The best prepaid and no contract plans in the US of 2014 (Updated May 2014)

by: Joe HindyMay 18, 2014
222 5 68

best-prepaid-plans 2012
When we first started this list in 2012, things were starting to get exciting. We were seeing processors with more cores, screens in true HD, and things were starting to get really exciting for Android. It’s now 2014 and we’re seeing a culmination of those efforts. Quad core devices that are focusing on power and energy efficiency, 1080p HD screens and beyond, and even wearables! However, at the back of it all is the same problem that there’s always been: finding a decent mobile carrier. In this list we’ll take a look at the top prepaid and no contract plans in the United States currently available.

Verizon Prepaid

Verizon Wireless Prepaid Plans

First on our list is the popular Verizon Wireless. They’re much more known for their contract plans, but they actually also do prepaid plans. Prepaid plans feature the same features as their contract plans, including their 4G data.

Plan Details:

  • Verizon now offers the AllSet plan which is a flat rate plan for prepaid. With it you pay $45 per month, have unlimited talk and text, and 500MB of data.
  • They allow you to add more data if you prefer. You can add 500MB for $5, 1GB for $10, or 3GB for $20. 500MB expires after 30 days, 1GB and 3GB expires after 90 days.
  • Verizon's tried and true network is one of the most comprehensive in the United States.
  • Their 4G is top notch. Very few people complain about LTE speeds on Verizon.
  • New plans are cheaper than expected.
  • You can add up to 2 packages of data at a time which is nice if you have a busy month online.
  • Verizon carries almost all top tier devices.
  • Data is not unlimited.
  • Data is also a little expensive, even in this price range.
  • Top teir phones go for full price and most unlocked phones do not work on Verizon's service
If Verizon Wireless looks like something you’d like to try, check out their official website for more details.


AT&T Prepaid

AT&T Prepaid Plans

AT&T hasn’t been really known for their prepaid plans and are much more known for their contract plans. As a “big 4” designee, AT&T has one of the largest networks in the United States and they have also recently simplified and revamped their prepaid strategy.

Plan details:

  • AT&T now has 3 tiered prepaid smartphone plans. For $25 per month, you get 250 minutes, unlimited messaging (includes picture, video, and text), and no data. For $40 you get 500 minutes, unlimited messaging, and 500MB of data. For $60 you unlimited talk and text with 2.5GB of data.
  • Like Verizon you can add data packages to extend that.  You can get 50MB for $5, 100MB for $5 (yes, same price for some reason), and 1GB for $10. They also have text messaging packages, although frankly all of their prepaid plans have unlimited messaging so I’m unsure why this option exists.
  • They also have a pay-as-you-go service. It is $0.20 per text message sent/received, $0.25 for picture messages, $0.25 for international texting ($0.20 if you receive an international text), $0.50 for international picture and video texts ($0.25 if you receive an international picture or video text), and $0.01 per 5KB of data. Voice calls go for $0.10 per minute.
  • AT&T has one of the best coverage areas in the United States.
  • AT&T LTE is reliable.
  • AT&T recently changed their plans and they're a lot more reasonable than they used to be.
  • Three prepaid options and a pay-as-you-go option. None of them are complicated anymore.
  • AT&T offers top tier smartphones and most unlocked or international phones at least partially work on AT&T
  • No unlimited data.
  • Not a lot of options for adding more data.
  • Pay as you go data can add up very quickly. I recommend not using that.
For the latest, check out AT&Ts prepaid plans on their website.

Sprint Prepaid

Sprint Prepaid Plans

We’re not entirely sure what Sprint is thinking these days. The Framily Plan sounds like something the Munsters would use and they haven’t been paying all that much attention to their prepaid. What they do have isn’t bad, though

Plan details:

  • For smatphones, you can get unlimited talk, text, and data for $60 per month. For $45 per month, you can get unlimited talk and text with no data included
  • Really simple options make it impossible to get confused.
  • $60 for unlimited everything is a good deal.
  • They have one of the largest coverage maps in the United States (for talk and text).
  • Unlimited data includes LTE and WiMAX where available.
  • LTE and WiMAX are not available in as many places as they should be.
  • Phone selection is limited to Sprint's prepaid lineup and their star flagship is a certified pre-owned iPhone 4S.
  • You cannot bring your own phone or use an existing Sprint phone. You have to use the prepaid lineup. That's very lame.
If Sprint’s prepaid service is up your alley, you can find more details at their official website.


T-Mobile Prepaid Plans

T-Mobile has been the most exciting carrier to watch over the last year. Their uncarrier model along with the charismatic nature of their CEO John Legere has caused an untold number of eye brow raises. Their prepaid plans are simple because all of them are prepaid. That’s pretty nifty.

Plan details:

  • T-Mobile offers 4 tiered prices. In all tiers you get unlimited talk and text. For $40 you get 500MB of high speed data, $50 you also get 1GB of high speed data, for $60 you get 3GB of high speed data, for $70 you get 5GB of high speed data, and for $80 you get unlimited data. In all plans, data is unlimited but you after you use your allotted amount, you are throttled to 2G speeds until the next month. All plans also include international texting. It should also be noted the unlimited data plan ($80) also includes 5GB of Hotspot data to use at your convenience.
  • For an additional $15 per month you can add International calling. This is not available for the $40 plan.
  • Unlimited data on all plans is a win.
  • Their phone selection is top notch and you can pay it off over 2 years instead of paying all of it up front. It is entirely separate of your phone bill.
  • Unlimited international texting included.
  • Fairly stable and fast LTE and HSPA+ isn't terrible either.
  • Unlocked phones typically work on T-Mobile.
  • Far more (and usually better) options than the competition
  • JUMP lets you upgrade your device multiple times a year instead of waiting 2 years or forking out full price of a phone.
  • T-Mobile's plans are starting to get a little pricy.
  • If you spend a lot of time outside major populated areas, your coverage may not be so great.
  • Their pay-as-you-go plans are pretty bad. So bad we didn't list them.
For more details on their prepaid and monthly plans, check out their website.


Boost Mobile Prepaid Plans

Boost is the first MVNO on our list. MVNOs are companies that have their own name and brand but their service is piggybacked on the network of a larger company. In this case, Boost uses Sprint’s network. It’s a fairly well known prepaid carrier and fairly popular.

Plan details:

  • Boost has three main plans. On all three plans you get unlimited talk text and data. However, on $40/month you get throttled after 500MB, $50/month gets you 2.5GB before being throttled, and $60/month puts you at 5GB before being throttled.
  • Boost also offers daily prepaid plans. You can pay $3/day and get unlimited voice, text, and data.
  • Boost also has the Shrinking Payments feature. For smartphones, you can do the $55/month plan (unlimited talk, text, and data with 2.5GB of high speed data) and after 18 months your payments drop to $40/month. This is the only Shrinking Payments feature for general smartphones.
  • As long as we've been doing this list, we've been a fan of Shrinking Payments.
  • Most of these plans are actually better than Sprint despite being on the same network.
  • Above average phone selection including the Moto G, Galaxy S5, and iPhone 5S.
  • Sprint's talk and text coverage is above average.
  • Competitive pricing.
  • Much like Sprint, the LTE/WiMAX is lacking.
  • Would be nice to see flagships other than Samsung and Apple.
  • Shrinking Payment plans are confusing and are lumped in with Blackberry-specific and feature-phone specific pricing.
If Boost Mobile looks like your kind of carrier, check out their official website.


Republic Wireless prepaid

Republic Wireless used to be one of the most simple companies on this list. However, over the last year they have gotten new phones in and have extended their plans. Their phone selections now include the Moto X and the Moto G but their plans remain fairly simple. Republic Wireless is an MVNO and they piggyback off of Sprint’s service. Their claim to fame is asking their customers to remain on WiFi as often as possible but in return they allow unlimited data when people aren’t near a WiFi hotspot.

Plan details:

  • For $5 per month you get service over WiFi only. This is a funny plan because of how unusual it is. Essentially, you use WiFi to call, text, and use data on your smartphone. If you’re not near WiFi, your phone doesn’t work. Great for people who spend a lot of time at home.
  • For $10 per month you get everything from the $5 plan plus unlimited talk and text over a cellular network. For $25 you get all of the above plus unlimited 3G data. For $40 per month you get all of the above plus unlimited 4G data. It’s worth noting that the $40 plan is useless if you buy a Moto G. If you’re going for $40/month, you may as well buy the Moto
  • Super cheap plans.
  • Moto X and Moto G are decent options.
  • Sprint's talk and text service is fairly good.
  • The WiFi/service hybrid model is very unique.
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data on all plans that have those options.
  • You can change your plan up to twice a month. So if you need more service, you can get it and then go back to your cheaper service once you're done.
  • Sprint's 4G data service is pretty bad.
  • The Moto X and G are excellent devices, but if you don't like them you're out of luck.
  • If you don't spend a decent amount of time around WiFi, this is probably not a good choice for you.
To view their plan, check out their website.


