Best Cell Phone Plans Under $40
Unlimited Kickstart PlanUnlimited dataOnly applicable to new users
$40 Unlimited PlanWorks on Verizon networkDeprioritization
Best Budget Plan
3 Month Plan (Large)Only $25/mo.Limited data
Best Family Plan
The Moderate PlanWorks on Verizon networkLimited data
You can get a lot of cellular firepower and still keep your monthly bill to $40 or below. Want an unlimited data plan for $40 or less? Sprint and Visible Wireless can hook you up. How about a family plan for three people that costs less than $40 a month total? Reach Mobile works for you, friend. And if you want to cut your budget in half and spend $25 a month for a substantial data plan, Mint Mobile makes a lot of sense.
Hopefully, you feel like a kid at a candy store at this point. You can do a lot with your $40 a month budgeted to your cell phone plan.
Sprint: Best value
Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data for $35 a month
- $35 a month
- Sprint will cover up to $650 to switch
- Lowest coverage rate
What we like
The biggest positive takeaway with Sprint is that it charges way less than the other big wireless providers and still offers some enticing perks.
$35 a month
The Sprint Unlimited Kickstarter plan only works for new customers, but man, it packs a ton of value. You won’t find a truly unlimited data plan that costs you less than $35 a month, let alone from a major provider like Sprint. That’s like the equivalent of finding Disneyland tickets for $50 a day. Take it from a guy who’s planning a Disneyland trip for a family of seven: low prices like that simply don’t happen.
Just look at how much cheaper this Sprint deal is compared to the other major providers out there.
Sprint essentially costs half of what other comparable providers charge for their starter unlimited plans. Saving $25–$35 a month adds up big time over the course of a year. You could pay for your favorite streaming subscriptions purely off the money you save.
If you live in an area with Sprint coverage, you should seriously consider taking advantage of the kickstart deal.
Sprint will cover up to $650 to switch
The beauty of choosing a big provider like Sprint is that you usually get some sweet perks by switching over. On top of the already super-cheap unlimited plan, Sprint will cover up to $650 to make the switch over to them. Here are all the requirements you need to satisfy to qualify for the deal:
- Purchase a new device on Flex Lease or Full Price
- Trade in your old device
- Submit the final bill showing your installment balance
Do all those things, and you can get Sprint to cover $650 of your bill. That includes helping pay for a new phone and any early termination fees from your previous provider. Now you’re thinking about what kind of new phone you could get, right?
Way ahead of you. Here are the top three phones that work with Sprint.
What we don’t like
Sprint’s low prices come with a catch: the coverage isn’t the most reliable in the world.
Let’s not understate this: Sprint has the lowest coverage rate of all the major wireless providers. Sprint covers only 27% of the country, specializing in coverage for more urban areas.1 Rural areas, on the other hand, are pretty much a disaster on Sprint. You’ll only want to seriously consider Sprint if you live in a place with decent coverage. Check the map below and make sure your hood likes good.
Sprint Coverage Map
Alternative value picks under $40
Visible Wireless: Best coverage
The cheapest way to get on the Verizon network
- Works on the Verizon network
- Unlimited high-speed data
What we like
Okay, so this is kind of cheating, considering Visible costs $40 a month. Technically, it’s not below $40, but it’s still the cheapest way to get on the Verizon network with an unlimited plan.
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 offers far and away the best coverage in the country. In case you’re curious, here’s how the rankings break down for best coverage providers:1
- Verizon: 70% 4G coverage
- T-Mobile: 59% 4G coverage
- AT&T: 58% 4G coverage
- Sprint: 27% 4G coverage
Verizon is head and shoulders above the other networks, and Visible wireless rides on its coattails. It’s good to have friends in powerful places after all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mint Mobile: Best budget plan
Decent data allotment for a good price
- Affordable 12 GB data plan
- Uses the T-Mobile network
- No unlimited high-speed data
What we like
The Mint Mobile plan we’re recommending is a whole $15 a month below the $40 threshold, and it still packs a punch in terms of data and coverage.
Affordable 12 GB data plan
Mint Mobile offers prepaid cell phone plans with unlimited calls and unlimited texts and data plans that range from $15 a month for 3 GB of high-speed data up to $25 a month for 12 GB of high-speed data.
