Top Cell Phone Companies
9 Top Cell Phone Companies Offering The Best Deals in 2021
It can be difficult to find the best U.S. wireless carriers because each company has a different approach to the same goal. This competition is good for consumers as it drives these companies to create better products. There is a carrier that will meet your every need. Most people will have coverage from all these carriers.
Nearly every American phone company uses one of the three major wireless networks: AT&T (which now includes Sprint), T-Mobile (which now also includes Verizon), or Verizon. Your network will impact things such as call quality, text performance, and internet connection.
Verizon has been the top-rated provider in coverage, reliability, and speed for over a decade. Since 2013, Verizon has won RootMetrics awards for reliability, speed, and call performance. Although not all tests have been equally favorable to Verizon, most have placed it at the top of RootMetrics’ rankings, with T-Mobile close behind.
Customers have been gradually gaining access to both networks since August 2020 when T-Mobile acquired Sprint’s network. T-Mobile is now a clear leader over Verizon in terms of speed and coverage.
Xfinity Mobile – Best for Comcast Subscribers
Xfinity Mobile is a cell phone carrier from Comcast Xfinity which is one of the largest providers of cable TV and internet throughout the United States with availability in most major markets. First off, you need to be an Xfinity Internet customer to subscribe to the mobile service.
Xfinity Mobile plan costs are extremely low and flexible. Lower than any of the big 4 carriers, but lower than even most of the cheapest of bare-bones MVNO’s. With XFINITY Mobile you can either pay “by the gig” or purchase their unlimited data plan.
In By the Gig plans, you preselect a set amount of data per month: 1GB, 3GB, and 10GB. This data pool is then shared between all the lines on your account. If you exceed your preset amount, you can purchase additional data for $12/GB.
Subscribers can mix-and-match price structures on family plans. One person on a family plan can have unlimited data while two other people on the same plan share By the Gig data. Comcast customers can even switch lines from a per-gigabyte plan to unlimited data at any point during the month if they find themselves using more data than expected.
Xfinity Mobile combines the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network with the largest Wi-Fi network of more than 18 million hotspots nationwide to support a seamless internet and entertainment experience inside and out of the home.
Xfinity Mobile now lets you bring your own unlocked phone to its network. Follow this link to check phone compatibility on Xfinity Mobile’s website.
- $12 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 1GB of LTE Data. ($12 per additional GB)
- $30 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 3GB of LTE Data. ($12 per additional GB)
- $60 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 10GB of LTE Data. ($12 per additional GB)
- $45/line per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and Unlimited LTE Data. (speeds reduced after 20GB)
Tello Mobile – Most Affordable Carrier
Tello Mobile is an MVNO cell phone service provider owned by KeepCalling, a company that has been around the mobile phone industry in the US and Europe since 2002.
Tello offers highly customizable plans with some of the best prices in the industry for plans with modest data allotments.
By selecting the amounts of data and talk time you want, you can put together a wireless plan that costs anywhere from $5 to $39 a month. You get 8 options for data offerings, ranging from No Data to unlimited data. For talk you get 5 options, ranging from No Minutes to Unlimited Minutes and texting is always free.
All Tello’s plans include free calls to Canada, Mexico, and China, plus mobile hotspot access with WiFi calling through their application at no extra cost, along with visual voicemail and unlimited 2G data.
You can reconfigure your plan anytime. This means you have plenty of flexibility and save money by choosing only what you need. There is no overage, no administration fee, no activation fee to worry about.
Customers can bring their own phone, any eligible unlocked CDMA device, or they can buy a new phone directly from Tello. (click here to check if your phone is compatible).
Tello uses Sprint’s nationwide coverage which is ranked 4th in best cell phone coverage in the U.S. If you live in an area where Sprint coverage is strong then Tello could be a good fit for you. If you’re not sure what coverage is like in your area their coverage page will tell you how coverage is at a specific location.
- $8 per month: Unlimited Talk and Text.
- $10 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 1GB of LTE Data.
- $14 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 2GB of LTE Data.
- $19 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 4GB of LTE Data.
- $24 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 6GB of LTE Data.
- $29 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 8GB of LTE Data.
- $39 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and Unlimited LTE Data.
Visible – A Solid Verizon’s Network
Visible is a prepaid cell phone carrier owned by Verizon and offering service on its robust nationwide 4G network. That means you get high-speed unlimited data on the nation’s largest network for a fraction of the postpaid cost.
