10 Best Cell Phone Plans Consumer Reports 2019 – Top Rated

If you haven’t looked for a new cell-phone plan in a while, you may be paying a price for your loyalty—or your inertia. In a recent survey of almost 120,000 Consumer Reports subscribers, more than half of those who switched providers in the past two years say they saw a big drop in their monthly bill. After making the shift, some respondents said they got more reliable coverage, a bigger data allowance, and better customer service.

If you’re considering a new plan, you might want a new phone as well. Have your eye on that top-of-the-line Apple or Samsung model? In the past, getting a new phone meant locking yourself into a two-year contract that had multiple financial disadvantages for consumers. But those offers are now long gone. Now you can lease a new phone like a car, pay it off in interest-free installments, or buy it outright and enjoy a lower monthly bill.

Top 10 Cell Phone Plans

Bestseller No. 1
$15/Month Mint Mobile Wireless Plan | 3GB of 4G LTE Data + Unlimited Talk & Text for 3 Months...
168 Reviews
$15/Month Mint Mobile Wireless Plan | 3GB of 4G LTE Data + Unlimited Talk & Text for 3 Months...
  • 3 months of unlimited talk & text + 3GB of 4G LTE data per month delivered on the nation's fastest, most...
  • 3-in-1 SIM card includes standard, micro, and nano sizes for that perfect, Cinderella-like fit
Bestseller No. 2
$20/Month Mint Mobile Wireless Plan | 8GB of 4G LTE Data + Unlimited Talk & Text for 3 Months...
80 Reviews
$20/Month Mint Mobile Wireless Plan | 8GB of 4G LTE Data + Unlimited Talk & Text for 3 Months...
  • 3 months of unlimited talk & text + 8GB of 4G LTE data per month delivered on the nation's fastest, most...
  • 3-in-1 SIM card includes standard, micro, and nano sizes for that perfect, Cinderella-like fit
Bestseller No. 3
TracFone Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone with Amazon Exclusive Free $40 Airtime...
378 Reviews
TracFone Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone with Amazon Exclusive Free $40 Airtime...
  • 5.0" touchscreen display; Android 6.0 Marshmallow; 1.4 GHz quad-core processor
  • Free $40 airtime bundle included
Bestseller No. 4
Jitterbug Flip Easy-to-Use Cell Phone for Seniors (Red) by GreatCall
1330 Reviews
Jitterbug Flip Easy-to-Use Cell Phone for Seniors (Red) by GreatCall
  • BIG BUTTONS and large, legible numbers and make dialing effortless; simple "Yes" and "No" menu buttons make...
  • POWERFUL SPEAKER ensures every conversation will be loud and clear.
Bestseller No. 5
21.25/Mo Red Pocket Prepaid Wireless Phone Plan+SIM; Unlmtd Talk & Text 3GB
75 Reviews
21.25/Mo Red Pocket Prepaid Wireless Phone Plan+SIM; Unlmtd Talk & Text 3GB
  • Just 21.25 per month
  • Keep your phone, keep your number, save money
Bestseller No. 6
GreatCall Jitterbug Smart Easy-to-Use 5.5” Smartphone for Seniors
725 Reviews
GreatCall Jitterbug Smart Easy-to-Use 5.5” Smartphone for Seniors
  • LARGE TOUCHSCREEN makes it even easier to read. The 5.0-megapixel built-in camera with flash has easy-to-use...
  • SIMPLE MENU organized in a single list with large letters and icons makes it easy to navigate.
Bestseller No. 7
Mint Mobile Starter Kit | Verify Compatibility with Our Talk, Text & Data Plans (3-in-1 GSM SIM...
545 Reviews
Mint Mobile Starter Kit | Verify Compatibility with Our Talk, Text & Data Plans (3-in-1 GSM SIM...
  • Our Starter Kit is an easy, worry-free way to try Mint Mobile out before committing to one of our phone plans
  • For just $5, we'll send you two SIM cards-download our free Mint Mobile app to activate the first SIM and test...
Bestseller No. 8
TracFone LG Rebel 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone - CDMA Variant Handset
284 Reviews
TracFone LG Rebel 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone - CDMA Variant Handset
  • 4.5" touchscreen display
  • Android 5.1, Lollipop
Bestseller No. 9
Tracfone Alcatel MyFlip 4G Prepaid Flip Phone
48 Reviews
Tracfone Alcatel MyFlip 4G Prepaid Flip Phone
  • 2. 8" Screen; 1. 1 GHz Quad-Core Processor; Internal Memory 4GB
  • 4G; Wi-Fi Capable; Bluetooth 3. 0 wireless technology; Internet Access
Bestseller No. 10
Red Pocket Mobile Premium 180 Day Prepaid Phone Plan, No Contract, Free SIM Kit; Unlimited Talk,...
5 Reviews
Red Pocket Mobile Premium 180 Day Prepaid Phone Plan, No Contract, Free SIM Kit; Unlimited Talk,...
  • Keep your phone, keep your number, save money
  • Activation code received via Amazon messages within 1 business day of your SIM kit shipment

