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Top 10 Best Cell Phone Plans of 2024: Compare Plans & Prices

Tyler Webb
Best Cell Phone Plans

Choosing a cell phone plan is like finding the right pair of shoes—it's all about the perfect fit to comfortably match your lifestyle while on the go.

The American cell phone market is highly competitive, with the three major carriers—AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile—holding over 97% of mobile plan subscriptions. Over 120 mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) offer plans through these major providers.

While many cell phone plans offer similar benefits like nationwide coverage, unlimited minutes and data, there are numerous subtle differences among them. And this means you have a lot of choices.

We’ve thoroughly reviewed the top cell phone plans so that you don't have to engage in any guesswork. Here’s a look at our picks for the top 10 cell phone plans to help you find the right one.

Breaking Down Our Top 10 Choices: Which Is Best For Your Needs?

  • Mint Mobile - Best cell phone plan overall
  • Tello - Best for low-data plans
  • Visible - Best for uncapped hotspot usage
  • Xfinity Mobile - Best for customizable plans
  • Verizon Wireless - Best for additional perks and bundled subscriptions
  • PureTalk - Best for dedicated customer service
  • Ultra Mobile - Flexibility of short prepaid plans
  • Boost Mobile - Best for discounts on the latest phones
  • US Mobile - Best reliable connection
  • AT&T - Best for families with high data consumption
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Compare With Top10.com, Choose the Best for You

At Top10.com, we recognize the importance of thorough and accurate product and service reviews in guiding your choices. Our team, comprising editors and industry experts, conducts extensive research to provide comprehensive insights. Our content is continually updated to reflect the latest market trends, offering current information. 

We provide a range of services including comparison lists and in-depth reviews, all tailored to meet your specific needs. Our goal is to empower you to make confident and informed choices.

60 Cell Phone Plans Evaluated | 7 Evaluation Criteria | 10 Best Cell Phone Plans

Our Methodology: How We Reviewed the Best Cell Phone Plans

Guided by tech expert Kathleen Christie, we've crafted a unique approach to evaluating over 60 cell phone plans. Our goal? To give you the insights needed to choose the best provider for your needs. Our comprehensive strategy involved the following: 

  1. Hands-On Experience: We don't just read about these companies; we try their services. Our team dives into their plan options, network coverage, and customer service firsthand. This way, we get a true understanding of what they offer and how they perform.
  2. Industry Analysis: We delve into industry reports and expert analyses to understand the market landscape. This helps us evaluate the competitive position of each cell phone plan and assess its strengths and weaknesses in the context of broader industry trends.
  3. Customer Insights: We actively seek out and incorporate real customer feedback. This involves analyzing customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials to gauge user satisfaction and identify common concerns or praise areas. This step ensures our evaluations are grounded in the actual experiences of end-users.


What We Look For: Our review focuses on these key aspects:

  • Pricing: We delve into whether you're truly getting your money's worth, now and in the long run. This includes analyzing plan costs, hidden fees, and how these plans compare in value for a range of budgets.

  • Plan Options: We examine the variety of plans available, from single-user to family packages. Our focus is on their adaptability to different needs, the ease of plan modification, and overall scalability.

  • 5G Network Scope: We assess the breadth and reliability of 5G coverage, looking at how extensive and consistent the network is, and what this means for user experience.

  • Network Reliability: Beyond coverage, we evaluate the network's overall performance. This includes signal strength, congestion management, and the quality of service in various environments.

  • Customer Support: We consider the ease and effectiveness of getting support. This involves looking at the accessibility of customer service, the quality of online help resources, and the responsiveness of support teams.

  • User Impressions: We take into account real user feedback, analyzing reviews and ratings to understand common experiences, both positive and negative.

  • Additional Perks: We look into the extra features or benefits that come with plans, such as streaming service bundles or exclusive deals, to see how they add value.

