How Good Is Carrier Coverage In Your Area
This is the most important, so listen up. The fanciest phone on the market won’t get you anywhere if you can’t get data or voice service. Ask your friends, colleagues and neighbors how good their reception and signal strength are where you work and live.
RootMetrics’ free coverage maps zoom into neighborhoods.
Network strength is so incredibly variable, and can change by time of day, weather and even where you are inside or outside a building. It changes, too, since carriers upgrade their networks or adjust their towers all the time. Because of that, we can’t recommend a single carrier that’s guaranteed to work for you, but a lot of people turn to RootMetrics, which is an independent company that routinely tests network strength across the US.
Know your carriers
Need more information? Read on to get to know four categories of US carriers and how much you’ll pay for each GB of data.
- National: AT& T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are the national carriers, often called the Big Four. They have the most customers and maintain the networks that tier-two carriers and resellers use.
- Regional: US Cellular is a self-sufficient regional network that doesn’t cover every city, but it’s a good option if you mostly stay within its network footprint.
With prepaid carriers and resellers:
Which Mvno Is The Best
There is no consensus on which MVNO carrier is the absolute best, but we do have some favorites. Youll have to decide which one works best for you.
- Mint Mobile: Mints talk, text, and data plans are simple, affordable, and easy to sign up for. Mint uses T-Mobiles network, which currently ranks number one for data speeds and 5G coverage!
- Visible Wireless: Visible offers a powerful $40 unlimited data plan thats a great way to get onto Verizons network. But its even better when you add additional lines using Party Pay. Your bill can go down as low as $25/line for unlimited talk, text, and data!
US Mobile: If you just want a super-cheap talk and text plan without any bells and whistles, then US Mobile is the way to go. You can get service for as low as $3 a month!
Individual Data Plan Costs In Chart Form
For the pricing breakdown in the chart below, we chose plans that were close to 10GB of data this amount is pretty easy to chew through when you consider all that data navigating and music streaming. It assumes that you already have a smartphone, so we’re not artificially inflating the final monthly bill with the full or monthly cost of a phone . Start with a plan in this range and track your data usage through your smartphone’s built-in app . You can always adjust your data amount as you go.
- Total monthly bill : $115
- Overage penalty: $15 per GB
- 2-year contract option raises phone-use charge to $40/month
- Total monthly bill : $100
- Overage penalty: $15 per GB
- Access fee is more expensive when phone is subsidized with a 2-year contract
- No data rollover — use it or lose it
- Total monthly bill : $80
- Data Stash program provides 10GB of extra “free” data at start
- You can roll over unused data to use in next 12 months
- Unlimited access to select music and video streaming services
- Total monthly bill : $100
- Save $15 per line if you port your existing phone number to Sprint and agree to automatic payments or installment
- No overage fees data throttled to 2G speeds after allotment used up
- No data rollover — use it or lose it
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How Flexible Do You Need To Be
Carriers have largely done away with two-year contract pricing, but you can still get it if you want. Or, you could buy your phone outright in a lump sum, or through monthly installment pricing. As a benefit of this, the dreaded ETFs of yesterday are gone — but you’re still on the hook for paying off the hardware before you switch .
So, if you need to be able to switch carriers at a moment’s notice, you may want to scrape together the full retail amount and buy the phone in full. If the new carrier doesn’t work out and you do bolt, keep in mind that you usually get a 14-day grace period for major problems, like if the phone hardware or network coverage don’t pan out.
What Carriers Use Verizons Network
Heres a list of all the no-contract, prepaid carriers that run on Verizons network.
|MVNOs on Verizon’s network|
- Great deals on additional lines
- Limited phone selection
Signing up for a prepaid plan used to feel like a compromise. Yes, you paid less. But you also got less. Visible Wireless is a prepaid provider that feels different.
Sure, Visible doesnt give you a free subscription to HBO , but its single plan offering is robust: you get truly unlimited data on the nations most powerful network for just $40 a month. Thats a steal compared to almost any other plan on the market.
You probably wont be surprised to hear that weve rated Visibles Unlimited Plan as the best prepaid unlimited planon any network. And the plan just gets better when you add more lines using Party Pay.
So, whats the catch? There are two small strikes against Visible: the company has relatively limited phone compatibility , and it doesnt allow you to stream video in HD.
Or, if you just want internet, you’re in luck. Switch to Xfinity and get up to a $200 Visa® Prepaid Card!
Maybe youve heard of the Comcast-owned cable internet service called Xfinity. Well now the same company has launched a wireless service called Xfinity Mobile. This is a unique MVNO because it is only available to existing Xfinity and Comcast customers.
