The Best Value Cell Phone Plans For 2020

The Best Value Cell Phone Plans For 2020

There are a ton of other MVNOs out there that also offer good deals. What makes each discount cell service provider different? Most people go straight to the rates they pay to compare different MVNOs. Doing that won’t give you the full story, though.

You need to look into more details to find out what you’re really getting.

  • What network does the MVNO run on?
  • Are your data speeds limited?
  • Can you use any smartphone device on their network?
  • Can you easily reach customer service when you need help?

We'll be taking a detailed look at each company below.

Table Of Contents

Mint Mobile

cheap cell phone plans

Mint Mobile offers discounts for prepaying for more months at a time. You can buy plans in three, six, or 12-month packages. The sim card is free with Mint Mobile you'll get a seven-day free trial.

Switching to Mint Mobile is very smooth and they offer a way to port your number yourself on their website. Try it for three months and see if you like it. Customers report that switching back and forth is quite painless.

Start saving with Mint Mobile today.

Mint Mobile At A Glance

Mint Moble Pricing

 3 month package6 month package12 month package
3GB 4G LTE$15 per month for the first 3 months, $25 per month after that$20 per month$15 per month
8GB 4G LTE$20 per month for the first 3 months, $35 per month$25 per month$20 per month
12GB 4G LTE$25 per month for the first 3 months, $45 per month after that$35 per month$25 per month

Gen Mobile

cheap cell phone plans

If you have ample access to Wi-Fi and don’t need a lot of mobile data, one of the lowest cost options for you is Gen Mobile. You can keep your number and/or bring your phone.

While Gen Mobile is a prepaid MVNO, you do not need to pay months in advance to get the low $10/month for unlimited text, 300 mins of voice, and 1 GB of data. However, if you're often on the go and need lots of voice minutes or cellular data, Gen Mobile is not the right option because it’s another $5 for every additional 500 mb or extra 500 minutes.

But if you can plan ahead and download the tunes, podcasts, or shows you want before your commute, it’s hard to say no to $10 a month. Best of all, you can try it for a month, and switch to another provider like Mint Mobile if staying below 1 GB turns out to be impossible for you.

There is a $5 charge for the SIM card.

Get started with Gen Mobile here.

Gen Mobile At A Glance

  • Network: Sprint
  • Data speed: Not specified
  • Available phones: iPhone and Android phones, but you can bring your own device. Check out all the details.
  • Customer service: +1-833-528-1380 or chat.

If you want a plan that lets you experiment with data fasting, Gen Mobile is a superb option.

Why? Because it’s easy to bring your number in, test out the low data plan for a month, and then go back to another option because you don’t need to pre-pay for months in advance like Mint Mobile or Freedom Pop just to get a price break. Who knows, you might surprise yourself and find that 1GB plus lots of WiFi is all you need!

Gen Mobile Pricing

 1 month package3 month package
No data
No talk
Unlimited text
$5 per monthN/A
No data
Unlimited talk
Unlimited text
$10 per month$9 per month
1GB
300 minutes
Unlimited text
$10 per month$9 per month
1GB
Unlimited talk (US)
Unlimited text
$15 per month$13 per month
2 GB
Unlimited talk (US)
Unlimited text
$20 per month$17 per month
3 GB
Unlimited talk (US)
Unlimited text
$25 per month$20 per month

Check out our full review of Gen Mobile here.

Ting

cheap cell phone plans

Ting is the perfect cell phone service for light users. You’re only charged for the number of minutes, texts, and data you actually use.

Ting At A Glance

  • Network: Sprint/T-Mobile
  • Data speed: Up to 4G LTE
  • Available phones: Latest iPhones and Galaxy phones available
  • Customer service: 1-855-846-4389 and online chat available, but hours are not listed
 Bare Bones PlanAverage PlanAbove Average Plan
Lines1 Line - $6
1 Line - $61 Line - $6
Talk100 minutes - $3

500 minutes - $91,000 minutes - $18
Text100 texts - $3
1,000 texts - $52,000 texts - $8
Data100 MB - $3500 MB - $51GB - $16
Total$15$30$48

Remember, Ting's pricing is mix and match. This table shows example usage but there are no set plans. You pay for what you actually use.

However, Ting does offer iPhone support. So, if you're someone who has to have an iPhone, then this would be a better option than Republic Wireless.

Get Ting Today.

Republic Wireless

cheap cell phone plans

Republic Wireless offers a great pricing plan and some features that used to be unique, like Wi-Fi calling.

  • One of the coolest things about their Wi-Fi calling is that it can be switched over to cell coverage in the middle of a call.
  • That way you won't drop a call when you're leaving your house or work, for example.
  • And, obviously, Wi-Fi calling will save you money and help you if you have poor cell coverage inside of your home.