A Closer Look at Our Top 10 Cell Phone Plans

  • 1
    Mint Mobile

    Mint Mobile

    • Best ForBest cell phone plan overall
    • Starting PriceFrom $15/month
    • PlansPrepaid

    Mint Mobile - Best cell phone plan overall

    Mint Mobile gives you access to 5G, cutting-edge technology with high network speed and reliability. Plans also come with unlimited talking and texting, so you never need to worry about topping up or checking if you’re near the limit. And by connecting to your network's servers through the internet, their WiFi messaging and calling feature can also be useful when overseas.

    "With Mint Mobile, you will get reliable service and fast download speeds. They have the fastest download speeds of any mobile network operator I’ve tried,” says Joe Troyer, CEO of tech company Digital Triggers.

    After a few months of using the plan, the customer support team will reach out to help you select one that better suits your usage needs. You can keep your 4G LTE device if you decide on Mint’s “Bring Your Own Phone” program. Although the connection will slow down if you reach the monthly data limit, your service will remain active.

    Why we chose Mint Mobile: Mint Mobile offers robust coverage and cost-effective and customizable plans to match your specific data usage patterns. They’re also committed to providing personalized recommendations based on your usage, improving your experience.

    Our experience: We found Mint Mobile's service highly reliable in urban areas, with a strong signal on their 5G and 4G LTE networks. While several new phones maintained consistent and dependable connections, a few older cell phones weren’t updated and required additional support during the setup process.

    Pros
    • WiFi-based texting and calling
    • You can keep your device with the “Bring Your Own Phone” program
    • Personalized recommendations for plans based on your usage
    Cons
    • Older phones can have trouble connecting to the network
    • Connection slows down if you go over the monthly usage limit
  • 2
    Tello

    Tello

    • Best ForBest for low-data plans
    • Starting PriceFrom $5/month
    • PlansPrepaid and custom plans

    Tello - Best for low-data plans

    Tello offers new prices, including unlimited nationwide talking and texting, with free calls to over 60 countries. And with the “Build Your Own” subscriptions, you can tweak data or minutes to further lower the cost.

    “The coverage is superb, and I can make phone calls from almost anywhere I go without any difficulty,” says Michael Collins, managing director of IT company SphereIT.UK. He also states, "4G speeds are consistently fast and responsive.”

    All of Tello's default and customizable plans offer 4G and 5G LTE data and mobile hotspot sharing. When you reach your monthly limit, they downgrade your network to 2G, which even comes with the “No Data” custom subscription.

    Why we chose Tello: Tello offers unlimited international calling to over 60 countries—this can be useful if you have family living overseas and want to stay in touch. We could opt for “Build Your Own” plans starting from 1GB/month if we didn’t need as much data and only wanted unlimited texting and calling.

    Our experience: Tello’s plans were straightforward to set up and connect, and the SIM card worked with various new and old phones. Throughout our testing, we experienced consistent cell coverage within the US for all our calls, including international ones.

    Pros
    • Consistent cell coverage
    • Most affordable option on this list
    • Minutes include international calling to over 60 countries
    Cons
    • Download speeds can be inconsistent
    • They don’t include the latest devices
  • 3
    Visible

    Visible

    • Best ForBest for uncapped hotspot usage
    • Starting PriceFrom $30/month
    • PlansPrepaid

    Visible - Best for uncapped hotspot usage

    With Visible, you can choose between two different subscriptions, including unlimited talking, texting, and data in the US, Mexico, and Canada. Visible’s Standard plan protects you against spam and provides an uncapped hotspot.

    The Visible+ plan adds 50GB of fast 5G ultra wideband network. However, if the network’s congested, you may wind up with a slower connection. It also adds unlimited data when roaming in Mexico, Canada, international calls to over 30 countries, and texting to over 200.

    Why we chose Visible: If you’re looking for a single-line account and don’t need optimal network speed at all times, it offers affordable plans with unlimited hotspot usage.

    Our experience: Connecting to Visible’s network was easy with newer and older devices. The unlimited hotspot was enough for most office work, but download, and streaming speeds could’ve been faster than 5-12Mbps. However, we had reliable cell coverage during our test run and didn’t witness any reduction in audio quality during our phone calls.

