Best Cell Phone Plans Under $40

Best Value
Mint Mobile
Plan price:
$30
/mo
  • pro
    Cheapest unlimited data plan
  • pro
    10GB hotspot
  • con
    Slightly spottier coverage
Best Coverage
Visible
Plan price:
$25
/mo
  • pro
    Uses Verizon's network
  • pro
    $20/mo for 12 mos. with code VISIBLE24
  • con
    Data deprioritization
Best Family Plan
Tello
Plan price:
$25
/mo
  • pro
    Super customizable data plans
  • pro
    5GB hotspot
  • con
    Data throttling
Tyler Abbott
Jun 14, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read

You can get a lot of cellular firepower and still keep your monthly bill to $30 or below. You can go way under budget with Mint Mobile's $30 Unlimited Plan, where you'll only pay $15 for your first three months. Or you can get unlimited data on Verizon's network for only $25 with Visible. How about a family plan that has plans catered for teens, grandparents, and parents for no more than $25 a month per line? Tello works for you, friend.

Hopefully, you feel like a kid at a candy store at this point. You can do a lot with your $40 monthly budget for your cell phone plan.

Best cell phone plans under $40
Provider
Best for
Our plan pick
Monthly price
Learn more
Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile

Value

The Unlimited Plan

$30
($15/mo. with 50% off)
Visible

Visible Wireless

Coverage

$25 Plan $25 ($20/mo. with code VISIBLE24)
Tello

Tello

Family plan

0 GB–Unlimited Data

$5–$25 per line

Mint Mobile: Best value

Cheapest unlimited data plan out there
Pros
  • Affordable unlimited data
Cons
  • T-Mobile network slightly worse for coverage

What we like

Mint Mobile is a prepaid carrier that currently offers the cheapest unlimited plan in the industry, and it's absolutely worth checking out.

Affordable unlimited data

When Mint Mobile came out with its $30 Unlimited Plan, it suddenly undercut the entire wireless industry. You couldn't find a decent unlimited plan for under $40; now (for a limited time), you can get one for $15.

If your main objective with your cell phone plan is unlimited data for cheap, then this is your answer. It's hard to imagine another wireless company undercutting Mint Mobile in the near future, so you can rest assured you're getting the most value with Mint Mobile.

How do prepaid cell phone plans work?
Light Bulb

Instead of paying at the end of the month for your cell phone bill, you pay in advance. It can feel annoying to pay in advance for things, but prepaid plans, like Mint Mobile, often end up being cheaper than postpaid plans.

You’ll get the most bang for your buck by going with the Unlimited plan that comes with 40GB of high-speed data. For most folk, 40GB of high-speed data should be plenty to last throughout the month, but it all depends on how much data you use.

The rule of thumb with data is every hour of streaming spends about 1 GB of data. So think of it as having 40 hours of wireless streaming available to you every month. And you can always use Wi-Fi to save all that precious high-speed data.

No overage charges
Money

Another cool thing about Mint Mobile’s prepaid cell phone plans: no overage charges. Even if you pass your high-speed data threshold, you won’t be charged extra; instead, your speeds will slow down.

What we don’t like

Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network for its coverage. T-Mobile’s network covers 62% of the country, making it the worst amongst the big three networks. In particular, T-Mobile struggles offering rural coverage, especially compared to what Verizon’s network offers.

Check out the coverage map below of T-Mobile/Mint Mobile’s network and make sure your city looks good and covered.

T-Mobile/Mint coverage map

Alternative budget picks below $40

If you want to get even further below budget, here are some other wireless carriers even cheaper than Mint Mobile. You won't get unlimited data with these carriers, but you can find a cheaper monthly rate.

Visible Wireless: Best value

The cheapest and best way to get on the Verizon network
Pros
  • Works on the Verizon network
  • Unlimited high-speed data
Cons
  • Deprioritization

What we like

Visible's $25 Plan is the cheapest way to get on the Verizon network with an unlimited plan. And you can even get it for $20/month right now with code VISIBLE24.

Best coverage network

Visible Wireless has an agreement with Verizon that allows access to its network. It’s like if your friend let you borrow their Bugatti whenever you want. Likewise, Visible uses the super-reliable Verizon network whenever it wants. Good news for you: Verizon is just .2% away from the best coverage in the country. In case you’re curious, here’s how the rankings break down for best coverage providers:1

  1. AT&T: 99.4% availability
  2. Verizon: 99.2% availability
  3. T-Mobile: 98.3% availability

Verizon's coverage availability ranking means that Verizon users have some kind of wireless network connection, whether it be a 3G, 4G, or 5G connection.

Check out the coverage map below to see what we’re talking about. Visible especially shines in covering more rural areas as well as urban areas.

