Just like with your cable TV streaming alternatives, cell phone companies are always competing with each other for your subscription. Even if you are locked into a multi-year plan, you can likely break your agreement for a fee lower than what you could save by switching. So below, we have come up with the three best cheap cell phone plans of 2020 to help you save cash in unpredictable times.
- The plan grows 500MB each year for the first five years you are with T-Mobile. That means you can add 2.5GB to your plan over time, giving you a total of 4.5GB per month for the same $15 rate.
- You can more than double your data for an extra $10 per month.
- There are strict data usage limitations. Once you hit your cap, you no longer have access to data at an additional cost. If you hit your cap in a month, you must wait until the next billing cycle begins for data usage. If you are running over your 2GB limit, you can upgrade to 5GB for $25 per month.
- Speeds can also be slowed when the network is congested.
T-Mobile Connect is the best cheap plan available. You will not find another plan for under $15. The bonus of being able to add half a gigabyte of data to your plan each year for free is a tasty carrot to dangle in front of customers.
However, there is no mercy for customers that go over their data limits.
Most carriers will allow you to buy additional gigabytes for a fee. But with T-Mobile, once you go over, you are done using data for that month. If this becomes a problem, the option to go to a 5GB plan for $25 is another economical option.
Overall, if you spend five years with T-Mobile, you could be receiving 7.5GB of data per month for $25. That comes out to $3.33 per gigabyte. You aren’t likely to find a dollars per gig rate that low with another carrier.
Metro by T-Mobile
- A high rate of gigabytes to dollars
- Comparable to AT&T in LTE speed
- No performance drop-off from T-Mobile to Metro
- Unlimited data for $50/month
- Only 24 phone models to choose from
- Poor customer service
MetroPCS merged with T-Mobile, which means that Metro now has access to the national 5G network that T-Mobile launched.
MetroPCS used to charge $40 a month for 5GB of data, but that total has been doubled to 10GB for $40, which is one of the best rates you are going to find for a prepaid plan. And now that it runs on the T-Mobile network, there is no performance drop that you may expect with a cheaper cell phone plan.
The only true downside to Metro by T-Mobile is continued poor customer service. The company reportedly takes a long time to respond to questions on social media, and customer service reps are not known to be helpful. But you may never notice this downside if you don’t need to interact with customer service.
- Best rate of dollars per gigabyte
- Runs on the Verizon network
- Discounts are available on a variety of phones
- No throttle on speed
- Only 25 phone models to choose from, but the big names are represented
- Video streams are capped at 480p, which is not high definition
- Music is limited to 500 Kbps
- Hot spot speed is limited to 5 Mbps
Visible is owned by Verizon, which is why it runs on the Verizon network. With the best rate for unlimited data, understandably, there are many restrictions. But if you do not need HD video and aren’t planning to use a hotspot with any regularity, Visible could be exactly what you’re looking for in a cheap cell phone plan.
But should you choose Visible over Metro by T-Mobile? Both cost $40 per month, but Metro restricts you to 10GB of data. With Visible on the Verizon network and Metro on the T-Mobile network, it’s unlikely that there is a notable performance difference between the two carriers.
- Optional “by the gig” pricing starting at 1GB for $15
- The unlimited data plan has no speed or download restrictions
- Priciest option
Another carrier that runs on the Verizon network, Xfinity Mobile’s main strength lies in its flexibility. The pricing on its “by the gig” plans is noticeably higher than a plan like T-Mobile Connect. But the flexibility to go over your data could be worth the extra few dollars per month.
Xfinity Mobile offers 1GB for $15, 3GB for $30, and 10GB for $60 month. None of these prices are great deals on their own, but it’s nice to have the ability to manage your plan without losing service.
The best deal Xfinity Mobile offers is its unlimited plan at $45 per month.
Best Cheap Cell Phone Plan of 2020
All three of the plans above are worth considering if you are in the market for a new cell phone plan. Over time, T-Mobile Connect offers the best potential deal, as they add 500MB to your plan each year for five years. If you stay with T-Mobile for five years, you will eventually receive 7.5GB per month for $25 or 4.5GB per month for $15. That’s just $3.33 per gigabyte, which is a rate unmatched by any major carrier.
But five years is a long commitment. And you may quickly get sick of the strict data limitations. With T-Mobile Connect, once you run out of data, you are out of luck for the rest of the billing cycle. If you are confident this will not be an issue, though, T-Mobile Connect might be the perfect fit.
The choice between Visible and Metro by T-Mobile comes down to whether you value unlimited data more than high definition video.
For just $5 more than Visible, though, Xfinity Mobile may have the best unlimited plan, as it does not restrict HD video or download speeds.