    Pros
    • Unlimited hotspot on all plans
    • Spam protection
    • Fast 5G ultra wideband network
    Cons
    • Subject to network slowdowns
    • No multi-line discounts
  • 4
    Xfinity Mobile

    Xfinity Mobile

    • Best ForBest for customizable plans
    • Starting PriceFrom $15/month
    • PlansPrepaid

    Xfinity Mobile - Best for customizable plans

    Xfinity Mobile provides two subscriptions that you can combine on a shared account. The “By-the-Gig” plan starts from $15/month for 1GB, but if you exceed the limit, they'll charge an extra $15/GB until the next billing cycle starts. It also includes LTE Data-Saving technology for you to control hotspots and streaming speeds.

    The "Unlimited" plan offers three ranks. The “Intro” includes standard-definition 480p streaming, unlimited hotspot, and 20GB of monthly data. The “Plus” option supports 720p high-definition streaming, unlimited hotspots, 5GB of high-speed internet, and 30GB of regular data per month. Finally, the “Premium” feature also includes 1080p full HD streaming.

    Xfinity allows you to combine the “By-the-Gig” and “Unlimited” plans, but you can only apply the discount if you have multiple lines of the same type.

    It's important to mention that Xfinity Mobile services are only available for those with Comcast Xfinity home internet.

    Why we chose Xfinity Mobile: Multi-line accounts on Xfinity’s “By-the-Gig” plan use the same data pool. If you decide to share a subscription with someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time using the internet, you can save more money. Plus, you can use the LTE Data-Saving feature to prevent additional charges.

    Our experience: We appreciated the image quality and fast data when watching our favorite shows or connecting our computers to the hotspot. During the first month, we streamed frequently and didn’t even reach the 50GB limit that the “Unlimited Premium” plan supports.

    Pros
    • You can combine unlimited and by-the-gig plans
    • The “LTE Data-Saving” feature prevents additional charges
    • Consistent HD streaming
    Cons
    • $15 charge if you exceed the data allowance
    • Slower network speed due to frequent congestion
  • 5
    Verizon Wireless

    Verizon Wireless

    • Best ForBest for additional perks and bundled subscriptions
    • Starting PriceFrom $35/month
    • PlansPrepaid and postpaid plans

    Verizon Wireless - Best for bundled subscriptions

    With fast 5G ultra-wideband data, bundles, and a global network, Verizon has subscriptions to satisfy various preferences. The “Unlimited” plan comes in two packages: “Welcome” and “Plus.” Both include infinite talking and texting, but with the second one, you can save money on the latest phones and get 30GB of monthly hotspot allowance.

    For an additional $10/month, both “Unlimited” plans allow you to choose extra bundles such as Disney+, Apple Music, or Walmart discounts. Their prepaid memberships include unlimited talking, texting, 5GB of hotspot data, and frequent discounts on the latest devices from brands like Motorola and Samsung.

    Why we chose Verizon: Verizon’s bundles and perks add more value to their plans. Additionally, the prepaid “Pay-As-You-Go” options are flexible. They give you access to their 5G ultra wideband network, and you can purchase data or minutes based on your anticipated usage.

    Our experience: Verizon’s streaming quality was consistent. While we appreciated the savings with their bundles, we felt their “Unlimited” plans were a bit too expensive to justify the perks for a single-line user. Families can get a better value for the price by using their multi-line account.

    Pros
    • 5G ultra-wideband data
    • Pay-As-You-Go plans offer data and minutes based on anticipated usage
    • Families can save money with multi-line accounts
    Cons
    • Too expensive for single-line users
    • Streaming subscriptions are only available for postpaid plans
  • 6
    PureTalk

    PureTalk

    • Best ForBest for dedicated customer service
    • Starting PriceFrom $16/month
    • PlansPrepaid

    PureTalk - Best for dedicated customer service

    Puretalk gives you access to 5G and 4G LTE, depending on their availability in your region. Subscriptions vary in data limits, starting from 2GB/month. While the tablet memberships don’t include cellular texting and calling, they offer a WiFi-based alternative.

    You can combine their prepaid plans for a multi-line discount of up to 20% for four lines. They also offer a “Bring-Your-Own-Phone" program where you can save up to $250 on the latest mobile devices. Additionally, you can activate your service virtually via eSIM if you have an iPhone.