Straight Talk Wireless prepaid

Straight Talk is one of the original MVNOs to set their prices to dramatically undercut the “big 4” carriers and thus helped facilitate a change in how mobile service is priced. Since then they have undergone a lot of changes. They are an MVNO and actually piggyback off of both T-Mobile and AT&T based on what phone you bring with you. They also give you the ability to buy a network access code for Sprint, so it’s probably a safe bet that they use Sprint’s network too. They may also use Verizon towers, but currently they do not support Verizon devices.

Plan details:

  • Straight talk offers three basic plans. For $30/month you can get 1500 minutes, unlimited messaging, and 100MB of data. $45 earns you unlimited voice and messaging and unlimited data (throttled after 3GB). $60 gets you essentially the same thing but we assume with more data before you get throttled. From there you can also purchase your plan for 3, 6, and 12 months for $130, $255, and $495 respectively. This means you can fork out $495 all at once and not have a phone bill again until 365 days later.
  • Competitive rates.
  • Unlimited data.
  • You can bring your own phone from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint.
  • It supports 3 different kinds of LTE (T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint)
  • The option to pay in full for a full year is awesome.
  • You can add international for $10 per month.
  • Most unlocked, international phones work on Straight Talk.
  • Their website is a hot mess.
  • They have the latest iPhones but otherwise their phone selection is bogus.
  • Their $45/month plan used to be completely unlimited. It's a shame to see a throttle cap now.
  • No discernible difference between the $45 and $60 plan aside from a little more data.
To see everything Straight Talk has to offer, check out their official website.


Net10 Wireless Prepaid

Net10 is about as old school as it comes with prepaid services. Net10 is a subsidiary of TracFone, which is why we won’t be mentioning TracFone. They’re pretty much identical services available in the same places. That means that Net10 is an MVNO that piggybacks off of all four major US carriers. Enjoy that coverage map.

Plan details:

  • Everything at Net10 depends on minutes. When you send messages, it actually uses your minutes. So what you do with Net10 is buy a bunch of minutes and consume until your minutes are gone. You can get 200 minutes for $15 and 500 minutes for $30. When you use this option, you have no data available.
  • Net10 also has monthly plans. Unfortunately their Terms of Service and their website lists two entirely different sets of pricing so we’ll go with the ToC. For $35/month you get unlimited talk and text with no data. For $40 you get all of the above plus unlimited data but you’re throttled after 500MB. For $50 the data cap becomes 2.5GB. For $60, the cap raises to 3.5GB. For $65, the cap goes back down to 2.5GB but it includes international calling and texting (unlimited). For $75, you get 5GB of high speed data before you get throttled.
  • For $170, you get 2.5GB of high speed data and unlimited talk and text for 4 lines. $130 is the same deal for 3 lines. $90 is the same deal for 2 lines.
  • Despite the screwy verbiage, you can essentially get unlimited (albeit throttled) data starting as low as $40/month.
  • The $50/month plan is essentially on par with everyone else in tes and pricerms of servicing.
  • Piggybacks off of all 4 major carriers, so service is about as stable as you can get.
  • An ever-going web exclusive can get you $5 off of the $50 and $65 plans.
  • It does offer 4G data.
  • You have to read their Terms of Service to see all of the rate plans and data limits.
  • Their phone selection is less than mediocre.
  • Despite using the nation's best networks, you can only bring your own AT&T and T-Mobile phone.
If you want to take a closer look at Net10 prepaid, check out their website.


Page Plus Prepaid

Page Plus is an MVNO that is powered by the Verizon network. It’s pretty under the radar in that it doesn’t really make a big splash anywhere. They do have some pretty decent offers.

Plan details:

  • PagePlus has five big plans. For $12/month you get 250 minutes, 250 texts, and 10MB of data. For $29.95 you get 1200 minutes, 3000 texts, and 500MB of data. For $39.95, $55, and $69.95, you get unlimited talk and text along with 1GB, 3GB, and 5GB of data, respectively.
  • Verizon's call and text network is one of the most reliable out there.
  • At the highest price point, you get more data from PagePlus than you would from Verizon for the same cost.
  • You can bring your Verizon phone with you under certain conditions.
  • You can only activate some Verizon phones (those with MEIDs that do not start with 990000).
  • No 4G LTE.
  • Their phone selection is pretty bad.
If this sounds like a service you would like to have, you can find more info on their website.


PlatinumTel Wireless

Midway through last year, PlatinumTel transitioned from a CDMA network to T-Mobile’s GSM network. They then proceeded to undergo a huge change in their plan pricing and policies.

Plan details

  • PlatinumTel has three main plans. For $35/month you get unlimited everything including data. However, high speed data is not included so you’ll be throttled 100% of the time. For $40/month you get unlimited everything plus 250MB of high speed data. For $50/month you get unlimited everything plus 2GB of high speed data.
  • They also do a daily unlimited plan for $1.50 per day but that is the only plan that incurs data overages so be careful.
  • They do a pay-as-you-go line too that costs $0.05 per minute, $0.02 per text, $0.10 per MB of data, $0.02 for unlimited texts, and $0.02 for MMS.
  • Their most expensive plan isn't terrible.
  • Unlimited data.
  • You can bring your own phone as long as it supports T-Mobile bands.
  • Fairly competitive pricing.
  • Not a lot of high speed data at any price point.
  • Daily plan is not good at all.
  • No LTE, only HSPA+
  • Their phone selection is bad and they should feel bad.
For more info, check out PlatinumTel’s website.


Ready Mobile PCS Prepaid

Ready Mobile PCS is another prepaid service that isn’t the most well known out there. They operate on Sprint’s service so customers will be able to enjoy nationwide service. Their plans are among the more conservative on the list. Ready Mobile PCS is definitely for people who don’t really use their phones very often. At least not for data.

Plan details:

  • For calling and texting, customers have two big options. You can get 500 to 1000 minutes with 1000 to 1200 text messages for $20 to $30 per month. This now includes 20MB of data.
  • There is an unlimited voice and text option for $50 a month. Alternatively, you can get 3 and 7 day plans for $9.99 and $14.99 respectively. Once again, no data.
  • The last is called $.05 minutes where you can get 500 minutes for $25 or 900 minutes for $45. It comes with 50 to 100 texts respectively and costs $.10 per text afterward.
  • All of the above can be augmented with a data plan. 300MB runs you a whopping $25, with 1GB for $45 and 2GB for $75.
  • They now also have night and weekend minutes. They start at 30 minutes for $10 and go up to $150 for 1250 minutes. No texts or data. Yes, it’s a giant rip off.
  • If you don't need unlimited calling or texting, their rates aren't bad.
  • Sprint's coverage means you get calls whenever they do.
  • Their most expensive phone is $69.99
  • $75 for 2GB of data makes even Verizon customers blanch.
  • $150 for 1250 night and weekend minutes makes me both want to laugh and cry.
  • Their phone selection is very poor.
  • $50 for unlimited talk and text with no data doesn't compete with anyone.
If you feel like being robbed, head to Ready Mobile’s official website.


Consumer Cellular Prepaid

Much like Ready Mobile PCS, Consumer Cellular does their prepaid plans in modules. There are minute plans and a separate messaging and data package added on. It runs on AT&T’s network, so customers will still enjoy nationwide calling, text, and 3G data. For now, there isn’t 4G data on Consumer Cellular. Unlike most of the other plans on the list, there is actually no unlimited plans on this carrier.

Plan details:

  • The minutes plans are simple to understand. Customers start out at $10 just for service and 0 minutes, charging $.25 per minute. At maximum, you can pay $60 for 6,000 minutes and $.10 minutes after that. There $15, $20, $30, $40, and $50 options as well that provide 200, 600, 1200, 2500, and 4000 minutes respectively.
  • The data and messaging minutes that have fewer options. You can spend as low as $2.50 for 200 messages and 20MB of data. There are $5, $10, $20, and $30 options as well. At $30 you get 2.5GB of data and 15,000 messages.
  • If you don't use minutes you can get 200 minutes, 15,000 texts, and 2.5GB of data for $45. Not great but not terrible.
  • AT&T service means a pretty good network for calls and texts.
  • Carries some known phones like the Moto G and the latest iPhones.
  • Recently increased their services for no extra charge. We like that.
  • Keeping voice, text, and data as separate modules lets people cusotmize their plans.
  • If you max out everything it's 6000 minutes, 15,000 texts, and 2.5GB of data for $90/month. That's not inspiring.
  • The Moto G is their best Android phone. The Moto G is good, but it should never be the best a company has to offer.
  • No unlimited anything. Ever.
  • AT&T actually has better deals. Let that sink in.
  • We couldn't find evidence anywhere that they allow 4G data
If this looks like your prepaid solution, check out Consumer Cellular’s website.


