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Last UpdatedFeb 2023

Top 10 Best Cell Phone Companies of 2023

Whether you're in need of an all around family plan, or a simple plan for you and your partner, finding the right cell phone provider is essential.

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Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a cell phone plan cost?
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A cell phone might cost from as little as $8 per month and up to $70 per month, depending on what kind of plan you're looking for. Choose the best plan according to your needs and the number of people for which you need the plan.
Do you need unlimited data?
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Unlimited data may sound like a good idea on paper, but the truth is most people don't really need an unlimited data plan. Since these plans can get pricey, it's better to opt for a cheaper plan with limited data within what you will actually use.
How much data do you really need?
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People use about 6GB on average, so it's a good thing to keep in mind when choosing your cell phone plan. Unlimited plan can give you peace of mind, but they tend to be more expensive.
Should you get postpaid, prepaid, or resold service?
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If you want unlimited calls and texts, and getting proper customer service is important to you, you should probably stick with the traditional postpaid cell phone plan. In this plan, you get a cell phone bill after using it. A prepaid plan means you pay upfront, so you can save $10-$20 a month, but you will have a limited amount of data, and no customer service to consult with should a problem arise. Resold services are often very limited in bandwidth and speed, so you'll need to consider that if you're thinking of opting for a resold service.
How do you determine which network has the best coverage for you?
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First, it's a good idea to check the network coverage of your preferred carrier. After doing so, check the differences between different operators (don't forget to try prepaid carriers as well).
Who is the #1 cell phone carrier?
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The best cell phone carrier depends on your needs. Mint Mobile offers affordable high-speed data plans with great coverage. Tello offers free international calling, while AT&T has one of the best 5G networks available now.
Who has the best cell phone coverage?
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If coverage is your priority, consider choosing one of the major carriers—Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile—rather than an MVNO. Verizon offers the best coverage in rural areas, while AT&T has the best 5G coverage in cities.
Which wireless carrier is best?
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For value, coverage, and reliability, Mint Mobile is the overall best wireless carrier today. It offers affordable plans with plenty of high-speed data and you can try out the carrier risk-free for seven days.

Introduction

There’s nothing worse than trying to make a call or send a text, only to find that there’s no cell service in your area or the network is clogged with traffic. Not being able to get a message out when you need to can effectively turn the advanced smartphone in your pocket into a useless paperweight. 

That’s why it’s so important to find a reliable cell phone carrier. In this guide, we’ll review the 10 best cell phone companies available today. We consider everything from coverage and pricing to data allotments, so you can pick the right provider for your needs.

What to Look for in the Best Cell Phone Providers

What makes the top cell phone providers stand out? We’ll take a closer look at several factors that influence a provider’s affordability, reliability, and overall quality.

Cell phone plan price

Cell phone providers can charge widely differing amounts for what might appear to be the same level of service. It’s important to dig into providers’ pricing to find out whether there are limitations on talk, text, or data, and whether an unlimited data plan is really unlimited after all.

If you’re looking for cellular coverage for a whole family, look for providers that offer family plans that can save you money.

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) offers

MVNOs are carriers that piggyback on the cellular networks of major telecom companies like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. MVNOs can offer much cheaper prices, but you typically get second-tier status when the networks are busy. So, think carefully about whether the money savings are worth a slight decrease in reliability.

Network coverage and service

All of the major cellular carriers claim to provide nationwide coverage in the US, but coverage can still vary quite a bit depending on where you are. Some carriers offer better coverage in some areas, especially for LTE and 5G data speeds. Be sure to check coverage maps for your region when deciding on a cell phone provider.

Deals and features

Cell phone providers occasionally have introductory offers or deals that can help them stand out. For example, if your family needs new phones, you might be able to find appealing offers such as buy one, get one free when you sign up for a new cellular plan.

The Best Cell Phone Companies in 2022

1. Mint Mobile

Affordable coverage with plenty of high-speed data

Best for: Low-cost 5G data

Price per month: From $15/month

Money-back guarantee: Seven days

Uptime: 100%

Mint Mobile is an MVNO that piggybacks on T-Mobile cell towers. It offers some of the lowest prices around for 5G data, with plans starting at just $15 per month for 4GB of data. All Mint Mobile plans include unlimited talk and text, and you can connect WiFi devices to cellular data via a mobile hotspot. 

