Given how many cell phone carriers, plans and perks there are to choose from, comparison shopping for the most affordable option that also meets your needs isn’t straightforward. As prices continue to rise with inflation, you might be looking for new options to cut expenses on your phone bill. The following is a simple overview of some of the cheapest phone plans to consider if you want to reduce phone costs.
The Cheapest Phone Plans of 2023
The following plans may not offer a lot of extra perks, but they can save you money whether you mostly use talk and text or need an unlimited data plan:
1. Boost Mobile 1GB
If you need only the essentials and prefer a no-contract provider, Boost Mobile is the cheapest option for a tight budget. New Boost customers can get unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data per month for only $8.33, or 5GB for $15 per month. Even its unlimited plan is one of the cheapest at $25 per month if you sign up for AutoPay.
Monthly cost: $10
Tello is only slightly more per month than Boost Mobile. Tello’s 1GB plan is $10 per month, or you get 5GB for $19 per month. You can also choose unlimited data for $29 per month. If you make international calls, Tello allows unlimited calling to 60+ countries, and its plans are month-to-month so you can cancel at any time.
3. Mint Mobile 4GB
Mint Mobile’s cheap cell phone plan comes with 4GB of data for only $15 per month for new customers. Mint also offers an unlimited plan for $30 per month. You can try Mint Mobile for three months without a contract. If you continue, you’ll have to commit to the yearly plan to lock in the $15-per-month rate.
One notable Mint perk is that it only slows your data if you use up your monthly data allotment and doesn’t cut off data or charge extra if you go over.
4. Cricket Wireless Unlimited
Monthly cost: $100 for four lines
Cricket’s unlimited plan is a great deal if you need multiple lines. The more lines you have, the cheaper the monthly charge per line. For example, you can receive three lines for $90 per month, but the four-line plan is $100 per month. You can add a 10GB mobile hotspot for an additional $10 per month.
5. T-Mobile Essentials
Monthly cost: $100 for four lines
T-Mobile currently has an offer that matches Cricket Wireless. For a limited time, you can get four lines on T-Mobile’s Essentials plan for $100 per month without committing to an annual service contract. However, you have to sign up for AutoPay to get that rate.
Choosing the Cheapest Cellphone Carrier With the Best Plan
If you’re looking to save money, the most obvious factor to think about when comparing phone plans is which cell phone carrier has the cheapest rates. You might look at whether a prepaid or a contract plan is the most cost-effective for your situation. Once you find a few plans that fit your budget, compare perks to determine the best phone plan for your needs.
Which Cellphone Carrier Is the Best Option for You?
If you only use your phone for basic functions, Boost Mobile is the cheapest you’ll find for limited data plans with unlimited talk and text — closely followed by Tello and Mint Mobile. You can get a low-data plan for $15 per month or less from these carriers, or an unlimited data plan for up to $30 per month. However, if you don’t end up using a lot of data per month, you might be spending more for unlimited data than you actually use.
Other carriers allow you to get a basic plan and add on additional data. For instance, Straight Talk has a $10 Data Add-On plan that provides an additional 2GB of data per month for any Straight Talk phone plan. Google Fi has a $20-per-month phone plan with which you pay an additional $10 per month per GB of data used. This might be most cost-efficient if you find yourself using more data in some months and less in others.
If you need a family plan and prefer one of the major carriers, consider AT&T or T-Mobile. AT&T is currently more expensive than T-Mobile by $10 per line per month. However, both may occasionally offer deals or discounts, making one cheaper than the other.
If you’re mostly looking for talk and text, low-data options or pay-as-you-go data plans will likely be the cheapest phone plans. However, unlimited plans with multiple lines are typically the most value-packed for families, and you don’t have to worry about billing overages. Also, you’ll have to decide between a contract, which may include a penalty for early termination, or a prepaid no-contract plan, which may require you to pay for any new phones upfront.
FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about cell phone plans.
- Which cell phone carrier has the cheapest rates?
- The current cheapest cell phone carriers are Boost Mobile, Tello, Mint Mobile, Cricket and T-Mobile.
- Does Straight Talk have a $10 plan?
- Straight Talk does have a Data Add-On plan for $10 per month. This comes with 2GB of data, but this can only be used with an active Straight Talk plan.
- Is AT&T cheaper than T-Mobile?
- AT&T is currently more expensive than T-Mobile by $10 per line per month. Keep in mind that both may offer deals and discounts periodically so their prices may change.
- Which phone is the cheapest?
- If you choose to purchase a new phone outside of a contract rather than get a plan that includes a free or discounted phone, Android options are generally cheaper than iOS ones. Several Android models cost less than $300 -- including Motorola, Nokia and Samsung options -- but pricing will vary by carrier.
Information is accurate as of Feb. 16, 2023.