The 9 Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans of 2019

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

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

  • Best Overall: Ting, “Customers use what they need and Ting bills appropriately.”
  • Best Individual: Project Fi, “An inexpensive option with plenty of highlights.”
  • Best Pre-Paid: Mint Mobile, "Comes with unlimited “talk and text,” along with nationwide 4G LTE coverage, and an included mobile hotspot."
  • Best No Data: Republic Wireless, “$15 monthly rate for a plan that includes unlimited talk and text, no data required.”
  • Best Everyday: Sprint Unlimited Plus, “Individual rate plan is the least expensive among the four national carriers.”
  • Best Unlimited: Boost Mobile, “Offers the best-unlimited plan, dollar-for-dollar.”
  • Best for Streaming: Visible, "Runs on Verizon’s network, so you can have the reliable coverage of a major phone carrier but at a bargain price."
  • Best for Seniors: Consumer Cellular, “Inexpensive plans that keep costs to a minimum while providing peace of mind.”
  • Best for Families: Cricket Wireless, “Has less expensive rates for a more budget-minded customer.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Ting

Courtesy of Ting

Ting is a wireless re-seller that operates off both Sprint and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE networks and it's by far the cheapest. Unlike most wireless providers that offer pre-packaged plans, Ting’s offerings are a little more buffet style and allow you to select the number of lines you want (up to six), the number of minutes you want (up to unlimited), text messages (up to 18,000) and data plans that can go as high as 30GB.

To keep costs low, a single user can opt for 100 text messages, 100 minutes and 1GB of data for just $28 per month. A family of two with the exact same options increases that cost to only $34 per month. At the end of the day, customers use what they need and Ting bills appropriately.

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

Best Individual: Project Fi

Courtesy of Project Fi

With a base rate of just $20 per month for unlimited U.S. calls and texts, Project Fi is an inexpensive option with plenty of highlights. Unlike the more traditional carrier model that offers set plans, Project Fi allows you to select the amount of data you want each month, which is payable in different increments. And every month, you’re only paying for the data you use and anything unused is credited back to your next monthly statement.

With a set rate of $10 per GB, it’s easy to calculate your bill right from the start, so expectations are easy and budgeting is a breeze. There’s only a smaller selection of Android-based phones available, so iPhone fans are out of luck, but if you’re OK with the device selection, Google’s Project Fi runs on both the Sprint and T-Mobile networks for nationwide 4G LTE coverage.  

Best Pre-Paid: Mint Mobile

MintMobile

MintMobile.com

Mint Mobile offers some of the lowest prices for individual plans, with base rates of $15, $20, and $25 per month with three-, six-, and twelve-month plans. Each mobile package comes with unlimited “talk and text,” along with nationwide 4G LTE coverage, an included mobile hotspot, and 3GB of data to start off, with the option to expand to 12GB for $25 a month). Need more data? With one quick text, you can replenish your account in real time, for a small fee. Additionally, Mint offers a decent amount of flexibility with its plans, allowing you to switch between the various data packages with relative ease.

Switching to the Mint network is a hassle-free process: all you have to do is sign up online, choose your plan, and register your mobile device. While Mint sells an array of smartphones on their site, they also let 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 cell phone plans.

Best No Data: Republic Wireless

Courtesy of 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 to you, check out Republic Wireless and their $15 monthly rate for a plan that includes unlimited talk and text, no data required. In fact, Republic says nearly 20 percent of their customer base is data-less, so you're not alone. And 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 works with both Sprint and T-Mobile's 4G LTE networks, though it primarily operates off Wi-Fi calling in your home for a boosted signal and then defaults to whichever of the two carriers have the strongest cellular signal. 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 cell phone plans available online.

Best Everyday: Sprint Unlimited Plus

Courtesy of Sprint

For everyday cell phone users who want deep coverage and a slew of features, Sprint’s individual rate plan offerings are best-in-class. With two options overall, Sprint’s Unlimited Plus plan adds the first line for $70 with an additional $5 savings if you sign up for autopay. For $70 a month, you receive unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as access to Hulu’s limited commercial plan that is full of thousands of shows and movies, as well as 1080p video streaming.

If that’s too rich, for $60 a month Sprint offers a similar plan with unlimited talk, text, and data that includes limited international text messaging and Hulu, but which drops the streaming quality and hotspot data allowance. At the end of the day, Sprint’s individual rate plan is the least expensive among the four national carriers but still offers nearly the same features with Hulu streaming separating it from the pack.

Best Unlimited: Boost Mobile

Courtesy of Boost Mobile

If you’re OK sacrificing some of the extras such as international roaming or a specialized streaming service tacked on to your plan for free, Boost Mobile offers the best-unlimited plan, dollar-for-dollar. With unlimited talk, text and data available for $50 a month, the plan includes 12GB of 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, and with Boost Dealz customers can watch a few monthly advertising videos per month to reduce the cost of their billing statement.

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.

Best for Streaming: Visible

Visible

Visible.com

Get the best of both worlds: Visible runs on Verizon’s network, so 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 just $40 a month (no taxes or hidden fees, just one flat rate). The carrier’s main draw is its overall streaming capabilities; with 5Mbps, 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 the most recent Apple models, from the 6/6s to the iPhone X/XS/Max/XR, 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

Courtesy of Consumer Cellular

For senior citizens, the use of a cell phone is often more for emergencies, so peppering them with data plans and unlimited talk and text is unnecessary. Fortunately, 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 $20 for 250 minutes per month, 500MB of data, as well as unlimited text messages. Plans can jump north as high as $75 per month, but for most Consumer Cellular customers, the lower tier plans are the best solution.

As an added bonus, Consumer Cellular connects with AARP to offer their customers an additional five 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 easier functionality.

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

Best for Families: Cricket Wireless

Courtesy of 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).

To see the cost savings, a similarly-featured rate plan on the AT&T parent network would cost around $180, which is a saving of around $960 per year by selecting Cricket Wireless. The Cricket rate plan gets you unlimited talk, text and data. Also included are unlimited texts from the U.S. to 38 countries, as well as unlimited calls, texts and picture messages to/from Mexico and Canada to the U.S.

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

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