Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans

Get unlimited high-speed data on the major networks with these five prepaid plans.

Best overall
Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
Starting at
$15.00/mo. for unlimited data
40GB of priority data
T-Mobile
Free hotspot use and international perks
Best for premium data
Visible
Visible+ Plan
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
Starting at
$25.00/mo. for unlimited data
50GB of priority data on Visible+
Verizon
Free hotspot and no data cap on 5G networks
Best family plan
US Mobile
US Mobile
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
Starting at
$60.00/mo. for 3 unlimited lines
35GB of priority data
Choose Verizon or T-Mobile
30-day free trial + prepaid card perks
Best talk and text plan
Tello
Tello
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
Starting at
$9.00/mo. for unlimited talk, text + 1GB
Flexible data options
T-Mobile
Free calling to 60+ countries
Best for bundling
Spectrum
Spectrum Mobile
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting at
$29.99/mo. for unlimited data
30GB of priority data
Verizon
Available only to Spectrum internet customers
Easton Smith
Mar 13, 2024
Icon Time To Read10 min read

With the right prepaid cell phone plan, you can get all of the benefits of a normal plan but pay about half the price.

We think that the best overall prepaid plan for most people is the Mint Mobile unlimited plan . However, some users might prefer the pricier Visible+ plan , which offers better coverage and speeds.

We also like US Mobile’s very affordable family plans, Tello’s talk and text only plans, and Spectrum Mobile’s internet/cell phone bundle deals.

You can read all about these plans, including prices, data caps, network performance, and more in this article.

Best prepaid cell phone plans comparison

What makes this prepaid phone plan review legit?

Our research process focuses on data and the reviews of actual mobile customers from across the country. We prioritize the actual experiences of users, keeping in mind the specific needs of different kinds of users.

For this review we looked at dozens of different cell phone plans and compared the data about prices, speeds, coverage, and more. We looked at what real customers had to say about each company to verify our findings and make more accurate recommendations.

how we review products and services

Prepaid vs. postpaid cell phone plans

Most plans are contract free these days, but there are some perks with the small MVNOs.

The main distinction between prepaid cell phone plans and postpaid plans from the Big Three—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon—is that with prepaid plans you have to pay for service at the beginning of the month, rather than at the end. Prepaid plans also require less paperwork and no credit check to sign up.

Another important difference is that prepaid plans are a lot cheaper than normal plans.

Most prepaid carriers are what we call mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which don’t operate their own networks. Instead, they lease bandwidth from one of the Big Three. This allows the companies to offer much cheaper prices, but it also means that their speeds are deprioritized on the network.

In short: Prepaid plans have the same great coverage as postpaid plans, but your data performance might suffer, especially when the network is busy.

How to lower your mobile bill

Going with a prepaid plan is a great way to keep your bill low. But here are some other tips to keep in mind.

  • Get the right plan: Do you really need unlimited data? Many people are overpaying when they could be happy with a 10GB plan that’s cheaper.
  • Get the family together: Many carriers offer steep discounts when you add multiple lines to your plan. Check for family plan deals (oftentimes you don’t actually have to be blood family to bundle together).
  • Look for deals: It’s easy to switch between prepaid cellular plans. You can take advantage of introductory deals and switch when the price goes up.

Internet and mobile bundles

Speaking of mobile plan deals, many internet service providers offer their own prepaid mobile services. You can save money on both your internet and mobile plans when you switch to a bundle deal. Check out our list of the best mobile and internet bundles to see if you qualify.

Mint Mobile: Best overall prepaid phone plan

Mint Mobile’s incredibly affordable unlimited plan gives users the perfect mix of performance and value.
Mint Mobile
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
bullet Very affordable
bullet Great 5G coverage
bullet Deprioritized data
Starting at
$15.00
/mo

Mint Mobile is known for its clever Ryan Reynolds commercials and offering the lowest promotional prices in the industry. But the hype is real. Mint isn’t just one of the best prepaid cell phone carriers—it’s one of the best cell phone plans, period

What’s so great about Mint Mobile? Let’s start with the price. When you sign up, you can get unlimited talk, text, and data for just $15 a month for the first three months. After that, your price will go up to $30 a month, but that’s still a great deal.

Mint Mobile Unlimited data Plan details

Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s network towers. That means customers will enjoy the largest and fastest 5G network in the country. Coverage in urban and suburban areas will be great in most areas, though there might be some issues in very rural parts of the West.

Mint’s unlimited data plan comes with 40GB of full-speed data. That data will be fast enough to do most activities, like stream video, hop on a Zoom call, or play some PUBG Mobile. But it will still experience deprioritization when compared to the data that T-Mobile customers have.

Other perks that you get with Mint Mobile include unlimited hotspot data, unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada, and, of course, no contracts!

Who should get Mint Mobile?

Mint Mobile is a great all-around pick for the whole family. It comes with enough data for teenagers and a low price tag for the parents. It’s ideal for students on a budget or jetsetters who want to work while they're on the road with a hotspot.

