2021's Best Budget-Friendly Phone Plans

Don't pay more than you need to for your wireless phone bill

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Ting

"Ting is a wireless reseller that operates off of T-Mobile's 4G LTE networks, and is by far the cheapest."

Best Individual: Google Fi

"Google Fi is an inexpensive option with plenty of highlights."

Best Prepaid: Mint Mobile

"Mint Mobile comes with unlimited talk and text, along with nationwide 5G and 4G LTE coverage, and an included mobile hotspot."

Best No Data: Republic Wireless

"With low rates and support by one carrier coverage map, Republic is a standout choice for going without data."

Best Unlimited: Boost Mobile

"Boost Mobile offers the best unlimited plan, dollar-for-dollar."

Best for Streaming: Visible

"Visible runs on Verizon's network so that you can have the reliable coverage of a major phone carrier but at a bargain price."

Best for Seniors: Consumer Cellular

"Consumer Cellular offers rate plans dedicated to seniors that keep costs to a minimum and offer peace of mind."

Best for Families: Cricket Wireless

"Cricket Wireless is a less expensive solution that piggybacks on the AT&T network for a more budget-minded customer."

Best Overall: Ting

Ting mobile

 Ting mobile

Ting is a wireless reseller that operates off of T-Mobile's 4G LTE networks and is by far the cheapest. Unlike most wireless providers that offer pre-packaged plans, Ting's offerings are a little more varied and bespoke.

The Flex plan costs $10 per month per line, and you pay $5 per GB of data you use. The Set 5 Plan is $25 per month per line and includes 5 GB LTE/5G data and unlimited talk and text. The Set 12 plan is $35 per month with 12 GB LTE/5G data and unlimited talk and text. There are also Unlimited and Unlimited Pro plans starting at $45 per month per line.

Operating off of T-Mobile's networks, Ting offers the latest devices for purchase outright or a monthly installment.

Find out everything you need to know about cellphone plans if you have any uncertainties.

Best Individual: Google Fi

Google Fi Logo

 Google Fi Logo

With a base rate of $20 per month for unlimited U.S. calls and texts, Google Fi is an inexpensive option with plenty of highlights. Unlike the more traditional carrier model that offers set plans, Google Fi's Flexible plan bills you $10 per GB used at the end of the month, so you're only paying for the data you use. It's easy to calculate your bill right from the start, so expectations are comfortable, and budgeting is a breeze.

If you want an unlimited plan, Google Fi's Simply Unlimited tier starts at $60 per month for one line, $45 for two lines, and $30 for three to six lines. The Unlimited Plus offering, which adds perks like free international data, starts at $70 per line for one line, $60 for two lines, $50 for three lines, and $45 per line for four to six lines.

There's only a small selection of Android-based phones available, so iPhone fans are out of luck, but if you're OK with the device selection, Google Fi runs on both the Sprint and T-Mobile networks for nationwide 4G LTE and 5G coverage.

Best Prepaid: Mint Mobile

MintMobile

 MintMobile

Mint Mobile offers some of the lowest prices for individual plans, with base rates of $15, $20, $25, and $30 per month with three- and 12-month plans. Each mobile package comes with unlimited talk and text, nationwide 5G and 4G LTE coverage, a mobile hotspot, and 4 GB of data to start (with the option to expand to 15 GB for $25 a month). Mint Mobile also offers 6-month plans.

Need more data? With one quick text, you can replenish your account in real-time for a small fee. Or, try Mint's Unlimited 5G/4G LTE data plan starting at $30 per month.

Additionally, Mint offers a decent amount of flexibility with its plans, allowing you to switch between the various data packages with relative ease.

To switch to the Mint network, all you do is sign up online, choose your plan, activate your mobile device, and install a new SIM card. While Mint sells an array of smartphones on its site, the company also lets users keep their current phone number and device, making for a seamless transition to their network.

Like this option? Read through our list of the best-prepaid cellphone plans.