H2O Wireless Prepaid

H2O Wireless prepaid is next on the list and it is another prepaid service that uses AT&T’s towers. So if you’ve seen an AT&T coverage map, you’ve seen a H2O Wireless coverage map. When it comes to their prepaid service, they’re pretty simple. They have also revamped their offerings recently.

Plan details

  • They have 4 main plans. $30/month nets you 500MB of data as well as unlimited talk, text and MMS. $40/month bumps up your data to 1GB, $50/month increases it to 2GB, and $60/month boasts unlimited data.
  • They have a unique pay-as-you-go scheme where you pay for plan features instead of individual features. So for $10 you get 200 minutes or text messages as well as 100MB of data or MMS. The max, $100, gets you 2000 minutes or texts along with 1GB or 1000MMS. The range lasts from 90 days on the $10 purchase to 1 year on the $100 purchase.
  • The plans are fairly reasonable. $60 for unlimited data is way better than many on this list.
  • AT&T coverage means above average service area.
  • You can bring your T-Mobile or AT&T compatible phone with you.
  • $50/month plan includes unlimited international calls and texts.
  • If you don't like iPhones, their phone selection is weak.
  • Their pay as you go prices are nothing to phone home about.
  • International features are inconsistent.
If H20 Wireless prepaid looks your speed, check out their website.


Kajeet prepaid

Kajeet is unique because this is a service plan designed specifically for kids and teenagers. It’s an MVNO that works on Sprint’s network and one of their defining features is the full ability to bring a Sprint phone to the service which is something pretty much every other Sprint MVNO lacks. It also features parental controls on all plans and all devices. They’ve also changed their pricing structure recently to make it plan based instead of module based.

Plan details

  • For $4.99 a month you get $0.10 text messaging, $0.25 MMS, $0.99 GPS locate, 10 voice minutes, and $1.00 per MB of data. This is recommended for very young kids.
  • For $14.99 you get all of the above except you get 60 minutes and unlimited texting. $19.99 adds unlimited picture messaging and you get 150 minutes. $24.99 gives you unlimited GPS phone locator and 500 minutes along with 500MB of data. $34.99 gives you 1000 anytime minutes and 1GB of data. $49.99 gets you unlimited everything except you get 2GB of data.
  • According to the website, the $24.99 and up options are limited time plans. Of course, Net10 has had the same “temporary web specials” up for 18 months now so we’ll let you know how that goes.
  • Great service for kids. The GPS phone locator and parental controls are unique to Kajeet.
  • Their phones are last year's Sprint flagships and you can bring your own. That's an above average selection.
  • Sprint text and voice service isn't bad.
  • The more expensive plans are fairly reasonable.
  • Additional add ons like call blocking, etc can be added. This includes more data.
  • The people at Kajeet obviously do not have teenagers. 2GB of data is probably not enough for kids.
  • Parental controls and GPS phone locator will probably anger your child as they get older.
  • The cheaper plans are kind of hard to justify.
If you’d like to check out Kajeet, head over to their website.


Red Pocket Mobile Prepaid

Next on our list is Red Pocket Mobile. This MVNO supports both GSM and CDMA networks via AT&T and Sprint and is one of the few MVNOs to support both CDMA and GSM.

Plan details:

  • For GSM, there are three plans available. For $29.99 you get unlimited talk and text with 100MB of mobile data and free international calling. $39.99/month gets you all of the above with 500MB and free international texting. Finally, the $59.99 plan includes unlimited everything and 3GB of data. Data is unlimited, by the way, but it throttles after the aforementioned amounts.
  • For CDMA, you can get $29.99/month for unlimited call and text with 100MB of mobile web. For $49.99 you can get unlimited everything but you get throttled to 3G if you go over 2.5GB of data usage.
  • Red Pocket is one of the few carriers on this list with a data-only option. $10/month gets you 1GB. $30 gets you unlimited data but it’s throttled after 3GB. $50 gets you unlimited but throttled after 5GB
  • One of the few carriers to support CDMA and GSM.
  • The $49.99 CDMA plan is surprisingly reasonable.
  • One of the few carriers out there to throttle to 3G instead of 2G. We love that.
  • The $30/month data-only option is great for tablets.
  • You can bring your own GSM, unlocked, international, or Sprint phone.
  • GSM rates are not terrible.
  • Phone selection isn't great. Their flagship is the Galaxy S3
  • Would've been nice to see the CDMA rates apply for GSM.
  • Would've been nice to see more CDMA options.
If you’re looking for a decent option and don’t care about the data, check out their website.


SIMple Mobile Prepaid

SIMple Mobile has also undergone a lot of changes since the last time we updated this list. They’re still an MVNO using T-Mobile’s network. They’re still a pretty decent option and they still market to the edgy, cool crowd but their rates are wildly different than they used to be. There are also more of them.

Plan details:

  • Their unlimited plans start at $25 for unlimited talk, text, and international text. At $40 you get the same plus 1GB of data. At $50 you get the same but with 3GB of data. At $60 you get the same but with 5GB of data. Data is unlimited but you get throttled after the data limit. Yes, it’s LTE.
  • Add $10 to any of those and you’ll get unlimited international calling.
  • SIMple Mobile now does broadband plans. You pay $25 for 750MB and $45 for 2GB. If you use all of that up, you have to buy more. No unlimited, throttled data.
  • Pretty good pricing.
  • Unlimited data.
  • LTE available.
  • Bring your own T-Mobile, unlocked, or international phone.
  • Interesting assortment of phones from brands like BLU. Not saying they're great phones but it's definitely interesting.
  • Easy to add and remove international calling.
  • Their phone selection is interesting which is good, but the selection isn't that great.
  • Mobile broadband is hard capped. Boo!
  • 'High-speed data will be decreased to 2G speeds...and lower.' Nope.
To check out their plans yourself, head to the website.


Total Call Mobile Prepaid

Total Call Mobile is a prepaid service that runs off of Sprint’s network. It’s a little more old school as these things go because they’re still focused around card refills as opposed to prepaid plans.

Plan details:

  • Okay these are actually cards that you buy but they refer to them as “plans” anyway. The first “plan” is called Anytime plan and it comes with $0.10 per domestic minute, $0.05 per text and that’s it. You load a card up and use it til it’s gone. You also use these for international calls and texts as international services are not included on other “plans”.
  • Next up is the 1000 Talk & 1000 Text. It’s a $29.99 card that expires after 30 days. As the title states, you get 1000 texts and 1000 minutes.
  • For $39.99 you can get the unlimited talk and text card. Take a guess what you get with that one.
  • For $49.99 per month you can get the unlimited talk, text, and data card.
  • Truly unlimited data.
  • Reasonable prices for unlimited everything.
  • International calling is optional but inexpensive. Check the international rates before using.
  • Sprint's voice and text services aren't bad.
  • In terms of a pay-as-you-go service, their rates are competitive.
  • No 4G at all.
  • The phone shopping section of the Total Call site is totally blank. That's probably better than what I would've found there if it'd loaded properly.
  • The only 'plan' worth your time is the unlimited everything. You can find better deals for everything else.
If you’d like to take a closer look, head to their official website.

Virgin Mobile Prepaid

Virgin Mobile Prepaid

Virgin Mobile is a CDMA prepaid service that runs on the Sprint network. Much like Boost Mobile, customers will get Sprint’s nationwide calling, text, 3G, and 4G WiMAX. While it isn’t Sprint’s LTE coverage, even WiMAX is better than just 3G. Virgin Mobile keeps it simple and actually doesn’t offer any contract plans. So no matter which one you choose, there is no obligation.

There are 3 plans that Virgin Mobile promotes the most and they’re pretty simple.

