Best Cell Phone Plans and Deals for 2020

Best cell phone plans and deals
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Paying too much for cell phone service? If you’re willing to switch providers, there are cheap phone plans starting at around $10 a month!

We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you choose the best cell phone plan for you — and your wallet.

Looking For a Cheap Cell Phone Plan? Here Are the Best Deals!

Table of Contents: 

Money expert Clark Howard and his team have reviewed more than 100 cell phone plans to identify the best options. Price, network reliability and customer satisfaction are three main factors that we considered.

Before we get to Team Clark’s top overall picks, here are the best cell phone plan deals right now:

Deal Alert: Best Offers Right Now!

Clark’s Picks: The Best Unlimited, Family and Cheap Cell Phone Plans

Clark has a grandfathered unlimited data plan with T-Mobile and a total of 12 lines on his account. However, he says the best cell phone plan for your money may be offered by a smaller carrier.

Many of these companies are referred to as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). They don’t own any cell phone towers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, but they partner with those companies to offer wireless service — often for half the price!

MVNOs have deals for people who need unlimited data, families and those who just want the cheapest phone plan.

In addition to MVNOs, there are affordable options from prepaid brands that are owned by the major carriers. Verizon owns Visible, AT&T owns Cricket and T-Mobile owns Metro by T-Mobile.

Clark’s bottom line is that you may be able to save a lot of money by switching from one of the major carriers to a low-cost cell phone provider that has the same network coverage.

Here is a partial list of your options:


Which Carriers Use Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint’s Networks?

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint
Visible (Review) Cricket Wireless (Review) Metro by T-Mobile (Review) Tello (Review)
Total Wireless (Review) h2o Wireless Mint Mobile (Review) Twigby (Review)
Xfinity Mobile (Review) Consumer Cellular (Review) Republic Wireless (Review)
TracFone, Straight Talk (Review), Net10 Wireless (Review) and Red Pocket Mobile (Review) partner with all major networks

IMPORTANT NOTE: T-Mobile has merged with Sprint, but it’s business as usual for now. Some low-cost carriers are still providing service on Sprint’s nationwide network. Over time, the networks will combine. Details here.

Cheapest Cell Phone Plans 

The cheapest cell phone plans start at between $10 and $20 per month. These inexpensive plans typically offer unlimited talk, text and around 1GB of high-speed data. Customer support may be limited.

Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans 

Wireless provider T-Mobile Connect (Review) Xfinity Mobile (Review) Mint Mobile (Review
Plan Unlimited talk, text and 2GB of high-speed data (5G and LTE) Unlimited talk, text and 1GB of high-speed data (5G and LTE) Unlimited talk, text and 3GB of high-speed data (5G and LTE)
Monthly price
  • $15
  • Taxes and fees extra
  • $15
  • Taxes and fees extra
  • $15
  • Must prepay for 3 months ($45 total)
  • Taxes and fees extra
Network T-Mobile (Coverage map) Verizon (Coverage map) T-Mobile (Coverage map)
Bring your own phone Yes (Check compatibility) iPhones and select Androids (Check compatibility) Yes (Check compatibility)

More Cheap Cell Phone Plans for Light Data Users: 

Cheap Unlimited Data Plans 

For unlimited data, Clark likes the T-Mobile Magenta plan (formerly T-Mobile One) if you want to stick with the major carriers. T-Mobile Magenta is $70 a month for a single line and $140 a month for four lines, taxes and fees included.

Netflix’s base streaming plan is included with T-Mobile Magenta for two lines or more, so those who only need a single line of service may be better off with one of the cheaper unlimited talk, text and data plans listed below.

Keep in mind that some providers reduce speeds once a plan’s applicable high-speed data threshold is reached.

Best Cheap Unlimited Data Plans

Metro by T-Mobile — Formerly MetroPCS

Metro by T-Mobile has two unlimited plans, including a $60/month option that comes with Amazon Prime. Both plans have mobile hotspot. 

Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless is AT&T’s prepaid brand and also has two unlimited plans. The cheaper option restricts data speeds to 3 Mbps. 


Visible is owned by Verizon and has one simple plan for $40/month. Party Pay discount available to groups of two, three or four. 

Xfinity Mobile

Available only to people with Xfinity internet service, Xfinity Mobile from Comcast runs on Verizon’s top-rated LTE network and now 5G. It also relies on 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots.

