Keep your monthly bill under $40 a month.
Best Cell Phone Plans Under $40
You can get a lot of cellular firepower and still keep your monthly bill to $40 or below. You can go way under budget with Mint Mobile's $30 Unlimited Plan, or you can stay right on your budget and get unlimited data on Verizon's network with Visible. 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.
- : Best value
- : Best coverage
- : Best family plan
Best cell phone plans under $40
Mint Mobile: Best value
- Affordable unlimited data
- 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 and now you can get one for $30.
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.
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 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.
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 Mobile 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
- 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
- AT&T: 68% 4G coverage
- T-Mobile: 62% 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.
Reach Mobile: Best family plan
- 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
The name “Reach Mobile” refers to dividing the technological gaps in the world. Part of your cell phone bill goes to helping underprivileged people obtain cell connectivity and internet access. That internet access helps them seek out more education and work opportunities. Feel good about yourself for this!
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: You want to keep your cell phone bill under $40 a month? Well, how about $30 a month? Mint Mobile offers unlimited data for $30 a month. 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: 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!