Cellular Phone Provider
Pick out the best cell phone providers with this round-up, and begin your journey to finding the right carrier for you. Packed with providers that are sure to put your needs first with excellent customer service and the technology you need, this list can guide you to make the switch without the stress.
cellular phone provider
Mint doesn't charge you a monthly rate like some providers, instead asking you to sign up and pay for your full contract in advance for anywhere from three to 12 months. Generally, the more months you buy upfront, the more you save.
The provider's best plan is $30, which gives you unlimited 5G (or 4G LTE if you're out of range), unlimited texts and calls, and free calls to Mexico and Canada. It's a great deal, although Mint only offers the rate for the first three months, which rises to $40 per month.
The range of phones on Verizon is decent, including the latest iPhone 14 lineup, the Google Pixel 7 Pro, and Samsung's flagship models too, like the S23 Ultra. There are some good mid-range options, and a handful of budget handsets too. If you go pre-paid, you need to factor in the cost of financing a handset or buying one outright, which will add a monthly cost. If you already own your phone and don't want to change it, you can bring that across with you to save more money.
There are also specific plans for those over 55, veterans and first responders, each with great deals. T-Mobile also offers banking with savings to be made for those wireless customers that use both services from the provider.
What's more, T-Mobile actually scores higher than other big carriers on customer satisfaction, which is a real advantage. Smaller cell companies often achieve better satisfaction ratings, but here you get the perks of a larger provider with a big network and the customer service of a smaller one. If you're looking to balance reliability, speed, and a carrier that cares, T-Mobile is a good bet. It's also highly rated for video streaming so is ideal for anyone that uses their data network for this regularly.
Verizon Wireless is our best cell phone provider for 2023 and has been at the top of our guide for the past three years. Why? It's one of the biggest, sure, but it gets superior scores for reliability, speed, and network coverage. With solid coverage throughout the majority of the country (although there are few patchy zones in the northwest and mid-west), and a large 5G network, Verizon will suit anyone looking for a strong signal and consistent data service.
Verizon isn't the cheapest carrier, but it does currently have an amazing Unlimited 5G deal for new customers, which starts at $25 when you bring in your own phone and agree to paper-free billing. You do get what you pay for, but not everyone can afford to commit to such expensive cell phone plans each month.
Given the reliability of Verizon's 5G network, you can look to offset costs with your home internet provider by getting an unlimited 5G plan from Verizon and using it for the majority of your home broadband needs. If you find yourself out of the home more often than in it, this is a good way to get fantastic cell service and save a little money elsewhere.
Xfinity is a communications company offering not just a mobile network, but cable television, internet, telephone, and wireless. I you plan to be a customer for your home internet, then Xfinity will offer you a better deal on a cell plan, too.
The provider's value lies in its customization: you only pay for what you use. This approach can save usage-conscious customers a lot of money compared to an unlimited everything plan from a big three cell phone company. If, for example, you only want unlimited talking and texting, it costs just $8 a month. You can also always add minutes, texts, or data to your account, should your needs change.
One downside of US mobile is that you are limited when it comes to the actual selection of phones, so if you have your eye on a particular handset, you do need to check whether or not US Mobile stocks it.
However, its unlimited plans have a max video streaming resolution of 480p. DVD-quality streaming is fine and consumes less data than HD streaming, but it would be nice to have the higher-quality option, especially since phone screens now support high resolutions.
Cricket Wireless has a low rating on Trustpilot, scoring an average of 1.8 out of 5 stars from 234 reviews. 74% of users give it a one-star rating and said that the main downsides are the slow and unhelpful customer service line, as well as a broken app that makes simple issues like paying bills difficult. Like other network providers listed here, most of the positive reviews are for great experiences that customers had with staff in a physical store.
Cricket is generally a good value, with prices on par with those of other carrier-owned prepaid services and much lower than the prices of similar plans on its parent network. Cricket offers group discounts for multiple lines, and the carrier often features new-customer promotions, such as discounted or free smartphones when you switch from another carrier.
Out of over 200 reviews on Trustpilot, Google Fi gets a rating of 1.2 out of 5 stars, while the Google Fi app for managing your plan gets 4.4 out of 5 on the Google Play store. The biggest complaints are around the speed of Google Fi services and the poor call quality, while a few users said that they got great local coverage thanks to the fact that it combines three service providers into one.
Your budget will help you to define the kind of providers and plans you opt for. Ballpark figures range from around $30-$60 per month for a limited data plan or $60-$90 for an unlimited plan with mobile hotspot tethering. Looking for a family plan? You should aim to spend around $150-$220 for unlimited or $115-$150 for limited data. These kinds of family plans can often yield better value overall, so do make sure to investigate them if they crop up.
