Best daily deals

Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Simple Mobile buyer's guide: Prices, plans, and more

Looking for an affordable cellphone plan? Look no further than Simple Mobile.
By
March 4, 2022
Simple Mobile logo on a Samsung smartphone
Simple Mobile

There are plenty of good reasons to avoid America’s largest carriers these days. One look at the high prices demanded by the big three, and you’ll be itching for a better rate. That’s where Simple Mobile and its plans come into play. With lower costs and access to T-Mobile’s nationwide network, there’s a lot to like. We’ll walk you through all of the money-saving details before you make the switch.

See also: The best Simple Mobile phones you can get

As a subsidiary of another MVNO, you won’t be surprised to hear that Simple Mobile skips the post-paid options. It also emphasizes budget-friendly phones, though we’ll show you a few more expensive options if you want the latest and greatest. An informed decision is best, of course, so we’ll take a few minutes to touch on other affordable MVNO alternatives too. Ready to go green? Let’s get to it.

Simple Mobile at a glance

Simple joined the Tracfone umbrella in 2012, which began its life as Topp Telecom in 1996. Unfortunately, it’s tricky to track down much history about Simple Mobile itself, though it did contribute to Tracfone’s 25 million total subscribers during the merger. Simple Mobile is considered an MVNO, although it’s also a subsidiary.

As far as the Better Business Bureau is concerned, Simple Mobile must be doing something right. The carrier may not be accredited, but it earned an A-plus rating — a feat not matched by many other mobile networks. It only has a one-star average review from customers, but that’s par for the course in most cases. Simple Mobile has received 301 complaints with the BBB, which is lower than most carriers.

It’s great that Simple Mobile subscribers can access T-Mobile’s massive 4G network, but the 5G access might be the most significant benefit. Customers can easily access the nationwide 5G setup as long as they have a capable device. Take a further peek at the full coverage map right here.

Simple Mobile plans

If you’re ready to make things simple, you’ve got just five plans to look into. The first three offer limited data paired with unlimited talk and text, and the two most expensive plans take barriers out of the picture. When you decide to splurge on unlimited, your biggest question will be how much hotspot data you need. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but check out the table below for a few quick details.

2GB Plan5GB Plan15GB PlanTruly Unlimited PlanTruly Unlimited Plus Plan
Cost
2GB Plan
$25 for one line
$20 each for up to four additional lines
5GB Plan
$30 for one line
$25 each for up to four additional lines
15GB Plan
$40 for one line
$25 each for up to four additional lines
Truly Unlimited Plan
$50 for one line
$25 each for up to four additional lines
Truly Unlimited Plus Plan
$60 for one line
$25 each for up to four additional lines
Talk & Text
2GB Plan
Unlimited
5GB Plan
Unlimited
15GB Plan
Unlimited
Truly Unlimited Plan
Unlimited
Truly Unlimited Plus Plan
Unlimited
Data
2GB Plan
2GB of high speed data followed by 2G access
5GB Plan
5GB of high speed data followed by 2G access
15GB Plan
15GB of high speed data followed by 2G access
Truly Unlimited Plan
Unlimited high speed data
Truly Unlimited Plus Plan
Unlimited high speed data
Hotspot
2GB Plan
Up to 2GB cap
5GB Plan
Up to 5GB cap
15GB Plan
Up to 15GB cap
Truly Unlimited Plan
5GB hotspot included
Truly Unlimited Plus Plan
15GB hotspot included
Streaming
2GB Plan
Available at unspecified quality
5GB Plan
Available at unspecified quality
15GB Plan
Available at unspecified quality
Truly Unlimited Plan
Standard definition up to 480p
Truly Unlimited Plus Plan
Standard definition up to 480p
International
2GB Plan
International calling to 69 destinations
International roaming in 16 countries
International calling credit available
5GB Plan
International calling to 69 destinations
International roaming in 16 countries
International calling credit available
15GB Plan
International calling to 69 destinations
International roaming in 16 countries
International calling credit available
Truly Unlimited Plan
International calling to 69 destinations
International roaming in 16 countries
International calling credit available
Truly Unlimited Plus Plan
International calling to 69 destinations
International roaming in 16 countries
International calling credit available
Extras
2GB Plan
Data add-ons available
5GB Plan
Data add-ons available
15GB Plan
Data add-ons available
Truly Unlimited Plan
None
Truly Unlimited Plus Plan
50GB cloud storage

3GB plan

Simple Mobile’s simple plan offers talk, text, and 3GB of high-speed data before you drop to 2G speeds. Although you don’t get much in the way of streaming perks or extra memberships, even this basic plan includes a reasonably robust international setup. You can call up to 69 destinations as much as you want, and you can take your phone on a Central American road trip with roaming in 16 countries. There are some add-ons you can pick up, though the perks are the same as other plans, so you may find better value elsewhere.

