No-contract phone plans are best to save money on your cell phone bill while keeping flexibility to jump between carriers or plans as your needs change. Prepaid plans are great for keeping a close eye on your cell phone bills and ensuring that you don’t stumble into any overages over the month. With no-contract phone plans, you can keep your finger on the other companies' pulse and switch if any great deal pops up.
This article will dive into the best no-contract plans of 2023 and what each one brings to the table. The major downside of no-contract plans is that they don’t deliver the same features that other more robust plans do, but that is because they are generally on the cheaper side, offering fewer data at a lower cost.
There are two main reasons to purchase a no-contract plan: lower costs and higher flexibility. This is great when you are not sure what your long-term plan is and if your needs from a phone plan will change; signing on to a three, six, or 12-month contract will keep you in a corner.
Many no-contract phone plans are on the cheaper end of the spectrum because they offer less overall as a part of the plan. While there are still a few limited talk and text plans on the market, going for unlimited talk and text usually only costs a few dollars a month, which is more than worth it in our minds.
The primary sacrifice you make to capitalize on these affordable plans is the amount of data you receive. Some no-contract plans offer a lot of data, but they are on the more expensive side. Unreal Mobile, for instance, offers a 50 GB no-contract plan for $60 a month. Sixty dollars a month is a tall order. If you need the data, it is a great option to keep it a no-contract plan, but that might be overkill.
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Knowing your average data usage is crucial to picking the right phone plan. Data drives the phone plan price more than anything. How much data are you using each month? The prevalence of WiFi zones makes it more and more feasible to operate with fewer data allocated each month. A low-data no-contract plan can save you a ton of money each month if you can primarily do all your data-heavy activities from home or the local coffee shop. There are also ways to lessen your data usage when you are out and about to make a low-data plan work better. Running out of data in the middle of the month is extraordinarily painful, and the 3G speeds to which you are often reduced make it challenging to do anything on mobile data.
Steps like downloading video and audio content before leaving the house, limiting social media consumption to WiFi zones, and ensuring your phone isn’t running any background processes that chew through your wireless data are ways to reduce your data consumption. From there, you can hop to cheaper and cheaper cell phone plans.
Another core aspect of no-contract plans is, of course, their flexibility. With no-contract plans you pay for a month at a time, keeping the possibility to switch plans or carriers at the end of every month. This flexibility is a great way to keep your options open if you still determine how much data you need each month. The downside to this aspect of no-contract plans is that many companies lower the plan’s monthly price when you purchase a contract. There are some immense savings for cell phone users who purchase plans a few months at a time, but we understand that that’s not always feasible.
When you keep yourself to no-contract plans, you can switch carriers when a great deal pops up for new customers. This is a nice bonus, but hopping from carrier to carrier to capitalize on their new customer deals quickly becomes a big hassle. If you have the patience for it, go right ahead, but know there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the same carrier once you find one that’s a good fit. It is much easier to go from plan to plan within the same carrier than go from one carrier to the next. If you are switching carriers, check if you can bring your phone to ensure you can keep your number and information.
Before we get into MVNOs — there are prepaid plans with the major networks that offer plans at a significantly lowered price point. Let’s look at what those plans bring to the table. No-contract phone plans from major wireless networks are a great way to save money while continuing to receive premium wireless data.
Verizon’s prepaid plans are not the cheapest, but there is something nice about the security of a plan on a premium wireless network. With their prepaid plan, users don’t have access to Verizon’s Ultra Wideband 5G, but we don’t think that’s too big of a deal. Their 4G LTE and regular 5G networks provide lightning-fast data speeds that give you reliable coverage all around the nation.
One benefit of using Verizon’s prepaid plan is that you retain the flexibility of a no-contract plan while keeping your Verizon account if you already had one in the past. This is coupled with it being a very affordable plan compared to Verizon’s other plans, if not as low as some of the MVNO options on this list. We recommend this plan if you are already a Verizon customer and want to switch to a lower plan or if you want a cheap plan with Verizon and are considering jumping to one of their more expensive options in the future.
This is the low-cost no-contract phone plan we’ve been looking for now. A plan this cheap from a primary carrier is a surprising find, and it makes turning to T-Mobile a viable option even if you want to stick at this low tier of the plan and only pay $15 a month. There are two more plans in this bracket:
Both of those are good options, too, if you think they are a better fit, but at the end of the day, if you receive fewer than 10 GB of data in your plan each month means you won’t be able to use much data on your phone regardless of the exact amount of gigabytes. This is your best option for a low-cost plan on a major wireless network. The downside is, of course, the low data quantities. They have a program where you gain another 0.5 GB on your monthly allocation every year, but these days, half of a gigabyte will pass by rather quickly. This plan, like Verizon’s, is especially good if you want to be a part of T-Mobile with the possibility of jumping to or from other plans in the future. That being said, the $15 a month is a great price point for any phone plan.
