Best Cell Phone Plans

We picked the best cell phone plans for unlimited data, nationwide coverage, hotspot data, family discounts, and sign-up deals.

Best unlimited plan
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
T-Mobile Go5G Plus
  • pro
    Totally unlimited high-speed data
  • pro
    Fastest and largest 5G network
  • con
    High price
Best coverage
Verizon Unlimited Welcome
  • pro
    Most reliable coverage
  • pro
    Discounted subscriptions
  • con
    No high-speed hotspot data
Best overall value
$25 Visible Plan
  • pro
    Unlimited hotspot data capped at 5Mbps
  • pro
    Uses Verizon’s network
  • con
    Occasional data throttling
Best sign-up deal
Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile
  • pro
    Only $15/mo. for new customers
  • pro
    Uses T-Mobile’s network
  • con
    Price jumps back to $30 after three months
Best family plan
AT&T Unlimited Starter SL
$35.99/mo. per line with 4 lines
  • pro
    Free new phone every three years
  • pro
    Reliable coverage
  • con
    Only 3GB of hotspot data
Best budget option
US Mobile
US Mobile Unlimited Starter
$276.00/yr. ($23.00/mo.)
  • pro
    10GB of hotspot data every month
  • pro
    35GB high-speed data cap
  • con
    Full year payment required up front
Tyler Abbott
Brenna Elieson
Apr 11, 2024
Icon Time To Read12 min read

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Choosing a cell phone plan has never been harder: There are just too many great options.

Between T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and the plethora of prepaid carriers like Visible, Mint Mobile, and Consumer Cellular, there are over 200 cell phone packages available in the United States—many of which include excellent pricing, generous data allotments, and 5G coverage.

We keep tabs on the latest plan options and follow developments in the mobile world closely. Take a dive into this guide to get the scoop on the best cell phone packages. You can find details on which plans deliver the best coverage, most competitive prices, greatest deals on hotspot data, juiciest discounts for families, and more.

Best cell phone plans at a glance

Here is a quick breakdown of the plans we highlight on this page:

  1. Best unlimited plan for a single line: T-Mobile’s Go5G Plus plan gives you everything you could need in a phone plan and more: Unlimited high-speed data, 50GB of monthly hotspot data, international data and texting, plus a yearlong AAA membership and subscriptions to Netflix and Apple TV+.
  2. Best cell phone coverage: Verizon’s Unlimited Welcome offers the best cellular coverage for a fair price, so you’re more likely to get a clear connection whether you’re in a network-congested city or a remote rural area.
  3. Best overall value: The $25 Visible Plan doesn’t cost much but still delivers reliable 4G LTE and 5G coverage via Verizon’s networks. You also get unlimited hotspot data, albeit at maximum speeds of 5Mbps.
  4. Best deal for new customers: Mint Mobile charges only $15 per month for the first three months of service for unlimited talk, text, and data with a 40GB data cap.
  5. Best family plan: The AT&T Unlimited Starter SL plan comes with ActiveArmor security, a nice chunk of hotspot data, and lower rates per line as you add more lines together.
  6. Best budget option for a single line: US Mobile’s Unlimited Starter plan costs only $23 a month if you pay for the whole year in advance ($276 total). You get 35GB of high-speed data every month, along with 10GB of designated hotspot data.
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Honest reviews written by real people

Why should you trust Because we are real people writing these reviews, and we talk to real people in order to research them.

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How did we pick the best cell phone plans? does extensive research to compare and contrast prices on cell phone plans—but price isn’t everything. To determine the real value of a good cell phone package, we pay close attention to important factors like the coverage you get and data speeds on the carrier’s network. We go into more detail on these two driving factors and others farther down on this page.

After looking over the fine print for pricing, speeds, high-speed data, and more, we reach out to folks in different areas of the country and scour platforms like Reddit and Quora for firsthand accounts giving us insights into the cellular carriers and plans we want to highlight. We also try to get hands-on experience with cell phone plans when it’s possible to do so. With all those considerations, we can make reliable recommendations. makes money when readers click our sponsored links, but I researched and wrote this piece independently. Our brand partners do not read or preapprove our pieces before they are published.