Highlights:

  • It costs just $25 per month
  • Extra data is available at a low cost

Best for:

  • Low data users who mainly want talk and text

5GB plan

The next level of service available, Simple’s 5GB plan, is nearly identical to the basic 3GB plan, just with an extra 2GB of data for $30 per month. Each additional line is $25 per month instead of $20, but you can use your entire data cap as a hotspot if you want to. Beyond the slightly higher price and extra data, you get the same international access and the same available data boost.

Highlights:

  • 2GB of extra data for just $5 more per month
  • Use up to the 5GB capacity as a mobile hotspot

Best for:

  • Data users who need more than 3GB but don’t want to pay too much

15GB plan

The last limited data option, this plan kicks your high-speed access to 15GB for just $40 per month. That’s three times the data for the same price as a 5GB add-on perk. Of course, you can still use your data cap as a hotspot and add further access if needed. The 15GB plan’s value shines when you add extra lines of service as each one costs $25 — the same as the 5GB plan.

Highlights:

  • Triple the data for just $10 more per month
  • Extra lines cost the same as less expensive plans

Best for:

  • High data users who don’t need unlimited access and want a low per-gig price

Truly Unlimited plan

As we mentioned before, Simple Mobile offers two very similar unlimited plans — the first is called Truly Unlimited. It offers unlimited talk, text, and data and the same international access you know and love. The only drawback with the Truly Unlimited plan is that you can only use 5GB of your data for a high-speed hotspot. Simple also warns that users who exceed 40GB of data per month may see their access slowed. The Truly Unlimited plan is also the first to mention streaming at up to 480p resolution.

Highlights:

  • Unlimited data access
  • Additional lines cost just $25 per month

Best for:

  • Users who want unlimited data but aren’t too worried about hotspot

Truly Unlimited Plus plan

Truly Unlimited Plus is for you if you were all set to sign up for Truly Unlimited coverage until you saw the hotspot limit. The plan offers a full 15GB hotspot for just $60 per month. You’ll get streaming at up to 480p as well, and Simple Mobile even includes a 50GB cloud storage subscription so you can keep your pictures and documents stored safely in the cloud.

Highlights:

  • 15GB of built-in hotspot access
  • 50GB cloud storage subscription

Best for:

  • Heavy-duty data users who don’t want any service limits

Add-ons and mobile hotspot plans

Simple Mobile has a great mix of low-cost data plans, but they’re not perfect. Whether you need more data or a larger hotspot, you’ll have to look at some extras if you want to customize your plan to fit your needs. Luckily, Simple makes it reasonably straightforward to add the extras you need. Check our table below for the specifics of each add-on.

CostBenefit
Hotspot plans
Cost
$34.99 per month
$49.99 per month
Benefit
15GB high speed hotspot
40GB high speed hotspot
Extra data
Cost
$5
$10
$20
Benefit
2GB
5GB
10GB
International add-on
Cost
$10
Benefit
Pay-as-you-go international access
Car Smart
Cost
$25
Benefit
3GB high speed data for in-car hotspot
Unlimited connection for diagnostics and GPS

Hotspot plans

If you want to stream data to your laptop often, or you work remotely most days, it may be worth your while to invest in a hotspot subscription. Luckily, Simple Mobile offers two tiers of service, both with hefty data caps. For just $34.99 per month — a little more than the cost of a 5GB plan — you can get 15GB of access or 40GB for $49.99. Both options are recurring monthly charges, so it may be tricky to add a hotspot for a single month.

Extra data

You might have a month here and there when your limited data plan isn’t enough — that’s where an extra data boost comes in. Simple Mobile will let you add data to the mix at a rate of around $2 per GB, though don’t expect rollover access. You’ll have to use whatever you add before your billing cycle rolls over, or you’ll have to let it go to the great data pit in the sky. Available data access comes in 2GB, 5GB, and 10GB increments.

