What should you pay attention to in a mobile subscription in 2022?
Mobile phone subscriptions have seen tremendous growth in recent years. With the market teeming with new providers and plans, it’s even easier than ever to find a service that fits your budget and usage needs if you know what to look for.
Unlimited data plans remain one of the most popular options out there – and it’s easy to see why. Smartphones have quickly become a popular source of entertainment for people around the world, and streaming movies or downloading games requires significant amounts of data. Unlimited plans ensure you’re never locked out of the content you love, though they tend to be a bit more expensive than their data-restricted counterparts.
Prepaid plans have also come a long way in the past decade, ditching their low-quality persona and evolving into services that rival monthly plans. These plans pay money upfront for a service and typically don’t require credit checks or lengthy contracts. They are also usually cheaper than their monthly counterparts, making them a great way to save money on your bills.
When it comes to carriers, you have plenty of choice. Verizon and AT&T continue to offer some of the best coverage cards in the country, although T-Mobile is a solid competitor that tends to be a little less expensive than the competition.
Meanwhile, newcomers like Mint Mobile and Visible offer slightly smaller coverage maps, but have radically reduced prices to compensate. Be sure to check each carrier’s coverage map before signing up for their service, especially if you live in a rural area.
It’s hard to go wrong with most plans from today’s biggest airlines, but there are a few that stand out above the rest. Here are six of the best cell phone plans out there, ranging from unlimited prepaid plans to cheap family options.
- Unlimited access to premium networks
- 50 GB hotspot data
- Impressive national coverage
- Costs rise with fewer lines
Not only does Verizon offer one of the best coverage maps in the country, but the 5G Get More plan offers more features and access than anything else on the market. You get unlimited access to the 5G network regardless of data usage, and a whopping 50GB of premium hotspot data.
In addition to the basic features, a lot of goodies are bundled in the 5G Get More plan, including Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ streaming services, Google Play Pass or Apple Arcade, and an Apple Music subscription.
There’s even a 50% discount when you buy a new smartwatch, tablet or hotspot, along with free access to the Verizon Cloud (giving you 600GB of cloud storage). All told, that’s worth over $60 per month, which will pay off a good chunk of your cost if you max it out.
The subscription price scales based on the number of lines activated, ranging from $90 for a single line to $50 per line for five or more. It’s clearly a better deal for larger groups, but even solo power users get more than their money’s worth with Verizon’s 5G Get More plan.
- Affordable price
- Unlimited Talking and Texting
- Unlimited data
- 5GB Hotspot
- Limited coverage
Budget cell phone plans have come a long way in the past decade. Nowhere is that more evident than with Mint Mobile, which offers a surprisingly robust 12-month unlimited plan for just $30 a month.
You don’t get any bonus features, but you do get unlimited calls, texts and data, although speeds are reduced after using more than 35GB per month. It’s also limited to just 5GB of mobile hotspot data, so you won’t be using it as a backup when your home internet goes down or you’re on the go.
Coverage is also a little more limited than the competition, with a notable blind spot over most of central Nebraska, as well as other parts of the central and western parts of the country.
Those are minor hassles, though, and for just $30 a month, there’s no better plan on the market. The coverage is excellent in just about every major city and the access to unlimited data for this price is impressive.
If you can live with a few minor drawbacks, Mint Mobile is an excellent option for shoppers on a budget.
- Multiple levels offered
- Runs on T-Mobile’s national network
- No annual contract
- Barebones no frills plan
T-Mobile Connect was launched in 2020 and has been one of the most popular prepaid plans on the market ever since. Connect is run through T-Mobile’s nationwide network, meaning you get excellent coverage pretty much everywhere you travel.
The best thing about T-Mobile Connect is the variety of plans. You can even find a prepaid option for just $10 a month, with just 1 GB of domestic data and 1,000 minutes of talk and 1,000 texts. The most expensive option is $35/month, with unlimited calls and texts and 12GB of data.
The worst thing about T-Mobile Connect? Once you reach your data limit, all services that require data will be disabled until the start of your next billing cycle. You can connect to Wi-Fi to access certain features, or you can purchase additional data to continue using your services uninterrupted.
But if you’re a frugal data user (or connected to Wi-Fi for most of your day), T-Mobile Connect is one of the best prepaid options on the market.
Best Two Line Cell Phone Plan: Verizon 5G Start
- Unlimited data
- 5G access
- Fair price
- Data throttling during peak hours
Another entry on our list, another plan from Verizon. This time around, it’s the 5G Start plan that goes home victorious, as its great price and impressive bonuses make it the perfect choice for couples or two friends sharing a plan.
Priced at $60 per month per line, the 5G Start plan is a bit expensive, but there’s no question that you get what you pay for. Verizon’s network is arguably the best in the country, with a sprawling 5G card that should only get bigger and more reliable through the rest of the year.
With this plan, you have unlimited data access, although you may experience some limitation during peak times.
Other than that downside, there’s little to hate about Verizon’s entry-level unlimited offerings. Bonus content for this pack isn’t quite as robust as the 5G Get More plan, though you’ll still take advantage of the six-month Disney+, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade subscriptions.
- Unlimited talk, text and data
- Unlimited Hotspot
- Big discounts for adding more payers
- No “real” family subscription
Visible offers a different kind of family plan that gives each line its own account. Dubbed Party Pay, friends, family or even strangers are free to join your “Party”. The more people in your party, the lower your costs, with prices bottoming out at $25/month when grouped with a party of at least four people.
The great thing about Visible Party Pay is that each line is associated with its own account, meaning it’s easy to split bills or track your own data usage. Of course, you don’t need to keep track of your data very often as you get unlimited access to Visible’s network along with unlimited calling and texting. There is also no data cap on your hotspot and you can even make calls to Canada and Mexico.
Party Pay isn’t a true family plan as seen with other providers, so if you’re looking for something that allows you to bundle a number of lines on a single credit card without jumping through a few hoops, you’d better look elsewhere.
But if you don’t mind or even prefer the individualistic nature, Visible Party Pay is great value for money for families and large groups of friends.
- Unlimited talk, text and data
- 5G support
- 4K streaming
- A bit more expensive than other plans
While most of the plans on this list are unlimited data plans, few can compete with AT&T Unlimited Elite. As usual, pricing works on a sliding scale based on activated lines (ranging from $45/month to $85/month), but it would be hard to find a more complete service.
Not only do you get unlimited talk, text, and data, but you won’t be limited based on usage. You also get access to AT&T’s growing 5G network and its unique ActiveArmor security system, which screens and blocks fraud calls before they reach your phone.
Add 40GB of hotspot data per line, 4K video streaming and free access to HBO Max, and you’ve got an unlimited plan worth talking about.
It’s a little pricey (and Verizon’s coverage may be better based on your location), but the Unlimited Elite plan is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a well-rounded mobile plan.