9 Best Cell Phone Plans of 2023 (Hand-Picked from Experience)
If you're shopping around for a new cell phone plan, you might be wondering:
What are the best cell phone plans of 2023?
Here are the 9 best cell phone plans of 2023:
- US Mobile Unlimited Starter - best cell plan overall
- US Mobile Kosher Plan - best for talk & text only
- US Mobile 2GB - best cheap plan
- Mint Mobile 15GB - best multi-month plan
- Visible Base - best for one line
- US Mobile 12GB - best for two lines
- Visible+ - best unlimited plan
- Boost Infinite - best plan with a free phone
- AT&T Unlimited Starter - best family plan
Mint Mobile (limited time): Get 3 months FREE when you buy any 3-month plan
Compare the Best Cell Phone Plans of 2023
When you are looking at cell phone plans, there are six key differences you want to pay attention to:
- How much high-speed data is included
- How much hotspot data is included
- Video streaming quality
- International calling
- Canada and Mexico data roaming
- International data roaming
You can find all of these features outlined for each of the plans in this article.
For most people, the most important features are the first three: how much high-speed data you get, how much hotspot data you get, and the video streaming quality.
If you'd like to learn more, check out our guide to cell phone plan features.
This article included plans ranging from $7 to $95, with no data to unlimited data.
Some plans are from carriers known as MVNOs, or mobile virtual network operators.
MVNOs don't have their own cellular network. Instead, they purchase network access from the big carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, at wholesale rates.
Examples of MVNOs include US Mobile, Mint Mobile, and Visible.
MVNOs typically offer better prices than the big carriers.
This is because MVNOs:
- Negotiate low-cost wholesale rates for offering talk, text, and data bundles from the big carriers
- Don't have to spend billions of dollars per year building or maintaining a cellular network
- Generally operate online only to save on retail store costs and staffing store employees
- Pass their savings on to consumers in the form of lower cost plans
Some of the top picks for the best cell phone plans of 2023 are from MVNOs.
You may be surprised just how much money an MVNO can save you, while giving you the same coverage as the big carriers.
Why Should You Trust Me?
I've been reviewing cell phone plans for nearly a decade on my YouTube channel with over 100,000 subscribers.
To select the best cell phone plans of 2023, I built a massive spreadsheet to compare over 670 options. I only selected plans that deliver the best value to consumers, and that I have personally tested.
Best Cell Phone Plans of 2023
1. US Mobile Unlimited Starter - Best Cell Plan Overall
If you were one of my friends and you asked me, “hey Stetson, I need a new cell phone plan. What plan should I sign up for?”
I would say US Mobile’s Unlimited Starter plan.
Quite simply I think it is the best value for the money right now. The plan is just $25 per month, flat. All taxes and fees are included.
What do you get for that $25?
Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 30GB of high-speed data, 5GB of hotspot data, and up to 4K video streaming.
You can sign up for this plan and choose to use it on either the T-Mobile or Verizon for coverage (just not both at the same time).
If you choose to activate on the T-Mobile network, then US Mobile includes free international calling to over 200 destinations.
Activating on the Verizon network gives you the perk of having priority data. Priority data is data that is faster during times when the network is busy.
Usually, priority data is reserved for more expensive plans. But US Mobile’s Unlimited Starter plan gives you the exact same cellular performance as a Verizon customer paying $80+ per month.
US Mobile’s exceptional value, well-designed mobile application, and good customer service make them an easy recommendation for my friends and family.
US Mobile Unlimited Starter Pros:
- Excellent value for money
- Choice of coverage on either T-Mobile or Verizon
US Mobile Unlimited Starter Cons:
- Data slows to 1Mbps after the 30GB high-speed allotment (but remains unlimited)
- No device financing deals
2. US Mobile Kosher Plan - Best For Talk & Text Only
What if you need a plan that is just talk and text only, with no data?
Look no further than US Mobile’s Kosher plan.
For $8 per month, you get unlimited minutes and unlimited texts.
The plan is simple and affordable.
This is a great option for kids, for an emergency phone, or for anyone who simply does not need cellular data.
You can activate US Mobile’s Kosher plan on either the T-Mobile or the Verizon network, depending on which one has better coverage in your area.
There is no data with this plan.
Some features, such as visual voicemail, voice over LTE, and group and picture messages, which require cellular data to work, may not be available on this plan.
