Best Cell Phone Plans of 2021

We review the best cell phone plans on the market, with a pick for best performance, value, coverage, family plan deal, and cheap pricing.
  • Best Overall Performance

    Magenta MAX

    View Full Review
    4 out of 5 overall
    Fastest data speeds
    Truly unlimited data
  • Best Cheap Unlimited Data

    $30 Unlimited

    View Full Review
    4 out of 5 overall
    $30 unlimited data plan
    Runs on T-Mobile's network
  • Best Coverage

    Do More Unlimited

    View Full Review
    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Best nationwide coverage
    Good perks
  • Best Family Plan

    Party Pay

    View Full Review
    4 out of 5 overall
    Unlimited data for $25/line (4 lines)
    Runs on Verizon's network
  • Best Bundle

    $45 Unlimited

    View Full Review
    3.5 out of 5 overall
    Superior customer service
    Free 5G data

We’ve got so much to say in this article that we’re going to skip the clever intro and just get straight to the meat of this review. These are the best cell phone plans available right now.

  • T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX: Best overall performance
  • Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Data Plan: Best cheap unlimited data plan
  • Verizon Wireless’s Do More Unlimited: Best coverage
  • Visible Wireless’s Party Pay: Best family plan
  • Xfinity Mobile’s $45 Unlimited Plan: Best bundle
  • US Mobile’s Unlimited Talk & Text with 18 GB Ludicrous Data: Best plan under $20
  • Metro by T- Mobile’s $50 Unlimited Plan: Best prepaid family plan

How do we know? We spend every day researching, analyzing, and writing about cell phone plans. So we know a thing or two about the industry. But you can make up your own mind by reading our in-depth review of each of these plans.

Deals

The best cell phone deals right now

If you’re looking for a new cell phone plan, maybe you should get a new phone to go with it! So don’t forget to look at our monthly roundup of the best cell phone deals.

*As of 10/6/2021, not including up-front costs, taxes, or fees.

What to look for in a cell phone plan

Choosing a cell phone plan is a big decision. Here are a few tips from the experts (that’s us!) about how to find the right one.

  • Know how much data you need: Not everyone needs unlimited data (or an unlimited data plan with a super high data cap). Read our handy guide to see how much data you actually need.
  • Compare prices: Use price-comparison tools, like the charts in this review, to make sure you’re getting the best deal available.
  • Look at the fine print: Not all cell phone plans are straight forward. Many, especially the cheaper plans, have plenty of devils in the details (like data slowdowns and price increases).

That’s enough of that. Let’s talk plans, beginning with the most powerful.

Compare top cell phone plans by provider
ProviderBest forOur plan pickLearn more
T-MobileOverall performanceMagenta MAXView Plans
Mint MobileCheap unlimited dataUnlimited Data PlanView Plans
Verizon WirelessOverall coverageDo More UnlimitedView Plans
Visible WirelessFamily planParty PayView Plans
Xfinity MobileBundle$45 Unlimited PlanView Plans
US MobileUnder $20Unlimited Talk & Text with 18 GB Ludicrous DataView Plans
Metro by T-MobilePrepaid family plan$50 Unlimited PlanView Plans

T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX: Best overall performance

If you want the best of the best, period, look no further

Pros

  • Fastest data speeds
  • Truly unlimited data
  • Best 5G network

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Spotty rural coverage

What we like about T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX

T-Mobile has, quite simply, jumped ahead of the pack to become the more powerful carrier in the industry.

While some of its previous issues persist—specifically poor 4G coverage in rural areas—it has managed to outperform the competition where it matters most: data speeds, data allotments, and 5G coverage. And it has done all of this while still being cheaper, on average, than Verizon and AT&T.

Here’s everything we love about T-Mobile’s premier Magenta MAX plan.

Best 4G and 5G data performance

If you want lightning fast speeds for streaming, gaming, scrolling, posting, and everything else, T-Mobile is clearly the best carrier. According to our proprietary data, which we collected from over 100,000 mobile customers, T-Mobile has the fastest 4G speeds. Just take a look at this chart.

