Best prepaid phones (May 2019)

OnePlus 7 Pro cameras with logo

There was a time when prepaid plans were reserved almost exclusively for young people and often the “credit challenged.” After all, prepaid phone plans were generally less impressive than carrier plans, with too many restrictions to make them appealing, and prepaid phones were just a small step better than utter garbage.

Thankfully, this situation has been flipped on its head in recent years. Nowadays, prepaid phone plans actually tend to offer the best value for consumers and generally share many of the same perks you’d find with a traditional “postpaid” plan. The selection of phones has equally improved, with prepaid networks offering at least a few flagship options and plenty of respectable mid-range and entry-range devices. There’s also the ability to bring your own unlocked phone to a number of prepaid carriers, unlocking even more possibilities.

So what are the very best prepaid phones available? A lot of it will come down to what network best suits you, though below we’ve gathered up several of the best smartphones available in the prepaid world right now, from the best of the high-end flagships to the best of the mid-range phones to the best from the budget line.

Looking for full lists of the best prepaid phones for a specific network? We have those too! Check them out below:

For those that would rather go unlocked and bring your phone to a compatible GSM network, you’ll also want to take a look at the following lists:

Editor’s note – We will be updating this list as more devices hit the market.

Best flagship pre-paid no contract phone – OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus 7 Pro screen in front of fire

OnePlus may not make great mid-range phones anymore, but even with its higher cost, the OnePlus 7 Pro still packs in high-end hardware for a price that’s still well below the competition. It has a huge, and nearly bezel-free, 6.67-inch 3,120 x 1,440 resolution AMOLED display, with 90Hz and HDR 10+ support, along with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Inside, the phone packs in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, and you can purchase it with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or you can upgrade to either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, combined with 256GB of storage.

OnePlus has struggled with its cameras in earlier phones, but for the OnePlus 7 Pro, it has put in a triple rear camera setup, with a huge 48MP main sensor, an 8MP telephoto lens, and a 16MP ultra wide angle camera. It also has a 16MP pop-up front-facing camera for selfies. It’s certainly the best camera setup ever put in a OnePlus phone.

Other features of the OnePlus 7 Pro include an improved in-display fingerprint sensor, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support, a 10-layer liquid cooling system, RAM Boost to put in more memory for apps that need the performance, and a 4,000mAh battery that you can charge up to 50 percent in just 20 minutes with its Warp Charge 30 charger.

While there are a couple of features we wish were included (the OnePlus 7 Pro lacks an IP waterproof rating and a a 3.5mm headphone jack), the OnePlus 7 Pro still packs in a ton for the money. You can get the pre-paid no contract version direct from the company for as low as $669 for the 6GB RAM/128GB storage model, or you can spend just $80 more to get the 12GB RAM/256GB storage model for $749.

Read more

Honorable mentions

Samsung Galaxy S10

The Samsung Galaxy S10 offers perhaps the best value among the several Galaxy S10 models that were released this year. It has a 6.1-inch AMOLED display, support for up to 512GB of onboard storage, the Snapdragon 855 chip, excellent camera, plus it has an IP68 waterproof rating and a headphone jack. However, the starting price of the phone is higher than the highest OnePlus 7 Pro for prepaid no contract customers at $899.99.

Google Pixel 3 XL

If you want a pure Android experience, and the best camera you can get in a smartphone, along with high-end processors and other hardware, the Google Pixel 3 XL is the way to go. You can get the pre-paid no contract version direct from Google starting at $899.99.

Best mid-range pre-paid no contract phones – Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL

Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3 front on table

After years of making and selling flagship phones, Google finally decided to jump back into the mid-range market with the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL. The biggest plus for both phones is that they have the same 12.2MP dual-pixel rear camera that’s found on their more expensive brothers, the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL. If you love to take pictures, these phones will give you the best experience for the money.