International add-on

Simple Mobile offers great international access, but it’s not perfect. You get to talk and text 69 destinations with all of the monthly plans, but there are more than 69 destinations globally. If you want to call or text family members in other locations, you’ll want to check the per-minute rate or invest in a $10 calling card that offers access at a lump cost. The prices vary based on landlines and mobile access, so dial carefully.

Car Smart plan

If you’ve ever tried to keep your kids busy on a long car ride, you know how helpful a mobile hotspot can be. Luckily, Simple Mobile offers a plan that’s dedicated to keeping you connected in the car. Car Smart offers 3GB of high-speed data that you can use specifically in your car. It includes an unlimited connection for vehicle diagnostics and GPS tracking, too.

Which Simple Mobile plan is right for you?

Simple Mobile photo of couple having fun.

It’s great that Simple Mobile offers low-cost, low-cap plans with 3GB or 5GB of high-speed data, but they may not be the best for most users. After all, it can get expensive to add varying amounts of data month after month. Instead, the 15GB or Truly Unlimited plans are probably the best for most users. You get plenty of data and an included hotspot, though you avoid the higher price of the Truly Unlimited Plus plan.

If you want cloud storage, or you know you’ll use a healthy amount of hotspot connectivity, Truly Unlimited Plus is still worth your money. Either way, don’t let video streaming play a factor in your decision, as none of the plans exceed 480p standard definition.

Simple Mobile vs the competition

Tracfone MVNO carrier stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Simple Mobile’s status as an owned subsidiary of Tracfone places it in a unique position. It isn’t easy to compare against independent MVNOs, and it doesn’t quite fit against carrier-owned MVNOs either. However, it’s far from the only Tracfone subsidiary on the market. As a result, we’ll stack it against Net10 Wireless, Straight Talk, Total Wireless, and Tracfone itself in the ultimate Tracfone showdown. You can learn more about our favorite no-contract and prepaid plans right here.

Simple Mobile - Truly UnlimitedNet10 Wireless - 30GB unlimted planStraight Talk - Ultimate UnlimitedTotal Wireless - 25GB unlimited planTracfone - 30 day plan
Cost
Simple Mobile - Truly Unlimited
$50 for one line
$25 for each additional line
Net10 Wireless - 30GB unlimted plan
$50 for one line
$40 for each additional line
Straight Talk - Ultimate Unlimited
$55 for one line
Total Wireless - 25GB unlimited plan
$50 for one line
Tracfone - 30 day plan
$30 for one line
Talk and Text
Simple Mobile - Truly Unlimited
Unlimited
Net10 Wireless - 30GB unlimted plan
Unlimited
Straight Talk - Ultimate Unlimited
Unlimited
Total Wireless - 25GB unlimited plan
Unlimited
Tracfone - 30 day plan
Unlimited
Data
Simple Mobile - Truly Unlimited
Unlimited
Net10 Wireless - 30GB unlimted plan
30GB high speed data
Unlimited 2G access
Straight Talk - Ultimate Unlimited
Unlimited up to 60GB
Total Wireless - 25GB unlimited plan
25GB high speed data
Unlimited 2G access
Tracfone - 30 day plan
3GB high speed data
Hotspot
Simple Mobile - Truly Unlimited
5GB included
Net10 Wireless - 30GB unlimted plan
Not included
Straight Talk - Ultimate Unlimited
10GB included
Total Wireless - 25GB unlimited plan
10GB included
Tracfone - 30 day plan
Not included
Streaming
Simple Mobile - Truly Unlimited
Up to standard definition 480p
Net10 Wireless - 30GB unlimted plan
Not specified
Straight Talk - Ultimate Unlimited
DVD-quality
Total Wireless - 25GB unlimited plan
Not specified
Tracfone - 30 day plan
Not specified
International
Simple Mobile - Truly Unlimited
International calling to 69 destinations
International roaming in 16 countries
International calling credit available
Net10 Wireless - 30GB unlimted plan
$20 international calling credit included
Straight Talk - Ultimate Unlimited
Global calling cards available
Total Wireless - 25GB unlimited plan
Global calling cards available
Tracfone - 30 day plan
Global calling cards available

Net10 Wireless

When the same carrier owns all competitors, it doesn’t matter which one comes first. You’ll notice that many of the prices and perks are similar, especially with international calling. However, Net10 Wireless is a great pick no matter which network you’re coming from, as it contracts with each of the Big Three for service. That means you can get reliable service pretty much anywhere. Although the plan is technically called an unlimited plan, only the first 30GB of data is truly high speed.