If you are eligible for Xfinity Mobile, its a pretty great deal. Just check out the companys plan offerings.
- Pricier unlimited data plan
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The Best Cheap Phone Plans For 2022
There are a lot of options beyond the big three phone carriers in the US. If you’re looking to save money, these lesser-known low-cost cell phone plans might be the ticket.
Most Americans are signed up with one of the major carrier brandsAT& T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wirelessor runner-up US Cellular, but many more choices are available to US cell phone customers looking for a bargain. Dozens of MVNOs and prepaid carriers offer big discounts by piggybacking on the major networks to deliver lower prices.
All the major carriers have low-cost brands and their deals are worth checking first. AT& T runs Cricket Wireless. T-Mobile currently owns Metro. Verizon owns Visible. If you’re looking for a wide range of stores and solid customer service, these brands have excellent prices and should be your first shopping stops. We’ll mention them below where appropriate.
For the other brands, which typically don’t have stores, pay attention to their reputation for customer service and their enabling networks. Some MVNOs give you an option to choose between different enabling networks, while others are tied to only one. One company, Google’s Project Fi, uses T-Mobile’s and US Cellular’s networks interchangeably on some phones, but for the rest, you have to choose which network you want when you buy your SIM card.
What About Customer Service
In general, when you turn to these less-prominent carriers, you’re not going to get the sort of customer service you get from the major networks. The issues we hear about most involve new service activations and billing. Since there are no retail stores for the smaller carriers, any problems you encounter have to be handled by call centers or online help desks, often staffed by outsourced agents who don’t have the knowledge or resources to correct many issues. A quick search on Reddit provides plenty of cautionary tales about small MVNOs. We’ve done our best to research all of our recommendations closely, but you should conduct some research on your own before you pull the trigger.
If good customer service is a concern, check out Consumer Cellular. For nine years running, our readers have chosen Consumer Cellular as their favorite carrier. You can also turn to the wholly owned brands of the big carriers, which have their own store networks: AT& T’s Cricket and T-Mobile’s Metro. Verizon’s Visible doesn’t have any stores, but Verizon still backs it.
Is Patriot Mobile A Good Service
Yes, Patriot Mobile is also a nice phone service, which you can join with no contract or credit check required. Of course, the rate plans arent exactly as low as Pure Talk, but its cheaper than T-Mobile postpaid.
More on that, the various Patriot Mobile plans come with either capped or unlimited high-speed data with HD streaming. But unlike with T-Mobile or Verizon, the supposedly unlimited plans have capped premium data, as we shall see shortly. Hence, perhaps, the reason the carrier is against continuous streaming or downloading files.
That said, though. Patriot Mobile usually operates under the virtue of fighting for our shared values. Hence, the reason youll find it amongst the groups condemning American companies forcing #COVID vaccines on their employees. And ironically, the MVNO has recently blasted T-Mobile, its carrier network, on its on the medical tyranny.
How Good Is Verizons Network
Verizons network is one of the best in the country. Based on our information, it covers roughly 70% of the country with its 4G LTE network, and it delivers the second-fastest 4G LTE speeds. Verizon’s 5G network can be found in a bunch of major cities like Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Miami, and New York. We expect those numbers to change as Verizon rolls out more of its 5G infrastructure.
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What Makes Patriot Mobile Different
Patriot Mobile describes themselves as Americas only Christian Conservative wireless provider. As you know I am a Christian and finding another Christian company that I can support was another deciding factor for me. Their faith though is not the only thing that sets them apart. They also hold a lot of the same values as I do which I am finding less and less companies these days that even come close. Patriot mobile supports causes that I believe in but they also support American families with great wireless plans that can really help your budget.
Who Does Verizon Share Towers With
While Verizon has made agreements with other carriers in the past to share select towers, it isnt very common. What Verizon usually does is rent or lease its network towers to mobile virtual network operators, which are smaller carriers.
There are certain benefits and drawbacks to signing up with an MVNO. You can read our review of the best Verizon MVNOs in the article above.
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How Do I Activate My Patriot Mobile Phone
Once you have determined that your phone is compatible with Patriot Mobile, the next step is now to activate it. However, before you activate it, there is a need for you to charge it first. Ideally, it should be 100% charged. Once you have charged the device, ensure that the SIM card is inserted and then switch it on.
Follow the prompts that you will see on your screen so that you can configure the device. Once you complete the setup process, dial 877-367-7524. After dialing that number you will be able to hear an automated reply saying Thank you for calling Patriot Mobile. Press 1 so as to activate your device.
Do as instructed and your mobile phone will be activated. In case you are given other additional instructions, follow them to the letter. Thereafter dial, ##72786# or ##873283# if at all your device is an Android and Flip phone or Apple device respectively.
