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Best value smartphone data plans for single lines and families in 2024

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The easiest mistake to make when signing up for a new smartphone data plan is overbuying. Carriers are happy to push new customers toward their biggest and most fully-featured plans with phone deals and promotions, but you will likely end up spending way more than necessary in the long run.


Luckily, prepaid carriers have been getting much more competitive, offering a large amount of data on the same networks as the big guys. If you’re looking to save money on your wireless bill, you have quite a few options now. And with the right plan, you may not even notice a difference in service at all.

Get the best value plan without giving up the features or data you need

Visible

Best for a single line

Visible is a prepaid carrier from Verizon with two totally unlimited data plans. The base Visible plan is a great value for a single line with no multi-line discounts or multi-month payments required to get the best price. Visible also has unlimited hotspot data at 5Mbps, so you can keep a tablet or laptop online.

5G
Nationwide (Ultra Wideband with Visible+)

Premium data
50GB on Visible+

Data cap
None

Hotspot data
Unlimited (5Mbps)

Pros

  • Unlimited data on Verizon’s network
  • Unlimited hotspot data
  • Taxes and fees included
Cons

  • Hotspot is limited to 5Mbps
  • Videos stream at 480p
  • No Ultra Wideband 5G on the base plan

The most basic plan from the Visible carrier is called Visible. This plan is an excellent entry point for those who just need a single line with unlimited data on Verizon’s network with access to nationwide 5G. This plan doesn’t come with bells and whistles, which many people don’t want anyway. Visible comes with unlimited domestic talk and text and as much data as you can use, so there’s no high-speed data cap like some prepaid carriers have attempted to normalize.

Unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada are supported, which means you can keep in contact with your friends and family over the border without messaging apps. Visible also comes with unlimited hotspot data at 5Mbps which can be good for browsing the web and receiving messages on a tablet or laptop, but will struggle to support streaming video at HD resolutions and will be slow for large downloads.

If you find that Visible’s data speeds aren’t quite enough for you, you can upgrade to the larger Visible+ plan, which comes with 50GB of premium data, access to the faster Ultra Wideband 5G network, and many more international features, including roaming in Mexico and Canada. Still, the base Visible plan is an excellent value for most heavy users who don’t want to think about saving data. It’s also nice that Visible’s plan pricing includes all taxes and fees, so there are no surprises on your bill. If you use Verizon home internet with fiber or 5G, you can also save $10 with Visible+ and $5 with Visible.

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US Mobile logo

US Mobile Unlimited Essentials

Best unlimited family plan

Use up to 50GB of data per line

Unlimited Essentials is US Mobile’s middle unlimited plan with solid multi-line discounts and a healthy 50GB of high-speed data. You even get full 5G access on Verizon and 5GB of hotspot data.

5G
Nationwide, Ultra Wideband, Ultra Capacity

Premium data
50GB

Data cap
None (1Mbps after premium)

Hotspot data
5GB

Pros

  • Access to full 5G on Verizon or T-Mobile
  • Multi-line savings
  • Plent of high-speed data (50GB)
Cons

  • Data slowed to 1Mbps after premium data
  • No international calling on a Verizon SIM (coming soon)

US Mobile is one of the best ways to get Verizon coverage for less, with plenty of data for heavy users and full 5G access on its unlimited plans. Unlike a carrier like Visible, the base Unlimited Starter plan can access both C-band and mmWave 5G and comes with 35GB of high-speed data. If you manage to use all of that data, your speeds are reduced to 1Mbps until the end of the month. This plan also gets 10GB of hotspot data, so you can get another device, like a laptop or tablet, connected while you’re away from Wi-Fi.

You can choose either a Verizon SIM (Warp 5G) or a T-Mobile SIM (GSM 5G) when you set up your phone with US Mobile, meaning you can bring just about any unlocked phone to US Mobile and pick the network with the best coverage in your area. Both SIMs come with international calling and texting from the U.S., but the GSM SIM also comes with 1GB of international data with Unlimited Starter, and 5GB or 10GB with Unlimited Premium.

Pricing is one of US Mobile’s strengths with taxes and fees included in its plans and multi-line discounts for some of its unlimited plans. Unlimited Starter, for example, costs $29 per month for a single line, $27 per line with two lines, and $25 per line with three or more. If you want to save even more, annual plans are also available for single lines with 25% savings.

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MobileX logo

MobileX

Best for light users

At MobileX, you pay only for the data you use and not a kilobyte more. MobileX’s main plan allows customers to choose how many texts and minutes they need as well as data by the gigabyte. If you don’t use all the data you paid for, it rolls over to the next month. If you’re not sure how much data you’ll need, you can try out MobileX for 10 days for free to generate a prediction for your usage.

