Best Military and Veteran Cell Phone Plans 2020

The best military cell phone plans for you and your family.
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It’s impossible to properly thank veterans for the service they’ve rendered, but cheaper military cell phone plans is a start.

Pretty much every wireless carrier offers military cell phone plans, but which one is best for you and your family? It depends on your situation.

Best veteran cell phone plans:

All right, you’ve got options, so let’s take a snapshot of all the best wireless providers for military cell phone plans.

Best veteran cell phone plans comparisons

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Are there free phones for veterans?
Don’t expect any providers to give you a free phone outright, but you might find some discounts depending upon the provider.

Verizon Start Unlimited Plan for Military: Best overall

The best coverage for an affordable price.

Verizon Beyond Unlimited plan features

What we like about the Verizon Start Unlimited Plan

Top-rated performance

Out of all the providers, Verizon has the best coverage.1,2 Wherever you may be adventuring, you can rest assured that you won’t be completely off the grid. If anybody needs to reach you or you need to make a call, Verizon is your most reliable option.

Streaming and hotspot

Your Verizon plan gets you DVD-quality streaming and unlimited hotspot coverage (at full-speed up to 10 GB). And right now Verizon is offering a free, 12-month Disney+ subscription. With a combo like that you should never get bored, no matter where you end up.

Let’s say you’re out adventuring again. It’s time to sleep, but you want to catch up on the latest episode of The Mandalorian on your laptop before bed. Verizon’s speeds and hotspot access make this dreamy situation possible.

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Get the whole review
Get to know Verizon better by checking out our full Verizon review.

What we don’t like about the Verizon Start Unlimited Plan

A few bucks more

Though you’re saving money with your Verizon military cell phone plan, you’re paying a little more than you would with another provider. Over the course of a year, those extra bucks certainly do add up.

If you want a cheaper deal, you might want to consider AT&T or T-Mobile, but just be aware you won’t have the same coverage or internet speeds.

Other Verizon veteran cell phone plans

There are three other Verizon military cell phone plans you can choose from. All of them are more expensive than Verizon Go, but they pack a lot of data.

If you’re on the go a lot and need the best coverage, consider the Do More, Get More, and Play More Unlimited Verizon plans.

T-Mobile Magenta Eligible Military Only: Best family plan

Add lines for the whole family.

T-Mobile family plan features

What we like about T-Mobile Magenta Eligible Military Only

Cheap to add extra lines

The bigger the family, the better T-Mobile sets up its family plans. With your veteran or active duty status, adding lines is cheap. Seriously, call up grandma, call up your grandchildren, call up your siblings and get them on your T-Mobile veteran plan.

It only costs $25 a month add a second line to your plan, and just $10 a line after that. (The family that pays together stays together, right?)

Breakup made easy

T-Mobile wants your business. So much so that it’ll cover your remaining payments with your current provider (AT&T or Verizon). As long as you trade in your old phone and opt into a new contract, you’ll be free to join T-Mobile without forking over a bunch of money on cancelation fees with your old provider.

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Scope out more prepaid plans
Before you jump into a new contract, make sure you get the information you need in our T-Mobile review.

What we don’t like about T-Mobile Magenta Eligible Military Only

Less coverage in rural areas

T-Mobile’s coverage isn’t quite as reliable as Verizon, but it’s still pretty good.2,3 Just don’t be surprised if your network drops while you’re out in the wilderness.

We recently took a T-Mobile phone out into the wilderness of Yellowstone to see if we could find any bars. About 10 minutes after we passed through the national park gates, our bars started dropping like flies. Coverage crept back up from time to time, but the coverage was far from reliable. Still worth it to see the bears and stuff.

Likewise, if you live in a more rural area, or camping is your family vacation of choice, you might run into low bars with a T-Mobile plan.

Does T-Mobile have any other choices for veterans?

Sadly, no. The only T-Mobile veteran plan is the Magenta Eligible Military Only.

AT&T Unlimited Starter for Military: Best budget buy

For vets looking for the cheapest military plan.

What we like about the AT&T Unlimited Starter for Military Plan

Cheapest price

Out of all the military discount cell phone plans, AT&T will save you the most money month after month. No matter what veteran cell phone plan you opt for, you’re saving money, but AT&T takes it to another level. Over the course of a year, you can save more than $100 with AT&T. (Hey, $100 can go a really long way!)

Now you’re probably wondering—what’s the catch with AT&T? We’ll get there. But the long and short of it is higher activation fees and coverage that isn’t as good as Verizon.

Phone upgrade and free movie tickets

With the AT&T Next and Next Every Year programs you can upgrade your phone to the latest model before you’ve even finished paying it off. While this might promote fiscal irresponsibility, it’s hard to argue with an iPhone 11 Max Pro.

AT&T will also give you free movie tickets and other entertainment perks because why not? Don’t ask questions. Just take the free stuff.

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Check out AT&T
Want to dig a little deeper into AT&T? Check out our AT&T review.

What we don’t like about AT&T Unlimited Starter for Military Plan

Slow streaming speeds

Sadly, this plan caps your video streaming speed at 1.5Mbps. That means even your standard definition content on Netflix is going to be a bit grainy, at best.

Coverage is . . . eh.

There’s a small gap between AT&T and Verizon,1 but AT&T’s coverage is still second-best. Putting it in this section sounds a bit nit-picky, and it probably is, but you should know that the cheaper monthly price comes with coverage that’s less than the best.

If you live in a big city, though, and you don’t go out in the country too often, AT&T should provide you with solid coverage.

Alternative pick

AT&T has a couple of other plans for military that will give you more high speed data (and higher bills). Check it out.

Recap

  • Best overall veteran plan: The Verizon Start Unlimited Plan for Military gets you amazing coverage and speed for an affordable price. It’s not the cheapest military cell phone plan, but it’s got the most bang for your buck.
  • Best family plan: We recommend the T-Mobile Magenta Eligible Military Only plan for the whole family. It’s the cheapest way to add multiple lines to an existing military plan.
  • Best budget plan: The Unlimited AT&T Unlimited Starter for Military plan is your bargain-basement option for frugal vets. You get decent coverage and a some free movie tickets.

Sources

1. RootMetrics, “Review of the mobile landscape

2. OpenSignal, “Mobile Network Experience Report July 2019

3. Speedtest, “United States

Additional contributors

Easton Smith