Mint Mobile has impressive uptime for an MVNO, eliminating any concerns about reliability. Plus, the company offers a seven-day money-back guarantee so that you can try out Mint Mobile’s service in your area before committing to a plan. Mint Mobile requires a minimum plan term of three months, but there are no contracts longer than 12 months.

Pros:

  • Affordable plans offering 5G data

  • Use your data as a mobile hotspot

  • Introductory offer for new customers

Cons:

  • Hotspot limited to 5GB for unlimited plans

  • No month-to-month plans

Mint Mobile Mint Mobile Visit Site

2. Tello

Free international calling to more than 60 countries

Best for: Making international calls

Price per month: From $5/month

Money-back guarantee: None

Uptime: 99.6%

Tello offers free international calls to over 60 countries with every plan, making it an ideal cellular provider for international travel or those who have family and friends abroad. Plus, plans with limited minutes and no data start from just $5 per month.

Tello offers an unlimited talk, text, and data plan for $29 per month, which is competitive with other top MVNOs. High-speed data is limited to 25GB and all data plans include the option to use your phone as a hotspot.

Tello doesn’t have contracts and you can change your monthly minute and data allotments as frequently as every month. All Tello plans include 24/7 customer service. 

Pros:

  • No contracts

  • Free international calling to over 60 countries

  • Cheap calling plans with no data

Cons:

  • Unlimited plan limited to 25GB of high-speed data

  • Highly variable coverage

Tello Tello Visit Site

3. AT&T

Unlimited plans with outstanding 5G coverage

Best for: Access to 5G networks

Price per month: From $50/month

Money-back guarantee: None

Uptime: 99.99%

AT&T is one of the major cellular network providers in the US, and the company has been leading the charge for 5G. AT&T boasts more 5G coverage than any other carrier, although 5G networks are still mostly limited to cities. 

AT&T cell phone plans are somewhat pricey, with options for a single phone line starting at $50 per month. The company offers discounts if you sign up for multiple phone plans. Unlimited talk, text, and data for four phones, for example, costs $35 per line per month.

All AT&T plans include unlimited talk and text, and most include the ActiveArmor mobile security app to block spam.

Pros:

  • Widespread 5G coverage

  • Discounts for multiple lines

  • ActiveArmor security app included

Cons:

  • Expensive pricing for a single phone

  • Hotspot data is severely limited

AT&T AT&T Visit Site

4. Visible

Truly unlimited 5G data

Best for: Unlimited high-speed data

Price per month: From $30/month

Money-back guarantee: 15-day free trial

Uptime: 100%

Visible offers only two plans, both with unlimited talk, text, and data. The more expensive, premium Visible+ plan, which costs $45 per month, includes roaming data in Canada and Mexico plus international calling to over 30 countries.

What’s unique about Visible’s unlimited plans is that they’re really unlimited—Visible doesn’t throttle your data speeds after a certain amount of data use. You can use as much 5G data or use your phone as a hotspot as much as you want each month. 

Visible is an MVNO operating on the Verizon network. Service is very reliable, especially in rural parts of the US where other providers have more spotty coverage.

Pros:

  • Unlimited high-speed data with no bandwidth limits

  • Offers roaming data in Canada and Mexico

  • Reliable coverage

Cons:

  • No cheaper plans with limited data

  • No family plans

Visible Visible Visit Site

5. T-Mobile

Discounted plans for seniors, veterans, and first responders

Best for: Couples aged 55 and older

Price per month: From $55/month

Money-back guarantee: None

Uptime: 100%

T-Mobile recently merged with Sprint and now claims one of the largest networks of high-speed cellular towers in the US. It offers a range of unlimited data plans for individuals and stands out for offering discounts to active-duty military members, veterans, and first responders.

In addition, T-Mobile has special cell phone plans for couples who are aged 55 and older. These Unlimited 55+ plans include two lines with unlimited talk, text, and data starting at $55 per month. Premium plans also include a Netflix subscription and AAA membership as perks.

T-Mobile does not require annual contracts. Customer service is available 24/7.

Pros:

  • Discounts for active-duty military, veterans, and first responders

  • Offers Netflix and AAA subscriptions

  • Fast-growing 5G network

Cons:

  • Expensive for individual lines

  • Very limited hotspot data

T-Mobile T-Mobile Visit Site

6. Boost Mobile

Affordable 5G data plans for individuals

Best for: Mobile hotspot data plans

Price per month: From $8.33/month

Money-back guarantee: None

Uptime: 99%

Boost Mobile is an MVNO that offers cellular plans starting at just $8.33 per month for new customers. There’s a relatively wide range of plans to choose from, all of which offer unlimited talk and text, plus varying amounts of 5G data.