Best No Data: Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless

 Republic Wireless

For millions of wireless users around the country, having a data plan is a must, but that's not the case for everyone. If it's not a necessity, check out Republic Wireless, and its $15 monthly rate for a plan that includes unlimited talk and text—no data required.

With Wi-Fi hotspots continuously added in malls and coffee shops, it's not going to be impractical to get data access if you need it while you're out and about.

Republic also works with T-Mobile's 4G LTE networks. With low rates and support by two carrier coverage maps, Republic is a standout choice for going without data.

Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best Walmart prepaid cellphone plans available online.

Best Unlimited: Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile

 Boost Mobile

Suppose you're OK sacrificing some of the extras, such as international roaming or a specialized streaming service tacked on to your plan for free. In that case, Boost Mobile offers the best unlimited plan, dollar-for-dollar.

With unlimited talk, text, and 35 GB of LTE data available for $50 a month, the plan includes 12 GB of a mobile hotspot and streaming mobile-optimized HD video up to 480p. Customers can upgrade for an additional $10 per month to increase streaming quality to 1080p HD.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of Boost's $50 plan is the lack of additional taxes and fees. When the company says $50 per month, that's the exact amount you'll see on your bill every month until you make a switch. Add in BoostTV with free 24/7 live broadcasts, and on-demand programming, and Boost's plan gets even more attractive.

After you use up the 35 GB on your plan, data speeds are throttled to 2G for the remainder of the month.

Best for Streaming: Visible

Visible

 Visible

Get the best of both worlds: Visible runs on Verizon's network so that you can have the reliable coverage of a major phone carrier but at a bargain price. Visible offers unlimited talk, text, and data usage for $40 a month (no taxes or hidden fees, just one flat rate). With Party Pay, Visible's version of a "friends and family" plan, you'll pay only $25 per month when you join or form a "party" of four lines.

The carrier's main draw is its overall streaming capabilities; with 5-12 Mbps, you're essentially getting hyper-fast wireless connections and lag-free video streaming at 480p. Visible's data package also turns your phone into a mobile hotspot, so you can enjoy your unlimited data access on any device.

Additionally, Visible supports most recent Apple models, from the 6/6s to the iPhone's 12 iterations, along with Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ and SE devices. You can purchase a new phone or keep your current device as long as it meets Visible's compatibility requirements and has completed the most recent software updates.

Best for Seniors: Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular

 Consumer Cellular

For those senior citizens who use their cell phones mostly for quick calls and emergencies, robust data plans may be unnecessary. Providers such as Consumer Cellular offer rate plans dedicated to this age group and have inexpensive plans that keep costs to a minimum while providing peace of mind.

Consumer Cellular pricing starts around $25 per month per line for unlimited talk and unlimited text with 500 MB of shared data. There's also a $30-per-month plan that features unlimited talk and text, but with 3 GB of shared data. Plans can jump as high as $60 per month per line, but the lower-tier plans are the best solution for most Consumer Cellular customers.

As a bonus, Consumer Cellular connects with AARP to offer its customers an additional 5 percent discount on monthly service. Customers can bring their own devices, but there's also a wide selection of the latest devices, as well as flip phones that are designed with larger buttons and numbers for more straightforward functionality.

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

Best for Families: Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless

 Cricket Wireless

A subsidy of AT&T, Cricket Wireless is a less expensive solution that piggybacks on the AT&T network and has less expensive rates for a more budget-minded customer. The cost savings stands out right away for a family of four, with four lines of unlimited data for just $100 (and that includes monthly taxes).

The Cricket rate plan gets you unlimited talk, text, and data. Also included are unlimited texts from the U.S. to 37 countries, and unlimited calls, texts, and picture messages to and from Mexico and Canada to the U.S.

Cricket also offers additional international plans for customers traveling overseas, plus an optional 8 GB mobile hotspot plan for an added monthly cost.

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best family cellphone plans may also help you find what you're looking for.

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