You’ll get the most bang for your buck by going with the Large Mint Mobile plan that comes with 12 GB of high-speed data. For most folk, 12 GB of high-speed data should last you just fine 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 12 hours of wireless streaming available to you every month. And you can always use Wi-Fi to save all that precious high-speed data.
Uses the T-Mobile network
Like Visible Wireless uses the Verizon network for its coverage, Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network for its coverage. T-Mobile’s network covers 59% of the country, making it the second-best network overall.1 This network doesn’t boast the same amount of rural coverage that Verizon’s network offers, but it will still cover you in most places.
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 Mobile coverage map
What we don’t like
Twelve GB of high-speed data might be enough for some people, but that doesn’t mean it’s enough for you. If you want unlimited high-speed data, Mint Mobile doesn’t make a lot of sense.
No unlimited high-speed data plans
Some of us go way above and beyond 12 GB of data in a month. Who in the world uses that much data you ask? This guy.
If you use data like I do, then you’ll run out of high-speed data within the first week of the month. You’re probably wondering if high-speed data matters that much, especially considering Mint Mobile doesn’t have any overage charges.
Hate to burst your bubble, but when you pass your high-speed data threshold, your speed slows down significantly. We’re talking 128 Kbps levels of data speeds. If you’re old enough to remember, it’ll remind you of the days of dial-up connections.
Alternative budget picks below $40
Here are some other budget picks well below the $40 a month. These plans don’t offer quite as much high-speed data as Mint Mobile, but some can end up costing less.
Reach Mobile: Best family plan
Keep your wireless bill for your family of three under $40 a month.
- Three lines under $40 a month
- Uses the Verizon network
What we like
Reach Mobile is another MVNO that operates on the Verizon network. You can get your entire family of three under $40 a month and have unlimited talk, unlimited data, and 5 GB of data to share every month.
Three lines under $40 a month
Getting one cell phone plan under $40 is hard enough, but getting an entire family under $40 on a decent plan sounds near impossible. So, we cheat on this one, too, and recommend the Reach Mobile Moderate Plan, which costs $40 a month. Again, not technically below $40, but it’s close enough.
To make this plan work, you’ll have to be good about sharing data—you only get 5 GB to share amongst the family. Most folks can make it work by staying on Wi-Fi as much as possible and not overdoing it on the streaming. But if your family contains one or more teenagers, then you, my friend, will have your work cut out for you.
Still, you get unlimited talk and unlimited text along with your 5 GB of data. All in all, it’s a solid package for $40 a month.
Uses the Verizon network
To sweeten the deal, Reach Mobile uses Verizon’s network to provide coverage. Verizon covers 70% of the country, making it, by far, the most reliable coverage network in the country. You can go to some pretty remote locations in the country and still get a cell signal out on Verizon’s network. Check out the map below and see what we’re talking about.
Verizon/Reach Mobile coverage map
What we don’t like
Because Reach Mobile is an MVNO, you’ll be subject to deprioritization from time to time. And that’s annoying.
Some things are inevitable in life—your allergies will bug you every spring, the line will always be long at the DMV, and your MVNO wireless providers will suffer from deprioritization. You have to accept the fact that as a customer of an MVNO, you are the stepchild of the Verizon network. Verizon will always give the best signal to its own customers, and you will get whatever data is left over. Thankfully, deprioritization should only occur in congested areas and shouldn’t be too common an issue.
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: Sprint’s Unlimited Kickstart plan is just a killer deal. You get unlimited everything for $35 a month. Make sure that you have decent Sprint coverage where you live before jumping the gun.
- 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 budget plan: You want to keep your cell phone bill under $40 a month? Well, how about $25 a month? Mint Mobile offers 12 GB of data for $25 a month is kind of a steal. Especially considering Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s reliable network.
- Best family plan: Reach Mobile keeps your entire family of three at $40 a month total. You get unlimited talk, unlimited text, and a few GBs of data to share. Oh, you’re also helping a charitable cause, and that’s pretty cool.
What cell phone plans jumps out to you from this list? Do you have any previous experience with these providers? You can tell us if you’ve had bad experiences. We actually love hearing those stories. Let us know in the comments below!
- WhistleOut, “Find the Best Cell Phone Coverage.