  • The first is for $35 and it includes 300 anytime minutes, unlimited texts, and unlimited 3G and 4G data. The data is much like other deals on the list. You get 2.5GB of unlimited data at max speed, then unlimited at a reduced speed. The second is $45 and it’s the same as the $35 plan except you get 1200 total anytime minutes. Finally, the $55 plan is unlimited everything. Clean and simple.
  • Virgin Mobile also has a new payLo talk and text plan. These are for people who don’t use data often or at all. For $20 you get 400 minutes, $.15 per text message, and $1.50 per MB. At $30 you get 1500 minutes and texts and 30MB included. For $40 you get unlimited talk and text with 50MB of data included. It’s worth noting that these are unavailale for smartphones.
  • Mobile broadband plans are 250MB for $5/day, 1.5GB for $25/month, and 6GB for $55/month.
  • Virgin remains consistent at least. Their prices haven't changed in a year.
  • Unlimited data.
  • Above average phone selection.
  • Mobile broadband is reasonably price for how much data you get.
  • Competitively priced.
  • Advertising Sprint LTE is like advertising that you're making a zombie movie but then you only put one zombie in it.
  • 4G data throttles after 2.5GB on all plans.
To check it out further, go to their website.

Ting Prepaid

Ting Mobile Prepaid

Ting is perhaps one of the most interesting prepaid carriers on the list. They’re on Sprint’s nationwide 3G, call, and text network along with their 4G WiMAX. What’s interesting is that they also have Sprint’s LTE coverage as well.

Plan details:

  • Here’s how Ting works. Everything is in t-shirt sizes from XS to XL for minutes, messaging, and data. Even more interesting is that you pay for what you use so you can kind of meta-game your monthly plan. Here’s how it works. If you use between 501 and 1000 minutes, you’ll be charged for the L minutes package. Minutes packages range from $0 for no usage to $35 for up to 2100 minutes. Messages range from $0 for no usage to $11 for up to 4800. Data is $0 for no usage to $29 for up to 2GB.
  • If you go over the max, you’ll be charged $0.019 per minute, $0.0025 per text (4 texts for 1 cent), and $0.015 per MB.
  • Unique 'pay for what you use' model lets people save money on stuff they don't usually use.
  • LTE coverage is available.
  • You can bring your own Sprint device.
  • The lowest plan available is $6 and that's if you use nothing. Perfect for military people going overseas who don't want to turn their phone off.
  • Unique savings calculator lets you see if you'd save money on Ting and will actually tell you if you can't.
  • No unlimited data.
  • Phone offerings are slim.
  • 2100 minutes, 4800 texts, and 2GB is $81. There are plans on here that can do better than that.
To check out Ting, go to their website.

Prepaid MetroPCS

MetroPCS Prepaid

MetroPCS is actually owned by T-Mobile and you’d think that would mean they run on T-Mobile’s network. You would be wrong. MetroPCS actually runs its own CDMA network totally independent of the major 4 carriers which is probably why T-Mobile bought them to begin with.

Plan details:

  • MetroPCS has 3 plans and they all include unlimited talk, text, and throttled data. For $40/month you get 500MB of high speed web before you get throttled. $50/month gets you 2.5GB and $60 is unlimited. At this time we found no evidence of their unlimited being throttled although we’re sure that it can be if you go nuts with it.
  • Not an MVNO, they are their own network.
  • LTE is available.
  • Aside from T-Mobile, MetroPCS is the only other carrier with truly unlimited data (for now).
  • Some recent Samsung flagships available.
  • Competitively priced.
  • Samsung is not the only OEM that makes good smartphones.
  • Their CDMA network is scheduled to be decommissioned. Weak.
  • While very decent, their coverage map is smaller than the other 4 big carriers.
If MetroPCS looks like something you’d like to try, check out their official website.

Cricket Wireless best prepaid plans

Cricket Wireless

Fun fact: Cricket Wireless used to be called AIO and it’s an MVNO that runs off of AT&T’s network. It’s one of the newer networks on this list as it’s about a year old.

Plan details:

  • Cricket Wireless has some really simple plans. All plans come with unlimited talk and text along with unlimited throttled data. For $40/month you get 500MB of LTE data, $50/month gets you 2.5GB, and $60 gets you 5GB. If you use the auto-pay credit, all those prices are reduced by $5 per month.
  • They also have a $25/month plan that is just unlimited talk and text.
  • For $10/month you can add 1GB of data. For $15/month you can add full international calling and texting features. For $7/month you can get phone insurance.
  • Competitive pricing.
  • AT&T LTE and coverage is pretty decent.
  • Unlimited (albeit throttled) data.
  • Bring your own phone if you have an AT&T, unlocked, or international device.
  • $5 off per month using the auto pay credit can save you $60 per year.
  • Unlimited international texting (but not MMS).
  • Better than AT&T and you're using AT&T's service anyway.
  • Phones they sell are midrange at best.
  • When you add data, what data you don't use expires at the end of the month.
  • Cricket Passport, Protect, and the 1GB data add ons can quickly nickel and dime you to a much more expensive plan.
If you live in a test market and want to give Cricket Wireless a shot, check out their official website.

So which of these prepaid plans are the best?

In our latest revision of this list, we have added numerical ratings for each carrier. If you wanna know which ones we think are the best, just take a look at the rating!

What are the up and coming prepaid carriers?

A lot of prepaid carriers are making huge changes. PlatinumTel, SIMple Mobile, Simple Talk, Republic Wireless, Cricket Wireless, and T-Mobile have made the biggest splashes in the prepaid world so far this year. Keep an eye on them because that’s where it’s at.

Are there any mobile services we should avoid?

You should avoid Ready Mobile at all costs. We probably shouldn’t have included them on this list but it’s better that we do so we can warn you as opposed to you finding them on your own. In terms of avoidance, there really aren’t any other bad carriers on this list. Take a good, hard look at your real usage from month to month and make your determination that way. These plans try to appeal to the lowest common denominator and if you’re not a part of that demographic, you will not be happy with your service. For instance, Ting is really cheap if you don’t use a lot of data. If you use a lot of data, Ting turns out to be one of the most expensive on this list!

The Best Phones for Prepaid Plans

Stay tuned, we will update this section soon with a link to our best phones for prepaid plans. Until then, check out the Moto X, Moto E, and Nexus 5 which are available on most carriers. Also, try using sites like eBay and Swappa to find used phones for lower prices. You can typically pick up a phone from last year’s flagship line up for half the retail cost.

Prepaid Monthly Updates

As the world of mobile technology moves at lightning quick speeds, we will be updating this as frequently as possible. So check back every month to see if there are any new deals or rate changes. Also, if there is a new wireless carrier that we don’t have on the list or an old favorite we missed, leave us a comment and let us know. We’ll check them out!

  • Brandon Wood

    Correction: Straight Talk does offer their own phones (albeit not very decent ones, except for maybe the SII).

    • JosephHindy

      Hello Brandon and thank you for commenting and reading :) Yes I know Straight Talk carries their own phones. I was attempting to engage in humor by saying they didn’t offer any real phones of their own (as only a couple of carriers on this list offer decent smartphones). I didn’t think that one through, so I will change it. Thanks again!

  • nexus2012

    I’m going with T-Mobile. They don’t have the best speeds, but I’m in a contract paying $100 a line with 6 phones. Share your data thing doesn’t work either. I’m a data machine downloading my ROMs and apps and just surfing the web

    • William Diaz

      With T-Mobile they are refarming their network, as well as constantly bumping speeds from HSPA+14 and HSPA+21 to HSPA+42 rapidly. So Im sure the speed will get better for you. Unlike AT&T, T-Mobile will NOT announce an HSPA+42 area until majority of coverage/towers in that area have fiber. AT&T will just say “Yes, we have HSPA+21” but without the fiber to backhaul, only the equipment is up to date, not the speed.
      Aside from this, T-Mobile Monthly 4G plans you CAN share data, via HotSpot for $15.

  • Stamas Express

    What about Ting?

    • Marvin Nakajima

      I’ve got Pretty good service for me since I travel out of the country from time to time and would hate to have to pay much when I’m not in the country to actually use my phone.

      • JosephHindy

        Thanks for reading and commeting Marvin and Stamas. I will add Ting to December’s update along with Virgin Mobile :)

  • matt

    Another correction: You are *very* wrong when you say you “can’t port Verizon phones” on PagePlus Cellular.

    In fact, you can use ANY non-4g Verizon smartphone, and pretty much every other basic phone [as long as you dial *228 for activating], including the Samsung Fascinate, Droid X2, Droid 3, etc.

    • matt

      well, by “pretty much every other basic phone” I of course mean any basic Verizon phone, as long as it is not “prepaid.”

      And yes, PagePlus has their own phones [which are probably junk, sure]
      but just as long as you know you can use your old 3g smartphone with PagePlus!
      The downside is it costs $10 to get a number [free to port in], they recently started charging for getting a number, it used to be completely free.
      But I definitely recommend PagePlus!