Unlimited data plans start at $50 per month, making Boost Mobile slightly more expensive than competitors. Boost also charges an activation fee if you bring your own device.

If you plan to use your phone as a hotspot frequently, Boost Mobile offers hotspot data plans starting from $15 per month. The company also offers a hotspot device that can connect up to 16 devices for a one-time payment of $9.99.

Pros:

  • Cheap plans offering limited high-speed data

  • Hotspot data plans available

  • Wide selection of phones

Cons:

  • Moderately expensive unlimited data plans

  • Activation fee if you bring your own phone

Boost Mobile Boost Mobile Visit Site

7. Cricket

5G data plans with tons of add-ons

Best for: Highly customizable plans

Price per month: From $30/month

Money-back guarantee: None

Uptime: 99%

Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T and uses the AT&T network, so it’s one of the more reliable MVNOs out there. This carrier offers plans starting from $30 per month with 5GB of high-speed data (5G or 4G LTE), so it’s not suitable if you’re looking for a cheap plan that’s light on data. The Cricket Wireless Unlimited plan, which costs $55 per month, won’t throttle your data after a certain amount of bandwidth.

What’s great about Cricket is that you can customize your plan with a selection of add-ons. These extras include international calling, mobile hotspot data, or additional high-speed data. Cricket also offers data-only plans starting from $35 per month, which you won’t find from most other carriers.

Pros:

  • Customize your plan with add-ons

  • Unlimited plans with no data throttling

  • Supports international calling

Cons:

  • No cheap plans with minimal high-speed data

  • International texts to 37 countries only

Cricket Cricket Visit Site

8. Verizon

Huge selection of mobile plans to suit every situation

Best for: Mix-and-match family plans

Price per month: From $35/month

Money-back guarantee: None

Uptime: 100%

Verizon is one of the major carriers and is following closely on the heels of AT&T and T-Mobile in rolling out 5G coverage. Verizon often has better coverage in rural areas of the US as well, so it can be more reliable for frequent travelers. 

What’s unique about Verizon is that the company has a phone plan for seemingly every situation. There are prepaid data plans with unlimited talk and text, 5G plans with included hotspot data, and data-only plans for connecting tablets and other smart devices. Verizon makes it easy to mix-and-match plans to build a customized family plan.

Pros:

  • Wide range of plans with mix-and-match options

  • Excellent coverage across the US

  • Includes free subscriptions to major streaming services

Cons:

  • Expensive 5G plans

  • Plan offerings can be confusing

Verizon Verizon Visit Site

9. Xfinity Mobile

Share data across multiple lines

Best for: Xfinity internet customers

Price per month: From $15/month

Money-back guarantee: None

Uptime: 99%

Xfinity Mobile makes it easy to get the data you need for a whole family without paying for an expensive unlimited plan. You can purchase 1GB, 3GB, or 10GB of high-speed data per month and share the data allotment across as many lines as you want. Built-in alerts and metering help ensure that you don’t exceed your data limit. Each line gets unlimited talk and text.

Xfinity Mobile also offers an unlimited plan that costs $30 per line per month when you sign up for at least 2 lines. 

Note that Xfinity Mobile is only available for current Xfinity internet customers.

Pros:

  • Share data across multiple lines

  • Affordable unlimited data plan

  • Bring your own phone for free

Cons:

  • Only available to Xfinity internet customers

  • A limited selection of phones for sale

Xfinity Mobile Xfinity Mobile Visit Site

10. PureTalk

Affordable family plans with lots of data

Best for: Families that need up to four lines

Price per month: From $25/month

Money-back guarantee: 30 days

Uptime: 99%

PureTalk offers a wide range of prepaid plans with no contract and unlimited talk and text. All plans include high-speed data and unlimited plans start at $55 per month.

PureTalk offers discounts the more lines you add. It’ll take 10% off your bill for two lines, 15% off for three lines, or 20% off for four lines. That makes this carrier a great option for families who want to mix and match lines with different amounts of data while keeping their monthly costs as low as possible.

New PureTalk customers can also qualify for up to $250 off a new phone.

