Mobile

Best Prepaid Phone Plans for August 2023


See at Google Fi

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Google Fi Wireless Simply Unlimited

Best plan for multiple lines

See at Cricket Wireless

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Metro’s Heritage Plan ($60 per month for one line, $120 per month for four lines)

Best unlimited plans with perks

Most cellphone users subscribe directly to mobile providers like AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon for their wireless service. But if you want to save money on your mobile plan, there are several smaller providers that can get you reliable service at a cheaper rate. Traditional wireless providers tout unlimited data plans as the big attraction, but smaller carriers still offer a variety of plans with high-speed data or even a better price on unlimited plans. If you want to switch over, these are the best prepaid phone plans for August 2023.

There are a ton of prepaid service providers, but for this article, I’m going to focus on just a few: Boost Mobile, Cricket, Mint, Google Fi Wireless, MobileX, Tracfone, Metro by T-Mobile, Total by Verizon, Verizon Prepaid and AT&T Prepaid. Since these carriers also have so many different prepaid cellphone plan options, I’ll focus on the best options for under 5GB of data, under 15GB of data and the best unlimited plans

Read more: Cheap Phone Plans Compared

Boost Mobile, AT&T and T-Mobile logos on phone screens

Boost Mobile will use a combination of AT&T, T-Mobile and parent Dish’s own network. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Know the prepaid phone plan promos and deals

As with the leading carriers, there are periods when the prepaid players offer deals. Boost Mobile used to run a promo for new customers that let you get three lines with unlimited talk, text and data for $90 per month ($30 per line) after “your first payment of $100.” It has since added a new unlimited plan that is $25 per month for new users, though each line must be separate and cannot be grouped on a family plan.

Best prepaid phone plans of 2023

boost mobile

Sarah Tew/CNET

Boost Mobile has added an unlimited plan for new users that offers unlimited talk, text and data for $25 per month with taxes and fees included. Unlike Mint Mobile’s 12-month plan, our previous pick in this slot, Boost’s plan isn’t tied to 12-month increments. You do, however, need to be a new Boost customer to get the offer.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Ryan Reynolds’ phone company has made a name for itself with its quirky advertising, but it also has one of the better offers for unlimited data that we’ve seen. For 12 months, you can get unlimited talk, text and data for $30 a month per line. Running on T-Mobile’s networks, you get 40GB of high-speed data on 5G and 4G LTE per month, though if you do blow through that before your 30-day period resets, your speeds will slow to “3G speeds.”

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Google has updated the unlimited plans on its Fi cellphone service that not only lowers the monthly price, but also adds in a few useful features. While its $50 pricing for one line is way higher than Mint’s, if you have three lines or more you can save a little.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

This one is actually a bit complicated.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

When it comes to data under 15GB, Mint once again has the best value if T-Mobile’s network is solid in your area.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Boost Mobile has a few enticing plans at 5GB or less, particularly if you’re a new customer. The carrier offers a $14 a month plan that offers 5GB of high-speed data per month with the ability to use that allotment for mobile hotspot. You’ll need to prepay for 12 months of service to get this offer ($168), but it’s better bang for your buck than the $15 per month for 5GB of data Mint Mobile offers new customers who prepay for a year.

Prepaid phone plan FAQs

What exactly is a prepaid phone plan?

There are two main types of ways to pay for phone service: postpaid, where you pay at the end of the month, and prepaid, where you buy service before you use your phone. The advertisements you see for AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are almost always for postpaid plans, while the plans and carriers we’re talking about here are all prepaid plans.

Will your area get good cell coverage?

As I noted when covering the best unlimited plans, to get the most out of your deal you need to make sure you have the coverage you need. This makes it hard to give a blanket recommendation of any one carrier: T-Mobile’s service in New York may be excellent, but if you’re in, say, rural Iowa, Verizon is more reliable.

Read more: What to Know Before You Buy a New iPhone or Android