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Remember payphones? If you never had the privilege of rummaging through your pockets for change so you could place a call from a gas station payphone, it’s probably because you came of age in an era when mobile phones are an essential part of daily life. We use them not just for communication but also to document our memories, connect on social media, and even for gaming.

Over the years, cell phone plans have changed immensely. In fact, we often measure the value of a cell phone plan by the amount of data it offers rather than the number of minutes like in years past. That goes for prepaid cell phone plans, too.

At a time when there are dozens (if not hundreds) of prepaid cell phone plans to choose from, how do you know which is the best for you? Well, don’t worry — we’re here to help you figure that out. This is our guide to the top five prepaid cell phone plans of 2019.

 

How Did We Choose?

It’s difficult to say with certainty that one particular prepaid cell phone plan is better than another because what you personally value or need from a prepaid cell phone plan is different than what someone else may value or need. For this reason, we have broken this roundup of the best prepaid cell phone plans of 2019 into categories.

In this roundup, we’ll be looking at five different prepaid cell phone plans and providers, each of which is an ideal choice in certain situations. The idea is to give you the ability to choose a prepaid cell phone plan based on which addresses your particular needs.

 

What are the Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans in 2019?

With both prepaid and postpaid, there are certain features that we use to differentiate them. Typically, cell phone plans are distinguished by the following: minutes, texts, and data.

In 2019, the vast majority of cell phone plans come with unlimited minutes and unlimited texting, so it often comes down to differences in data allotment that distinguishes plans. However, in an attempt to set themselves apart, a number of prepaid wireless providers offer some additional perks and benefits, from services bundled with wireless service to impressive plan flexibility. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the categories we’ll be looking at for this roundup.

Each of the prepaid cell phone plans and providers highlighted below will be labeled as the best in one (or perhaps more) categories. The categories, as well as the winner(s), are as follows:

 

Best for Most People: Metro by T-Mobile’s Unlimited Plan for $50

comcast

Plan of People’s Choice

Affordable Plan with
Excellent Features and Quality

(888) 863-8768

Having been acquired and rebranded by T-Mobile, Metro has adopted many traits of T-Mobile: a focus on bang-for-buck value, strong data performance, no surprise fees, and great perks. But the main difference between the two is price. While many would consider T-Mobile’s postpaid plans to be extremely affordable, Metro’s plans are even more affordable without sacrificing features or quality. In particular, Metro’s unlimited plan for $50 a month offers just about everything you could want from a prepaid cell phone plan at a great price, which is why this plan is the best prepaid cell phone plan for most people.

Like all of Metro’s plans, the $50-per-month plan provides unlimited minutes and texting, but the main selling feature is the unlimited LTE data. Additionally, the plan provides an allotment of 5GB of LTE hotspot data per month, allowing you to use your smartphone as an on-the-go wifi access point for tablet and laptop computers.

The plan provides some perks, too. In particular, Metro’s $50-per-month unlimited plan includes 100GB of Google One cloud storage space; if you’re unfamiliar with Google One, it’s essentially the premium or subscription-based version of Google Drive cloud storage. With this Google One subscription, you can backup files, media, and photos from your smartphone, which keeps the safe and makes them accessible on virtually any other device.

Honestly, there aren’t really any drawbacks to Metro by T-Mobile’s $50 unlimited plan, which is why we consider this the best plan for most people.

Why Metro by T-Mobile’s Plan is the Best for Most People

  • Unlimited minutes & texting
  • Unlimited data
  • 5GB of LTE hotspot
  • 100GB of Google One cloud storage
  • Individual & family plan
  • $50 per month (after autopay discount)
  • Taxes & fees included in plan cost

Drawbacks

  • None
 

Best for Value: Mint Mobile’s 8GB Plan for $20

frontier

Best for Value

for those who are looking to get the most bang for their buck.

(929) 276-6011

If you haven’t heard of Mint Mobile, don’t worry — as a relative newcomer, there are surely many people who have not yet heard of Mint Mobile. But that’s likely to change as Mint looks to be a major disruptor when it comes to prepaid cell phone plans.

