The 5 Best Cheap Phone Plans of 2021

Phone plans are complicated and often expensive. It's enough to make the most avid phone lover's head spin. Not to worry, though, as you're about to learn about some of the best cheap phone plans of 2021!

You need to worry about whether a phone plan is prepaid or not, whether you want 4g LTE or 3g, whether 8Gb in your data plan is enough or if you should get unlimited data, and on top of it all, you need to think critically about whether you're getting a good deal or not.

Regardless of whether you just got a new phone and are looking for a suitable plan or are sick and tired of your old phone plan and are looking to make a switch, this post is for you. From invaluable phone service to cheap unlimited talk and text to extremely reasonable pay-as-you-go pricing, the following cell phone plans are some of the best on the market today.

The following section will run through an overview covering some of the pros and cons of each plan. Ready to learn about some of the best cheap phone plans of 2021? Let's dive right in.

Best Cheap Phone Plans

With each one offering something a little different, you're sure to find the best cell phone plan that fits your needs!

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile's 4Gb plan is currently one of the cheapest on the market! For just $15 per month, you get unlimited text and unlimited calls nationwide PLUS 4Gb of data. What if you're not from the United States?

Not to worry, as this plan also comes with a free international calling to Canada and Mexico! Finally, you can bring your phone with Mint's BYOP program (meaning you can keep that trusty phone of yours if you want).

Pros:

  • $15 for 4Gb is exceptionally cheap. You're unlikely to find another plan on the market for less than $4/gb (the unit price for this plan).
  • Setup and activation are pretty straightforward. If you qualify, you'll get a free 3-in-1 sim card (or e sim) to go along with your phone plan.
  • A solid app goes along with the phone plan, and users have reported good experiences with it.

Cons:

  • The $15/month pricing is guaranteed for the first three months and might change afterward (this provides a degree of uncertainty that might not be appealing to some).
  • 4Gb isn't a lot of data if you're constantly on your phone, and after you use up 4Gb, the data speed drops significantly.
  • For better or worse, Mint Mobile is a wireless network with no physical locations, which prevents people from complaining in person. However, this inconvenience affords them to maintain a good contribution margin while giving customers a cheap phone plan.

T-Mobile

For the best network coverage from one of the big names in the telecommunications space for a low price, look no further than T-Mobile's $15/month unlimited plan. So whether you need to make a call in the city or across an acre of land, this plan is worth considering. With this plan, you'll get unlimited talk and text plus 2.5Gb of high-speed data.

The elegant thing about this plan is that even though it isn't an unlimited data plan, for every passing year that you're committed to it (as long as you sign up for T-Mobile Connect), you'll get 500Mb of additional data every month. So after five years (if the plan is still running), you'll have 5Gb of data in your plan!

Pros:

  • The annual 500Mb data boost is a huge bonus (especially at no additional cost to you).
  • The coverage area with T-Mobile is often better than with other phone providers.
  • $15 a month for 2.5Gb is still relatively cheap compared to a lot of other wireless providers.

Cons:

  • Unlike some prepaid plans (and wireless plans) that give flexible overage data usage, with T-Mobile, there is a hard cap once you hit your data limit.
  • Even though they have fantastic coverage, you may prefer Verizon's or AT&T's wireless plan.
  • Despite advertising themselves as “uncarrier”-like, T-Mobile still very much has the traits of a phone carrier.

Verizon

You might be thinking at this point: “How in the world is Verizon one of the phone carriers on this list? Verizon isn't cheap!” But that's because you haven't taken time to look at the Verizon prepaid $40/month 5Gb plan.

Indeed, most of Verizon's plans aren't exactly cheap, and at first glance, this one might not seem like it either. But, like flipping real estate properties, you can flip Verizon's discounts to your advantage.

Let's dive a bit deeper.

First, if you enroll in autopay, Verizon will take $5 off. Then, don't switch to any other unlimited plans for three months, and Verizon will take another $5 off.

