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The Best Cheap Phone Plans for 2023

By: Erika Rawes
Updated on: January 08, 2023

The best cheap phone plans offer a lot more than you might imagine, and you don’t have to pay a ton of cash anymore to get what you need out of a wireless plan. You can usually get perks like the ability to keep your same phone number, 5G coverage, the latest flagship phones, and your plan could end up costing less than your Netflix subscription.

If you’re looking to reduce your monthly phone bill, check out our picks for the best cheap phone plans including the best cheap unlimited plan, the best cheap plan under $10, the best talk and text only plan, and the best family phone plan.

The Best Cheap Phone Plans

Best Overall: Mint Mobile

Pros

  • Price starts at $15 per month
  • Unlimited talk, text, and international calls to Mexico and Canada
  • 4GB of high speed data

Cons

  • Price rises if you don’t pay for a year at a time

Partly owned by Ryan Reynolds, Mint Mobile plans are similar to what you’d get from a larger provider, but a significantly lower price.

Starting at $15 from Mint

Best overall: Mint Mobile

Best cheap unlimited plan: Visible

Best under $10: Tello Mobile

Best under $20: Unreal Mobile

Best talk and text only plan: SpeedTalk

Best Family plan: Mint Mobile

Best cheap phone plan overall: Mint Mobile
Image
Courtesy of Mint Mobile

Best Overall: Mint Mobile

Pros

  • Price starts at $15 per month
  • Unlimited talk, text, and international calls to Mexico and Canada
  • 4GB of high speed data

Cons

  • Price rises if you don’t pay for a year at a time
Starting at $15 from Mint

Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s towers and has coverage in states throughout much of the U.S., but some cities and localities might not have coverage available, especially throughout the Midwest.

Mint allows you to bring your own compatible unlocked phone or purchase or lease one from the Mint site. They have the latest models, including the iPhone 14, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. You can get 5G connectivity in most locations, as well as unlimited talk and text. It even has an unlimited data plan.

The cheapest Mint Mobile plan is $15 per month for the first three months, and if you renew for 12 months, you’ll continue to pay only $15 per month. If you choose to renew bi-annually or quarterly, the renewal price increases to $20 or $25 per month, respectively. Among other perks, the $15-per-month plan includes unlimited nationwide talk and text, 4GB of data (speeds reduce after you use the 4GB), and free international calls to Mexico Canada.

The most expensive plan, the unlimited data plan, costs $30 per month for the first three months. As with the $15 plan, the renewal price will stay the same if you renew for 12 months, but it will increase by $5 or $10 monthly if you shorten your renewal time to every six months or three months. With this plan, you can use 35GB of data before your speeds reduce, and you still get unlimited talk and text, free international calls to Mexico and Canada, Wi-Fi texts and calling, as well as 5GB worth of hotspot data (more than you get with the cheaper plans).

Best cheap unlimited plan: Visible
Image
Courtesy of Visible

Best cheap unlimited plan: Visible Mobile

Pros

  • Spam call protection
  • Unlimited talk, text, and international calls to Mexico and Canada
  • 50GB of high speed data for Visible Plus

Cons

  • Prices higher than other options on this list
Starting at $30 from Visible

Visible uses Verizon’s network, and it only has two plans available: Visible and Visible+. The regular plan costs $30 per month (with taxes and fees included), and it includes nationwide 5G, unlimited calls and texts to the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, spam protection, and unlimited data. However, if the network is busy with a lot of traffic, you’ll experience slower speeds with the regular plan. The regular Visible plan also includes 5GB of mobile hotspot data (limited to one device).

The $45 Visible Plus plan includes everything you get with the regular plan, but unlimited data speeds won’t slow down unless you’ve exceeded 50GB of data. So for $15 more per month, you won’t have to worry about throttling if you haven’t exceeded that data cap. The higher-level plan also includes 5G ultra wideband coverage, international calling to more than 30 countries, and international texts to more than 200 countries.

Visible let’s you bring your own compatible phone, or you can purchase or lease one via the website. It has the latest flagship models available, like the iPhone 14 and Pixel 6a. Visible has also partnered with Assurant to offer device protection, so customers can insure their devices.

Best phone plan under $10: Tello
Image
Courtesy of Tello

Best phone plan under $10: Tello Mobile

Pros

  • Only $10 per month
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • You can customize your plan

Cons

  • Only includes 1GB of data for $10 plan
Starting at $5 from Tello

If you only use your phone data occasionally and want a dirt cheap phone plan, Tello Mobile might be worth checking out. They have a $10 plan that offers unlimited texts and talk, and 1GB of data. If you pay $14 per month, you can get unlimited calls and texts, and 2GB of data. Tello also offers a range of other plans that include various amounts of calls minutes and data, all the way up to unlimited talk, texts, and data for $29. The unlimited plan includes 25GB before speeds slow down.

