Best Cell Phone Plans of 2019
Best OverallBest coverageTop speeds
Best Prepaid PlanAffordable pricesStrong coverage
Best Unlimited planBest coverageSo much data
Best Family PlanAffordable family plansHD streaming
Best Prepaid FamilyAffordable family plansUnlimited data
Switching cell phone plans can instantly feel overwhelming. You have to think about things like data plans, unlimited talk, and international roaming . . . or you could just have us do all the research and tell you that Verizon is the best carrier overall and Sprint is the best budget carrier (at least until the merger with T-Mobile happens).
Don’t feel intimidated and stick with one carrier for life. That’s like eating the same ham-and-cheese sandwich lunch every day. There are better foods and better cell phone plans out there.
– New Verizon plans that cost $5 less a month.
– Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is available on Verizon and T-Mobile’s 5G network.
– Verizon’s 5G network, so far, is quicker than T-Mobile’s network.
– Sprint and T-Mobile merger is underway! We’ll update as soon as know how this will affect pricing.
*As of 9/20/2019, not including upfront costs, taxes, or fees.
If you’re ready to switch cell phone companies but want to avoid the head-spinning blast of information, this guide is for you. It includes recommendations for cell phone plans based on price, data limits, coverage, and speed—and perks. Don’t forget the perks.
Oh, and you get unlimited talk with all of these data plans as well.
|Provider||Best for||Our plan pick||Learn more|
|Verizon||Overall||Verizon Do More Unlimited||View Plans|
|T-Mobile||Prepaid||Simply Prepaid 10 GB||View Plans|
|Verizon||Unlimited||Verizon Get More Unlimited||View Plans|
|Sprint||Family||Sprint Unlimited Plus||View Plans|
|Sprint||Prepaid family||Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan||View Plans|
Verizon Do More Unlimited: Best overall
With exceptional coverage and speed ratings plus a host of extras, Verizon’s Do More Unlimited cell phone plan earns the top spot.
Verizon Do More Unlimited plan features
- Top-rated performance
- HD streaming
- Still pricier than comparable plans
What we like
It’s all about speed and coverage with Verizon.
Check out any well-known wireless performance ratings, and you’ll see Verizon at or near the top for coverage, speed, and overall performance.1, 2, 3
Case in point: My friend’s Verizon phone was the only one with a signal out in the Utah desert. Other carriers just don’t get bars in rural areas. This was especially helpful when we needed to call a Lyft to get back to our Airbnb. (I know, we should’ve planned ahead.)
You even get 15 GB of mobile hotspot data with 4G LTE speeds. Translation: you can use your laptop wherever you roam.
In this modern age of technology, you deserve HD streaming. No more SD-quality streaming like you’re watching season one of Survivor. Thankfully, with the Beyond Unlimited Plan, you can stream all the HD content you want.
If you’re fine with lower-quality streaming (480p), you could go with Verizon’s cheaper Go Unlimited plan. (We wouldn’t recommend it, but we love us some bright, crisp 1080p.)
For those of you who love watching “Let’s Plays” on YouTube or need to catch up on the latest season of Stranger Things on Netflix, we think More Unlimited is worth the extra money each month for HD streaming at 720p.
Good amount of 4G LTE data
Another downside to many cheaper unlimited data plans like Verizon’s Go Unlimited (and AT&T’s Unlimited & More℠) is that Verizon is allowed to slow, or throttle, your speed at any time if you use too much data.
The Do More Unlimited plan lets you avoid those slower speeds with 22 GB of unthrottled data each month. (Above that cap, though, you’re on your own.) That means you can go (a little) wild with live Twitch streams or uploading photos to Instagram.
It also comes with 15 GB of unthrottled mobile hotspot data that zooms along at 4G LTE speeds. So if your internet goes down in the middle of a work project, you can just hop onto your Wi-Fi hotspot and pick up where you left off.
Sadly, the old “Sorry boss, can’t work today, my internet is down” won’t really work anymore. (It was nice while it lasted.)
What we don’t like
Pricier than comparable plans
Verizon’s amazing coverage and speed come at a price. If you’re looking for a cheap unlimited cell phone plan, you might have to do a trade-off. Here’s how the price of the Verizon Do More plan compares to other unlimited plans.
