February 3 2011|07.06 AM UTC

Samantha Eckles

The Ultimate Cell Phone Plans Comparison

Category: Personal FinanceTags: , , , , , , ,

Though cell phone rates and plans vary drastically from month to month, and region to region, there is an average rate you can expect to pay per plan. Using this helpful guide, you can find out how your plan compares to the other popular providers in your area. Think you’re getting a great deal? Don’t be so sure!


The Ultimate Cell Phone Plans Comparison

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

T. Roll February 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm

My cellphone plan is free. That’s right $0.

I got rid of it. I got tired of paying someone to radiate my head with microwaves causing me to suffer from headaches. No kidding.

I realize I am part of a small minority but I know I am not the only one. These phones needs to come with warnings like cigarettes, they are harmful to your health and may cause cancer.

Of course the tobacco industry payed for many studies that found that cigarettes are not harmful but finally the truth became evident. Cell phones will too, one day, be the same way.


Christopher Youse February 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I was a iphone junkie but ATT would rape my wallet clean every month 69.99 voice 30 for data 20 for texting that’s insane. I switch to t-mobile got the my touch 4g and I love it. 79.99 for everything and i took advantage of the free phones at t-mobile. Never go back to att or the iphone


cristian April 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

oh wow. Its nice how you put everything in .99 form…makes you think whose writing these reviews. 79.99? thats still expensive


Anonymous May 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

too bad At&t bought out tmobile a month after you wrote that comment


Anonymous June 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm

too bad it doesnt mean it will actually go through…

Anonymous July 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm

There this petition to save t – Mobile http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/stop-t-mobile-from-being-bought-by-att/ Please help thank you :)

Someone October 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Hey mom, Look almost 3,000 id10t that signed the petition to disallow at&t to buy t-mobile. I know, i was correct there is almost 3k id10t’s on the internet.

Stupid people,

Mulan Inoki September 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm

wise move;) one of the rep suffered CRS (cant remember shit)and switched my plan without my knowledge,they violated my wallet once and i swore i will never let them do it again. They went from ATT to Cingular back to ATT. If you are responsible consumer be observant and stay away from crooks like them 0_o


Matt July 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Thank goodness for science, because if this were the prevailing opinion, we’d all be knuckle-dragging in caves still. Feel free to be a luddite – won’t stop the EM radiation all around you from passing through your body anyway. Best get out the tinfoil hat and line your walls with lead, too!


Jane Doe July 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

@T. Roll
Actually cell phones do not emit microwaves, they emit radio waves. In fact radio waves have the lowest energy in the electromagnetic spectrum. Much less than visible light. So far, only wavelengths HIGHER than visible light have been found to cause any harm to humans, and this is because, well, they have so much energy. And since radio wave have so little comparative energy, I really do not see how they can be dangerous. Especially since we spend all day bathing in the more powerful visible light, and also since radio waves have been bouncing through the air all over the place long before cell phones were invented.


MC July 26, 2011 at 11:15 am

Microwaves are radio waves :-)
All radio, microwaves and light are all part of the Electromagnetic spectrum.
Most cell phone today operate at or above 1800mhz or 1.8ghz which is up with microwaves.
Microwave ovens operate around 2.4 ghz, as well as do wireless routes, coredless phones all which also have models that operage into the 5ghz ranges.
Also depends at lot on the power of these emissions.
Older analog cell technology operated at lower frequencies but also a lot higher power, these I would be concerened with. However digital transmissions require much less power, we are talking down in the milliwat levels for todays cell phones. Although I would limit holding to your head for less than five minutes at a time not much harm there at all. A microwave requires several hundred watts and eclosed sheilding to get food to produce heat (from exicting the atoms in the food molocules).


Anonymous July 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Actuall cell phones DO use microwaves. The military uses the radio wave frequencies.


adriana October 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

what king of phone is it where did you get it and how much is it monthly?


Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 10:15 am

you do realize how long someone would need to hold a phone up to their head to actually cause damage right?


Anonymous July 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm

They do come with a warning, just now in bold print.


PuppyPark August 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I got headaches from my cellphone too. I ended up with a bluetooth headset thing.


GQB, SF CA February 4, 2011 at 8:49 am

Wow… isn’t competition wonderful?


Denisha July 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I bow down humbly in the presence of such grentases.


