Best phone plan for a family of four: $80 per month
With AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon offering dozens of plans, not to mention the exponentially larger assortment from prepaid and smaller carriers like Mint Mobile, Visible and Google Fi Wireless, it’s not easy choosing the best cellphone plan. Without doing the right research you could end up paying a lot more than you should, and no one wants to lose out on saving money.
We’re going to try to fix that. We’ve been covering the latest in wireless plans — from breaking down how to switch carriers, to picking the top unlimited and prepaid plans, to explaining which network the smaller carriers use. All that and T-Mobile’s and Verizon’s recent plan revamps too.
After covering the wireless industry for over a decade, here’s our guide for sorting through the madness along with some of our picks for what we think are the best unlimited and prepaid plans available right now.
Best phone plans of 2023
Postpaid phone plans
Pros: T-Mobile’s 5G network is strong, plan includes 50GB of regular high-speed data in the US as well as some hotspot data.
Pros: T-Mobile’s 5G network, plans include 50GB of regular high-speed data in the US as well as ability to use hotspot.
Pros: Wide selection of perks, Verizon has a strong 4G LTE network, “mix and match” lets you customize plans for each person on your plan.
Prepaid phone plans
Pros: Low-priced unlimited plan, access to T-Mobile and AT&T networks as well as Dish’s own.
Pros: Google Fi Wireless uses T-Mobile’s network, great pricing for multiple lines, ability to add Samsung and Google smartwatches at no extra charge.
Pros: Runs on T-Mobile’s network, more data than some comparably priced plans from other prepaid rivals.
Pros: Runs on T-Mobile’s network, free talk and text.
Phone plan FAQs
What’s the difference between ‘prepaid’ and ‘postpaid’ plans?
When choosing a phone plan, there are generally two main options: a postpaid carrier like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile (plus cable options like Spectrum Mobile and Xfinity Mobile) and prepaid providers such as Mint Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Google Fi Wireless and Cricket.
Look at a zoomed-out map of the US on the websites for AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon and you’ll likely see it pretty well colored in by their respective color. Zooming in is where things get a bit more complicated, which is why we can’t offer blanket recommendations for one carrier over another. T-Mobile’s service in New York may be excellent, but if you’re in a rural area in Colorado, Verizon could be more reliable.
If you’re on T-Mobile, all of your plans are unlimited, and Verizon no longer lets new users sign up for a shared data plan. Only AT&T still offers some tiered data plans and… it’s not great.