan + 1GB data ($20/month) – unlimited Wi-fi calling and texting + 1GB data
- My Choice Plan + 2GB data ($25/month) – unlimited Wi-fi calling and texting + 2GB data
Boost Mobile is owned by Sprint and runs under the same network. It currently offers competitively-priced cell phone plans with unlimited texts and calls and some data. While Boost Mobile’s plans are at par with what the other carriers offer, it also has a few nice features that give the plan more value.
Boost Mobile 3GB 4G LTE ($35/month)
The plan includes unlimited domestic calls and texts as well as 3GB worth of high-speed data running at 4G LTE network, making it great at streaming high-quality music and videos.
You can get it as a family plan for up to 5 lines for every account. You also have the option to add-on a couple of nice features, like 1GB of data for $5 or 2GB for $10. For an additional $5, you can get the Todo Mexico Plus which allows you to call to and from Mexico and Canada without limits. And for another $5, you can get International Connect Plus which enables you to make unlimited landline calls to over 70 countries.
Music streaming is another wonderful feature as it does not consume your data as long you stream from partner sites like Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio.
Unlike other carriers and operators, Boost Mobile currently doesn’t have the Bring Your Own Device Program. If you want to get one of their plans, you’ll have to purchase a Boost Mobile device. Thankfully, they have a pretty long list of the latest smartphones, so if you’re looking for a new phone that runs on Boost, then buying one from them should be a great move.
Other cheap cell phone plans from Boost Mobile:
- Republic Unlimited Gigs ($50/month) – unlimited calling and texting plus unlimited data and 12GB mobile hotspot
- Republic Unlimited Plus ($60/month) – unlimited calling and texting plus unlimited data and 30G mobile hotspot. It also comes with free TIDAL for 6 months.
Cricket is a no-contract mobile service provider that’s acquired by AT&T in 2013. It promises affordable cell phone plans, starting from $25 to $60, and are cheaper than the bigger carriers.
Cricket 2GB High-Speed Data Plan ($30/month)
This is the cheapest plan in Cricket that includes data. The plan has unlimited national texting and calling, as well as 2GB data that streams on 4G LTE service.
If you find the 2GB allocation lacking, you have the option to purchase additional data priced at $10/month for 1GB. Internet data runs in full speed, but when it reaches its threshold, the connection slows down for the remainder of your billing cycle.
This plan is perfect for people looking for unlimited calling and texting, and then some data for internet use. If you’re a light internet user, then this plan should be great for you. The option to purchase additional 1GB data is useful for times when you just need some extra but don’t want to upgrade the plan.
Since Cricket operates under AT&T’s network, you get full coverage and typically reliable connection.
Other cheap cell phone plans from Cricket:
- 5GB High Speed Data with AutoPay ($35/month) – unlimited calling and texting, + 5GB full-speed data and $5 monthly credit with AutoPay
- Unlimited Plan with AutoPay – unlimited calling and texting + unlimited data and $5 monthly credit with AutoPay
There’s no reason to overspend on your cell phone plan if you do your due diligence and find the plan that works for your needs. But first, you really should be honest with yourself about your phone needs, and determine whether you can or cannot let go of certain features. No matter what plan you end up getting, it should be one that brings the best value for your money.