Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024


Today’s cell phone market is flooded with multiple carriers, dozens of plans, and exorbitant monthly costs. We’re here to help. From unlimited data and family plans to prepaid options and more, here are the best cell phone plans available.


UPDATE: 01/26/2024

We’ve reviewed our recommendations and updated our best overall and best plan for two lines to Verizon’s new plans.

What to Look For in a Cell Phone Plan in 2024

Cell phone plans have seen tremendous growth over the past few years. In fact, now that the market is teeming with new carriers and plans, it’s easier than ever to find a service that fits your budget and usage needs—if you know what to look for.

Unlimited data plans continue to be one of the most popular options around—and it’s easy to see why. Smartphones have quickly become a go-to source of entertainment for people around the world, and streaming movies or downloading games require significant chunks of data. Unlimited plans ensure that you’re never locked out of the content you love, although they tend to be a bit pricier than their data-restricted counterparts.

Prepaid plans have also come a long way in the past decade, shedding their low-quality persona and blossoming into services that rival monthly subscriptions. These plans see you paying money upfront for a service and typically don’t require credit checks or lengthy contracts. They also tend to be more affordable than their monthly counterparts, making them a great way to save money on your bills.

When it comes to carriers, you’ve got plenty of choices. Verizon and AT&T continue to offer some of the best coverage maps in the country, although T-Mobile is a solid contender that’s typically a bit less expensive than the competition.

Meanwhile, newcomers such as Mint Mobile and Visible offer slightly smaller coverage maps but feature radically reduced prices to compensate. Be sure to check out each carrier’s coverage map before signing up for their service, though, especially if you live in a rural area.

It’s hard to go wrong with most plans from today’s biggest carriers, but there are a few that stand above the rest. Here are six of the best cell phone plans around, ranging from unlimited prepaid plans to low-cost family options.

The front of a Verizon store in a city
Hannah Stryker / How-To GeekHannah Stryker / Review GeekHannah Stryker / LifeSavvy

Pros

Cons

✓ Unlimited access to premium networks

✗ More expensive with fewer lines

✓ 30GB hotspot data

✓ Great nationwide coverage

Verizon is known for its incredible coverage map, and the Unlimited Plus plan is the best way to make use of this impressive network. It includes standard access to 5G and lets you use the 5G Ultra Wideband network, which offers some of the best speeds in the country.

Beyond access to 5G Ultra Wideband, the Unlimited Plus plan gives you 30GB of premium mobile hotspot data, unlimited Verizon networks, and pricing starting at just $45/line. That price increases with fewer lines, maxing out at $80 for a single line of coverage (which is a bit steep but worth every penny if you require fast service).

Verizon also allows you to bundle in extras such as 100GB of mobile hotspot data or streaming services like Disney+ and Hulu. These are relatively affordable at just an additional $10/month each, although it’s easy to see your monthly price tag skyrocket if you’re not careful. If you want to switch from your current plan, compare the final price with all your add-ons before signing up.

At the end of the day, Verizon’s comprehensive coverage map will always make it an easy recommendation. Toss in standard access to 5G Ultra Wideband and reasonable pricing for multiple lines, and it’s hard to find a better plan than Unlimited Plus.

verizon logo

Verizon Unlimited Plus

Best Cell Phone Plan Overall

Verizon’s network is one of the best in the country, and the Unlimited Plus plan is the best way to make use of all it has to offer—just don’t get bogged down with all the add-on content.

Person holding mint mobile sim kit
Mint Mobile

Pros

Cons

✓ Affordable price

✗ 5GB hotspot

✓ Unlimited talk and text

✗ Limited coverage

✓ Unlimited data

Budget cell phone plans have come a long way over the past decade. Nowhere is that more evident than with Mint Mobile, which is offering a surprisingly robust 12-Month Unlimited plan for just $30/month.

You won’t benefit from any bonus features, but you will get unlimited talk, text, and data—although speeds are throttled after using more than 40GB each month. It’s also limited to just 10GB mobile hotspot data, so you won’t be using it as a backup when your home internet goes down or you’re out on the road traveling.

Coverage is also a bit more limited than the competition, with a notable blind spot over most of central Nebraska, as well as other parts of the mid and western areas of the country.

Those are minor squabbles, however, and for just $30/month, there’s not a better plan on the market. Coverage is excellent in just about every major city, and access to unlimited data at this price point is impressive.

If you can live with a few small drawbacks, Mint Mobile is an excellent option for shoppers on a budget.

Mint-Mobile

Mint Mobile 12-Month Unlimited

Best Budget Cell Phone Plan

Unlimited talk, text, and data are all standard on this affordable plan. Coverage is a bit lacking compared to competitors, but folks near a major metro area should have no problem with its performance.

T Mobile store front in a downtown area
Hannah Stryker / How-To GeekHannah Stryker / Review GeekHannah Stryker / LifeSavvy

Pros

Cons

✓ Multiple tiers offered

✗ Barebones plan with no frills

✓ Runs on T-Mobile’s nationwide network

✓ No annual contract

T-Mobile Connect launched in 2020, and since then it’s been one of the most popular prepaid plans on the market. Connect is run through T-Mobile’s nationwide network, meaning you’ll get excellent coverage just about everywhere you travel.

