The best prepaid phone plans for April 2024

white, green, and blue sim card on blue background
(Image credit: Future)

The best prepaid phone plans don't just offer excellent value, but also offer a convenient way to cut down on those lengthy service contracts. In a nutshell, prepaid phone plans are lightweight, cheaper, and work great if you happen to have an unlocked device ready to go. For those interested, our roundup of the best prepaid phone plans is here with some handy recommendations to check out including options for individuals, families, and even cheap unlimited data options.

Our picks for the best prepaid phone plans this month are based on what we consider to be the most important criteria - price, coverage, and data allowance. That said, we're also factoring in bonuses like freebies and perks where applicable and we've included as much information as possible on each one in a mini-review just below.

Since it's quite difficult to pin down the best prepaid phone plans for each user, we've tried to include options for a wide array of requirements. Each carrier on the list has its advantages and drawbacks, and we've made sure all points are covered on each one so you know exactly what you're getting. 

If you find yourself stuck when choosing the best prepaid phone plans for you, then at the bottom of the page is a handy 'FAQ' section that's there to provide a bit of extra guidance.

Firstly, here's a quick overview of the best prepaid phone plans with links to the relevant carrier pages. Below that, you'll find a detailed breakdown for each one with the specific reasons why we picked it. If you'd like to see more options - including what the big carriers are offering - then we recommend heading on over to our main best cell phone plans to see an overview of the market as a whole. Don't forget to consider options like the Tello promo codes currently available too.

Recent updates

Added a new entry for Tello (a superb choice if you need a flexible single line).

The best prepaid phone plans: top picks

  1. Mint Mobile - best for overall value
  2. Visible - best for unlimited data on a budget
  3. Tello - best for flexibility
  4. AT&T prepaid - best for big carrier value
  5. Verizon prepaid - best for coverage and perks
  6. Boost Mobile - best for flexible family options

The best prepaid phone plans

best prepaid plans cheap mint mobile

(Image credit: Mint Mobile)

1. Mint Mobile

Best for overall value

Pricing: $15/mo - $30/mo | Data options: 5GB, 10GB, 15GB, Unlimited | Talk & Text: Unlimited | Perks: 5G, mobile hotspot, free Mex & CA calling | Network: T-Mobile

Exceptional value
5G and excellent perks
Flexible plan choices
Have to buy in bulk to get the best rates

Sitting at the top of our best prepaid plans phone guide is Mint Mobile, a superb carrier that balances a nice feature set with affordable and flexible prices. There are a few caveats with Mint Mobile, which we'll get into, but overall this carrier has one of the best bang for the buck offers going right now. 

Ranging from $15 a month for the entry-level 5GB data plan to $30 a month for the unlimited plan, Mint Mobile has a bit of everything for everyone - and at dirt cheap rates. Unlike other prepaid carriers, you pay upfront for a multi-month plan with Mint Mobile (3, 6, or 12 months), with the longer service options averaging out to the lowest prices. As you'd imagine, the big drawback here is that you'll potentially have to pay out a relatively large sum upfront if you want a full year of service. It is, however, worth it if you're ready to commit as that's where the real value is.

Solidifying Mint as the top choice right now is Mint's commitment to offering an even better value option for its customers. Recently, the carrier upped its data allowances across all plans, which in some cases equates to 10GB in extra data per month. In the case of the unlimited data plan specifically, you're now getting a soft cap of 45GB of data at 5G speeds as opposed to 35GB, which is good, but still not quite uncapped - unlike our following choice.

Read more about our service in our Mint Mobile plans guide.

best prepaid plans cheap mobile visible

(Image credit: Visible)

2. Visible

Best for unlimited data on a budget

Pricing: $25 - $45mo | Data options: Unlimited | Talk & Text: Unlimited | Perks: 5G, mobile hotspot, free Mex & CA calling | Network: Verizon

Simple pricing with no hidden charges
Two distinct plan tiers
New lower price for 2023
No super-cheap monthly options

Our top choice for data-hungry folks on a budget is Visible Wireless - a superb prepaid subsidiary of Verizon that's just lowered its excellent prices even further as of mid-2023. 

The standard (or basic) Visible plan now comes in at just $25 per month (down from $30) while still offering completely unlimited data, talk, and text. The more advanced Visible Plus plan has also been discounted from an initial introductory price of $45 per month to $40 per month, which is great considering it offers 50GB of priority data on the Verizon Wideband 5G network. 

For prepaid users, most will find the 'standard' Visible plan to be the sweet spot for value, however. At the new price of $25, it undercuts the competition from Mint, Tello, and many other prepaid carriers while completely doing away with the usual hidden data caps (Mint's 5G speed caps out at 45GB of usage). Visible Wireless also has the advantage of a slightly easier-to-manage pricing scheme versus Mint Mobile, where you don't need to sign-up for multiple months of service to get a lower monthly rate. As with all prepaid plans, you won't need a contract with Visible Wireless either. 