One Mint Mobile user (username sakter73) posted on Reddit saying they’d been a “customer of Mint since the early days of MintSim. My family and friends, at least nine of us, are all customers since then as well. We've had a great experience. We've had multiple phones during that time, both Android (mostly Motorola) and Apple, and we've had smooth service that ‘just works.’ We live in the suburbs of a major city, and we travel around the region, both rural and urban, and I can't say that I've ever had a problem.”

The biggest limitations are the overall data speeds and the gaps in rural coverage. If you want to stream 4K video or you live off the grid, then Mint Mobile might not be the right choice.

Visible Wireless: Best for premium data

Get better performance with Visible’s high priority data cap, low price, and Verizon-run network
Visible
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
bullet Best nationwide coverage
bullet 50GB priority data + ultra wide band 5G coverage
bullet Not the cheapest
Starting at
$25.00
/mo

Visible Wireless is another carrier that makes it onto both this list of the best prepaid plans and the list of the best regular cell phone plans. That’s because Visible gives you an affordable way to get premium data on Verizon’s network.

What’s so great about Verizon’s network? First of all, it has the best rural coverage. If you travel often or live off the beaten path, then Verizon’s towers are the most likely to give you bars. But Verizon’s network also includes a highly advanced type of 5G that gives those connected to it unprecedented mobile data speeds.

With the Visible+ Unlimited Plan you can get 50GB of unthrottled data on Verizon’s network (including truly unlimited data if you're connected to Ultra Wide Band 5G). Here’s a look at the details of this prepaid plan.

Visible Wireless Visible+ Plan

At $45 a month, this is on the pricey end of the prepaid cell phone plan market. But we think there are several factors that make it worth the money.

First of all, 50GB of full-speed data is as much as you get from some postpaid plans from the big players, like AT&T. This premium data is great for gaming, streaming, downloading music, and doing anything else on your phone. If you’re in range of one of Verizon’s 5G towers, you’ll get even faster speeds (and no data limit).

Secondly, the Visible+ prepaid plan comes with plenty of nice perks. You get a free Global Pass every month that lets you use your service in 140 different countries. You can also use your phone as a mobile hotspot as much as you want.

You can get some money shaved off your monthly Visible prepaid bill by referring friends (for everyone you refer you get $20 off) or by paying for your service all at once. If you sign up for the “$395 Visible+ Annual Plan,” then it works out to just about $33 a month or $1.08 a day.

You can sign up for Visible for free
Deals

Right now, Visible is offering a free 15-day trial for new customers who have compatible unlocked cell phones! If you don’t like the service after 15 days, you’re not obligated to pay a single penny.

Who should get Visible Wireless?

Visible’s prepaid unlimited plans are great for those who want great coverage and high-performance data but don’t want to pay full price to go with Verizon. It’s ideal for rural homes that need a hotspot device or for urban professionals who need to be constantly connected.

One Visible customer posted on Reddit under the name Dandizzle14 to say: “I’ve had Visible for a year and I have been quite impressed with the service. I switched from Verizon and I can say I’ve noticed no discernible differences. I also had to contact customer support when I lost my phone and they were very helpful and accommodating transferring service to a new device. For my needs, Visible has been everything I need. I stream YouTube and browse the web often and I haven’t had issues.”

The Visible+ plan is an especially good deal in cities where Verizon has Ultra Wide Band 5G (cities like Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Miami, and Philadelphia). If you’re connected to that 5G network you will get amazing speeds and have no data limit!

US Mobile: Best prepaid family plan

Get three unlimited lines on US Mobile for less than the price of a single unlimited plan from the Big Three.
US Mobile
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
bullet Very low prices
bullet Great coverage
bullet Not the best data performance
Starting at
$60.00/mo. for 3 unlimited lines

US Mobile is one of the cheapest prepaid phone carriers on the market. It gives users the choice to use either the “Warp 5G” network (Verizon) or “GSM 5G” network (T-Mobile). Whichever you choose, you’ll have access to 4G, LTE, and 5G network coverage.

US Mobile has a wide range of plans, from an almost free no-data prepaid plan to unlimited data prepaid plans with 100GB of priority data. But we’re going to focus on the company’s family plans here because that’s where we think the best deals are.

For example, you can get a prepaid US Mobile unlimited plan with three lines for just $60 a month! That includes a $5 per line discount you’ll get for the first 6 months. The normal price would be $75 a month ($25 per line), which still makes it cheaper than many single-line plans from AT&T or Verizon.

US Mobile prepaid unlimited family plan with three lines

With the US Mobile Unlimited Starter prepaid family plan, you get 35GB of priority, unthrottled data per line. This plan also gives you 10GB of mobile hotspot data per line. Plus, if you sign up now, you score a 30-day free trial and up to $100 in prepaid cards.

Who should get US Mobile?