Visible’s service is pretty limited. It has only one plan that costs $40 per month and offers unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data. The price includes all fees and taxes.
Visible launched a new program called Party Pay, which offers a series of discounts as you add more lines. Think of it as a way for families to enjoy Visible, which previously charged $40 for each line of service.
Parties of 2 pay $35 a line ($5 discount), parties of 3 pay $30 a line ($10 discount), and parties of 4 only pay $25/mo ($15 discount). Everyone in the “party” is responsible for their own bill. If someone doesn’t pay on time, the party is bumped to a smaller tier that pays a little more.
With Visible, you don’t have to worry about early termination fees because there are no contracts. You can cancel at any time by initiating a live chat with customer service through the app.
You can either bring a compatible device to the carrier or purchase one from Visible. check to see if your device is compatible by entering its IMEI ID on Visible’s Compatibility Checker.
- $40 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and Unlimited LTE Data.
Verizon Wireless – Best Network and Coverage
Verizon Wireless is one of the top cell phone companies in the market, and for good reason. Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 145 million subscribers. It offers nationwide Voice and LTE data coverage on its network, using GSM, LTE, and CDMA technology.
Although it is the largest, Verizon has better ratings for reliability, speed, and network coverage. Verizon provides solid coverage in most of the country with only a few areas in the west and middle. The company also has a large, 5G network which will offer consistent data service as well as a strong signal. Verizon rates lower in customer satisfaction than other providers. However, Verizon has a larger customer base and can therefore expect some variance in opinions and satisfaction ratings.
Verizon isn’t inexpensive. Verizon offers some of the most expensive plans. These plans offer decent value if you are willing to invest in the phone. Prices start at $30 per line and can rise up to $90 per month for multiple lines. Although you get what you pay for, not everyone is able to afford such expensive plans.
Pay $30 per month for 500MB data. Or, pay as low as $30 to get it all. International calling can be added for $5 per month. Unlimited calls to Canada and Mexico are possible. $10 per call to any of the 185 countries worldwide
By purchasing a Verizon unlimited 5-G plan, you can offset the cost of your internet provider. You can use this plan for all of your home broadband needs. This is a great option to save money and receive amazing mobile service when you are out more than you are inside your home.
AT&T Wireless – Best full-featured Company
AT&T is the second-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 100 million subscribers across the country. AT&T offers unlimited talk and text wireless plans for individuals and families and has deals on the latest phones.
AT&T’s LTE network is fast and offers great coverage across the country. AT&T has also been working to expand its nationwide 5G network, which includes a low-band network and a mmWave network that provides nationwide coverage. AT&T works with almost all unlocked phones, but not all 5G phones can be used with the network.
AT&T offers a 4GB data plan starting at $40 per month. You get unlimited talk and text, a mobile hotspot, and unlimited data. Streaming is limited in SD quality, but unlimited texting to more than 120 countries is available.
AT&T offers three unlimited plans, starting at $65 per line for the Unlimited Starter plan. Prices dropper line for up to four lines, with four lines costing $140 per month. The plan does not include a hotspot, but it includes unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as video streaming at SD quality. Unlimited Elite is the most expensive plan. Unlimited Elite gives you unlimited talk, text, and data with HD video streams. You also get access to HBO Max at $85 per month for your first line. All three unlimited plans include 5G access.
T-Mobile – Best for Heavy Data Users
T-Mobile is the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 70 million subscribers. It provides nationwide voice and data coverage using GSM and LTE technology, primarily on bands 2, 4, 12, 66, and 71.
T-Mobile has been improving its network over the years, with the most notable improvements being made to its 5G network. T-Mobile used its 5G network to launch and improve its LTE network. T-Mobile focuses on a wide spectrum of 5G. T-Mobile’s purchase of Sprint has allowed it to add more spectrum in the middle band, resulting in significant speed improvements in hundreds of markets.
T-Mobile offers three main unlimited plans for its postpaid network. All three include unlimited 3G speed hotspot and 5G support. The Essentials plan includes unlimited talk, text, LTE data, and unlimited text. Prices start at $60 per line, and each additional line is eligible for a discount of up to 60%. A current promotion offers a third free line and a $105 monthly cost for a family with four lines.
Magenta is the next plan and offers 5GB LTE-speed Hotspot data, Netflix on a single screen, international 2G data, and 5GB high-speed data in Mexico or Canada. Prices start at $70 per line, with discounts for every additional line. A family of four lines will pay $140 each month. Taxes and fees are also included in this plan.
