The Best Cell Phone Providers: What’s Worth the Cost?

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Cell phones are no longer considered a luxury item, but rather a functional necessity for everyday life. Everything is run through the phone. Your bills, grocery shopping, work emails and so much more are all executed through this small device people conveniently carry around in their pockets.

Read: If Your Credit Score is Under 740, Make These 4 Moves Now

Because it is such an essential requirement, it now has to be factored into your monthly budget and daily routine. You need a phone you and your family can depend on and trust without having to read multiple pages of fine print in the ever-evolving terms and conditions. 

When you want to choose the carrier with the best cell phone plan for you there are several things to consider. What are the cheapest cell phone plans available? Which plans are best for families or those who need multiple lines? Which carriers have the best data plans that fit within your budget?

The 5 Best Cell Phone Plans for Your Budget

Lately, the prices for everything seem to be going up. With many people treading water from payday to payday it is important to know where you can fiscally trim some fat. Cell phones are needed for both work and home life, but this is not to say there aren’t more affordable options than what you currently have or other ways to save money on your cellular activities.

Make Your Money Work for You

You need a plan that will cover all your basic cell phone needs but will not cost you an arm and a leg. Here are the cell phone plans that will cover your bases all while fitting nicely into your budget. 

  1. Tello 1GB
  2. Mint Mobile 4GB
  3. T-Mobile 3GB
  4. Visible Unlimited
  5. Verizon 15GB

Tello 1GB Breakdown

The Tello 1GB plan is one of the most economical plans out there. As with many carriers, they do offer more expensive and data-heavy plans, but the 1GB plan is best suited for those looking for the cheapest cell phone plan available. As the name would suggest, there is a data cap of 1GB, which some people may find limiting. However, this plan does include unlimited calls and texts, and if you’re really worried about the data cap, Tello also offers an affordable 2G plan for $14 per month. Their unlimited data plan would be at their highest price point of $29 per month.

Tello Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
1GB $10 Pro: The cheapest plan available with unlimited texts and calls
Con: Extremely limited data

Mint Mobile 4GB Breakdown 

4GB may not seem like a lot but it’s sufficient for those who just need internet access, to check in with social media and other basic phone operations. It makes sense to have a plan where you only pay for what you need. This is a very affordable plan coming in at $15 a month. Be aware though that this is only the price for the first three months, after which point you would have to sign a one-year contract to lock in the $15 monthly cost.

Make Your Money Work for You

Mint Mobile does use the T-Mobile network so there is a fair amount of coverage as T-Mobile offers a large percentage of coverage across the nation.

Mint Mobile Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
4GB $15 Pro: Affordable price with decent coverage and data
Con: $15 per month ends after 3 months unless you sign a one-year contract

T-Mobile 3GB Breakdown

Also coming in at $15 per month is T-Mobile’s 3GB plan. This is part of the new Connect by T-Mobile plans. While this T-Mobile connect plan is affordable, once you use up your allotted data, no matter where you are in the billing cycle, you simply will be out of data for the rest of that billing cycle. This can be problematic only if you are someone that requires or uses large amounts of data every month. They also offer a $10 per month 1GB prepaid plan with the same restrictions so this plan would only be the right choice for those who aren’t on their phone too much. However, the Connect by T-Mobile plans also come with a .5GB annual increase in data.

T-Mobile Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
3GB $15 Pro: Annual increase in data allotment 
Con: When you run out of data you don’t get any more for the entire billing cycle

Visible Unlimited Breakdown

Visible is produced by Verizon and is one of the cheapest plans offered to not only have unlimited calls and texts, but also unlimited data. Taxes and fees are included in the pricing which alleviates any surprises when it comes time to pay your bill. Visible’s Basic plan is priced at $30 per month. 

Make Your Money Work for You
Visible Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
Unlimited $30 Pro: Unlimited talk, text and data 
Con: May have slower internet during times of high traffic

Verizon 15GB Breakdown

The Verizon 15GB plan is $45 per month. The price drops to $35 per month if you enlist in the autopay option. This is pricier than some of the other plans but it is definitely the most bang for your buck. There is unlimited talk and texting, but also with the added perk of unlimited international texting to over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Verizon also offers 5G nationwide coverage making it one of the fastest carriers with the most coverage. 

Verizon Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
15GB $45 Pro: Higher amount of data with fast speed coverage at a lower price point 
Con: Doesn’t include Verizon’s Ultra Wideband Coverage

The 3 Best Cell Phone Family Plans for Your Budget

In order to stay connected with your partner, children or both simultaneously, you need a cell phone plan that covers all of your needs and the needs of your family. How much data does everyone need? How much school work will be done via phone? What is the best plan for everyone to stay connected?

More phones equal more cost but there still are cell phone carriers offering plans that will financially and functionally fit well into your family plan.