An infographic ranking wireless networks by speed: #1 T-Mobile, #2 Verizon, #3 AT&T, Sprint unranked because it was acquired by T-Mobile in 2020

But 4G is going the way of dial-up internet and VHS tapes. 5G is the new technology in town, and T-Mobile is also dominating the 5G performance categories.

When it comes to 5G speeds, OpenSignal’s latest 5G User Experience Report says, “for the first time, T-Mobile wins Opensignal’s award for 5G Download Speed. Our T-Mobile users saw average 5G download speeds of 58.1 Mbps ahead of AT&T’s score of 53.8 Mbps and Verizon on 47.4 Mbps.”1

Truly unlimited data

Here’s a dirty little secret about the mobile industry: unlimited doesn’t really mean unlimited most of the time. Most unlimited plans actually have a data cap, and once you hit that cap your data speeds can (and will) be drastically reduced.

This is one of the biggest reasons that T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plan stands out: you get truly unlimited high-speed data. No deprioritization, no throttling, no data caps.

The only other plan that we know of that offers this is AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan.

Info Box icon
How much mobile data do you actually need?
Pretty much everything you do on your phone these days uses data. So, make sure you have enough to satisfy your streaming, scrolling, gaming, and working needs by reading this handy data guide.

Largest 5G network

T-Mobile doesn’t just have the fastest 5G data speeds. It also has the largest 5G network. According to OpenSignal, T-Mobile users in 16 states were connected to 5G networks 35% of the time.

That might not sound like much, but it’s far more than AT&T customers, who were only connected to a 5G network 25% of the time (in just six states) and Verizon users, who were connected just 17% of the time (in just one state).1

This network makes T-Mobile the most “future-proof” carrier around, since 5G technology will become the new standard for mobile networks in the years to come.

What we don’t like about T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX

Obviously, we’re pretty impressed with T-Mobile right now. But that doesn’t mean we are blind to its faults. Here are the things we don’t love about the Magenta MAX plan.

It’s expensive

T-Mobile is actually the cheapest of the Big Three. Its prices are generally about $5 cheaper than comparable plans from AT&T and Verizon. But that doesn’t matter much when you’re talking about an $85 plan like Magenta MAX.

You can get an unlimited plan from a discount carrier, like Visible or Mint, for less than half that price (although the data will be much slower and you’ll have worse perks)!
In short, T-Mobile knows this is the most powerful plan in the industry right now, so they’re not afraid to stick to a high price. And it’s still totally worth it for those who want performance above all else.

Money icon
Is $85 just too pricey?
T-Mobile has other, cheaper unlimited plans that still come with super-fast data speeds and other perks. You can check those out right here.

Spotty rural coverage

We talked about how T-Mobile’s 5G network is the biggest. But that network doesn’t spread into most rural areas of North America, where T-Mobile’s 4G coverage is also spotty. Just look at the holes in this coverage map.

You can see the broad swaths of Nebraska, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada where T-Mobile doesn’t have great coverage. So if you live in one of those areas, you might want to go with another carrier (Verizon has the best 4G coverage in rural areas).

Alternative picks

If you’re not a big fan of T-Mobile for whatever reason, but you still want a premier, top-shelf, grade-A plan with tons of data and high performance, then check out these plans from AT&T and Verizon.

AT&T Unlimited Elite Plan

Verizon Get More Unlimited Plan

Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Data Plan: Best cheap unlimited data plan

Unlimited talk, text, and data for just $30 a month

Pros

  • Super cheap unlimited data plan
  • Uses T-Mobile's awesome network

Cons

  • Deprioritization
  • Spotty rural coverage

What we like about Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Data Plan

There’s a fine line between cheap (“wow, that’s so cheap!”) and cheap (“ewww, that looks really cheap.”). Mint has managed to give us a plan that’s cheap in the good way: it has a super low price tag while still offering all the basics, unlimited talk, text, and data.

Here’s what we love about the budget-friendly Mint Mobile unlimited data plan.

