How Much Does a Cell Phone Plan Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

In order to choose a cell phone plan that is right for you, you need to answer a few basic questions.  First, what company do you want to use?  Choose one that provides the best service in your area for the lowest price.  To check the signal strength of different companies, go to cellreception.com.  If you live in a well populated area, chances are there will be many companies that provide good coverage in your area.  The next thing you want to consider is how much you are willing to spend.  Cell phone plans can cost anywhere from $30 a month to $150 a month depending on the features included.  Finally, decide what features you need to be included and which ones would just be a bonus.  Some of these features include mobile-to-mobile, text messaging, and 3g service.  You also need to consider what type of phone you want, such as a touch screen, flip phone, or one with a qwerty keyboard.

Cellphone by .v1ctor Casale., on Flickr
Cellphone” (CC BY 2.0) by  .v1ctor Casale.

How much does the average cellphone plan cost?

Most cell phone companies offer a plan that includes unlimited talk, text and data for one line.  This can range anywhere from as little as $45 to $100+ per month, depending on the service provider you choose.  Refer to the table below for price estimates from popular carriers that offer the lowest costs as of 2016.

CarrierMonthly Price
AT&T$55 per month for unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data
Boost Mobile$50
Cricket Wireless$65 with auto-pay
Sprint$100 for two lines
Straight Talk$45
T-mobile One$70
Virgin$40
Verizon$50 per month for unlimited talk, text and 4GB of data

What’s usually included in a cellphone plan?

Most cell phone carriers offer unlimited mobile-to-mobile (within their own company) on every plan they have.

Almost every plan comes with unlimited nights and weekends.  AT&T, however, sometimes has a minute limit on nights and weekends as well.

Free long distance and roaming is a basic feature on almost any cell phone plan.

Some companies, such as AT&T, have rollover minutes.  This means that any minutes you did not use one month will be added on to the total minutes you can use the following month.

Voicemail, call forwarding, and caller ID comes standard on most phones.

What are the extra costs?

Adding a line can range anywhere from as little as $20 to more than $40+ per month, depending on the carrier.

When signing up for a cell phone plan, there is usually some type of activation fee.  If you shop around and look for sales, you may find you can get this fee waived.

In order to sign up for a cell phone plan, you must have a phone.  Most phones come cheaper when signing a contract.

The advertised price of the cell phone plan you choose will not be the final price of your monthly bill.  There are taxes and other surcharges you will have to pay each month.  Check with your provider to get a final monthly bill before signing a contract.

Most cell phone plans require a signed two-year contract.  If you break this contract early, there is a substantial fee – usually between $150 and $200.

How can I save money?

Many cell phone companies give discounts to certain groups of people, such as veterans, teachers, etc.

Once your contract has expired, you can usually receive an even better plan as well as a free phone upgrade as an incentive to stay with that company.

Consider low-cost carriers as mentioned in the table below.

CarrierCost
Boost MobileUnlimited talk, text and 1G for $30
Cricket WirelessUnlimited talk, text and 2.5GB for $35
Freedom PopFirst 200 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB are FREE
Google FiBasics start at $20.  Each additional 1GB is $10.
H20Unlimited talk, text and 500MB for $35
Republic WirelessPlans start at $15
RingPlusFirst 100 minutes, texts and MB are FREE
Ting$23~
Total WirelessUnlimited talk and text plus 5GB for $35

How to compare prices:

The best way to compare prices is to visit a store that offers cell phone service from multiple carriers.  For example,  Amazon is a dealer for Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

Cell phone companies always have promotions.  Be sure to check out the promotion page before making a decision.


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Average Reported Cost: $200

100 %
0 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. ScottABCD (Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania) paid $200 and said:

    I use ATT, and I pay about $200 every month – and this is for two phone lines on the unlimited plan. Both phones are on the ATT Next option – and we pay each about $30 a month for the phones (coming to $60 for the phone costs each month) – so ultimately, for two lines of unlimited without the cost of the phones, it only really comes to $140 per year, or about $70 a person. Plus, it comes with free HBO as well, so that’s another freebie of around $20 a month value too.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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