US Mobile Kosher Pros:
- Unlimited calling and text messaging for one of the best prices available
- Coverage on either T-Mobile or Verizon (your choice)
US Mobile Kosher Cons:
- Some plan features that require cellular data (visual voicemail, voice over LTE, group messaging, and picture messaging) may not be available on this plan
- No data cellular data
3. US Mobile 2GB - Best Cheap Plan
Are you tired of hearing me mention US Mobile yet?
Listen, the reason I recommend them is because their plans are good!
And US Mobile’s 2GB plan is no exception.
For $10 per month, you get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 2GB of high-speed data. The mobile hotspot feature is also supported, and you can use up to all 2GB as hotspot data.
Similar to US Mobile’s other plans, you can activate your service on either the T-Mobile or the Verizon network for coverage.
Video streams at up to 4K quality.
What does the competition offer?
- MobileX offers 2GB for $11
- Tello offers 2GB for $14
- Twigby offers 2GB for $15
- Google Fi offers 2GB for $40
There is no competition.
2GB for $10 from US Mobile is impossible to beat.
US Mobile 2GB Pros:
- Unbeatable value
- Perfect for light data users
US Mobile 2GB Cons:
- Data stops after 2GB (additional high-speed data can be purchased at $2 per GB, and unused top-up data rolls over)
- No device trade-in deals or promotions
4. Mint Mobile 15GB - Best Multi-Month Plan
Mint Mobile (limited time): Get 3 months FREE when you buy any 3-month plan
Mint Mobile is an MVNO that uses T-Mobile for coverage.
What makes Mint Mobile different?
They sell their plans in bulk 3-, 6-, or 12-month packages.
You can think of Mint Mobile like the Costco of mobile carriers.
The more you buy, or in this case the longer you sign up for, the more you save on your wireless bill.
Mint’s 15GB plan starts at $35 per month for 3 months. However, Mint Mobile offers a discount for new customers, so you can get the plan for just $20 per month for your first three months. If you like the plan and decide the service works for you, then you can keep the same $20 per month rate by signing up for a full year.
Included with Mint Mobile’s plan is 15GB of high-speed data, after which speeds are slowed to 256Kbps.
You get unlimited minutes and texts, and you can use up to all 15GB of data as hotspot data.
Video streams at 4K quality.
Mint Mobile is best for people who get good T-Mobile coverage, prefer the peace of mind not having to think about a cell phone bill every month, and who feel comfortable paying for 12 months of service at a time.
If you ever decide you want more data, the good news is you can upgrade your Mint Mobile plan to one with more data at any time and you just pay the difference in cost.
Mint Mobile 15GB Pros:
- Great coverage and speeds on T-Mobile’s 5G network
- Good price and value
Mint Mobile 15GB Cons:
- Have to pay $240 upfront for 12 months to get the best price
- International data roaming is available, but it is outrageously expensive
Mint Mobile (limited time): Get 3 months FREE when you buy any 3-month plan
5. Visible Base - Best For One Line
If you’re looking for a simple cell phone plan perfect for one line, Visible Base is a good option.
What makes Visible Base good?
It is $25 for unlimited everything.
That $25 price includes unlimited high-speed data, unlimited hotspot data, unlimited minutes, and unlimited texts.
What is the catch?
There are three catches to Visible’s Base plan.
First, the data is deprioritized.
This means when the Verizon network is busy, such as at sports games, concerts, and other crowded events, your data speeds may be slower than someone paying for a fancy $80+ Verizon plan with priority data. (Or one of US Mobile’s plans with priority data). When the Verizon network is no longer busy, you’ll resume getting the fastest speeds available on Visible Base.
Second, the high-speed data is limited to 200 Mbps.
This sounds crazy to list as a caveat, as 200 Mbps is faster than many people’s home internet connection, but it is something to be aware of nonetheless.
And third, mobile hotspot speeds are limited to 5 Mbps.
I have tested this personally, and 5 Mbps is fast enough for me to get work done, stream up to 720p videos, and generally use my laptop as I normally would. It is not the best for video calls, but it can work in a pinch.
For a single line, $25 for an all-you-can-eat unlimited plan is insane.
And did I mention taxes and fees are already included in that price?