Spectrum Mobile

Also on Verizon’s network, Charter’s Spectrum Mobile is very similar to Xfinity Mobile. The difference is that it’s only for Spectrum internet customers.

Best Cell Phone Plans for Average Data Users 

Staying under 5GB of high-speed data per month really isn’t that difficult if you have a reliable and secure Wi-Fi connection at home. Plans in this category are typically around $30 a month.

Total Wireless Best Cell Phone Plans for Average Data Users
Wireless provider Total Wireless (Review)
Plan  Unlimited talk, text and 5GB of high-speed data; mobile hotspot supported
Monthly price  $35 or $33.20 with auto-refill
Network Verizon (Coverage map)
Bring your own phone Yes (Check compatibility)

Total Wireless Review: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Affordable single line and family plans Customer service falls short
Verizon’s dependable network
Good phone selection

More Cell Phone Plans for Average Data Users: 

  • T-Mobile Connect: Unlimited talk, text and 5GB of high-speed data for $25/month; taxes and fees not included (Team Clark review
  • Mint Mobile: 3-month introductory plan is $20/month for 8GB of high-speed data; runs on T-Mobile’s network (Team Clark review
  • H2O Wireless: Unlimited talk, text and 6GB of high-speed data for $27/month with auto-refill; AT&T’s network

Best Family Plans 

If you have four lines of service, your monthly cost per line will really go down! The T-Mobile Magenta plan is $35/month per line with auto pay — and Netflix is included.

This plan features unlimited talk, text and high-speed data. Video streams at DVD-quality, 480p.

T-Mobile Best Cell Phone Plans for Average Data Users
Wireless provider T-Mobile
Plan T-Mobile Magenta
Monthly price Four lines for $140 with auto pay, taxes and fees included
Network T-Mobile (Coverage map)
Bring your own phone Yes (Check compatibility)

More Cell Phone Plans for Families: 

Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors 

There are special deals for those 55 and older! Consumer Cellular, which utilizes AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks, offers a 5% discount to AARP members.

Although its prices aren’t the lowest, the carrier made the cut for its high customer satisfaction scores.

Consumer Cellular Best Cell Phone Plans for Average Data Users
Wireless provider Consumer Cellular (Review)
Plan Unlimited talk, text and 3GB of high-speed data (Other plans available)
Monthly price $30 before taxes and fees
Network AT&T, T-Mobile (Coverage map)
Bring your own phone Yes (Check compatibility)

Another Cell Phone Plan for Seniors: 

Best Phone Plans for International Features 

In addition to T-Mobile Magenta, Clark says Google Fi has excellent international plan benefits. When traveling abroad, you use data just like you would at home. It’s the same rate of $10/GB in 200+ destinations.

With Google Fi, unlimited international texts are included in the plan and cell service is 20 cents a minute overseas.

Google Fi Best Cell Phone Plans for Average Data Users
Wireless provider Google Fi, formerly Project Fi (Review)
Plan Unlimited domestic talk and text, plus data by the gig
Monthly price 
  • Calls and text: $20
  • High-speed data: $10/GB (no charge after 6GB for one person with Bill Protection feature)
  • Add extra people: $15 each
  • NEW: Unlimited talk, text and data for $70/month (Details here)
Network Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular (Coverage map)
Bring your own phone Yes (Check compatibility)

How to Choose a Cell Phone Plan

How do you know if one of these deals is right for you? Team Clark has come up with the top five questions you need to answer when shopping for a new cell phone provider.

  • How much data do I need? Unlimited plans prevent overage charges, but you may use less data than you think if you’re connected to Wi-Fi at home and work. Plans that charge for a fixed amount of data can be much cheaper.
  • Which network is best? Every wireless provider has a coverage map on its website. If you’re happy with your network (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile), consider a low-cost carrier that uses your existing provider’s towers.
  • Single line or family plan? Looking for more than a single line? In general, you’ll pay a lower price per line if you add two, three, four or even more lines of service.
  • Prepaid or postpaid? Prepaid service is paid for in advance, while postpaid service is when you pay at the end of your billing cycle. No credit check is required for prepaid service.
  • Is my phone compatible? Most carriers will sell you a new phone, but if you want to bring your own device it must be unlocked. Check compatibility on the wireless provider’s website before you sign up.

If this is your first time switching cell phone providers, check out this guide that we put together to take you step-by-step through the process. It’s easier than you think!

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve been able to save money by switching to a new cell phone plan!

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