Speaking of coverage, their website conveniently detects your location and tells you if your area is covered. Check it out for yourself!

Unfortunately, one downside is that Republic Wireless's customer support process can be potentially frustrating as they offer no phone number. You have to either search their forum or open a new help ticket.

The biggest drawback of Republic Wireless may be their lack of support for certain smartphones. They flat out DO NOT support iPhones, and their Android selection is limited as well. They have approximately 50 supported Android phones, including the premium phone makers Samsung and Google. Here is a complete list of their supported phones.

Republic Wireless At A Glance

  • Network: Sprint/T-Mobile
  • Data speed: Up to 4G LTE
  • Available phones: Select Android phones only
  • Customer service: Only available by submitting support tickets

One last Republic Wireless perk: they allow you to try out their service for 14 days risk-free. If you don't like it, you can simply quit the service, and they will give you your money back–even the money for a phone if you purchased one through them! Pretty sweet!

Republic Wireless Pricing

Republic Wireless has the most straightforward pricing of all the discounted cell phone plans. You get unlimited talk and text for $15 per month + $5 per GB of data.

Check out our full review of Republic Wireless here.

Republic Wireless definitely has some great benefits, but how does it compare to the other discount cell service providers? Let's find out.

FreedomPop

FreedomPop is unique in that you get a bigger discount based on how many months you prepay in advance. If you can afford to buy a year of service all at once, you could see some major savings.

FreedomPop can also offer you completely free service if you carefully follow all of the terms and conditions. Unfortunately, they make money if you don’t follow those terms and exceeding your limits will result in upcharges.

Beware of the multiple fees they charge for various services such as activation, as well.

Get started with Freedompop here.

Freedom Pop At A Glance

  • Network: Sprint/AT&T
  • Data speed: Not specified
  • Available phones: Mostly older iPhone and Android phones, but you can bring your own device. Check out all the details.
  • Customer service: 1-877-848-2810 with limited business hours

FreedomPop Pricing

All plans come with unlimited talk and text and there is a $20 top-up fee if you exceed your data limit.

 2GB5GB10GB
1 month package$24.99$34.99$59.99
3 month package$13.99$18.99$24.99
6 month package$11.99$17.99$22.99
12 month package$9.99$14.99$19.99

Free service:

    • Sprint CDMA Network – 200 minutes, 500 texts, and 500 MB of 4G LTE data per month
    • GSM LTE Network – 200 minutes, 500 texts, and 200 MB of 4G LTE data per month

FreedomPop is a great option if you are very conscientious about checking how much data you have used throughout the month. It's also great if you are a light cellphone user. Who knows? You might even be able to get away for free. It also has iPhone support.

Finally, this is also a good place to think about if you are able to prepay for extended periods of time. The 5 GB of data at $15 per month is admittedly tempting, but to get that deal you'd have to pay for a year in advance.

Take a look at Freedom Pop phones and what they have to offer.

Total Wireless

cheap cell phone plans

Total Wireless is an MVNO alternative that provides service on the popular Verizon network. Therefore, expect to pay more for better service, but less than you would otherwise pay with Verizon.

Get started with Total Wireless here.

Total Wireless At A Glance

  • Network: Verizon
  • Data speed: Data is listed as “up to 4G LTE speeds”
  • Available phones: Latest iPhones and Galaxy phones available. You can also bring your own unlocked device.
  • Customer service: 1-866-663-3633 and live online chat with great hours, seven days a week

Total Wireless Pricing

All plans come with unlimited talk and text. Prices shown below are for a single line, but family plans are available.

 Unlimited Data
1GB at 4G
the rest at 2G
5GB at 4G
(10GB for the 1st 90 days)
Unlimited Data
25GB at 4G
the rest at 2G
15GB at 4G
Price$23.70 with autopay$33.20 with autopay$47.50 with autopay$90.00

Total Wireless is definitely not the cheapest option on the block. However, if you're a stickler for fantastic coverage and also like to save money, then this might be the one for you.

Cricket Wireless

cheap cell phone plans

Last, but not least, we have Cricket Wireless. Cricket is another MVNO where you pay a bit more for a better network. Since Cricket Wireless uses AT&T, you should get good coverage, but you won’t be getting the rock bottom MVNO prices you’d expect with T-Mobile or Sprint.

Cricket Wireless At A Glance

  • Network: AT&T
  • Data speed: Depends on plan
  • Available phones: Latest iPhones and Galaxy phones available. You can also bring your own unlocked device.
  • Customer service: 1-800-CRICKET with reasonable hours, seven days a week

Cricket Wireless Pricing

All plans come with unlimited talk and text.

