- T-Mobile offers the highest 5G coverage in Illinois, covering 99.22% of the state.
- Verizon is a great option for rural areas, covering 99.76% of Illinois.
- AT&T has the best coverage across the state, covering 99.99% of the area.
- Visible is an affordable option that works with Verizon phone lines.
- Mint Mobile offers access to T-Mobile’s 5G network for less money.
- Xfinity Wireless is a good choice for Comcast subscribers who want to bundle their phone plan with home internet or TV services.
With so much to see and do in the cities, Illinois is a great place to live or travel to. However, there are still some rural areas, especially as you travel further north. Whether you live in the city or a small town, you’ll want a great cell phone plan with excellent coverage. Here are our top picks for the six best cell phone plans in Illinois that you can sign up for right now.
The 6 Best Cell Phone Plans in Illinois
Although there are more options available, these are our favorite cell phone plans in Illinois based on our research about coverage, price, and features.
T-Mobile may not offer the highest overall coverage area, but it does offer the highest 5G coverage. T-Mobile covers 99.22% of Illinois, and 95.63% is 5G. So if you’d prefer 5G data, T-Mobile will give you the best coverage.
While T-Mobile has many different plans, including postpaid and prepaid, we’re going to focus on some of the most popular plans that they offer — Magenta Max, Magenta, and the Go5G Plan.
Magenta Max is $85 a month for one line and $46 for five lines. While this may seem expensive, the plan offers quite a bit, including unlimited texts, calls, and premium data. You’ll also get Netflix on two screens within a household and 40GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data.
The Magenta Plan is fairly similar but it is cheaper per line. You can pay $70 for one user or as little as $36 per line with a family plan and still get unlimited texts, talk, and data for up to five users. You’ll also still get a Netflix account for one screen. Plus, each line gets 5GB of mobile hotspot data.
The Go5G plan is $75 for one line or $180 per month for up to five. It includes all of the unlimited phone plan benefits, including unlimited 5G & 4G LTE, plus you also get 100GB of premium data and 15GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data.
Verizon covers 99.76% of Illinois and is one of the best options if you live in a more rural area. However, the postpaid plans are fairly expensive unless you have a family plan, so keep that in mind.
The two plans we’ll be discussing are the Unlimited Welcome and Unlimited Plus. The Unlimited Welcome plan is the cheaper of the two, with one line priced at $60 a month. However, it’s significantly less expensive the more lines you get, with four lines being just $25 a month per line.
The Welcome plan offers unlimited talk, text, and data. However, you’ll be on the standard version of Verizon’s 5G network, so your speeds may be slightly slower than those who pay for Unlimited Plus. But even with that, this is a great plan for most families.
The second plan, Unlimited Plus, includes everything that the Welcome plan offers, but with a few extras. First, you’ll get better options and rebates for certain phones, which you won’t get with the Welcome plan. You’ll also be able to access unlimited premium 5G data, and 30GB of hotspot data for each line. For a single line, you’ll spend $65 a month, but four lines, that drops to $30 per line per month.
Luckily, no matter which plan you choose, you can add two “perks” for an additional $10 a month, which is a steal! The potential perks include a Disney+ Premium, Hulu, ESPN+ bundle plan, Apple Music and Apple TV+, a Walmart+ membership, Apple Music Family, and 2TB of cloud storage, just to name a few.
Technically, AT&T offers the best coverage across the state of Illinois, covering 99.99% of the area. So if you want coverage no matter where you go, this is the phone plan to choose.
The top two phone plan options are the Unlimited Extra plan and the Unlimited Premium plan. These two plans are postpaid and can be cheaper when you add multiple lines.
The first option — Unlimited Extra — is $75 per month for a single line or $40 per line for a family of four plan. You’ll get unlimited everything, including data. And you’ll also get 50GB of high-speed data before speeds start to slow. The plan also has 15GB of mobile hotspot, which is helpful if you travel quite a bit or need it for other devices.
The Unlimited Premium plan includes everything that the Extra plan has but with unlimited high-speed data and 4K UHD streaming too. You’ll also get 50GB of mobile hotspot data instead of 15GB. This plan is $85 per month for a single line but drops to $50 per line for a family plan of four or more lines.
No matter which plan you choose, you can also sign up for the “Next Up” option. This is an extra $5 per month, but it allows you to upgrade to a new phone once you’ve paid off half of your current phone. This is great if you prefer getting a new phone more often.
Visible is an MVNO that works with Verizon phone lines. So you’ll get the same quality of service and coverage but for less money each month.