Tello plans offer free calls and texts to more than 60 countries, and you can use your phone as a mobile hotspot. With Tello, you usually bring your own GSM phone, but there are some phones for sale on the Tello site. They don’t have the latest flagship phones though.

Best phone plan under $20: Unreal Mobile
Image
Courtesy of Unreal Mobile

Best phone plan under $20: Unreal Mobile

Pros

  • Only $13.33 per month (or $40 every 3 months)
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Includes 3GB of data

Cons

  • Price goes up to $20 a month after 3 months
starting at $13.33 from Unreal

Another extremely affordable plan, Unreal Mobile starts at $13.33 per month for the first three months, after which time you pay $20 per month. The lowest-level plan includes unlimited talk and text, 3GB of data (speeds slow after you use that 3GB), and free international calls to more than 80 countries.

Unreal uses the T-Mobile and AT&T networks, and coverage is exceptional in many areas across the U.S. You can get 5G speeds if you have a compatible device, and you can bring your own phone or purchase one from the site. The selection is limited, but they do have some of the newer iPhones for sale.

Best talk and text only phone plan: SpeedTalk
Image
Courtesy of SpeedTalk

Best talk and text only phone plan: SpeedTalk Mobile

Pros

  • Only $8.80 per month ($105.60 per year)
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Excellent coverage area

Cons

  • Not ideal for those who need a lot of data
Starting at $7.50 from SpeedTalk

Talk and text only plans (or unlimited talk and text with low or no data) are becoming more widely available, and you can find them from providers like Tello, U.S. Mobile, and more. We like SpeedTalk’s plan because after you set it up, you can forget about it for a year.

SpeedTalk’s unlimited talk and text with 500 MB of data plan costs $105.60 if you pay for a whole year up front, meaning it costs only $8.80 per month. If you pay monthly, the cost goes up to $11.

For someone who has an unlocked cell phone or smart phone lying around and just wants to make calls and texts on that device, this plan will allow you to do so. We were even able to swap the SIM card to another unlocked handset without contacting customer service.

Best family phone plan: Mint Mobile
Image
Courtesy of Mint Mobile

Best family phone plan: Mint Mobile

Pros

  • Pay only $60 a month for 4 lines
  • 4GB of high speed data per line
  • Track all four lines in one place with Mint Family

Cons

  • Not a traditional family plan
Starting at $30 from Mint

Although Mint doesn’t have family plan discounts, the cost of four lines starts at $60 for the first three months. Each line gets 4GB of unlimited high speed data, as well as unlimited calls and texts (including calls to Mexico and Canada).

You can manage all of your lines in one place by building a Mint Family, but the lines are still their own separate entities as opposed to a split family plan. Even still, Mint offers more for less than most other providers, and it has reliable coverage which is extremely important for parents who need to keep in touch with their little ones.

If you’re looking to lower your monthly phone plan cost, consider the following.

FAQ

Do the best cheap phone plans get as good of service as plans from large providers?

Most smaller providers are MVNO’s that use a larger carrier’s network (like Verizon and T-Mobile). Verizon and T-Mobile are likely going to prioritize their own customers over their partners’ customers, so you might see slightly slower speeds with an MNVO.

What’s the difference prepaid and postpaid phone plans?

A prepaid plan charges you for service at the beginning of the service term (usually monthly) before you use the service for a specific term.

A postpaid plan charges you at the end of the term, after you’ve used the service. Because postpaid charges after usage, postpaid plans often require a credit check. Prepaid plans typically do not require a credit check and are usually cheaper than postpaid plans as well.

What does unlimited talk and text mean?

Unlimited talk and text (or unlimited calls and texts) means you can talk on the phone and text as much as you want over the wireless network to which you are subscribed.

If you travel often or make a lot of international calls, your plan will likely specify how this impacts your service and you might incur a fee for calls outside of your service area. Many carriers also offer add-ons that allow you to get international calling at a discounted rate.

What does unlimited data mean?

Unlimited data lets you use at much data as you want. However, many providers lower your speeds after you use a certain amount of data. For instance, with Mint Mobile’s unlimited data plan, data speeds get slower after a customer uses more than 35GB of data.

Does unlimited data mean unlimited hotspot?

Usually no, your hotspot data cap is significantly lower than your regular mobile data cap. Using the Mint Mobile example above, that same unlimited plan provides only 5GB of mobile hotspot data.

 

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