The other hardware specs are more in line with the prices of these phones. You get a 5.6-inch gOLED display for the Pixel 3a, and a 6-inch screen for the Pixel 3a XL. Both share the same processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 670) the same RAM amount (4GB) and the same storage (64GB). You also get an 8MP front-facing camera, and a pure Android 9 Pie OS. You even get a headphone jack. The Pixel 3a has a 3,000mAh battery while the Pixel 3a XL has a much bigger 3,7000mAh battery that should last you quite a while. 

Best of all, people looking for more affordable pre-paid no contract phones will find that the Google Pixel 3a starts at just $399 directly from the company, while the Pixel 3a XL starts at $479. Both offer excellent value for the money.

Read more

Honorable mentions

Razer Phone 2

Do you want the best gaming smartphone you can currently buy? Then the Razer Phone 2 is for you; it’s fast, it has a 120Hz display and Razer has cut the price down to just $499, which is an absolute steal for this handset.

Motorola Moto Z3 Play

Not only is this phone an excellent device to get on its own, you can also add to its features with the various Moto Mods that are available for the phone. You can expand its battery life, add new camera features and more, all for under $500 (or even less during Motorola’s many promotions).

Best budget pre-paid no contract phones – Motorola Moto G7 Play, G7 Power, and G7

The Moto G series have always offered solid hardware inside smartphones for low prices, and the Moto G7 Play is no exception. The 5.7-inch screen offers plenty of space for content, and inside you have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. You also get a 13MP rear camera, an 8MP front-facing camera and a 3,000mAh battery that should last for well over a day on a single charge. All of that is inside a phone that can be used with all of the major U.S. carriers, including all the pre-paid ones, for the price of just $199.

If you want to spend just $50 more to get an even bigger 6.2-inch phone, and a much larger 5,000mAh battery that could last as long as three days on one charge, you should check out the Moto G7 Power for the price of $249. If having a better camera is a priority, you can spend $100 more on the Moto G7, with its dual 12MP rear cameras, along with its AI-powered photo assistants. Even then, the price is still $299.

Read more

Honorable mention

Nokia 6.1

Not only do you get solid hardware for the low price of just $210, or even lower, the Nokia 6.1 is an Android One device, which means it not only runs on a near stock version of Android, but it will get steady updates until at least mid 2020.

That’s it for our roundup of the best pre-paid no contract phones. What’s your pick?

The best prepaid and no contract plans in the US (January 2019)

When we first started this prepaid carrier list in 2012, things were starting to get truly exciting. We were seeing processors with more cores, screens in true HD, and things were starting to get really interesting for Android. It’s now 2019 and the mobile industry has undergone a striking revolution. Carriers are becoming less aggressive, off-contract phones are getting better and cheaper, and things don’t look anything like they did in 2012.

Read Next: Best unlimited data plans in the US

The one thing that hasn’t changed is the value of a good no contract or pre-paid plan, so let’s take a look at the best ones right now.


US Mobile

Promoted


US Mobile might not be a household name, but its growing number of choices makes this MVNO worthy of your attention. Operating on Verizon and T-Mobile’s networks, US Mobile’s exceptional coverage easily competes with the “big boys.” Even better, US Mobile is giving Android Authority readers the chance to save $15 upon initial sign up.

To save $15, you’ll want to pick your plan and order a SIM card. Upon checkout, enter ANDAUSM into the promo code box for a $15 credit towards the SIM card ($4) and your first month of coverage.

Okay, so you can save extra when signing up for US Mobile, but why give them a chance? US Mobile stands out because the carrier doesn’t just give a few basic plans and then calls it a day. Instead it gives consumers the option to customize call, text, and data with more than 800 possible combinations.

Here’s a break down of its latest pricing tiers and options:


Plan details:

  • Plans begin at as low as $4 a month, but go up depending on your combination of data, text, and talk.
  • Super LTE Unlimited plans with prices ranging from $40 to $65 a month. Super LTE Unlimited plans are on offer with three tiers: Standard (1Mbps), Fast (5Mbps), Ludicrous (up to 150Mbps)
  • You choose between the biggest LTE network coverage or the network with the broadest device compatibility.
  • Unlike most carriers, if you need to shut down the line for a while, you can hold your number for just $2 a month, effectively snoozing the plan.
  • Head here for more details on plan combinations or to choose an unlimited option.

