Mobile phone plans can be expensive — on some carriers, it’s not hard to pay $80 per month or more, especially if you use a lot of mobile data.
But not all plans are so costly. There are plenty of cheap mobile phone plans available if you know where to look. We’ve scoured the Internet to find these, the 10 cheapest mobile phone plans in the US. Pitch in with more cheap plans in the comments!
Two quick notes: first, for the purposes of this article, I’ll only be looking at plans that include at least some mobile data. If you’re looking for a plan that only includes calling and texting, or just calling, you can find even cheaper plans than these. Second, many of these plans are based around an idea called “Wi-Fi first” which means that if you’re connected to Wi-Fi, your calls and messages will be routed via the Wi-Fi instead of through your cellular network.
Also, if you’re considering cell phone plans for your entire family, we did the research for you: Family Cell Phone Plans or MVNO: Which Is Right for You?
It’s tough to get cheaper than free. And that’s exactly what Freedompop offers: free service.
And it’s a pretty solid amount of service: you get 200 minutes of voice, 500 texts, and 500 MB of data. That’s actually more than some providers give you when you pay, making this a really great deal.
And if you need more minutes and texts, you can get unlimited voice and text, along with 1 GB of data, for $20.
Another provider with a free plan, Ringplus offers a surprising amount of minutes and texts. 1500 of each, to be exact. And 500 MB of 4G data.
You have to sign up for their $10 auto top-up plan to get the free service, but you’ll only get charged if you go over your allotted service. If you tend to use more data than that, you can upgrade to the monthly $10 plan, which will net you 700 minutes, 300 texts, and 1 GB of data.
You can also bring your own phone if it’s a Sprint phone, further decreasing your overall costs.
Scratch Wireless: Free
You didn’t know there were so many free cell phone plans, did you? Scratch Wireless has a strong emphasis (as many of these plans do) on using Wi-Fi for as much of your communicating as possible.
When you’re on Wi-Fi, you get unlimited talk and text, which will be over VoIP and an online messaging service.
When you’re using cellular data, you get unlimited texting. To get mobile minutes and data, you’ll need a pass, which you can buy for $1.99 for 50 MB, $14.99 for 500 MB, $1.99 for 24 hours of talk, and some other options that you’ll see in the image above.
US Mobile: $9
If you don’t plan on using your phone very much at all (or you can do the vast majority of your communicating via Wi-Fi), you can get by with a very basic plan from US Mobile for a minuscule $9.
You’ll get 100 minutes of talk, 100 texts, and 100 MB of data.
The ability to customize your plan means you can pay a little more for more voice, text, or data without adding to the other categories. For example, 100 minutes, 250 texts, and 250 MB of data will run you $13 per month.
Page Plus Cellular: $12
The creatively titled “The 12” plan costs $12, includes 250 minutes, 250 texts, and 10 MB of 3G data, and would be best for someone who either doesn’t use mobile data or is always on Wi-Fi. But with a very clear table of fees, Page Plus Cellular makes it simple to calculate how much you would pay if you use their base plan or go over your allotted minutes, texts, or data allowance.
Looking for something more significant, but still don’t want to pay an arm and a leg? Page’s $30 plan includes 1,500 minutes, unlimited texts, and up to 1 GB of 4G data, which should be enough for all but the most social-media-addicted users.
Like US Mobile, Ting offers a plan that would be great for someone who uses their phone almost exclusively over Wi-Fi or needs a device for emergency calls. Although it’s more expensive at $15, Ting’s plan is the same as US Mobile: 100 minutes, 100 texts, and 100 MB of data.
The nice part is that you’ll only get charged for what you use; so if you don’t use any voice minutes in a month, you won’t get charged for them. Stepping up to 500 MB of data increases the plan price to $24, still a very reasonable sum.
Republic Wireless: $17.50
Republic Wireless offers a great deal for people who don’t use much cellular data: you get refunded for the data you don’t use.
Their plan includes unlimited text and talk with 500 MB of data for $17.50, but if you use less than 500 MB, you’ll get some money back. If you only use 300 MB, you’ll get $3 back. Only 200 MB? $4.50 will go back on your bill.
So your bill could average significantly less than the $17.50 standard, but you also have the flexibility to use as much data as you need.
Consumer Cellular: $17.50
One of the nice things about Consumer Cellular is that it offers modular plans; you can buy minutes and text, or data services separately. So for $15, you’ll get 250 minutes of talk, and another $2.50 will get you 300 texts and 30 MB of cellular data.
Not the best deal out there, but still very affordable at $17.50 per month. And if you decide that you want to go down to billed-on-call minutes, you can get that part of your bill down to $10.
Getting unlimited data is usually very expensive, but Textnow makes it much more reasonable with their Tall plan, which gives you unlimited text and talk, 500 MB of 3/4G data, and unlimited 2G data when you’ve used use that first half-gigabyte.
While 2G data will seem extremely slow if you’re used to 4G speeds, it will still get you online. And the whole thing will only set you back $19 per month. Definitely a good option if you don’t know how much data you’ll use, but you always want the ability to look up a map (or movie times).
Giv Mobile [No Longer Available]
In addition to offering some great cheap cell phone plans, Giv Mobile also donates 8% of your monthly plan amount to charity each month.
The $20 plan gets you unlimited text and talk with 250 MB of 3/4G data. The $25 plan includes unlimited 2G data, and the $30 plan gives you 1 GB of high-speed data with unlimited 2G. No matter how you plan on using your phone, you can find a plan from Giv Mobile that will suit your needs.
Save Hundreds (or Thousands) on Your Cell Phone Bill
Cutting $20, $30, or even $50 off of your cell phone bill can add up to a huge difference over the course of a couple years, especially if there’s more than one person in your household who can take advantage of these low-cost plans.
Combine that with saving money when you buy a phone, and you could be looking at thousands of dollars of savings in a relatively short period of time. And you don’t even have to have a specific phone, like you do on Google Fi. What’s there to lose?
Have you seen any cheaper cell phone plans than these? Share them in the comments!
Image Credits:US Dollars by olavs via Shutterstock