HowieSF February 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Now this chart does not take into account that Verizon charges you for everything. navigation (unless you use Google maps) is extra, visual voice-mail is extra, texts are expensive. Now i have been a Sprint customer since 98 and while they have screwed up my bill and I am now on my 5th Hero, I still give them credit for “best overall value” in a wireless provider. Granted, the new $10.00 fee for Android, etc, is one thing that would make me switch to Verizon, overall I think that Verizon charges, way, way too much for their services. I have also heard from 3rd party dealers who feel exactly the same and also have told me that “dealing” with equipment and service issues with Verizon will rarely lead to credits like Sprint. I’m an old Apple “fanboy” but as long as Android is keeping up and actually offers More in terms of flexibility, I will stick with an Android phone. The bottom line is that i really wish consumers would start to realize how much more we pay for “less’ service in the US than in the rest of the world and start to complain to the government that seems to have a “hands-off” approach when it comes to wireless. Social Media and Word of Mouth are very powerful vehicles for change. Beyond the actual price of plans these days, living in the land of $$$- San Francisco (I have none) I also have to pay almost $34.00 in taxes each month for 4 lines!


Sick of the $$$ for cellphones August 31, 2011 at 7:59 pm

We’re cancelling T-mobile after many years w/them. I had looked into it a few months ago & Sprint was looking ok. I’m also thinking about going w/a simple landline and no cell phones. My husbands cell fell into water & stopped working so we had to go into T-mobile & arrange to change him over to his previous phone. We were instructed after doing so that we had to contact T-mobile by phone. So, we did & they won’t cancel a $40/mo fee for the internet connected w/the former phone even though they know it’s not useable. I was reminded by Tracy that I agreed to that in the contract. I never recall agreeing to pay for a service that I was not getting. I understand them extending your contract when you buy a new phone but charging you for a service that you cannot use is morally corrupt. I’m done w/T-mobile.


Migel September 9, 2011 at 10:52 pm

i think you need to caculate the amount of months you have left in the contract and add up how much you will end up paying for the internet connection by the end of the contract.. if its more than the penalty fee for breaking the contract than just pay the penalty and break the contract with the provider.. talk to sprint let them know your interested in joining them, but that you have a contract with someone-else. sometimes they’ll pay for the cancelation fee as either a credit or on a purchase.. good luck (i have boost mobile with shrinkage no contract and international calling to land line for an additional $5 no taxes or fees)


georgieboy September 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

I have been with Tmobile for the past 15 years, and now it’s all I can do to wait for my contract to be over to leave them. Just like you they gave me a new plan that I didn’t ask for, which ended up costing me 40+ a month. They when I told them that I had not ask for those changes, they told me that I was stuck with them and that changing it back to the way it had been would cost me more. This is just one of the nasty things that has happen to me in the past year. Our family plan ends in 2013 and so will our relationship with them. If it wasn’t for the fact that I would have to pay $200 for each of our phones, I would leave them now. Something should be done about these contracts.


Jack February 18, 2011 at 4:56 am

Great chart but what I would like to see added would be each companies areas where there is a good signal throughout the US.


Gabo February 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Am I the only one that thinks that $50 a month for unlimited data, calls, and texts and not being locked into a 2 year contract is a better deal than we have going on here???? Straight Talk $45 Boost Mobile $50 and they got some pretty good phones as well.


SDM May 12, 2011 at 12:55 am

Straight Talk has the absolute WORST customer service of any company ever. They don’t understand the technology, they read from poorly written scripts and have no clue what they are doing. They consistently mess up accounts, disconnect people who have paid their fees, separated telephone numbers from the devices…….I am looking to dump my horrible Straight Talk…so don’t use them if at all possible!


Robbie February 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Keep in mind that while unlimited minute plans are great options, especially those on prepaid networks, you have to think about whether you actually need the minutes in the first place. Prepaid companies like Net10 offer a $50 unlimited use plan, but they also offer the freedom to move to lower minute, lower cost plans. You need options, even on the unlimited level.


Denise Lawrence May 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm



Count Beano May 11, 2011 at 6:24 am

Boost is the way to go. I changed from the majors to this company several months ago. I travel from Ohio to FL to NJ and this company never failed. I can talk and text without issues everywhere I go. The best part is the price. When I switched, I received unlimited talk and text for $50/mth + sls tax 6%. No other fees! No other taxes! Now I am paying $45 for the same plan… every 6 months it goes down $5 to the lowest of $35… How could you go wrong. I always have a computer handy, I don’t need to surf on my phone. I save a bundle this way.


Wireless Guy July 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm

You have forgotten to mention the cost of buying those phones from these minor companies Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile…


Evo7 July 29, 2011 at 8:44 am

Have you forgotten the price you pay at the major companies…Sprint, Verizon, ATT?? DAH! It is not any better.

Is there a company that lets you bring your own phone?? Anyone?


BoostIsAwesome June 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm

BoostMobile is the best option for many, myself included. Was an AT&T customer for nearly 12 years, then Sprint for 10, had Verizon for 2 years. Been with BoostMobile for 3 years now!


Really? July 15, 2011 at 11:09 am

Really? 12 years + 10 years + 2 years + 3 years, so that is 27 years on cell phones. So you’ve been mobile telephoning since 1984? Must have been rich and famous cause they seemed to be the only ones that could afford the old bag phones or car phones that were essentially high frequency CB’s at that time.