T-Mobile Go5G Plus: Best unlimited plan for a single line

Tons of hotspot data and other perks make this a winner.

Cellular carriers have been leveraging partnerships with streaming companies and other brands to offer “everything but the kitchen sink”-style phone options lately, and T-Mobile’s Go5G Plus is a perfect example. One of T-Mobile’s flagship unlimited plans, it offers truly unlimited high-speed data, 50GB of hotspot data along, and some major perks, including subscriptions to Netflix and AppleTV+ (with 4K streaming), a free one-year AAA membership, and T-Mobile Tuesday discounts.

This is a perfect option for regular travelers and others who regularly need phone and internet while away from home. A Wi-Fi hotspot data cap of 50GB gives you a lot of flexibility for streaming, gaming, and remote work on multiple devices. The plan also includes unlimited texting and 5GB of priority data when you travel internationally—and 15GB of data for Canada and Mexico.

It’s well worth considering a lower-tier T-Mobile unlimited package (such as Go5G or Essentials Saver) if you don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with Go5G Plus. But no other carrier compares to T-Mobile when it comes to mobile perks, and all of the flexibility, firepower, and extras you get on this plan more than justify the higher cost.

Pay half price for the same T-Mobile coverage

If you want to get a good cell phone plan that operates on T-Mobile’s network, you can always opt for a prepaid carrier. Prepaid carriers (otherwise known as MVNO or mobile virtual network operators) use the same networks as the major carriers, but charge significantly less for unlimited plans.

Tello’s unlimited data plan costs only $25 a month and uses T-Mobile’s network for service. Just know that Tello's unlimited plan comes with a 35GB data cap, and once you pass that data allotment, your speeds slow to an absolute crawl. Stick to Wi-Fi as much as you can, and you shouldn’t come close to passing the data cap.

Verizon: Best coverage

Verizon’s highly rated connectivity makes for smooth calling wherever you go.

Verizon has long held a strong reputation for cellular coverage, and it still delivers excellent service across most of the country today. Verizon’s 4G LTE network covers 55% of the country (according to federal data) and it gets the best ratings for coverage experience from Opensignal, an analytics organization that monitors cellular networks. That makes Verizon’s Unlimited Welcome plan the way to go if you need an ultrareliable cellular carrier or live in an area that otherwise gets spotty service.

Francisco Ruiz, an avid road tripper living in Los Angeles told about an experience where Verizon’s coverage made all the difference. “We blew a tire on the I-15 freeway near Barstow and were miles away from the nearest town,” Ruiz said. “I was the only one in our group who used Verizon—and the only one who could get a signal to call AAA.”

Verizon takes a thrifty approach to perks

The Unlimited Welcome plan also offers discounts and benefits as part of a unique slate of $10 per month add-ons. Services include mobile hotspot data, TravelPass credits, and subscriptions to platforms like Apple One and the Disney Bundle (Disney+, Hulu, & ESPN+). Some of the discounts are pretty slim, and it would be nicer if you could get the benefits for no additional price. But the $10 add-on structure makes it so you can pick and choose. It also brings down the overall price of an unlimited plan, letting you cover all the important fundamentals (like 5G Ultra Wideband access and unlimited high-speed data) at a relatively affordable price.

Pay half price for the same Verizon coverage

Verizon’s cell phone plans can be costly, but you can get a cheaper unlimited plan on Verizon’s network with a prepaid MVNO carrier.

Looking for an alternative to Verizon? If you already pay for Spectrum or Cox internet, you can bundle your internet and cell phone packages together for a discounted rate. Going with one of these providers is a great option if you need a simple, low-cost cellular plan that still delivers solid cell service over the best 4G LTE network coverage in the country.

Visible: Best overall value

Verizon coverage plus hotspot data capped at 5Mbps

The first thing you notice about Visible is the price: An unlimited phone package for only $25 a month is absolute steal. The fact that you get unlimited talk, text, data, and mobile hotspot data for such a low fee makes Visible one of the best value cell phone plans on the market.

