Best Cell Phone Plans with 5G in 2022
Cell phone networks have come a long way.
We are now on the fifth generation of wireless communication standards, otherwise known as "5G".
T-Mobile is currently leading the pack with the best and most available 5G mobile network in 2021, according to PCMag's Fastest Mobile Network Test.
This is largely thanks to T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G network, which they call their Ultra Capacity 5G network. It now covers over 165 million people and consistently delivers speeds between 150Mbps and 500Mbps. Some speeds have even peaked at over 1Gbps.
However, the fastest 5G network award currently goes to Verizon.
Their Ultra Wideband 5G network isn't as widely available as T-Mobile's 5G, but it can deliver peak speeds exceeding 4Gbps thanks to mmWave technology.
In fact, some customers are even replacing their home internet service with Verizon 5G Home Internet thanks to these impressive speeds.
Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband network also got a boost of speed and coverage on January 19th, 2021, with the launch of Verizon's C-Band spectrum.
C-Band is another group of frequencies that falls in the mid-band 5G category, and Verizon is claiming speeds between 100Mbps and 300Mbps to start.
And the best part? The launch of C-Band brought Verizon's Ultra Wideband 5G network from covering just a few cities to now covering over 100 million people.
AT&T is working on 5G, too, just not as loudly as the other carries. And understandably so.
AT&T's LTE network was already rocked solid with tons of capacity and plenty of speeds.
Customers could already hit over 300Mbps thanks to carrier aggregation and AT&T's impressive network building. They didn't even need 5G to hit the speeds Verizon and T-Mobile are now getting.
Tutella’s State of Mobile Experience report from 2020 also gave AT&T the win in Core Consistent Quality, which represents a network connection good enough for everyday use cases like browsing the web, streaming music, or watching a standard definition video.
The bottom line is that AT&T’s LTE network has been consistent and reliable, and already hit some of the faster speed T-Mobile and Verizon are now seeing.
But if you do want it, AT&T 5G is starting to become more available. AT&T has deployed 5G+, their mmWave network with up to multi-gigabit speeds, in some airports and stadiums to alleviate congestion. And they will also be launching C-Band spectrum later this year for even more coverage and capacity.
It's an exciting time for 5G, and now may be the perfect time to pick up a 5G compatible cell phone plan to test these new networks.
Here are our top 10 5G cell phone plans for 2022:
- Best budget T-Mobile 5G plan: Mint Mobile 4GB
- Best budget AT&T 5G plan: Red Pocket 10GB
- Best value Verizon 5G plan: US Mobile Unlimited Premium
- Best value T-Mobile 5G plan: T-Mobile Prepaid Unlimited
- Best value AT&T 5G plan: Cricket Unlimited More
- Best no-limits T-Mobile 5G plan: T-Mobile Magenta MAX
- Best no-limits AT&T 5G plan: AT&T Unlimited Elite
- Best no-limits Verizon 5G plan: Verizon 5G Get More Unlimited
Best budget T-Mobile 5G plan: Mint Mobile 4GB
If you're looking to try out T-Mobile's 5G network on a budget, then Mint Mobile's 4GB plan is for you.
It comes in at just $15 per month, and it includes full access to T-Mobile's Extended Range 5G network as well as their new Ultra Capacity 5G network.
We've tested speeds over 600Mbps on Mint Mobile, which is amazing considering this is a $15 plan.
Just keep in mind that running speed tests between 400Mbps-600Mbps eats through data quickly.
Like, really quickly. You may be better off upgrading to Mint's 35GB plan for $15 extra ($30 total) per month if you plan to do a lot of speed testing.
Keep in mind that Mint Mobile’s plans are sold in bulk 3-, 6-, or 12-month options. New customers get an intro rate on the 3-month plan, and when your plan renews you’ll want to switch to the 12-month option to get the best price.
Best budget AT&T 5G plan: Red Pocket 10GB
AT&T’s 5G network has been one of the slower ones to roll out.