There are only two phone plans — Visible and Visible+. And, something different with Visible is that you can only sign up for a single line. So this is great for single people who don’t want to sign up for family plans to save money.
The original Visible plan offers unlimited data, talk, and texting. It also offers a hotspot with no data caps. Last but not least, you’ll get access to international calling in both Canada and Mexico. This plan is just $30 for a single phone line.
The Visible+ plan includes everything the regular plan has but with a few extras. They include 5G Ultra Wideband, international calling and texting to over 30 countries, and the ability to get discounted home internet through Verizon. The Visible+ plan is just $45 per month for a single line.
Both plans also have a referral program, where you’ll get $20 for each referral you send to Visible. This $20 is applied to your next billing cycle, lowering your phone bill even more.
Whichever plan you choose, you won’t have to sign up for an annual contract. However, since Verizon lines power Visible, your data speeds may be slower during times of network congestion.
Similar to Visible, Mint Mobile is an MVNO. However, the company works with T-Mobile lines instead of Verizon lines. So this is a great MVNO if you want access to 5G data for less.
Mint Mobile offers multiple plans with varying data options. Each plan includes unlimited texting and calling, no matter which one you choose. The most expensive plan is just $30 a month for unlimited text, talk, and data.
The plans include a 5GB plan, 15GB plan, 20GB plan, and Unlimited plan. So it really depends on how much data you need each month. The 5GB plan is $15 a month, 15GB is $20 a month, 20GB is $25 per month, and the Unlimited plan is $30 per month.
No matter which plan you use, you’ll need to prepay for three months, six months, or 12 months at a time. However, the more you pay for it, the bigger your discount. For example, if you pay for the Unlimited plan for a full 12 months, you’ll only pay $15 per month, saving 50%.
Want to bundle your phone plan with your home internet or TV services? If so, Xfinity Wireless may be the best phone plan for you. First, keep in mind that you can only sign up for Xfinity Wireless if you’re a current Comcast subscriber. If you are, you’ll get access to Verizon’s network via the Xfinity MVNO.
Xfinity Wireless offers a few major plans, and all include unlimited talk and text. If you sign up for the lowest plan of $15 per line per month, each phone will get 1GB of data each month. We don’t recommend this plan since 1GB isn’t a lot, and you’ll be charged an additional $15 per GB if you go over it.
The best option is the intro Unlimited data plan, which is $45 for a single line per month. This drops to $30 per month for two to four users, and for five lines or more it is only $20 per month. However, it includes unlimited 5G and 4G LTE data, the highest video resolution possible when connected to 5G, and unlimited hotspot data at 600kbps.
Cell Phone Plan Recommendations
|Price||$36+/per line per month||$25+/per line per month|
|Family Plan Options||Yes||Yes|
|Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data||Yes||Yes|
|Price||$40+/per line per month||$30/per line per month|
|Family Plan Options||Yes||No|
|Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data||Yes||Yes|
|Mint Mobile||Xfinity Wireless|
|Price||$15+/per line per month||$15+/per line per month|
|Family Plan Options||No||Yes|
|Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data||Yes||Yes|
Picking the Best Cell Phone Provider in Illinois
What should you look for when choosing a cell phone provider? Here are our top recommendations.
Luckily for Illinois residents, all of the carriers we’ve discussed provide over 95% of the coverage area in the state. However, if you prefer rural coverage, AT&T may be your best bet.
Unlimited Talk and Text
Almost all phone carriers offer plans with unlimited talk and text and for good reason! You shouldn’t have to pay per minute or text you use. Luckily, these plans are still fairly inexpensive, so shop around for the best price for the number of lines on your account.
For many cell phone users, data is important. So look into your data plan if you have a family plan. Do you get unlimited data? Do you have to share your data with the other lines on your plan? Or do you each get your own data limits? This is crucial if you’re a heavy data user.
Another important factor is data priority. Keep in mind that MVNOs run on other companies’ towers and phone lines, so you may experience slower speeds when the network is busy. This is because the customers of the main carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, are a higher priority. If this is an issue for you, you may not want to sign up with an MVNO if you live in a large city.
The 6 Best Cell Phone Plans in Illinois Wrap Up
With so many different cell phone plans across the state, Illinois residents will have no difficulties finding a great plan with the features they need. Although you can’t go wrong with any of the six best plans on our list, here are our top recommendations.
|Best Coverage||AT&T at 99.99% of the state|
|Best Plan for an Individual||Mint Mobile 5GB plan at $15 a month|
|Best Family Plan||Verizon at $25 a month per line for four users|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Akhenaton Images/Shutterstock.com.