Best Cell Phone Plans

Cell phone providers constantly jockey for position to offer the most reliable coverage, highest-value prepaid plan, or most budget-friendly cell phone plans. Here’s how the best cell phone plans of 2021 stack up.

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Mint Mobile 4 GB  

Best Overall

4.2 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$15 and Up

PLAN TYPEPrepaid (3, 6, & 12 Month Plans)

DATAUnlimited

Mint Mobile 4 GB: Mint Mobile’s 4 gigabyte (GB) plan is the Best Cell Phone Plan of 2021. It earns its spot with easy prepaid plans available in increments of three, six, and 12 months, which explains why it ranks No. 1 in Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans of 2021 as well as Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans of 2021. Mint Mobile runs on T-Mobile’s network.

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Verizon Shared Data 5 GB  

Best Nationwide Coverage

4.1 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$55

PLAN TYPEContract

DATA5 GB

Verizon Shared Data 5 GB: Verizon’s Shared Data 5 GB plan starts at $65 and gives you 5 GB of high-speed data and unlimited data at slower speeds. You can add 1 GB of high-speed data for $15 per month. A Verizon plan gives you access to the largest network in the U.S. and reliable 4G coverage. Although 5G provides the fastest connection, note that 5G service coverage is not yet widespread.

Google Fi Flexible  

Best Pay-As-You-Go

4 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$20 +$10/GB

PLAN TYPEPrepaid

DATAVaries

Google Fi Flexible: The Google Fi Flexible cell phone plan places No. 3 in our rating of the Best Cell Phone Plans of 2021. The Flexible plan starts at $20 per month and includes 15 GB of high-speed data, with each extra GB of data costing $10. The plan's affordability and the fact that it doesn't require a contract make it good for budget-conscious shoppers and those wanting to limit overages and unused data. If you have a 5G compatible device, you can get 5G coverage for free.

T-Mobile Magenta  

Best Nationwide Coverage for 5G

4 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$70

PLAN TYPEContract

DATAUnlimited

T-Mobile Magenta: The T-Mobile Magenta plan offers coverage for up to eight lines and includes 100 GB of high-speed data along with 5 GB to use as a mobile hotspot. The plan starts at $70 a month (with taxes and fees included) and has plenty of optional data, and streaming services.

Visible Unlimited  

Best for Unlimited High-Speed Data

4 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$40

PLAN TYPEPrepaid

DATAUnlimited

Visible Unlimited: Visible’s Unlimited plan is $40 per line per month. If you build a plan for at least four people, your per-line cost drops to $25 per month. The plan includes unlimited talking, texting, and data, hotspot capability with data speeds of up to 5 megabits per second, Wi-Fi calling (on a compatible device), and calls and texts to Canada and Mexico. Visible runs on Verizon’s network.

T-Mobile Essentials  

3.9 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$60

PLAN TYPEContract

DATAUnlimited

T-Mobile Essentials: T-Mobile Essentials cell phone plan starts at $60 a month and gives you 50 GB of high-speed data. You can cover up to six lines under this plan, which makes it appealing for families. A mobile hotspot comes with the plan and includes unlimited data at 3G speeds. You will have access to T-Mobile’s 5G network, which is the largest in the country.

Mint Mobile Unlimited  

3.9 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$30 and Up

PLAN TYPEPrepaid (3, 6 & 12 Month Plans)

DATAUnlimited

Mint Mobile Unlimited: Mint Mobile Unlimited is No. 6 in the Best Cell Phone plans of 2021 rating. It starts at $30 per month and gives you 35 GB of high-speed data along with a mobile hotspot with 5 GB of data. You’ll have access to 4G LTE networks as well as 5G networks in certain areas with a compatible device.

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited Prepaid (5 GB Hotspot)  

3.8 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$50

PLAN TYPEPrepaid

DATAUnlimited

Metro by T-Mobile Unlimited Prepaid (5 GB Hotspot): This plan starts at $50 and gives you unlimited high-speed data, 5 GB of hotspot data, and a Google One membership (which gives you 100 GB of storage for images, videos, and files within Google Workspace). The plan ranks No. 8 in our list of the Best Cell Phone Plans of 2021 and No. 5 in our Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans of 2021 ratings.

Google Fi Unlimited  

3.7 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$70

PLAN TYPEPrepaid

DATAUnlimited

Google Fi Unlimited: Google Fi Unlimited starts at $70 per month and is a more robust plan than Google Fi Flexible. You can add up to six lines, and customers receive coverage on 4G LTE and 5G networks with compatible devices. With the unlimited plan, you can make free calls from the U.S. to more than 50 countries and territories. A bonus feature of the plan is that it comes with a Google One membership. This allows each person on the plan 100 GB of cloud storage.

Tello Economy  

3.4 out of 5

MONTHLY COST$10

PLAN TYPEPrepaidDATA

Unlimited

Tello Economy: Economy is Tello’s base plan, which comes with 1 GB of high-speed data, unlimited talking, and unlimited texting. At $10 per month, it’s the least expensive plan to make our list. There is no contract or setup fee, and for compatible cell phones, the plan comes with free tethering of your phone as a mobile hotspot. One key feature is the ability to restructure your plan at any time. Tello Economy has both 4G LTE and 5G cellular networks.

(sources: usnews.com, reviews.org)