When you're a student, you've got lots of expenses. Textbooks. Coffee. Rent. Coffee. Travel expenses. Coffee. Oh, and that huge amount of money you're paying for tuition. That too.
Some expenses you have more control over than others. Even saving a couple of bucks here and there per month adds up.
Your cell phone bill is one of the expenses you have control over. In fact, switching plans can save you hundreds of dollars per year. It's easy to find a plan to meet your needs. Here are our recommendations:
As a college student, you're likely going to be spending most of your time on campus with free campus Wi-Fi. You won't need as much cellular data. Having unlimited talk & text with 1GB of data is perfect for staying in touch with friends while still having enough data when you're exploring the city.
Tello also includes free international calling to Canada, Mexico, and China with all of their plans. They even support international calling to a huge selection of countries. You can make international calls at affordable pay-as-you-go rates. Tello a great option for international students looking to stay in touch with family members back home.
Mint Mobile sells their plans in bulk. You sign up for a plan for either 3-months, 6-months, or 12-months at a time. The longer you sign up for, the better price you get, and the more you save on your cell phone bill.
The bulk pricing model is great for students. Signing up for longer increments gives you a better deal, and the plan durations are typically the same length as the academic schedule. You can essentially get a plan for half a semester, a full semester, or a full year.
Mint Mobile supports visual voicemail, MMS, Wi-Fi calling, VoLTE, and even 5G access on T-Mobile's 5G network. (Mint uses T-Mobile for coverage).
New customers can get the 3-month 3GB plan just $15 per month. If you choose to renew, you can keep the $15 per month price by signing up for a 12-month option. Check out our Mint Mobile review to learn more about what the experience is like using Mint.
US Mobile is a unique carrier because you get to build your own plan. You choose how many minutes, texts, and megabytes of data you want each month. US Mobile's $15 plan is a great option for college students on Wi-Fi most of the time. The plan includes 75 minutes, 300 texts, and 1.5GB of LTE data.
If you need more minutes or texts, no problem! For the same $15, you can configure a plan with 500 minutes, 2,000 texts, and 500MB of LTE data.
All of US Mobile's custom plans support the mobile hotspot, and you'll also get support for features such as visual voicemail, VoLTE, and MMS. Custom plans also include 250MB of international roaming data, so you can use your plan while traveling abroad. You can purchase more international data if you need it. US Mobile's support for international data roaming makes them a great option for a semester abroad.
US Mobile offers plans on the Verizon and T-Mobile networks. We recommend you sign up for the Verizon network, which US Mobile refers to as their Super LTE network, for the best experience.
Google Fi is one of our favorite options for traveling internationally. Why? Instead of charging you $10 per day (like AT&T) or $70 per month EXTRA (like Verizon's monthly international plans), Google Fi just charges you $0.20 per minute of talk time. That's it. cellular data and unlimited texting are included for free with Google's plan. It's actually pretty awesome.
Google Fi supports a LOT of countries too. We're talking over 200+ international destinations. So if you're thinking of taking a semester abroad somewhere, odds are you're covered.
What also makes Google Fi great is its affordable and flexible pricing. You only pay for the amount of cellular data you use each month. Fi charges $20 for unlimited talk and text, and then a rate of $1 per 100MB, or $10 per GB. If you're on campus Wi-Fi most of the time, then your usage will be lower and you'll pay less. If you're off Wi-Fi and need more data, you have more at your fingertips.
Visible is owned by Verizon and uses Verizon's network for coverage. What makes Visible especially great is their Party Pay group discount. Individuals can join a Visible Party with three other individuals and pay just $25 per month for their plan. Each line in a Visible Party is billed separately, so this is safe to do and a great way to further reduce your cell phone bill.
The only caveat to Visible is that data speeds are deprioritized. This means if your school is in a city with a lot of Verizon customers and the network gets busy, your speeds will slow down. Sometimes a lot. Visible also has more limited device support. You'll want to check to make sure your phone will work on their network before you sign up.
Still, at just $25 for unlimited data, Visible is impossible to beat in terms of their value. All taxes and fees are included. You definitely want to try Visible to see if they'll work for you. If they do, they'll save you over $600 per year compared with an unlimited plan from Verizon themselves.
Check out our Visible review for more information.