US Mobile prepaid plans & phones


T-Mobile best prepaid plans in the US

T-Mobile

T-Mobile still has pre-paid plans, despite having its own prepaid no-contract carrier, Metro by T-Mobile. You can bring your own phone, assuming it can use T-Mobile’s service.

See: Best Android T-Mobile prepaid phones

Plan details:

  • Pay as you go – Starting at $3 a month, plus taxes and fees. Includes up to 30 minutes of talk with more for 10 cents a minute, and up to 30 messages, with more at 10 cents a message. LTE and hotspot data available with the purchase of a data pass.
  • Simply Prepaid  – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of LTE data. First line costs $40 a month, Two lines cost $70 a month, Three lines costs $100 a month, Four lines cost $130, Five lines costs $160 a month. All of these prices don’t include taxes or fees. Mobile hotspot available at full speeds up to data amount. Unlimited calls to and from Mexico and Canada, plus data roaming while in those countries, for $5 a month extra. Unlimited calls to and from Mexico, Canada, and 30+ countries, with unlimited international texting, for $15 a month extra.
  • T-Mobile One PrePaid – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data. First line costs $50 a month, Two lines cost $80 a month, Three lines costs $110 a month, Four lines cost $140, Five lines costs $170 a month. All of these prices don’t include taxes or fees. Mobile hotspot available at unlimited 3G speeds. Unlimited calls to and from Mexico and Canada, plus data roaming while in those countries, for $5 a month extra. Unlimited calls to and from Mexico, Canada, and more than 30 countries, with unlimited international texting, for $15 a month extra.

AT&T best prepaid plans in the US

AT&T

AT&T’s prepaid plans are pretty simple to understand. You can bring your own device to AT&T’s pre-paid plans as long as it supports AT&T’s network.

Plan Details:

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text. Data can be added to this plan at 250MB portions for $5 each.
  • $35/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1GB of LTE data. Data speeds go down to 128Kbps after the data limits are reached.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of data. Data speeds go down to 128Kbps after the data limits are reached.
  • $65/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data. You may experience data throttling if there is congestion in your area. Video streaming is cut down to 480p.
  • $85/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data. You may see speeds go down if there is congestion in your area if you go over 22GB a month of data. Plan also offers 10Gb of high-speed mobile hotspot data. Video streaming resolution can be set to 1080p.

Boost Mobile best prepaid plans in the US

Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile is an MVNO using Sprint’s network. It’s one of the more popular MVNOs out there and most people have probably heard the name somewhere before. It has a decent selection of phones and, like T-Mobile, doesn’t use contracts at all. You can bring your own Sprint device assuming it’s somewhere on this list. You may need to call customer service as it appears as though that list doesn’t get frequently updated. Boost Mobile currently has four total pre-paid plans.

Plan details:

  • $35/month – Unlimited calls and texts with 3GB of LTE data.
  • $50/month – Unlimited calls and texts and unlimited LTE data. Video streaming is cut down to 480p. You also get 12GB of mobile hotspot LTE data per month.
  • $60/month – Unlimited calls and text and unlimited LTE data. Video streaming goes up to 1080p. You also get 30GB of mobile hotspot LTE data per month.
  • $80/month – Unlimited talk and text with unlimited LTE data. Video streaming goes up to 1080p. You also get 50GB of mobile hotspot LTE data per month. This plans also has unlimited text and talk to landlines and mobile phones in Mexico and Canada (except in the country’s Northern Territories/area code 867). You also get unlimited talk to landlines in over 70 other countries. Finally, it offers free access to the TIDAL Premium music streaming service.
  • Add-ons – Boost Mobile offers a ton of add-ons including data packs, International phone services, phone insurance, and mobile hotspot services.