Anonymous July 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I was thinking the same thing


Yes Really July 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Or he could just have had more than one phone at different periods of his life, moron.


Anonymous September 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm

ha ha ha haaaaaaaa…omggggg ;)


Jo po July 27, 2011 at 7:27 pm

It is the people who stay with att and keep giving them money to pay for lobbying and other bogus garbage. Think hard people. We are all part of the problem. I use an ipad and run off of other peoples wifi. I pay for a prepaid phone and pocket money every month. Keep giving the zombies blood, and they continue to do damage. AT&T. Stop complaining, it doesnt bother me.


Pat T August 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Gee folks, I’ve had cell phone since the 80′s!
My first pager was as big as a pack of cigarettes. My first cell phone was a in a brown vinyl case bigger than brick. That old phone had signal where nothing else had. Big battery & frequency I guess. Pager was a pain in the butt, had to run to a phone or phone booth to return the page, hated that.
I can’t tell you how freaking happy I am with
smart phones – finally something that makes life easier! My issue is my iPhone doesn’t do what it says it’ll do 1/3 of the time – wifi or not – etc. I
have AT&T & are looking for anything that’ll work better than what I have now!!!!!


Brenda August 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I think we all should give up our cell phones I am when my contract is up. The price of phones are crazy and now they only offer 3 maybe 4to chosefrom, if you do not upgrade to the data phone which now they took away the unlimited data pakage. we need to start saying NO to this control yes Verizion you are one and the top leader I say goodbye !!!!!! Hello good ole land lines again.


Daniel B. August 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm

This graph is false. Though closely accurate, its far from updated. I work for T-Mobile & as a customer for 5 years and new employee, I can say we are the cheapest. We offer bang for your buck. Our UNLIMITED VALUE plan is 59.99 while the CLASSIC is 79.99. hahahaha STILL cheaper than any other. And we do not charge 10 dollars per month extra for 4g like our closest competitor of price aka SPRINT. We dont charge 10 dollars per GB for going over data aka VERIZON. Internet slows down to 2g once over data, but we do not charge to go over. ONLY on 200mb plans, which we advise. Dont believe me? Do your research, and notice T-Mobile is the ONLY company that has a comparison chart in plans to show customers. Now thats confidence & guarantee. JD Power & associates #1 in customer service. Tied with Verizon ONCE, but never again since.


Joe L. September 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm

The graph is crap! Must have been paid for by the biggies. Where’s Consumer Cellular? Where’s Credo? Cricket? Jitterbug? Cellular One?
This is not comparison – it’s SALES!


Alex Gutow September 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Hi Joe,

To help as a quick comparison, we decided to focus on the big four which are what most people have for their plans. We realize there are a number of regional options but those aren’t available for everyone. We wanted to just create a clear comparison chart that would help the most people as they go to choose a carrier; however, the carriers you mentioned are excellent options if they are available and have the plans you need.

Also, this graph is 100% by BillShrink though and is not paid for by any cell phone carriers.


Sprint Sucks September 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm

really thinking about switching to boost because sprint sucks balls and i hope boost signal is better and i know the phones are pricey but do you have to pay that 50 dollars at the same time purchasing the phone?


Anonymous November 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm

boost is owned by Sprint


Anonymous October 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I have Sprint and it sucks! The nominal charge of $99.99 per month ends up being $160 by the time all the taxes and fees are added on. Some months the bill is $200 for two phones w/talk & text only–no data. Apparently, roaming charges aren’t based on distance from home, but by coverage/towers available in a particular area (took an hour on the phone w/3 csr’s to figure that one out). Plus, it seems like the coverage is getting worse for regular phone calls–they’re dropping callsalmost everyday, texts are getting “lost,” and we’re even dealing w/ old-fashioned “bad connections” with the warble and hiss. The latest news is that Sprint changed the terms on their contract in Sept, and since that offered a window for customers to opt out w/o paying ETFs, they kept in on the DL. One of the changes is that if you have a data or smartphone then your ETF will be $350 rather than $200 or $250. Watch that fine print @ Sprint.

We were thinking of switching to Boost (same network, same phones) but a friend of ours tried it for a month and dumped it. His service was even worse than ours. Now I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want a Wal-mart phone; we use our phones for business and travel and need reliability. Who out there has a no-contract/prepaid service that they love?


st or want to give my hard-earned buck. any new carriers out there for the people and with decent coverage? October 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm

That’s a good question. I’ve been searching for two weeks now and can’t find a carrier I want to give my hard-earned buck. any new carriers out there for the people and with decent coverage?