With Mint Mobile, the idea is that you pay for multiple months of service upfront, but in doing so, you get a substantial discount on the monthly service. To an extent, it’s like bulk pricing for wireless service plans. For this reason, Mint Mobile wins as the best prepaid cell phone plan for those who are looking to get the most bang for their buck. In particular, Mint’s 8GB plan is the best value in a prepaid cell phone plan.

The plan — called Mint Mobile Medium, which you can get for $20 per month when you buy a year of service upfront — includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texting, and 8GB of LTE data. However, Mint often offers promotional plan pricing. For instance, the provider is currently offering the same rate for buying just three months of service upfront as you get by buying a year of service; normally, the monthly rate for three months of service is $35 per month, so you’re saving over 40 percent in this instance.

As a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network, so you can count on great reception virtually anywhere where T-Mobile service is available. The only real drawback to Mint Mobile is that you must pay more upfront to reap the benefits of the provider’s bulk or tiered plan pricing. In other words, whereas other providers let you pay a set price for your plan each month, Mint Mobile requires you to buy three, six, or twelve months of service upfront if you want to benefit from the extremely affordable pricing.

Why Mint Mobile’s 8GB Plan is the Best for Value

  • Bulk pricing for prepaid plans
  • Unlimited minutes & texting
  • 8GB of LTE data
  • Operates on T-Mobile network

Drawbacks

  • Higher upfront cost for long-term savings
 

Best for Unlimited Data: T-Mobile’s ONE Prepaid Plan for $70

hughesnet

Unlimited LTE data

great service with great perks for a great price.

(800) 866-2453

As you may have noticed, T-Mobile is featured in three different categories in this prepaid cell phone plan roundup. That’s because T-Mobile tends to be at the forefront when it comes to great service with great perks for a great price. So it may not come at much of a surprise that when it comes to unlimited data, T-Mobile ONE Prepaid, which you can get for $70 per month, is the best option.

Just like T-Mobile’s ONE plan for postpaid subscribers, T-Mobile ONE Prepaid offers unlimited minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited LTE data. From there, T-Mobile ONE Prepaid shares a number of other features with its postpaid equivalent, such as “Data Maximizer,” which streams video at DVD quality to minimize data consumption.

There’s another feature of T-Mobile ONE Prepaid that’s quite unique, which is a feature called “Device Equality.” Whereas most other providers don’t give prepaid subscribers the ability to finance smartphones and other equipment, Device Equality opens up financing options for subscribers with the T-Mobile ONE Prepaid plan after they’ve made 12 months of on-time payments.

While there are a lot of things to like about T-Mobile ONE Prepaid, there are a couple of drawbacks. In particular, the T-Mobile ONE Prepaid plan isn’t substantially cheaper than the postpaid version of the plan, which gives you day-one equipment financing options. Additionally, T-Mobile ONE Prepaid cannot be used as a family plan, so if you think you may want to add additional lines in the future, you may need to switch to the T-Mobile ONE No Credit Check plan.

Why T-Mobile’s ONE Prepaid Plan is Best for Unlimited Data

  • Unlimited minutes & texting
  • Unlimited LTE data
  • $70 per month
  • Taxes & fees included in plan cost
  • “Data Maximizer” to minimize bandwidth for streaming video

Drawbacks

  • Not significantly cheaper than postpaid T-Mobile plan
  • Doesn’t offer family plan options

 

Best for Families: Sprint’s Unlimited Plus Prepaid Family Plan

verizon

Make Switching Easy!

Take advantage of limited-time deals!

(866) 275-1411

With T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint currently being up in the air, Sprint — the fourth-largest wireless provider in the US — must continue to offer compelling plan options for both existing and new subscribers. And as it turns out, Sprint’s prepaid family plan is arguably the most compelling of all prepaid providers’ family plans.

Although the pricing is always competitive, Sprint is currently offering an extended promotion, available until June 2020. If you bring your own device (BYOD) or pay full price for a device from Sprint, you can get four lines of service on Sprint’s Unlimited Plus family plan for $140 per month, which breaks down to just $35 per line. The Unlimited Plus Family Plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited LTE data. However, what makes this plan especially compelling for families is the perks and added benefits.