Visible Base Pros:
- Truly unlimited high-speed data and unlimited hotspot data
- Coverage on Verizon’s robust 4G LTE and 5G networks
Visible Base Cons:
- Hotspot speeds are limited to 5 Mbps
- No options for international data roaming
6. US Mobile 12GB - Best For Two Lines
If you have two lines and you're looking for a cell phone plan, you probably feel disappointed at the lack of discounts available for two lines.
Most plans only offer big savings if you have three or four lines.
So what do you do if you have two lines?
Typically, the answer is to put each line on a separate plan based on what each line needs. (Great options would be all the other plans mentioned in this article).
But there is one alternative:
US Mobile's 12GB plan.
What makes this plan so great?
You can share the 12GB of data with as many lines as you want, and you can add a line for just $8 per line. For two lines, you would be looking at $33 per month, or just $16.50 per line. That's not a bad deal!
Split evenly, each line would get 6GB of data, which normally costs $18 per line from US Mobile.
You can add more data any time you need it for $2 per GB.
US Mobile supports the standard features you'd expect in a cell phone plan: voice over LTE, Wi-Fi calling, visual voicemail, mobile hotspot, eSIM, and 5G.
If you activate the plan on the Verizon network, then you'll get priority data, and if you activate on T-Mobile, you'll get international calling to 200 destinations included for free.
Video streams it up to 4K quality on this plan.
Add-ons are available to purchase international data, but US Mobile does not support calling or texting while abroad.
US Mobile 12GB Pros:
- Affordable price for a feature-rich service
- Option to choose either T-Mobile or Verizon for coverage on a per-line basis
US Mobile 12GB Cons:
- Shared data means each line may need to more closely monitor usage
- Data stops when the high-speed limit is reached. If you need more data, it is $2 per GB.
7. Visible+ - Best Unlimited Plan
Do you want the best unlimited plan in the industry?
Visible+ is it.
For just $45 per month, this plan is packed with features.
- Unlimited priority data on 5G Ultra Wideband
- 50GB of priority data on 5G Nationwide or LTE
- Unlimited hotspot data at 5Mbps
- Up to 4K video streaming
- 500 minutes of free international calling to over 30 destinations
- 0.5GB of high-speed data per day in Canada and Mexico
For the value, this plan is simply unmatched.
If you wanted a plan with similar features from Verizon directly, you'd be paying $80 per line for Verizon Unlimited Plus.
The closest prepaid option is US Mobile Unlimited Premium. It costs $50 per month for a single, and it only includes 100GB of high-speed data before slowing you down to 1Mbps.
Other prepaid unlimited plans from T-Mobile and AT&T start at $50 per month and don't include nearly as many features.
Can you beat the value of Visible+?
I don't think so.
- Unlimited priority data on 5G Ultra Wideband that will never slow down based on how much you use
- Unlimited hotspot data
- No options for international roaming outside of Canada or Mexico
- No multi-line discount makes this plan a bit more expensive for families
8. Boost Infinite Access for iPhone - Best Plan With A Free Phone
Do you want to plan that comes with a free phone every year?
If yes, then Boost Infinite's Infinite Access for iPhone plan may be a good option for you.
The plan is just $60 per month and it allows you to upgrade to the newest iPhone, for free, every year.
How does it work?
If you sign up right now as a new customer, Boost Infinite will give you $1,000 off any iPhone 15 model. That is enough for a free iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, or iPhone 15 Pro. And you can grab the iPhone 15 Pro Max for just $200.
There is no trade-in required for this deal.
After your first year of service, you can trade in whichever iPhone 15 model you selected to upgrade to a free iPhone 16.
It is important to note that while Boost Infinite is offering up to $1,000 off the iPhone 15 models this year, I believe this is extra promotional credit to entice new users.
Next year, I suspect the trade-in credit will be limited to up to $800. That is still enough for a free entry-level iPhone 16, but it won’t be enough to cover an iPhone 16 Plus or iPhone 16 Pro.
Another important question:
What does the Infinite Access for iPhone plan include?
The Infinite Access for iPhone plan includes 30GB of high-speed data, 480p video streaming, and unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of data roaming in Canada and Mexico.
You also get unlimited international calling to around 50 destinations for mobile numbers, 80+ destinations for landline numbers, and variable international calling minutes to 120+ destinations. International texting is included for free.
Boost Infinite uses the T-Mobile, AT&T, and Dish 5G networks for coverage. Eventually, you’ll be able to seamlessly switch between all three networks, but that is not quite working just yet.
