Best Prepaid Phone Plans of 2021

Final Verdict

The best prepaid phone plans offer affordable packages for individuals and families or groups. Moreover, top providers cover people across the U.S., don’t charge fees for data overages, and give users access to 4G and 5G networks. Some come with perks, such as cloud storage, free streaming subscriptions, or loyalty rewards programs.  

Metro by T-Mobile has an expansive 4G and 5G network, discounts for adding lines, and doesn’t charge activation or overage fees. It comes with a mobile rewards app featuring T-Mobile Tuesdays with exclusive deals and prizes. With low-cost plans and coast-to-coast coverage, Metro by T-Mobile is the best choice for prepaid phone plans.


Compare the Best Prepaid Phone Plans

Company  Price  Amount of Data  Number of Plans  Coverage Offered 
Metro by T-Mobile

Best Overall
$30 to $60 2GB to unlimited 4 4G/5G
Mint Mobile

Best Value 
$15 to $30  4GB to unlimited  4 4G/5G 
Lively

Best for Seniors 
$3 to $59.99  100MB to unlimited  Numerous configurations  4G
Visible

Best for Unlimited Data 
$40  Unlimited  4G/5G 
Boost Mobile

Best for Family 
$15 to $60  2GB to 35GB  4G/5G 
Verizon

Best for Coverage 
$35 to $75  5GB to unlimited  4G/5G 
Tello Mobile

Best on a Budget 
$5 to $39  1GB to unlimited  4G/5G 
AT&T

Best for Rollover Data 
$25 to $50  8GB to unlimited  4G/5G 


How to Choose the Best Prepaid Phone Plans

When shopping for the best prepaid phone plans, there are several things to think about, such as:

  • Coverage: All cellular providers use nationwide networks from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon. Check their coverage maps and customer reviews to make sure it works well in your area.
  • Hidden fees: Pay attention to fees for activation, overages, number porting, or international calls. 
  • Phone types: If you want to bring an existing phone, check to see if the cell provider supports it, as some phones may be locked or tied to a specific operator. 
  • Mobile hotspot: Some plans offer hotspots but limit speed or data, so if you need your hotspot for work or school, double-check that your prepaid plan supports it.
  • Perks: When choosing between your top choices, see if you can save money by picking a plan offering a perk like free streaming services.  


Prepaid Phone Plans vs. Postpaid Phone Plans

Prepaid phone plans require payment before your service starts, and some providers give discounts when consumers pay for more than one month in advance. In comparison, postpaid phone plans let you start services first and pay on your due date. Often, prepaid plans are cheaper than postpaid plans, except when it comes to devices.

People select postpaid plans to take advantage of great deals on cell phones, including installment plans. Furthermore, postpaid plans typically offer more perks and promotions than prepaid options.  


Frequently Asked Questions

Are Prepaid Phone Plans Suitable for Multiple Family Members? 

Yes, the best prepaid phone plans offer discounts when adding multiple family members. Some may even allow people on your package to share data and minutes. Plus, mix-and-match options let you choose cheaper versions for family members who don’t need as much data or minutes and unlimited plans for those who need a mobile hotspot or unlimited data. 

Do Prepaid Phone Plans Have the Latest Coverage, Such as 5G?

Yes, nearly all prepaid plans give users access to 4G and 5G networks. Prepaid providers use networks owned by T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, and all of the big three networks now offer 4G and 5G network coverage. So, when you sign up for a prepaid phone plan, there’s a good chance you’ll also be able to use 4G and 5G, as long as you’re using a compatible phone and live in an area with 5G coverage. 

How Much Do Prepaid Phone Plans Cost?

Prepaid phone plans are usually less expensive than postpaid plans, but the monthly costs can vary widely. Packages for text or calling only can start as low as $3 to $5 per month and go up to $75 per line per month. However, all prepaid phone plans incur various taxes and fees that differ by state. For instance, the Federal Universal Service Fund (FUSF) may increase your bill by 9.8%, and 911 surcharges and other fees can also increase your bill. 


Methodology

We reviewed 14 companies to discover the best prepaid phone plans. We compared providers by looking at the overall costs of plans, including activation fees and overage charges. In addition, we examined plans offering discounts for adding lines, new customers, or auto payments. Next, we checked for a range of prepaid packages, so consumers had options for different family members or needs, as not everyone wants unlimited data. We also looked for companies offering perks, like rollover minutes or free streaming plans. Lastly, we chose prepaid plans with nationwide coverage offering 4G and 5G network access.