How to Get the Perfect Cellphone Plan at the Best Price

Man looking at cellphone with icons flying out.
Photo by ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com.

With so many carriers and so many plan options, it’s hard to make a choice. To get the best one for your needs, you need to consider a number of factors, including your budget, how much data you need, which carrier provides the best coverage and so on. But don’t worry. We’ve sorted through the options to identify the best plans for people with certain basic requirements. We’ll also explain how to drill down further to identify a plan that precisely meets your needs.

Let’s start with plans that meet three main profiles:

Best budget-friendly plans

If you don’t need a lot of data, then there are a number of great plans for under $30 per month. These plans are limited to about 2GB or 3GB of data each month, but that’s not a problem if you don’t feel the need to do high-data activities such as streaming video or music.

Unlimited data plans

If you use a lot of data — I’m talking more than 10GB of data each month — then you might want to look at unlimited data plans. Most of these plans are going to cost upward of $50 per month.

Super cheap: Plans with just talk and text

Perhaps you don’t need any data at all. If you are a person who uses your phone just for emergencies or relies solely on Wi-Fi for internet access, there are cheap plans that cater to people like you. Smaller carriers like FreeUP, Twigby and TextNow offer plans with no data at all but plenty of calls and texts. Others will still give you a little bit of data, just in case.

Best premium cellphone plans

You might be wondering what makes a cellphone plan “premium.” Well, cellphone plans aren’t JUST about how many calls you can make, or texts you can send, or even how much data you can use. Some carriers now offer additional benefits, such as:

These plans are going to be the most expensive, but they also provide much more value than others.

How to find the best cellphone plan

If you want to do your own search and find a cellphone plan that even more precisely fits your specific needs, simply follow these steps:

Step 1: Check coverage in your area

The first way to narrow down which carrier to pick is by checking who has the best network coverage in your area. You’ll want to check each carrier’s coverage map and make sure there is plenty of coverage where you spend the most time, like your office and home.

Verizon has the most 4G LTE coverage in the U.S., followed by T-Mobile and AT&T. Sprint has much less coverage than the other three carriers, while U.S. Cellular offers the least coverage by far.

Step 2: Figure out how much data, talk and text you need

Before you can really dive in and look for a plan, you’ll need to know how much data, talk and text you need. This is fairly easy to do these days because most cellphone carriers provide this information when you log into your account. You might be surprised. If you use Wi-Fi when you’re at home or at work, then you might be averaging less than 5GB of data. This is really important to know because you don’t want to be paying for an unlimited plan when you only need a few gigs.

Step 3: Work out your monthly budget

How much are you willing to spend per month on a cellphone plan? If you also need a new phone, make sure you take that cost into account as well. There are plenty of budget-friendly cellphone plans for those who don’t need a ton of data and also a lot of cheap phones on offer too.

Step 4: Find your plan

Now that you know what you’re looking for, simply search for the right plan for you. Using our search tool, you can filter the results to find something that matches what you need.

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