Verizon Do More Unlimited price comparison
Want a higher data cap? Get an upgrade.
If you’re maxing out every month and don’t feel like you can cut back, don’t worry. You can upgrade to Verizon’s new Get More Unlimited plan and get a mind-boggling 75 GB of unthrottled data each month instead of 22 GB of 4G LTE data. Somewhere, all the old flip phones are crying.
Of course, you’ll pay a little extra each month for Get More Unlimited compared to Do More Unlimited. But if waiting for your favorite Hulu shows to buffer makes you want to throw your device across the room, it just might be worth it.
Not sure the Verizon Beyond Unlimited plan is the one for you? Check out some of our other top picks for cell phone plans.
Yes, they’re cheaper, but don’t forget that price isn’t everything with wireless plans. Unless you like not being able to tell what the score is while streaming an NBA game (we’ve been there).
Four more unlimited cell phone plans
T-Mobile Simply Prepaid plan: Best prepaid plan
With a low monthly cost and a good chunk of data, T-Mobile’s 10 GB plan caught our eye.
Simply Prepaid with 10 GB LTE
- Low price
- Reliable performance
- Iffy customer service
What we like
If you’re going to go with a prepaid plan, you’ll want a good deal.
Low price for 10 GB of data
Compared to other prepaid plans, the T-Mobile 10 GB plan gets you more data for a cheaper price. That’s more gigs of data you can use to stream The Office for the 519th time. Or maybe you can upgrade to the vastly superior Parks and Recreation. Just a suggestion.
Reliable performance on T-Mobile’s network
You can expect good coverage and speed on T-Mobile’s network—at least until you hit your 10 GB data cap. All bets are off when you hit that dreaded data cap.
T-Mobile typically ranks high in third-party coverage and speed tests2, 3—though RootMetrics’s rating may be the exception.1
What we don’t like
Customer service could’ve been a whole lot better.
Iffy customer service
We chatted with a couple of T-Mobile service reps to find out more about our prepaid data options.
While both reps were friendly, they each gave us a different answer to the same question and didn’t share the company’s data policy. Both interactions left us feeling less than confident we could get help with other issues in the future—like questions with billing, fees, or what to do when a toddler accidentally spends $10,000 on Candy Crush.
Need some other options for prepaid cell phone plans? Check these out.
Make sure to not only look at the price but also the data limits. (Let’s be real, you can burn through data faster than you think.)
Alternative picks for prepaid cell phone plans
Verizon Get More Unlimited: Best unlimited plan
The name is confusing, but the unlimited coverage is amazing.
Verizon Get More Unlimited Plan
- High data cap
High unthrottled data cap
Okay, we know what you’re thinking: “Didn’t you just say that Verizon Do More Unlimited is the best overall deal?
Yes, we did say that. And we stand by it. But if you’re willing to pay the price, the Verizon Wireless Get More Unlimited plan is essentially as good as it gets. At least until a 5G network finally becomes available nationwide.
You get 75 GB of unthrottled data. We’ll say that again: 75 GB of super fast data and excellent coverage every month. You’re paying a premium for it, but you’ll have a better unlimited plan than all your friends. That’ll teach ‘em.
Perks, perks, and more perks
Verizon offers some nice perks that sweeten the deal. First of all, you get 20 GB of mobile hotspot data. We wish we had 20 GB of mobile hotspot data so we could use that instead of this awful train Wi-Fi on our commute.
On top of the Mobile Hotspot data, you also get a subscription to Apple Music. What would all that data be good for if you couldn’t listen to every song ever?
What we don’t like
Sadly, all that wonderful data and coverage certainly comes at a price. Plan on paying upwards of $20 more a month than you would with other unlimited carriers.
The Verizon Get More Unlimited plan certainly isn’t for everybody, but if you use your phone for everything and you gotta have that data, it’s worth every penny.
Want to have a look at all your choices? Here are some other unlimited plans worth checking out.
Other unlimited cell phone plans
Sprint Unlimited Plus: Best family plan
Families who save together stay together
Sprint Unlimited Plus Plan
- Affordable family pricing
- HD streaming
- Reduced speeds
What we like
A plan for the entire family.