Boost mobile Prepaid plans & phones | Best Boost Mobile deals


Cricket Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless used to be called AIO. It’s an AT&T-owned MVNO running on the carrier’s network. You can bring your own device, assuming it’s compatible. If it’s a GSM phone designed with support for all the necessary US bands, it’ll work without a hitch. Additionally, every plan comes with support for roaming in Mexico or Canada as long as your usage doesn’t exceed 50 percent of your total usage for the month.

Plan details:

  • $25/month – unlimited talk and text, but no data.
  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2GB of LTE data, but speeds are capped at 8Mbps. You get unlimited 2G after the data cap.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 5GB of data, but speeds are capped at 8Mbps You get unlimited 2G after the data cap.
  • $55/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data, but speeds are capped at 3Mbps.  This plan also includes unlimited Int’l texting to 37 countries and free talk, text and data roaming in Canada and Mexico. You also get 10GB of mobile hotspot high-speed data a month.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data, although you may see slowdowns in speeds after 22GB. This plan also includes unlimited Int’l texting to 37 countries and free data roaming in Canada and Mexico.
  • Auto-pay discount – Cricket Wireless offers a deal where you can get $5 off any plan if you use their auto-pay system. This is applicable for any prepaid plan.

Cricket Wireless Prepaid plans & Phones


H2O Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

H2O Wireless

H2O Wireless pre-paid is another prepaid service using AT&T’s towers. That means pretty much any GSM smartphone should work with the service.

Plan details:

  • $20/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1GB of data for three months, and 500MB of data a month after that time period. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 6GB of data for three months, and 3GB of data a month after that time period. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $35/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 5GB of data for three months, and 4GB of data a month after that time period. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of data for three months, and 7GB of data a month after that time period. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of data. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of data. After the data cap, you’ll have unlimited 2G speeds.

H20 Wireless Prepaid plans & phones


 

An image of T-Mobile CEO John Legere announcing the new Metro by T-Mobile brand. YouTube

Metro by T-Mobile

T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS a few years ago and recently changed its name to Metro by T-Mobile. Most GSM devices and T-Mobile-compatible devices should work, but you should double check before committing.

Plan details:

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2GB of data. You get unlimited 2G speeds after the data cap.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of data. You get unlimited 2G speeds after the data cap.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data. Speeds may slow down if you go over 35GB a month. You also get 5GB of high-speed hotspot data a month, plus access to the Google One cloud storage plan that normal costs $1.99 a month.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data, plus 10GB of LTE mobile hotspot data. Speeds may slow down if you go over 35GB a month. You also get 15GB of high-speed hotspot data a month, plus access to the Google One cloud storage plan that normally costs $1.99 a month, plus a free Amazon Prime subscription that costs $12.99 a month.
  • Add-ons – You’ll get $5 off per line if you have multiple lines on your account.

Metro by T-Mobile Prepaid Plans & phones | Best Metro by T-Mobile phones


Net10 Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

Net10 Wireless

Net10 is a subsidiary of TracFone, and for most users, a considerably better option. It’s an MVNO that piggybacks off of all four major U.S. carriers. It lets you bring your own phone as well, so you can use virtually any device on this network (as long as it has a SIM card slot), which is actually pretty awesome.

Net10 recently revamped its offerings quite a bit, offering two different routes. Starting with the regular route below.

Plan details:

  • $20/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1GB of 4G data. After the data cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $35/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 4GB of 4G data. After the data cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of 4G data. After the cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of 4G data. After the cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 12GB of 4G data. After the cap, you get unlimited 2G data.
  • $65/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of 4G data. After the cap, you get unlimited 2G data. It also comes with features for making international texts and calls.

Net10 also offers data-only plans, which cost $5 for 500MB, or $10 for 1GB.

Net 10 prepaid plans & phones


Page Plus best prepaid plans in the US

Page Plus

Page Plus is an MVNO powered by the Verizon network. To date, it is literally the only way to get unlimited data on Verizon’s network, which is pretty special. You can bring your own Verizon device to the network if you so choose or buy one directly from Page Plus.