Pros:

  • Mix-and-match data plans

  • Discounts for adding multiple lines

  • Get up to $250 off a new phone

Cons:

  • No international data options

  • Doesn’t offer live chat support

Pure TalkUSA Pure TalkUSA Visit Site

The Guide to Choosing the Best Cell Phone Carrier and Plan for Your Needs

Choosing the right cell phone provider and plan can save you money. Want to learn about the different providers and how their pricing and plans differ?

With so many cell phone providers and plans available today, the options are nearly endless. Every cell phone carrier has different selling points, cell phone coverage, and all of their plans offer different amounts of minutes, data, and package costs.

So before buying a plan for yourself or your family, we thought we’d organize the madness to help you select the right one for your needs out of the phone providers ranked on this page. Now selecting a plan isn’t daunting and scary, but rather methodological and clear. So which cell phone plan from which mobile phone brand should you go with and where do you start?

Getting Started

Finding the right cell phone plan is all about knowing what you need, which is all about what you use your phone for. Are you a phone call kind-of-person, or do you spend most of your time texting? Do you spend your commutes to work catching up on the news and streaming videos, or do you prefer to listen to pre-downloaded audiobooks?

These are all questions you should be answering, as they will greatly help you whittle down your choices to find the right plan.

For Families

You must also take into account the people you’re purchasing the plan for. Buying a plan for yourself, where you know what you do and how many minutes or how much data you use is one thing, while buying one for your family is completely different.

If you’re going to be sharing a plan with a social media obsessed, series-streaming teen, you will get the most bang for your buck with a plan from Mint Mobile which offers unlimited plans for the first 3 months starting at only $15 per month.

The T-Mobile One plan is ideal for families, as it starts at just $160 for 4 lines. With the plan you also get a Netflix plan for free, unlimited HD streaming and 4G LTE data.

Since you’re purchasing the plan for your family, you will likely have members that own a tablet or wearable, like an Apple Watch or other smartwatch. Adding these to your plan is simple and only costs an extra $20 per tablet, and $10 per wearable. If that’s not enough, T-Mobile also offers perks on Tuesdays with its T-Mobile Tuesday app. The company really does offer a great all around plan that you and your whole family will enjoy. Your kids and spouse will be able to do what they want on their phones, while you will feel you’re getting what you pay for.

Another company offering a good all over plan comparable to T-Mobile is the well-known, Sprint. Its Unlimited Freedom plan offers a lot for the very reasonable price of $60 per month for the first line and $40 per month for the second line. If you have more than 4 people in your family, you will be glad to know that you can add up to 3 more lines for no extra cost. You’ll get unlimited talk, text, and data, and like T-Mobile, the extra perk of a free Hulu subscription.

If you’re looking for a good, but more simple family plan, check out AT&T. It has a $45 6GB prepaid plan that offers you more than enough data. Prepaid is a great choice when purchasing plans for your kids, as you can ensure they won’t go over their minutes or use too much data. The only downside to the plan is that it has slightly slower download speeds than others. Choosing the right phone plan for you family can save you hassle, frustration, and most importantly, money.

Is It Just You and Your Partner?

If you’re only buying a phone plan for you and your partner, you will probably need less data and a smaller amount of minutes compared to that of a family plan. Two really popular providers for couples are Boost Mobile and Cricket. Boost Mobile has a $60 a month plan that gives you unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as 20GB of mobile hotspot.

Since it’s backed by Sprint, you will get top-quality nationwide LTE coverage. You can also add extras to your plan like BoostTV, Boost Dealz, and roaming. Cricket also has a plan ideal for couples, that gives you a whopping 8GB per user at just $90 a month. Cricket runs on AT&T’s network, so you know you will get good coverage in most places, and offers excellent customer service.

There are also more simple and straightforward providers like Tello, where you can choose how many minutes and data you waqnt. .

If You Have Family Spread Out and Abroad

No matter if you’re a single person, family, or couple looking for a plan, if you have family living abroad that you plan on staying in contact with, you should choose Verizon. It’s important to choose a plan that lets you make international calls because if not, you will get nailed on your monthly bills. Verizon offers really great coverage and competitive pricing for international calls.

There’s a Plan for Everyone

Cell phone companies offer many plans to satisfy a broad range of customers, including cell phone plans for seniors or kids, whether they have a smartphone or not. But before going into the store and getting overwhelmed by the choices, plan types, and differentiating factors, it’s important to be informed. So get the most bang for your buck by knowing what you need and how much of it you need. With that, you’re sure to leave a happy customer!

How we created this
list
Compiled from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.