      • JosephHindy

        Hello and thank you for stopping by :) I did not know Verizon allowed their phones on other networks and was misinformed about that. I’ll go make the appropriate changes now. Thank you for reading and letting me know :)

  • Justin W

    Straight Talk correction: you can get either an AT&T provisioned or T- mobile provisioned SIM card. With either, as long as you have the right APN settings, you can access their HSPA+ network. The main difference is that At&T’s is only a 21mbps network, but I still average about 5-6 Mbps down.

    • JosephHindy

      Hello and thank you for commenting :) I’ll make those changes immediately.

  • Frank

    On virgin mobile you can get unlimited messaging, unlimited data, and 300 minutes of talk for $35 /month. They also have a decent smartphone lineup.

    • JosephHindy

      Hello and thank you for reading and commenting! I will add Virgin Mobile when I update this article next month :) Thank you!

  • Darnell

    No mention of Solavei. One of the best at the moment. Joe, mail me for details.

    • JosephHindy

      Hello Darnell, I have heard of Solavei before but I wanted to figure out more about what they’re all about before I included them on this list. My G+ and Twitter are on my author box just above this comment section. Feel free to send me a message or tweet me there if you have more information about it.

      • Mike

        Don’t get too excited – Solavei is basically MLM phone service. That’s why he wants you to contact him personally for more info–so he can get you in his downline if you decide to try it out.

        • JosephHindy

          Oh I’m stuck in a contract plan ;) so that won’t be happening.

          • Scott Steinlage

            MLM or not it’s still great service. $49/month Unlimited talk, text and data. Plus you are not throttled down on data until 4GB!! That is the best in the market. Oh and for those international folks it also comes with unlimited international texting! Yea heck of a deal if you ask me. If you are interested and want to know more just go to

  • Jae

    FYI, Simple Mobile doesn’t allow call forwarding, so Google Voice voicemail will not work.

    • Terry Franzman

      You’re missing the point of Google Voice. Virgin doesn’t allow call forwarding….so I got Google Voice which can automatically forward your calls to any other number.

      • William Diaz

        No he meant for people like me, and many others who prefer to use Google Voice as a Voicemail option rather than carrier. This way, we can read our voicemails, listen to them over data in the app, etc. Rather than pay per minute for people to either leave messages, pick up messages or in some cases, BOTH.

  • Nick V

    I just purchased 2 Nexus 4, and I am going to be going with T-Mobile. My wife recently got the Note II on T-Mobile, and it had horrible connection issues, even down to being able to make a call, meanwhile, y son has a Samsung Exhibit, and it works great on T-Mobile. I hope the Nexus 4 lives up to it’s reputation… :)

    • Matthew

      The antennas on international Note II are not made for tmo’s network so you only get 2g with them with a n international note II

  • Matthew

    I will probably go on PlatinumTel in December if they piggyback on AT&T’s network, but not if they use Tmo’s or if they have a hidden 1GB throttle.

  • Daniel Neal

    Nice round-up, Joe. FYI, on kajeet you can also activate your ‘old’ unactivated Sprint device, and with no activation fee. This is great for getting more use out of your old phone when you do a Sprint device upgrade. Best, –Daniel Neal

  • ArtemisKitty

    From my own horrible experiences with Simple Mobile, I can definitely confirm that they do NOT give you unlimited everything. It’s “Unlimited unless it’s more than we think is acceptable” – some months you get full 250MB of data, some months I got cut off at 130MB. (BTW this was on an iPhone 3GS, so I wasn’t even getting their 3G or 4G, merely 2G speeds – and btw, 2G = minimum 128Kbps by definition – even those first (only) 130-250MBs is throttled to 100kbps, which is not even 2g speed though Simple is advertising it as 3G. I tried dropping my SIM in a friend’s T-Mobile android phone and we did a line speed test there as well, on the first day of my billing cycle to make sure the speed was the max. available – same results, 100Kbps max, and generally around 80 on the tests for 2 days) When you hit that limit? Cutoff until next month period. Send too many text messages? Cut off until next month. The only thing that I never ran over on personally was minutes, however a close personal friend of mine did – he works nights at a slow job and would talk to his girlfriend for hours – 2 months in a row they cut him off for using too many of his “unlimited” minutes. He didn’t stick around for a 3rd. When I called customer support several times, they were rude and condescending, lecturing me on “Well we can’t afford to keep handing out bandwidth to people who want to be unreasonable” – when I asked what unreasonable meant, they stated that I was using “too much data” and that their plans do NOT in fact offer unlimited data, rather unlimited web. When I asked what the difference was (I use my phone to watch videos a lot via Hulu+ and similar) they informed me that it was only intended to be used to do basic tasks such as check email. According to their corporate policy, streaming videos, uploading photos, and using GPS programs were all in violation of the agreement. After the 3rd month in a row got cut off, I’d had enough.

  • Random Reader

    You may want to clarify the coverage — most of these MVNOs do not have roaming agreements, so coverage isn’t the same as for postpaid contract customers on their parent networks. An example is H2O Wireless: “if you’ve seen an AT&T coverage map, you’ve seen a H2O Wireless coverage map” isn’t actually true. Just compare the maps:

    H2O Wireless:

    AT&T Postpaid:

    AT&T Postpaid customers get coverage in Nebraska (Omaha) due to a roaming agreement with T-Mobile, but H2O customers are restricted to AT&T’s native network which has no presence there.

    Verizon prepaid, AT&T prepaid, T-Mobile prepaid, Boost Mobile, PlatinumTel, H2O Wireless, Red Pocket, and Simple Mobile do not have roaming.

    Page Plus charges extra for roaming.

    Ting and Republic Wireless have roaming for voice and text, but not data.

    Straight Talk and NET10 usually roam, depending on what underlying carrier and phone you end up with.

  • Robby Butler

    I would be glad to help with your research to add Solavei to your listing next month. I have spent the past four months studying Solavei and interacting with its leadership, and detailing what I have learned here: . Solavei enrolled its first 65,000 subscribers and gave out its first million dollars in the first two months since its launch, according to the Wall Street Journal’s “Market Watch” . Not only does Solavei offer premium service at a great price, but it offers growing income streams for its customers through profit-sharing (instead of one-time referrals), and is pursuing a global vision of introducing market efficiencies to benefit millions of people (in parallel with the other kinds of market efficiencies introduced by Amazon, Walmart and eBay). Solavei’s vision is to improve the lives of millions of people, with the mobile service just the first of their products. If I can be of help with your research, contact me at 360 420-5634 or . Thanks! —Robby

  • Nicolas de Leon

    Straight Talk and SIMPLE Mobile are both also subsidiaries of TracFone.

  • William Diaz

    Both Straight Talk and Simple Mobile limit your data after 2GB by the way, however a friend has Net10 Bring Your Own Device plan, which ironically is $5 more than Straight Talk, and not branded by Walmart, but owned by the same company (TracFone), however it offers true unlimited 3G/4G data on T-Mobile or AT&T (ask for one or the other SIM, phone does NOT need to be unlocked if its carrier branded).

  • mmmmmmmmmmmmme

    I see no mention of metroPCS, unlimited local & long distance talk + text for $25. can’t beat that if you don’t need data,

  • pepote

    I believe Solavei is the best prepaid plan out there right now. Granted $49/month + taxes&fees for unlimited talk, text and 4G data is slightly more expensive than some of the ones listed in this post; however, Solavei is the only one that will pay its members rather handsomely for referring others. Heck my wife and I are now enjoying free wireless service + extra money in the bank just for having referred a few people. Take a look at my affiliate website and let me know what you think

  • Columbus, OH Nate

    article! However, Avoid the HTC EVO 3D like the plague! We got 5 on a family
    plan with Sprint. One phone got replaced for restarting and its replacement is the
    only phone still working… One phone got dropped in water and was replaced with
    the GSII (a much much better phone)… One phone sends a strange text to one of
    the other phones every time the phone is restarted, which is all the time
    because it locks up… One phone can barely be used because texting and the
    screen mess up with a mind of its own… and the last phone lost its 4g service
    (4g turns on and off and on and off never connects to anything) Sprint
    discontinued this phone for a reason… get the GSII which is still sold if you
    want WiMAX! We can get new phones 4/1 by signing a new 2 year contract, but we
    are not out of the current contract until 6/27. Lesson learned, don’t sign a
    contract! When your phone breaks you are stuck.