Magenta MAX is the most expensive plan. It offers LTE-speed hotspot data of up to 40GB and upgrades Netflix to HD on 2 screens. The international data speed can be increased to 256kbps, and video streaming is available at HD resolutions as opposed to SD on other plans. This plan is more suited for heavy users who require more hotspot data and starts at $80 per month. Taxes and fees are not included. A family of four can connect for $170 per monthly.
Google Fi – Best for General Users
Most MVNOs are positioned as a cheaper alternative to the base carrier, but they offer little in comparison to it. Google Fi has the fastest connection from Sprint, T-Mobile, or U.S. Cellular within the U.S. Although 5G is not supported by all phones, it should be available on compatible devices like the Google Pixel 5 and Galaxy S21.
Unlocked phones will still work with Google Fi for the most part, but will only be compatible with T-Mobile, which includes 5G support. You can purchase a phone that will work on the entire network. These phones are the best for Google Fi.
Google Fi offers three plans: Flexible, Simply Unlimited, and Unlimited Plus. Even if you don’t have an unlimited plan, you will only pay for what you use. Bill Protection ensures that you won’t pay more than 6GB of data. Your data speeds will slow down after 15GB of Flexible plan use. However, you can add high-speed data for $10 per gigabyte. After 22GB of usage, unlimited plans will slow down your speed.
Fi’s international service is the best feature. It offers Unlimited Plus and Flexible plans. Your data costs the same in foreign countries as at home if you are traveling to any of the 200+ countries supported. Unlimited texts will be available, but calls will cost $0.20 per minute. The Simply Unlimited plan does not include international perks and hotspot tethering.
US Mobile – Best for Light Users
US Mobile allows you to start with plans starting at 75 minutes, then move up to unlimited data, talk, and text. US Mobile is a great choice for backup or emergency phones. You can also build a plan if you don’t require a lot of text or minutes but still need 6GB of data.
The unlimited plan, available at $45 per monthly, is one of the most appealing options. It comes with ridiculous speeds, 5G, and no data caps. You can also add 20GB of hotspot data for $10 more. You’ll also get unlimited high-speed 4G LTE global data on this plan. With a $25 per line fee, you can get up to three lines and more unlimited data for your whole family. If you have multiple lines, US Mobile will give you a subscription to a streaming video service for free.
US Mobile will use T-Mobile’s LTE network or Verizon’s depending on the compatibility of your phone. US Mobile will help determine which network is best for you based on where you are located or what device you have. Both networks should offer good service for the majority of Americans. Both networks should work with most unlocked phones. If you aren’t ready to buy a new phone yet, you can still sign up.
- $10 per month: Unlimited Talk and Text.
- $20 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 1.5GB of LTE Data.
- $25 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 2.5GB of LTE Data.
- $30 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 5GB of LTE Data.
- $36 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 8GB of LTE Data.
- $40 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and Unlimited LTE Data.
Metro by T-Mobile – Best for families
Metro by T-Mobile offers three plans that start at 10GB and include unlimited music streaming, starting at $40 per month for one phone. This plan is great for anyone who has regular Wi-Fi access and comes with $10 off every additional line. The monthly cost is $70, $100 and $130 for two, three and four lines respectively. If they own a compatible smartphone, users will be able to access T-Mobile’s 5G network.
Next up is the unlimited plan, which includes 5GB hotspot data and 100GB Google One cloud storage. This plan is great for heavy users who don’t care about how much data they use. It costs $50 per month. The prices for the first line are reduced by $20, $110, and $140 respectively. This means that they can be purchased at $80, $110, and $140 per month, as well as $170 for the second, third, fourth, and fifth lines.
The $60 unlimited plan includes 15GB hotspot data, 100GB Google One storage, and an Amazon Prime membership. This membership instantly pays itself off if you use Amazon. The price for two or three lines is $90, $120 per month. There is a special on four- and five-line plans. This promotion brings the monthly cost down to $120, $150, and $150 respectively.
A 2GB plan is available for $30 per month, but you can also get data from cheaper carriers like T-Mobile Prepaid’s T-Mobile Connect plan for $15 per month.
- $40 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and 10GB of LTE Data.
- $50 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and Unlimited of LTE Data.
- $60 per month: Unlimited Talk, Text, and Unlimited of LTE Data with 15GB Hotspot.