For those with average data usage needs, basic and cheap cell phone plans are the preferred choice.
Sometimes you just want to simplify your life, even with your cell phone. That's when you need starter cell phone plans. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get as much data from your wireless service provider as regular cell phone plans. There are certainly many people who think that they need to stick with one of the major service providers to get a lot of data. However, they can absolutely find plans with all different amounts of data for less than $40 if they expand their search. In some cases, most starter cell phone plans provide only a small amount of data. It is suitable for some people who do not need too much space and the features that come with it. However, we have collected and researched starter cell phone plans that can give you a lot of data for less money. These starter cell phone plans are likely to cost less than what you're paying for your phone plan right now. As part of our testing and survey of the best telecom providers and cell phone plans in general, we've also been keeping an eye on starter cell phone plans for around $40 a month. month. You might be surprised at what you can get for the money you pay. The starter cell phone plans we refer to may include unlimited data cell phone plans on select carriers.

Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans

T-Mobile Essentials Cell Phone Plan

Essentials - the unlimited data plan that has everything you need.

T-Mobile Essentials Cell Phone Plan

Unlimited talk, text, & smartphone data on T-Mobile network 5G access at no extra cost Best-in-wireless scam protection Unlimited texting abroad SD streaming Talk, text, & 2G data in Mexico & Canada 3G mobile hotspot data

5G access at no extra cost
No security features
Although the Essentials plan is a basic T-Mobile plan, it does not limit calls, texts, and data. The Essentials plan is priced lower than T-Mobile's other unlimited postpaid plans, so some features aren't available. T-Mobile Essentials subscribers will get speeds comparable to those of other T-Mobile subscribers in the event that T-Mobile's network is not congested. In the tests we conducted recently, speeds were generally stable. T-Mobile Essentials subscribers have low-priority data, so they can use data at a slower rate than other users on the network during times of congestion. Most video traffic is throttled to standard definition - around 480p because T-Mobile doesn't throttle regular traffic on the Essentials plan.
With the Essentials plan, mobile hotspots are throttled by T-Mobile at 3G speeds. This means that T-Mobile throttles the hotspot speed down to 600Kbps. Although we can use the Internet at 600Kbps, the data transmission will not be seamless. Operations that require large capacity or high data rates will be difficult to perform. While speed and network capacity may seem less advantageous than other plans, Essentials subscribers still get unlimited calls, texts, and data, even while in Mexico and Canada. However, the data speed in those 2 countries is low - 2G.
The price per line for T-Mobile's Essentials plan will be reduced when more lines are added to an account. Specifically, with 4 lines you only need to pay $26 / line while registering only 1 line, the price will be $60 at the time of publishing.

Verizon Start Unlimited Cell Phone Plan

Verizon Start Unlimited is a basic plan that's suitable for everyone.

Verizon Start Unlimited Cell Phone Plan

5G Nationwide access Unlimited 4G LTE domestic talk, text and data 480p DVD-quality video streaming Apple® Music 6 months Disney+ 6 months Discovery+ 6 months Optional 5G Ultra Wideband access for $10/month Talk, text and use unlimited data when traveling in Mexico and Canada Unlimited texting from the US to over 200 countries and territories worldwide Verizon Up Rewards

5G Nationwide access
Low-quality video streaming
Verizon Start Unlimited users will enjoy the following benefits: 5G Nationwide access, Unlimited 4G LTE domestic talk, text and data, and 480p DVD-quality video streaming. Additionally, for entertainment purposes, this plan provider applies a 6-month period for the following apps: Apple® Music, Disney+, and discovery+. In Mexico and Canada, the Talk, text, and use unlimited data feature is still available. Unlimited texting from the US to over 200 countries and territories worldwide is Verizon's commitment to this plan.
However, there are a few things you need to know before deciding to choose Verizon Start Unlimited. Nationwide 15G is available in over 2,700 cities. You are allowed nationwide 5G access provided your device has nationwide 5G capability. It will automatically connect when you are in the 5G coverage area. Most customers using mobile devices manufactured in 2020 are required to download a software update that adds nationwide 5G capabilities. During times of congestion, stay calm as your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic. This is completely normal because it will soon be restored and increasingly upgraded. 5G Ultra Wideband is a feature that you need to consult before using because it is only available in certain cities. Additionally, it requires a 5G Ultra Wideband capable device within the 5G Ultra Wideband coverage area. Use of the service in Canada or Mexico may be removed or restricted if more than 50% of your talk, text, or data usage during a 60-day period is in those countries. The price is only $35 for 1 line when you buy 4 lines.

AT&T Unlimited Starter℠ Cell Phone Plan

If you're looking for a basic plan, AT&T Unlimited Starter℠ is a great choice.

AT&T Unlimited Starter℠ Cell Phone Plan

Unlimited talk, text, data AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds if the network is busy. 5G access included Unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico & Canada: 2G off-net data speeds may apply. Unlimited texting from the U.S. to 120+ countries Standard Mobile Security: Includes spam & fraud call blocking. Standard-definition streaming $70 /mo. per line (when you get 1 line only) $60 /mo. per line (when you get 2 lines) $45 /mo. per line (when you get 3 lines) $35/mo. per line (when you get 4 lines) $30 /mo. per line (when you get 5+ lines)

5G access included
Standard Mobile Security: Includes spam & fraud call blocking.
This AT&T cell phone plan includes more than just unlimited calls, texts, and data from the U.S. to 120+ countries but also provides safety features. It helps you reduce the risk of phone scams and spam alerts. This is an advanced and important feature that not all vendors can afford to develop and apply. The AT&T Unlimited Starter℠ plan doesn't include Caller ID, identity monitoring,... but for what it says, we have nothing to complain about. You've saved more than 50% of your time on phone calls where you don't know who the caller is or what he says. Although it is a basic package, AT&T Unlimited Starter℠ still includes most of the features that the provider offers. This means you get 5G high-speed data access, SD streaming, and more. Similar to AT&T's higher-tier plans, users get unlimited texting, voice calling, and data even in Mexico & Canada. So if you want to stay connected and save money at the same time, AT&T Unlimited Starter℠ is a great choice.

Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans

What to look for with cheap cell phone plans


Obviously, when considering starter cell phone plans, the price will be paramount. After all, if money isn't the key, many premium plans offer the most perks and data capacity. In case you need the best home cell phone plan, keep an eye out to see if your carrier offers discounts on multiple lines.

Plan provider

Although price is important, it is not the only criterion to consider. You'll want to consider which carrier's cell phone coverage in your area offers the best service.


You should consider the different packages that each service provider offers. Can you switch to another plan if your calling, texting, and data needs change? Although starter cell phone plans usually don’t include all the extras at the same time like unlimited high-speed data, hotspot data, unlimited messaging, Disney+, discovery+,... but let's see if it has some benefits and some nice additions.

Start thrifty and minimalist

We surveyed more than 200 cell phone plans offered by leading service providers in the United States to determine the best starter cell phone plans. During our survey, we looked at the essential features that users in this segment care about such as data, monthly plan pricing before taxes and fees, price per gigabyte, and bundled features. We believe these are the best options for you when you choose a starter cell phone plan.