How We Chose the Best Cell Phone Plans

Network reliability

Our search started with the most basic principle of cell service — a reliable network. We turned to RootMetrics, a survey operation that tests the “Big Four” mobile networks (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint) and provides an accurate, unbiased account of which networks perform best from a consumer’s point of view.

How does the RootMetrics test service?

“The first point to consider is which carrier has the best service where you live and work or spend much of your time,” say, Jamie Huff and Tammy Parker, wireless analysts at Current Analysis. The quality of a provider’s network can vary drastically within the same city or metro area. To illustrate this difference, here’s what Verizon looks like next to T-Mobile in terms of nationwide speeds (the blue means faster data speeds detected; the orange indicates slower):

But if you happen to live and work in the Bay Area, you’re probably better off with T-Mobile. Here’s what those same maps look like when we zoom in on San Francisco:

We favored carriers that score well in reliability and performance, but the best for you could be different depending on where you live.

Phone plans

Once we had an understanding of performance, we dug into the phone plans carriers offered and the prices they charged. Unless you’re purchasing a prepaid plan, the days of phone minutes and a nickel for every text are passed — prices are based on data now. The best value is typically an unlimited data plan, but we looked into plans with tiered data, too. You’ll want to think about how often you use internet data (when not on Wi-Fi) to find a plan that fits your needs.

It’s important to know that unlimited never means truly unlimited. But it does mean that the amount of data you receive is so high, it’s unlikely you’ll run out. Most providers cap their “unlimited” data between 22 GB and 80 GB. The allotment is a far cry above standard 3 GB to 10 GB plans. We compared the price for these plans, too, which can run as low as $30 and as high as $75.

Extra features

Carriers will often sweeten the deal by partnering with other companies to offer promotional deals like free Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Apple Music. This increases the overall value of the plan if you’d be paying for these services otherwise — and ultimately increased their ranking in our top picks.

We also evaluated other features like international options and opportunities to bundle with another telecommunication service like television. Cell phone plans that came with these extra perks stood out amongst the competition based on their appeal for a wide variety of shoppers.

How to Find the Right Cell Phone Plan for You

Check your local network

You’ll want to start your shopping by checking for the strongest networks in your area. RootMetrics lets you check the network coverage in your neighborhood and you can search the site’s map by area code, city, or neighborhood, and zoom in as much as you want — the site analyzes coverage almost to the backyard level. You can apply filters from the drop-down menu to look at specific providers or at specific types of coverage, like voice versus data. We’d recommend comparing two providers with the strongest coverage in areas you frequent, like home, work, or school.

Compare costs

Once you know what you’ll need, and from which providers, it’s time to compare the costs and find the best phone deals for you. You’ll want to factor in any taxes and fees, as well as additional features that increase the overall value of your package. If you have several lines to add, look for promotions that take down the price for family plans. And don’t skip out on auto-pay; it saves you $5 with every carrier.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here