Very affordable

Mint’s unlimited data isn’t quite the cheapest one on the market. Both Ting and Tello offer cheaper plans. But those two plans have a 22 GB and 25 GB data cap, respectively, which hardly counts as unlimited in our minds. After you reach your data cap your data speeds will be drastically reduced (think of going from broadband internet to dial-up).

Meanwhile, Mint Mobile’s unlimited plan comes with a respectable 35 GB of high-speed data. While we’d like to see more, 35 GB is probably enough for most casual users. And when you compare it to other cheap plans it’s clearly the best. Check it out for yourself.

Cheap unlimited data plan comparison

Price Tag icon
Want an affordable new phone to go along with your affordable plan?
We round up the very best cell phone deals in the industry each month. Check out our deals page to score a great price on a new iPhone, Galaxy, or Pixel.

Mint uses T-Mobile’s network

We’ve already talked a lot about how great T-Mobile’s network is these days (see the section above if you want a refresher). In short, it has the best 5G network and the fastest data speeds. And Mint Mobile customers will be connected to T-Mobile.

While Mint users won’t get premium treatment (read the section on deprioritizing below), they will get full use of T-Mobile’s 4G and 5G networks. That means Mint customers should see better data speeds than many other customers on discount plans.

What we don’t like about Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Data Plan

Obviously, Mint has cut some corners somewhere to get its price down this low. Here’s what we don’t love so much about this unlimited data plan.

Data deprioritization

The biggest drawback to going with Mint (or any mobile virtual network operator) is that your data will be deprioritized. That’s just a technical way of saying that when the network is busy, your data speeds will be slowed down (so that the parent network, T-Mobile, can keep its own customers at full speed).

Deprioritization is a wily issue to have. You never know quite how much it will affect your service. You might have super fast data speeds all day, then see them trickle to almost nothing in the evening. Or, you might have slow-ish but manageable speeds (think 5-15 Mbps) all the time. It really depends on where you live and how you use your phone.

Not the best rural coverage

Mint’s T-Mobile-run network still has some pretty sizable gaps in 4G and 5G coverage, specifically in the rural west. Check out this coverage map to see where you might experience some issues.

Mint coverage map

Alternative pick

There’s really only one other carrier that can compete with Mint when it comes to cheap unlimited data plans. That carrier is Visible (which we’ll talk about more below, in the Best Family Plan section).

Here’s a look at Visible Wireless’s $40 unlimited data plan.

Verizon Wireless’s Do More Unlimited Plan: Best coverage

Rural living doesn’t have to mean being out of network

Pros

  • Best coverage in rural areas
  • Great performance and perks

Cons

  • Pricey

What we like about Verizon Wireless’s Do More Unlimited Plan

Verizon Wireless may not be at the top of this list anymore, but it’s still a great carrier. Here’s what the company gets right with its Do More Unlimited Plan.

Best rural coverage

Verizon has lost ground to T-Mobile when it comes to data speeds, but it still takes the gold medal for coverage. In 2021, Verizon’s network will get you 4G coverage in 70% of the U.S. That’s better than any other carrier.

Nationwide 4G coverage chart

4G Coverage Infographic

This superior coverage won’t matter much to those who live in major metropolitan areas, where every carrier has good coverage. But those who live in rural areas of the West will almost certainly want to check out Verizon (there are some places where Verizon is really the only game in town).

Take a look at this coverage map.

Verizon coverage map

Great perks and performance

Verizon may not be the best carrier for overall performance, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. You’ll still enjoy very fast data speeds on Verizon and super-fast high-band 5G network technology in select cities (like Salt Lake City, where I live).

Besides that, the Do More Unlimited plan comes with tons of perks, like a free Disney+ subscription, 720p streaming quality, 15 GB of hotspot data, and a 50 GB data cap.

What we don’t like about Verizon Wireless’s Do More Unlimited Plan

The biggest problem with Verizon is a longstanding one: it’s just too expensive.