Verizon/Visible Wireless

Verizon/Visible Wireless coverage map

Unlimited data

Along with the best coverage, you also get unlimited data with Visible Wireless. The best coverage and unlimited data is like waffles and syrup or chocolate and pretzels—a match made in heaven. You should be able to reliably stream, play online apps, make calls, and send texts wherever you roam around the country. And perhaps most importantly, your phone’s GPS app should work even in relatively remote areas.

Unlimited data without throttling is pretty impressive for an MVNO, as most prepaid carriers will purposely slow your speeds after hitting a premium data cap. Visible will only slow your speeds when the network is busy. (More on data deprioritization below).

What we don't like

Yes, Visible Wireless does have awesome coverage, but there’s one teensy issue you need to be made aware of.

Deprioritization

The secret behind Visible Wireless relationship with Verizon is that it’s a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). An MVNO uses a bigger provider’s network but its users get second dibs on data speeds. In other words, your signal might be deprioritized in more crowded areas because the Verizon network gives the better signal to its own customers. So when you go to a big concert or sports arena, your signal might drop because the Verizon network caters to its own customers before Visible Wireless customers.

Hopefully it’s something you won’t come across too often with Visible Wireless, but it certainly could get annoying when you need to get a text out at a big event.

Alternative best coverage plans below $40

There are two other MVNOs that operate on Verizon’s network and offer a big chunk of data. Neither plan offers unlimited data, unfortunately, but they’re a few bucks cheaper than Visible Wireless.

Tello: Best family plan

Fully customizable data plans under $30
Pros
  • Customizable data plans as low as $5/month
  • Add as many lines as you want
Cons
  • Data throttling

What we like

Tello is another MVNO that operates on the T-Mobile network. You can get your entire family on Tello's $25 Unlimited plan or choose how much talk, text, and data for each plan.

Customizable plans

By customize, we really mean customize. For example, you can pay as little as $5 a month for just 100 minutes and no data, $6 a month for 1GB of data and 100 minutes, $8 a month for 2GB and 300 minutes–you get the point. Add as many lines to one account as you want without any extra fees or contracts.

Tello cell phone plans
Best family plan

All of Tello's plans come with unlimited text, so families with teens or grandparents who might not need or want unlimited data can save a lot of money each month without sacrificing the basics.

You won't have to pay any fees to add new lines or to upgrade or downgrade a plan. Plus, Tello's hotspots allow free tethering, meaning you can share your hotspot data with other devices. (Just be aware your hotspot data pulls from your regular data allotment).

Sadly, you won't get any discounts with a family plan, so the prices below are for each person. But with prices this low, you'll still save way more than you would with a discounted family plan from Verizon or AT&T.

Tello family plans and prices

Monthly price
Data cap
Minutes
Text
Details
$10/mo.2 GBUnlimitedUnlimited
$13/mo5 GB500 minutesUnlimited
$14/mo.5 GBUnlimitedUnlimited
$18/mo.10 GB500 minutesUnlimited
$19/mo.10 GBUnlimitedUnlimited
$23/mo.15 GB500 minutesUnlimited
$24/mo.15 GBUnlimitedUnlimited
$25/mo.UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited

What we don't like

Most MVNO's cheap prices come at a cost. For Tello, discounted plans means poorer coverage and data throttling. 

Data throttling

Despite its name, Tello's Unlimited $25 plan only comes with 35GB of high-speed data. Afterward, your speeds will be throttled significantly to 128 Kbps speeds, which is practically unusable. So we really only recommend Tello to users who don't need unlimited data.

Coverage

Like Mint, Tello operates on the T-Mobile network. It's is available in most states, but users on the East side of the US will have the best luck with coverage, while rural users might experience a spottier connection. 

Check out the coverage map below to see if your location aligns with Tello's coverage area.

T-Mobile/Tello coverage map

Recap: What are the best cell phone plans under $40?

So what if all your friends have fancy premium data plans? You can get tons of wireless value for $40 a month or under. You can get unlimited data, unlimited talk, and unlimited text within your budget. Take that, fancy friends!

  • Best value plan: You want to keep your cell phone bill under $40 a month? Well, how about $15 a month? Mint Mobile offers unlimited data for $30 a month, but you can get it for $15 a month right now. It's the cheapest plan for unlimited data on the market.
  • Best coverage: Visible Wireless gets you on Verizon’s network for a fraction of the price. Trust us, if there were a $40 data plan with Verizon, we would strongly recommend you take that plan. Until that happens, Visible hooks you up to Verizon’s amazing network for a solid price.
  • Best family plan: Tello Mobile lets you customize unlimited lines on a family plan at incredibly low prices. Get unlimited text on all plans and just pay for how much data you want, only paying $25 a month max. Just beware of data throttling after 35GB.

Sources

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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