Plan details:

  • $12/month – 500 minutes, 500 texts, 100MB of data.
  • $29.95/month – Unlimited, unlimited text, 3GB of LTE data. After high-speed data, you get unlimited 2G.
  • $39.95/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 8GB of LTE data. After high-speed data, you get unlimited 2G.
  • $55/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data.
  • $10 – This pay-as-you-go price includes 166 minutes with each additional minute at $0.06. Minutes last for 120 days.
  • $25 – This pay-as-you-go price includes 416 minutes (?) with each additional minute at $0.06. Minutes last for 120 days.
  • $50 – This pay-as-you-go price includes 833 minutes with each additional minute at $0.06. Minutes last for 120 days.
  • $80 – This pay-as-you-go price includes 1,333 minutes with each additional minute at $0.06. Minutes last for a year.

Simply put, if Verizon offered these services at these prices on its own network, it would probably put everyone else out of business. This is a great deal for Verizon customers looking for more flexibility with data (which is virtually every Verizon customer). Its pay-as-you-go options aren’t great, though. We recommend avoiding those unless absolutely necessary.

Page Plus prepaid plans & phones


Project Fi best prepaid plans in the US

Google Fi

Google Fi, previously known as Project Fi, is Google’s attempt at being a mobile carrier. It uses T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular to provide a pretty decent coverage map. The service is compatible with most Android phones, and even Apple’s iPhones, but only a few handsets, including Google’s own Pixel phones, support all of Google Fi’s features. All plans include access to cell coverage in more than 170 countries, Wi-Fi tethering, and more.

Plan details:

  • $20/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, no data. You can add more lines for $15 a month for each line, up to 5 additional lines
  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1GB of data. Additional data is calculated at $1 per 100MB. After you use up 6GB of data before your billing period ends, the rest of your data is free under bill protection. That ceiling goes up to 10GB if you add another line, 12GB if you add 2 lines, 14GB for 3 lines, 16GB for 4 lines, and 18 GB for 5 lines.

 

Red Pocket Mobile best prepaid plans in the US

Red Pocket Mobile

Next on our list is Red Pocket Mobile. This MVNO uses all four top service providers — Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T. You can bring virtually any device to the service as long as it has a SIM card slot and supports those networks. In fact, even if it doesn’t support sim, older legacy CDMA devices will typically work as well.

Monthly plan details:

  • $10/mo – 500 Minutes, 500 Texts, 500MB LTE
  • $15/mo – 1,000 Minutes, 1,000 Texts, 1GB LTE
  • $19/mo – Unlimited Talk  and Text, 1GB LTE
  • $30/mo – Unlimited Talk  and Text, 5GB LTE (3GB on the GSMA network!)
  • $40/mo – Unlimited Everything, 8GB LTE (5GB on the GSMA network!)
  • $60/mo – Unlimited Everything, 12GB LTE (10GB on the GSMA network!)

Red Pocket Mobile has come a long way over the years. It could be a great choice for those looking for a wide array of device compatibility and a variety of plan options. If you want to learn more, check out its plans page.


Republic Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless used to be one of the simplest companies on this list, and while things are a bit more complicated now, its plans are all relatively straightforward. It encourages users to use their home or work Wi-Fi whenever possible to get cheaper plans.

Plan details:

  • $15/month – This is the base price for unlimited talk and text. There is no data included with this plan and you’ll be expected to use your home Wi-Fi.
  • $5 a month for each GB of data – It’s pretty simple; just add how many GB of data you want to add to the basic plan, and it’s just $5 a month for each GB. For example, if you wanted to add 5GB of data, that’s $25 added to the $15 a month plan, for a total of $40 a month. The maximum data limit is 15GB.

It isn’t quite as impressive as it once was, but it’s still a solid choice for those looking for something a bit different.

Republic Wirless prepaid plans & phones


simple mobile best prepaid plans in the US

SIMPLE Mobile

Simple Mobile hasn’t changed a whole lot over the last couple of years. It’s still on T-Mobile’s network and you can still bring your own T-Mobile-capable GSM device if you so choose. Its rates also haven’t changed much. You can get about 10 percent off all plans if you use auto-pay. Additionally, all plans come with unlimited calling to cell phones in 20 countries and landlines in 65 countries.