Read more about our service in our Visible wireless plans guide.

Tello logo on white background

(Image credit: Tello)

3. Tello Mobile

Best for flexibility

Pricing: $6/mo - $25/mo | Data options: 1GB - Unlimited | Talk & Text: 100 - Unlimited | Perks: 5G, mobile hotspot | Network: T-Mobile

Rock-bottom prices
Flexible pay-monthly system
35GB 5G allowance on unlimited plan

The prepaid carrier Tello has been on our radar for a few years now - and it's always offered a fantastic service - but recent price adjustments have really warranted an entry on our best prepaid plans list. For example, the basic 1GB data plan is now just $9 per month (down from $10), while the 5GB data plan is just $14 per month - much more reasonable versus the $19 it originally debuted at.

Tello is also home to another superbly priced prepaid unlimited plan, with its current offering coming in at just $25 per month - $5 cheaper than Mint, and the same price as the basic Visible unlimited plan. It's worth noting, however, that the Tello unlimited plan caps out at 25GB of data for 5G speeds and only comes with 5GB of mobile hotspot allowance so it's not the most fully featured prepaid unlimited plan on the market despite its rock-bottom price.

The main selling point at Tello, arguably, is the service's superbly flexible build-your-own approach to plans. For example, you can choose to cut down on your data, texts, and minutes allowance based on your usage and you'll only pay for a month at a time. If you're unsure about how much data you'll need and so on, then Tello can be a good choice since you're never locked in. 

Read more about this carrier with our handy Tello guide

best prepaid plans cheap mobile AT&T

(Image credit: AT&T)

4. AT&T prepaid

Best for big carrier value

Pricing: $25/mo - $50/mo | Data options: 5GB, 8GB, 16GB, Unlimited | Talk & Text: Unlimited | Perks: 5G, mobile hotspot, free Mex & CA calling | Network: AT&T

Data rollover
5G data included
Good value, for a big carrier

AT&T stands out amongst most major carriers by offering some really competitive prepaid options to go along with its other more traditional post-paid options. Unlike its major competitors, AT&T has the option for both upfront multi-month subscriptions (like Mint), or the more usual pay-per-month options that you normally see with prepaid options.

Its buy upfront options include a 12-month subscription that can net you 16GB of data for just $25 a month - an excellent choice compared to the other big carriers and one that's recently had its data upped from just 8GB. Of course, you could also opt to go for the monthly service, which while being pricier, does resemble its post-paid plans in that they offer better perks like 5G access, family plan savings, and free calls to Mexico and Canada (on the 15GB plan and up).

We have a separate page on the best AT&T prepaid plans if you'd like to read more. 

best prepaid plans cheap mobile verizon

(Image credit: Future)

5. Verizon prepaid

Best for coverage and perks

Pricing: $35/mo - $60/mo | Data options: 15GB, Unlimited | Talk & Text: Unlimited | Perks: 5G, mobile hotspot, free Mex & CA calling | Network: Verizon

No deprioritization
5G on all plans
Excellent coverage
Need to commit to get the best rates

Another great major carrier to consider is Verizon, which, while not having the lowest prices across the board generally has the best coverage as well as perks - even for its prepaid customers.

5G access comes as standard for all Verizon prepaid plans, as does free mobile hot-spotting and free calling to both Canada and Mexico. You can also opt to go for one of two unlimited plans, starting at $50 a month, although it's definitely beaten out by Visible for outright value in our eyes.

Another slight downside to Verizon is its loyalty discount scheme - which lowers your plan price when you both stick with the service for over four months and opt-in to the autopay feature. On the surface, this is great because it can lower your bill down to just $35/mo at the lowest; however, it does mean you're having to commit to a longer period and also have to go a few months with higher bills too, which makes Verizon slightly more inflexible than most of the best prepaid plans.

Want to see a more detailed guide? See our article on the best Verizon prepaid plans for more.

best prepaid plans cheap boost mobile

(Image credit: Future)

6. Boost mobile

Best for flexible family options

Pricing: $10/mo - $60/mo | Data options: 1GB - Unlimited | Talk & Text: Unlimited | Perks: 5G, mobile hotspot | Network: T-Mobile

Flexible options for additional lines
Lowest prices after 6-months
Cheapest plans for BOYO customers only

If you're looking to sign all your family or multiple people up to the same prepaid plan for maximum savings, Boost Mobile offers an absolute ton of great options. Not only does it allow you to mix-and-match various prepaid plans of different data allowances to create your own plan, but you can also get three 35GB plans for just $90 a month - excellent value.

Being on T-Mobile's network gives you plenty of good coverage too, and there are also options for bringing your own device over to the network. 