  • Naids

    Nice reviews… now for the 2013 updates and including the wifi spin on it…

  • tom


    Finger weh von Karten, die auch das T-Mobile Netz nutzen

    habe schlechte Erfahrungen gemacht, da der Anbieter wenn zur Wahl
    natürlich die Daten im günstigen T-Mobile Netz. Grundsätzlich
    o.k., aber deutsche Nutzer haben Smartphones ohne die nötige UMTS
    Quadbandfunktion, also nur extrem langsames 2g EDGE zur

    Die Flatrate bring so garnichts… Emails, mehr
    geht nicht..

    Hier meine Empfehlung – ausschließlich schnelles
    AT&T Netz: USA Prepaid SIM

    Finger weg von den vermeindlichen Schnäppchen,
    T-Mobile und europäische Endgeräte passen nicht zusammen, der Kunde
    kann nicht frei zwischen den Netzen wählen, die Entscheidung trifft
    der Anbieter natürlich nicht zugunsten des teueren AT&T

    Kunde bleibt nahezu offline – nie wieder

  • Naids

    Anyone able to tell me where I could easily obtain a prepaid sim card with data (Platinum, Straight talk, Ting or even T Mobile per the reviews) close to JFK airport? I am arriving in the USA and will be staying in a hotel very close to the airport. Would like to get a sim card upon arrival.

    • Naids

      PS – I have a GSM phone (Nexus 4).

  • joser116

    You forgot that Boost and Virgin now offer phones that run on Sprint’s new LTE rather than WiMax, and at the same monthly price.

  • etoolz65

    Hello, I have a Verizon contract that just ran out, yet I’m now lingering for the phone aspect of it as a hotspot for my other devices. I have a ATT Pantech Element I bought for 250 via “month to month”. Afore that it was a T-Mobile branded Dell Streak 7, which died finally. I basicly used my hotspot for it, but did the tmobile prepaid a bit here and there, but their prepaid was totally expensive, I was hoping to use my hotspot and also then add their sim to tablet and get more data per month, etc. I usually use about 2-12 gig a month as it is via data surfing, emailing, blogging, etc, etc, etc…

    What I want to know is, now that I have a ATT 4g LTE pantech element, what would be the best place to go and get unlimited data for it? When I say unlimited data I mean anything from 2g to 4g, 3g would be great for the duration, etc, that I won’t get throttled too badly at, where I could say use 5-20gigs per month?

    I’d love to have 3g speeds and even slower, if it was truly unlimited… I had a bestbuy flyer(it got tossed in the recycler) but I remember reading all these plans and features and the one place said, “truly unlimited, many users report using up to 80+ gigs a month before being throttled down to slightly slower speeds for duration”….

    I cannot seem to find any info on that article//flyer.

    So, I need at least 5-20gig a month or it’s not worth it to bother for me since I have 6gig and hotspot for like 75 a month now with my verizon corp account.

    Anyone know of a place that would sell me a mini sim(pantech element takes smaller sim) and doesn’t throttle down to dialup speeds? I don’t need blazing fast speeds and do not stream endless movies, but like to get my news and radio in am, etc, and then it’s surfing all day, blogging, etc.

    I’d also consider buying a hotspot device and shoving a sim card in that. Someone gave me an old net10 fone to use as an mp3 player in bathroom and I noticed a sim card in that!!! I heard Net10 throttles you if you use over a gig in a week…

    Thanks for the time and sorry so redundant!!!


    • jej

      Millenicom will sell you a vzw powered hotspot with 20 GB per month for $70. Sprint service is 50 gig for the same price.

  • MasterMuffin

    I don’t live in USA, but T-Mobile seems like the best one

  • Sandeep

    Best article I’ve come across so far….bookmarked it.keep updating

  • gtoexpress1966

    Metro is the cheapest and best with rate plans now tmobile unlimited 3g $40 4g $60 nobody close

  • Deborah Smith

    I love page plus I use a Droid x have my router and get the 1200 plan with wifi I do great almost anywhere you go there is WIFI for 29.95 a month. Of course they are being bought out by Carlos so who knows what will happen

  • John Smith

    Unlimited everything shouldn’t be the ultimate/only criteria. We have Ting and they provide 3 smart phone lines and for what we use we pay $43 total, on average. We used to pay Verizon over $170.

  • Brianna

    AIO Wireless is the best plan for me..I use 2-3gb a.month $45 is perfect good coverage signal.

  • Alex

    Simple mobile $25 is not a monthly plan, it is a 15 day plan. Beware.

  • gilber

    Wheres U.S Cellular

  • Cosmo Lee

    For super cheap Pay As You Go, check out AirVoice Wireless (AT&T
    MVNO). Great rate structure – you could pay as little as $3.33 per
    month by mostly accessing WiFi and avoiding the cell network. Can’t
    beat that!

    Here’s how: BYO-unlocked GSM WiFi-enabled
    smartphone and you can get service for only $3.33/mo – utilizing mostly
    WiFi, which people generally have access to at home and work, for VOIP
    & data. Then use the cell network only when away from WiFi.

    – $0.10/min voice and $0.33/MB of data. I’m told the data rates are
    going to drop soon. $10 card good for 90 days. This allows you to do
    a roll-your-own Republic Wireless kind of thing, but w/o the higher
    monthly charge and the crappy phone they sell.

    by integrating Google Voice, you can give out just one tel # for people
    to reach you at home or any cell #. Calls (free over WiFi) from your
    cell show your single unified Google Voice #. No more chasing multiple
    voice mail boxes. Plus, the many other GV features.

    Sorry to sound like a salesman, but this set up is awesome and it’s cheap!

    • Cosmo Lee

      News flash: AirVoice just lowered their data price to $0.06/MB.

  • VikasIndia

    One needs to identify monthly usage, choose a group plan for cost benefits, check coverage and get the plan which best suits your download & upload requirements. This article is very helpful:

  • mike

    Lycamobile is new in US and has the lowest rates
    0.02 cents per min talk
    0.04 cents per text
    0.06 cent per MB 4G data

    • jej

      Free incoming texts too I think.

  • Cal

    I agree that ting is expensive if only one person is using it, but if you switch an entire family over to ting, and don’t use too much data it is in fact the cheapest carrier on this list. Ting is a great carrier because of their phone selection and their prices on everything except for data.

  • RFM


    i am looking for prepaid 7 days,15 days & 30 days Unlimited solution including to India.
    have gone through your resarch impressive.
    what you suggest for my requirment

  •ü/100006483932228 Ar U. Gaetu

    Far too much info in the article to be useful, especially considering the constantly changing rates. It’s like trying to find the best gas station; it feels good now, but wait until next week.

    I still cannot find an inexpensive service and phone. All I need is GPS and occasional internet, on a phone I seldom use. Companies make it nearly impossible to compare.

    Perhaps worse is the extremely high rates in the US compared to UK and Europe, in addition to data speeds we won’t see for another 10 years. Along with health care, perhaps it’s time to move.

  • Ron Capua

    This is very helpful to any person who wanted to know about prepaid wireless information.

    • Ron Capua

      We Offer Unbelievable Prepaid Phone Package. please visit us at or call me at 800-886-0686 ext 8

    • Ron Capua

      We offer the cheapest long distance minutes to any country.

      please call us at 800-886-0686 ext. 8

  • kickboyface

    hey joe,

    great list. thanks for doing this.

    one thing to note: the reason I don’t use republic wireless is their SMS is hampered by using VOIP-like protocols…so you can’t receive MMS, you also can’t TXT to short codes (e.g. TXT “dude” to 7748 to get your free tickets)…those are deal breakers for me…so much so, that I’ll pay my extra $15 a month and stick with boost.

  • Sebastian Nuñez Del Prado

    Just to clarify something on the article that seems to be outdated information. I have Consumer Cellular 3 lines. We brought our phones over from At&t. You do get 4G Service provided you have a 4G phone and you are in the covered datazone. Same coverage zone as At&t so more often then not you’ll see the 4G icon hangin out in your status bar. I currently use the galaxy note 2 yup you guessed it 4G. My previous phone was the galaxy s2 skyrocket and 4G as well. I asked quite a few questions to the representatives at Consumer Celluar’s one of the questions I asked was are you planning on enabling 4G lte soon. Two different people said they have big plans for lte rollout in January. So remember what I said haha.
    All three of us share 2gb of data a month, 15,000 text messages (comes with the data package, connect plus I believe). And 2,000 minutes a month. And we make it last. I am the only one of the three that uses the most texts and data but it still lasts every month. You can change your plan at any time no contracts! I would recommend this to anyone with gsm smartphones laying around. They give you your first month free to see if you like it. We pay half of what we paid with at&t for an identical “family plan” on 2- year contract. we pay about 100 a month as opposed to At&t’s 200+ a month. There’s so much more then the big four of mobile communications. Just have to read up and give it a shot! Goodluck to you all!