Pricey

Keeping up the biggest network in the country must take a lot of work, and a lot of money. So it’s not surprising that Verizon’s plans cost a pretty penny. But, for many customers, it will be just a bit too much.

To illustrate this, we’ve put all of the unlimited plans from Verizon and T-Mobile back to back. As you can see, Verizon is $5–$10 more at every tier, while offering slower data speeds and a less powerful 5G network.

Alternative picks

If you want all the benefits of Verizon’s rural coverage, but don’t want to pay the premium price (and you can deal with slower data speeds), then you might want to check out these MVNOs that use the same network.

For example, you can get a Total Wireless plan that uses Verizon’s network for just $50 a month.

But, to be totally honest, the best cheap Verizon alternative is Visible Wireless, which we’re about to talk about in depth.

Visible Wireless’s Party Pay: Best family plan deal

An unlimited talk, text, and data plan for as little as $25 a month

Pros

  • Unlimited data for just $25/line
  • Uses Verizon's network

Cons

  • Deprioritization

What we like about Visible Wireless’s Party Pay

Getting the very best price on a cell phone plan is easy. You don’t have to find any special promo codes or get a wild Black Friday deal. All you have to do is bundle up in a family plan. And of all the family plans out there, Visible Wireless offers the best deal.

Unlimited data for as low as $25

Visible’s plan normally costs $40 a month, which is already a good deal for unlimited talk, text, and data. But, for every line you add (up to four), your price-per-line will go down by $5. That means two lines cost $70, three lines cost $90, and four lines cost $100.

Visible’s plan isn’t technically the cheapest on the market, but we think it offers the best value. The only cheaper family plan comes from US Mobile, which is actually only cheaper because of a temporary discount that expires after six months.

Take a look for yourself.

Cheap unlimited data family plan comparison

Visible uses Verizon’s network

We already talked about how Verizon has the best 4G coverage in the nation. Well, Visible uses Verizon’s network. That means you’ll have good service in most of the United States, including many rural areas in the West.

What we don’t like about Visible Wireless’s Party Pay

We really only have one complaint about Visible Wireless: the data speeds aren’t very fast.

Data deprioritization

Visible advertises that its data speeds range from 5–12 Mbps. That’s enough for streaming video, music, playing simple games, and even doing Zoom calls (usually). But during times of network congestion, your speeds could dip below that range, making it hard to do much of anything.

But, to be honest, data deprioritization is a problem with every small carrier (and even the cheaper plans from big carriers). So, you’re going to have to deal with it unless you’re willing to shell out a lot more than $25 per line.

Alternative picks

Like we said before, the best way to save money on your phone bill is to get a family plan. That’s not just true for Visible. Check out our list of all the best family plans around.

If you want a prepaid family plan, read on to our next pick.

Xfinity Mobile $45 Unlimited Plan: Best bundle

Existing Comcast-Xfinity home internet customers can cut cell bills by switching to Xfinity Mobile

Pros

  • Superior customer service
  • Free 5G
  • Extends network with 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots

Cons

  • Limited to only existing Comcast-Xfinity home internet customers
  • Low default video streaming resolution on unlimited plan

What we like about Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited data cell phone plan

If you’re an existing Comcast-Xfinity home internet customer, then Xfinity Mobile is a cell phone service that you need to consider.

We call this a bundle because you cannot get Xfinity Mobile as a standalone service. Even though Xfinity Mobile is sorta exclusive, we like its unlimited plan, and here’s why.

Plan price are right in the sweet spot

Xfinity Mobile’s price for its unlimited plan is the definition of reasonable. Yes, there are other small carriers with lower prices for an unlimited plan, but Xfinity Mobile is cheaper than all of the Big Three—Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.

Free 5G

Xfinity Mobile provides 5G for all its cell plans—both unlimited and By the Gig—at no extra cost.

To get the most out of that, you need to have a 5G smartphone and to live in an area with 5G infrastructure. If you meet that description, then Xfinity Mobile says it can deliver download speeds around 450 Mbps and upload speeds around 50 Mbps. You won’t find anything faster.

