Phone Plans

Prepaid vs. postpaid plans: which type of plan is better for you?

Allison Radziwon
July 17, 2023

With countless options available in the market, choosing the right phone plan for you can be a daunting task. The question that often leaves consumers unsure is whether to go with a prepaid cell phone plan or a postpaid cell phone plan. The differences between both types can honestly be confusing, and each plan type comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, we plan to discuss:

  • The differences between prepaid and postpaid plans 
  • What features to expect with your plan
  • The best prepaid and postpaid plans on the market 

What do prepaid plans offer?

Prepaid plans offer better deals on data, but fewer perks. 

Prepaid plans don’t offer extra features, though there are some exceptions. Most prepaid plans only offer their data allotment and hotspot access, rather than streaming services and free music subscriptions. Prepaid plans also, like the name suggests, require users to pay for their plan before they use the service.

These plans also sometimes allow you to pay for more than one month at a time. These plans usually come in increments of 3 months up to a full calendar year. Prepaid plans are also mostly offered by mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which are carriers that buy service from carriers that own towers – AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Then, they sell this service at a much cheaper price. 

For example, AT&T offers a 12 month prepaid plan where you get 16GB per month. 

Image courtesy of AT&T’s website

What do postpaid plans offer? 

Postpaid plans offer more perks, but for a higher price. 

As it’s implied, postpaid plans allow users to pay for their phone services for the previous month instead of paying before they get the service. Postpaid plans usually offer more perks than prepaid plans. Features like streaming service subscriptions, music subscriptions, gaming subscriptions, and international connection are almost always featured with postpaid plans rather than prepaid. As such, these plans are more expensive. 

Postpaid plans also offer larger data amounts, like unlimited data and premium data. Premium data allows users access to their network without slowing down the connection. Premium data can also come included with prepaid plans, but usually at a limited amount. 

However, some of the best prepaid plans on the market also offer premium data, allowing you access to better service with a much better price. Otherwise, a premium postpaid plan might make you pay a lot more for features you might not even use. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best prepaid and postpaid plans the market has to offer: 

The best prepaid plans

Most MVNOs offer only prepaid plans, but they often offer better deals. 

Mint Mobile - Unlimited 

Mint Mobile is an MVNO of T-Mobile. Their unlimited plan offers unlimited talk and text with 40GB of full speed data before slowing to 3G speeds. These speeds allow you to send emails and texts or browse the internet, but you may have some difficulty with streaming video or playing games. 

Image courtesy of Mint Mobile’s website

The plan also gives you 10GB of mobile hotspot data, and access cuts off after that limit. You can have 5 lines per account on this carrier. Plans also come with international text, as well as talk and text access in Mexico and Canada. 

It’s important to note that Mint Mobile requires users to buy multiple months of service at a time. The price depends on how many months of service you buy. The first 3 months of service costs $30 per month, then it goes up to $40 per month for every 3 months of service. Buying 6 months of service lowers the cost to $35 per month, and 12 months lowers the price back to $30 per month. 

At the 12 month price, you get 50GB of data with this plan for $0.60 per GB. Taxes and fees are not included. 

US Mobile - Unlimited Premium 

US Mobile, an MVNO with access to all three major networks, offers a Unlimited Premium plan unique compared to most prepaid plans. You get 100GB of premium data, which will not slow down for any reason until you reach that cap. After, your data will slow down to 3G speeds. You also get 50GB of hotspot data, which is deprioritized. That data stops after 50GB. 

This plan allows an unlimited number of lines. You get international talk, text, and 10GB of international data. This includes Mexico and Canada, but you only get 1GB in Canada and 3GB in Mexico

Image courtesy of US Mobile’s website

What makes US Mobile unique is that you can choose perks on this plan if you have more than one line. If you have 3 lines, you can choose one perk. If you have 4 or more, you can choose two.