Where Boost Mobile gets less generous, however, is its solo-prepaid phone plan options, which while not outrageously expensive, do sit somewhere in the middle in regards to overall value. Like Verizon, its best value option (15GB, $35/mo) only comes down in price after 6 months, and its cheapest plans are for new customers bringing their own devices over only. Definitely one for the family and plan sharers then.

Best prepaid phone plans: FAQ

best prepaid plans cheap mobile

(Image credit: Getty)

What is the best prepaid phone plan?

Mint Mobile and Visible Wireless are the standout options right now if you're looking for the best prepaid phone plans. 

Mint Mobile is the one we'd go for if you're looking for excellent value on a single line and flexible data allowance options. Based on price, simplicity, and the generosity of its data allowances, we think Mint Mobile is really hitting it out the park when it comes to value right now - especially with its recently increased data allowances.

If you're going unlimited, however, then you may want to consider Visible Wireless. This service has a completely unlimited data plan for just $25 per month, which is pretty amazing when you consider you get unlimited talk, text, and mobile hotspot (capped at 5Mbps) on its basic plan. 

How do prepaid phone plans work?

In a very brief nutshell, prepaid plans differ from the traditional 'postpaid' options by not tying you down to a long-term contract. The name prepaid itself refers to the way in which most prepaid companies will charge you upfront at the beginning of the month for a plan. Generally speaking, with postpaid plans you'll sign up to a long-term plan and pay it in installments, whereas with a prepaid plan you'll renew your plan each month.

However, the lines have blurred in recent years and some prepaid companies (like Mint), offer longer-term options across multiple months, meaning the distinction between 'prepaid' and 'postpaid' has lessened somewhat in recent times.

So, these days, prepaid plans generally refer to those being offered by smaller companies - or 'MVNOs' to give them their official designation. On the whole, these smaller companies offer much cheaper plans than the big three (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile) with no lengthy contracts, but don't actually operate the networks they run their services on. Put simply, they rent service from one of the big three - a policy which has both benefits and drawbacks. The most obvious benefit of not operating your own network is far lower running costs. By not paying for expensive upkeep or things like physical stores, MVMOs can normally get away with charging a lot less for their prepaid plans. The downside of this, however, is that the bigger carriers will always prioritize their own customer's cellular service when the local network is busy. This can mean prepaid plan users are often subject to slower data speeds on average - a process that's called 'deprioritization'. 

Note, while deprioritization is common on all prepaid phone plans, your mileage is going to vary a lot depending on your local area.

Are prepaid phone plans worth it?

If you're looking to save money then the answer is definitely yes. On average, most prepaid phone plans come in at around half the price of the equivalent cell phone plan at one of the 'big three' networks. That's a saving that simply cannot be ignored if you're budget-conscious, and you also won't be subject to credit checks or lengthy contracts - which means you're much more able to switch up your service should you want to.

However, before you sign up for a prepaid phone plan you'll definitely want to consider the potential drawbacks. We've already briefly mentioned deprioritization - which means you can potentially get slower data speeds when the local area is experiencing heavy traffic. If you're a data-heavy user especially then this one could be an issue, depending on your location.

It's also worth mentioning that prepaid phone plans generally don't have many customer perks like free streaming service subscriptions. You also don't tend to get access to big deals on handsets. The best Verizon deals, for example, offer options for free devices and trade-in rebates, which you might not get by going with a smaller company.

Who has the cheapest prepaid phone plan?

The cheapest prepaid plan that money can buy is something like Ultra Mobile's pay-as-you-go plan, which is currently $3 per month for 100 minutes, 100 texts, and 100MB of data. This is, to be frank, a very barebones plan but could be a decent option if you're a super light user as the extra calls, texts, and data are relatively reasonably priced at 3 cents per minute, 1 cents per text, and 3 cents per 100MB respectively. 

For a slightly more fleshed-out plan, something like Tello's build-your-own-plan setup can be a good choice. You can get a 1GB data plan with 100 minutes and free text for $7 per month with this service - and you can easily tailor your plan each month if you require any more data or such.

If you're looking for a guide on this subject specifically, we'd also recommend heading on over to our page on this month's best cheap cell phone plans for not just recommendations, but also some handy tips on saving money too.

Alex Whitelock
Deals Editor

Alex is deals editor at TechRadar. With over three years of experience on-site and eight years working in e-commerce, Alex has made it his personal mission to share all his favorite tips, bargains, and deals with our readers here at TechRadar. At work, he specializes in computing, phones, and covering huge sales events like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. Outside of work, you'll find him indulging his keen love of photography and PC gaming, or down at the local climbing gym hanging off boulders far too difficult for his abilities. His editorial bylines also include contributions to T3 and GamesRadar.