Finally, if you stick with this mobile plan for nine months, you'll get yet another $5 discount, which brings the total price to around $25/month for 5Gb of data making it an extremely cheap cell phone plan! Plus, you'll get the full speed of Verizon's network and fantastic coverage.

Pros:

  • The monthly rate decreases the longer you stick with Verizon, eventually making the plan one of the cheapest on the market.
  • Verizon has an incredible mobile network and has one of the most extensive coverage networks in the country.
  • Even basic phones will have great speed on Verizon's phone plan.
  • This plan comes with a mobile hotspot, and Verizon is known for having good high-speed hotspot data.

Cons:

  • The starting price for this prepaid cell phone plan is not cheap (to say the least).
  • If there are many people on the wireless service, you might experience slower than usual speeds.
  • The data plans offered by Verizon do not include taxes and extra fees.

AT&T

Generally, if you were to go with AT&T, the price you would pay for 5Gb a month in data is $30/month. So this plan isn't cheap by any means and wouldn't make this list; HOWEVER, if you choose AT&T's prepaid phone plan (contract plan for at least 12 months), you can get 8Gb of data per month for only $25/month!

This food pyramid of phone features include unlimited texting/messaging, unlimited calling, roaming in Canada and Mexico, and lets you do HD video streaming. To top it all off, AT&T is a major phone company that typically doesn't do cheap phone plans, so this one is truly a diamond in the rough.

Pros:

  • A rollover data feature lets your unused data “rollover” into the next month.
  • $25 for 8Gb is cheaper than most other cell phone providers.
  • AT&T is not some new cell phone provider and has been around for a long time (making it a trustworthy and reliable brand).
  • The international roaming and international calls are extremely useful if you're a permanent resident in Canada or Mexico.

Cons:

  • If you prefer to go month-to-month, you're out of options as you need to pay yearly to take advantage of the heavily discounted price (monthly payments are not allowed).
  • You'll probably miss out on a lot of the perks you would have gotten had you chosen a different wireless provider. When you're on the prepaid wireless plan, you don't get to partake in AT&T Thanks, the AT&T Next Up phone upgrade program (which basically lets you upgrade your phone faster via small installment payments), and you also don't get a free HBO Max subscription.

Tello

If you're not a big data user and don't want to get locked in for the long-term, Tello‘s 1Gb plan is for you. You'll pay $10 per month in exchange for 1Gb of data. Still, you'll also receive unlimited calls and text, free mobile tethering, and (most important of all) you'll get a no-contract arrangement meaning you can cancel whenever you want with no strings attached.

When it comes to frugality, you're not going to get much cheaper than $10 a month. The best part is that sometimes there are promotional offers which bump the price down even further. (You might find yourself only paying $7.50 a month for the first six months!)

Pros:

  • This plan is highly affordable for anybody on a budget who doesn't need much data.
  • Along with the data, you also get all of the basic features of a cell phone plan.

Cons:

  • 1Gb of data is not much at all. 1Gb is essentially good for emergencies only (use any more than that, and you'll run out very fast).

Recap: Best Cheap Phone Plans

Whether you're a parent or fresh out of high school, tech-savvy, or a complete technological novice, chances are you have a phone. It's likely then that you appreciate cheap phone plans. (Nowadays, truly affordable phone plans are rarer and rarer.)

This post has covered 5 of the best cheap phone plans on the market today. As a quick recap, they are:

  • Mint Mobile‘s 4Gb plan ($15/month)
  • T-Mobile‘s 2.5Gb plan ($15/month)
  • Verizon‘s 5Gb plan ($40/month, but it scales down with time)
  • AT&T‘s 8Gb prepaid plan ($25/month if you prepay for the whole year)
  • Tello‘s 1Gb plan ($10/month)

From pay-as-you-go to prepaid plans, international roaming to local coverage, unlimited data to 1Gb in data, you're sure to find something on this list that fits your needs.

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Jonathan Sanchez is a real estate investor and personal finance blogger for Parent Portfolio. He owns a small real estate business that operates a couple of investment properties in his local market. He aims to help others understand their money and generate passive income. He’s also been featured in Business Insider, USA Today, and FOX Business.