We are all looking for places in our budget where we can cut back. You may be out of luck with your car insurance or mortgage, but there are some alternatives for cell phone service that could save you money. MVNO’s (mobile virtual network operators) piggyback off of major networks and provide lower prices with similar coverage. Most of these plans require either an unlocked phone or one locked to the network the plan uses. Here are our top picks:
For Those Who Want Great Customer Service
One issue with some MVNO’s is that they don’t have stores to call if you run into a problem. You end up talking to a poorly trained call center rep instead. With that in mind, we’ve put together the carriers that are known for providing excellent service.
Cricket, Metro, and Visible: These companies are owned by At &t, T-Mobile, and Verizon, respectively. This means that you get the same customer service with these carriers as you get with their larger parent companies. You can walk into an AT&T store if you have a problem with your Cricket bill and get help right away.
Visible (owned by Verizon) offers the best unlimited plan you can find with an MVNO carrier. You get unlimited talk, text, and data with no speed cap for $40 a month. Customer service for Visible is available through talk, text, web, and their app. Metro by T-Mobile has a chain of retail stores you can go to, and they offer an unlimited plan for $50 a month that includes 100 GB of Google One Storage:
Consumer Cellular and Republic Wireless: Out of the companies not directly owned by a larger carrier, these two have the most consistently positive ratings for customer service.
Consumer Cellular focuses on seniors’ needs and provides reliable service without too many bells and whistles for an excellent price. For $25 a month, you can get unlimited talk and text with 250 MB of data on At & t’s network. Republic Wireless uses T- Mobile’s network and offers a $20 a month plan with unlimited talk and text and 1 GB of data. You can add more data for $5 per GB. Either carrier is a great choice for those looking to cut costs without sacrificing service.
The Best for Serious Penny Pinchers
Mint: This flexible plan is one of the least expensive available, and you get quite a bit for your money. Mint uses the T-Mobile network, and the price every month can be as little as $15 with a three-month commitment. They also offer six and twelve-month commitments for those who like to buy in bulk. The $15 a month plan gets you unlimited talk, text, and 3 GB of 4G LTE data. You also get to use your phone as a hotspot and make free calls to Canada and Mexico. They let you bring your own unlocked phone and will mail you the new SIM card. They also offer a plan with unlimited data for $40.