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Best Cell Phone Plan For Small Business
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor focused on covering the latest news in the ever-changing world of telecommunications, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter for USA Today.
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While most Americans subscribe to service directly from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon, many smaller providers can provide you with reliable service for less. While the major carriers now focus on unlimited plans, these smaller carriers offer a variety of plans with set data allotments or even better unlimited data prices.
There are many providers, but in this story I’ll focus on a few: Boost Mobile, Cricket, Mint, Google Fi, Tracfone, Metro by T-Mobile, Total by Verizon, Verizon Prepaid, and AT&T Prepaid. Since these carriers have many different plan options, I will also focus on the best options for 5GB data, 10GB data and unlimited plans.
There are two main types of paying for phone service: postpaid, where you pay at the end of the month, and prepaid, where you buy the service before you use the phone. While AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon’s ads are almost always for postpaid plans, all of the plans and carriers we’re talking about are prepaid plans.
You buy data and access before you use it. Prepaid plan providers allow you to buy in various increments – 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, six months or even a full year – with prices depending on how long you commit to.
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As I mentioned in my coverage of the best unlimited plans, you need to make sure you have the coverage you need to get the most out of your deal. This makes it difficult to give a blanket recommendation for one carrier: T-Mobile’s service in New York may be great, but if you’re in rural Iowa, Verizon is more reliable.
Prepaid providers almost always use someone else’s services. Before signing up, it’s a good idea to check what your main network is. Each offers some version of 5G, and I’ve broken it down here, but in summary:
If you have friends or family in your area who already use the prepaid carrier you’re considering, ask about their experiences. You can also go to your carrier’s store and see if they offer free ways to try the service before switching, such as T-Mobile’s test drive.
Like the major carriers, there are periods when prepaid player deals are available. Previously, Boost Mobile had a promotion for new customers to get three lines with unlimited talk, text and data for $90 per month ($30 per line) after the “first $100 payment.” Since then, a new unlimited plan has been added, costing new users $25 per month, although each line must be separate and cannot be grouped into a family plan.
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Some prepaid providers will also offer discounts on new devices, but don’t expect promotions as big as the major carriers offering the new iPhone 14 or Galaxy S22 for free. Those deals are often tied to 24- or 36-month installment plans, which prepaid doesn’t generally offer.
Boost Mobile has added an unlimited plan for new users that includes unlimited talk, text and data for $25 per month, including taxes and fees. Unlike Mint Mobile’s 12-month plan, our previous pick in this area, the Boost plan isn’t tied to 12-month increments. However, you must be a new Boost customer to receive the offer.
The plan includes 5G access and 30GB of high-speed data per month (if you use it, your data will slow down until the start of your next billing month). Hotspots are also included when taking data from a high-speed distribution. One thing to note: to get the $25/month rate, you need to set up automatic payments.
Ryan Reynolds’ phone company is famous for its weird ads, but it also has one of the best unlimited data deals we’ve ever seen. You can get unlimited talk, text and data for $30 per line per month for 12 months. With T-Mobile, you get 35GB of high-speed data per month over 5G and 4G LTE, but your speeds will slow down to “3G speeds” before the 30-day period resets.
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As with all plans, the value will vary depending on your specific needs and whether that particular network works well in your area. Google has updated the unlimited plans for its Fi cell phone service, which not only lowers the monthly price, but also adds some useful features. Its $50 per line is way more than the mint price, if you have three or more lines you can save quite a bit.
The plan, called Simply Unlimited, costs $25 a month with three lines, and drops to $20 a month if you have four lines or more. It now includes 35GB of high-speed data, plus talk, text and data in Canada and Mexico. The plan also now includes 5GB of hotspot data, although this is a “hard” limit where the hotspot feature stops after 5GB is used, rather than a data reduction.
Other options: Metro and Cricket offer a similar option at $30 per line if you have three lines, but drop to $25 per line per month if you have four or five lines ($100 per month for four lines, 125 USD per line for five). . lines). Both still cost more than the upgraded Fi offering and don’t offer mobile hotspot data with these plans.
Cricket says that “data speeds may be temporarily reduced if the network is busy,” while Google says it will throttle data if you exceed 35GB in a month. Metro speeds will be throttled accordingly if you use more than 35GB per month, and T-Mobile will prioritize its users over Metro plans.
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Tracfone does not offer traditional unlimited data plans. Prepaid options from Verizon and AT&T start at $50 per month with automatic payments (except for $65). Verizon’s deal also requires you to commit to 10 months or more.
Cricket and Metro also offer perks with the best unlimited plans, with Cricket giving you an ad-supported HBO Max subscription and Metro offering Amazon Prime, a year of ViX Plus and 100GB of Google One storage. But if you’re only looking for one, two or three lines, these prices per line are higher.
If you’re looking for four or more lines, the Top Metro Unlimited plan is worth considering. A single ad costs up to $30 per line per month, so if you’re on a budget, you might want to check out this deal because you can also get perks like Amazon Prime and Google One for the same price per line .
Verizon’s new Total by Verizon service includes Disney Plus with its best plan, but at $60 a month for one line and $165 a month for four lines, it’s probably not worth it.
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If price is the biggest factor for you, take a look at the Google Fi Simply Unlimited plan we mentioned above.
However, anything less than four lines is much more expensive than the Metro Mint. With this best unlimited plan, one phone line is $60 per month, two lines are $90 per month, and three lines are $120 per month.
It’s worth noting that Metro, like AT&T, Verizon and Boost, works with the government’s affordable connectivity program. If you qualify for this program, you can get Metro’s $40/month unlimited plan for $10/month (and one with perks can be $30/month instead of the usual $60/month).
When it comes to less than 10GB of data, Mint is again the best value if T-Mobile’s network is strong in your area. While Metro and Cricket charge $40 per month per line, and Boost has a $35 plan for 10GB of data, Mint beats them all on price.
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New users get 10GB of 4G LTE/5G monthly data on Mint for $20 with every 12-month purchase. After that, you can purchase three more months for $35 per month ($105 total), six months for $25 per month ($150 total), or a second year for $20 per month ($240 total).
Other options: Google Fi has a “bill protection” feature to compensate for unused data, but the maximum monthly charge for one line and 6GB of data is $80 and
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