These perks include:

  • Apple TV+
  • Disney+
  • Hulu
  • ESPN +
  • Netflix Standard
  • HBO Max
  • Playstation Plus
  • Xbox Live Gold
  • Stadia Pro
  • Apple Arcade 
  • Slacker Plus Livexlive
  • Pandora Plus
  • Audible
  • Spotify Family
  • Apple Music Family

This plan costs $45 per month for one line. You get 100GB of premium data for $0.45 per GB. Taxes and fees are not included. 

Visible - Unlimited Plus 

Visible, an MVNO of Verizon, offers some of the best deals for unlimited data plans. Their Visible+ plan even offers 50GB premium data, then unlimited deprioritized data. The data will slow down during times of high network traffic like concerts or shopping malls. You also get unlimited hotspot data with this plan, but that data is always deprioritized.

Visible also offers call filtering, and international talk and text. Users also get talk, text, and data access in Mexico and Canada with this plan. 

Image courtesy of Visible’s website

It's important to note that Visible is a single line carrier, which means you can only have one line on an account. Family plans are not available with this carrier. 

The plan costs $45 per month. With the premium data, you get 50GB of premium data for $0.90 per GB. Taxes and fees are included with this price, and the plan renews monthly. The plan also comes with a $10 welcome discount for the first month. 

The best postpaid plans 

Look for plans that offer the most for the cheapest price. 

T-Mobile - GO5G Plus 

As the most expensive plan on the list, T-Mobile’s GO5G Plus plan offers unlimited premium data. No matter how much data you use, your data will not slow down due to network congestion or data caps. You also get 50GB of premium hotspot data, which becomes deprioritized after you reach the premium limit. You can have up to 8 lines on this plan. 

The plan also comes with international text and data. This includes 15GB of full speed data in Mexico and Canada. The plan comes with call filtering with Scam Shield Premium, a Netflix Basic plan, Apple TV+, and 1 free year of triple A. You also get free unlimited texting, video streaming and in-flight WiFi on eligible flights. 

Image courtesy of T-Mobile’s website

The plan costs $90 per month, including the $5 Autopay discount. Taxes and fees are included. 

Verizon - myPlan Unlimited Plus

Verizon released two new plans in May, and the Unlimited Plus plan offers unlimited premium data. You also get 30GB of premium hotspot data included, which doesn’t come with the other plan. The hotspot gives you deprioritized data after.

Image courtesy of Verizon’s website

This plan doesn’t offer streaming perks, but you can get these with their additional add-ons each for $10 per month. You can have up to 12 lines on this plan. 

The plan costs $65 per month for one line and including the $10 Autopay discount. Taxes and fees are not included. 

Boost Infinite - Infinite Unlimited+ 

While Boost Infinite is an MVNO of Dish, AT&T, and T-Mobile, their plans are actually postpaid. Their Infinite Unlimited+ is their biggest plan, including 30GB of high speed data and unlimited data at slower (3G) speeds as well as international talk and text. You also get data roaming access in Mexico and Canada, and you get a brand new iPhone 14. 

Image courtesy of Boost Infinite’s website

Though, if you don’t need the extra perks, Boost Infinite offers their Infinite Unlimited plan. Users still get 30GB of full speed data, but at $25 per month. Their plans do not include hotspot access, but you can add it to your plan for $10 per month. You can have up to 5 lines on one account. 

With the Infinite Unlimited+ plan, you get 30GB at $1.67 per GB. With the Infinite Unlimited base plan, you get 30GB at $0.83 per GB. Taxes and fees are not included. 

Want to compare prepaid and postpaid plans between carriers? compares plans between several features, coverage, price, reviews, and more! 

If you aren’t sure what plan you want to go with, allows you to compare different plans between carriers. Whether you want specific features or have a budget in mind, Really has everything you need to help!

Allison Radziwon
Allison Radziwon is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in phone plan advice.
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How much data do you get on the unlimited plan?

The plan is unlimited, but once you reach 20GB you may experience slower speeds depending on network usage.

How much hotspot data do you get on the unlimited plan?

You get 10GB of hotspot data per month, but can add more if you need to.

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