US Mobile is great for individuals or families who want a cheap and bare-bones unlimited data plan. With 35GB of priority data, the Unlimited Starter Plan isn’t the best for data hogs who scroll TikTok all day, but it should work for more casual use.

Korbin2600 on Reddit says, “US Mobile's customer service is by far the best of any MVNO I've used so far.” That’s great news. There’s nothing worse than a phone company that can’t be bothered to pick up the phone.

Another Reddit user who recently switched to US Mobile wrote, "The porting process was within 5 minutes. Service was up so quickly and everything I've read and heard is positive. Farewell Google Fi. It's a breath of fresh air. Also their plans are intelligent and customizable, including international travel with an eSIM. The only downside I've experienced is no longer being able to use transcription services for Voicemail (Visual Voicemail).”

Tello: Best talk and text plan

Get unlimited talk and text plus a dollop of data for under $10 a month
Tello
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
bullet Unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of data
bullet Good nationwide network
bullet Not the best unlimited plans
Starting at
$9.00
/mo

With Tello you can get unlimited talk and text, plus 1GB of data, for under $10 a month. It’s a perfect prepaid plan for older folks or younger children who only use their phones for texting, phone calls, and emergencies.

In fact, Tello tops the list of the best no-data plans. That’s because it lets you customize your prepaid plan with exactly how many minutes and texts you need and how much data you want. You’ll be on T-Mobile’s network, which means decent nationwide coverage and very fast download speeds.

We’re partial to the 1GB plan because even those who aren’t scrolling through social media all day sometimes need a little bit of data. Having enough data to occasionally use Google Maps or send a short video can be a life saver.

Tello Unlimited Talk, Text, and 1GB prepaid plan

A cell phone plan that’s just $9 a month is an excellent deal. But you can get your prepaid cell phone bill from Tello down even lower if you opt for no data and fewer minutes andtexts.

While there aren’t many perks with Tello, you can use your data allotment for mobile hotspots. You can also use your minutes to call 60+ foreign countries. If you refer a friend who signs up for Tello, you’ll also get a $10 account credit (as will your friend).

Who should get Tello?

Tello is perfect for parents who want a plan for their kids. There’s not a ton of data or fancy perks that will keep your kid glued to the screen when they should be doing homework. It’s just a cheap and simple plan that allows them to call or text you.

We also think Tello is a good option for folks who have multiple devices. You might want an unlimited data plan for your personal phone, but Tello’s cheap data plans can be perfect for a business device that just needs basic service.

Spectrum Mobile: Best for bundling

Cheap unlimited data and tons of amazing perks
Spectrum
4 out of 5 stars
4
bullet Affordable price
bullet Unlimited mobile hotspot
Starting at
$29.99
/mo

Spectrum is primarily known for its internet and cable TV services. But, like many other internet companies, it has recently launched a prepaid, MVNO cell phone service.

The thing that makes Spectrum Mobile different from other prepaid providers is that you have to be a Spectrum Internet customer to sign up. But, once you’re in, you’ll get amazing deals.

Spectrum Mobile offers two unlimited data plans on Verizon’s powerful 4G/5G network. The cheaper of the two will give you 30GB of priority data, unlimited mobile hotspot, and 5G access for just $30 a month.

Spectrum Mobile Unlimited Data prepaid plan

Who should get Spectrum Mobile?

Every Spectrum internet customer should definitely consider Spectrum Mobile. It offers more bang for your buck than pretty much any other carrier out there. The same goes for Xfinity customers who can get on Xfinity Mobile.

Recap

These are the five best prepaid MVNO plans
  • Best overall: Mint Mobile’s unlimited data plan costs just $15 a month for the first three months. Even after it goes up to the regular price, it’s the best mix of value and performance out there.
  • Best for premium data: For those who want faster data speeds and better nationwide coverage in rural areas, we recommend the Visible+ plan.
  • Best family plan: You can score a three-line prepaid unlimited data plan from US Mobile for just $60 a month, plus you get to choose between Verizon or T-Mobile’s networks.
  • Best talk and text plan: Tello’s $9 plan gives you unlimited talk and text on T-Mobile’s network, plus 1GB of data for emergencies.
  • Best for bundling: Spectrum customers can get unprecedented deals on internet and mobile service when they bundle together. It’s hard to beat $30 a month for unlimited talk, text, data, and tons of perks.

Methodology

Every review that we write begins with a serious, in-depth research phase. For this article on the best prepaid cell phone reviews, we began by looking at dozens of plans from different prepaid providers. We narrowed down our picks by looking at expert analysis, customer reviews, and our own proprietary data.

We made our final picks by weighing these different cell phone plan features.

  1. Price
  2. Network coverage
  3. Data performance (deprioritization and priority data)
  4. Data allotment
  5. Customer service
  6. Perks

We hope we’ve helped you pick out a plan that fits your particular needs. Let us know if we missed something with the Contact Us button below!

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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