Phone Plans

Best Text-Only Phone Plans to Save Money on Your Wireless Bill

By
Kyle Reyes
September 13, 2022

Wireless companies have long been raising the price of the plans they provide while the service gets faster, the data goes unlimited, and the phones get more and more intricate. The newest line of phones across the board all cost over one thousand dollars, and lots of unlimited plans are over $50 a month. 

Phones are so expensive that they are often paid off over a number of years for a low monthly payment. The two of those together means that lots of people see close to a hundred dollars, if not more, in wireless bills each month. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of text-only phone plans with no data and low data that are incredibly cheap and provide the basics for someone who doesn’t need much data each month.

Alongside those are modular plans, which leave a lot of areas open for their customers to add and subtract data, minutes, and texts each month to better suit their needs. This article will talk about:

  • The top three no-data phone plans
  • Best low-data phone plans

Top 3 No-Data Phone Plans

What Does “No-Data” Really Mean? 

No data plans are offered by a lot of MVNOs for very cheap prices. They give you no data to use on the network, meaning your phone will not load any webpages, email, maps, or complete any task that it relies on data to complete. When you are outside of Wi-Fi coverage, your device, no matter how fancy, will only be able to talk and text. 

Choosing Plans

What are the perks of going with a no data plan? It, naturally, limits you from being able to use data on the network, meaning that your smartphone is only smart when it’s got a strong Wi-Fi connection. Fortunately, Wi-Fi is becoming more and more prevalent, so there’s a big chance that you can find shops, cafes, and other areas outside of your home where you can connect to Wi-Fi and access the internet. 

The main perk of a no data plan is that it’s cheaper. The options on this list are all under $15, so going with a plan like this is a fantastic way to save money on your phone bill. With most major providers keeping their single-line plans at price points from $50 to $80, a single digit cost plan is a breath of fresh air. No data plans are cheap alternatives to what most people think of when it comes to phone plans (and what all the marketing goes towards in these major companies) and they are perfect for people who don’t use much data in the first place. 

A no data plan is also a way to limit your phone usage. They are great for people who don’t use their phone all that much while they are out and about, or people who want to be disconnected from, say, their work email when they are out of the office, or social media or something similar. With a no data phone plan you are able to continue the essentials of a plan, that is, talk and text, while saving a ton of money. Here are four plans that capture the essence of no-data phone plans: 

US Mobile’s Unlimited Talk and Text

  • Cost (Monthly): $3
  • No contract
  • Operates on Verizon’s network

US Mobile has an excellent talk and text only plan. Arriving at an astonishing $3 a month, users have access to all of Verizon’s network at a tiny fraction of the cost. Their plan comes with unlimited talk and text, which is an unbelievable price point for access to Verizon's network and the ability to talk and text as much as you wish. The downside is, of course, no data, but this plan’s users have great cell coverage all over the country. 

The downside to this plan, and many of these plans, is that there are a limited number of phones compatible with the sim cards. Before you switch, if you have a phone you’d like to take with you, then it is important to see if it will work with the new carrier. If not, don’t sweat it, since there are so many carriers out there you can search around until you find one that is compatible. It may not be as good of a deal as this talk and text only plan, but you should be able to find one at a comparable price. 

Gen Mobile’s Unlimited Talk and Text

  • Cost (Monthly): $6
  • No contract
  • Operates on T-Mobile’s network

Gen Mobile’s Unlimited Talk and Text plan is another incredibly cheap no data plan with unlimited talk and text. Operating on T-Mobile’s network gives Gen Mobile excellent coverage nationwide. In fact, when browsing through plans you can see which of the major providers offers the best coverage in your area and choose an MVNO based on that fact. Depending on how much you want to save, the difference between paying three and six dollars per month is likely not as big of a deal compared to the overall savings of switching to a text and talk only plan. 

Gen Mobile also offers all of its customers a 15-day grace period, which means that you get half of a month of service after your plan expires. This is a nice addition to their already nice business model, where you can send text and prep for your next carrier after you cancel service for whatever reason. This is, in fact, the opposite of what most wireless companies do and it is a breath of fresh air to see. 

Tello’s Build Your Own Plan

  • Cost (Monthly): $8-$18
  • No contract
  • Operates on T-Mobile’s network

Tello offers a lot of different plans, able to be customized by their customers to best suit them. The no data plan they offer is $8 for unlimited talk and text only, and it fits right in with the other price points of no data plans. Their no data plan is about the same as Gen Mobile’s but Tello makes it really easy to add data to your plan, should you so desire. The ease with which you can change plans on a month-to-month basis makes it a great option for people who need data some months and not other months. Domestic travelers, for instance, might need data when they are on business trips but be ensconced in Wi-Fi other times of the year. 

Tello’s plan offers a lot of flexibility, and that gives it an edge over the other plans. The other two providers have a lot of plans as well, but neither are quite as flexible as the plans from Tello. 

TextNow’s Free Talk and Text Plan

  • Cost (Monthly): FREE
  • No contract
  • Operates on Sprint’s network

This plan is absolutely free. That’s right. This no data plan comes with unlimited talk and text on Sprint’s nationwide network at no cost for you. Alongside this, they have plans that offer data. One is 2GB for $20 a month, and one is unlimited data for $40 a month. This is another really nice part of TextNow’s plans. You can get a month of data when you need it while keeping the base free plan when you don’t need it.

Check Phone Compatibility

As mentioned earlier, one downside to these smaller companies with their plans is that they don't have the same phones for sale as the major wireless companies in their stores. Gen Mobile, for instance, only offers up to the iPhone XR in their store. The latest and greatest smartphones are kinda lost on these customers too because their phones are primarily machines to talk and text when out in the wild. 