  1. Mint Family Plan
  2. Verizon Welcome Unlimited
  3. T-Mobile Unlimited

Mint Family Plan Breakdown

The Mint 4GB plan was applied to a 4-line plan at $60 per month to represent an average family size. It allows you to pick and choose the plan for each line, and the number of lines you’ll need. Where Mint separates itself from other carriers is that it extends the discount to each line. Much like its individual 4GB plan, you can lock each line into the discounted rate when you sign a one-year contract.

Mint Mobile Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
4GB for 4-lines $60 Pro: Discount can be applied to each line in the family plan
Con: To get the discount you must pay for a one-year contract

Verizon Welcome Unlimited Breakdown

The Verizon Welcome Unlimited plan for 4-lines will run $120 per month. When your family or other members on your plan prioritize unlimited data on a good network, this may be the plan for you. You aren’t allowed to choose different plans for each line, and there are not a lot of extra frills thrown in, but it is extremely affordable for a multiple-line plan.

Verizon Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
Welcome Unlimited for 4-lines $120 Pro: Unlimited data on an extensive network
Con: No hotspots or streaming services

T-Mobile Unlimited Breakdown

The T-Mobile Unlimited plan for a plan with 4-lines will cost $140 per month. This plan has unlimited data for everyone on your plan as well as high-speed internet access. There is a discount if you sign up for autopay, but taxes and fees are not included in the price.

T-Mobile Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
Unlimited for 4-lines $140 Pro: You can customize your plan with add-ons
Con: You cannot mix and match your plans per line

The 3 Best Unlimited Cell Phone Plans for Your Budget

In the rise and grind daily trudge of today, it is hard to not always be on your phone. You are on it a lot and you need a cell phone plan that can keep up with you. Unlimited data doesn’t need to come with a heavy price tag and here are the three best cell phone plans with unlimited data that won’t break the bank.

  1. Tello Unlimited
  2. Visible Unlimited Plus
  3. AT&T Value Plan Plus

Tello Unlimited Breakdown

Without committing to a yearly contract, Tello Unlimited maintains the price point of $29 per month for unlimited data. This is one of the lowest costs for unlimited data out there. You can also turn your device into a mobile hotspot for no additional fee. It should be noted however that once you reach 25GB of unlimited data, Tello will slow down your speed.

Tello Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
Unlimited $29 Pro: Best price for unlimited data
Con: Will slow down after 25GB of unlimited data is reached

Visible Unlimited Plus Breakdown

Visible is part of Verizon, ergo the Visible Unlimited Plus plan has the perk of using Verizon’s extensive Ultra Wideband 5G network, which the regular Visible Limited plan cannot access. This plan is $45 per month. This plan also includes unlimited talk, text and data.

Visible Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
Unlimited Plus $45 Pro: Unlimited international calling and texting to 200+ countries
Con: No discounts on multiple lines

AT&T Value Plus Breakdown

The AT&T Value Plus plan is the cheapest plan AT&T offers for unlimited data. This plan includes 5G access and costs $50 per month. You also get a $10 discount per month if you enlist in autopay.

AT&T Plan Monthly Cost Pro and Con
Value Plus $50 Pro: Unlimited data with 5G access
Con: Can only do single line plan

Cell Phone Plan Summary

Carrier and Plan Monthly Cost Data
Tello 1GB $10 1GB
Mint Mobile 4GB $15 4GB
T-Mobile 3GB $15 3GB
Visible Unlimited $30 Unlimited
Verizon 15GB $45 15GB
Mint Family Plan for 4-lines $60 4GB per line
Verizon Welcome Unlimited for 4-lines $120 Unlimited
T-Mobile Unlimited for 4-lines $140 Unlimited
Tello Unlimited  $29 Unlimited
Visible Unlimited Plus $45 Unlimited
AT&T Value Plus $50 Unlimited

Takeaway: What Is the Best Cell Phone Plan For You?

You may have had the same cell phone provider for years and haven’t thought to see what other plans could better fit your needs. Maybe you want the best cellular coverage or data plan. Perhaps your life has changed so you need the new best cell phone plan for you in 2022 or next year in 2023. There isn’t just one option anymore, there are several. 

When looking for the best cell phone plan, make sure to shop around and read the fine print. With everyone being on their phone as much as they are, it is good to know there are options that fit varying needs and budgets

FAQ

  • Who is the No. 1 cell phone carrier?
    • The number one cell phone carrier would depend on your budget and data requirements.  Some carriers to consider would be Mint, Verizon and T-Mobile as they top our list in each area.
  •  Which carrier has the best cellular coverage?
    • The carrier with the best cellular coverage would be Verizon, closely followed by AT&T.
  • Is AT&T better than Verizon?
    • While Verizon has better cellular coverage, AT&T offers less expensive plans making it a great option for families and those who aren't as concerned with speed and data.

Information is accurate as of Nov. 2, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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Make Your Money Work for You

About the Author

Caitlyn Moorhead has written content for a variety of businesses and publications. After graduating from Central Michigan University cum laude, she moved to NYC where she wrote columns, articles and plays for several years before relocating to Austin, Texas in the fall of 2020.
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