As you can read in our full-length Visible wireless review, you do have to accept some limitations with this carrier. The baseline plan operates on Verizon’s network, giving you the best cellular coverage in the United States. However, you don’t get access to the fastest data speeds on Verizon’s Ultra Wideband 5G network—that requires an upgrade to Visible+, which costs $20 more per month.

The hotspot data on this plan is also capped at 5Mbps. But you get unlimited hotspot data, and in a switch from how things used to be, Visible allows you to connect more than one Wi-Fi device at a time. Slow it may be, you still enough speeds to stream in standard definition and browse the internet—a handy option if you’ve got a toddler in the backseat who just has to watch Disney+ on their iPad during a long drive or you need to do some work while at a hotel.

Mint Mobile: Best deal for new customers

Get half price for the first three months of service.

Currently, nobody can beat Mint Mobile's unlimited plan that costs just $15 per month for the first three months of service. Even after those three months are up, Mint's $30 unlimited plan still has most cell phone packages beat when it comes to price. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need good cell phone service for at least a couple of months, look no further.

You won't always get the fastest data speeds with a prepaid carrier. But since Mint uses T-Mobile's fast 5G network—the fastest and most widely-available 5G in the country—that means you can get download speeds on your phone up to 50Mbps. 

Occasional data speed throttling

Mint Mobile customers might occasionally see their data speeds throttled during peak-usage periods or when the network gets congested with too many users. If tons of people are accessing the internet at the same time on T-Mobile's network, the carrier gives priority to its brand-name customers and sends prepaid customers to the back of the line.

You're much more likely to run into data throttling in a big city or at a crowded concert or sports game. But if you're out in the suburbs or living in a rural area, you’re less likely to see slowdowns.

AT&T Unlimited Starter SL: Best family plan

Cut your mobile bill in half with a family plan discount.

On its own, the AT&T Unlimited Starter plan costs $65 a month, but the price per line drops significantly when you add more lines. Three lines or more makes the plan just $50.99 a month per line, and you can get it down to $35.99 a month per line when you get a family plan with four or more lines together.

The total savings on this plan adds up to $380 every month. AT&T has a lot of great cellular plans, but this one hits the sweet spot because you also get unlimited data, 5GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data every month, and you can even get a free phone with the trade-in program. What sets this AT&T family plan apart from similar plans offered by T-Mobile and Verizon is the extra security features. All AT&T plans come with a feature called ActiveArmor that alerts users for suspected fraud and spam. If you’re worried about family members getting scammed, this feature offers some peace of mind.

US Mobile Unlimited Starter: Best budget option for a single line

The most data for the best price

A prepaid provider running over T-Mobile and Verizon networks, US Mobile currently offers a deal that’s hard to pass up: $23 a month for 35GB of high-speed data and 10GB of designated hotspot data.

The only catch is that you have to pay for a year in advance—a total lump sum of $276—to get the biggest discount. But while that may hurt in the short term, the benefit is that you don’t have to worry about paying your cell phone bill for the rest of the year. And it’s not like you’re getting a cheap throwaway plan either: 35GB of data is plenty to let you stream music and TV shows without you needing to worry about exceeding your data cap. You also get a generous 10GB of hotspot data, which can really come in handy if you need to get some work done without a Wi-Fi connection.

When you sign up, you can choose whether to have your US Mobile plan use T-Mobile or Verizon’s network. Before making a decision, make sure to check out our full US Mobile Review for more details.

What to look for in a cell phone plan

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when deciding on a cell phone plan:

A reasonable price: The average phone user spends $66 a month on a cellular plan from one of the “Big Three” carriers (T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T). But many cellular customers would be just fine paying $39 a month for a prepaid plan from an MVNO like Visible or Mint. Make sure to compare prices and think through what features you really need before committing to a phone plan.

Enough high-speed data to last you the month: About 10GB of high-speed data a month is a great start for many users, but you may need more or less depending on how often you use your phone to go online. Many cell phone plans are advertised as “unlimited,” but they come with a cap on high-speed or “premium” data that gives you a fast connection over 4G LTE and 5G networks. You may need to look at the fine print to figure out how much high-speed data you’re getting.

