The best military cell phone plans for you and your family.
Best Military and Veteran Cell Phone Plans 2023
It’s impossible to properly thank veterans for the service they’ve rendered, but cheaper military cell phone plan options is a start.
Pretty much every wireless carrier offers military cell phone plans, but which one is best for you and your family? We'll break it down for you so you can decide.
Best military and veteran phone plans:
- Verizon Unlimited Welcome Plan for Military: Best overall phone plan
- AT&T Unlimited Starter for Military: Best budget buy
- T-Mobile Magenta Eligible Military Only: Best family plan
All right, you’ve got options, so let’s take a snapshot of all the best wireless providers for military cell phone plans.
Verizon Unlimited Welcome Plan for Military: Best overall
What we like about the Verizon Unlimited Welcome Plan
Verizon's military discount gets you $15 off your monthly bill. And out of all the providers, Verizon Wireless has the best coverage. 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 more than just a military discount. This plan offers DVD-quality streaming and unlimited hotspot coverage (at full-speed up to 30 GB). And now Verizon lets you choose your perks for $10 each. 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, perks, and hotspot access make this dreamy situation possible.
Here's a look at the different Verizon perks you can add to your plan:
- 100GB Mobile Hotspot
- Smartwatch & Data Safety
- 3 TravelPass Days
- 2TB Cloud Storage
- Disney Bundle (Disney+, Hulu, & ESPN+)
- Walmart+ Membership
- Apple One
- Apple Music Family
- +play Monthly Credit
To learn more about Verizon, check out our full Verizon review.
What we don’t like about the Verizon Unlimited Welcome 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 or a better military and veteran discount, 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 is one other Verizon military cell phone plan you can choose from. It's more expensive than Verizon Unlimited Welcome for Military, but it packs a lot of data and gives you unlimited premium data.
AT&T Unlimited Starter for Military: Best budget buy
What we like about the AT&T Unlimited Starter for Military Plan
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 14 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.
If you want to dig a little deeper in 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 1.5 Mbps. That means even your standard definition content on Netflix is going to be a bit grainy, at best.
Coverage isn't quite the best
There’s a small gap between AT&T and Verizon when it comes to coverage, 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.
AT&T has a couple of other plans for military that will give you more high speed data (and higher bills). Check it out.
T-Mobile Magenta Eligible Military Only: Best family plan
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. And not everyone on your family plan needs to be veterans or military members. Seriously, call up grandma, call up your grandchildren, call up your siblings, and get them on your T-Mobile veteran plan.
It only costs $40 a month add a second line to your plan, and just $25 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.
Scope out more prepaid plans
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 decent. 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. This is a good thing to keep in mind if you're going to find yourself in a national park or exploring the great outdoors any time soon.
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.
- Best overall veteran plan: The Verizon Unlimited Welcome 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 budget plan: The Unlimited AT&T Unlimited Starter for Military plan is your best bargain option for frugal vets. You get decent coverage and some free movie tickets.
- 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.
Verizon's military cell phone plans offer discounts to all branches of the United States military, including the following:
- Coast Guard
- All military reserves and National Guard
- GoldStar Families
- Veterans of all branches
T-Mobile's military cell phone plans offer discounts to the following United States branches:
- Navy Reserve
- Air Force
- Air Force Reserve
- Marine Corps
- Marine Corps Forces Reserve
- Air National Guard
- Coast Guard
- Coast Guard Reserve
- Gold Star Family - Gold Star
- Army National Guard
- Army Reserve
Unfortunately, spouses and immediate family members of current or former military members who don't have Gold Star Family member status won't be eligible for a T-Mobile military cell phone plan. The same restriction applies to government or military-affiliated workers such as Civilian Military and Department of Defense employees as well as cadets or recruits who don't have documentation yet showing their military status.
AT&T offers military members, veterans, and their families 25% off wireless services.
To qualify for AT&T's military discount, you'll need to provide one of the following forms of identification:
- Valid military ID or retired military ID
- Department of Defense Form DD214
- Recent paystub
- AMVETS membership card
- Veteran Health Insurance card
Pro tip: You'll need to make sure the primary account holder is a veteran or military member.