  • turborb26

    How about Textnow wireless or Solavei or Walmart Family Mobile or Lycamobile?

  • janproef

    what about lycamobile?

  • marc

    I don´t take a t-mobile SIM. I am from germany and often use sim cards for traveling in the usa. I always order at They use AT&T SIM cards. Good choice for germans.

  • Lance

    One thing overlooked with any of the companies using AT&T GoPhone coverage (pay-as-you-go plans), you get a reduced AT&T coverage with no partner tower usage. I live in Nebraska and was told by the AT&T rep that the whole state is covered, but it isn’t. I have to be in a town on the interstate to have signal. H2O and RedPocket also say you can get signal outside of your car or building, but that is not the case if not near the interstate. If I had to do it again, I would purchase a used Verizon (CDMA) phone and go with PagePlus.

  • Dark_Laser

    H2O has unlimited data?!? What’s the catch?

  • Joe

    What about AIO wireless?

    • Guest

      AIO is no more – It is now Cricket.

  • Sebastian Nuñez Del Prado

    Update! I am still on consumer cellular and they also have 4g LTE. Assuming you are in the coverage zone (LTE market) and your device is capable.

  • Me_

    There a difference between NET 10 and Tracfone. One is GSM, the other is CDMA. You can bring your own phone on both service. On Tracfone- using Verizon- you bought a 60 minutes card for 20$ and it will give you 180 minutes of talking, 180 texts and 180 mb of data. The service is good for 3 month. You can add data only – but don’t add time. You can pay 6$/ month just to keep the service without adding minutes/text/data. Their smartphones are equivalent to a Moto E. For somebody who doesn’t use their phone everyday, this is a very good option.

    Anther error in this article: you didn’t mention the plan offer by Cricket include all fee and taxes.

    • Cali4ever

      There is a vast difference in Trac vs Net 10- and that’s the price of minutes. Trac ph is much higher. I have 2 friends and I see their calls cost 33 ¢. Yes, I know there’s other options like double minutes …also Net 10 has the options of both CDMA and GSM. Plus, depending on what model phone you choose, you can use Verizon, At&t, or even T-Mo. T-Mo’s service where I live is real spotty- yet for my friend in San Diego, T-Mo is tops for her- even beating out the high priced Verizon contract she used to have. ;)
      I made sure I knew which towers the cell phones would use before buying.

  • William D

    Consumer Cellular does have ATT 4g lte. We have 3 phone lines sharing, 600 mins call time, 15,000 texts and 2.5gb data for just over $80.00 a month. 2.5gb data is more than enough for us, wifi is used often.

  • Moch7

    There’s a mistake in the article: Verizon prepaid does not use their LTE network, you are stuck with 3G speeds.

    • JV777

      They do now.

  • Some Guy using Simple Mobile

    Tethering? Do any of these guys let you create a WiFi hotspot from your phone?

    • crim6

      Yeah, I got Cricket & their android plans include a wifi hotspot.

    • RationalGuy12

      Ting lets you create a hotspot. No extra charge. You just pay for the data. In fact I’ll be adding a 4th phone for $6 a month that will be the hotspot for my security system. Now, even if a thief is smart enough to cut phone lines, cable, and even power, the system will still work.

  • Rey Ibarguengoitia


  • Rita

    Thanks for the update…..Good information on prepaid plans.There is so many to choose from these days.

  • Liz Li

    I contacted consumer cellular about their data speed. They told me that access to 4G is limited only by the phone’s capabilities. A phone that is equipped for 4G will receive 4G service from them.

  • gphillimo

    Straight Talk is the best prepaid by far in my experience. I get 3GB of LTE(which i’ve never reached the limit on) using a Straight Talk Att lte sim. My downloads are 16-22 down and 8-12 up depending on the time of day. Since i never reach the limit i had to manually put my phone on 4G/HSPA and those speeds are 10 down and 4-6 up. And when i put it on edge/2G my speeds are 150-200kbps down and slightly more up. I didn’t test youtube on edge/2g but i did check facebook, tumblr, twitter, and gmail apps and they all loaded fine.

  • Sean Bradshaw

    I think y’all are confusing the idea of pre-paid and off-contract. Prepaid shouldn’t be a monthly rate, but an amount you pay in advance and then use until it’s empty and you pay again. At least that’s what “pre-paid” used to mean when it meant pre-paid.

    • Jeffrey Hobbs

      No, prepaid means you pay for it before you use it. That can be monthly,pay as you go or whatever. Off-contract would be if you were on a postpaid carrier and not under contract.

  • Alex

    Straight talk gives me a fast speed on the At&t network….now offer 3gb at 4g LTE. of data and my unlimited talk and text for $45 monthly $48 with tax…I don’t think I would ever change…

  • RationalGuy12

    If you are a moderate or light mobile user stay away from any plan that is ‘unlimited’. You end up subsidizing the ‘heavy’ users. My wife and I switched from Virgin Mobile where we were paying about $86 for two unlimited plans. We switched to Ting last November and added a phone for my wifes mother. The highest bill for the three phones has been $59 and the lowest has been $39. May’s bill was $57 – 3 phones @ $6 =$18, 930 min =$18, 840 txt = $5, 412MB = $12 (plus a few $$ in taxes). And the data is 4G LTE. Bought used phones on ebay and sold old phones on ebay. Paid a difference (including ebay/paypal fees) of about $20 per phone. The first month paid for this difference. We’ve been saving ever since. If you look into this please use this link.

    You’ll get $25; I get $25 if you decide to switch.

  • uagent

    You didn’t mention T-Mobile’s “hidden” $30/mo plan. They have a PAYGO plan that, for some reason, you can only sign up for on their site with a new activation or get at Wal-Mart. It’s $30/mo, comes with 100 minutes and 5 GB of LTE data. I’ve been using it for the last year and I think I’ve run out of minutes once and not hit the data cap, other then when I travelled for work. Thanks for setting up this list though, I’m always on the hunt for a better deal.

    • Yanett

      You’re paying too much for too little. Check out Ultra Mobile. You can get a $19 plan with unlimited talk and text, and 100 mb data. Plus other features. It uses the T-mobile network too so service won’t b a problem. Getting a prepaid plan straight from T-Mobile is too expensive. I know, I’ve been there.

      • Joshua Pingley

        5GB of LTE data is 5x what the highest Ultra Mobile plan offers, for $20 less. The minutes situation is a bit “meh” but the $30 T-Mobile plan is kind of THE prepaid plan to have.

        With that said, I’m considering trying out Cricket Wireless. I have the OPO so I can use T-Mobile or AT&T prepaid MVNOs. For $15 more I’d lose 2.5GB of high speed data, but gain AT&T coverage and unlimited minutes. Choices…

  • David Worthington

    Net 10 and straight talk are both trac phone, and the same company with different facades. I now that as after years of serious problems with straight talk I switched, only to learn immediately that all I accomplished was ditching the remaing time on this months prepaid plan.

    • Cali4ever

      Re: Straight Talk; I’ve had At&t (formerly Cingular) which was overpriced- I switched to Straight Talk which used the Verizon towers from where I activated my phone while I was out of town.

      Unfortunately, when I returned home and decided to get a local phone #, the ST rep either lied, or was clueless, and told me that the CDMA model I have (which uses Verizon’s towers) wouldn’t work in my home town…I informed her it worked fine here, plus my landline and ISP are through Verizon, the Rep, of course being overseas, [I doubt the Rep was knowledgeable about California’s Wireless Network Towers] informed me that there weren’t any local # for my area?! At least not for my phone’s model. [ meaning it costs more because it uses Verizon’s towers LOL]

      So I went ahead and and returned that phone and got a similar model- which used the At&t towers. Up in the mountain area where I live, Verizon has an edge over At&t, however- I get At&t’s reception just fine.
      After not liking how restrictive ST works- with only 2 choices, plus refilling with only the option of using Walmart [which is 60 miles one way from where I live] after a few months of service, I switched to Net 10 which has many more plans- I don’t need a monthly plan because I have a landline- I don’t have any desire or need for data since I have a PC, laptop, and a tablet, so no reason to use my phone.

      For me and how I use my cell phone, Net 10 is much more convenient, offers a lot of different plans- I chose 1 of the 60 day rollover minutes plan, plus I like the fact that their refill cards are available at almost every type of store, even up in my rural town I have many stores I can get them from, plus one can always do the refill at the Net 10 site, etc…Net 10 works best for me.