Adequate coverage for where you live: Not all mobile providers have reliable service in every part of the United States. Verizon has the best 4G LTE cellular coverage in the country, but T-Mobile has the biggest and fastest 5G network. See our breakdown on the best carriers for coverage to get a sense of which carrier works best for you.

Mobile hotspot data (if you need it): Do you like taking your laptop and working on the beach? Some cell phone plans offer designated high-speed hotspot data every month, and you can also sign up for a separate data plan that lets you power a mobile hotspot device capable of hitting faster speeds and connecting more devices. 

A discount for two lines or family plans: Many carriers offer a discount per-line when you open two lines or more on a package, giving you a break on the overall cost of your monthly bill. This is usually referred to as a family plan discount, but you can add anyone you want on an extra line—including friends or even neighbors.

Which wireless carrier has the best cellular coverage?

Verizon has the best cell phone coverage for 4G LTE users nationwide, while T-Mobile gets the best 5G coverage.

Analytics company Opensignal credited Verizon for offering the best 4G LTE coverage in the country. Those results track with our experience comparing the top cell phone coverage in the United States. While usage of 5G phones is on the upswing, 4G coverage is still more prevalent than 5G. So you’re best off with a plan on Verizon’s network over AT&T and T-Mobile for coverage.

Network coverage experience

4G LTE coverage experience*
5G coverage experience*

Opensignal’s “coverage experience” rating measures “the extent of mobile networks in the places people live, work and travel,” according to its report. Taking in both percentage of land and population covered by cell service, the rating reflects the users’ experience as they travel around areas where cell service should be readily available.

Every cell phone plan we recommend uses at least one of the Big Three major networks: AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon. These networks stretch across the United States but can offer wildly different experiences depending upon your exact location. For example, a Verizon customer in Des Moines, Iowa might get better cell reception than a T-Mobile customer in the same city.

The best way to find out what coverage to expect in your neighborhood is by entering your zip code in our coverage map and swap between the networks to see what network offers the best coverage for you.

Which wireless carrier has the best wireless speeds?

T-Mobile gets the fastest data speeds on average, according to Opensignal. The analytics company rates speed through the Download Speed Experience metric, which measures users’ everyday experiences with 4G and 5G wireless networks—and T-Mobile blows the competition out of the water.

Faster internet speeds mean you can download and upload files faster and watch YouTube videos without buffering. But fast speeds also make it possible to do more things on one device. For example, fast speeds mean you can download an app in a shorter time while also getting up-to-date traffic info on your GPS app in between streaming YouTube videos.

Average download speeds

Average download speeds

Recap: What’s the best cell phone plan?

There isn’t really a one-size-fits-all best cell phone plan. That’s why we break down our recommendations into categories. Here are our best-in-choice cell phone plans for our top six categories:

  1. Best unlimited plan: T-Mobile’s Go5G Plus plan offers unlimited high-speed data, including 50GB of hotspot data, for $90/month per line. Go5G Plus customers also unlimited international texting, 5GB of international high-speed phone data, free subscriptions to Netflix and AppleTV+, and a free AAA membership for a year. And with T-Mobile Tuesday deals, Go5G Plus’s perks are practically unlimited.
  2. Best coverage: Verizon offers the most reliable coverage no matter where you go in the country.
  3. Best overall value: Visible gets you unlimited hotspot data (with max speeds of 5Mbps) for just $25 a month, making this a nice plan for small families and road trippers.
  4. Best deal for new customers: Mint Mobile gives new customers half off for the first three months of service, along with unlimited talk, text, and data.
  5. Best family plan: The AT&T Unlimited Starter SL costs $65 a month on its own, but the price plummets down to $35 monthly if you get a family plan together with four or more lines.
  6. Best value phone plan for a single line: US Mobile’s Unlimited Starter plan only costs $23 a month as long as you pay for the whole year in advance ($276 total), and comes with a generous 35GB of high-speed data every month.
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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