The 8 Best Cell Phone Plans of 2022

Find the best carrier and cell phone plan that works for you

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The Rundown

Best for Heavy Data Users: T-Mobile

"No better choice for heavy data users than T-Mobile's Magenta (formerly T-Mobile One) plan and its outstanding feature set."

Best High-Speed Data: Verizon Wireless

"Its mix of coverage, speed, and reliability make it well worth the extra monthly cost."

Best Family Plan: T-Mobile

"A bevy of features and extras that make it the best value across the board."

Best Prepaid: Metro by T-Mobile

"Boasts a nationwide LTE network with fast download speeds."

Best for International Travelers: T-Mobile

"Excels at international coverage."

Best Unlimited: Google Fi

"Great compromise if you're looking to accommodate power users and people who don't want to pay for 6 GB they won't use."

Best No Contract: Cricket Wireless

"A solid option for those looking to save without being tied down by a contract."

Best for Kids: Tracfone

"A no-frills way of keeping kids' usage in check."

The best cellphone plan for you will elevate your phone experience while saving your wallet from hefty overage fees. The first step in picking your service provider is deciding if it will be an individual or family plan. Next, you need to estimate how much data you'll need and which device you want to connect to your contract or contract-less program. Consider upgrading to a 5G phone if your new coverage allows for it. Lastly, international travel can play a role in your plan if you would like to use your network while abroad.

Once you decide your factors, it's time to look into your plan options. Companies like Google Fi are great for certain Android users, while active iPhone users may prefer T-Mobile for both its individual and family plans. Have no fear; no matter what your needs are, the best cellphone plan is out there for you!

Best for Heavy Data Users: T-Mobile

T-Mobile

 T-Mobile

For heavy data users, there's no better choice than T-Mobile's Magenta plan (formerly T-Mobile One) and its outstanding feature set.

Starting at $120 for three phone lines or $70 for one line, T-Mobile Magenta customers receive unlimited 5G & 4G LTE data for every line, along with mobile hotspot data with 5 GB of high-speed data and then unlimited data at lower speeds.

HD streaming comes standard in the Magenta MAX plan ($85 per line), but you can upgrade your Magenta plan from SD to HD for a small upcharge. That upcharge comes in handy as T-Mobile's Magenta plan now includes a free one-screen Netflix subscription for plans with two or more lines.

Add in unlimited international texts, in-flight texting on Gogo-enabled flights, and T-Mobile Tuesdays, which are full of free stuff and great deals like discounts on Shell gasoline or free coffee at Dunkin Donuts, and you're hard-pressed to find a better unlimited plan on any carrier.

Best High-Speed Data: Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless

 Verizon Wireless

If you're searching for the best nationwide coverage, Verizon's the easy choice. The company's unlimited plans start at $140 for four lines ($180 on two higher-tier offerings, and $220 on the highest tier) and $70 for one line ($80 on the higher tiers and $90 on the highest).

With four sets of rate plans, Verizon's higher costs make it less of a budget-friendly option, though each plan includes entertainment perks. For example, the $35-per-month (for four lines) 5G Start plan throws in six months of free Disney +, Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass, and Apple Music. The $45-per-month 5G Play More plan includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ along with your choice of Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. It offers only six months of Apple music. The higher-tier plan has even more entertainment perks.

Verizon offers a nationwide 5G network that consistently wins coverage and speed awards. In the end, Verizon's mix of coverage, speed, perks, and reliability make it well worth the extra monthly cost.

Best Family Plan: T-Mobile

T-Mobile

 T-Mobile 

Grabbing another notch under its belt, T-Mobile's family plan is seriously hard to beat with a bevy of features and extras that make it the best value across the board.

The most popular option (Magenta MAX) is the three-line $140 plan, with that price already including taxes and fees (after AutoPay discount). Add in unlimited talk, text, and data alongside 40 GB mobile hotspot data, 480p DVD-quality streaming, and free Netflix for two screens, and it's easy to see why customers are flocking to T-Mobile's network.

Unlimited calling in Mexico and Canada alongside 5 GB of free data and in-flight texting on Gogo-enabled flights are other enticing features.

T-Mobile's recent introduction of allowing customers to upgrade to a new iPhone after 12 one-time equipment payment installments allow customers to purchase new devices with every yearly release.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best family cellphone plans.

Best Prepaid: Metro by T-Mobile

The Metro By T-Mobile logo.

 The Metro By T-Mobile logo.

When it comes to prepaid service, Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS) is the king of the hill. Starting at $40 for an individual line or $160 for a family of four, Metro by T-Mobile has plans that cover just about any budget.