5G
Nationwide and Ultra Wideband

Premium data
N/A

Data cap
30GB

Hotspot data
Shared

MobileX is a prepaid carrier running on the Verizon LTE and 5G network, but what really sets it apart is its plans, or lack of plans. For most customers, MobileX’s custom plans are the way to go with cheap data for users that typically use less than 5GB in a month. While this can seem low, it’s worth keeping in mind that data used on Wi-Fi doesn’t count towards your plan, so if you’ve got Wi-Fi at work and at home, you may not be using as much as you think.

When you download the MobileX app, you’ll be able to start a 10-day prediction period where your usage is analyzed to recommend a plan specifically for you. If you haven’t used Verizon’s network in a while, this will also give you some time to see if MobileX has the coverage and speeds you need. The app allows you to see your plan and usage information at a glance. Video streams are set to 480p to preserve data, but you can set them to HD in the app in just a few taps, which I love.

You’ll pay around $2 to get connected and then $2.10 per gigabyte after that. Talk and text are extra on top of that, at $1.50 for 50 texts and 50 minutes, $2.50 for 150 texts and minutes, and $4.50 for unlimited texts and minutes. If you use messaging apps for most of your communication, this could be a good way to save a few bucks. If you’re a heavier user, MobileX’s 5GB or 25GB unlimited plans could be a better value with unlimited talk and text. The 25GB plan also comes with unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada, which is available for $4.50 on the other plans.

If your phone supports eSIM, all you need is the MobileX app to get started. If you want a physical SIM, you can order a kit directly from MobileX, or at Walmart.

Mint Mobile logo

Mint Mobile 15GB

Best multi-month savings

Mint Mobile straddles the line between single-line and multi-line value with its cheap data and Mint Family payment options. The 15GB plan comes with plenty of data for most people on the T-Mobile network. For the best rate, you need to pay for 12 months upfront. But if you have multiple lines, you can renew at the best rate for three months at a time.

5G
Nationwide, Ultra Capacity

Premium data
15GB

Data cap
None (0.5Mbps after premium)

Hotspot data
Shared

Pros

  • Plenty of data for most people
  • Fast T-Mobile 5G network
  • Lower payments with Mint Family
Cons

  • Must buy multiple months
  • No truly unlimited option

Mint Mobile is a prepaid carrier owned by T-Mobile that specializes in data plans with multi-month discounts. Mint Mobile’s shortest plan term is three months, but if you’re willing to pay for six or 12 months at a time, you can save even more. The 15GB plan, for example, is $35 per month when paid for three months at a time, $25 per month for six months, and $20 per month for the whole year. That works out to $240 a year. A year is a big commitment, but Mint Mobile is offering customers the first three months for $15 per month on all plans, so you can decide if the service is right for you.

At $240 for a year, Mint Mobile is a good deal, but paying for a whole year of service isn’t financially prudent for many young families. Luckily, Mint Family allows you to get Mint’s best rates when you bring at least two and up to five lines. You can also mix and match plans, so everyone has as much data as needed while limiting waste. This keeps your payments lower; for example, that $240 payment can get you four lines for three months.

Since Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s 5G network, just about any unlocked phone will work with its network. Some older carrier-branded phones may not be a good fit, but most unlocked devices will be compatible. T-Mobile’s network also means that some of our favorite cheap phones, like the Pixel 7a, will be a great fit for Mint.

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Cricket Wireless logo

Cricket Wireless Unlimited

Best family plan on AT&T

Family savings on the AT&T network

Cricket Wireless is a prepaid carrier from AT&T that uses its network for all of its coverage. Cricket’s unlimited plan doesn’t get premium data or hotspot data, but it’s still a great basic plan. You also get access to AT&T’s nationwide low-band 5G coverage as well as full LTE speeds.

5G
Nationwide

Premium data
N/A

Data cap
Unlimited

Hotspot data
None

Pros

  • Strong multi-line savings
  • Unlimited data on AT&T’s network
  • Roaming in Mexico and Canada is included
Cons

  • No hotspot data
  • No 5G+ access

Cricket Wireless is a good low-cost option for unlimited data on AT&T’s network. While T-Mobile and Verizon-based carriers can offer a few more perks, the best carrier for you is the one with coverage where you live; for many people, that’s AT&T. This unlimited plan is nothing special with a 480p video streaming limit that’s common with price-competitive plans, no hotspot data, and no streaming perks. If you’re looking for a basic plan with plenty of data, however, Cricket’s unlimited plan is a solid option at $55 — and that’s before multi-line discounts.