Plan details:

  • $25/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 3GB of data.
  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2GB of data. You get unlimited 2G data after the data cap. This plan also works in Mexico.
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 12GB of data. You get unlimited 2G data after the data cap. This plan also works in Mexico.
  • $50/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data plus 10GB of mobile hotspot data, with video streaming at 480p. This also includes unlimited talk and text to supported International countries. This plan also works in Mexico.
  • $60/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data, plus 10GB of mobile hotspot data, with video streaming at 1080p. This also includes unlimited talk and text to supported International countries.

There are a lot of plans available, including wireless hotspot plans, and the international plans are pretty good. Don’t forget to read the fine print so you can see the restrictions and such.

Simple Mobile prepaid plans & phones


Sprint best prepaid plans in the US

Sprint

This entry may not last for long, as Sprint is due to merge with T-Mobile. Until then, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier has its own prepaid plans.

Plan details:

  • $45/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 4GB of data. You can add an additional 1GB of data to your plan for $15 per month on top of your plan. Once you hit your limit, you’ll be throttled to 2G.
  • $65/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data. You also get 10GB of high-speed hotspot data.
  • Add-ons – All plan prices assume you’re going to be using auto-pay. If not, add $5 to each one.

Sprint prepaid plans & phones


Straight Talk best prepaid plans in the US

Straight Talk Wireless

Straight Talk made headlines a few years ago with its bold, no-contract plans and “bring your own phone” philosophy. Most carriers now mirror this ideology, but you can still bring pretty much any GSM smartphone with you to the service.

Plan details:

  • $35/month – unlimited talk, unlimited text, 2GB of data. All plans, including this one, include unlimited calls to 411 as well.
  • $45/month – unlimited talk, unlimited text, 10GB of data.
  • $55/month – unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data.
  • $60/month – unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 10GB of data. Once your data allotment is up, you’ll have unlimited data at 2G speeds. This plan includes unlimited International calling to Mexico, India, Canada, and “select International landline destinations.”

While StraightTalk isn’t perfect, recent changes have greatly increased the amount of data available, making it a solid option. We also love no overages.

Straight Talk prepaid plans & phones


Ting Prepaid

Ting Mobile

Ting is perhaps one of the most interesting carriers on the list. It’s a dual GSM/CDMA carrier that uses Sprint’s network and an undisclosed (literally) GSM network. You should be able to bring most GSM phones to this service, along with Sprint phones, which is great news.

Plan details:

  • For plans, Ting uses a “only pay for what you use” philosophy which makes listing out plan rates literally impossible. You can find their rates here.
  • We also recommend you use their savings calculator. It allows you to get a good idea of what you’d pay based on your usage.
  • $6/month – no talk, no text, no data. This is the lowest possible plan that is literally just a device connected to their service.
  • $522/month – 9,000 minutes, 18,000 texts, 30GB of data. This is the max price for a plan as listed by the Ting website.

It’s a fun idea, especially if you like to micromanage your usage. If you stick to Wi-Fi as often as possible and mitigate text and calling to services like Hangouts, Skype, and so one, you can get decent phone service for a very low cost. If you’re not interested in managing your own services all the time, you should probably look elsewhere.

Ting prepaid plans & phones


US Cellular best prepaid plans in the US

US Cellular

US Cellular is a lesser-known carrier operating its own wireless network independent of the major four carriers in the US. It’s a CDMA carrier with LTE coverage. You can bring your own device, but the compatibility list is not very large.

See: Best US Cellular phones

Plan details:

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text but no data
  • $40/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 3GB of data. You get unlimited 2G speeds once you hit the data cap.
  • $55/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited data. Speeds are capped at 3Mbps, and you may experience slowdowns if you go over 15GB.
  • $5/month – You can add unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada for an extra $5/month.

US Cellular keeps its prepaid plans simple, which we like. The only issue is this service isn’t available everywhere, so you’ll have to check if you can get it before signing up.