This is the most expensive prepaid plan on this list, but it comes with unlimited high-speed data. That’s pretty huge for prepaid no-contract plans! Each of these three major wireless companies has no-contract plans, but this is the only one with unlimited high-speed data. You pay a premium, almost as expensive as the other plans in their repertoire. The significant benefit of this plan is, of course, that it has no contract! This lets you keep that flexibility if you want to switch carriers or another AT&T plan. This is great when you are not settled into any particular company or plan, leaving options open for switching anytime.
Another part of saving money with your no-contract phone plan is the phone you have if you’ve paid off your phone already — great! That means there’s no additional cost to your cell phone bill. If you have to get a new phone, make sure to shop around and pick out the phone that’s right for you! It is not worthwhile to do a lot of research on your phone plan to not overpay and then purchase a phone that is much more expensive than you need!
Now that you have taken a peek at some of the no-contract phone plans let’s dive into what MVNOs bring to the table. Mobile Virtual Network Operators, on average, have less expensive plans than major wireless networks and many more no-contract phone plans.
Visible has two plans, each with unlimited talk, text, and data. Understanding the ins and outs of Visible Wireless phone plans is a great place to start because they offer robust plans for the price. The two visible wireless phone plans are as follows:
These plans are amazing. They come with unlimited high-speed data which is very unusual for MVNO unlimited plans. Getting that unlimited data without a contract for $30 a month is an excellent choice. A lot of smartphone activities burn through data, and we recommend this plan for people who want to use their phone when they are out and about, or don’t have a reliable WiFi network in the areas in which they spend a lot of time. These plans have no contract, but there are not any lower-cost plans if you discover that you don’t need a lot of data.
The unlimited plan at Boost Mobile is pricier than we would like, but it does have a good set of benefits that come along with it. We don’t think the price alone competes with the other cell phone plans on this list, but we think that it serves as a good price check to understand how quickly even MVNO plans can get really expensive.
The next entry on our list is the simply unlimited plan from Google Fi. This unlimited plan is expensive as well, but it comes with a lot of benefits and works exceedingly well with Google Pixel phones.
Tello Economy is a fantastic low-cost no-contract plan. We have it on our list of the best no-contract phone plans because it comes in at $10 a month, runs on a great network, and is best for people who spend most or all of their days within Wi-Fi zones and don’t use much data when they are out and about. This plan is awesome, but it only gives users one gigabyte of high-speed data. Downloading songs and podcasts and waiting to boot up social media are all crucial changes when you are on a plan with just a bit of mobile data. If you go over your data allotment for the month, you get throttled down to 2G speeds. These speeds are very slow, but you always have the option to purchase more high-speed data for the month, albeit at an increased price.
This low-cost cell phone plan shines when you are looking to save money, and since there is no contract, you are free to upgrade to one of their options with more data and go right back down if you find that you aren’t using that much. New users can bring their own phones along if it is unlocked and compatible with Tello’s service. Almost every phone is, but it is worth double-checking. As a bonus, this plan offers free unlimited talk and text to over 60 countries. This is a great boon in a plan that’s designed to have few features to be at such a low cost like this one.
Unreal Mobile has a tremendous list of plans, but we want to highlight their 12 GB plan. It is a great mix between value and data. Things are getting more and more data-heavy, and a 12 GB pool offers much more leeway in how much you can use your data each month. Somewhere between 10 and 30 is the sweet spot. Twelve is on the lower end, but the nice thing about this plan is the discounts when you take a contract. While their no-contract phone plan costs $40 a month, their three-month contracted plan brings that cost down to $30 a month. You have the ability to get a year-long contract and that takes the cost down another $5 a month, but we don’t think that’s worth it.
If you are interested in Unreal Mobile, we recommend starting with one of their no-contract plans and trying it out. They have a nice new-customer deal that will save you some money. After that, you can decide whether you want to stay at their no-contract plan or save some money with their three-month contract. Three months is a more favorable commitment to make because, while it is less flexible, it only locks you in for a little while.
We hope that this list has provided great assistance in your search for the best no-contract phone plans. There are so many on the market that it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to begin and certainly not where to end. Pick out your carrier, pick out your plan, and ensure you go through the right steps to port your number and information into the new carrier to make your switch as painless as possible. No-contract phone plans are great because they are affordable and they are flexible, leaving you room to jump to a new plan at a moment’s notice and saving you money on your phone bill!