Piggybacking on parent company T-Mobile's network, Metro by T-Mobile boasts a nationwide LTE network with fast download speeds. The ideal plan for most prepaid customers may be the company's $40 5 GB LTE data plan, which adds unlimited music streaming from 40-plus music apps that don't eat into your monthly data limit.

Customers can jump to the plan north by $10 ($50 total) and add unlimited LTE data (with access to T‑Mobile's 5G Network) and 5 GB of hotspot data, or add another $10 ($60 total) for a 15 GB mobile hotspot and an Amazon Prime membership.

As a prepaid carrier, Metro by T-Mobile offers an extensive lineup of smartphones, including the latest from Apple and Samsung, but requires a full-price purchase. Alternatively, you can bring your own SIM-compatible device to the network.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best prepaid cellphone plans article.

Best for International Travelers: T-Mobile

T-Mobile

  T-Mobile

The T-Mobile Magenta rate plans include a host of features, including free Netflix and unlimited data, but they also excel at international coverage.

Right off the bat, T-Mobile's offerings stand out with free texting plus unlimited data at 3G speeds (256 Kbps) in over 210 countries and destinations.

Traveling to Mexico and Canada offers something a little different, as T-Mobile adds unlimited calling, texting, and 5 GB of high-speed data. For something a little faster elsewhere in the world, T-Mobile offers an international pass with 512 MB high speed data for an extra $5 per day.

While you're on your way to your destination, planes that are Gogo-enabled will let T-Mobile customers receive unlimited free in-flight texting and an hour of Wi-Fi (Magenta) or unlimited Wi-Fi (Magenta Max).

Best Unlimited: Google Fi

Google Fi

As far as cellphone plans go, there are a lot of major players, and most of them offer some version of an unlimited plan. Though Verizon's unlimited option is a really great value, there's a new kid on the block, designed by one of the biggest names in tech: Google.

Opting for Google Fi seems like a great idea for a variety of reasons. The basic plan is Simply Unlimited: You can get calls and texts starting at $50 per month (for one person). But what exactly makes the plan unlimited?

There's a Flexible plan for $20 per month (for one person) with a 15 GB data limit. You're charged only $10 for each GB for the data you use after your initial 15 GB data usage which comes with the plan. There's also an Unlimited Plus plan that's $65 per month for one person that brings you unlimited data and a Google One storage membership that gives you 100 GB of cloud storage for each line.

Google Fi is a great compromise if you're looking to accommodate power users, such as data- and app-happy teens, and those who don't want to pay for data in full if they won't actually use it. Add to that coverage that delivers the same performance overseas as you'd get in your home country, and you have a really amazing contract.

If you can stomach being limited to Pixel, Samsung, and Moto phones for new phone options, and you're willing to be an early adopter in a somewhat new network, this pseudo-unlimited plan is a great "best of both worlds." But it does mean you won't be able to jump on Apple's latest releases.

Best No Contract: Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless

 Cricket Wireless

With so many families and individuals looking for budget wireless plans, a slew of second-tier, contract-free brands have come into play. While Walmart's Straight Talk and the ubiquitous Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS) would be perfectly serviceable options, our choice here is for Cricket Wireless.

Like all no-contract plans, with Cricket, you pay only month-to-month. What we particularly like about the company is that it's transparent with its fees. Cricket has a rolling structure, with a basic talk and text package starting at $30 per month (with 5 GB of high-speed data) and a premium high-speed data-connected individual line for $60 per month, including a 15 GB mobile hotspot.

The real standout here is the $100 family plan, which gives you four lines of unlimited data. Heavy users: just note that Cricket may throttle your speeds a bit to make room for other users.

When it comes down to it, what you see is what you get; those prices up there include taxes, and though Cricket's coverage isn't quite as dense as the ​Verizons and AT&Ts of the world, Cricket is a solid option for those looking to save without being tied down by a contract.

Best for Kids: Tracfone

Republic Wireless

 Republic Wireless

While the best rate for a kid-friendly mobile experience is often to add them to your existing rate plan, options like Tracfone add a no-frills way of keeping your child's usage in check.

While smartphone plans start at $20 for 30 days with unlimited minutes and texts and 2 GB of data, parents can go even smaller on the bill at $15 a month for 500 minutes of talk time, 500 MB of data, and 500 texts on a basic phone.

For most kids, smartphones remain the best option, with plans priced at $125 for a full year's worth of service (365 days) allowing for 1,500 minutes, 1,500 texts, and 1.5 GB of data. Alternative plans offer 60 and 90 days' worth of service for various amounts of minutes, texts, and data allotments.

Beyond plans, Tracfone adds an extensive line of basic and smartphones while allowing customers to use their older devices to activate service.

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