      I’m not saying it’s the best plan for others, but I don’t like carriers that do not offer a lot of different options and plans, along with availability on how to refill your phone.
      I do know that some carriers make it a real hassle to refill minutes, having to do this every single month, and only through calling that carrier and having to give them your bank account or credit card info. Not for me- I don’t like that type of control period.

      I’ve learned quite a bit about different carriers, phone models, and what towers they use- in the 5 years since I used ST and then compared a few others.

      Anyhow, I enjoy this forum and it’s always good to keep up on the ever changing cell phone carriers and plans. Thank you Android Authority for having a site to come to. :)

      • David Worthington

        Net 10 and straight talk are exactly the same, only the logo and colors are different.

  • dreamer3kx

    I thought Metro uses tmobiles network, sure about this?

  • Jeff

    Verizon prepaid does NOT offer 4G. They’re restricted to 3G only.

  • tdinovi

    Superb, necessary piece. Required reading for all mobile phone users. Than you, Joe!

  • Jimmy Chu

    you don’t want a contract anymore with an mobile operator, you can find here
    the completest list of prepaid plan providers from all the US. has a list of more than 50 providers besides
    the four big networks. For many people this was great help. Hope it would also
    help you!

  • p2lf

    I signed my son up for a 5GB/$30 “bring your own phone” prepaid service on T-Mobile USA. Catch is you only get 100 minutes (but teenagers don’t talk anymore) and you have to activate your SIM though Tmob customer care (not retail store).

  • Yanett

    You need an update. Check out Ultra Mobile. They recently upgraded their plans. It starts with their $19/month plan up to their $49/ month plan. All of them have unlimited talk and text globally, all have data but it varies (the 19 dollar plan has 100 mb data) plus other features. It’s GSM and you can easily buy the SIM cards online (Amazon sells them for a penny with free shipping). Of course, you need to provide your own phone, just make sure its unlocked.

  • Chonchy

    The difference in straighttalk in the $45 and $60 plans are that in the $60 plan have international calls and the $45 don’t have it.

  • Phonelooker

    Thank you for all the information!

  • luke

    I’m with CC and my moto x says its on LTE when not on my wifi at home. And, their coverage is better than the AT&T coverage map. What am I missing?

  • Paul Ramone I used this website to save money on mobile minutes. It really did help a lot.

  • Jeff Baker

    There’s a new company called campusSIMs that runs on T-Mobile’s network, and they’re great

  • forrest48

    Good article. Thanks.
    If you can get by on 250 minutes of talk and 250 text, Page Plus is hard to beat.

  • James
  • fishlove73

    H2o only offers 3g…. no 4g or LTE. Data seems like its throttled after 1g.

  • Greg Hester

    I got the new cricket wireless just over a month ago …. most of the time …even if the LTE speed indicator is showing on the phone ..I get more like 2 g speed… I am about to dump them ….

  • David Larsen

    Happy Straight talk user here. Just wanted to add that any ATT/TMO phone will work and they have an awesome byod program (as I type this on my nexus 4 running on ST). Many unlocked/international phones will work as well. Check for appropriate band compatibility with tmo/att and simply order either a tmo or att Sim and you’re good to go.


    metro pcs also offers $25 unlimited talk and txt and yes they are truly unlimited have tested them versus competitors such as cricket. Here is video proof

  • Betty

    Have you evaluated FreedomPop?

  • John Connors

    Page plus cellular has come a looong way since this article has been written. Do not pass PagePlus up, without a good look. I stack pins on their website so my service is not interrupted. for the best prepay pricing. Pageplus is on the Verizon network. Not a cellular antenna sitting on a Verizon cell tower. Know the difference! Customer service for Pageplus is excellent. Try it out for yourself.

  • Jack Smith
    200 Minutes, 500 Texts, 500MB Data – FREE
    Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text, 500MB Data – $79.99/year OR $10.99/Month
    Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text, Unlimited Data (Throttled to 3G after 1GB) – $19.99/Month
    You can BYOD (older phones, like iphone 4s, etc)

  • Simon Fung

    I have Espanol Mobile, $30 unlimited talk/text/500MB LTE data, they have plans that start at $4.99 per month.

  • David Hall

    straight talk 45 and 60 plans have the same amount of data its just to call and text internationally

  • Jeffrey Hobbs

    You guys obviously don’t understand how straight talk works or the difference in the plans. First, the $30 plan is not for smartphones. The only plan they offer for for smartphones is the $45 (or $60 more on that later) plans. Secondly, the access code that comes in the activate kit is not just for Sprint. Those cards support verizon 3g phones as well. I know this for a fact because I’ve activated 2 Verizon phones personally. Also the difference in the $45 and $60 has nothing to do with Data. Both plans come with unlimited data that is throttled after 3gbs. Also, this wasn’t the case in May when you last updated but as of a week or two ago the new sim kits they are selling support used Verizon 4g LTE devices as well.

  • Jeffrey Hobbs

    Also need to update PagePlus as well. They support 4g LTE now and don’t ban certain MEIDs anymore.

  • zega

    Few things, include info on technology used (GSM/CDMA so people with certain phone know if they can switch, cannot mix those two), also network each provider use/piggyback onto (helps with coverage assessment) also making nice comparison table would be nice (quick view) otherwise very helpful article!

  • Mike

    Metro PCS is now a gsm carrier using T Mobile’s network and roams on AT&T in some areas.

  • TGan

    Wondered if someone can help. Going through a divorce and my wife is constantly checking online att bill at my calls. I need to get a phone off the network or account. Went to best buy and they knew very little. Any advice. Id like a phone that I can occasionally text from and make more calls. Calls are more important to me. Texts maybe 3-4 a day and as far as data almost none since I will use my android on Att for that. Can you recommend a company which might serve my purpose? All this is over my head and I would really appreciate any and all help

  • Dirty D

    What makes me laugh is that they stated that Net10 is owned by Tracfone, and yet they didn’t mention it about StraightTalk. Straightalk is also owned by tracfone, and has been for some time now, and the only difference between the two services (net10 and straighttalk) is the fact that you can only buy straighttalk items at Wal-Mart and the price of straighttalk seems to be 5 dollars cheaper for everything.

  • Argus

    I’m surprised no one knows about Airvoice Wireless. It’s truly a hidden gem, you get all the coverage that AT&T has but the prices are amazing. You can even get a plan for only $10 that includes 250 min. talk or 500 texts, the lowest I’ve ever discovered.

  • John

    You (article’s author) never bothered to do your research adequately. Most of what you’re saying is false and you even prove that by stating the limitations of data usage in Boost Mobile’s plan and then put as a plus that they provide unlimited data on all plans, for example.

  • Derrick Lewis

    Ting and Red Pocket Mobile have horrible service… customer service is a$$…. and Red Pocket Mobile
    I can say this much don’t ever punish yourself unless your a person who needs your head checked out, then you can join
    Red Pocket Mobile this company seems to cut customers phone even after they have paid there bill and telling them they used
    to much data I have seen this literally and its sad they do such a thing once they joined Sprint everything went downhill.
    Now I am only speaking for Red Pocket Mobile better known as CDMAS this is for Red Pocket Mobile Sprint customers, don’t use it the service is bad! and the customer service is sad.. very sad like 1 to 10 I give them a 0… and thats a compliment.

  • Ed Aldrin Tallador Dungo

    I had MetroPCS for a month with 60Mbps download and 25Mbps upload on LTE. My friend had it for 8 months and he gets same LTE speeds as mine. So yeah…. MetroPCS sure is slow.

  • gaspar66mx

    You forgot chit chat mobile runs under sprint network

  • Curious

    What about ultra mobile:

  • DaCouncillor

    Hi I am in the US currently for a short while.. maybe about 6 months.. I want a simple prepaid plan ( $10- $15) to operate my Samsung Tab that I use as a mobile phone in addition to the facilities of the Tab. Basically to receive calls and to make the occasional local call. I have access to wifi, most of the time. Top Up should be convenient and easy to locate… The kind people at Walmart suggested I use TRACFONE. ( 90 day No Contract Plan with Talk, Text & Web for as low as $19.99). The Tab uses a nano sim card. I had no problems using the Samsung Tab as a phone and Tablet previously in the Middle East.
    Would this be a good choice and where can I purchase this sim card from.

    Thank you …

  • isis2012

    I ‘m using the Oneplus one phone on T-mo $30.
    00 prepaid plan of 100 and unlimited text and data. I had this plan for 3yrs. Lately reception is getting worse and throttling the data a week after auto pay! The phone is GSM and unlocked. Which prepay plan would be good for this phone?