    Why we chose PureTalk: Puretalk’s plans are easy to understand, with transparent pricing and no excessive add-ons, unnecessary features, or complicated terms and conditions. If you’re having trouble with the service, their detailed FAQ section can help you without contacting customer support.

    Our experience: Since we used an iPhone, we instantly signed up for one month via eSIM. The service was consistent and performed just as well as “Unlimited” plans from Verizon or AT&T. If you don't care about the latest security and don't use hotspot data, Puretalk's entry-level plans can be a money-saving option.

    Pros
    • You can activate the service virtually via eSIM
    • Helpful FAQ section on the website
    • Transparent pricing
    Cons
    • No hotspot on the five lowest-tier plans
    • Some users reported issues with their service
  • 7
    Ultra Mobile

    Ultra Mobile

    • Best ForFlexibility of short prepaid plans
    • Starting PriceFrom $15 per month
    • PlansUnlimited domestic talk and text plus high-speed data. Unlimited international calling to 90+ countries and unlimited global text

    Ultra Mobile sells low-cost prepaid cell phone plans with unlimited domestic and international calls to 80+ countries on T-Mobile’s cellular network. They offer three different single-month plans with 250MB, 2GB, or Unlimited data. Option to renew on multi-month plans and unlock further savings is available after the first month of service.All Ultra Mobile’s plans include 5G and 4G LTE coverage up to varying data limits, unlimited global text, and mobile hotspot. 

    Prepaid mobile plans serve a certain purpose and as long as you know what it entails, then Ultra Mobile may be a good choice for you. If you’re in the U.S. on a temporary basis, have reasons to not want to use your credit card, or don’t want anything more than a one-month commitment, Ultra Mobile’s prepaid phone plans are a viable option for you.

    Pros
    • Unlimited calls to 90+ countries
    • No long-term contracts
    • Up to 10 GB mobile hotspot per month
    Cons
    • More expensive than contracts from big providers
    • Poor customer service ratings
  • 8
    Boost Mobile

    Boost Mobile

    • Best ForBest for discounts on the latest phones
    • Starting PriceFrom $15/month
    • PlansPrepaid

    Boost Mobile - Best for discounts on the latest phones

    Boost Mobile’s two unlimited data plans operate on a wireless network. But, both of their networks can be slowed down if you reach 35GB, so to prevent this from happening, you should get additional data before dipping into the standard monthly allowance. If you use 85% of the monthly limit, they’ll send you a message telling you that you’re reaching the limit.

    Each additional line you add to the account is $20 off, and you can combine the two “Unlimited” plans. They also have a few add-ons like data packs, phone insurance, and international calling, and you can also get up to $800 off on new devices with brands like iPhone or Samsung.

    Why we chose Boost Mobile: Boost Mobile’s capped subscriptions include welcome deals, setting you up with a low-data plan for $15/month. They also offer decent phone discounts where you can save up to $800/year on new devices.

    Our experience: Their shipping was fast, helping us get started quickly. The service was reliable, but customer support could be more efficient during plan renewals. And while we liked their welcome discounts, we wish they offered multi-line savings for the capped plans.

    Pros
    • Hotspot with all plans
    • Cheaper rates for new users
    • Fast shipping
    Cons
    • No multi-line discount on capped plans
    • Higher prices compared to other prepaid providers
  • 9
    US Mobile

    US Mobile

    • Best ForBest reliable connection
    • Starting PriceFrom $4/month
    • PlansPrepaid

    US Mobile - Best reliable connection

    US Mobile’s customizable subscriptions allow you to tailor the service to your liking. The “Unlimited” plan gives you infinite talking, texting, and standard and hotspot data. The “Premium” membership also includes an account for Spotify, Netflix, and Xbox Live.

    The “Shared Data” plan can be great for families, as they cost $9/line for unlimited talking and texting. They charge $2 per every additional GB, so if you just want to use the service for calling and don’t need the internet, the monthly fee could go as low as $6/month.

    Why we chose US Mobile: US Mobile has flexibility if you’re looking to share your account—their customizable “Unlimited” plan and data can be shared on multi-line accounts. Beyond that, their website also has a section where you can compare different subscriptions and figure out which one is the best for you.