For example, the Sprint Unlimited Plus Family Plan comes with subscriptions to both Hulu and Tidal. And while many wireless providers will limit the quality of streaming video, this plan from Sprint includes unlimited 1080p HD video streaming. There’s also an impressive 50GB of LTE hotspot per line as well as unlimited minutes, unlimited texting, and 10GB of LTE data in Canada and Mexico.

If there’s one major drawback to the Sprint Unlimited Plus Prepaid Family Plan, it’s the fact that Sprint’s coverage can be spotty, particularly in rural areas. However, this is less a consideration if you live in an area where Sprint offers strong coverage.

Why Sprint’s Unlimited Plus Prepaid Plan is Best for Families

  • Extended promotion offers great rates until June 2020
  • Unlimited minutes & texting
  • Unlimited data
  • 50GB of LTE hotspot per line
  • Hulu & Tidal subscriptions included
  • $140 per month for four lines
  • Unlimited 1080p HD video streaming

Drawbacks

  • Coverage is spotty in rural areas

 

Best for Perks: Metro by T-Mobile’s Unlimited Plan for $60

AT&T

Get More For What You Pay

Gives you additional perks when you switch

(888) 863-8768

When it comes to the best perks — meaning bonus services that are included with a prepaid cell phone plan at no additional cost — Metro by T-Mobile is very hard to beat.

As you may recall, our “Best for Most People” plan was Metro by T-Mobile’s unlimited plan for $50 per month. That plan includes 100GB of Google One cloud storage and 5GB of LTE hotspot data. However, the top-tier Metro plan for $60 per month (after autopay discount) adds to the hotspot data and Google One storage by including an Amazon Prime membership. If you’re unfamiliar with Amazon Prime, it’s a membership that brings access to Amazon Prime Video as well as free two-day shipping for purchases made from Amazon’s online store. As well, this plan increases the hotspot data from 5GB to 15GB of LTE hotspot.

Otherwise, most of the same features apply. For this reason, the $60 plan from Metro is the best option for those who want all the bells and whistles of a full-featured prepaid cell phone plan.

$50 Plan

100GB Google One Cloud Storage

5GB of LTE hotspot

$60 Plan

100GB Google One Cloud Storage

Amazon Prime membership

15GB of LTE hotspot

Why Metro by T-Mobile is the Best for Perks

  • Unlimited minutes & texting
  • Unlimited data
  • 15GB of LTE hotspot
  • 100GB of Google One cloud storage
  • Amazon Prime membership
  • Individual & family plan
  • $56 per month (after autopay discount)
  • Taxes & fees included in plan cost

Drawbacks to Metro by T-Mobile

  • None
 

Which Prepaid Cell Phone Plan is Right for You?

Now that we’ve gone over the best and cheapest prepaid cell phone plans, it’s time to answer the most important question of all: Which is right for you?

As you can see, T-Mobile is featured highly on our list, whether with T-Mobile’s own prepaid plan or plans offered by T-Mobile MVNOs. For this reason, there’s a good chance that the plan you choose from our list will end up putting you on the T-Mobile network, which, to be clear, is a great place to be!

Generally, we feel that Metro by T-Mobile’s $50 unlimited prepaid plan is the best option in most situations since it offers unlimited minutes, texting, and data with the benefit of a small amount of LTE hotspot and 100GB of high-quality Google One cloud storage. But if you shop on Amazon frequently, the $60 unlimited plan brings an Amazon Prime subscription into the equation.

If you’re on a budget, Mint Mobile is a great option due to its bulk pricing structure. But if you’re willing to pay a bit more upfront, Mint Mobile offers objectively incredibly pricing. Additionally, there’s the benefit of not having to worry about paying a monthly bill since you’ll be paying for service through Mint every three, six, or twelve months.

Then there’s Sprint, which wins in the “Best for Families” category. Particularly with the extended promotion that’s happening currently, Sprint’s Unlimited Plus Prepaid Family Plan is arguably the best value you’ll find for a multi-line family plan, provided that Sprint’s coverage extends to your area.

And that concludes our top five prepaid cell phone plans of 2019. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about prepaid wireless service or find other cheap cell phone plans, contact us today.