Highlights:

  • Access to all of the major networks
  • International calling cards included with each plan

Straight Talk

Straight talk, like Net10, contracts with all of the major carriers for access to America’s largest networks. However, AT&T users are out of luck when it comes to hotspot usage due to SIM incompatibility. Other users will get 10GB of hotspot access with an unlimited plan, and data usage is genuinely unlimited, unlike Net10 Wireless.

Highlights:

  • 10GB of hotspot data included (Except for AT&T SIMs)
  • Truly unlimited data access

Total Wireless

Total Wireless may be a Tracfone subsidiary, but it doesn’t have access to all of the top networks like Straight Talk and Net10 do. Instead, it relies on Verizon for service and offers unlimited plans that mostly have 2G speeds.

You can purchase any one of Total Wireless’ plans using rewards points, though you only earn around 30 points per plan purchased. In comparison, plans cost approximately 3,000 points — the math isn’t exactly favorable.

Highlights:

  • Low-cost access to Verizon’s massive network
  • Hotspot access is included with most plans

Tracfone

Last but not least is the parent of them all — Tracfone. You might think that Tracfone would have plenty of unlimited options and large data caps, but it doesn’t shake out that way. Instead, Tracfone emphasizes its low-cost and low-cap plans above all else. You won’t find options with above 3GB of data, and they won’t run you more than $30 per month. Before you write Tracfone off due to its limited data plans, remember that it has contracts with all major networks, including US Cellular, so you should find strong service wherever you go.

Highlights:

  • Most affordable plans, although no unlimited options
  • Contracts with all major carriers for top-end service

Alternatives that use the same network

The Google Fi packaging.

If we consider the Tracfone umbrella to be Simple Mobile’s direct competition, it’s best to look at other T-Mobile MVNOs as great alternatives. Big names like Mint Mobile and Google Fi are sure candidates for your business, but US Mobile is another affordable option that’s worth a look.

Check out our table below before you dig into the full details:

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile is an affordable alternative if you’re looking for solid options with limited data plans. You can opt for 4GB all the way to Unlimited, and each plan is less than $35 per month for one line. There are no streaming perks like Netflix or Hulu, but long-term plans can slash your prices even lower.

Google Fi

A single carrier doesn’t own Google Fi, and that’s good news for you regarding service. The hybrid MVNO uses T-Mobile and US Cellular towers to constantly switch to the best signal available. Fi supports an absolutely massive list of phones, covering options from many major US manufacturers and Huawei and even Red Hydrogen.

As for the plan, Google Fi’s Unlimited Plus plan is a tremendous international option. You can call over 50 countries and territories for free, and contact with other areas can start at just one penny. Each line gets unlimited data up to 22GB, a Google One membership, and full-speed hotspot tethering. If you want to save some cash, you can try the Simply Unlimited plan with US-based coverage.

US Mobile

If you want a plan that’s perfectly tailored to your needs, US Mobile is the way to go. You can choose your ideal level of talk, text, and data for as little as $5 per month or go unlimited for $40. 5G access is also baked into all of the plans now instead of costing extra. When you add multiple lines of unlimited, you’ll get the chance to add subscription services like Disney Plus, Spotify, and Playstation Plus.

What phones can you use on Simple Mobile?

Samsung Galaxy A12 back panel
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Like many low-cost MVNOs, Simple Mobile emphasizes budget-friendly devices, but don’t think your choices are limited. You can pick up top-end flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S21 family and the iPhone 13 line, though they’ll run you the full price. If you’re looking for value, Simple shines with options like the LG Reflect and Samsung Galaxy A12. Both are available for around $100, and most of your choices will cost less than $200.

However, the cheapest way to get a phone on Simple Mobile is to bring it yourself — a SIM card is just $0.99. As a T-Mobile-based network, you’ll want to make sure that you bring a GSM device for the smoothest transition possible.

See also: The best phone deals

Before you run out to switch your phone, you may want to double-check that you have the proper band support. After all, the bands are the real end-all, be-all when making the switch. Check the table below for a full rundown.

FrequencyBandNetwork Supported
Frequency
1900MHz
Band
2
Network Supported
3G
4G LTE
Frequency
1700/2100MHz
Band
4
Network Supported
3G
4G LTE
Frequency
700MHz
Band
12
Network Supported
4G LTE