US Cellular Prepaid plans & phones


Verizon Wireless best prepaid plans in the US

Verizon Wireless

Next on our list is Verizon Wireless. It’s been slower to adapt than its smaller counterparts over the last few years, but don’t let that chase you away. It still has a rock-solid network and good LTE speeds. Not too long ago, Verizon simplified its prepaid and no-contract plans a bit. You can bring your own device as long as it supports Verizon’s network.

Plan Details:

  • $30/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 500MB of data. This plan is recommended for people with basic smartphones. Unused data will rollover to the next month.
  • $35/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 3GB LTE of data.
  • $45/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, 15GB of LTE data. This is a limited time offer for this plan.
  • $65/month – Unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited LTE data.
  • Discounts for extra lines – Verizon also offers discounts two to five prepaid lines on one account. It also lets customers with multiple lines choose which plan they want to use. One line may have the cheap $30 500MB plan, while the second may get the unlimited plan, and that line will still get a $20 discount.

In classic Verizon fashion, you get rock solid service, but you don’t get to use a lot of services. These plans are great for those who need calls and texting but not so great for those who consume a lot of data. Thankfully, things are at least a little better than they used to be, which is something to take into consideration.

Verizon plans & phones


Unreal Mobile

Unreal Mobile is a recent entry in the prepaid smartphone plan market. It offers ultra-cheap plans, plus extra features like free VPN services and a free ad blocker. You can bring your own phone or purchase one directly from Unreal Mobile

  • $10/month – Unlimited text and talk, 1GB of LTE data, with rollover if you don’t use all of your allotted data.
  • $15/month – Unlimited text and talk, 2GB of LTE data, with rollover if you don’t use all of your allotted data.
  • $30/month – Unlimited text and talk, 5GB of LTE data, with rollover if you don’t use all of your allotted data.

Unreal Mobile also promised to give bonus data if you stay with the carrier for a certain period of time. Considering this carrier offers unlimited talk, text, and some data at prices limited to just talk and text at other wireless providers, Unreal Mobile might be worth checking out.

Unreal Mobile plans and phones


Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile Mint Mobile

This  T-Mobile MVNO sells some of its plans in multi-month packages, rather than just per month. That means you won’t have to look at your bank account every month for the phone bill. All of the plans include unlimited talk and text in the U.S.

Three-month plans

  • $45 for 2GB of 4G LTE data a month ($15 per month)
  • $60 for 5GB of 4G LTE data a month ($20 per month)
  • $75 for 10GB of 4G LTE data a month ($25 per month)

Six-month plans

  • $108 for 2GB of 4G LTE data a month ($18 per month)
  • $144 for 5GB of 4G LTE data a month ($24 per month)
  • $180 for 10GB of 4G LTE data a month ($30 per month)

12-month plans

  • $180 for 2GB of 4G LTE data a month ($15 per month)
  • $240 for 5GB of 4G LTE data a month ($20 per month)
  • $300 for 10GB of 4G LTE data a month ($25 per month)

Check out Mint Mobile


Visible

Visible is using Verizon’s 4G network to launch its service. It started just for iPhone users but recently expanded to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. More Android phones will be added to Visible in the future.

Customers sign up for service online via the Visible Android app (still in beta) and order a SIM card. Once it arrives in the mail, they pop it into their existing phone and activate it. You can also purchase the Galaxy S9 via Visible if you want, and it ships with both the phone and the SIM card already installed.

There are a few catches. The upper limit for data speeds is 5Mbps while streaming video speeds are limited to 3Mbps and 480p resolution, streaming audio is limited to 500Mbps, social networking scrolling is limited to 1Mbps, and video chatting with friends is limited to 2Mbps.

Check out Visible


Prepaid plans – Wrap up

We would love to hear about your experiences with these carriers and, of course, recommend any great prepaid and no contract plans that we might have missed! If you’re looking for epic smartphones to use on your new service of choice, check out our reviews section, our list of the best cheap Android smartphones, and our list of the best Android smartphones!

Have a specific prepaid carrier in mind? Check these lists out as well:

Next: Compare all cell phone plans