 2GB at 4G
128K after limit is reached
5GB at 4G
128K after limit is reached
Unlimited at 4GUnlimited + 15GB Hotspot
Price per month$30$40$55$60

In short, with Cricket Wireless (using AT&T), your cost is probably going to fall somewhere between Republic Wireless (which uses T-Mobile and Sprint) and Total Wireless (which uses Verizon). Therefore, the decision may come down to which networks you are able to get good coverage from in your area.

Save Money On Your Phone By Buying From Gazelle

What good is a cheap cell phone plan if you’re buying an expensive phone to go along with it? Gazelle can help you get a name-brand cell phone, like those from Apple or Samsung, for far less than you would pay through most carriers.

Gazelle> makes buying pre-owned cellphones simple, with easy to navigate drop-down menus to filter your search. Once you find a phone model that fits your needs, you can easily choose between different device options, like the carrier, storage, color, and condition.

If you’re in the market for a new phone, give Gazelle a chance. Although their phones are pre-owned, they have high standards and are honest about each one’s condition. Most people won’t even be able to tell that their phone isn’t brand new.

If you’re like me and are clumsy, you won’t have to worry about missing out on insurance plans to cover your phone. Gazelle offers a service plan that will protect your new phone in case of accidental damage for an entire year.

Pick The Right Discount Cell Service Provider For You

Only you can decide which features are most important in a discount cell service provider.

  • For some people, the absolute lowest cost plan for their usage is the top priority.
  • For others, convenient customer service options may be the most important.
  • Some just have to have an iPhone. If you are an iPhone only person, Republic Wireless isn't going to cut it. But there are many other options available.

If you can pay in advance, you might want to go with FreedomPop or Mint Mobile. If you prefer to have outstanding coverage, you might want to go with Total Wireless or Cricket Wireless.

But if you want unlimited talk and text and a reasonable amount of data at a low cost on an Android phone, Republic Wireless may be exactly what you're looking for.

But as long as you’re happy with your choice and you’re saving money versus one of the “big four” carriers, I’d say you’re winning.

Related Articles

The Best Value Cell Phone Plans For 2020

 

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12 thoughts on “The Best Value Cell Phone Plans For 2020”

  1. Red Pocket Mobile has been offering great values on yearly plan on eBay: $240 gets you 5GB/month for eye days. You can choose from multiple national networks. Like the other MVNOs, there are significant holes in their coverage map. (Wyoming and western Nebraska are my areas of concern.]

  2. There is a major MVNO provider any elligible FI adherent must look in to. Anyone currently subscribing to Comcast (Xfinity) internet can take advantage of their cell service on the Verizon network. If you are the type who can get away with using little to no data, then the service is essentially the cost of state taxes only. You also will be able to piggyback off of xfinity wifi services anywhere. Using this service, I pay $14.66 per month for 4 phones! I provide 2 phones to my in-laws and utilize their Netflix service for a win-win. Wifi can essentially be picked up anywhere now so the 100mb limit of free cell data is a non-issue. All in my internet and phone bill is 54.65/month. Not too bad.

  3. I’m surprised you left out Google FI. It’s very popular in the FI community, especially with those that travel internationally.

  4. I’ve been using Republic Wireless for 4 years and am pretty happy with them. Personally I love that the customer support is only online. It usually only takes a few minutes to search for a crowd sourced, phone specific answer instead of sitting on hold forever with customer service. Also, while traveling internationally I always make sure our lodging has wifi and I can use my phone just like I’m at home. I appreciate the comparison as I always like to be aware if something better for me comes along.

  5. Awesome summary of some great phone plans out there! I feel like everyone is on the Republic Wireless bandwagon, but you guys are the first ones to share my personal favorite of the group – MINT MOBILE!

    I’ve been jammin’ with Mint mobile for years now and it has basically flawless. Super cheap if you pay the whole year in advance. Righ tnow I am paying for the 3GB package with unlimited talk and text, and it comes out to about $18/mo.

    Republic simply can’t beat that. Plus, I can use my unlocked phone and don’t have to buy a new one. I think folks should take long hard look at MInt MObile as their next carrier.

  6. I’m ready to purchase Mint Mobil and I’m not understanding how this supports Choose FI and the great work that you all do and I benefit from? How will Mint Mobil know that I selected them based on your podcast and webpage?

  7. I’m surprised Xfinity Mobile isn’t on here. I have 6 of us on the plan and it costs $60/mo for 10gb. Phenomenal value IMO.

  8. We have been using Cricket for years, and very happy with them, though the low prices at Mint Mobile are looking tempting right now. However, I have to have good reception for work, and would worry about going to T-Mobile’s network over at Mint. Does anyone have any experience with how well they work, how many dropped calls, etc?

  9. As an update, Ting is now also using Verizon towers. I have used them in the past and just moved back with their recent change. Overall, great service and good prices.

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