The 7 Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans

Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans

The 7 Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans

Key Points

  • Mint Mobile offers some of the cheapest prepaid phone plans with low monthly rates and access to T-Mobile’s fast 5G network.
  • AT&T’s prepaid plans are a great deal if you can afford to prepay the entire year upfront, with no contracts or hidden fees.
  • Tello provides affordable prepaid phone plans with reliable service and the option for unlimited coverage.
  • TextNow offers the absolute cheapest prepaid phone plan, with basic text and call service available for free.

Finding the cheapest prepaid phone plans that work for you can be daunting. There are many mobile service providers that offer prepaid coverage. Finding affordable and decent coverage is something else entirely, however.

If you’re looking for mobile service but don’t want to deal with the commitment of contracts, then prepaid is the way to go. You’re effectively only paying for the services you need, without being concerned with all the extra perks some providers have.

This guide will be going over seven of the cheapest overall prepaid plans around today. Phones from all major manufacturers should work without issue on these plans. Also, you should just assume all of these plans are bring-your-own-device plans, to help keep costs down.

7. Mint Mobile: Overall Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans

Mint Mobile is one of the cheapest prepaid phone plans by any metric. Users can lock in low monthly rates with options like autopay and purchasing months of service in bulk.

There are multiple plans offering up premium data. You also get access to unlimited talk and text, for users just looking to use their phone as a phone.

Mint has been one of the most affordable options on the market since the service debuted. That won’t be changing anytime soon given the recent bout of promotions and sales on monthly service bundles.

You’re looking at plans starting at $15 a month. You can start family plans just by paying an additional $15 or so per line. As such, you can get super affordable coverage using a highly reliable base network.

What Makes It Great

Mint uses T-Mobile as the backbone of its mobile network. That means users are getting access to one of the fastest 5G networks in the continental United States.

Mint also makes no secret about your needing to bring your own device. This helps keeps overall costs low and helps you to pick a phone that works best for your needs.

Mint is a great prepaid plan that doesn’t come with any hidden fees. If you exceed your monthly data cap, you’re just going to be stuck with slower data. As such, you won’t be paying exorbitant overages like some plans on the market.

6. AT&T: Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans for Bulk Rates

Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans
There are many options for affordable prepaid phone plans.

©Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

AT&T is one of the oldest phone providers in the world, and they offer up some of the cheapest prepaid phone plans on the market today.

AT&T’s prepaid option doesn’t have 5G coverage, unfortunately. That said, it is one of the best deals you can get on the market today.

AT&T’s wireless coverage is solid too, so you should have strong service no matter where you end up. AT&T’s monthly cost isn’t as low as Mint, but it does offer some solid promotions for continual service.

What Makes It Great

AT&T doesn’t have the edge against many prepaid providers. What does set it apart is the deal you can get when using its prepaid service.

You can lock in monthly rates of $25 a month provided you prepay the entire year upfront. This might not be an option for folks on a budget.

That said, if you can afford it, you get access to the full AT&T device catalog and get reliable coverage at a low rate for an entire year. There are no contracts or hidden fees for the service.

One drawback, however, is that you will have to pay for data overages when exceeding the 16GB provided every month.

5. Tello: Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans for Unlimited Coverage

Tello is similar to Mint in many regards. As a company, it strives to provide some of the cheapest prepaid phone plans available on the market today.

You won’t be snagging extra amenities or perks with Tello, but you’ll have reliable service at an affordable rate.

Tello’s basic economy plan starts at $19 a month for 5GB of premium data. For an extra $10 a month, you can go up to Tello’s unlimited plan, meaning you won’t be worried about data caps.

What Makes It Great

Tello utilizes T-Mobile as its primary network, so you can expect great speeds and reliable coverage. Tello also doesn’t charge for overages on the data cap provided.

If you go past 5GB a month, you’ll be looking at 2G speeds until the month resets. This helps keep the costs down and makes sure you’re not left without email access in the interim.

4. TextNow: The Absolute Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans on the Market

TextNow is the absolute cheapest prepaid phone plan on this list. If you’re just after basic text and call service, you can get it for free.

Now, there are some catches to this, as you might imagine. You’ll have to spend $4.99 to get the SIM kit to install on your phone.