With four lines, this plan comes down to just $25 per line, or $100 per month. With taxes and fees included, this is plan a strong value for families. Even though it’s a basic plan, you also get free roaming in Mexico and Canada at 2G speeds, so if you live near the border or just like to visit friends or family, you don’t need a new plan. You also get unlimited texts to 37 other countries. If you feel like you need a bit more from your plan, you can upgrade to Cricket’s biggest plan with premium data, 15GB of hotspot data, cloud storage, and HBO Max included.

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T-Mobile logo

T-Mobile Go5G Plus

Best for 5G data

No limits on the biggest and fastest 5G network

T-Mobile’s Go5G Plus plan builds on its best Magenta plans with unlimited premium data, full 5G access, and phone upgrades every two years. Netflix and Apple TV+ are both included as well as in-flight Wi-Fi on select airlines.

5G
Nationwide, Ultra Capacity

Premium data
Unlimited

Data cap
None

Hotspot data
50GB

Pros

  • Unlimited premium data
  • Taxes and fees are included
  • Ready for a phone upgrade every two years
Cons

  • Very expensive
  • T-Mobile’s rural coverage falls short of AT&T or Verizon

T-Mobile’s plans are designed to make the most of its 5G coverage lead with plenty of premium data and access to the full 5G network on all plans. The Go5G Plus plan comes with unlimited premium data and a massive 50GB of hotspot data, so you never need to worry about running out of data. International data is included with 5GB of high-speed data in 215+ counties, 15GB of high-speed data in Canada and Mexico, and even in-flight Wi-Fi for the trip there.

One of the biggest features of this plan is that it’s upgrade-ready every two years. That means you can upgrade to the latest model as soon as you’re ready without needing to finish three-year payment plan like on AT&T and Verizon. If you want a new phone every year, you can get Go5G Next for $10 per month.

Go5G Plus also comes with a lot of extra perks starting with Apple TV+ and Netflix. Video streams are unlocked, so you can get full HD quality on your phone. For travelers, free in-flight Wi-Fi and texting on multiple airlines, including American, Delta, and United. You also get free usage in Mexico and Canada with 15GB of high-speed data, a AAA membership for a year, and additional savings on travel like rental cars and hotels.

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Verizon logo

Verizon Unlimited Plus

Best streaming plans

Pick from your favorite streaming services with a discount

Verizon ditched its expensive plan bundles in favor of a simple base plan with tons of add-ons to choose from. You still get unlimited premium data with full 5G access and 30GB of hotspot data, so you’ll be able to stream as much as you want.

5G
Nationwide, Ultra Wideband

Premium data
Unlimited

Data cap
None

Hotspot data
30GB

Pros

  • Excellent LTE and 5G coverage on Verizon’s network
  • Unlimited premium data with full 5G access
  • Discounted add-ons and home internet savings
Cons

  • Very expensive, even with the add-ons separated
  • Only 720p video streaming on LTE and nationwide 5G

Verizon’s latest plans are all about choice with three starting points and a huge number of add-on services to choose from. Verizon Go5G Plus is right in the middle with unlimited premium data, 30GB of hotspot data, and full access to Verizon’s 5G network including C-band. International talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada are also included with this plan.

Add-on services are typically $10 per month and often are discounted. For example, you can get the Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu package for just $10 per month. Similarly, Apple One comes in at $10 per month. There are also some plan upgrades available such as 100GB of hotspot data or Travel Passes.

Verizon offers a few ways to save including multi-line discounts on the plan itself. Beyond that, you can get a home internet plan for $25 if you have access to Verizon 5G or Fios home internet. You can also get 50% off a connected device plan, so you can get something like a tablet connected. You can save on some new devices with this plan if you’re ready for a new phone, or you can get 36 monthly credits when you bring your own phone to Verizon.

Get the right plan no matter how much data you need

Phone plans have been more competitive than ever, with prepaid carriers like Mint Mobile and Visible pushing down the price of basic service for single-line and multi-line focused carriers alike. In addition, with many people realizing they don’t need unlimited data or a bunch of travel perks they’ll never use, prepaid carriers have been able to step in and offer prices that the Big Three carriers simply can’t.

If you still want unlimited data but don’t need all the extra features that come with a postpaid plan, Visible is one of the best options with totally unlimited data. It comes with a 5Mbps hotspot, so you can keep your other devices connected (like a Wi-Fi smartwatch or tablet) without paying for another plan. Visible also uses Verizon’s network, so coverage is strong, even in rural areas. And with Verizon’s 5G continually improving, it’s nice to know that the best 5G phones will work with the network.

Visible logo

Visible

Best for single lines

Visible is a prepaid carrier from Verizon with two totally unlimited data plans. The base Visible plan is a great value for a single line with no multi-line discounts or multi-month payments to get the best price. Visible also comes with unlimited hotspot data at 5Mbps, so you can keep a tablet or laptop online as well.

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