Latest Cell Phone Plan & Service Deals
There are a lot of options when it comes to cell phone plans these days. From unlimited data cell phone plans to pay as you go phone plans to bring your own phone plans, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re just looking for a cheap cell phone plan or something that will get you unlimited everything for the whole family, we’ve got all the best deals from a variety of mobile carriers right here in one place.
Best Cell Phone Plans
Determining what the best cell phone plan is for you and your family is going to depend on what you need. Single people who just need minimal data can opt for cheaper mobile phone plans through budget carriers, such as Boost Mobile or Republic Wireless. A cheap phone plan that lets you bring your own phone could save you even more.
On the other hand, if you have a family with multiple lines or if you know you’re going to use a lot of data streaming media on your commute or at the gym, the cheapest prepaid phone plan just won’t do. You’ll want an unlimited cell phone plan (or close to it), probably from one of the bigger name carriers.
Google Fi will now be available on most newer iPhone models and Android devices. In the past, the service was limited to Google-manufactured phones like the Pixel and the Nexus. You can see a full list of newly eligible devices by following this link, but all phones running iOS 11 and higher and most running Android 7.0 or higher are now eligible. You can either sign up for Google Fi with an eligible phone or buy one directly from Google. The base plan, which includes unlimited talk and text, runs for $20 a month. It’s an additional $10 a month per GB of data used, but users who don’t hit the 1GB threshold will only pay for what they actually used. Plus, your monthly rate is capped at 6GB (or $80 per month), so you won’t be charged extra for any additional data used after that. To sweeten the deal, Google is offering the first month of Google Fi free for new customers who sign up. However, you must bring your own device to Google for the deal to apply — you can’t buy a phone directly from Google. You can read the full terms and conditions of the promotion here.
Unlimited Cell Phone Plans
While mobile carriers briefly stopped offering unlimited phone plans, they’re finally back. You’ll be able to find unlimited AT&T cell phone plans, Verizon cell phone plans and Sprint phone plans, among others. From there, you’ll need to decide whether coverage will be an issue for where you live, as well each carrier’s option for multiple lines and then, of course, budget. Frequently, you’ll get the cheapest cell phone plans with unlimited data when you switch carriers (or threaten to switch.) Simply calling up your current carrier with a quote of a lower price from another carrier may get you a lower price. Additionally, some carriers will pay you to get out of your contract. For example, if you sign up for a T-Mobile cell phone plan as a new customer, they will help you pay off termination fees on your old contract. Basically, it pays to shop around and get quotes from various carriers.
Unlimited data plans are all the rage, but are they really worth it?
Major mobile carriers are pushing unlimited data hard, harkening back to old-school cell plans. Verizon (the last to jump back on the bandwagon) finally caved, recently unveiling its new-and-improved unlimited plan. With auto-pay, you’ll snag unlimited data on four lines for $180 per month — plus HD video streaming and 10 GB of unlimited 4G LTE mobile hotspot usage. (After that, it downshifts to 3G.) But these prices don’t include fees and taxes, which will inevitably raise your bill. The offer is also ambiguously labeled as “introductory.” Will prices get jacked up? Probably, but we’ll have to wait and see. Other big mobile players are reacting in kind. Shortly after Verizon’s announcement, T-Mobile tweaked its One Unlimited plan to match Verizon’s HD video and hotspot offerings. Similarly, Sprint rolled out a limited-time promotion — just $90 per month for five lines. The caveat is that Sprint’s network isn’t known to be the best when it comes to speed and reliability.
But all the hoopla has us asking one big question — is unlimited data something we need? It all comes down to your individual data consumption. Light users who stay mostly connected to their home or work Wi-Fi, and only burn through one to two gigabytes per month, might be better off going with Google’s Project Fi mobile service, which toggles between Wi-Fi and 4G LTE networks. The pricing model is super-transparent; $20 for unlimited calls and texts, and $10 for every gigabyte of data you use. Plus, you get a refund for unused data. There’s also network quality to consider because, as Slickdeaer DRad points out, “Boost, MetroPCS, and Cricket have cheaper unlimited.”
While true, those lower costs also bring below-average download speeds. With T-Mobile neck-and-neck with Verizon for speed and reliability, their current $100-for-two-lines promo (including taxes and fees) is worth exploring depending on where you live. Ultimately, while it’s good news that Verizon is once again offering an unlimited plan, jumping ship from your current plan might not be the smartest (or cheapest) move.
Is it Time to Ditch the Cell Phone Contract and Opt for a No-Contract Plan?
These days, there are several no-contract service providers to choose from, and most offer not only the newest phones, but also big savings.
Here are some of the most affordable plans offered by these companies, as well as who they fit best:
Metro PCS (Most affordable plan) – $30 per month. Unlimited data, with the first gigabyte of data reaching up to 4G speeds (speeds slows down after the first GB). Unlimited talk and text. Taxes and regulatory fees are included.
Best for: Consumers on a tight budget. With Metro PCS, you’ll have peace of mind, knowing that you’re paying a straight $30 every month with taxes and fees included.
Boost Mobile (Data Boost Plan) – $35 per month. Unlimited talk, text and data on the Sprint 4G LTE network. The first gigabyte of data reaches up to 4G in speed. International service is considered an add-on, starting at $5 per month for Mexico and Canada.
Best for: Consumers who make a lot of international calls. For $10 extra per month, you can get unlimited talk in more than 70 countries. It is also free to receive text messages from abroad.
Virgin Mobile (Unlimited Your Way) – $35 per month. Unlimited data, talk and text (250MB of high speed data), or unlimited data and text with 300 minutes of call time (2.5GB of high speed data).
Best for: Consumers who are worried more about texting and data, rather than minutes for calls. Big talkers — or those who take numerous calls for work — may find the 300 minutes too limiting.
T-Mobile (Simply Prepaid) – $40 per month. Unlimited talk, text and data on the T-Mobile network, and up to 1GB of 4G LTE data.
Best for: Consumers who want a “well-rounded” service and phone. Unlimited talk, text and data is ideal for the everyday smartphone user.
Ting – Monthly price varies. Ting bills you separately for voice minutes, text messages and data, and usage is shared across all of the devices on your account. You pay for the “usage level” you hit at the end of the month. Devices start at $6.
Best for: Consumers who rarely use their smartphone or families that want to split the cost of a service plan on one account.
Some of the common bonuses that these companies offer include the option to keep your existing phone number, voicemail and three-way calling. Virgin Mobile, for instance, also has a buy-back program that gives you up to $300 for your old phone when you switch to its service. However, contract carriers, such as Verizon and AT&T, provide similar incentives for consumers.
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