18 million Wi-Fi hotspots

Xfinity Mobile subscribers can access millions of Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. That significantly extends your coverage. Bear in mind that hotspotting data speeds are capped at 600 Kbps, which is 3G-level.

The best customer service and mobile app according to ACSI

Xfinity Mobile made its debut at number one on the American Customer Service Index’s list for full-service MVNOs. ACSI also put Xfinity Mobile’s app at the top of their list for customer service apps.

Read more in the Customer Service section of our full Xfinity Mobile review.

What we don’t like about Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited cell phone plan

We want you to know everything we do about this plan, so there are a few aspects we don’t like about Xfinity Mobile. They mostly pertain to data limitations for non-5G devices.

Expect throttled, capped, and deprioritized 4G LTE data speeds

For 4G LTE data, Xfinity says it can deliver download speeds around 5–12 Mbps and upload speeds around 2–5 Mbps. There is a soft data cap of 20 GB, after which you will be deprioritized, and Xfinity will cut your download speeds to 1.5 Mbps and upload speeds to 750 Kbps. That’s partly why we say go with 5G if you can.

Non-5G devices experience low-resolution video streaming

Video streaming is where you’re most likely to feel the pain of these data limitations. If you’re on Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plan, the default video streaming quality may disappoint. It will depend largely on whether your device is 5G and if the network you have access to is 4G LTE or 5G.

The default streaming resolution for non-5G devices on Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited data plan is only 480p, which is just standard definition (SD). That’s true on both 4G LTE and 5G networks.

That’s basically the difference between Batman Forever and The Dark Knight. Both are Batman movies, but one is clearly more advanced than the other.

Go with 5G. That’s our best advice when it comes to Xfinity Mobile. With a 5G device on a 5G network, you’ll enjoy 4K streaming. Roar!

If you’re still in a 4G LTE situation, don’t despair—you can still buy HD streaming for any line, which gets you 720p resolution for smartphones and 1080p for tablets.

Alternative picks

Let’s say you already have Xfinity home internet, and you’re looking for a new cell phone plan. Xfinity Mobile appeals to you, but you aren’t looking for an unlimited data plan. If that’s you, then take a look at Xfinity Mobile’s By the Gig plans.

We already did the math, and it’s pretty straightforward:

If you use more than 3 GB of cellular data per month, then Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plan is probably a better deal.

Here are Xfinity Mobile’s plans so you can compare for yourself.

US Mobile’s Unlimited Talk & Text with 18 GB Ludicrous Data: Best plan under $20

$20 gets you unlimited talk and text, with a decent chunk of data, too

Pros

  • Tons of data for under $20
  • Good network coverage

Cons

  • Deprioritization
  • No perks

What we like about US Mobile’s Unlimited Talk & Text with 18 GB Ludicrous Data plan

We’ve already talked about how Mint Mobile is our favorite cheap unlimited data plan. But US Mobile offers an even cheaper set of plans for those who don’t necessarily need unlimited data.

A lot of bang for your buck

US Mobile offers some pretty mind-boggling deals, like unlimited talk and text, plus 18 GB of data, for just $20 a month. Imagine if paying your phone bill cost less than a Sunday brunch?

It is true that this $20 price tag includes a temporary discount that goes away after six months. But if you’re worried about that, US Mobile has plenty of other data plans that cost less than $20 a month.

If you’re still not convinced, check out how US Mobile compares to other super-cheap data plans.

Cheap data plan comparison

Money icon
Want an affordable new phone to go along with your affordable plan?
We round up the very best cell phone deals in the industry each month. Check out our deals page to score a great price on a new iPhone, Galaxy, or Pixel.

US Mobile uses both Verizon and T-Mobile’s networks

US Mobile is an MVNO, which means it doesn’t have its own mobile network. Instead it uses both Verizon and T-Mobile to bring service to its customers. Which network you end up on depends on what kind of phone you have (GSM or CDMA).