    Our experience: Despite US Mobile’s affordable plans, their network can be slower than many competitors, as they deprioritize you (When your data get slows down during high-traffic hours in favor of other subscribers using the network) frequently. This may be less ideal if you frequently stream music or TV shows on your phone.

    Pros
    • Bundled subscriptions like Spotify or Netflix
    • You can customize “Unlimited” plans
    • Multi-line accounts share a data pool, leading to additional savings
    Cons
    • Slower network than other providers on this list
    • Frequent network throttling
  • 10
    AT&T

    AT&T

    • Best ForBest for families with high data consumption
    • Starting Price$35 per month
    • PlansUnlimited talk, text and data

    AT&T - Best for families with high data consumption

    AT&T’s postpaid plans include unlimited messages to over 200 countries and infinite talking, texting, and data in the US. You’ll also have the option to customize the three primary subscriptions—”Starter,” “Extra,” and “Premium”—for each user you add to your account.

    Adding more users to your membership lowers the total price per line by anywhere from $10 to $40/month. For example, if you use a “Premium” plan alone, they’ll charge you $85/month, but if you add four more users, the monthly price drops to $45. You’ll also get  AT&T’s “ActiveArmor” security system, which blocks spam calls and prevents device theft and hacking.

    Why we chose AT&T: The multi-line discounts are an excellent opportunity to save money while sharing your account with friends and family. AT&T offers special and cheaper bundles and perks for teachers, students, frontline employees, military veterans, and physicians.

    Our experience: We reduced the monthly cost of our subscriptions by 30% after adding two lines, plus a teacher and military discount. We appreciated that AT&T’s stores are widespread nationwide, so we could walk in for support whenever needed.

    Pros
    • Savings for multi-line accounts
    • Profession-specific perks and savings
    • Nationwide store coverage in case you need in-person support
    Cons
    • One of the more expensive options on this list
    • Not great value for single-line plans


How to Compare the Best Cell Phone Plans

The chart below compares our top mobile providers using the most important metrics: the starting price, number of available plans, who they’re best for, and the mobile network they’re on. When deciding on a service, consider how many lines you want to add to your account, your data usage, and if you want a prepaid or a postpaid subscription. For more details, see each network’s coverage map if the network offers strong cell service in your area.


Our  Cell Phone Plans Experts

Top10.com's content is developed and reviewed by an elite team of telecommunication experts and personal finance writers who review articles to provide unbiased opinions.

How To Choose a Cell Phone Plan

When comparing providers, focus on the cost that applies to the number of people you want on your account because prices may vary drastically. While the postpaid providers—like Verizon, Xfinity, and AT&T—often cost more for single users, they rack up multi-line discounts quickly and often throw in family perks.

If you're going to use the plan for streaming, movies, or gaming, look for ones with unlimited high-speed data at a decent price, like Visible+. Additionally, if you frequently work outside the home or office, look for subscriptions with high hotspot allowances, such as higher-tier PureTalk and Cricket Wireless memberships.

What Types of Cell Phone Plans Are There?

Another important thing to consider when comparing providers is the types of cell phone plans they offer.

  • Unlimited: The most common type of plan offered by cell phone companies. It includes unlimited talking, texting, and data. However, many companies limit the amount for 4G or 5G connection, which they can also slow down to 2G.

  • Talk and text only: This plan’s useful if you want to use your phone the traditional way and don’t need internet access or different apps.

  • Data only: These subscriptions are tailored for devices such as tablets and smart and often don’t include talking and texting.

  • Pay-as-you-go: With these plansyou start by buying a certain amount of credit or minutes from your service provider. Let's say you buy $20 worth of credit. Then, as you make calls, send texts, or use data, the cost of each action is deducted from your credit balance. It's like a digital piggy bank that keeps track of your usage.

How Much Do Cell Phone Plans Cost?

A cell phone plan typically starts from around $5/month for a single line, depending on the provider, type of subscription, and features you select. In most cases, you can get a discount if you add more people to your account. While almost every membership includes unlimited talking and texting, the data and hotspot usage racks up most of the extra costs.