After that, if you’re just looking for the basic services of a cell phone, you’ll be well handled. Data and the like will cost an extra fee though. You’ll be looking at $19 a month for 2GB of data, which isn’t great.

What Makes It Great

TextNow utilizes T-Mobile for all aspects of its services. As such, you get reliable text and voice calls on a stable network.

If you do opt for the data option, the monthly fee will eliminate ads from the app. TextNow doesn’t offer up a ton of data at affordable prices, but it’s enough for the bare essentials.

If you aren’t huge on streaming and just need basic phone service, TextNow more than handles it. If you can stomach some ads in the app when you’re on Wi-Fi, it’s well worth the $5 you’ll spend for the SIM kit.

3. Metro by T-Mobile: Flexible Prepaid Phone Plans for Families

Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans
You don’t have to enter into a contract to get reliable phone service.

©Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.com

After all the prepaid networks using T-Mobile, it was only a matter of time before the network owner was covered. Metro is one of the overall cheapest prepaid phone plans on the market for family usage.

You can get up to four lines of coverage for $100 a month. This isn’t cheaper than Mint but does provide a great base-level service with unlimited data every month.

If you’ve got kids that are addicted to streaming, this might be the best option for you. Metro also runs promotions where you can lock in a lower monthly rate during certain times of the year.

What Makes It Great

Metro uses the same exact network as T-Mobile. Unlike Mint, Tello, and TextNow, you get access to all the perks from T-Mobile, however.

This means you qualify for T-Mobile’s Tuesday giveaways, 5G data access, and 35GB of premium data every month. There aren’t a lot of perks to speak of, but the savings more than adds up on a monthly basis.

2. Visible by Verizon: Great Rates for Unlimited Data

Verizon has been absent from this list. Visible from Verizon is one of the cheapest prepaid phone plans to offer up unlimited data.

Now, with most prepaid and contract plans you’ll see the word unlimited and get a chunk of premium data. This eventually gets depleted and you’re stuck with slower mobile internet access until the month is up.

Visible’s $45 a month Plus plan isn’t different in this regard. You do get access to 50GB of data on Verizon’s 5G network, however

What Makes It Great

Visible’s Plus plan uses Verizon’s already stellar mobile network. You get super-fast speeds for a relatively low monthly cost.

If you’re looking for other perks or lower prices, Visible isn’t likely to be the choice for you. You have a set rate every month, however.

This stable set monthly rate is great right up until you’re considering other lines. If you’re looking for family plans, there are definitely better options. If you’re flying solo and just need high-speed data, Visible is a great choice.

1. Verizon: Best Overall Coverage Available

Verizon’s basic service does offer up prepaid plans. These aren’t as high-speed as the example set by Visible, but it is one of the cheapest prepaid phone plans with great coverage.

Verizon has made no secret about providing nationwide coverage. You get access to their stellar network coverage while paying an affordable $35 a month. You do get access to 5G mobile internet with 15GB of premium data available every month.

What Makes It Great

Verizon has incredible coverage, with most of the United States being in its service range. If you’re big on travel, Verizon’s prepaid plan is great for making sure you’re not using roaming data, voice, or text services.

It isn’t the overall cheapest plan, but it is the best when it comes down to coverage. Verizon has better overall coverage than the offerings utilizing T-Mobile or AT&T’s network as the backbone for their services.

The 7 Cheapest Prepaid Phone Plans FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the cheapest overall prepaid phone plan?

That honor goes to TextNow, which costs a paltry $4.99 one time for the SIM kit. After that, your service is free if you’re okay with putting up with ads in the TextNow app.

What is the best overall prepaid phone plan?

Mint makes a fairly strong showing when compared to other plans. It is highly affordable while being flexible enough to add additional lines for the same low rates.

Is Verizon's prepaid service good?

If you’re after no-frills coverage across a huge landmass, Verizon is a great choice. It is hindered by the data cap, however.

Do all prepaid phone plans have data caps?

Most phone plans have data caps. What the company does when you exceed it is the real difference. Some just switch you to lower speeds while others charge you for each additional GB of data used.

Are prepaid plans better than contract plans?

Prepaid plans definitely have their benefits. They are super flexible, so if you do find a better rate elsewhere, you can just cancel the service and move to the next provider. Contract plans are great for stable rates and loyal customer discounts. It really is just more about weighing what works better for you.

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