They have deployed their low-band 5G network using DSS (dynamic spectrum sharing), but you get speeds similar to what you got on AT&T’s LTE network.
The exciting advancements are in the deployment of AT&T’s mmWave 5G network, which they have branded 5G+, and their C-Band spectrum, which will be part of their mid-band 5G network.
If you’d like to keep your eyes on what AT&T is up to without breaking the bank, then Red Pocket’s 10GB plan is a great option.
This plan includes 10GB of high-speed data per month and costs just $30.
Red Pocket includes full access to AT&T’s 5G network, so you can test data speeds and performance and monitor any changes in your area.
If you think you’ll be testing for a long time, then you may consider grabbing the 10GB annual plan. It’s $270 upfront, which breaks down to just $22.50 per month and saves you a cool $90 per year.
Best value Verizon 5G plan: US Mobile Unlimited Premium
If you're looking to test out Verizon's 5G network, including the new improvements they've made to their Ultra Wideband 5G network, then look no further than US Mobile's Unlimited Premium plan.
This plan costs just $45 for a single line, and US Mobile added full support for Verizon's 5G Nationwide and 5G Ultra Wideband networks in late 2021.
If you have a 5G compatible phone, you'll automatically connect to the best 5G experience Verizon has to offer in your area.
Keep in mind running 5G speed tests counts against your high-speed data allotment, and with peak speeds of over 4Gbps you could use up your allotment fairly quickly.
US Mobile's Unlimited Premium plan comes with 100GB of premium data, 50GB of hotspot data, 1080p video streaming, and even free international data roaming with their international eSIM plans.
This is a stupendous plan for testing out the best 5G network experience Verizon has to offer, particularly for heavy data users.
Best value T-Mobile 5G plan: T-Mobile Prepaid Unlimited
T-Mobile Prepaid Unlimited is an absolute gem of a cell phone plan.
It’s a better version of T-Mobile Essentials, and it costs $10 less per month.
Instead of being deprioritized like T-Mobile Essentials, which is where your data speeds may temporarily slow down when the network is busy, T-Mobile Prepaid includes 50GB of priority data.
Priority data prioritizes your connection during times when the network is busy, in turn giving you slightly faster data speeds.
If you’re looking to test out the best speeds possible on T-Mobile, then getting a plan with priority data can be a nice touch.
T-Mobile Prepaid Unlimited also includes the same 600Kbps hotspot data as T-Mobile Essentials, and the same basic features like VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, and domestic roaming.
The real kicker is that T-Mobile Prepaid Unlimited comes in at just $50 per month, which is $10 less than T-Mobile Essentials.
And considering Prepaid Unlimited comes with truly unlimited data on the T-Mobile network, it's perfect for testing out 5G performance on a budget.
Heck, it’s a great value proposition for a regular unlimited data plan, too.
The one downside is the 600Kbps hotspot data is slow. If you want to test out high-speed hotspot speeds, consider spending $10 extra for the Prepaid Unlimited Plus plan, which includes 10GB of high-speed hotspot data.
Also, T-Mobile Prepaid doesn’t offer the best discounts when it comes to family plans. Four lines of Prepaid Unlimited come out to $35 per month per line.
Instead, families may want to consider Metro by T-Mobile. Their top-tier unlimited plan, which includes unlimited data, 15GB of hotspot data, 100GB of Google One storage, and an Amazon Prime membership, comes out to just $30 per month per line, which is one heck of a deal.
Best value AT&T 5G plan: Cricket Unlimited More
The best value unlimited plan with 5G access on the AT&T network is the Cricket Unlimited More plan.
This plan is $55 per month, including all taxes and fees.
Included with the plan is truly unlimited premium data on the AT&T network. Premium data means that your data speeds will never be slowed down based on how much data you use, which makes Cricket’s Unlimited More plan perfect for testing out AT&T 5G and running tons of speed tests.
Cricket Unlimited More also includes 15GB of high-speed hotspot data, 480p video streaming, unlimited high-speed data roaming in Canada and Mexico, and unlimited texting from the U.S. to 37 countries.