The cheapest unlimited subscriptions with infinite talking, texting, and data start from around $30/month for a single line, with the average price being closer to $50/month. Using a multi-line plan with pooled data, you can also reduce the cost even further.

How Much Data Do You Need?

Determining the data you need depends on factors such as the number of people on your account and their internet usage habits. Consider their activities while disconnected from WiFi, such as streaming services, video conferencing, and online gaming, which can consume a significant portion of your monthly allowance. On a postpaid plan, exceeding the limit may result in additional charges or network throttling. If your family primarily relies on WiFi, a limited or pooled data subscription can help save costs. Alternatively, an unlimited plan might be more suitable if extensive data usage is anticipated.

Should You Buy Postpaid, Prepaid, or Resold Service?

Postpaid Plans - Pay Your Bill at the End of the Month

Postpaid plans require you to sign a contract for an extended period, typically two years, paying a predetermined price at the end of each month. They’re offered mainly by large carriers who own their networks—such as T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T.

While they’re typically more expensive than prepaid, they often include more substantial multi-line discounts, perks, and add-ons that protect you against deprioritization. This makes them a good fit for families who want to share an account and those who need fast data and don’t mind paying a little more for their subscription.

Prepaid Plans - Pay for Your Service in Advance

With prepaid plans, you pay for your service before using all the benefits it has to offer. They're usually offered by providers like Xfinity that use a larger carrier's network and are cheaper than the postpaid alternative. In addition, they also have features like unlimited hotspot usage and different subscription perks.

However, since these providers use a larger carrier's network, their prepaid plans are often the first to get deprioritized when the grid becomes busy. Because most of them don't offer multi-line discounts, they're best for single-line users or those who don't always need fast data.

Resold Plans - Someone Else Buys the Service and Resells It to You

Resold plans are provided by users that decided they don’t want to continue with a contract. If they’re forced to sell because of moving to another country or losing their job, you’ll be able to get them cheaper than by subscribing directly to a carrier. This can also be the case if the prices changed since the contract started, or the membership included a promotion

How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Plan

No matter which type of cell phone plan you choose, there are ways to save money on your monthly bill.

Here are a few tips:

  • Review your plan and usage often: This will help you identify areas where you can reduce it or downgrade to a cheaper plan.

  • Switch to a cheaper provider: Many carriers offer incentives to switch to their network, such as a free month of service or a credit on your first bill.

  • Use discounts: Some providers offer discounts for certain professions like military personnel and teachers.

  • WiFi: To avoid spending a lot of data, stay connected to a WiFi connection whenever possible.

  • Unnecessary features: Disable features you don't use, such as visual voicemail and cloud storage, since these can unnecessarily increase your monthly fees.

  • Stay on top of monthly payments: Always pay your bills on time to avoid late fees.

MVNOS and Main Carriers: What's the Difference?

The main difference between MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) and main carriers lies in their infrastructure ownership. Main carriers, like Verizon or AT&T, own and operate their own physical network infrastructure. They have extensive coverage but tend to offer higher-priced plans. On the other hand, MVNOs, such as Boost Mobile or Mint Mobile, do not own network infrastructure. They lease network access from main carriers and offer more affordable plans as a result. While MVNOs may have limitations like slower data speeds during congestion, they provide budget-friendly alternatives to main carriers.

Unleash the Power of Connectivity

The average American checks their cell phone 144 times daily. So, your choice of provider is important, and each plan offers a unique combination of coverage and features. By comparing options and considering your specific communication needs, you can ensure that you stay connected without breaking the bank. Make an informed decision and embark on a seamless digital journey with the top 10 best online cell phone plans available.

Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a cell phone plan provider and a cell phone network?+-

A cell phone plan provider offers plans and services while the network enables the actual communication. Plan providers offer mobile phone plans and manage billing and customer support. They are responsible for supplying the cellular service. Networks, on the other hand, are the technical infrastructure that enables wireless communication. It consists of cell towers, base stations, and equipment that transmit and receive signals. When you choose a cell phone plan, you are subscribing to a provider's services, and they utilize the underlying cell phone network to deliver those services to your device.