Also, when looking to lower your monthly cellular bill, a phone that’s hundreds of dollars is probably not the best bet going forward. A lot of older phones will work fine and you can save a lot of money by purchasing an older phone. The newer phones, on top of being really expensive, are very popular, so companies are more likely to sell old models of smartphones for reduced prices. 

Make Sure Your Phone is Unlocked

A locked phone locks you to your current carrier. If that’s the case, figure out how to get it unlocked so you can switch to a cheaper one! 

If you are currently attached to a wireless company and want to switch to another one, one big complication is if your phone is “locked” to a specific carrier. When your phone is locked it will not function with any other carrier. It’s annoying, but phone companies do this in order to discourage people from “hopping” networks every month or a few months to keep abreast of the new customer deals and, in short, be a thorn in the carrier’s side. If you haven’t paid off your phone you might get hit with an early termination fee by your current provider. 

Different carriers have different specific requirements for unlocking your phone and it’s all pretty secretive and happening behind the scenes. Your phone might be unlocked right now! Just go into your settings and, if you have an iPhone, go to cellular and cellular data. If you see “Cellular Data Options'' then your phone is unlocked. For Android phones, go to settings and mobile networks. If you see network operators then your phone is unlocked!  

If you don’t see that, then, unfortunately, your phone is probably locked, meaning you can’t transfer that phone to the new carrier at this time. There are some carriers who won’t unlock your phone unless you ask. This process will hopefully be quick and easy. The specifics vary slightly from carrier to carrier (except Verizon, which unlocks phones automatically after 60 days), it all boils down to meeting specific requirements and submitting a request online or in-store. 

In general, you must have had your phone for a few months, paid it off completely, and it often must be a phone purchased from the carrier itself. You can search for carrier-specific requirements to make sure you’re good to go or you can talk to a representative to see if there’s something that you still need before you can unlock your phone. 

Unfortunately, if you are set on keeping your phone you might have to wait a few months if it’s not eligible to be unlocked. If that’s the case, you have to wait until you hit the last of those requirements or get a new phone with your new provider. 

Best Low-Data Phone Plans

T-Mobile’s Connect Plan

  • Cost (Monthly): $15-$25
  • No contract
  • Operates on T-Mobile’s network

T-Mobile recently released a new set of plans, their Connect plans. These plans are designed to be cheap and affordable while providing that same coverage, service, and phone selection as before. The lesser cost comes with 2 GB and the greater one comes with 5 GB, making them great options for people who do need data each day, say, for Google maps, email, or social media (among other things). Smartphones give access to so many apps that all use a little bit of data, and if it's worth keeping your access to those things, then this plan could be the one for you. 

T-Mobile also increases the amount of data you receive with these plans as time goes on. They are planning on upping the caps of each of their plans by 5 GB each year up through 2025. Also, if you find yourself using a ton of data, or know you’ll need extra for a month or so you can always upgrade to a higher tier, like their 10 GB Simply Prepaid for $40 that month. 

Something to look out for — they cut off your data completely when you go over. This is a nicer alternative to automatically paying for the overage, but some other companies will continue letting you use data but at a very slow speed. Just make sure you keep track of your usage so you don’t run out of data when you really need it! 

Mint Mobile’s Limited Data Options

  • Cost (Monthly): $15-$25
  • 3 Month Contract
  • Operates on T-Mobile’s network

Mint Mobile has you purchase multiple months of service at a time. When you sign up, they ask you for a three month contract at $15 a month. That’s a pretty great deal for 4 GB of data with unlimited talk and text. After your first three months, you can purchase a 3, 6, or 12 month plan. The pricing changes for the amount of months you buy at a time. 

  • 3 months is $25/month
  • 6 months is $20/month
  • 12 months is $15/month

Signing up for a year at a time is a risky move, but it comes with the best price they are offering. Unlimited talk and text with 4 GB of data each month for just $15 is a great deal. That alongside the first three months at $15 makes this a great plan for people who use a fair bit of data each month. 

Google Fi Flexible

  • Price (monthly): $20, plus $10 per GB of data. 
  • No contact 
  • Operates on T-Mobile and US Cellular networks

Project FI Flexible is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that uses T-Mobile and US Cellular networks. Operated by Google, it is no surprise that the compatible phones are their own Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL, as well as a few Android phones like the Moto G7 and the LG V35 ThinQ. If you have one of these phones, you’re in luck! Unfortunately, this is not a good plan to switch to if you have a new phone that isn’t compatible with them. If you are in for an upgrade or your phone just met an untimely end, then switching to Google Fi is a much better option. 

If you go with this plan, look out for overages. They automatically charge you an extra $10 for another GB if you go over, which really raises your monthly bill. One of the best perks of Google Fi is their international coverage. They operate in over 200 countries around the world, letting you take your phone and keep using it just about wherever you are. 

Data is a huge part of our lives. Take a simpler route with a text only phone plan. 

Keep an Eye Open for Deals on Phones and Plans

There are a lot of deals, especially for new customers. Be it a big credit on a new phone or a free month of service, there are a lot of ways to cut down on your phone bill. If you are prepared to operate with no cellular data, then no data plans offer tremendous value for unlimited talk and text. That, backed by the coverage of a major wireless network means your calls should have good service, just about wherever you are. It is important to note — a no-data plan has no effect on your phone’s Wi-Fi. You can consume data all day long on a Wi-Fi network and it will not affect your plan one bit.

Kyle Reyes
Kyles Reyes is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in the wireless industry, phone plan comparisons & advice.