When looking for the cheapest cell phones, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. If you need to save money on a cell phone plan, the good news is that there are many options for you to choose from.
Inexpensive Cell Phone Plans
You may never have heard of some of these plans, but they legitimately provide cheap pricing and decent service. You can even use a phone you already own for some of them.
Plans with Mint SIM begin at $15 per month. Mint SIM is part of the T-Mobile network so this may not work for you if you are out of their service area. You can check their service area and if your phone is compatible on their website.
All Mint SIM plans come with unlimited talk, text, and data. You can choose from 2 GB to 10 GB LTE data. You can also add more data at $10 for 1 GB or $20 for 3 GB per month. International roaming is an extra $5 for 1 GB, $10 for 3 GB, and $20 for their highest level.
Your lowest service option is the $15/month plan for three months, which comes with 2 GB a month and 4G LTE. The highest level for three months is $25/month with 10 GB per month and 4G LTE. The three-month plans are an introductory rate only and will increase after that time period to $23 to $38 per month. Plans range from $18 to $30 per month for a six-month commitment and $15/month to $25/month for a 12-month commitment.
This company gets an average rating among Amazon, Google, and other review sites of 4.6 to 4.9 out of 5. US Mobile claims that 99 percent of phones will work with their plans. There are no commitments and you pay for 30 days at a time. The plans are custom so you can use the website to choose the number of talk and text minutes and the amount of data you need to find your 30-day rate. There is a $4 service fee added on to that monthly total.
If you choose the lowest level with 40 minutes of talk and text and 100 mb of data, your fee is $10 per month plus taxes and fees. The highest level has 5,000 talk and text minutes and 5 GB of data for $52 monthly. There are also Unlimited Plans that range from $35 to $75 per month. The prices vary based on chosen options and speed.
Red Pocket Mobile
Subscribers to Red Pocket can choose any major phone network in the United States with 4GB LTE, as well as free unlimited calling in over 70 countries. You can use your own phone and keep your current phone number. Red Pocket proudly notes on their website that customer service is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino.
There are no commitments or activation fees. Their lowest plan is $10 a month with 500 minutes of talk and text and 500 MB of data. The highest plan is $60 per month with unlimited talk and text and 10-12 GB of data depending on the network. If you want to spend less but need unlimited talk and text, the lowest plan with that option is $19 per month which includes 500 MB of data. Red Pocket also lets you set up Auto-Refill with the $19 plan and up. There is a $20 to $65 one-time fee for the Auto-Refill service; this fee varies based on the plan level you select.
Assessing Your Needs
When looking at a cell phone plan, there are a few important factors to consider. This holds true for the cheapest to the most expensive plans.
Each network has its good and bad spots for service. Before you buy a plan, ask to see their coverage map, which is often available on their website. Network access should be the first item you check before pricing as the cheapest plan may not be worth it if you have frequently poor phone service.
If you want to be able to use the internet, you will need a good data plan. Look at your own habits to determine which plan works best. If you tend to stream a lot of videos and music and regularly use social media, the lowest level of service may not work out. You can cut this down by trying to use the internet only when you have access to wifi, but this may not be realistic depending on where you live.
Choosing a Cheap Plan
The best plan of action is to be realistic about how many minutes and data you will actually need and use. Don't automatically go for the plan with the most data. If you are choosing it because the higher number makes you think it's the better choice, make sure you look at your specific situation. You may never reach that amount and could save money with a lower option. Compare the pros, cons, and network coverage of cheap plan providers to get the right deal for you.