For now, most new activations are on the T-Mobile network.
The only other plan that includes a free phone every year is T-Mobile Go5G Next, and that costs a jaw-dropping $100 per month.
Overall, Infinite Unlimited is not bad for $60 per month.
Boost Infinite Access for iPhone Pros:
- Upgrade to a new iPhone every year, for free
- Decent features and perks
Boost Infinite Access for iPhone Cons:
- Hotspot is a separate $10 add-on
- You could save money by buying an iPhone outright from Apple and going with a different plan that is $25 or less
9. AT&T Unlimited Starter - Best Family Plan
AT&T Unlimited Starter is the best cell phone plan for families.
What makes it great?
Three key reasons:
1. It includes everything you need.
AT&T Unlimited Starter includes unlimited high-speed data, 3GB of hotspot data, and free unlimited data roaming in Canada and Mexico.
These are all the features most people need.
The only features missing are international calling and international data roaming, which are available as separate add-ons.
2. It has a great price.
Starting at $140 per month for a family of four, AT&T Unlimited Starter is AT&T’s most affordable plan.
3. It gives you AT&T’s best trade-in deals
The real kicker with AT&T Unlimited Starter is it gives you access to AT&T’s best device deals.
For the iPhone 15 series, that meant up to $1,000 off the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max at launch!
T-Mobile and Verizon limit the trade-in deals that are available for their entry-level plans. T-Mobile typically does not offer trade-in deals for its entry T-Mobile Essentials plan, and they are only offering up to $350 off the iPhone 15 with their Go5G or Magena plans.
Verizon does the same thing. Their entry-level Unlimited Welcome plan can only get $290 off the iPhone 15 when you trade in an iPhone 13.
The fact AT&T gives you access to their best phone deals while still being on their most affordable is what makes AT&T Unlimited Starter such a good value.
Families can save a lot of money by getting a free phone every three years for each line!
AT&T Unlimited Starter Pros:
- Access to AT&T’s best device deals (effectively get a free phone every 3 years)
- Excellent coverage on AT&T’s LTE and 5G networks
AT&T Unlimited Starter Cons:
- Phone deals require a 36-month agreement. If you cancel or switch before 36 months are up, then you owe the remaining balance on the phones.
- All phones finances through AT&T are locked. You won’t be able to use a secondary SIM card, whether for trying out another provider in the U.S., or using an international carrier while traveling abroad.
How Do You Choose A Cell Phone Plan?
Choosing a cell phone plan involves answering four questions:
- How much cellular data do you need?
- What features do you want?
- What network has the best coverage in your area?
- How many lines do you have?
Let’s walk through each:
1. How Much Data Do You Need?
On average, most people in North America use about 20GB of data per month.
At least, according to Ericsson’s June 2023 mobility report:
I’d say that typical usage is even less than this.
Many light to medium data users will likely be fine with a 5GB to 15GB data plan.
That said, if you watch a lot of YouTube videos, Twitch streams, TikToks, or any other video content, you may benefit from a plan with more data, perhaps in the 30GB to 50GB range.
How do you tell how much data you need?
You can typically look at your previous phone bill or check your carrier’s mobile app to see your usage.
Here is what my usage looks like in the T-Mobile app:
You can also check how much cellular data your phone reports you have used.
Here’s how to check your data usage on iPhone:
- Go to Settings, Cellular
- Scroll down until you see “Current Period”
- Write your current period usage down
- Scroll all the way down to the bottom until you see the “Last Reset” date in a tiny gray font
- Use TimeAndDate.com to calculate how many days it has been since today and when your usage was last reset
- Divide your Total Usage by the number of days it has been to get your average data use per day
- Multiply your average data use per day by 30 to get your average data use per month
How To Check Data Usage on Android (Samsung Phones)
- Go to Settings, Connections, Data Usage, Mobile Data Usage
- Tap the date range in the top left to check your data usage for historical periods
- Your historical periods should give you a good idea of how much data you use per month
How To Check Data Usage on Android (Google Pixel Phones)
- Go to Settings, Network & Internet, SIMs, App Data Usage
- Tap the date range at the top to check your usage for historical periods
- Your historical data usage should give you a good idea of about how much data you need per month
Here's a video tutorial that will walk you through the process of how to check your data usage on both iPhone and Android:
2. What Features Do You Want?
When you are picking a cell phone plan, it is important to ask yourself what features you need.