In terms of data performance and coverage, Verizon and T-Mobile are the two best networks in the game. So, whichever network you end up on you should be pretty happy

What we don’t like about US Mobile’s Unlimited Talk & Text with 18 GB Ludicrous Data plan

Obviously, Mint has cut some corners somewhere to get its price down this low. Here’s what we don’t love so much about this unlimited data plan.

Data deprioritization

As with Mint and Visible, US Mobile customers will be subject to data deprioritization. That means you could see your data speeds plummet during times of peak use (usually in the evenings). If you need fast data all the time for work, gaming, or your social media addiction, then you might want to consider another carrier.

No perks

You don’t get a $20 cell phone plan without cutting the fat somewhere. In this case, US Mobile has cut pretty much every perk. There’s no free hotspot data, no free subscriptions, and no special phone deals.

Alternative picks

If you want to keep your costs as low as possible for your prepaid family plan, you can get a Mix & Match Family Plan from Boost Mobile that gets costs you $30 for unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 3 GB of data shared across three lines.

If you want to check out some other incredibly cheap cell phone plans, we suggest checking out Red Pocket and Ting.

Metro by T-Mobile’s $50 Unlimited Plan: Best prepaid family plan

With unlimited data, Metro is a budget-friendly pick with good coverage

Pros

  • Unlimited data
  • Affordable plans

Cons

  • Deprioritization

What we like about Metro by T-Mobile’s $50 Unlimited Plan

You can get your entire family sharing an unlimited data plan and save some money every month while doing it.

Unlimited data

Have you ever gotten that ominous text from your carrier saying you’ve nearly reached your data limit? Well, you know what happens next. It becomes the family blame game to find out who used all the data. Not a problem with unlimited data.

There’s probably no statistic to back this up, but it feels like unlimited data plans reduce family stress and build togetherness. This is especially true if you have teenagers.

$30 a month for each additional line

The base price for Metro by T-Mobile’s unlimited plan isn’t anything super special at $50 a month, but the value comes in when you add extra lines. Every line you add to your family plan costs $30 a month instead of $50 a month. Those additional lines get all the same perks as if they were paying full price for the $50 plan.

Info Box icon
Want more prepaid options?
Check out all your options, including Metro by T-Mobile, out of all the best prepaid plans out there.

What we don’t like about Metro by T-Mobile’s $50 Unlimited Plan

Metro by T-Mobile is technically a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and will suffer from deprioritization from time to time. In other words, you may notice your data speeds throttling in congested areas or during peak-usage periods (like when driving home from work). But on the bright side, since Metro is owned by T-Mobile, you probably won’t be as deprioritized as you would be on an MVNO that isn’t owned by the network.

Alternative picks

If you want to keep your costs as low as possible for your prepaid family plan, you can get a Mix & Match Family Plan from Boost Mobile that gets costs you $30 for unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 3 GB of data shared across three lines.

Comparing network performance

Performance makes a big difference with your wireless experience, and it can all be boiled down to your average download speeds and upload speeds. In a nutshell, the faster your download speeds, the faster you can Google things, stream YouTube videos, and scroll through your TikTok feed. Upload speeds, on the other hand, determine how quickly you can post your own Instagram stories and Twitter updates.

We sampled over 100,000 wireless users, and these are how the average speeds look for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

  • AT&T
    • Average download speed: 28.9 Mbps
    • Average upload speed: 9.4 Mbps
  • T-Mobile
    • Average download speed: 32.73 Mbps
    • Average upload speed: 12.9 Mbps
  • Verizon
    • Average download speed: 32.2 Mbps
    • Average upload speed: 10.0 Mbps

Currently, T-Mobile holds the championship belt for both the fastest download and upload speeds. If your phone constantly hangs when opening refreshing Twitter or YouTube videos take forever to buffer, you might want to consider a switch to T-Mobile.

T-Mobile cell phone plans

Why AT&T didn’t make the cut

You’ll probably notice that AT&T did not make the cut for any of our top recommendations. That’s not to say that AT&T is a bad choice, in fact, I’m still on my family’s AT&T plan for a reason.

