Best Cell Phone Plans for 2020
Cell phone plans continue to advance with the times. Previously, purchasing a cell phone plan required credit checks, lengthy contracts and even sizable deposits. In modern times this is not always the case. In fact, many plans no longer require credit checks at all.
Cell phone service providers know consumers need more flexibility, reliability and power from both phones and available plans. It might seem hard to believe, but cell phone manufacturers only began developing smartphone technology 27 years ago. The very first iPhone was only developed in 2007, or fifteen years ago. Cell phones have changed rapidly, while cell phone plans took a little longer to meet changing consumer needs. Rates have dropped, terms have become more flexible and contract plans, while still requiring credit checks, have become largely optional.
There are still contracted cell phone plans in existence in 2020 and may be of benefit to some consumers. Knowing which type of plan is the best for your situation is crucial to getting the best deal and service for your phone. Read on to learn more about the best cell phone plans for 2020, their features, rates, and terms of service.
Two Main Types of Cell Phone Plans
There are two main types of cell phone plans available on the market today. The modern contract plans are designed largely for consumers opting to purchase more expensive cell phones by paying monthly installments over the duration of the contract terms. Previously, contract plans were the only options and locked customers into a two-year deal, securing fixed monthly rates with very minor flexibility in payment dates.
The second main type of cell phone plan available today is the prepaid plan, which allows consumers to pay as needed without a contract or the necessity of monthly payments. Prepaid plans are still designed to encourage monthly payments because each payment only guarantees one month of service. The main differences between prepaid and contract cell phone plans are:
- The ability to prepay for service far in advance.
- The flexibility to choose when to reactivate the next service period.
How Cell Phone Plans Work
Three main service aspects to a cell phone plan, whether contract or prepaid, are on offer by most. Talk, text and data comprise those aspects, each with varied pricing and usage options. Plans are marketed as: limited, unlimited or some combination thereof. In limited plans, talk, text and data are paid for respectively in:
- Minutes talked.
- Amount of text messages sent/received.
- Megabytes and gigabytes of data used.
Limits are set per billing period. For some plans, unused minutes, text amounts and data can be rolled over into the next billing cycle. This gives more usage options during the subsequent cycle than originally allotted. Conversely, using any of those service aspects beyond the terms of the plan results in additional charges added to the next bill.
Discounts are occasionally available through companies. Paying in advance (usually by the year), signing up for an auto pay feature or increasing the amount of active lines/numbers on the account can reduce the bill amount. Knowing which type of cell phone plan is best for you saves money and also provides increased convenience and enjoyment when using your cell phone. Featured below are some of the best cell phone plans for 2020.
Verizon Wireless Shared 5GB – Best Coverage for the Money
Verizon Wireless is considered to have the best service coverage in the business. They are also considered to be more expensive than most other service providers even though their unlimited plans start at $70 per month per line. This is the average cost of single-user plans in 2020. The Verizon Shared 5GB plan, however, costs only $55 per line per month, for 5GB of shared data. The data does not have to be shared, which means you potentially get top-rated Verizon coverage and 5GB of data to yourself. If quality of coverage is your priority, combined with moderate data usage, the Verizon Shared 5GB plan is for you.
T-Mobile Essentials – Best Family Plan
T-Mobile has recently merged with Sprint, combining the strengths of both companies into great cell phone plan options. The T-Mobile Essentials plan is at its best when four-to-five lines are connected in the account. Four lines costs just $105 per month before taxes and fees, and includes a Netflix subscription. Data usage is unlimited albeit with a slight catch. High-speed LTE data is available up to 50GB per billing cycle. After that amount is used, data speed is slowed down. 50GB of data is quite a lot, however, allowing for 10,000 music tracks, 2,500 browsing hours, 300 hours of Skype use and more.
Boost Mobile Unlimited – Best Unlimited Plan for the Price
Boost Mobile flies under the radar some times but still offers one of the most competitive unlimited cell phone plans on the market in 2020. $50 per month provides unlimited talk, text and data plus a 12GB mobile hotspot feature. Data is 4G LTE up to 35GB used, after which speeds are slowed down. All plans offer the mobile hotspot feature in varying forms and the ability to service up to five lines. One great aspect of Boost Mobile Unlimited plans is how their already low rates are reduced when you add another line. This makes these plans great for sharing and single-users alike. There is even a Walmart Customer Exclusive plan, which doubles the amount of 4G LTE data available per month without increasing the price.
FreedomPop Basic 200 – Best Free or Cheap Plan Available
Most consumers are unaware the FreedomPop Basic 200 plan is even on the market, let alone how it offers up to 200 minutes of talk time at no charge each month. This is not a plan for iPhone users or international callers as neither feature is yet supported by FreedomPop. The Basic 200 plan does however also include free 200MB of data and 500 text messages per month. Of course, additional minutes, text and data amounts are available for purchase starting as low as $9.99 per month. One major benefit of signing up with FreedomPop is the ability to purchase modern name-brand phones at fifty percent or lower than retail value. This is a great plan for senior citizens and younger family members. It is also one of the best cell phone plans in 2020 for consumers on a tight budget or just beginning to explore cell phone services.