Additionally, this plan includes a couple of nice perks. You get 150GB of free cloud storage, as well as a free HBO MAX subscription with ads.
IMPORTANT: Cricket Unlimited More is a fantastic plan with 5G, but it only supports 5G on specific phones. ALL iPhones will get 5G on Cricket (both BYOD and purchased from Cricket), but only 5G compatible Android phones purchased directly from Cricket will get 5G.
Best no-limits T-Mobile 5G plan: T-Mobile Magenta MAX
If you’re looking to test T-Mobile’s 5G network to the max, then the Magenta MAX plan is calling your name.
This plan includes truly unlimited priority data, so you’ll never be slowed down based on how much data you use, a whopping 40GB of high-speed hotspot data to share your 5G connection with your other devices, and full 4K video streaming.
From running speed tests to streaming 4K video to live video chatting and to doing work on the go, T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plan will deliver you the best experience the T-Mobile network has to offer.
This premium experience is expensive though.
Magenta MAX costs $85 per month for a single-line. Families of four can get the plan for $43 per line.
Along with giving you the best service possible on T-Mobile, the Magenta MAX plan also comes with one other huge benefit: the iPhone Forever Upgrade program.
Typically we are not huge advocates for financing your phones through your carrier (we prefer encouraging people to purchase their devices outright so they can easily switch plans and carriers at any time), but the iPhone Forever Upgrade program is a killer deal if you’re going to be sticking with T-Mobile Magenta MAX.
Basically, the iPhone Forever Upgrade program gives you a free entry-level iPhone, up to $800 in value, every 2 years when you trade in your old iPhone.
There is a little bit more to it than that, so be sure to check out the full details here, but this is still a great way to get a brand new iPhone every 2 years and to test out the fastest 5G speeds and performance the new iPhones have to offer.
Best no-limits AT&T 5G plan: AT&T Unlimited Elite
The Elite plan from AT&T is the best postpaid plan they have to offer. It’s $85 per month before taxes and fees, and it packs a lot of features.
Like T-Mobile Magenta MAX, you get unlimited priority data, 40GB of hotspot data, and 4K video streaming on AT&T Unlimited Elite.
This combination of features ensures you’re always getting the best and fastest 5G experience the AT&T network has to offer.
Another feature this plan has, that’s unique to AT&T, is that you also get unlimited data roaming in Canada and Mexico with this plan. This is a great feature to have for anyone who travels to those countries on a frequent basis.
Also included is a free subscription to HBO Max. So if you want to push the limits and see what it’s like streaming 4K movies and TV shows on HBO Max, this plan is for you.
Best no-limits Verizon 5G plan: Verizon 5G Get More Unlimited
Up until recently, Verizon was lagging behind T-Mobile and AT&T. Not in terms of their network, but in terms of their premium plan offerings.
Verizon’s old Get More Unlimited plan capped out at 50GB of priority data, 30GB of hotspot data, and only 720p video streaming.
Thankfully, all that has changed.
On January 5th, 2022, Verizon updated their Get More Unlimited plan.
They now call it the “5G Get More Unlimited” plan, and it got some nice upgrades.
The 50GB of priority data got increased to unlimited priority data, matching the premium offerings from T-Mobile and AT&T.
Verizon also now offers the most hotspot out of any cell phone plan available. They increased the 30GB to a whopping 50GB, 10GB more than what’s available from the competition.
Unfortunately, there is one feature that Verizon didn’t fix: video streaming.
The new 5G Get More Unlimited Plan streams video at 480p by default on Verizon’s Nationwide 5G network and 720p by default on Verizon’s Ultra Wideband 5G network.
To enable 720p streaming on Nationwide 5G and 4K streaming on Ultra Wideband 5G, you need to turn on a toggle in your account settings.
Thankfully, Verizon just expanded their Ultra Wideband 5G network to cover 100 million people, so you should be seeing faster speeds and 4K streaming in more and more places.
And what better way to test Verizon’s upgraded 5G network than their most premium 5G unlimited plan?