Do you need hotspot data? International calling? Talk, text, or data roaming in Canada or Mexico?
Most people do not need a plan with a whole lot of extra bells and whistles.
They just need an affordable plan with enough high-speed data and good coverage.
Thankfully, most plans deliver on those needs.
But if you do need certain extra features, such as hotspot data, international calling, or data roaming in Canada or Mexico, then it is important to make sure the plans you look at include those features.
To help you better understand the different cell phone plan features available and select which ones you need, I made a free worksheet for you:
3. What Network Has The Best Coverage In Your Area?
Making sure you get great coverage is an important part of picking a cell phone plan.
What is the point of saving money on a plan if you never have service, right?
To help you figure out what network is best in your area, I co-founded a website called CoverageMap.com.
To make things easy for you, we also built a check coverage tool.
All you do is enter your ZIP code, and the website will tell you the #1 network in your area.
Keep in mind that there are only four nationwide cellular networks in the United States:
- The AT&T network
- The T-Mobile network
- The Verizon network
- The Dish network
All cell phone plans from all carriers will use one of those four networks for coverage.
Even plans from regional carriers, such as UScellular, will end up roaming on one of the major four networks in areas where the regional carrier does not provide service.
What network has the best coverage?
According to FCC data, AT&T’s network has the most overall coverage.
That said, Ookla’s speed test report for Q3 of 2023 indicates AT&T has the slowest network.
You may also consider Verizon or T-Mobile’s network for a better balance of speed and coverage.
Keep in mind that cellular coverage varies greatly from city to city and state to state.
Your best option is to definitely check CoverageMap.com to get a clearer picture of how the networks compare in your area.
4. How Many Lines Do You Have?
If you have one or two lines, you are typically better off putting each line on its own separate plan.
However, if you have three or more lines, then it becomes worth it to look at the multi-line discounts.
The big carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, all offer pretty substantial multi-line discounts. The discounts can bring the cost of a plan down from $80 for a single line to around $40 per line for a family of four. The big carriers also offer pretty good deals on new smartphones, which can add to your savings.
Some people will still prefer the flexibility of purchasing their phone unlocked and choosing a prepaid plan that meets their needs though.
Instead of $40 per line, prepaid carriers typically offer unlimited data for as low as $25 per line.
Choosing a prepaid plan means you will pay more upfront for your phone. But you will save money with a lower monthly cell phone bill.
Who has the best deal on cell phone plans?
US Mobile currently has the best deal on cell phone plans. Their most affordable plan starts at just $5 with taxes and fees included, and their unlimited plans start as low as $25 per month.
Who is the best cell phone provider now?
The best cell phone provider is pretty subjective. In the prepaid space, I think US Mobile is the best with their combination of affordable prices, excellent mobile app, and good support.
Between the big three carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, AT&T is probably the best cell phone provider overall right now. AT&T has excellent phone deals, affordable prices, and some of the best coverage.
Who is the #1 cell phone provider?
AT&T is currently the #1 cell phone provider in the United States with 46% market share. Verizon has 29% market share, and T-Mobile is currently in last place with only 24% market share.
Who is the cheapest cell phone carrier?
The cheapest cell phone carrier is MobileX. Not only does MobileX let you customize a cell phone plan to meet your specific needs, but they will actually give you credit back at the end of the month for any of your unused data.
How much should I pay for a cell phone plan?
I believe no one should be paying more than $25 per line for their cell phone plan.
Who has the best unlimited phone plan right now?
Visible has the best unlimited phone plan right now. Their Visible+ plan gives you unlimited data and unlimited hotspot data for $45 per month, along with a bunch of other features.
What cell phone company has the cheapest unlimited everything?
Visible has the cheapest plan with unlimited everything. Visible Base is just $25 flat for unlimited, talk, text, data, and hotspot on Verizon.
Which phone carrier is most expensive?
T-Mobile currently has the most expensive cell phone plan. Their Go5G Unlimited Next costs $100 per month for a single line, even after all discounts are applied.
How can I get a better deal on my phone bill?
Switching to a prepaid cell phone carrier can typically save you a lot of money off your phone bill. You may also consider checking if your current carrier offers any teacher, student, first responder, or military discounts you may be eligible for. Sometimes your current carrier will also offer more affordable plans that you can switch to.