The best part of T-Mobile Connect is the variety of plans. In fact, you can find a prepaid option for just $10/month—offering just 1GB of domestic data and 1,000 minutes of talk and 1,000 texts. The most expensive option clocks in at $35/month, with unlimited talk and text and 12GB of data.

The worst part about T-Mobile Connect? Once you’ve hit your data cap, any services requiring data will be turned off until the start of your next billing cycle. You can connect to Wi-Fi to access select features, or you can purchase additional data to continue using your services uninterrupted.

But if you’re a frugal data user (or spend most of your day hooked up to Wi-Fi), T-Mobile Connect is among the best prepaid options on the market.

Connect

T-Mobile Connect

Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plan

Multiple plans and price points are available with T-Mobile Connect, although they all run through the powerful T-Mobile network. Just watch your data usage, otherwise you could run out before your next billing cycle.

A phone with Verizon as its service provider
Hannah Stryker / How-To GeekHannah Stryker / Review GeekHannah Stryker / LifeSavvy

Pros

Cons

✓ Reasonable price

✗ 5G Ultra Wideband not included

✓ Access to 5G networks

✓ Unlimited data

The Verizon Unlimited Welcome plan doesn’t offer much more than the basics. However, at just $55/line for two lines, you’ll gain unlimited access to one of the best networks at a surprisingly great price.

The biggest drawback to the plan is that it doesn’t include 5G Ultra Wideband. That’s a minor knock, however, as few other plans offer this combination of pricing and performance. You can also save up to $415 when trading in your device on this plan, something to consider if you’ve been wanting to upgrade your phone.

As was the case with Verizon’s Unlimited Plus plan, the Unlimited Welcome lets you bundle in add-on content for $10/month. This includes 100GB of mobile hotspot data, a Disney Bundle with multiple streaming services, and even a Walmart+ membership.

Most of these add-ons are considerably cheaper when bundled into your Verizon plan than when purchased as a standalone product, so be sure to give them a look before checking out.

Verizon-1

Verizon Unlimited Welcome

Best Cell Phone Plan for Two Lines

This no-frills plan gets you and one other person on Verizon’s 5G network at a surprisingly reasonable price, although it lacks many of the bonuses found in more expensive options.

tmobile logo on white background
T-Mobile

Pros

Cons

✓ Unlimited talk, text, premium data, and 5G

✗ International data throttled after 5GB in most countries

✓ Fantastic perks (Netflix, Apple TV+, in-flight data, and more)

✓ 50GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data

The T-Mobile Go5G Plus plan is easily the best family cell phone plan because everyone will get unlimited premium data and you’ll get a ton of special perks that make the plan more cost-effective overall.

In addition to unlimited premium data, all lines receive unlimited talk and text, support for 5G nationwide coverage, and 50GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data. Then, while many cell phone plans limit video streaming quality to 480p, the Go5G Plus plan gives you up to 4K UHD streaming quality.

At four lines, this plan costs $185/month (including taxes and fees) with an AutoPay discount—and there’s no annual service contract, so you can switch at any time. With that $185/month price, you’ll also get a free Apple TV+ subscription and a free Netflix standard subscription that allows 2 screens to stream within one household, and a ton of in-flight and international perks.

T-Mobile currently has the largest and fastest 5G network, so your area is probably covered, but you can always check T-Mobile’s coverage map just to make sure.

tmobile square logo from twitter

T-Mobile Go5G Plus

Best Cell Phone Family Plan

For most families, the T-Mobile Go5G Plus phone plan is the best option because it offers unlimited premium data, no annual service contract, and plenty of special perks at $185/month for four lines.

The front of an AT&T store
Hannah Stryker / How-To GeekHannah Stryker / Review GeekHannah Stryker / LifeSavvy

Pros

Cons

✓ Unlimited talk, text, and data

✗ A bit more expensive than other plans

✓ 5G support

✓ 4K streaming

While most plans on this list are unlimited data plans, few can compete with AT&T Unlimited Premium PL. As usual, pricing works on a sliding scale based on activated lines (ranging from $46/month to $86/month), but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more complete service.

Not only do you get unlimited talk, text, and data, but you won’t be throttled based on usage. You also gain access to AT&T’s growing 5G network and unique ActiveArmor security system, which screens fraud calls and blocks them before reaching your phone.

Throw in 60GB of mobile hotspot data per line and 4K video streaming, and unlimited talk, text, and data in 20 countries, and you’ve got an unlimited plan worth talking about.

It’s a bit pricey (and Verizon’s coverage might be better based on your location), but the Unlimited Premium PL plan is without a doubt worth a closer look if you’re in the market for a well-rounded cell plan.

ATT-1

AT&T Unlimited Premium PL

Best Unlimited Cell Phone Plan

No throttling based on usage, unlimited talk, text, and data, and a coverage map that touches nearly every inch of the nation. This option from AT&T is a great fit for anyone seeking a high-powered plan.



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By John P.

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