Affordable pricing for the whole family
Family plans are all about saving money, and that’s exactly what you get with Sprint. When you combine the price point, unlimited data, and good-enough coverage (if you live in a city), you get the most value with Sprint family plans.
You can sweeten the deal by opting for autopay (which, why wouldn’t you?), and you can add a third, fourth, and fifth line for free for one year. Call up Grandma, Uncle Dave, and Aunt Tina and get them on the family plan too. Just make sure they take you out to dinner or something.
There are two different Sprint family plans, and we’re recommending the one that gets you significantly better streaming quality.
Sure, you can save around $20 a month and go for the Sprint Basic Unlimited Plan, but you’ll be squinting to see which character killed who on Game of Thrones. (Trust us, everybody looks the same on a massive medieval battlefield. Especially in the last season.)
What we don’t like
Reduced speeds at 50 GB of data
Once you hit 50 GB of data in a month, you’ll probably start experiencing slower speeds.
Yes, you probably think you’ll never hit 50 GB, but each of those Instagram stories adds up over time. Especially when you have a family member with a YouTube addiction. (Or maybe the whole family is a little addicted to YouTube.)
Want to see what’s behind door number two (and three and four)? We’ve got a few other family plans you might like.
Alternative top family plans
Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan: Best prepaid family plan
With unlimited data, Sprint is a budget-friendly pick with good coverage.
Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan
- Unlimited data
- Affordable plans
- Weaker coverage
What we like
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.
Save $10 a month
The monthly price point for Sprint family prepaid plans stacks up well with the competition. You’ll likely save around $10 a month going with a Sprint prepaid family plan versus one with another carrier.
Just be prepared to pay outright for new phones on a prepaid plan (thus the steep up-front costs). Thankfully, you can always keep your old phone and transfer it to the Sprint Unlimited Kickstart plan.
What we don’t like
Let’s not sugarcoat anything—Sprint doesn’t have the best coverage in the world compared to other major carriers.4 If you happen to live in an urban environment, you won’t notice much of a difference, but if you’re chilling in any rural region of the country, well . . . your service won’t be as reliable.
If Sprint doesn’t check all your boxes, here are some alternative prepaid family plans we recommend.
- Best overall mobile plan: The Verizon Do More Unlimited plan has us hyped. With top-rated coverage and speed plus HD streaming and 22 GB of unthrottled 4G LTE data each month, it was an easy pick for best cell phone plan overall.
- Best prepaid plan: We chose the Simply Prepaid 10 GB plan as the best prepaid plan because of its low price for 10 GB of data and good performance on T-Mobile’s network. But watch out for not-so-great customer service.
- Best unlimited plan: The Verizon Get More unlimited plan offers 75 GB of unthrottled data and comes with 5G data access and HD streaming. It’s expensive, but it’s awesome.
- Best family plan: We recommend Sprint Unlimited Plus for families since its 50 GB of high-speed data and competitive price will make data-hungry kids and adults happy. Just expect slower speeds when you pass that 50 GB threshold.
- Best prepaid family plan: We picked the Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan thanks to its competitive pricing for unlimited data. The coverage isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly good enough for urban areas.
The best cell phone plans are always changing with new data plans and features. Check back here to get the latest updates on the best cell phone plans.
New and improved Verizon pricing
Verizon recently dropped a surprise on us and announced new cell phone plans that make the awesome coverage more affordable. The old Above and Beyond unlimited Verizon plans are long gone, and the Start Unlimited, Play More Unlimited, Do More Unlimited, and Get More Unlimited plans have arrived.
Here’s what you need to know—all the plans, on average, cost you $5 less a month than comparable plans did before. That might not sound like much, but over a couple of years, $5 a month can certainly add up. The best cell phone carrier just got cheaper and we’re thrilled about it.
Most popular cell phone plans
When it comes to popularity, folks still gravitate towards the cheapest option and honestly we don’t blame them. Sprint currently owns the most popular wireless plan with T-Mobile and Verizon coming in second and third place.
Check back later to see how popularity changes. It’ll be interesting to see if Verizon’s new plans creates a jump in the popularity ranking.
1. RootMetrics, “USA Mobile Network Experience Report January 2019”
2. OpenSignal, “The 4G Battle Continues between T-Mobile and Verizon”
3. Speedtest, “United States”
4. RootMetrics, “Sprint Coverage Map”