Black Friday Cell Phone October 25, 2011 at 10:22 am

I think that Verizon charges, way, way too much for their services. I have also heard from 3rd party dealers who feel exactly the same and also have told me that “dealing” with equipment and service issues with Verizon will rarely lead to credits like Sprint. I’m an old Apple “fanboy” but as long as Android is keeping up and actually offers More in terms of flexibility,


Judith November 22, 2011 at 7:52 am

T Mobile seems to be the straightest deal by the min. I use the phone for emergency and travel, and buy mins. However, I am on an emergency trip right now, and my minutes have run out. I can usually buy mins. online, however this morning my phone informed me that I don’t have enough time left to buy a refill. (?) That sucks. How do you get a refill if you are away from a town sizable enough to support a T Mobile office? There is nothing I can do, so my phone is useless and I cannot fulfill commitments or keep up with my mother’s health emergency. The phone usually warns me if it is running low but this time with no warning it simply cut off and unlike the past, won’t let me refill. I am very frustrated. T. Mobile, smarten up. jv


georgieboy September 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

Tmobile is the worst. They have all sorts of devious ways to sneak new fees and services on you that you don’t ask for, and then they tell you that it will cost more to get your plan back the way that you originally had it. They are swindlers. Don’t believe the graph.


BUBBA - WIP A.S.S. WILSON December 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm



Smart and Cheap User February 3, 2012 at 3:20 am

I seriously gave up on the AT&T $80 a month plan. It was killing me. I still like the iPhone but, I refused to keep paying the highway robbery prices. A friend of mine showed me how I could set up my iPhone to work on Tmobile (https://sites.google.com/site/cheapsmartphone/). Now, instead of $80 /mo. I’m paying $30. I still get 5GB of data which basically means unlimited email, web, videos, etc but, without the hassle and expense of AT&T.


Cheapoguy February 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I’m kind of surprised that the “Ultimate” comparison guide didn’t include anything about prepaid plans. The cheapest plan on here is still $39. And that’s without data. If you go through one of the big 3 they force you sign up for a data plan. I bought a used Google Nexus and signed up for T-mobile’s prepaid $30 a month plan from Walmart. There’s a page that shows how to set it up here https://sites.google.com/site/cheapsmartphone/ I can still use my smartphone just like I used to (stream music, watch video, surf the web, send email, etc.) but, it costs half of what these contract plans cost. The prepaid plan comes with 5GB of data and no contract.


Hilka February 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm

There is no comparison with the MVNO offerings which offer the best deal with use your own phone options. For example Simple Mobile ( http://www.mysimplemobile.me) beats all the carriers on this listing by half the price. You get unlimited talk, text, web and international texting for just $40 a month and you can use any T-Mobile or AT&T phone including the iPhone.


sonja leudesdorff February 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Help is really needed! I have an I3G phone with 2 yr. contract fully paid. Now I want to turn it into a prepaid “go phone” and with no contract. I want the freedom of taking my Iphone to any carrier I want that offers the best plan, but keep getting discouraged by AT&T, saying it is not possible-same for man retailers. AT&T has the least options, just $25.00 for 250 min, or $50, unlimited for my needs. Further, I understand that where I live, Central Ky, the service is not good, another thing AT&T neglected to mention in their desperation to sell me something. What can I do if I want to
keep my “baby” my I3G phone (just like new) and find a carrier that offers foremost a wide range of minutes for the cheapest price. I should mention I average 400 min. a month and am not a texter or big data user. Just would like if possible music, but I can buy that separately if price is good. Not a deal breaker. Thanks so much! Sonja


Anonymous February 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Hey Guys, don’t be fooled wit the base price, add 50% on top of it for taxes, surcharges, etc… The phone companies are ripping you off.


KIMMY March 7, 2012 at 9:12 am

i love phones but it is to much money


Chris March 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I pay alot on my cellphone I have two cellphones and mifi 4g I have verizion wireless they charge alot wish find low rite on my cellphones.


GeekLady June 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm

It would be nice to have an update of this chart. We’re currently near the end of a 2 year contract with Sprint. I have hated them since the beginning; can’t hear anyone calling me from a Sprint connection, it is always garbled or disconnects. And their customer service is NOT in the US.


Bill W July 24, 2012 at 6:19 am

I found the best deal…….WalMart Family Mobile (powered by T-Mobile). They are using all T-Mobile towers. It is $45/mo for first line and you can add up to 4 lines for $35/mo. That is unlimited talk, text, and web. Service has been great so far and customer service is good. I have 3 lines for $115/mo and with taxes it comes to $128. The only down side is you have to buy the phones – I went with Samsung Darts that I got for about $100 ea on eBay. You can use any unlocked GSM phone. I originally found an unlocked Iphone 3GS and it was not bad but I like the Android operating system better. Give it a look, WalMart Family Mobile rocks!


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