The Top 5 Phone Carriers You Need to Know Right Now

A young woman happy with her new cellphone plan texting outdoors
Photo by Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko / Shutterstock.com

The absolute best way to save money on your cellphone plan is to shop around. There are so many carriers out there offering low prices on various plans that fit all sorts of needs.

Mobile Virtual Network Operators, or MVNOs, are typically the carriers that offer the best prices. These smaller carriers sell service on the networks of major carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) without the big overhead costs and marketing budgets of those big carriers. MVNOs’ relatively low operating costs mean they can offer service at very low prices. Here are our current top MVNOs.

Visible

Visible sits atop many lists of best MVNOs, and for good reason. Visible has completely cut out the overhead of running brick-and-mortar stores and passes those savings on to their customers by offering just one simple unlimited plan for $40 per month. An unlimited plan at that price is already very impressive, but the story doesn’t end there. Visible is actually owned by Verizon and piggybacks off of its industry-leading network. Not only are you getting a great unlimited plan for a very low price, but you’re also getting it on the best network in the country!

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile offers service on T-Mobile’s robust network. While some rural areas might not have great coverage, most urban areas are very well covered. Mint offers great rates by the month but really shines with its multi-month packages. The longer you prepay for your plan (up to a year), the cheaper your plan will be per month. You can choose between a 3 GB, 8 GB, or 12 GB per month plan — each option also includes unlimited talk and text.

Ting

If you really want to save on your cellphone plan, try paying only for minutes and data you actually use. Ting’s promise is to charge you only for what you use. They do not offer traditional cellphone plans with predetermined allotments of data, minutes and texts. So, for example, if you only use 100 minutes of talk, and about 1 GB of data, you’ll only pay about $8.

Republic Wireless

Piggybacking off Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks, Republic Wireless offers some great low rates for feature-packed plans. Each Republic plan comes with their “Extended Home” phone service, which allows you to use your cellphone service to connect all the phones in your home. You can also use your cellphone as a hotspot to connect all your devices. Republic plans start as low as $15 per month.

Cricket Wireless

We can’t leave the AT&T network off this list. The top AT&T MVNO is Cricket, which is actually owned by the major carrier. It might not have the lowest prices, but with perks like mobile hotspot and multi-line discounts, there definitely is value with Cricket. Plus, Cricket is one of the oldest MVNOs and has a strong reputation for providing reliable service.

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