Wondering how to check? All providers tend to have their own coverage maps on their websites, but we would also recommend RootMetrics and OpenSignal for further insights and comparability into performance.
When testing a cell phone provider, we look at LTE and 5G network coverage, download speeds, plan variety and flexibility, price, smartphone selection, customer service, and extras to provide comprehensive reviews of the service that you can expect from each company.
We also analyze user reviews to pull in experiences from thousands of people who have been using these cell phone providers for years to find out what people like about them, and where people think each company could improve.
Verizon is known for their superior coverage. Their 70% nationwide 4G LTE coverage means they offer the best cell phone reception nationwide. Of course, if you look at the coverage map, there are some small gaps, but they do provide 27 states with over 90% coverage. Further, their 3G network is strong, with 62% coverage. Because of their widespread coverage, they are an excellent choice for frequent domestic travelers or people who live in rural areas.
One downside to going with Verizon is that Verizon phone plans tend to be some of the most expensive on the market. Although they have some nice features like Mexico and Canada roaming privileges and Apple Music, some of their competitors outshine them in the perks department.
AT&T plans tend to be fairly pricey, though they come with great features like unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada and access to 35 channels of live TV and over 15,000 on-demand movies and shows. Additionally, the AT&T Unlimited&More Premium plan includes your choice of a premium entertainment subscription (Showtime, HBO, Starz, Cinemax, Pandora, Amazon Music, or VRV). As such, AT&T is a great carrier for anyone who likes to stream TV and movies on their smartphones.
Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T tend to have much better deals on new phones than their MVNO counterparts. But, out of those three, there isn\u2019t a clear winner. They tend to change their deals frequently to highlight new phones and promotions.So, the best way to figure out which carrier has the best deals right now is to read our cell phone deals page that we update every month." } }, "@type": "Question", "name": "Who is the #1 cell phone carrier?", "acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer", "text": "It really depends on what you want. Some folks will want Verizon\u2019s awesome rural coverage, while others will go for T-Mobile\u2019s lightning fast data speeds. Others still will prefer US Mobile for its incredible family plan pricing.In short, there isn\u2019t a single carrier that\u2019s clearly the best. But if you read about the five plans we\u2019ve featured in this article, then you\u2019ll probably find something that\u2019s a great fit for you." , "@type": "Question", "name": "Who has the best cell phone coverage 2023?", "acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer", "text": "There are three major networks in the United States: Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. Verizon has the best nationwide coverage, especially in rural areas. T-Mobile has the biggest (and fastest) 5G network. And, while AT&T doesn\u2019t take home the gold medal, it has pretty darn good coverage in most metropolitan and suburban areas.The easiest way to figure out which network is best for you is to look at coverage maps. You can see maps for all three major carriers and read all about their performance in our up-to-data network coverage analysis." , "@type": "Question", "name": "Which unlimited plan is best?", "acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer", "text": "If you want the best unlimited data plan, regardless of cost, we recommend T-Mobile\u2019s Magenta MAX plan. It comes with truly unlimited data (no data cap), the fastest data speeds in the industry, and tons of amazing perks.But there are plenty of other great unlimited data plans that cost less. Visible Wireless has an incredible deal on unlimited data family plans, while Mint Mobile probably has the best deal on an individual unlimited plan.Just be sure to look at the fine print of every unlimited data plan or mobile deal that you consider. You will often find that there are data caps (unlimited isn\u2019t really unlimited) and data deprioritization on the cheaper plans." , "@type": "Question", "name": "Which wireless carrier is best 2023?", "acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer", "text": "It\u2019s hard to choose favorites when there are several great options, depending on what you want from your cell phone plan. That said, T-Mobile has been making some really impressive strides when it comes to 5G coverage, data speeds, and perks.T-Mobile has the biggest and fastest 5G network right now, and the other two networks (AT&T and Verizon) aren\u2019t very close to catching up.3 This means that T-Mobile will likely be on top for the near future when it comes to overall performance.\u00a0We put the three top carriers to the test for price, coverage, and speed, Check out how each stacks up in our Verizon vs. AT&T review, AT&T vs. T-Mobile review, and our T-Mobile vs. Verizon review.\u00a0" , "@type": "Question", "name": "What\u2019s the best cheap cell phone plan?", "acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer", "text": "Mint Mobile, Visible Wireless, and US Mobile are all great options for affordable cell phone plans. Each of these discount carriers has something to offer the right customer.But the market is flooded with cheap cell phone plans right now, so it\u2019s worth shopping around for the very best deal. Just be aware that cheaper isn\u2019t always better. There are usually drawbacks hidden in the fine print, like data deprioritization, price hikes, and coverage gaps." ] }] (function(w,d,s,l,i))(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-WG67XFH'); skip to main content Go to Reviews.org AU Edition 041b061a72