Once you dial either of those numbers, you will now be connected to the Patriot Mobile network. Here, you can start calling, surfing the internet, and so forth. If you experience any hiccups, do not hesitate to contact the Member Services team on 877-367-7524. Here, you will be able to address all your issues and get helped on the go.
What Network Does Pure Talk Use
Pure Talk leverages the network from AT& T. AT& T is one of the largest standard service providers in the US, and they specialize in offering some of the best services when it comes to network access and much more.
Since its existence, Pure Talk has been leasing cell phone tower services from AT& T. AT& T covers around 99% of the US population, making them one of the largest service providers in terms of outreach. By Pure Talk leveraging on such a network, you are assured of a stable internet connection, faster messaging, and reduced dropped calls. Despite slow speeds during network congestion, they are a great option if you are looking for the cheapest cell phone plan with unlimited everything.
The network also uses GSM network technology that makes it possible to have a wide range of compatible phones. Millions of people widely use GSM network technology, and it is the core network stack that most cellular device manufacturers use. So, if you have a GSM mobile phone, you can bring it to Pure Talk.
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Cell Phone Plans For $31$40 Per Month
We can recommend a few plans in this price range, but it’s an awkward spot. Slightly less expensive plans offer comparable services and, if you’re willing to pay a few dollars more, you can get unlimited service.
Frequent international callers who use a moderate amount of data should check out Lyca Mobile‘s $39-per-month, 15GB plan that offers unlimited calls and texts to over 75 different countries.
Ultra Mobile is another solid option in this price range. For $39 per month, you get unlimited talk and text, along with 15GB of 5G or LTE coverage. If youre willing to pay in advance, you can save up to $9 per month with the carriers multi-month plan.
Does Verizon Own A Mvno
Yes, Verizon owns an MVNO carrier called Visible Wireless. Visible is actually one of our favorite MVNO carriers because it has a simple, affordable, and powerful plan structure that is amazing for single lines and family plans. Plus, you get all of the coverage benefits of regular Verizon plans.
While it might seem strange that Verizon would own a competing carrier, it actually makes a lot of sense. The MVNO market is growing fast, and customers are looking for cheaper plans . If Verizon didnt get in the game itself, it would be missing out on a huge customer base.
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Why We Switched To Patriot Mobile
My husband and I started looking a few years ago for a lower cost option for a cell phone carrier. I was always hesitant to switch phone carriers because I was afraid the plan we would get would not provide quality service. I was wrong and I am very happy that I was.
The plan we currently have may not work for everyone but it is the best fit and lowest cost for our needs. We have never owned smart phones because we have been able to meet our needs with lower cost phones and plans. However, over the years our carrier kept raising costs even on our basic phone plans and pushing smart phones. This was not what we wanted and so we started discussing our options and searching for a better carrier. The carrier we were with was one we had been with since our early twenties and we had always been told they had a better network and coverage.
My husband found a carrier who was recommended by a conservative radio program and he started researching them. He liked the fact that the companies beliefs aligned with ours and I loved the price for the plans they offered. We decided after more than 15 years with our previous carrier to give a new carrier a try.
We have not regretted the choice we made to switch. I wanted to encourage others that might be looking to save money on their plans to check out Patriot mobile. If you are looking for a quality plan for less, a plan with no contract and one that will not increase your monthly costs unexpectedly this carrier might be right for you.
How Does Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Plan Work
Mint launched an unlimited data plan in 2020 that’s only slightly more expensive than its tiered options, making it one of the best unlimited data plans out there. It also happens to be cheaper than the $40 unlimited plan available at Visible, at least when you figure in Mint’s discounted pricing. There are some caveats to Mint’s unlimited plan, though.
Mint Unlimited Data Plan: Unlimited data for less At $30/month, Mint offers the least expensive unlimited data plan you’ll find. The catch is you’ll need to commit to a year of service to enjoy that low rate.
First, like unlimited plans for practically all carriers, it’s not unlimited in the most straightforward sense of the word. Mint deprioritizes your data after 35GB has been used up, meaning that you’ll still get service, but speeds will slow. Typically, carriers try to dance around this with jargon, but Mint’s site paints it clear as day, stating “customers using > 35GB/mo will experience lower speeds.”
What’s more, unlimited customers have their video streams capped at standard-definition, 480p quality this limitation doesn’t exist for 3GB, 8GB or 12GB users. Unlimited subscribers also don’t get unlimited hotspot usage, as that runs out after just 5GB. Therefore, if feeding your phone’s data connection to your laptop, tablet or another device is very important to you, you’re better off going with the 12GB-per-month tiered plan.
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