Finding a new cellphone plan can be a confusing undertaking. Every carrier seems to have the best deal ever — until you read the fine print. Since the best plan for you depends on how you use it, GOBankingRates researched the best unlimited data plans, best phone plans for one person, best prepaid cellphone plans and more. Take a look at all your options so you can save on the best plan for you.
|The Best Cellphone Plans of 2019|
|Carrier||Plan Name||Best For||Cost||Plans|
|AT&T||AT&T Unlimited &More Premium||Those who want all the bells and whistles||$80 per month for one line, $48 per line per month for four lines||View Plan|
|Verizon||Unlimited||Families whose members have different needs||$40-$60 per line per month for four lines||View Plan|
|Sprint||Sprint Unlimited Basic||Someone who is switching plans||$20 per month per line for five lines for a limited time||View Plan|
|T-Mobile||Unlimited (offer)||Those who want a new phone||$35 per line for four lines and four phones||View Plan|
|Virgin Mobile||Virgin Mobile Unlimited||Individual prepaid phone users||$35 per month||View Plan|
|Cricket Wireless||Talk & Text||Those who don’t need data||$25 per month||View Plan|
|Google Fi||Google Fi||Those who only want to pay for data they use||$20 per month plus $10 per GB of data||View Plan|
|Boost Mobile||Unlimited Gigs||Families who want a prepaid plan||$100 per month for four lines of unlimited talk, text and data||View Plan|
1. Best High-End Plan: AT&T
- Plan Name: AT&T Unlimited &More Premium
- Monthly Cost: $80 per month for one line, $48 per month per line for four lines
This is the gold standard of cellphone plans and one of the best unlimited cellphone plans in terms of features. You get unlimited talk, text and data throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico; high-definition streaming at 1080p quality; over 35 channels of live TV plus on-demand; and your choice of HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, VRV, Amazon Music Unlimited or Pandora Premium. To get the prices shown, you need to sign up for autopay and paperless billing. If you want the best of everything and don’t want to have to worry about how much data you’re using, this is the plan for you.
2. Best For Families With Different Needs: Verizon
- Plan Name: Unlimited
- Monthly Cost: $40-$60 per month per line for four lines; cost varies based on the plan selected for each line
If you need high-quality streaming and other high-end features, but your kids don’t, this may be the best cellphone family plan for you. Each line can have a different level of service, but everybody gets unlimited talk, text and data. Go Unlimited gives you DVD-quality streaming; unlimited mobile hotspot at 600 kbps; talk, text and data in the U.S., Mexico and Canada; and free Apple Music for six months. Lines with this service cost $40 each per month for four lines. Beyond Unlimited ups the streaming to HD quality and the mobile hotspot to 15 GB at 4G LTE, and includes Apple Music. Above Unlimited adds five travels passes per month for service in 140 countries — making it one of the best plans for international travel — and 500 GB of Verizon Cloud.
3. Best for Switchers: Sprint
- Plan Name: Sprint Unlimited Basic
- Monthly Cost: $20 per month per line for five lines for a limited time
Switching cellphone carriers can be a pain, which is why some carriers will give you a really good deal if you do. But they’re counting on the likelihood that you won’t want to switch again soon, so the good deal is often limited in duration. Sprint will give you Unlimited Basic for $20 per line per month on five lines for a limited time. That means unlimited talk, text and data in the U.S., DVD-quality streaming, Hulu streaming and more. This is easily the cheapest unlimited data plan on this list — for the period that it’s available. After April 30, 2020, your price goes up to $60 for the first line, $40 for the second line and $20 for lines three through five.
4. Best for Those Who Want New Phones: T-Mobile
- Offer: Unlimited
- Monthly Cost: $35 per month per line for four lines and four phones
If your phone is on its last legs or if you just want to upgrade to the newest technology, it’s worth looking at a new cellphone plan at the same time. With T-Mobile’s offer, you can get unlimited talk, text and data for $35 per month per line for four lines plus four new phones, making it a strong contender for the best unlimited phone plan. The drawback is that you need to activate a new line for each phone. But if you’re an existing T-Mobile customer, you can still take advantage of this offer, which is a nice perk.
5. Best Individual Prepaid Plan: Virgin Mobile
- Plan Name: Virgin Mobile Unlimited
- Monthly Cost: $35 per month
Virgin Mobile offers one of the cheapest phone plans for one person: a prepaid plan for $35 per month that includes 5 GB of 4G LTE data. If you need more data, you can choose the unlimited data plan for $60 per month. You can add features like international calling and mobile hotspot for an extra fee. These are prepaid plans, so you pay as you go, making them among the best cellphone deals with no contract.
6. Best Talk & Text Plan: Cricket Wireless
- Plan Name: Talk & Text
- Monthly Cost: $25 per month
For senior citizens and others who may want just a phone, the Cricket Wireless Talk & Text plan gives you unlimited talk and text for $25 per month. You don’t get data with the plan, but Cricket Wireless has other plans that include data starting at $30 per month. These are plans for people who use their phone primarily to make calls and text, and who don’t need HD-quality streaming and other high-end features. This could be one of the best cellphone plans for seniors if they don’t have as many tech needs.
7. Best for Intermittent Data Users: Google Fi
- Plan Name: Google Fi
- Monthly Cost: $20 plus $10 per GB of data per month
If your data needs vary considerably from month to month, it can be frustrating to pay for unlimited data every month. Google Fi charges you based on the data you actually use. You pay $20 for talk and text, plus $10 per GB of data each month. Data charges are capped at $60 per month, so if you go over 6 GB in a given month, the rest of your data is free. Additional lines are $15 per month plus data charges, which are capped depending on the number of lines.
8. Best Prepaid Family Plan: Boost Mobile
- Plan Name: Unlimited Gigs
- Monthly Cost: $100 per month for four lines
Boost Mobile offers some of the best prepaid plans that look like postpaid plans, without the contract. You can get four lines with unlimited talk, text and data for $100 per month. You get unlimited streaming, mobile hotspot and 99 percent coverage on the Sprint network.
How to Choose the Best Cellphone Plan for You
The right plan depends on three things: how you use your phone, how many lines you want and whether you want prepaid or postpaid. If you use a lot of data, choose a plan with unlimited data and watch out for data deprioritization — the point at which the carrier can slow down your data if the network is busy. If you’re mostly looking for talk and text, a low-data option or pay-as-you-go data plan may be best. Be sure to compare prices for the number of lines you will use and factor in the number of new phones you want, if any. Finally, decide if you want a contract, which usually includes a penalty for terminating early, or if you want to pay as you go. If you pay as you go — prepaid — you’ll probably have to pay for any new phones up front.
What About the Network?
There’s a lot of debate about the best cellphone network. There are four major networks: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. All the other carriers are either owned by or lease capacity from these four networks. So if you’re considering moving to Cricket because you don’t like AT&T’s coverage, don’t. They’re the same network. Likewise, Sprint owns Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile.
As with plans, you want the best network for you. So ask your friends, neighbors and co-workers which network they use and whether they have trouble with dropped calls. Then you can narrow your search by network to find the best cellphone provider for your specific needs.
Click through to read more about how to dramatically reduce your phone bill.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates compared cellphone plans from major and secondary carriers, including special promotional offers. Pricing is accurate as of Feb. 27, 2019.