AT&T feels like the middle-child between T-Mobile and Verizon right now. It costs a little less than Verizon, but its coverage isn’t quite as reliable. On the other hand, AT&T costs a little more than T-Mobile, but its data speeds aren’t quite as fast. Classic middle-child situation.

Still, if you know AT&T has reliable coverage in your area or you want to switch for whatever reason, we’d recommend the AT&T Unlimited Starter plan.

Recap: Which cell phone plan is right for you?

We’ve gone over the five best cell phone plans on the market right now. It’s up to you to decide which one fits your lifestyle and budget. Here’s a quick recap to help you make up your mind.

  • Best overall performance: The T-Mobile Magenta MAX plan is simply the most powerful plan on the market, offering truly unlimited data, the fastest speeds, and plenty of cool perks.
  • Best cheap unlimited data plan: Mint Mobile offers a perfectly good unlimited data plan for the ridiculous price of $30. Your data speeds may not be the fastest, but your wallet will thank you.
  • Best coverage: Verizon Wireless is still on top when it comes to rural coverage. If you live out in the boonies, this is probably the best carrier for you.
  • Best family plan deal: Visible Wireless will hook you and your loved ones up with an unlimited plan for as little as $25 per line. Yes, it’s a very good deal.
  • Best bundle: If you’re already paying Comcast-Xfinity home internet, then you should look at Xfinity Mobile. Get on Verizon’s 5G network for less than $50 a month.
  • Best under $20: If you’re just looking for the cheapest, most bare bones plans, then we suggest checking out US Mobile. A crisp twenty will get you up to 18 GB of data.
  • Best prepaid family plan: Metro by T-Mobile unlimited plan costs $50 a month, but it costs $30 a month for every additional line you add. The bigger the family, the more value you get.

That’s all we’ve got to say about the best cell phone plans. We hope we’ve been helpful (you can always yell at us in the comments if we haven’t been).

Methodology

We spent over a week researching, compiling data, and writing this article. Our analysis and suggestions are based on a deep knowledge of the industry (having written in-depth reviews of dozens of cell phone carriers), but that’s not all.

For this article we looked at data from over 100,000 mobile customers to determine mobile data speeds. We used the latest reports from OpenSignal and other groups to understand the status of carriers’ 5G networks. And we used comparison tools from sites like WhistleOut.com to help understand pricing and features.

Most of all, we trust the users. So we’ve also looked at customer reviews from each carrier to better understand what they do right, and where they could improve.

Frequently asked questions

We crammed a lot into this review, but we thought of a few more things we want to talk about. Hopefully we’ll cover any lingering questions you may have in this section, but if we’ve missed something then let us know in the comments below!

Which cell phone carrier has the best deals?

Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T tend to have much better deals on new phones than their MVNO counterparts. But, out of those three, there isn’t a clear winner. They tend to change their deals frequently to highlight new phones and promotions.

So, the best way to figure out which carrier has the best deals right now is to read our cell phone deals page that we update every month.

Who is the #1 cell phone carrier?

It really depends on what you want. Some folks will want Verizon’s awesome rural coverage, while others will go for T-Mobile’s lightning fast data speeds. Others still will prefer AT&T for its perks or Visible for its incredible family plan pricing.

In short, there isn’t a single carrier that’s clearly the best. But if you read about the plans we’ve featured in this article, then you’ll probably find something that’s a great fit for you.

Who has the best cell phone coverage 2021?

There are three major networks in the United States: Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. Verizon has the best nationwide coverage, especially in rural areas. T-Mobile has the biggest (and fastest) 5G network. And, while AT&T doesn’t take home the gold medal, it has pretty darn good coverage in most metropolitan and suburban areas.

The easiest way to figure out which network is best for you is to look at coverage maps. You can see maps for all three major carriers and read all about their performance in our up-to-date network coverage analysis.

Sources

  • Doug Penwell

    Sent the required text to Straight Talk to have them add hotspot data based on Covid19 work from home requirements. Their reply was that data would be added when the monthly plan was renewed. What good does that do a subscriber in the meantime?